The Order of the Redeemer (Greek: Τάγμα του Σωτήρος, romanized: Tágma tou Sotíros), also known as the Order of the Saviour, is an order of merit of Greece. The Order of the Redeemer is the oldest and highest decoration awarded by the modern Greek state.
|Order of the Redeemer|
Τάγμα του Σωτήρος
|Awarded by the President of the Hellenic Republic|
|Motto||Η ΔΕΞΙΑ ΣΟΥ ΧΕΙΡ, ΚΥΡΙΕ, ΔΕΔΟΞΑΣΤΑΙ ΕΝ ΙΣΧΥΙ (Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power.)|
|Awarded for||exceptional services to Greece|
|Grades||Grand Cross, Grand Commander, Commander, Gold Cross, Silver Cross|
|Next (lower)||Order of George I (1915–1924)|
Order of the Phoenix (1926–1935)
Order of Saints George and Constantine (1936–1975)
Order of Honour (since 1975)
The establishment of the Order of the Redeemer was decided by the Fourth National Assembly at Argos in 1829, during the final year of the Greek War of Independence. The decision was not immediately implemented, however, and the relevant decree was signed in Nafplio by the Regency Council (Josef Ludwig von Armansperg, Karl von Abel and Georg Ludwig von Maurer) in the name of King Otto on May 20, 1833. According to the decree of establishment, the name of the Order "shall recall the, by divine assistance miraculously and fortuitously accomplished, salvation of Greece".
According to the original decree, the Order was to be awarded to those Greek citizens who took part in the War of Independence, or "who should distinguish themselves henceforth in any branch of public service, in the army and navy, in the diplomatic and judicial corps, in public administration, in the arts, science, agriculture and industry, commerce, or should distinguish themselves in any other social field through outstanding civic virtue, and through illustrious services to the Throne, for the Glory of the Hellenic name and for the welfare of the fatherland", while foreigners were admitted either for past services to Greece, or due to their ability "to bring honour to the Order, through their outstanding personal virtues and excellence".
The original decree set specific limits on the number of awards: while the Silver Cross could be awarded at will, Gold Crosses were limited to 120, Commanders to 30, Grand Commanders to 20, and Grand Crosses to 12. Foreign recipients and princes of the Greek royal family did not count to these totals. In modern times, in practice the Grand Cross is awarded only to foreign heads of state.
The first person to be awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer was King Ludwig I of Bavaria, the father of King Otto, in 1833. Other distinguished recipients included Andreas Miaoulis in 1835, Baron Guenther Heinrich von Berg on 21 February 1837 Petrobey Mavromichalis, Alexandros Mavrokordatos and Lazaros Kountouriotis in 1836, Andreas Zaimis, Theodoros Kolokotronis and Georgios Kountouriotis in 1837, and Konstantinos Kanaris in 1864.
The form of the various insignias has been altered a number of times since the establishment of the order, the most obvious change being the removal of the crown during the periods of republican rule. The present form of insignias is regulated by Presidential Decree 849/1975 (ΦΕΚ 273 Α΄/4-12-1975).
The original decree of 1833 described the badge of the Order as consisting of a white enamelled Maltese cross (silver for the Silver Cross, gold for the higher grades), surmounted by a crown, set on a green enamelled wreath, one half of which is an oak branch and the other half a laurel branch. The obverse featured a white cross on a blue background (the coat of arms of Greece) with Otto's Bavarian arms in an inescutcheon in the centre, surrounded by this inscription on an outer ring: Η ΔΕΞΙΑ ΣΟΥ ΧΕΙΡ, ΚΥΡΙΕ, ΔΕΔΟΞΑΣΤΑΙ ΕΝ ΙΣΧΥΙ ("Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power", Exodus, 15:6). The reverse featured a portrait of Otto with the circular inscription: ΟΘΩΝ, ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΤΗΣ ΕΛΛΑΔΟΣ ("Otto, King of Greece").
After Otto's deposition in 1863, his portrait was removed and substituted by an icon of Jesus, the Redeemer of Orthodox Christian soteriology. This resulted in the wearing of this side as the obverse, with the national coat of arms (purged of the Bavarian escutcheon) relegated to the reverse, and the inscriptions correspondingly changed: the obverse's inscription remained in place, and the reverse came to feature a new inscription: Η ΕΝ ΑΡΓΕΙ Δ´ ΕΘΝΙΚΗ ΤΩΝ ΕΛΛΗΝΩΝ ΣΥΝΕΛΕΥΣΙΣ - 1829 ("The IV National Assembly of the Hellenes at Argos – 1829").
The star of the Order is an eight-pointed faceted silver star with the same central disc as on the badge of the Order. At first the stars were embroidered, but eventually, they were made of solid silver, a practice that continues to this day.
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|Greek orders timeline|
|Orders by precedence||1832–1909||1910s||1920s||1930s||1940s||1950s||1960s||1970–present|
|Order of the Redeemer||.||Rep.|
|Order of Honour||Rep.|
|Order of Saints George and Constantine||.||.||.||Dynastic|
|Order of Saints Olga and Sophia||.||.||.||Dynastic|
|Order of George I||.||.||.||.||Dynastic|
|Order of the Phoenix||.||Rep.|
|Order of Beneficence||.||Rep.|