The legitimacy of the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem

Introduction

This weekend, I have had the pleasure of attending a very interesting lecture, given by a good friend, regarding the history of the Knights Templar (1119-1307). The lecture mentioned the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem (OSMTH) as a modern successor of the ideology of this ancient and famous Order.

Detail of the Chinon Parchment, with details of the trail of the Knights Templar and the Pope's involvement (Vatican Museum secret archives library)

Detail of the Chinon Parchment, containing details of the trail of the Knights Templar and the Pope’s involvement (Vatican Museum secret archives library, reference number Archivum Arcis Armarium D 218. ASV, Archivum Arcis, Arm. D 217)

The original order of the Knights Templar was founded by Hugh de Payens, a French nobleman from the Champagne region, along with eight of his companions, in Jerusalem around 1119. In 1307, Philip IV of France arrested the Knights Templar on charges of blasphemy, idolatry, and sodomy. The investigation and trial into the alleged misdeeds of the Knights Templar took place in Rome between 1307 and 1312. On 18 March 1314 the Grandmaster and other knights of the Order were burned alive by order of King Philip. In September 2001, Barbara Frale, an Italian paleographer at the Vatican Secret Archives, found a copy of a document, known as the ‘Chinon Parchment’ in the Vatican Secret Archives. The document explicitly confirms that in 1308 Pope Clement V absolved Jacques de Molay and other leaders of the Order including Geoffroi de Charney and Hugues de Pairaud (Barbara Frale 2004, “The Chinon chart – Papal absolution to the last Templar, Master Jacques de Molay”, Journal of Medieval History 30 (2): 109–134). Another Chinon parchment dated 20 August 1308 addressed to Philip IV of France, stated that absolution had been granted to all those Templars that had confessed to heresy “and restored them to the Sacraments and to the unity of the Church” (Pierre Dupuy, Histoire de l’Ordre Militaire des Templiers Foppens, Brusselles 1751; Étienne Baluze, Vitae Paparum Avenionensis, 3 Volumes, Paris 1693. Nonetheless, the Pope suspended the order (see appendix 1, below for the details).

Wikipedia describes the OSMTH as follows:

The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, (Latin: Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani, OSMTH), is a self-styled order founded in 1945 by Antonio Campello Pinto de Sousa Fontes (1878-1960), claiming to be a continuation of the self-styled l’Ordre du Temple founded in France, 1705, officially reconstituted in 1804 by Bernard-Raymond Fabré-Palaprat, and recognized as an Order of Chivalry by its patron Napoleon Bonaparte in 1805; Fernando Campello Pinto Pereira de Sousa Fontes succeeded his father as the head of the order in 1960.

It is interesting to see to what extend the current OSMTH can be seen as a successor of the ideology of the ancient Templer Order.

Inspiration

An important personality regarding the revival of Templer history was Andrew Michael Ramsay. Raised a Calvinist, Ramsay converted to Catholicism in 1709. Leaving England for Holland in 1709, he soon moved to Cambrai (France) where he lived with the well-known mystical theologian, François de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon (1651-1715), Archbishop of Cambrai.

Chevalier Andrew Michael Ramsay (1686–1743)

Chevalier Andrew Michael Ramsay (1686–1743)

In 1713 or 1714, Ramsay moved to Blois where he was employed as secretary to a co-founder of Quietism (a Christian philosophy), Madame Guyon. In 1716 Ramay moved to Paris, where he spent the rest of his life in and near that city (Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, pp. 280-315 vol 81 (1968). Much of Ramsay’s life is only known from Anecdotes de la vie de Messire André Michel de Ramsay a manuscript dictated by Ramsay, and now in the Bibliotèque Méjanes at Aix-en-Provence. Cited AQC, vol 81 (1968). Cf. Mackey’s Encyclopedia for a 1680 birth date).

It was in Paris where Ramsay met the Duc d’Orleans who admitted Ramsay as a member of the Royal and Military Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem. This entitled him to use the prefix of Chevalier. James, the Old Pretender, granted Ramsay a certificate of nobility in 1723. In 1728 he succeeded in having a diploma of nobility registered by the King of Arms in Edinburgh (Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, pp. 280-315 vol 81, 1968). In his famous  Oration of 1737, Ramsay suggested that Freemasons were closely connected to the Knights Templar (Gould’s History of Freemasonry – Vol. III, page 11, Compiled and Edited by R.’.W.’. Gary L. Heinmiller, Director, Onondaga & Oswego Masonic Districts Historical Societies):

At the time of the Crusades in Palestine many princes, lords and citizens associated themselves and vowed to restore the temple of the Christians in the Holy Land, to employ themselves in bringing back their architecture to its first institution. They agreed upon several ancient signs and symbolic words drawn from the well of religion in order to recognize themselves amongst the heathen and the Saracens. These signs and words were only communicated to those who promised solemnly, even sometimes at the foot of the altar, never to reveal them. This sacred promise was therefore not an execrable oath, as it has been called, but a respectable bond to unite Christians of all nationalities in one confraternity. Some time after our Order formed an intimate union with the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. From that time our Lodges took the name of Lodges of St. John. This union was made after the example set by the Israelites when they erected the second Temple who, whilst they handled the trowel and mortar with one hand, in the other held the sword and buckler.

Ramsay’s statements increased interest in Freemasonry. It also generated a strong desire among Masons to participate in orders with a knightly background. As a result, the Scottish Rite and York Rite branches of Freemasonry incorporated a number of knightly degrees. On 16 July 1782 a Masonic congress was held at Wilhelmsbad, near the city of Hanau in Hesse Cassel. The meeting was chaired by Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, who was at that time the Grandmaster of the Order of the Strict Observance. The meeting lasted for thirty sessions. When the congress was finally closed it concluded that ‘Freemasonry was not essentially connected with Templarism, and that, contrary to the doctrine of the Rite of the Strict Observance, the Freemasons were not the successors of the Knights Templars.” The result of its finding was that very soon many of the other Templars degrees and orders died out (Eugen Lennhoff, Oskar Posner, Dieter A. Binder, Internationales Freimaurerlexikon. 5. überarbeitete und erweiterte Neuauflage der Ausgabe von 1932. Herbig, München 2006; Ferdinand Runkel, Geschichte der Freimaurerei. 3 Bände. Reprint von 1932, Edition Lempertz, Königswinter 2006, Bd. 1, S. 193 ff.). The current Masonic order of Knights Templar derives its name from the medieval Catholic Order. However, it does not claim any direct lineal descent from the original Templar order.

l’Ordre du Temple

These events have been the seeds for a second important rivival of the Templar Order. In 1804 Bernard-Raymond Fabré-Palaprat (29 May 1773 – 18 February 1838) founded the l’Ordre du Temple, The Order of the Temple (see the Manuel des Chevaliers de l’Ordre du Temple).

