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Order of the Redeemer

Order of the Redeemer
Τάγμα του Σωτήρος
Star of the Order of the Redeemer
Awarded by the President of the Hellenic Republic
Type Order
Motto Η ΔΕΞΙΑ ΣΟΥ ΧΕΙΡ, ΚΥΡΙΕ, ΔΕΔΟΞΑΣΤΑΙ ΕΝ ΙΣΧΥΙ
Awarded for exceptional services to Greece
Status Currently constituted
Grades (w/ post-nominals) Grand Cross, Grand Commander, Commander, Gold Cross, Silver Cross
Established 20 May 1833
Precedence
Next (higher) none
Next (lower) Order of George I (1915-1924)
Order of the Phoenix (1926-1935)
Order of Saints George and Constantine (1936-1975)
Order of Honour (since 1975)
Ribbon bar

The Order of the Redeemer (Greek: Τάγμα του Σωτήρος), also known as the Order of the Saviour,[1] is an order of merit of Greece. The Order of the Redeemer is the oldest and highest decoration awarded by the modern Greek state.

Contents

  • Establishment 1
  • Grades and award criteria 2
  • Insignia 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Establishment

The establishment of the Order of the Redeemer was decided by the Otto on May 20, 1833.[3] According to the decree of establishment, the name of the Order "shall recall the, by divine assistance miraculously and fortuitously accomplished, salvation of Greece".[3]

Grades and award criteria

Since its establishment in 1833, and in common with all Greek orders of merit, the Order of the Redeemer has five classes:[2][3]

  • Grand Cross ('Μεγαλόσταυρος') - wears the badge of the Order on a sash on the right shoulder, and the star of the Order on the left chest;
  • Grand Commander ('Ανώτερος Ταξιάρχης') - wears the badge of the Order on a necklet, and the star of the Order on the left chest;
  • Commander ('Ταξιάρχης') - wears the badge of the Order on a necklet;
  • Gold Cross ('Χρυσούς Σταυρός') - wears the badge on a ribbon on the left chest;
  • Silver Cross ('Αργυρούς Σταυρός') - wears the badge on a ribbon on the left chest.

According to the original decree, the Order was to be awarded to those Greek citizens who partook in the War of Independence, or "who should distinguish themselves henceforth in any branch of public service, in the army and navy, in the diplomatic and judicial corps, in public administration, in the arts, science, agriculture and industry, commerce, or should distinguish themselves in any other social field through outstanding civic virtue, and through illustrious services to the Throne, for the Glory of the Hellenic name and for the welfare of the fatherland", while foreigners were admitted either for past services to Greece, or due to their ability "to bring honour to the Order, through their outstanding personal virtues and excellence".[3]

The original decree set specific limits on the number of awards: while the Silver Cross could be awarded at will, Gold Crosses were limited to 120, Commanders to 30, Grand Commanders to 20, and Grand Crosses to 12. Foreign recipients, as well as princes of the Greek royal family, did not count to these totals.[3] In modern times, in practice the Grand Cross is awarded only to foreign heads of state.[2]

The first to be awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer was King Constantine Kanaris in 1864.

Insignia

The form of the order has been altered a number of times since the establishment of the Order, the most obvious change being the removal of the crown during the periods of republican rule. The present form of the Order is regulated by Presidential Decree 849/1975 (ΦΕΚ 273 Α΄/4-12-1975).

The original decree of 1833 described the badge of the Order as consisting of a white enamelled Maltese cross (silver for the Silver Cross, gold for the higher grades), surmounted by a crown, set on a green enamelled wreath, one half of which is an oak branch and the other half a laurel branch.[3] The obverse featured a white cross on a blue background (the coat of arms of Greece) with Otto's Bavarian arms in an inescutcheon in the centre, surrounded by this inscription on an outer ring: Η ΔΕΞΙΑ ΣΟΥ ΧΕΙΡ, ΚΥΡΙΕ, ΔΕΔΟΞΑΣΤΑΙ ΕΝ ΙΣΧΥΙ ("Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power", Exodus, 15:6).[3] The reverse featured a portrait of Otto with the circular inscription: ΟΘΩΝ, ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΤΗΣ ΕΛΛΑΔΟΣ ("Otto, King of Greece").[3]

Badge of the Order since 1863, obverse on the left and reverse on the right. Under the monarchy, a royal crown surmounted the cross.

After Otto's deposition in 1863, his portrait was removed and substituted by an icon of Jesus, the Redeemer of Orthodox Christian soteriology. This resulted in the wearing of this side as the obverse, with the national coat of arms (purged of the Bavarian escutcheon) relegated to the reverse, and the inscriptions correspondingly changed: the obverse's inscription remained in place, and the reverse came to feature a new inscription: Η ΕΝ ΑΡΓΕΙ Δ´ ΕΘΝΙΚΗ ΤΩΝ ΕΛΛΗΝΩΝ ΣΥΝΕΛΕΥΣΙΣ - 1829 ("The IV National Assembly of the Hellenes at Argos - 1829").[2]

The star of the Order is an eight-pointed faceted silver star with the same central disc as on the badge of the Order. At first the stars were embroidered, but eventually, they were made of solid silver, a practice that continues to this day.[2]

The ribbon of the Order is light blue, edged with white, reflecting the national colours of Greece.[2]

References

  1. ^ "Americans decorated". New York Times. September 12, 1906. Retrieved December 19, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Hellenic Orders and Decorations: Order of the Redeemer". Presidency of the Hellenic Republic. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h A.I. Kladis (1837). "Κεφάλαιον Όγδοον. Περί της συστάσεως Τάγματος Αριστείας δια το Βασίλειον της Ελλάδος." [Chapter Eight. On the establishment of an Order of Merit for the Kingdom of Greece]. ΕΦΕΤΗΡΙΣ (Almanach) του Βασιλείου της Ελλάδος δια το έτος 1837. Athens: Βασιλική Τυπογραφία και Λιθογραφία. pp. 123–136. 

External links

  • The Greek Royal Orders
  • George J. Beldecos, "Hellenic Orders, Decorations and Medals", pub. Hellenic War Museum, Athens 1991, ISBN 960-85054-0-2.
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