By Ken Chad
When our eyes navigate the skyline of Hong Kong, we cannot help but be drawn to the Club Lusitano building, standing tall in Central. And atop the building is the Portuguese Cross, helping us navigate to the Club is the Portuguese Cross, also known as the Order of Christ Cross.
It is a symbol that has played an important role in Portuguese history and culture. Its origins date back to the 12th century, when it was created as the emblem of the Order of Christ, a religious and military order established by King Afonso Henriques of Portugal in 1128. The Order of Christ was originally founded to protect the Kingdom of Portugal from Muslim invasions and to support the Christian Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula. Over time, it evolved into a powerful institution that played a key role in Portuguese exploration. The order sponsored many of the great Portuguese voyages of the 15th and 16th centuries, including those of Vasco da Gama and Pedro Alvares Cabral, and was responsible for the evangelisation of many of Portugal's overseas territories.
The design of the Portuguese Cross is based on the traditional cross used by the Knights Templar, a medieval Christian military order that was disbanded in the 14th century. The cross features a red shield with a white border, which is itself decorated with five blue quinas, or shields, representing the five wounds of Christ. The cross is often depicted with an armillary sphere, a device that was used by Portuguese navigators to measure longitude and latitude, and which is also a symbol of Portugal's maritime heritage.
The Portuguese Cross is a symbol that has played an important role in Portuguese history and culture for centuries. Its design reflects Portugal's maritime heritage and its history of exploration and navigation, and its significance underscores the deep connection between Portugal's spiritual and secular traditions. Today, the Portuguese Cross remains an important symbol of Portuguese identity and heritage, and its display atop the Club Lusitano building in Hong Kong is a testament to the enduring cultural and historical ties between Portugal and the wider world.
It is displayed in many public places in Portugal and in Portuguese communities around the world. Atop Club Lusitano building, the Portuguese Cross remains an important symbol of Portuguese identity and heritage that has been a gathering place for the Portuguese community in Hong Kong since 1866.