Order of Merit, Commander's Cross
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The Order of Merit was established by King Carol II on June 5, 1931. It was suppressed in 1947 following the abolition of the Romanian monarchy but was re-instated in 2000 following the collapse of the communist regime. The President of Romania is the Grand Master.
The Order of Merit was originally conferred upon individuals in recognition of service to the crown or distinguished achievements in the arts or civil service. It was seldom awarded during the reign of Mihai I. It is currently awarded to Romanian and foreign civilians and military personnel in three divisions. The Civil Division is conferred upon civilians in recognition of distinguished service to the nation and the Military Division is conferred upon military personnel in recognition of distinguished service in peacetime. The Wartime Division is awarded in recognition of meritorious actions and services performed during periods of war. The Order may also be conferred upon entire military units and foreign ambassadors who have served in Romania for at least one year.
From 1931-1947, membership in the Commander grade was limited to 36 members (24 Romanian citizens and 12 foreigners) in peacetime and was unlimited in wartime. There is a current limit of 625 Grand Crosses in the Civil Division and 225 in the Military Division. Awards made in the Wartime Division, as well as to foreigners and military units, are not included in membership limitations.
There are two different models of the Commander that differ in design and inscription. The first was awarded in the Kingdom of Romania and features the cypher of King Carol II in the medallion. The second has been awarded since 2000 and features the national crest on the obverse and a reverse inscription that translates to "For Merit."
From 1938-1947, Commander could be awarded with swords for wartime merit.
There may be additional versions of the Commander that differ in size, composition, or manufacturer.
The later versions are listed in the Orders of Romania (1990-). See also the Honour Cross of Merit (ROM154) in the Medals & Decorations of the Kingdom of Romania (1881-1947) for the decoration that was created as an extension of the Order.
Heinrich Weiss, Bucharest
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