The Greek honors system goes back to 1829 and the establishment of the Order of the Redeemer at the Fourth National Assembly at Argos. However, the relevant decree was signed in Nafplio by King Otto on May 20, 1833. The Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer remains the highest honor of Greece to this day.
As with most European orders, the Greek orders have the following ranks, in order of precedence:
In the past, the insignia of the order were to be returned to the State. However, in recent years, the rule has changed and the heirs of the honoree may keep the insignia.
The Grand Master of the Greek orders is the head of state of the country. Since 1975, Greece is a republic and the head of state is the President of Greece who is also responsible for awarding them, according to article 46, paragraph 2 of the Constitution of Greece and law 106/1975, upon the recommendation of the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
According to Law 106/1975, all proposals made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs are reviewed by the Council on Honors (Greek: Συμβούλιο Ταγμάτων Αριστείας) when it applies to Greek citizens, the Greek diaspora, military officers, and government workers. Individuals are selected to reward their contributions to Greece either it be the state, its culture, sports, arts, language, etc.
The Council on Honors, which comes together by decision of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, serves for a two-year term:
Those that have been honored by one of the Greek State Orders are given the right to wear their insignia for life, provided they have not been stricken from the rolls of their respective order, as per the penal code or by decision of the Council on Honors. The latter group may take such a decision if it deems that the person retaining the honor causes public discomfort or negatively affects the prestige of the Order. After the death of the honoree, the insignia may be kept by his or her heirs.
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|Greek orders timeline|
|Orders by precedence||1832-
|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.|