Order of the Star of Romania

The Order of the Star of Romania (Romanian: Ordinul Steaua României) is Romania's highest civil Order and second highest State decoration after the Order of Michael the Brave. It is the oldest Order of Romania. It is awarded by the President of Romania, and has six grades, from lowest to the highest: Knight, Officer, Commander, Grand Officer, Grand Cross, and Grand Cross with Collar.

Order of the Star of Romania
Ordinul Steaua României
Collar of the Order
Awarded by the King of Romania
The President of Romania
since 1998
TypeOrder of Merit
CountryKingdom of Romania
Eligibility(1) Civil, Military;
(2) Military units;
(3) Foreign citizens
Criteria(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.
StatusCurrently awarded
Grand MasterPresident Klaus Iohannis
Grand Cross
Grand Officer
Next (higher)Order of Michael the Brave
Next (lower)Order of Faithful Service

Ribbon of the Order of the Star of Romania



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), Commander (Comandor), Grand Officer (Mare Ofițer), and Grand Cross (Mare Cruce).[1]

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.[1]

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.[1]

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 a state decoration. Most of the insignia produced for him remained stored in the Royal Palace's cellars.[1]

The original 1877 model - Commander 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").[1]

The name "Steaua României" ("The Star of Romania") appeared on 10 May 1877, when the law was voted in the Parliament, as the first law of the Sovereign Romania.[1]

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 [ro]). 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:[1]

  • Knight (Cavaler): 1,000 civilians and 350 military;
  • Officer (Ofițer): 500 civilians and 150 military;
  • 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.[1]

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.[1]

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.[1]

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.[1]

In 1993, the idea of reinstating the oldest Order was proposed within the Special Commission of the Chamber of Deputies. After several 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.[1]



As per Law 29/2000, regarding Romania's national system of decorations, there are currently six grades:[2]

  • 1st Class: Collar (Colan);
  • 2nd Class: Grand Cross (Mare Cruce);
  • 3rd Class: Grand Officer (Mare Ofițer);
  • 4th Class: Commander (Comandor);
  • 5th Class: Officer (Ofițer);
  • 6th Class: Knight (Cavaler).

Notable recipients


First issue (1877–1948)


Second issue (since 1998)


