The Story

THE STORY

The Imperial

Supreme Military Orthodox Dynastic Constantinian
Order of Saint George

( Byzantium)

History:

On October 27,312 A.D., two great Roman Armies were facing each other outside the gates of Rome, preparing for the battle that was to decide the future Ruler of the western half of the Roman Empire.

The Leader of one of the armies, Constantine, had a restless sleep that night. In his dreams, a heavenly figure appeared carrying a shield decorated with a Cross. The figure, pointing to the Cross, announced to Constantine: « With this Sign thou shalt win».

Constantine awoke and ordered that a Cross be moun­ted on the standards of his Legions by daybreak.

In the morning the Armies met at the Milvian Bridge, in one of the most decisive battles of the history; the prize was Rome!

Constantine’s troops routed the army of Maxentius, who drowned in the Tiber.

Constantine, the new Ruler of Rome, went on to unify the Empire and shift its Capital to the new city of Constantinople (Byzantium). on the shores of the Bospo­rus. He is remembered as one of the great rulers of all time; CONSTANTINE THE GREAT.

In 324 A.D. after the final battle of the unification of the Empire at Chryssopolis, the Emperor founded the Sacred Order of Saint Constantine. The insignia of the Order was the Cross, in memory of his dream.

Thus came into being the oldest Order of Chivalry! The first recipients of the Order were selected from the members of the Imperial Guard, known as PROTEC­TORES. Fifty of the most trusted and valiant of these Protectors were made the first KNIGHTS of the Order of Saint Constantine. To them was entrusted the safety of the LABARUM, the principal standard of Constantine and the Empire. This standard was a long pike inter­cepted by a transverse beam. The silken veil which hung from the beam was embroidered with the images of the reigning Monarch and his children.

The summit of the pike supported a golden crown that enclosed the mystic monogram signifying the figure of the Crass and the initial letters of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was believed that the Knights, the Guards of the Labarum, were invincible in battle, while executing their duties. Since the entire Army rallied around the imperial Standard in the heat of battle, its guardians occupied a special position in the Imperial Household.

In 1081, the reigning Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Com­nenos reorganized the Order in conjunction with his support of the First Crusade. He converted the Order which by that time had become a social and ecclesiastic body, into a military Order of Knights. Alexius confer­red the Order on his young, valiant officers and best soldiers. The members of the Order received courtly Titles known as « titles of the Kavallarios».

During the final defense of the Empire and the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Order suffered immeasurable losses. After the fall, the officers of the Order turned to the Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Head of the Orthodox Church in the Muslim Territories and elected ‘Jim Grand Master par-interim. One of the first acts ;,f the new Grand Master was to proclaim the Order of Saint Constantine the Great a DYNASTIC ORDER inseparable from the Imperial House Palaeologus and the Byzantine Empire.

In 1525 the descendant of the last Byzantine Emperor, Prince John Theodore Laacaris-Comnenos Palaeologus, arrived in Rome and was proclaimed hereditary Grand Master of the Order, which since then is known as the CONSTANTINIAN ORDER OF SAINT GEORGE.

The Order and the Imperial Family Palaeologus in exile, continued to perpetuate and foster Greek culture, prestige and patriotism, while preserving all its traditions. Through the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth cen­turies the primary objective of the Order was to re­organize and regroup the Greek military forces which were dispersed throughout Europe.

The Order participated in the liberation of Greece from the Turks, in the 1800’s. It has remained active in the maintenance of Greek independence since that time.

The Order has maintained to this day its cultural and patriotic status by defending and propagating the spi­ritual values bequeathed by’ Byzantium to the civilized world.

Prince Giovanni Antonio Lascaris Paleologo dell’ Ales, recognized in 1869 by Act of the Senate of Rome. as Grand Master and Head of the Palaeologus Dynasty, renounced in favour of his relative Prince Gerolamo de Vigo Aleramico Lascaris Paleologo who was recognized by the same Roman Senate as the « heir of the Palaeo. logus, Emperors of Byzantium ».

The present Grand Master, His Imperial and Royal Highness Prince Henri Constantine, was recognized and confirmed in all his rights (granting of knighthood and nobility titles). together with his Father, Prince Cesare Gerolamo, by the Italian Court of Justice in 1961 and 1964.

