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Order of St. Raymond of Peñafort

What is it?

Historical Overview

In 1944, under the then Minister of Justice Eduardo Aunós, the Official State Gazette of 7 February 1944 published the Decree of 23 January of that year (feast of Saint Raymond of Peñafort, patron of lawyers) creating the Cross of Saint Raymond of Peñafort to reward merit in the field of Justice and distinguished civil deeds or important civil services in the field of Law, dedicating it to an outstanding Spaniard and chronicler.

It was created in memory of the excellent virtues of a worthy Spanish Dominican, confessor to kings and popes, illustrious chronicler and enlightened observer of the vast panorama of Law and of Morals.

It was his sense of the universal, his missionary zeal, his learned pen as a legislator and author of treatises which left a lasting imprint on the memories of the men and women who serve the Law.

Life of the Saint

Of a noble family, Saint Raymond of Peñafort was born around 1175-1185 in the manor house of Peñafort, in the Penedés area (Barcelona). He soon showed extraordinary intelligence. At the age of twenty he was already a professor of philosophy in Barcelona, and at thirty took a doctorate at the prestigious University of Bologna (Italy), where he completed his studies in civil and canonical law.

At 37 he entered the Dominican Order, rising to be the Third Master General of the Order of Preachers in 1238.

He died in Barcelona, on 6 January 1275. He was the first saint to be canonised in the present Basilica of the Vatican by Clement VIII, on 29 April 1601. On 14 July 1648 he was declared the patron of the city of Barcelona.

Portrait of the Saint

Retrato de San Raimundo Peñafort

Who can request it?/present

Recipients

The Crosses are awarded for services provided and the contribution to the development and perfection of Law and Jurisprudence, among:

  • Justice Administration civil servants.
  • Members of professions directly related with Justice.
  • People who have contributed to the development of Law, the study of the Holy Canons and Books and the legislative and organisational work of the State.
  • Authors of publications relating to law, of relevant importance.
  • Founders of and collaborators with Bodies and Institutions devoted to improving the techniques of Law and Jurisprudence.

They can be awarded to Spaniards and to foreign nationals.

The Medals reward years of service, without unfavourable reports, in the legal and administrative professions within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice. Their granting and use is compatible with the awarding of any of the other classes of this decoration.

Regulatory reservation. Form of certifying the award

The granting of the Grand Cross, the highest ranking decoration in the Order, will take the form of a Royal Decree, which will be approved by the Government Cabinet upon being proposed by the Minister of Justice. It will be published in the Official State Gazette (BOE). Its number is closed and its granting corresponds to very special circumstances and merits.

The granting of the other decorations is by Ministerial Order and will be published in the Official Gazette of the Ministry of Justice.

To certify the granting of the decoration, the corresponding title will be issued, authorised with the signature of the Minister of Justice and approved by the Undersecretariat for Justice.

Delivery periods

Procedure for award

The Chancellery of the Order of Saint Raymond of Peñafort, part of the Undersecretariat for Justice through the Division Pardons and other Rights, opens the file on the request of the proponents, and after analysing the merits of the candidates and their suitability in terms of the standards of the Chancellery of the Order, collects the "placet" of the Ministry of the Presidency in case of legal incompatibility with other civil decorations awarded to the same person.

Proceedings having been instituted, the file is submitted for the consideration of the Undersecretariat for Justice for processing, as appropriate, as a Ministerial Order or as a Royal Decree (Grand Cross).

They are awarded ordinarily on two specific dates:

  • Saint's day of His Majesty the King, 24 June
  • Anniversary of the Spanish Constitution of 1978, 6 December

Exceptionally, when a relevant event makes it appropriate.

Further information

Insignias

The insignias of the different degrees of this Order are according to the models shown in the Galería (PDF. 1,38 MB).

Classes

Crosses

  • Grand Cross
  • Cross of Honour
  • Distinguished Cross 1st class
  • Distinguished Cross 2nd class
  • Single Cross

Medals

  • Gold Medal of Merit in Justice
  • Silver Medal of Merit in Justice
  • Bronze Medal of Merit in Justice
Regulations
  • Decree of 23 January 1944 (BOE 7.2.44), creating the Order of Saint Raymond of Peñafort.
  • Decree of 2 March 1945 (BOE 28.3.45), establishing the statutes of the Order. (PDF. 738 KB)
  • Decree of 9 January 1950 (BOE 21.1.50), modifying some regulations of the Order (the Cross of Great Merit was replaced by the Grand Cross, and the 1st and 2nd Categories were introduced for the Distinguished Cross).
  • Decree of 1 December 1966, (24.12.66) limiting the maximum number of Grand Crosses which could be awarded to Spaniards to two hundred (in order to avoid lessening the value of this decoration).