In 1804 two French Freemasons, Philippe Ledru (1754-1832) and Bernard-Raymond Fabré-Palaprat (1775-1838) found the Order of the Temple (l’Ordre du Temple). Fabré-Palaprat was made its grandmaster. Fabré-Palaprat was the son of a surgeon in the Cahors, France. He studied at the diocesan seminary and was ordained a priest. He left the priesthood to study medicine. Fabré-Palaprat was awarded the Legion of Honour for his defence of Paris in 1814. He received the July Medal for his actions during the Three Glorious Days of the Revolution of 1830. Napoleon I, who viewed freemasonry favourably, allowed them to carry on their activities, including solemn processions in the streets of Paris with mantles and toques (see Malcolm Barber (ed): The military orders : fighting for the faith and caring for the sick Aldershot, Great Britain, 1994; Variorum and the Manuel des chevaliers de l’Ordre du Temple. Paris, 1817 (2d ed.: 1825); The manual of Palaprat’s French order). This Order was not a continuity of the Knights Templar, although Fabré-Palaprat fabricated the so-called Larmenius Charter. This document, started in Latin in 1324, listed 22 successive Grand Masters of the Knights Templar from 1324 to 1804, with Fabré-Palaprat’s name appearing last on the list.

Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith, GCB, GCTE, KmstkSO, FRS

Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith, GCB, GCTE, KmstkSO, FRS

In 1815, Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith, GCB, GCTE, KmstkSO, FRS (1764–1840) became associated with the French Order of the Temple. Smith was a British naval officer. Serving in the American and French revolutionary wars, he later rose to the rank of admiral. Napoleon Bonaparte said of him: “That man made me miss my destiny” (Thomas Pocock, “A Thirst for Glory: The Life of Admiral Sir Sidney Smith”, p.114, Pimlico 1998).

As admiral of the British navy Smith successfully defended Acre against Napoleon in 1799, and supposedly was given by the Greek archbishop a Templars’ cross (left in Acre by Richard Lionheart) in gratitude. This cross opened the doors for Sir Sydney who became a Templar and tried to create a branch of the Order in England, for which he was made Grand-Prior. His aim was to send the order to participate in the liberation and pacification of Greece and other areas under Ottoman control. He also tried to establish a base in Malta and taking over the old activities of the order of Saint-John (since Malta was then in the hands of the British). He managed to get Augustus-Frederick, Duke of Sussex (1773-1843) interested in the project. The duke of Sussex (6th son of George III) became Grand Prior of England. The duke was the Grand Master of the Premier Grand Lodge of England. In addition the English politician Charles Tennyson d’Eyncourt (uncle of the famous poet Alfred Tennyson) was attracted to the Order. On the death of Fabré-Palaprat, Smith became Regent of the order, but his subsequent death soon followed by that of the duke of Sussex dissipated the order in England. D’Eyncourt himself lost interest and resigned from the order in 1849 (see: François Velde, Heraldica, Revived and Recently Created Orders of Chivalry). The succession of the French branch of the Order is described by Serge Caillet in his important study: Trois siècles de résurgences templières:

Au tout début du XIXe siècle, en France, la légende templière commence à se répandre en marge de la franc-maçonnerie, dans le cadre d’un Ordre d’Orient et de la loge parisienne des chevaliers de la Croix, dirigée par un certain Dr Ledru, qui prétend détenir la succession magistrale du dernier Grand Maître secret de l’Ordre du Temple, le duc Timoléon de Cossé-Brissac (1734-1792) . Élu Grand Maître en 1804 [le 4 nov.], Bernard Raymond Fabré-Palaprat (1773-1838), un ancien séminariste devenu médecin, propage véritablement ce nouvel Ordre du Temple, sous le patronage de l’empereur Napoléon 1er, ce qui lui vaut d’attirer quelques personnages de renom. Fabré-Palaprat revendique en ligne directe la succession de Jacques de Molay, et, pour attester son lignage, produit même une charte, portant la signature de tous les Grands Maîtres depuis le Moyen Âge… C’est un faux, qui sera vite reconnu et dénoncé comme tel. Il n’empêche que l’Ordre eut en France sa période faste, ses notables, son clergé. (…) Peladan passe aussi pour avoir été Grand Maître, de 1892 à 1894 dit-on, de la lignée templière de Fabré-Palaprat. Je ne puis le garantir. (…) Le 19 janvier 1932, des Templiers de la lignée de Fabré-Palaprat (Joseph Cleeremans, Gustave Jonckbloedt et Théodore Covias) fondent à Bruxelles l’Ordre souverain et militaire du Temple, dont l’enregistrement paraît au Moniteur belge, le 20 janvier 1933. (…) En 1934, un Conseil de régence de ce qu’il reste de l’Ordre de Fabré-Palaprat place à sa tête Émile Vandenberg – avec un intermède par un certain Théodore Covias, de 1935 à 1942 – qui, le 23 décembre 1942, transmet ses pouvoirs au Portugais Antonio Campello Pinto de Sousa Fontes (1878-1960). En 1945, celui-ci fonde l’Ordre Souverain et Militaire du Temple de Jérusalem (OSMTJ), qui a son siège à Paris. L’OSMTJ s’est divisé en 1970, quand Fernando Campello Pinto de Sousa Fontes, fils d’Antonio Campello Pinto, a fondé l’Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani (OSMTH), qui a son siège à Porto. Nouvelle scission en 1996 quand naît  l’Ordre Suprême Militaire du Temple de Jérusalem, dont les membres souhaitent servir, tout comme les chevaliers des origines ont servi. La devise de l’ordre Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed Nomini Tuo da Gloriam est tirée du Psaume 115, verset 1 ‘Pas à nous, Seigneur, pas à nous, mais à Ton Nom seul donne la Gloire’

OSMTH

Caillet’s study shows that the OSMTH has its roots in 1804. The formal founding took place in Belgium in 1932 and was recorded in the Government Gazette in 1933. A Belgian priory was founded in 1815 by Albert-Francois marquis du Chasteler. After 1840, this Priory split into “Legitimate” and Masonic priories.

