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King John IV (1604 - 1656)

At the initiative of the Duke D. Jaime (1479-1532), the House of Braganza was authorized by the Portuguese crown and by the Pope to establish 41 commendations of the Order of Christ; some of these commendations were awarded to knights, not for their military exploits but rather for services in public life, as ambassadors, counsellors, judges, etc. On 16th of October 1619, John, 8th Duke of Braganza, was knighted into the Order of Christ at the Tomar Convent.

When, in 1640, a conspiracy gathering of noblemen took place, wanting to free the country from Spanish rule, they had to choose from the list of distant relatives of earlier Portuguese monarchs a candidate who would fit their requirements. The choice fell upon John of Braganza who accepted to head the rebellion, becoming king of Portugal on December 1st, 1640, and thus beginning the fourth dynasty or Braganza dynasty.

As Grand Master of the Order of Christ, King John IV restarts the convent building works that had been suspended during the Spanish reigns of Kings Philip II and Philip III of Portugal. The convent has again an architect to carry out works that would be completed in 1690, with a new infirmary and a new pharmacy (Botica). The convent started by King John III is thus completed 160 years later.

King John IV, at the example of his ancestors, continues the dignified policy of making new Knights of the Order of Christ, to reward servers both in military and public life, at a time when the struggles of Restoration extended to the very sovereignty of Portugal overseas in territories occupied by foreign powers during Spanish rule. This extension of the Order of Christ to civil society will eventually give the Cavalry of Christ the secular nature that this branch acquires tacitly through the restoration of independence.