Silva paid tribute to "the extraordinary talent of Ronaldo ... who brings prestige to Portugal around the world."
He congratulated Ronaldo for "his talent, discipline and the determination he has always shown ... an example for young generations."
The 28-year-old received an honour that was created in 1960 to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of one of the most important figures in the Portuguese Empire.
The ceremony took place at the presidential palace in Belem, just outside Lisbon, a week after Ronaldo won the FIFA Ballon d'Or for the second time, and the world's top footballer brought his new trophy with him.
The trophy will now go on display in the museum opened last December in Madeira, the Portuguese island from where Ronaldo comes.
"It gives me great pride to represent Portugal in the world," Ronaldo said.
"This distinction is a source of additional motivation to continue to work harder and represent Portugal at the highest level."
Silva had intended to award the honour to "CR7" on 7 January but the cememony was pushed back following the death of Portuguese football legend Eusebio.
Ronaldo, who also own the Ballon d'or in 2008, is the first Portuguese player to receive the award twice. Eusebio won it in 1965 and Luis Figo in 2001.
The former Sporting Lisbon and Manchester United player has played 109 times for Portugal, scoring 47 goals.