Order of the Redeemer, Type I, Grand Cross
Image courtesy of Bene Merenti GmbH
Image courtesy of “Histoire, Costumes, Decorations de tous Les Ordres De Chevalerie et Marques D’Honneur” by Par Auguste Wahlen
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The Order of the Redeemer was established by the Fourth National Assembly in 1829 in the final year of the Greek War of Independence, although it was not officially instituted until the decree of May 20, 1833. Its name and form were chosen by the Assembly as a reminder that the Greek nation had been liberated during the war with divine assistance. It has remained the highest order of merit in Greece since its creation.
The Order was originally conferred upon Greek citizens for their service in the Greek War of Independence. Today, it is conferred upon Greek citizens for distinguished service in the Navy, the Army, and the diplomatic and judicial corps, as well as for outstanding service rendered to public service and administration, agriculture, industry, commerce, arts, and science, or for any other outstanding contributions to the nation.
The decorations are classified into two types based on changes in design. Type I decorations were awarded from 1829-1862, and feature the portrait of King Otho I on the reverse medallion. The Type II decorations have been awarded since 1863 and feature the image of Jesus Christ instead of Otho I - a change which prompted the portrait side to be worn as the obverse. Since the abolition of the Greek monarchy in 1974, the Type II decorations have undergone additional changes. From 1975-1984, the decorations did not feature a surmounting crown, and since 1984, they have been surmounted by a wreath of oak and laurel.
The Grand Cross and the Grand Cross Breast Star were first conferred upon King Ludwig I of Bavaria. Today, they are mostly conferred upon foreign heads of state.
The Type I Grand Cross has an obverse inscription that translates to "Thy right hand, O Lord, is majestic in strength" (Exodus XV, 6) and a reverse inscription that translates to "Otho King of Greece."
There are many variations present in this Order, due primarily to its age and the number of manufacturers. The following variables may be encountered: composition, size, inscription punctuation, and crown design.
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