Order of Pius IX, Commander
Image courtesy of Andreas Thies
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This Order was re-established by Pope Pius IX to commemorate and honour the obsolete Pian Order (Ordine Piano) founded in 1560 by Pope Pius IV.
The Order was, and continues to be, awarded to Catholics and non-Catholics in recognition of meritorious service to the Catholic Church, and humanity in general. In 1994, the Order was amended to allow female recipients.
It was originally awarded in the single grade of Knight, and bestowed hereditary nobility upon the recipient and his family. In 1856 Pope Pius IX split the Order into three grades, Grand Cross with Grand Cross Breast Star, Commander, and Knight. From 1856 onward, the Grand Cross was the only grade to bestow hereditary nobility, while the Commander conferred personal nobility upon the recipient, and the Knight grade did not confer any type of nobility.
In 1905 the Order was amended by Pope Pius X, and he added the grade of Grand Commander with Grand Commander Breast Star, which is also known as the Commander with Star grade.
In 1957 the Order was altered again by Pope Pius XII, who added the grade of Collar, also known as Knights of the Collar.
Recipients are bestowed with a prefix after being emitted into the Order, with Knight for men and Dame for women.
The Commander is identical to the Grand Commander grade, the only difference is that the Grand Commander is awarded with an associated Breast Star.
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