Foreign citizens

No. Name Known for Year
1   Jacques Chirac President of France 1998
2   Alberto Fujimori President of Peru
3   Martti Ahtisaari President of Finland
4   Petar Stoyanov President of Bulgaria
5   Aleksander Kwaśniewski President of Poland 1999
6   Thomas Klestil President of Austria
7   Konstantinos Stephanopoulos President of Greece
8   Süleyman Demirel President of Turkey
9   Harald V King of Norway
10   Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani Emir of Qatar
11   Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Emir of Kuwait
12   Nursultan Nazarbayev President of Kazakhstan
13   Rexhep Meidani President of Albania
14   Ezer Weizman President of Israel
15   Petru Lucinschi President of Moldova 2000
16   Elizabeth II Queen of the United Kingdom
17   Jorge Sampaio President of Portugal
18   Árpád Göncz President of Hungary
19   Margrethe II Queen of Denmark
20   Rudolf Schuster President of Slovakia
21   Stjepan Mesić President of Croatia
22   Ernesto Zedillo President of Mexico
23   Fernando Henrique Cardoso President of Brazil
24   Bhumibol Adulyadej King of Thailand
25   Leonid Kuchma President of Ukraine
26   Émile Lahoud President of Lebanon 2001
27   Kofi Annan Secretary-General of the United Nations
28   Beatrix Queen of the Netherlands
29   Valdas Adamkus President of Lithuania
30   Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga President of Latvia
31   Andrew Bertie Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta 2002
32   Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan President of United Arab Emirates
33   Gloria Macapagal Arroyo President of Philippines
34   Milan Kučan President of Slovenia
35   Ferenc Mádl President of Hungary
36   George W. Bush President of the United States
37   Mauro Chiaruzzi Captains Regent of San Marino
38   Giuseppe Maria Morganti Captains Regent of San Marino
39   Zine El Abidine Ben Ali President of Tunisia 2003
40   Carl XVI Gustaf King of Sweden
41   Juan Carlos I King of Spain
42   Carlo Azeglio Ciampi President of Italy
43   Arnold Rüütel President of Estonia
44   Condoleezza Rice United States Secretary of State
45   Henri I Grand Duke of Luxembourg 2004
46   Angelo Sodano Cardinal Secretary of State
47   Eddie Fenech Adami President of Malta
48   Giuseppe Arzilli Captains Regent of San Marino
49   Roberto Raschi Captains Regent of San Marino
50   Ricardo Lagos President of Chile
51   Ilham Aliyev President of Azerbaijan
52   Abdullah II King of Jordan 2005
53   Tarja Halonen President of Finland 2006
54   George Emil Palade Professor, Biologist 2007
55   Tarcisio Bertone Cardinal Secretary of State 2008
56   Matthew Festing Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta
57   Lech Kaczyński President of Poland 2009
58   Michel Suleiman President of Lebanon
59   Albert II Prince of Monaco
60   Albert II King of the Belgians
61   Mihai Ghimpu President of Moldova 2010
62   George Abela President of Malta
63   Valdis Zatlers President of Latvia 2011
65   Toomas Hendrik Ilves President of Estonia
66   Giorgio Napolitano President of Italy
67   Pietro Parolin Cardinal Secretary of State 2015
68   Aníbal Cavaco Silva President of Portugal
69   Dennis Deletant Professor
70   Dalia Grybauskaitė President of Lithuania
71   Sergio Mattarella President of Italy 2016
72   Rosen Plevneliev President of Bulgaria
73   Joachim Gauck[4] President of Germany
74   Andrzej Duda President of Poland
75   François Hollande President of France
76   Andrej Kiska President of Slovakia
77   Nicolae Timofti President of Moldova 2017
78   Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović President of Croatia
79   Charles III King of the United Kingdom
80   Dominique Prince de La Rochefoucauld-Montbel Grand Hospitaler of Order of Malta (SMOM)
81   Frédéric Jenny Professor
82   Kersti Kaljulaid President of Estonia 2021
81   Gitanas Nausėda President of Lithuania 2022

By class

List of recipients by class
1st Class
2nd Class
Grand Crosses
3rd Class
Grand Officers
4th Class
5th Class
6th Class
Unknown Class

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Ordinul naţional "Steaua României"". presidency.ro (in Romanian). Retrieved 4 May 2023.
  2. ^ "LEGE nr. 29 din 31 martie 2000 privind sistemul national de decoratii al Romaniei". Monitorul Oficial al României. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  3. ^ "Řády a vyznamenání prezidentů republiky". vyznamenani.net (in Czech). 18 December 2012.
  4. ^ "Iohannis i-a decorat pe președintele Germaniei şi pe partenera sa" (in Romanian). Mediafax. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  5. ^ www.presidency.ro, Decret de decorare semnat de Președintele României, domnul Klaus Iohannis, 29 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Romanian president decorates legendary gymnast Nadia Comaneci". www.romania-insider.com. Retrieved 1 September 2022.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "Klaus Iohannis a decorat opt congresmani americani cu Ordinul Steaua României în grad de Comandor". adevarul.ro (in Romanian). June 9, 2017. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Peia, Florentina; Iacob, Simona (June 9, 2017). Purcarea, Vicentiu; Pandea, Răzvan-Adrian (eds.). "President Iohannis and U.S. congressmen discuss Romania's inclusion in Visa Waiver programme". Agepres. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  9. ^ "Presedintele Basescu i-a retras Steaua Romaniei lui Vadim Tudor". 9am.ro. 2007-05-28. Retrieved 2017-07-08.