Order of the Star of Romania

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Order of the Star of Romania
Star-of-Romania-Order-Collar.jpg
The Collar of The Star of Romania
Awarded by The King of the Romanians
(1877 - 1947)
The President of Romania
since 1998
Country  Romania
Type Multiple grades civil and military national order (listed from lowest to highest):
Knight (Cavaler), Officer (Ofițer), Commodore (Comandor), Grand Officer (Mare Ofițer), Grand Cross (Mare Cruce) and Sash (Colan)
Eligibility (1) Civil, military; (2) military units; (3) foreign citizens
Awarded for (1) Exceptional civil and military services to the Romanian State and the Romanian people; (2) For special acts in time of peace or for heroic acts in time of war; (3) For contributing to the development of the friendship relations with Romania, or for other exceptional services to the Romanian State and the Romanian People
Status Currently awarded
Statistics
Established 1877 - Romanian War of Independence
First awarded 1877
Last awarded 2009
Total awarded over 100
Posthumous
awards
2
Precedence
Next (higher) Peacetime: none
Wartime: Ordinul "Mihai Viteazul"
Next (lower) Ordinul naţional "Serviciul Credincios"
Star of Romania Ribbon.PNG
The ribbon (peacetime)

The Order of the Star of Romania (Romanian: Steaua României or Ordinul Național "Steaua României" - National Order "Star of Romania") is Romania's highest civil order. It is awarded by the President of Romania. It has 6 ranks, from lowest to the highest: Knight (Cavaler), Officer (Ofițer), Commodore or Commander (Comandor), Grand Officer (Mare Ofițer), Grand Cross (Mare Cruce) and Sash (Colan).

History[edit]

In 1863 Alexandru Ioan Cuza, the Domnitor of the United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, asked the Romanian representative to Paris to contact the then well-known jewellery house Krétly, to manufacture a state decoration. Krétly presented a model, which was immediately accepted by the domnitor, and based on his agreement, 1,000 pieces of the order were made. It was decided that the order would have five ranks: Knight (Cavaler), Officer (Ofițer), Comandor (Comandor), Grand Officer (Mare Ofițer), and Grand Cross (Mare Cruce).

Unlike all other decorations in that time that were mostly inspired on the French Légion d'honneur, or which had their insignia like a Maltese cross, the model proposed by Krétly for this order was a blue cross crosslet (cruce repetată), a design that was then unique in decorational design.

The domnitor decided that the name of the honour would be "The Order of the Union" ("Ordinul Unirii"). It was planned to institute the order on 24 January 1864, the date when the 5th anniversary of his election would be celebrated and a moment that marked the unification of the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. Because of this, the motto of the new order would fit the event: "GENERE ET CORDES FRATRES" ("BROTHERS THROUGH ORIGINS AND FEELINGS"). The obverse of the insignia would bear the numbers "5" and "24", the days of January when he was elected in both Moldova and Wallachia.

However, due to the overthrow of Alexandru Ioan Cuza by a palace coup, he was unable to actually institute the order, and he awarded the insignia therefore only as a personal present, not as an state decoration. Most of the insignia produced for him remained stored in the Royal Palace's dungeons.

The original 1877 model - Commodore rank (obverse)

In April 1877, when Romania gained independence from the Ottoman Empire, the debate regarding the institution of Romanian decorations was revived. Mihail Kogălniceanu, Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Ion Brătianu cabinet, took part in the debates in the Assembly of Deputies regarding the institution of a state decoration. Because of the already earlier supplied "Order of The Union", it was decided that the shape of the decoration would be the same, modifying only the domnitor's seal. The motto was also changed, because the old one was not appropriate to the moment, to "IN FIDE SALUS" ("IN FAITH IS THE SALVATION"). Regarding the name, Kogălniceanu insisted on "Steaua Dunării" ("The Star of The Danube").

Certificate confirming that the Star of Romania was awarded to Ernesto Burzagli in the name of King Ferdinand I.

The name "Steaua României" ("The Star of Romania") appeared on May 10, 1887, when the law was voted in the Parliament, as the first law of the Sovereign Romania.

By Royal Decree (no. 1545/1932), King Carol II changed the order of precedence in the Romanian honours system. As a result, in 1932, The Star of Romania dropped in precedence from second place (where it had been since 1906) to fourth place (after the Order of Carol I and the Order of Ferdinand I). In 1937, it dropped to seventh place. The main shape of the order, the blue repeated cross (called also "Romanian cross") was kept, but the rays between the cross' arms were replaced by four heraldic eagles with wings spread, the insignia of King Carol I was placed on the obverse, and the reverse bore the year of its establishment, "1877". Also the number of persons that could be awarded The Star of Romania was increased:

  • Knight (Cavaler): 1,000 civilians and 350 military;
  • Officer (Ofițer): 500 civilians and 150 military;
  • Commodore or Commander (Comandor): 200 civilians and 75 military;
  • Grand Officer (Mare Ofițer): 75 civilians and 25 military;
  • Grand Cross (Mare Cruce): 35 civilians and 10 military.

In 1938, the order was given a superior rank, called "Clasa I" (First Class in English), between the Grand Officer rank and the Grand Cross rank, with a maximum of 50 civilians and 15 military personnel.

The statutes established by King Carol II were changed by General Ion Antonescu (who became Conducător on 4 September 1940). Generally, the rules were the ones used during World War I. The order "The Star of Romania" became the second in the national hierarchy, after that of the Order of Michael the Brave.

Inspired by the German Iron Cross, Ion Antonescu decided that the first three grades of the orders the Star of Romania and the Crown of Romania, with spades (swords), and the ribbon of The Medal "The Military Virtue" would be awarded for exceptionally brave acts with an oak leaf, attached to the ribbon.

After 1948, all the existing decorations were outlawed, and their wearing was forbidden. Just by keeping the insignia, one was considered a delinquent in the first years of communism.

After many attempts, in 1998/1999 the National Order "The Star of Romania" was reinstituted, with a design similar to the one used in 1932, but without the insignia of King Carol I, and with the republican insignia.

Select recipients[edit]

First issue (1877-1948)[edit]

Second issue (since 1998)[edit]

Sash rank[edit]

Romanian: Colan

Foreign citizens[edit]
Romanian citizens[edit]

Available seats: 9

Grand Cross rank[edit]

Grand Officer rank[edit]

Commodore rank[edit]

Officer rank[edit]

Knight rank[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]