Dom Antonio Campelo Pinto de Sousa Fontes (30-03-1878 / 15-02-1960) 50° Magnus Magister et Princeps Regens 1942-1960

Dom Antonio Campelo Pinto de Sousa Fontes (1878-1960) 50° Magnus Magister et Princeps Regens 1942-1960

The Masonic Trinity of the Tower priory lasted until 1930, when it was abolished. In 1932 several former members established a new Grand Priory of Belgium, restored the Catholic tradition, and adopted the name   Knights of the Sovereign and Military Order of the Temple (Chevaliers de l’Ordre Souverain et Militaire du Temple). Shortly after, a move was made to restore the International Order with a Magisterial Council led by a regent. The second regent, Emile-Isaac Vandenberg was of jewish descent and used the name of his wife “Vandenberg” to protect himself from the Nazis. He played a key role is the further development of the Order. Vandenberg married on 21 November 1921, to Josefina Vandenberg and with his father-in-law and brother-in-law they founded the company of Vandenberg & Isaac, Furniture Manufacturers, based in Mechelen. Vandenberg was one of the eight founding members of the Sovereign and Military Order of the Temple in 1932, and succeeded Theodore Covias as Regent on 8 August, 1935. On 1 October 1935, he was elected 49th Grand Master of the Order although he occupied this post for only a relatively short time. In 1941 Germany invaded Belgium. On 23 December 1942, he issued a Decree transferring the office and the custody of the archive to Antonio de Sousa Fontes, Grand Prior of Portugal.  On 11 April 1943, the day after very heavy bombardments on Martsel, Vanderberg died when the car he was driving left the road and plunged into a small river called “Veste van Berchem,” near Antwerp, but, not being able to swim, he drowned. Vandenberg was buried at Mechelen. Unique documentation regarding his membership of the Order remains in the procession of his descendants.

Vandenberg’s main focus was to re-establish unity, in particular with priories in Italy, Portugal and Switzerland. The International Order became a confederation of Autonomous Grand Priories, known as OSMTH. To ensure Templar survival, Vandenberg made a temporary transfer of the archives to the care of the Portuguese Prior, Antonio Pinto de Sousa Fontes. It is often said that, once the war ended in 1945, de Sousa Fontes refused to return the archives. This cannot be the case, since Vandenberg died in 1943. After the sudden death of Vanderberg, de Sousa Fontes assumed the title of Regent. The International Order (OSMTH) became divided. Some Priories rejected De Sousa Fontes’ leadership. Two years later the Regent issued updated Statutes, in which he described the Order as being “traditionally Catholic, chivalric, cosmopolitan, independent and conservative.” In 1948 De Sousa Fontes designated his son, Dom Fernando de Sousa Fontes as his successor.

Crolian William Edelen (1920 - 2006)

Crolian William Edelen (1920 – 2006)

On 15 February 1960 De Sousa Fontes died. His son, Fernando de Sousa Fontes, succeeded him, assuming the title of Prince Regent. In the meantime, the Grand Prior of Switzerland, Anton Leuprecht, had been receiving Americans into the Swiss Grand Priory. As more Americans joined the Order, an American Grand Priory was formed. One of them was Crolian William Edelen. He was educated at the University of North Carolina, and was with Signal Intelligence in the India-Burma theatre of World War II. His actively pursued memberships numerous Orders. From 1966 until 1976, under the royal protection of the former King Peter II of Yugoslavia, he was Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta. As Emeritus remained a member of the Supreme Council. Formerly he had been Grand Prior of the U.S. Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, and held the Grand Cross from the autonomous Priory of Switzerland and from the Regent in Operto, Portugal. The Corporate Charter for the American Grand Priory was signed on 4 June 1962 by Edelen, William Y. Pryor, Herschel S. Murphy, Warren S. Hall, Jr., John D. Leet, Lawrence Stratton and George J. Deyo. The Grand Priory was incorporated in the State of New Jersey on 29 June. Edelen was chosen the first Grand Prior. The Prince Regent recognized the Autonomous Grand Priory of the United States (SMOTJ-GPUSA). In April 1964 the former king Peter II, became the Royal Patron of the American Grand Priory. He remained in this office until his death on 3 November 1970.

The International Order continued to have problems. In 1970 the De Sousa Fontes called together a Convent General of the Order to meet in three sessions: Paris, Chicago and Tomar, Portugal. Resolutions were passed that recognized the Order as “universal and not limited to any one nationality or Language”, and that the Order “shall be a Christian Order”. These efforts did not bring back unity to OSMTH.

Dom Fernando Pinto Pereira de Sousa Fontes, The Grand Master of the OSMTH

Dom Fernando Pinto Pereira de Sousa Fontes, The Grand Master of the OSMTH

With increasing opposition from European Grand Priories, De Sousa Fontes turned to the American Grand Priory, appointing members to the Grand Magistry. The situation remained calm until 1993 when de Fontes revised the Statutes so that he could become the “Grand Master”, a title his father previously assumed. Again the Prince Regent called a Convent General to meet in three sessions. At the first session in Santiago, Spain, the revised Statutes were presented, but no decisions were made. The final session held in London. In 1995, a proposed agenda, calling for basic reforms, was sent to De Sousa Fontes, now calling himself Grand Master. De Sousa Fontes cancelled the session. In reaction, the British Grand Prior, Major-General Sir Roy RedgraveKBE MC (16 September 1925 – 3 July 2011) called for an International Conclave, to explain his objections and concerns. At its meeting in June 1995 a list of reforms were drawn up to be presented to De Sousa Fontes. The Grand Priors agreed to meet in Salzburg, Austria on 3 November 1995 to receive the response. Besides the fate of De Sousa Fontes, during the Salzburg meetings, the future structure of the Order and its administration was discussed. On 2 November 2 1996, a document, known as the “Coordinated Statutes of the Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani” was adopted, stating the goals and structure of the Order as an international confederation of Autonomous Grand Priories. The separation from De Sousa Fontes was settled in New Orleans in 1999, where the Grand Magistral Council approved a previously drawn up Statement of Separation. A Grand Council of Grand Priors was formed to govern the Order, since the office of Grand Master was considered vacant (Source: personal notes from the archives of Sir Roy Redgrave – June 5, 2003). The current Order is therefore structured as a federation.

Conclusions and recommendations

OSMTH’s charitable works are of great importance to society. Therefore, it is essential to preserve a solid foundation of this internationally operating organisation. Despite OSMTH’s general disclaimer that it does not claim a direct heritage to the medieval Knights Templar, its aims, symbols and rites are obviously patterned after the medieval Order. The OSMTH can therefore best be described as a commemorative order. Nevertheless, in spite of these official disclaimers, other neo-templar groups insist that they have direct Templar origins.

The OSMTH cannot be seen as a self-styled or pseudo-order, as its direct predecessor (the Order of the Temple) was approved by Napoleon Bonaparte, by imperial decree in 1807. On 13 June 1853, it was given recognition by Napoleon III.  In 1918, the Order was re-registered in France in accordance with French law. The Grandmaster De Sousa Fontes was the direct link with the Order that was founded by Fabré-Palaprat. In my opinion, it is therefore a legitimate commemorative order. Wikipedia’s description of the OSMTH is incorrect.

