The Supreme Order of Christ
As part of the general re-organisation of Papal Honours in 1905 by Pope Pius X, the Supreme Order of Christ was made the most senior Papal Honour. Its usage was restricted considerably by Pope Paul VI in his 15 April 1966 Papal Bull Equestres Ordinis, so that it could only be awarded to Roman Catholic Heads of State and only then at times to commemorate very special occasions at which the Pope himself was present.
Pope John XXIII awarded the Supreme Order of Christ to President Eamon de Valera of Ireland. The last award was made by His late Holiness Pope John Paul II in 1987 to HMEH Frà Angelo de Mojana, 77th Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. With the death of the Prince and Grand Master one year later, and the subsequent death of fellow recipient, HM King Baudouin of the Belgians in 1993, there are no living holders of the Order of Christ today.
As a result of its non-bestowal for so many years, there is a growing opinion that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, much like his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, may have decided to let the Order fall into abeyance. This may and can of course change at any time.