An account of the Order of Christ by Sir Bernard Burke.

extracted from the following publication;

Each page as exists in the original concerning the Order is reproduced below complete with the page headings. The page number follows or preceeds the page title.  To view the illustration click on the symbol.


These three Orders had followed the royal family at their emigration from Lishon to Rio Janeiro, and were retained by the colony, after John VI. was reoalled to the capital of Portugal. They became national in Brazil by decree, 20th October, 1823, and by subsequent usages. The insignia nere only in so far altered that the crown of Portugal was exchanged for that of the empire, and the borders of the ribbons of the Orders of Christ (Plate 21. Tab. II. No. 6 ), and St. Jacob were changed into blue, and those of St. Benedict into pink red.
The Emperor is Grand Master, the Crown Prince first Commander. The Knights wear the Order at the button hole, the Commanders have the star upon the left breast, while the Knights of the Grand Cross wear, besides, a broad scarf on which the decoration is suspended.
All these three Orders have, however, lost their religious character in Brazil, owing to her independenoe of Portugal, and the rejection of the Bull 'Praeclara Portugaliae.' They are now

BRAZIL.   73

considered as civil Orders, and are prsented to native as well as foreign subjects, who have done service to the state (Law 9th september, 1843).


As this is, properly speaking, a Portuguese Order, its history will be detailed among the Orders of Portugal, and we shall therefore, confine our remarks here to a few principal particulars.
Pope Clement V., it is well known, abolished, in 1312 the Order of the Templars. The measure was then objected to by King Dionysius of Portugal, who allowed the Order to exist in his dominions, with all its rights, privileges and possessions. It naturally led to misunderstanding between the two courts, until Pope XXII. (successor of Clement) compromised the matter by consenting, in 1319, to the existence of the Order in Portugal under a new name: 'The Order of Christ,' but reserved to himself, and his successors, the right of creating a similar Order also in the Papal States, of which right his successors avail themsclves to this day, by conferring this Order, as a distinction of merit on both native and foreign Catholics.
The Roman Order of Christ has only one class.
The decoration consists of a red enamelled gold cross with another white cross in the middle, surmounted by a crown. (Plate 55. Tab. I. No. 5 ). To this cross is appended, above the crown, when for military merit, some golden trophies (No. 6 ). It is worn round the neck by a red ribbon, accompanied by the star (No. 4 ). upon the breast. The Cross in the middle of the star is adorned with precious stones or pearls. Formerly the Order was worn suspended by a gold chain. The candidates of the Roman Order are not obliged, like those of the Portuguese, to prove their noble descent ; nor is there any particular costume for the Roman Order.


The three first orders of Portugal, those of Christ, St. James, and of Aviz, were originally spiritual Orders; but were secularized in 1789. Though the Kings of Portugal were Grand Masters of all the three, they used, nevertheless, to wear only the insignia of the Order of Christ. At present the different, and that there may be no show of preference, the three decorations are now united into one medal, and divided into three equal spaces (Plate 61, Tab. I. No. 1 ). The medal is worn suspended by a three coloured ribbon, green, red and and violet.
On solemn occasions, the Knights of all the three Orders wear a white mantle, kept together at the breast by a long cord in the form of a rosette. On the left side of tbe mantle is embroidered the star. (Tab. I. No. 2 ). A red cap; sword, morocco boots, and golden spurs, complete the costume, and in this costume the Knights are also buried.
The red enamelled heart which is appended above the decorations of the two first classes, was instituted by Queen Maria in token of reverence of the Holy Heart of Christ under whose protection she placed the Orders of the kingdom.
The management and superintendence of the Orders are entrusted to the care of a particular court, called the `Tribunal of Conscience and Orders.'


The Order of the Templars having been abolished in France by Philip le Bel, its property confiscated, and the members persecuted and expelled with the sanction and authority of Pope Clemens V ; it was revived in Portugal, where it flourished under the name of the 'Knighthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.' The extreme persecutions which the Templars were subjected to in France, apparently for the mere sake of seizing hold of their property, under the pretext of their conspiring against the state, roused universal sympathy with the sufferers, while the Portuguese government needing, in addition, their support and valour, as a bulwark against the Spanish Moors at Algravia, King


Dionysius devised a means of giving an asylum to the Knights and their Order in Portugal, without openly violating the decision of the Pope. He transferred (1317), the castles and vassals, as also the statutes of the Order of the Templars, to a new Order which he founded under a differernt name, and for which he received, after two years' negotiations, the sanetion of Pope John XXII.
Nor was Dionysius deceived in his expectations. With grateful feelings, the Knights of the Order of Christ joined the Portuguese Kings in their crusades against the infidels, and accompanied them in their adventurous campaigns to India, while the Kings, on their part, acknowledged the important services of the Knights, by increasing their possessions with the increase of their own conquests, and procured for the Grand Prior of the Order, from Pupe Calextus III., an investment of power, equal to that of a Bishop. As an encouragement to further conquests and discoveries, they were finally promised, also, the independent possession (under, Portuguese protection), of all the countries which they might happen to discover.
Under such favourable circumstances, the new Order grew in power and wealth to such an extent, as to raise the fears of the subsequent kings uf Portugal, who began to endeavour to limit and curtail the concessions made by their predecessor, especially as regarded the eventual discoveries made by the Order, which instead of, as originally stipulated, being its own roperty, were now to be marked Crown domains ; leaving to the Knights only, the civil jurisdiction, and a certain preponderance in them. Nor was the limitation confined to the future conquests of the Order alone; even the territories which were already in their possession, the Pope thought fit to include in the new contract, when laid before him for sanction. Subsequently, King John III. even procured from Pope Adrian VI. (1522), an edict by which the functions of Administrator


and Grand-Master of the Order were exclusively transferred to the Portuguese Crown.
The principal seat of the Order was originally Castro-Marino, in the Diocese of Faro, but in 1366, it was tranferred to Tomer (seven leagues from Santarem), where a fine cloister is Still to be Seen.
No one could present himself as candidate who was not able to prove his noble desoent, and a three years' military noviceship in the wars against the infidels. The members were originally bound to make the three vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience; but Pope Alexander VI. released them from the two first, on condition that they should apply the third part of their revenues to the building and support of the Tomar Cloister, the priests of which he bound to the whole of tbe three vows. It serves now, together with the Seminary at Coimbra, as a theological institution for the priests of tbe Order, as an immediate fief of the Crown.
The Order possesses twenty-six villages and farrms, and four hundred and thirty-four prebends.
Since 1789, the members consist (besides tbe Grand Master and Great Commander) of six Knights of the Grand Cross, four hundred and fifty Commanders, and an unlimiied number of Knights.
Foreigners are exempt from the rules, but, at the same time, are excluded from the participation in the revenues of the Order.
Catholics, only, of noble descent can be admitted to the Order.
The Knights Grand Cross wear the decoration (Plate 62. Tab. II. No. 9 ) across the right shoulder towards the left side, by a broad red ribbon, while the left side of the breast is adorned with the star (No. 8 ).
The Commanders wear the same cross and star round the


neck, and the Knights have the cross (Plate 63. Tab III. No 12 ) suspended at the button-hole, though when in uniform they wear it now also round the neck. Members are allowed to adorn the badge with precious stones.

Created 23rd January 1998
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