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Military Constantinian Order of Saint George Brest Star

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Military Constantinian Order of Saint George Brest Star
Number of awards: RR
manufactured: _________

Product Code:



Grand Cross

Constitutor: Kaiser Isaak Angelus
Foundation date: 1190
Year award:
Origin / Provenance: -
Material: Silber vergoldet + Emaille
Weight in (g). 51,7
Size in (mm). 64 x 64
Condition: II

The Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George is a Roman Catholic order of chivalry. It was fictively established by Constantine the Great, though, in reality, it was founded some time between 1520 and 1545 by two brothers belonging to the Angeli Comneni family. Members of the Angeli Comneni family remained grand masters throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

In 1699, Francesco Farnese, Duke of Parma was recognised as grand master. In 1731, his son and successor, Antonio Farnese, Duke of Parma, died without male heirs. He was succeeded by the first Bourbon grand master, Charles, Duke of Parma (later King Charles III of Spain). Since that time, members of the House of Bourbon have been grand masters of the order.
Owing to various family disputes, the grand magistracy was, until 2014 claimed by three rivals, all princely members of the House of Bourbon:

 Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro

 Infante Carlos of Spain, Duke of Calabria

 Prince Carlos, Duke of Parma

There are approximately 2,800 of the Franco-Neapolitan branch and 1,800 members of the Hispano-Neapolitan branch.
The motto of the Order is In Hoc Signo Vinces ("in this sign you will conquer").


The legendary origins of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George trace its foundation to an apocryphal order founded by Constantine the Great.The Angeli Comneni grand masters who actually founded the order in the 2nd quarter of the 16th century received confirmations of its status in a series of papal briefs, a bull of Pope Clement VIII, and decrees of King Philip III of Spain, Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor on 7 November 1630, Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor on 25 June 1671, King John III Sobieski of Poland of 11 May 1681, and Ferdinand Maria, Elector of Bavaria on 8 July 1667 and 26 July 1669, in which the order was allowed to establish commanderies in Bavaria and the Palatinate.

Its incorporation as a religious order of the Roman Catholic Church hereditary in the House of Farnese and its heirs, the Bourbons, dates from the transfer to Francesco Farnese on 11 January 1698, an act confirmed in an imperial diploma, "Agnoscimus et notum facimus", of the emperor, Leopold I, dated 5 August 1699, and the apostolic brief, "Sincerae Fidei", issued by Pope Innocent XII on 24 October 1699. These confirmed the succession of the grand magistry to the Farnese family and its heirs as an ecclesiastical office and, crucially, did not tie it to tenure of sovereignty of the Duchy of Parma. Among the first major acts of the Farnese grand magistry were revised, amended and expanded statutes, issued on 25 May 1705 and confirmed in a papal brief dated 12 July 1706; both these confirmed the requirement that the grand magistry should pass by male primogeniture. Following the order's contribution to Prince Eugene of Savoy's campaign to drive the Turks from the Balkans between 1716 and 1718, Pope Clement XI, a former cardinal protector of the order, confirmed the order as a religious order of the Roman Catholic Church in the bull, "Militantis Ecclesiae", of 27 May 1718.

With the death of the last male of the House of Farnese on 30 January 1731, the grand magistry was inherited by Charles, Duke of Parma (later King Charles III of Spain), eldest son of King Philip V of Spain and Elisabeth of Parma; Charles also inherited the duchies of Parma and Piacenza from the Farnese. After becoming king of Naples and Sicily in 1734, Charles was forced to surrender Parma to Austria in 1736 while retaining the Constantinian grand magistry.

On 16 October 1759, Charles III abdicated the grand magistry to his second surviving son, King Ferdinand IV and III of Naples and Sicily (from 1815 Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies). The administration of the order was transferred from Parma to Naples in 1768.

The succession of Ferdinand I as grand master was disputed by the Parmesans who believed that the order was united to the ducal throne of Parma. In 1748, Charles III's younger brother Philip succeeded as duke of Parma; henceforth, his branch of the family regarded themselves as rightful successors to the grand magistry of the order. Philip's heir today is Carlos, Duke of Parma. See the historical note authored by Paolo Conforte, a senior officer of the Parma dynastic order.

The view of the Bourbon-Sicily family is that the grand magistry was never united with the Two Sicilies Crown, but remained, in the words of Charles III 's son and successor, Ferdinand I, in a decree of 8 March 1796 "In his (the King's) royal person there exists together two very distinct qualities, the one of Monarch of the Two Sicilies, and the other of Grand Master of the illustrious, royal and military Constantinian order, which though united gloriously in the same person form nonetheless at the same time two separate independent Lordships". It was this independence that enabled the order, whose grand magistry was held conjointly with the headship of the house of the Two Sicilies, to survive the abolition of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1860.

In 1910, Pope Pius X appointed the first of three successive cardinal protectors and, in 1913, approved a series of privileges for the chaplains of the order. In 1915, Pope Benedict XV dedicated the Constantinian chapel in the basilica of Santa Croce al Flaminio, which had been built with donations from the knights, who included Monsignor Eugenio Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII. In 1916, the pope restored the church of Saint Anthony Abbot to the Order - this church had originally been given to the Constantinian order along with the properties of the religious order of that name in 1777, but had been put under the direction of the archdiocese of Naples in 1861. In 1919, new statutes received papal approval and Cardinal Ranuzzi de' Bianchi was appointed cardinal protector, the last to hold this post. Following the intervention of the grand magistry of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus in 1924, whose grand master, the king of Italy, objected to the awarding of the order to leading Italian noblemen, the Holy See felt the close relationship with Prince Alfonso, Count of Caserta might prove an obstacle to settling the Roman question. It was, therefore, decided not to reappoint a successor to Cardinal Ranuzzi de' Bianchi at his death in 1927.

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