Cross of Valour (Greece)

Cross of Valour (Greece)
Cross of Valour
Αριστείον Ανδρείας
Aristeion Andreias
Cross of Valor Gold Cross.png
Gold Cross of the Cross of Valour (1974 version)
Awarded by Greece
Type Three-class military decoration
Eligibility Greek military personnel and allies assigned to or with Greek units.
Awarded for Bravery or distinguished leadership in wartime
Status Instituted but inactive (wartime award only)
Established 13 May 1913
Total awarded 52 Commander's Crosses
13,068 Gold Crosses
65,256 Silver Crosses
Next (higher) Medal for Gallantry
Next (lower) War Cross
Greek Cross of Valour ribbon.png
Ribbon of the Cross of Valour

The Cross of Valour (Greek: Αριστείον Ανδρείας, Aristeion Andreias, lit. "Gallantry/Bravery Award") is the second highest (and until 1974 the highest) military decoration of the Greek state, awarded for acts of bravery or distinguished leadership on the field of battle. It has been instituted three times, first on 13 May 1913 during the Balkan Wars but not issued until 1921 during the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922, then on 11 November 1940 shortly after the outbreak of the Greco-Italian War and finally in 1974.



The award was established through Law ΓΡΣΗ/30-4-1913, as an order rather than a simple medal, but was not formally issued until the Royal Decree of 21 March 1921. In the meantime, for the operations in World War I, the Greek participation in the Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War and the early stages of the Asia Minor Campaign, the War Cross was awarded as the senior award for gallantry and distinguished leadership.[1] For this purpose, the Royal Decree allowed the awardees of the War Cross – tainted in the eyes of the royalist government by its Venizelist associations – to petition for its replacement with the new Cross of Valour, but in the event, very few chose to do so.[2]

The award was liberally distributed during the campaigns of 1921–1922: from the first awards in July 1921 to the end of the war in August 1922, 40 Commander's Crosses (39 to regimental flags, of which six as repeat awards, and one to Lt General Anastasios Papoulas), 4,528 Gold Crosses and 47,772 Silver Crosses were awarded.[3] In some cases, after critical battles, the entire personnel strength of some units was decorated with the Cross of Valour.[4] Awards continued to be made for feats performed during the Asia Minor Campaign even after its end, in 1923 and 1924, with 509 Gold Crosses (230 as repeat awards) and 3 Silver Crosses accounted for. Given the great scarcity of actual medals however, as well as the political upheavals of the 1920s, many common soldiers – in contrast to most officers – probably never received their awards.[5]

With the outbreak of the Greco-Italian War on 28 October 1940, the award was re-instituted with the Compulsory Law 2646/11-11-1940.[6] Until the fall of Greece to the Germans in April 1941, 240 Gold Crosses (11 of them second awards) and 300 Silver Crosses were awarded.[7] The awards were continued by the collaborationist government during the Occupation, with two Commander's Crosses (to the war flags of the 6th and 34th Infantry Regiments), 1,922 Gold Crosses (179 as repeat awards) and 4,635 Silver Crosses (3 as repeat awards) issued in the 1941–1944 period, most of them posthumously.[7] The Greek government in exile awarded 96 Gold Crosses (9 as repeat awards) and 92 Silver Crosses to Greek and various Allied officers. Following Liberation in October 1944, awards continued for the operations in the Balkans and the Middle East during World War II, with six Commander's Crosses (to the battalion war flags of the 3rd Greek Mountain Brigade, the war flags of the Hellenic Army Academy and the Sacred Band and to King George II), 1,225 Gold Crosses and 1,382 Silver Crosses awarded in 1945–1946.[7]

The Cross of Valour continued to be awarded for actions during the Greek Civil War and for the Greek participation in the Korean War, as well as for a few cases dating to World War II, from 1947 to 1955. During this period, four Commander's Crosses (in 1947 to King Paul and Lt General Alexandros Papagos, in 1951 to Lt General Konstantinos Ventiris and in 1954 to the war flag of the Greek Battalion in Korea, 4,548 Gold Crosses (including to war flags) and 11,072 Silver Crosses were awarded to Greek and Allied (mostly US) personnel.[8]

With the abolition of the monarchy by the Greek military junta in 1973, the country's honours system was revised. In April 1974, Law Decree 376/1974 was promulgated, which regulated military awards for wartime and peacetime. It established a new award exclusively for battlefield bravery ranking above the Cross of Valour, but otherwise repeated the provisions of previous decrees relative to the latter, except that the medal was to be awarded solely for bravery on the battlefield, and no longer for leadership or military merit. The regulations as to award procedure were left to be determined by Presidential Decree. As of 2003, this had not been enacted.[9][10]


The Royal Decree of 31 March 1921 instituted the Cross of Valour in three grades: Commander's Cross (Σταυρός Ταξιάρχη), worn as a badge on a necklet, and the Gold Cross (Χρυσούς Σταυρός) and Silver Cross (Αργυρός Σταυρός), worn as badges on chest ribbons. No limit was set on the number of awards in each grade.[1][11] The decree specified that the Commander's Cross was to be awarded only to flag officers and war flags; the Gold Cross to senior and junior officers; and the Silver Cross to Warrant Officers, NCOs and common soldiers.[12]

The design of the badge was specified as a "crowned cross, bearing in the middle of the obverse side, in a circle of narrow laurel leaves, the image of St. Demetrios, while on the middle of the reverse side in a similar circle it bears the words ΑΞΙᾼ ("for valour" in Greek)". The Silver Cross was to be made entirely of silver, while the Gold and Commander's crosses where enamelled in white with blue edges. The ribbon consists of five pale blue and white stripes.[11][13][12] For each repeat award, a silver 4-millimeter star was added to the ribbon.[14]

For World War II awards, a bar with "1940" was placed on the ribbon to distinguish it from the earlier 1913 version.[13][15] Repeat awards were designated with 5-millimeter miniature silver crowns, although a maximum of three was allowed to be worn on the ribbon.[15]

The 1974 version was not finalized until the early 2000s, when a change in design was decided: the crown was replaced by the national emblem of Greece, and the image of St. Demetrios by that of the Virgin Mary.[10]



  1. ^ a b Zotiadis (2003), p. 150
  2. ^ Zotiadis (2003), pp. 154, 156
  3. ^ Zotiadis (2003), p. 154
  4. ^ Zotiadis (2003), p. 156
  5. ^ Zotiadis (2003), p. 157
  6. ^ Zotiadis (2003), p. 158
  7. ^ a b c Zotiadis (2003), p. 161
  8. ^ Zotiadis (2003), p. 162
  9. ^ "Law 376/74 "On Military Medals"". National Printing Office. 
  10. ^ a b Zotiadis (2003), p. 163
  11. ^ a b "Greece: Cross of Valour". 31 December 2006. Retrieved 25 November 2010. 
  12. ^ a b Zotiadis (2003), p. 151
  13. ^ a b "CROSS OF VALOUR (Arisition Andrias)". Retrieved 25 November 2010. 
  14. ^ Zotiadis (2003), p. 153
  15. ^ a b Zotiadis (2003), p. 159


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