Order of Cultural Merit, Type I, Officer's Cross
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The Order of Cultural Merit was established by King Carol II in 1931. It was suppressed in 1944 and was not awarded after the abolition of the Romanian monarchy until it was reinstated in 2000 following the collapse of the communist regime.
The Order is conferred upon Romanian citizens and foreigners in recognition of achievements in a variety of cultural fields. From 1931-1944 it was awarded in nine different categories for merit in science, education, the National Guard, scouting and sport, social welfare, literature, music and theatre, religion, and general culture. It is currently awarded for merit in literature, music, fine arts, performance arts, national heritage, religion, scientific research, architecture, and the promotion of culture. The categories have always been denoted by different ribbons.
From 1931-1944 membership in the Officer grade was awarded according to the following restrictions: 60 Romanians and 150 foreigners for merit in scientific research; 100 Romanians and 150 foreigners for merit in education; 60 Romanians and 60 foreigners for merit in scouting, sport, and physical exercise; 60 Romanians and 60 foreigners for merit in social welfare; 60 Romanians and 150 foreigners for merit in literature; 30 Romanians and 100 foreigners for merit in music and theatre; 100 Romanians and 150 foreigners for merit in religion; and 50 Romanians and 50 foreigners for general cultural merits. Membership in the Officer grade is now limited to 225 members for merit in literature, 200 members for merit in music, 300 members for merit in fine arts, 300 members for merit in performance arts, 300 members for merit in national heritage, 350 members for merit in the promotion of culture, 300 members for merit in religion, 250 members for merit in scientific research, and 175 members for merit in architecture.
There are three models of the Officer. The first features the portrait of King Carol II and the second features the portrait of King Mihai I. Both of these models feature an obverse inscription that translates to “Through Culture Towards Liberty.” The third model features the national arms of Romania and a reverse inscription that translates to "Cultural Merit."
There may be additional versions of the Officer that differ in manufacturer, size, or composition.
The later versions are listed in the Orders of Romania (1990-). See also the Medal of Cultural Merit in the Medals & Decorations of the Kingdom of Romania (1881-1947) and Romania (1990-) for the medal that was created alongside this Order.
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