Founded in 1318, the Military Order of Christ (previously Real Ordem dos Cavaleiros de Nosso Senhor Jesus Cristo) was the heritage of the Knights Templar in Portugal.
After the suppression of the Templars in 1312, the king Denis of Portugal instituted the “Christi Militia” under the patronage of Saint Benedict. Then, the Pope John XXII approved this order by a Papal bull (Ad ae exquibus) on March 14, 1319.
In 1417, the Prince Henry the Navigator (1417–1460) became Grand Master of Military Order of Christ.
Using Order of Christ money, Prince Henry prepared the way for Portuguese navigations.