I recommend the following regarding the future development of the OSMTH.

  • OSMTH enjoys the Patronage of HH Princess zu Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg (princess consort to the current Head of the Ducal House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg) and the Religious Protection of His Beatitude the Most Blessed Theodosius, Metropolitan (ret.) of the United States and Canada. The OSMTH could as well seek the patronage of a member of the House of Bonaparte to confirm the continuity with the original Order of the Temple. The headship of this family is in dispute between Charles, Prince Napoléon, (1950) and his son Jean-Christophe, Prince Napoléon (1986). The only other male member of the family is Prince Jérôme Napoléon (1957). A descendant of Napoleon’s sister Caroline Bonaparte is the American actor and singer René Murat Auberjonois. There are also a number of descendants of Napoleon’s illegitimate, but recognized son Alexandre Colonna-Walewski from his relation with Marie Countess Walewski. DNA studies have also confirmed the existence of descendants (the Clovis family) of Lucien Bonaparte, who was detained at sea by the British when on his way into exile in America. His son, Lucien Louis-Lucien Bonaparte, was a comparative linguist and dialectologist, and was born in England;
  • Electing a Grandmaster is in accordance with the traditions of the Order. Try to find an honorary (or second) Grandmaster with historical connections to the OSMTH. Legitimate honorary Grandmasters sould be related to the persons mentioned in this article.
  • Adequately conserve the archives of the Order, by making a professional description of its content and then make sure the archives are stored in a solid public library, such as the Bibliothèque nationale de France (already containing important documents regarding the Order of the Temple) or the Library of Congress. Interesting documents can be found in city the archives Reims as well;
  • Use only one single website (instead of multiple local websites) to promote coherence and avoid confusion.

Appendix 1: Statement by the Vatican regarding the parchment of Chinon

THE PARCHMENT OF CHINON THE ABSOLUTION OF POPE CLEMENT V OF THE LEADING MEMBERS OF THE TEMPLAR ORDER

Chinon, Diocese of Tours, 1308 August 17th-20th

Original document formed by a large parchment folio (700x580mm), initially provided with the hanging seals of the three papal legates who formed the special Apostolic Commission ad inquirendum appointed by Clement V: Brenger Frdol, Cardinal Priest of the titular church of the Most Holy Nereus and Achilleus and nephew of the pope, tienne de Suisy, cardinal priest of St. Cyriac in Therminis, Landolfo Brancacci, cardinal deacon of St. Angelo. In a reasonable state, even though there are some big violaceous stains, caused by bacterial attack. An authentic copy was enclosed to the original document, which is still kept in the Secret Vatican Archives, with the reference number Archivum Arcis Armarium D 218. ASV, Archivum Arcis, Arm. D 217.

The document contains the absolution Pope Clement V gave to the Grand Master of the Temple, friar Jacques de Molay and to the other heads of the Order, after they had shown to be repented and asked to be forgiven by the Church; after the formal abjuration, which is compelling for all those who were even only suspected of heretical crimes, the leading members of the Templar Order are reinstated in the Catholic Communion and readmitted to receive the sacraments. The document, which belongs to the first phase of the trial against the Templars, when Pope Clement V was still convinced to be able to guarantee the survival of the military-religious order, meets the apostolic need to remove the shame of excommunication from the warrior friars, caused by their previous denial of Jesus Christ when tortured by the French Inquisitor. As several contemporary sources confirm, the pope ascertained that Templars were involved in some serious forms of immorality and he planned a radical reform of the order to subsequently merge it into one body with the other important military-religious order of the Hospitallers. The Act of Chinon, which absolves the Templars, but does not discharge them, was the assumption required to carry out the reform, but it remained dead letter. The French monarchy reacted by triggering a true blackmail mechanism, which then urged Clement V to reach the ambiguous compromise ratified during the Council of Vienne in 1312: unable to oppose himself to the will of the King of France, Phillip the Fair, who imposed the elimination of the Templars, the pope removed the order from the reality of that period, without condemning or abolishing it, but isolating it in a sort of hibernation, thanks to a clever device of the canon law. After explicitly declaring that the trial did not prove the charge of heresy, Clement V suspended the Templar Order by means of a non definitive sentence, imposed by the necessity to avoid a serious danger to the Church that banned them, under penalty of excommunication, to use such name or their distinctive symbols.

Appendix 2: Grandmasters OSMTH

1804-1839  Bernard Fabre-Palaprat (Order of the Temple)
1839-1840  Sir William Smith
1840-1850  Edward VII, King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India – George V., King of Hanover
1850  Narcisse Valleray (Regent)
1866  A.G.M. Vernois (Regent)
1892  Joséphin Péladan (Regent)
1894  Secretariat International des Templiers
1934  Conseil de Regence – Joseph Vandenberg (Ordo Supremus Miltaris Templi Heirosolimytani)
1935  Theodore Covias (Regent)
1935-1942  Emile Isaac (Vandenberg) (Regent)
1942-1960  Antonio de Sousa Fontes (Regent)
1960- 1999 Fernando de Sousa Fontes (Regent)

The current Grandmaster of the Order is Patrick E. Rea, Brigadier General – US Army (Ret.)

Line of succession to the former throne of Germany

Heraldic Ring of Kaiser Wilhelm II with Royal Crown, Coat of Arms of Hohenzollern and The Prussian Order of The Black Eagle

Heraldic Ring of Kaiser Wilhelm II with Royal Crown, Coat of Arms of Hohenzollern and The Prussian Order of The Black Eagle.

Introduction

The claims to the (combined) thrones of Kingdom of Prussia and the German Empire are related to the Constitution of the German Empire (Verfassung des Deutschen Reiches) of 1871.  According to this constitution, the empire was a federally organised national state of 25 German states. The office of Bundespräsidium was held by the King of Prussia, who had the title of German Emperor.

The Wikipedia article about the line of succession of the former German throne reads:

The German Empire and Kingdom of Prussia were abolished in 1918. The current head of the former ruling House of Hohenzollern is Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia. The Law of Succession used is Agnatic Primogeniture.

The Telegraph of 26 December 2001  reads:

THE man (Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia) who has just won a legal victory to declare himself the head of Germany’s last ruling royal family says he is perfectly happy with life as a citizen of a republic.

Did the courts really rule in favour of Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia as being head of Germany’s last ruling family?

