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Christ Knights’ Order (Portugal)

Last modified: 2002-01-26 by antonio martins
Keywords: christ knights’ order | ordem dos cavaleiros de cristo | templar | cross: patté (red) | cross: christ knights |
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[Flag of the Order of Christ]
by António Martins, 19 Feb 1998
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Description and symbolism

The cross of the Order of the Knights of Christ (Ordem dos Cavaleiros de Cristo, yet another medieaval warrior-monk order) is always red with white core. It was used in the Discovery sail ships, both as flag and painted on the sails, and has been used as an ubiquous symbol of Portugal ever since. (In fact, it would have give a great national emblem, even in a flag, — simple, striking, distinct — but somehow it never resulted that way...)
António Martins, 14 Jan 1997

Real flags of the order had this cross over a number of backgrounds, being most frequent white, green, and white/green gyronny — the later said to be the most “correct”.
António Martins, 19 Feb 1998

This symbol, cross potent-formy gules voided argent has currently official usage in the flag and arms of the Madeira Autonomous Region, in the roundel of the Portuguese Air Force, and in some municipal and sub-municipal arms and flags.
António Martins, 07 Oct 2001

Green background

[Green background]
by António Martins, 01 Dec 1999

The square green flag with Christ Knight’s Order cross, said to have been used by the re-independentist in the revolution of 1640. In that date Portugal become regained independence after 60 years of spanish domination, and the flag, originally a naval pendon, reminded of a glorious age that had then already passed by.
António Martins, 01 Dec 1999

About the Order

The Portugese Order of Knights of Christ, as I understand, originates from the Portugese priory of the Templars, which simply changed its name when the order was suppressed by Pope Clement, and everyone pretended not to notice that his “new” order just happened to have all the same members.
Will Linden, 11 May 1997

This Order had a major role in the early seafaring expeditions, its red on white pointy patent hollow cross being ultimately the symbol of the portuguese expansion — a symbol that outlived the Order itself and it’s very original meaning.
António Martins, 19 Feb 1998

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