Order of St. Gregory the Great, Grand Cross Breast Star, Civil Division (embroidered)
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This Order was founded by Pope Gregory XVI, and it was originally conferred upon Catholics who exhibited zeal for the Catholic faith, and loyalty to the Vatican. The Order is named for Pope Gregory I, also known as Pope Gregory the Great, who held the office from 590 to 604.
It initially featured four grades, I Class Grand Cross with Breast Star, II Class Grand Cross with Breast Star, Commander, and Knight. Yet in 1834, only four years after the Order was founded, the I Class Grand Cross and II Class Grand Cross were merged into a single Grand Cross grade. Further amendments to the Order were made by Pope Leo XIII, who introduced the Commander with Star grade (Grand Officer). The separation of the Order grades into two separate divisions, and the Commander with Star grade, were officially confirmed by Pope Pius X during the 1905 reorganization of Papal Honours.
The Order features two divisions, the military division and the civil division. The military division is awarded to military personnel and Papal troops who defend the Holy See in battles and wartime. The civil division is awarded to recognize the personal meritorious service of recipients. The military division grades are surmounted by a military trophy, while the civil division grades are surmounted by a wreath. Due to the dissolution of the Papal Army in 1870, and the disbandment of the Palatine Guard in 1970, the military division of this Order has become obsolete.
The modern Order is primarily bestowed to Catholics to recognize personal and meritorious service to Catholicism and the Holy See, and for being virtuous examples for their local community. Since 1993 it has been conferrable upon women, and since 1998 the Order may be awarded to non-Catholics.
The reverse inscription features the Order’s motto “PRO DEO ET PRINCIPE,” which translates to “For God and Ruler.”
The awards conferred from 1831 until approximately 1870-1880 feature engraved designs on the reverse cross arms, while the awards conferred from 1870-1880 to the present feature enamel on the reverse of the cross arms.
Recipients are bestowed with a prefix after being emitted into the Order, with Knight for men and Dame for women.
The Grand Cross may also be known as the I Class Grand Cross. Until 1905, the Grand Cross grade was restricted to 30 recipients.
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