German law of succession to the throne

Wilhelm of Prussia, ex-crown prince, with the participation of former emperor Wilhelm II, named his second son – Louis-Ferdinand prince of Prussia (d. 1994) – as first heir (Vorerb).  After his death his eldest son (unborn in 1938) was to be the next heir (Nacherb), or, should that son not survive Louis Ferdinand, in his stead his eldest male offspring; in the absence of male issue his eldest brother (or in his stead his sons).  The contract, however, made one exception to the rule on the succession of the next heir: any son or grandson of Louis-Ferdinand was ineligible to inherit if he were not the issue of a marriage made in accordance with the house laws of the house of Brandenburg-Prussia, or if he was in a marriage not in accordance with said laws (so called ineligibility clause).

Legal disputes

This clause led to several legal disputes.

Crown of William II, Hohenzollern Castle Collection (photo Wiki Commons)

Crown of William II, Hohenzollern Castle Collection (photo Wiki Commons)

The legal question, which was a question of civil or private law, was whether the designation was valid, and the exclusion of unequally-married or -born offspring was valid. The matter decided was not “headship of the house” but inheritance of a certain estate; indeed, the phrase “head of  house” or some equivalent has not been decided.  The issue was a contract which set up a specific rule of transmission.  The court decided that the clause which Wilhelm had created in his testament was valid, because of the right to dispose of one’s estate. If Wilhelm had decided to impose a religious requirement, or a height requirement, or to leave his estate to his his dog, the court might well have upheld it as well, because of the right to dispose of one’s estate without infringement of the personal rights of one’s offspring (see the important article of F. Velde, The Hohenzollern Succession Dispute, 1994-present).

The succession rules regarding the throne of Germany have ceased to exist when the Constitution of the German Reich (Die Verfassung des Deutschen Reiches), usually known as the Weimar Constitution (Weimarer Verfassung) came into effect. The constitution declared Germany to be a democratic parliamentary republic with a legislature elected under proportional representation and thus abolished the German empire. Therefore, the courts of the German Federal Republic have no jurisdiction regarding the headship of the House of Hohenzollern. In the mentioned cases, the courts therefore never ruled regarding the headship. The media have not quite understood the rulings.

Conclusions

Louis Ferdinand, Prince of Prussia was the third in succession to the throne of the German Empire, after his father, German Crown Prince William and elder brother Prince Wilhelm of Prussia. The monarchy was abolished in 1918. When Louis Ferdinand’s older brother Prince Wilhelm renounced his succession rights to marry a non-royal from the lesser nobility in 1933, Louis Ferdinand took his place as the second in the line of succession to the German throne after the Crown Prince. Louis Ferdinand married the Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia in 1938. The couple had four sons and three daughter. Their sons are listed below:

1. Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia (9 February 1939 – 29 September 2015). Sons:

  • (a) Philip Kirill Prinz von Preußen (born 23 April 1968).
  • (b) Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Ferdinand Kirill (born 16 August 1979).
  • (c) Joachim Albrecht Bernhard Christian Ernst (born 26 June 1984).

2. Prince Michael of Prussia (22 March 1940 – 3 April 2014).

3. Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia (25 August 1944 – 11 July 1977). Son:

  • (a) Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia (born 10 June 1976 Bremen).

4. Prince Christian-Sigismund of Prussia (born 14 March 1946). Son:

  • (a) Prince Christian Ludwig Michael Friedrich Ferdinand of Prussia (born 16 May 1986).

Louis Ferdinand’s two eldest sons (1) and (2) both renounced their succession rights in order to marry commoners. His third son, and heir-apparent, Prince Louis Ferdinand died in 1977 during military manoeuvrers. It is generally accepted that his one-year-old grandson Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia (3a, son of Prince Louis Ferdinand) became the new heir-apparent to the Prussian and German Imperial throne. According to these lines, Georg Friedrich became the pretender to the thrones and Head of the Hohenzollern family upon Louis Ferdinand’s death in 1994.

Traditionally the Agnatic Primogeniture rules have been used to determine the succession of headship of the House of Hohenzollern. These rules do not have any legal binding since 1919. A “headship of the House of Hohenzollern” does not exist under German law. Renouncing the headship of a family or the claim to a non-existing entity (throne), therefore does not have any legal effect in Germany. The only legal fact that German law can determine is the fact that Philip Kirill Prinz von Preußen (1a) is the oldest living relative of the last German emperor. If the head of the House Hohenzollern is defined as the last living male relative according to German law, then Philip Kirill (1a) is head of the House Hohenzollern. If the head of the House Hohenzollern is defined as the man who is selected by some members of the family (holding a certain authority), then Georg Friedrich (3a) is head of the House. The choice of definition is a personal one, not a legal or historical one. Head of the House cannot mean a person who inherits or has a right of inheritance in the property of a family member following the latter’s death, since this can be anyone.

The legitimacy of modern knightly orders from a theological perspective

An early 14th-century German manuscript depicting a knight and his lady.

An early 14th-century German manuscript depicting a knight and his lady.

Remembering the past is an important theme in both the Old (e.g. Hebrews 13:2-3) and New Testament (e.g. John 14:26). I am working on a research project that will have a historical focus. In particular, I would like to focus on the history of a specific Christian knightly order from a practical theological (therefore empirical) perspective and examine to what extent its Christian traditions have survived the course of time. These religiously-based Catholic societies, originally established during the medieval crusades and mostly made up of confraternities of knights, were formed to protect the Christians against foreign aggression and persecution, especially against the Islamic conquests and Baltic Paganism in Easter Europe. The original features of these societies consisted of a combination of religious and military actions. Some of the Christian knightly order, in particular the Knights Hospitaller, also cared for the sick and poor.

Since 2007, I am working on a study that focuses on the legitimacy of modern Christian knightly orders. Such orders were originally characterized as orders, confraternities or societies of knights, often founded during or in inspiration of the original Roman Catholic military orders of the medieval crusades (circa 1099-1291). They were inspired by medieval notions of chivalry, being an ethos in which martial, aristocratic and Christian elements were fused together (Stair Sainty 2006; Keen: 2005). In modern days similar (mimic) orders have been established by monarchs (or their descendants) and governments with the purpose of bestowing honors on deserving individuals. Examples of ancient knightly orders that survived in modern times are the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George and the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus.

The legitimacy of Christian knightly orders is discussed heavily on the internet and in literature (Stair Sainty’s book of about 2000 pages focusses on the issue). The current study is inspired by a PhD thesis of Hoegen Dijkhof (2006), addressing the legitimacy of a number of knightly orders from a historical and legal perspective. In my study I will address the issue of legitimacy from a Christian perspective. A major and often overlooked problem is the definition of both the terms legitimate and knightly order. This aspect of the problem has been raised by Velde (1996).