Therefore the Order has a legal life even if being a dynastic Order of a former reigning House it does not need any official recognition by the Vatican or other States.

His Imperial and Royal Highness Prince Henri C.Paleologo has obtaine a new historical Victory in France where Laws are very strict about Orders and Nobility Titles. In fact the French SUPREME COURT (Cour de Cassation) and the Appeal Court of Nimes have recognized by Judgments dated 9th October 1990 – 16th April 1991,that Prince Henri is the Head of a former reigning House and has inherited the intentional right to confer honours (“Fans Honorum” ) i.e. Titles of Nobility and Knighthood. In the last 40 years the french .”Cour de Cassation” has recognized only three Royal or Imperial Princes; on 9th January 1963 His Royal Highness Prince Mircea Carol Hohenzollem as legitimate son of the late King Carol of Romania. on the 21st December 1988 His Royal Highness Prince Alfonso de Bourbon, Duke of Anjou, Cousin to His Majesty the King of Spain ,as Pretender to the Crown of France, and now His Imperial and Royal Highness Prince Henri Paleologo as Emperor in Exile. As far as we can remember no other Prince did obtain so many and so important, official, irrevocable, legal recognitions as our Prince Grand Master. In Hoc Signo Vinces!

In RUSSIA, the Court of Justice of MOSCOW, by Judgment dated July 24,1997 has recognized that Prince Henri Paleologo is THE ONLY LEGITIMATE Heir to the Imperial Throne of Byzantium, to the Royal Thrones of Jerusalem and Thessaly, to the Marquisat of Monferrato (Italy) and has the right to confer Titles of Nobility and Knighthood (FONS HONORUM). In Hoc Signo Vinces!

The ORTHODOX IMPERIAL CONSTANTINIAN ORDER OF SAINT GEORGE and its branch the ORDER OF THE CROSS OF CONSTANTINOPLE have nothing to do with the catholic Constantinian Order of the former reigning House of Parma and Two-Sicilies which even if com­posed by eminent personalities, does not have the some origin.

General Description:

The Constantinian Order of Saint George is an international, historic and civic Order. independent of :my power, and is therefore SOVEREIGN. It is governed by 0 Constitution which is wited to the current needs and goals of the Order. The ideals of the Order are the propagation of philhellenism, philobyzantinism and humanitarianism. The Order aims are to achieve a cultu­ral and spiritual Renaissance of the Western World thought a better understanding of Occidental and Oriental thought. The Order is interracial and its Members are divided hierarchally by their cultural and spiritual wealth rather than their material riches.

The Order is headed by a SOVEREIGN HEREDITARY GRAND MASTER, the Chief of the Imperial House Palaeologus, who governs with the aid of the Grand Council.

Notional Chapters of the Order (duly incorporated ac­cording to the laws of the local State) are under the direction of the Grand Council. Each Notional Chapter is directed by an EXARCH or Lieutenant, who is advised by the Chapter Council.

The CONSTANTINIAN ORDER OF SAINT GEORGE is awarded very seldom, to maintain its elite character.

The ORDER OF THE CROSS OF CONSTANTINOPLE has the some goals and organization but is awarded more frequently to individuals who because of their achievements are worthy of bestowment of the knightly honour.

Both Orders are divided into; KNIGHTS, COMMANDERS, GRAND OFFICERS and GRAND CROSS.

The following special organizations were initiated by the Order in the fields of cultural, social, scientific and athletic achievements:

The INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY for the Advancement of the Arts and Sciences.
It awards scholarships, orga­nizes lectures and seminars for students throughout the world. The Academy gives Medals of Achievement to prominent figures in the field of Arts and Sciences.

The INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY.
The goal of this institution is to advance cooperation between East and West. It confers Honorary Degrees in a large number of subjects reaching from the technical to the commercial.

The GOLD CROSS
This insignia is bestowed on those individuals who mode their greatest contribution in the field of medicine.

The ORDER OF THE YOUNG KNIGHTS OF THE WORLD.
For the children of Knights and Domes, who as pages and maidens participate in the knightly undertaking of their parents. This Order is a true training ground for the young people, who will have the right to enter the Constanti­nian Order or the Order of the Cross of Constantinople.

The LEGION CROISEE (the Legion of Crusaders)
This confers honorary military ranks. The Legion of the Crusaders is dedicated to bring help to the victims of war, floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters.