Military Order of Christ

The Military Order of Christ (Portuguese: Ordem Militar de Nosso Senhor Jesus Cristo), before 1910 Royal Military Order of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Portuguese: Real Ordem Militar de Nosso Senhor Jesus Cristo), previously the Order of the Knights of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Ordem dos Cavaleiros de Nosso Senhor Jesus Cristo), is the former Knights Templar order as it was reconstituted in Portugal after the Templars were abolished on 22 March 1312 by the papal bull, Vox in excelso, issued by Pope Clement V.[1][2] The Order of Christ was founded in 1319,[3][4] with the protection of the Portuguese king, Denis, who refused to pursue and persecute the former knights as had occurred in most of the other sovereign states under the political influence of the Catholic Church.

Military Order of Christ
Ordem Militar de Cristo
Order of Christ Cross, also known as the Portuguese Cross
TypeHonorific Order
  • 1319 (founded)
  • 1789 (secularized)
Country Portugal
Religious affiliationRoman Catholic
EligibilityPortuguese and foreigners; military and civilian
Awarded forRelevant services to the country in the exercise of functions related to the government or public administration
StatusCurrently awarded
Grand MasterPresident of the Portuguese Republic
ChancellorJaime Gama
Next (higher)Order of the Tower and Sword
Next (lower)Order of Aviz

Decorations of the Order

Heavily swayed by Philip IV of France, Pope Clement had the Knights Templar annihilated throughout France and most of Europe on charges of heresy, but Denis revived the Templars of Tomar as the Order of Christ, largely for their aid during the Reconquista and in the reconstruction of Portugal after the wars. Denis negotiated with Clement's successor, John XXII, for recognition of the new order and its right to inherit the Templar assets and property. This was granted in a papal bull, Ad ea ex quibus, on 14 March 1319.[5]

There exists also a parallel Supreme Order of Christ of the Holy See and Order of Christ of House of Orléans-Braganza.