Activities of modern knightly orders

Modern knightly orders have abandoned their original military mission and focus on spiritual and charity activities. Normally knightly orders demand of its members that the are living their lives as Christians and remain mindful of their obligations to undertake hospitaller assistance, as well as charitable and other good works. The Spanish Constantinian Order for example stresses that it is important for members to lead a life as “perfect” Christians:

Members of the Order are expected to live their lives as perfect Christians and contribute to the increase of religious principles both by action and example. They must be faithful to the traditional teachings of the Church and regularly participate in the solemn celebration of the Liturgy according to the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms and, when appropriate, the particular local forms (notably the Ambrosian, Latin-Byzantine or Mozarabic Rites).

Henri d'Orléans, aujourd'hui comte de Paris, duc de France et actuel chef de la maison royale de France, pose pour le photographe, le 10 juin 2002 au Sénat à Paris, avant un discours officiel qu'il doit donner au Sénat à l'occasion de la présentation de son livre : "La France à bout de bras". AFP PHOTO MEDHI FEDOUACH

The French branch of the Order of Saint Lazarus enjoys its official Temporal Protection from the Royal House of France. AFP PHOTO MEDHI FEDOUACH. Other branches of the Order enjoy the protection of the Duke de Borbon Parma and the Duke of Sevilla.

The hospitaller mission is also considered of great importance. The biggest and most effective knightly order (the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta or SMOM) has developed numerous projects in 120 countries of the world. The order organizes medical, social and humanitarian projects. The SMOM has 13,500 members, 80,000 permanent volunteers and qualified staff of 25,000 professionals, mostly medical personnel and paramedics (SMOM website, 2016). The SMOM’s relief organisation in South Africa, the Brotherhood of the Blessed Gerard, focusses on AIDS patients (mostly children) and runs a hospice in KwaZulu-Natal.

The historical foundations of the knightly orders and their current activities show that the Christian inspiration is one of the most important aspects and characteristic of Christian knightly orders. This inspiration is manifested by the hospitaller activities that Christian knightly orders promote. It is unthinkable that a modern Christian knightly order lacks Christ-inspired hospitaller activities.

The case study in my research will focus on the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, also known as Order of Saint Lazarus. The legitimacy of this Order has been heavily disputed by Stair Sainty (2006). Stair Sainty states:

The Order of Saint Lazarus, although it is to be complimented for its considerable charitable efforts (notably in Germany), need not pretend to an historical continuity to which its claims, at the very least, are unsubstantiated. Were it to assume the character of a private association, founded in 1910, to emulate the traditions of the ancient crusader Order, it could deflect much of the hostility it has attracted from those bodies which can be more properly characterized as Orders of Knighthood, founded by Papal Bull or Sovereign act or charter. Without such authority behind it, it is difficult to find any justification for this body’s claim to be considered an Order of Chivalry. Private individuals do not have the authority to form Orders, at least none that will be generally recognized.

It therefore serves as an interesting case study for the legitimacy of a knightly order from a Christian perspective.

Research questions

  • What is the background of the Order of Saint Lazarus and how did its history develop?
  • Which kind of goals are selected by the most well-known Christian knightly orders to help and support people who are in distress and which goals are specified amd implemented by the Order of Saint Lazarus?
  • Can the goals of the Order of Saint Lazarus and their implementations be considered effective?
  • To what extent is the Order of Saint Lazarus’ smart-strategy and its implementation of this strategy, Bible-based and therefore legitimate from a Christian perspective?

Literature Review

Adams, J.E. (1986). A Theology of Christian Counseling, More Than Redemption, Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Anderson, R.S. (2003). Spiritual Caregiving as Secular Sacrament, A Practical Theology for Professional Caregivers, London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Baljon, J.M.S. (1900). Commentaar op het Evangelie van Mattheus. Groningen: J.B. Wolters

Bruggen, J. van (1993), Lucas. Het evangelie als voorgeschiedenis. Kampen: Uitgeverij Kok.

Bruggen, J. van (2004), Matteüs, Het evangelie voor Israël, Kampen: Kok.

Brotherhood of the Blessed Gerard (2008). Retrieved 15 January 2008 from http://bbg.org.za/index.htm.

Grossheide, F.W. (1954). Het heilig evangelie volgens Mattheus. Kampen:   Uitgeversmaatschappij J.H. Kok

Hampton Keathley III, J. (1996), One Another’ commands of Scripture. Biblical Studies Press. Retrieved from http://www.bible.org/series.php?series_id=71 .

Heitink, G. (1993). Praktische theologie, geschiedenis, theorie, handelingsvelden. Kok: Kampen

Hoegen Dijkhof, H.J., The legitimacy of Orders of St. John : a historical and legal analysis and case study of a para-religious phenomenon, 2006 Doctoral thesis, Leiden University.

Keen, M.H., Chivalry, Yale University Press, 2005

Klein, H. (2006), Das Lukasevangelium, übersetzt und erklärt, Goettingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. 2006

Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem (2016a) website retrieved 10 July 2016 http://www.saintjohn.org/who/Chivalry

Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem (2016b) website retrieved 10 July 2016 http://www.stjohn.org.za/About-Us/What-We-Do

Stair Sainty, G., World Orders of Knighthood and Merit, 2006 Burkes Peerage.

Velde. F., Legitimacy and Orders of Knighthood, (retrieved 14 July 2016) http://www.heraldica.org/topics/orders/legitim.htm

Watke, E. (1992). “Biblical Couseling Seminar Material”. Retreived on 21 July 2008 from http://www.ntslibrary.com/PDF%20Books/Biblical%20Counseling.pdf

Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, website https://www.orderofmalta.int/humanitarian-medical-works/ 2016)

Wierzbicka, A. (2001). What did Jesus Mean? Explaining the Sermon on the Mount and the Parables in Simple and Universal Human Concepts. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Legal Opinion: To what extend can the Hungarian title of “vitéz” be seen as a designation of nobility?

Order of Vitéz Breast Badge, bronze gilt, 57x36 mm, one side enameled, multipart construction, reverse with two clasps

Order of Vitéz Breast Badge, bronze gilt, 57×36 mm (photo: sixbid.com).

Legal Question

The Order of Vitéz, founded in 1678, revived in 1920 by Hungarian Regent Horthy, and abolished by the Soviet-imposed Communist government of Hungary in 1946, has been an important symbol of Hungary’s historic commitment to independence and territorial integrity. It is often assumed that “the Regent had no powers to grant nobility, nor did he try” (e.g Wikipedia) and that therefore the title of vitéz cannot be seen as a title of nobility. Is this assumption correct?

The Order of Vitéz

This Hungarian Order was initially founded in 1678 by Count Imre Thököly de Késmárk, (1657-1705), a Hungarian nobleman, who lead a rebellion against Leopold I of Austria. This Holy Roman Emperor suspended the Constitution and placed Hungary under a Directorate headed by the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order. Thököly gathered behind him a force of disaffected Hungarians. This group was mainly composed of disbanded soldiers and peasants. Thököly’s followers were known as kuruc (crusaders). This  designation was also given to the followers of another rebel leader, György (George) Dózsa (1470-1514).

