Order of Christ Cross

Order of Christ Cross

The Order of Christ Cross, or simply the Christ Cross, is the emblem of the historical Portuguese Order of Christ (also called Christ's Knights Order). Later, it also become the emblem of the Brazilian branch of the Order of Christ.

As the Order of Christ, led by Prince Henry, the Navigator, was a leading developer of the Portuguese Discoveries, the Christ Cross was used on the sails of the Portuguese caravels, carracks and other ships involved in the exploration of the seas. Because of this, the emblem was forever associated with the Portuguese discoveries, making it one of the main symbols of the discoveries and of the Portuguese Overseas Empire.

After, Manuel, duke of Beja and governor of the Order of Christ, having become King of Portugal, the Cross of Christ came to be regarded and used as a national emblem of Portugal. It has since become a generic Portuguese and, later, Brazilian emblem.

Today, the Cross of Christ is present in many flags and emblems of Portugal and Brazil. Examples are the flags of the city of São Paulo and the Portuguese Autonomous Region of Madeira, the coat of arms of several Portuguese and Brazilian cities and municipalities, the badges of the Portuguese and Brazil national football teams and the roundels of the Portuguese Air Force aircraft. The Cross of Christ was also present in the coat of arms and flag of the former Empire of Brazil.

It was also the symbol of the Movimento Nacional-Sindicalista, a Portuguese political movement of the early 1930s.

Usage of the Cross


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