The Order of Vitézi was re-established (Prime Ministerial Decree number 6650 of 1920, 6650/1920 M.E. in Hungarian usage, included as paragraph no 77 in the land reform act, Law XXXVI of 1920) by His Serene Highness the Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary Miklós vitéz Horthy de Nagybánya. The Hungarian state was legally a kingdom, although it had no king. The Entente powers would not have tolerated any return of the Habsburgs. Horthy’s objective was to form an organization with strong national dedication in order to contribute to the stability of Hungary after the first world war. By 1943 about 14.000 vitéz designations were issued.

The treaty signed between the Soviet Union and Hungarian Government of National Unity in Moscow on 20 January 1945, included a list of organisations that were not allowed to be re-established under Soviet rule. The National Council of Vitéz, governing the Order, was placed on this list (Prime Ministerial Edict no. 1945/529).

The current Order of Vitézi, lead by HIRH Archduke Josef Arpád of Austria, is considered by the International Commission on Orders of Chivalry as the legitimate successor of the founder (HSH Miklós v. Horthy de Nagybánya) of the Knightly Order of Vitéz.

Title of vitéz

The word ‘vitéz’ in late 19th and early 20th century Hungarian usage, meant ‘knight’, or ‘hero’. The word “vitez” literally means knight in the South Slavic languages; Bosnian, Croatian, Slovenian, Serbian and Macedonian. In German the title can be compared to “Ritter von” (Orden und Ehrenzeichen – Das Magazin für Sammler und Forscher, BDOS Jahrbuch 2003, p. 24). Therefore, the term “Vitézi Rend’ can be translated as ‘Order of Knights’. During Horthy’s reign, the title was recorded in official papers, for instance in birth, marriage or death certificates, and was usually written as ‘v.’ in front of the surname. In Hungary, the surname precedes the Christian name. In an honourable discharge document of a officer, the vitéz order is not mentioned as an award but as a title added to the name (Erik Naberhuis, The Hungarian Vitéz Order, 2005). Admission into the Order was accompanied by a land grant of 40 cadastral holds to an officer, 8 cadastral holds to other ranks based on need (1 cadastral hold = c. 1.43 acres). The honour of Vitéz was hereditary, and the grants (title, badge and land grant) were to be passed on by the recipient to his eldest son.

Hungarian law regarding noble titles

1929

The knighting ceremony pictured above took place in 1929 in Székesfehervar, at the ruins of the original church where the early kings of Hungary were crowned and buried. The new vitéz’ were knighted with a sword, especially designed for the ceremony. This sword is now on display in the Military Museum of Hungary in Budapest.

Horthy was internationally recognised as His Serene Highness the Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary (and addressed as such by e.g. the United States).  He was head of state and appointed to administer the state because the monarch was absent. There are – next to Horthy’s vitéz order – other examples of regents who founded orders, such the Royal Guelphic Order (also known as the Hanoverian Guelphic Order) by George, Prince Regent in the name of his father King George III in 1815. In France, nobility and hereditary titles were abolished by the Revolutions of 1789 and 1848, but hereditary titles were restored by decree in 1852 and have not been abolished by any subsequent law. In order to grant noble titles it is not necessary to be a royal head of state. Therefore, theoretically, the President of the Republic could, in his capacity as head of state, create titles of nobility. The same counts for Horthy’s Hungary. It is not relevant that Horthy was not a king. He was head of state of a Kingdom.

In Hungarian law, Act IV of 1947 on the abolition of certain titles and ranks has abolished all Hungarian noble ranks and titles and prohibited their future bestowal. Article 1. § (1) of the Act declares annulment of the Hungarian aristocratic and noble ranks, such as duke, marquis, earl, baron, noble, primor, and primipilus (“lófő“). Article 3. § (1) prohibits the use of rank titles mentioned in 1. §. Furthermore, it explicitly forbids the use of the “vitéz” (“valiant”) title. § (2) prohibits the use of nobiliary particles, coats of arms, insignias or the use of any expressions referring to descent from a noble clan (“de genere“). § (3) forbids the use of honorifics referring to ranks or titles abolished by this Act, such as “főméltóságú” (His/Her Serene Highness), “nagyméltóságú” (His/Her Excellency), “kegyelmes” (His/Her Grace), “méltóságos” (The Honourable), “nagyságos” (The Worshipful), “tekintetes“, “nemzetesetc.

The Act of 1947 remains in force today, although it does not contain any explicit sanctions in case the law is not observed. Act I of 2010 on the Civil Registry Procedure prohibits the registration of titles and ranks which would be contrary to Act IV of 1947 [55. § (1a)]. The 1947 Act has survived two challenges before the Hungarian Constitutional Court (HCC) in 2008 [Decision 1161/B/2008] and in 2009 [Decision 988/B/2009]. The Court has held in the 2008 decision that the prohibition of ranks and titles is intended to guarantee the equality of Hungarian citizens, as any discrimination based on hereditary titles and ranks would be contrary to the values of a democratic state and society based on equality; the Act itself is based on a firm set of values that forms an integral part of the values deductible from the Constitution [specifically Article 70/A paragraph (1) of the Constitution of Hungary at that time (Act IV of 1949)]. In the 2009 decision the HCC has found that the 1947 Act is not contrary to human dignity (the petitioner had claimed that the right to bear a name, which is deductible from human dignity, had been infringed by the Act), as nobility titles did not form official parts of a name, and that the state had the right to decide what it accepts as part of name and what it does not. The HCC has also referenced these decisions following the entry into force of the Fundamental Law of Hungary (2011, replacing the previous Constitution) in a recent decision [27/2015 (VII. 21.)] (Ágoston Mohay – Norbert Tóth, What’s in a name? Equal treatment, Union citizens and national rules on names and titles, working paper, University of Pécs, 2016, p. 9).

 

Conclusions

Members of the Vitéz Order are addressed as “nemzetes úr/asszony”, in German: “Edler (-e) Herr/Dame”. Members with non-Hungarian names used to add the nobility suffix “-y” or “-i”.  The characteristics of the vitéz capacity (hereditary, estate-related, the touch on the vitéz‘ shoulders with the sword at the bestowing of his knighthood, the title/suffix, the registration as a title instead of award in official papers and the emblem) are in full accordance with a title of nobility as we know it in for example the United Kingdom. The Act IV of 1947 also places the title on the same level as the noble titles. It is therefore not correct to say that the vitéz title is not a title of nobility. In the context of the mentioned Act, the history of the Order, its characteristics, and the recent Hungarian court decisions, the vitéz title should – from a historical perspective – be seen as a noble title. It is not recognized by the Hungarian state.

Sources

Legal opinion: Lines of succession to the former Russian Empire

Background

The Russian Imperial Romanov family (Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their five young children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei) were brutally murdered in Yekaterinburg on 17 July 1918. The Tsar, his family and some servants were shot, bayoneted and stabbed in a room of the “House of Special Purpose of the Ural Soviet Committee” by Bolshevik troops led by Yakov Yurovsky under the orders of the Ural Regional Soviet. Therefore, the last Tsar does not have any living descendants. There exist however, a number of claimants to the former Russian throne. In this article I will examine the legality of these claims.

Branches

St. George's Hall, Grand Kremlin Palace. President Vladimir Putin with Prince Dmitri Romanovich of Russia and his spouse at a state reception devoted to National Unity Day. (Source: Wikipedia)

St. George’s Hall, Grand Kremlin Palace. President Vladimir Putin with Prince Dmitri Romanovich of Russia and his spouse at a state reception devoted to National Unity Day. (Source: Wikipedia)

Since 1992, the Headship of the Imperial House of Russia has been claimed by two branches of the Romanov family: the Vladimirovichi Branch and the Nikolaevichi branch. The Vladimirovichi branch descends of Tsar Alexander II (1818-1881),  the successor son of Tsar Nicholas I. The Nikolaevichi branch descends from Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich of Russia (1831–1891), who was the third son and sixth child of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia and Alexandra Feodorovna.

I. Tsar Nicholas I (1796-1855) x Princess Charlotte of Prussia (1798-1860). Nicholas was born in Alexander Palace, Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire, the eldest son of Emperor Alexander III and Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia (formerly Princess Dagmar of Denmark). Emperor Alexander III was born on 10 March 1845 at the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg and succeeded this father Emperor Alexander II of Russia. Alexander II succeed Tsar Nicolas I, son of Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg.

Children:

II a. Tsar Alexander II (1818-1881) x Princess Marie of Hesse (1824-1880). Son: Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich (1847-1909) X Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1854-1920) -> Vladimirovichi branch

II b. Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich (1831-1891) x Princess Alexandra of Oldenburg (1838-1900) -> Nikolaevichi branch

Claimants

Vladimirovichi branch(es)

I. Cyril (Kirill) Vladimirovich, (Кирилл Владимирович Рома́нов), born 12 October [O.S. 30 September] 1876 – deceased 12 October 1938), Grand Duke of Russia (assumed the Headship of the Imperial Family of Russia and, as next in line to the throne in 1924).

HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, Pope Benedict XVI and Grand Duke George Mikhailovich (Source: Paul Gilbert).

HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, Pope Benedict XVI and Grand Duke George Mikhailovich (Source: Paul Gilbert).

II a. Maria Kirillovna (1907–1951), eldest daughter of Kirill Vladimirovich (I). She was born in Coburg when her parents were in exile because their marriage had not been approved by Tsar Nicholas II. The family returned to Russia prior to World War I, but was forced to flee following the Russian Revolution of 1917.

III. Emich, 7th Prince of Leiningen (1926-1991), titular Prince of Leiningen from 1946 until his death, x Eilika of Oldenburg.

IV. Prince Karl Emich of Leiningen.

II b. Vladimir Cyrillovich, (Влади́мир Кири́ллович Рома́нов) born 30 August [O.S. 17 August] 1917 – 21 April 1992), claimed the Headship of the Imperial Family from 1938 to his death, Grand Duke of Russia (1938–1992).

III. Maria Vladimirovna (Мари́я Влади́мировна Рома́нова), born 23 December 1953 in Madrid), has been a claimant to the headship of the Imperial Family since 1992 Grand Duchess of Russia (1992–present).

IV. Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia

Nikolaevichi branch

I. Nicholas Romanov, Prince of Russia (1992–2014)

II. Prince Dimitri Romanovich of Russia (2014–present)

III. Prince Andrew Andreevich (born 1923)

 Applicable law

Karl Emich of Leiningen signs an address to Vladimir Putin aksing permission to assign a land in Ekaterinburg for creation of the Sovereign State Imperial See (Source: Wikipedia).

HSH Karl Emich Prince of Leiningen signs an address to Vladimir Putin aksing permission to assign a land in Ekaterinburg for creation of the Sovereign State Imperial See (Source: Wikipedia).

The Russian laws governing membership in the imperial house, succession to the throne and other dynastic subjects are contained in the Fundamental State Laws of the Russian Empire and the Statute of the Imperial Family (codification of 1906, as amended through 1911). These laws, referred to collectively as “the succession laws” in this essay, are sometimes described as “the Pauline law”, because their original version was promulgated in 1797 by Emperor Paul I.

At the present time, not one of the Emperors or Grand Dukes of Russia has left living descendants with unchallengeable rights to the Throne of Russia. When marrying a foreigner of Equal Rank, or member of a Reigning Family, family members were obliged to renounce their and their issue’s rights to the succession to the Throne of Russia.

Since 1917 the Russian Empire and its laws regarding social classes ceased to exist (Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars, Decree on the Abolition of Social Estates and Civil Ranks, 10 November  1917):

  1. All classes and class divisions of citizens, class privileges and disabilities, class organizations and institutions which have until now existed in Russia, as well as all civil ranks, are abolished.
  2. All designations (as merchant, nobleman, burgher, peasant, etc.), titles (as Prince, Count, etc.), and distinctions of civil ranks (Privy, State, and other Councilors), are abolished, and one common designation is established for all the population of Russia-citizen of the Russian Republic.
  3. The properties of the noblemen’s class institutions are hereby transferred to corresponding Zemstvo self-governing bodies.
  4. The properties of merchants’ and burghers’ associations are hereby placed at the disposal of corresponding municipal bodies.
  5. All class institutions, transactions, and archives are hereby transferred to the jurisdiction of corresponding municipal and Zemstvo bodies.
  6. All corresponding clauses of the laws which have existed until now are abolished.
  7. This decree becomes effective from the day of its publication, and is to be immediately put into effect, by the local Soviets of Workmen’s, Soldiers’, and Peasants’ Deputies.

Conclusions

In addition to the abolishment of the public laws regarding social classes, none of the current Romanov family members has unchallengeable rights to the Throne of Russia according to the Pauline Laws. Therefore the headship of the House of Romanov remains a political matter that cannot be determined from a legal perspective. The only authority that can restore the rights to the Russian throne is the Russian Federation. In my opinion, the imperial nobility and the titles it awarded may theoretically remain valid but for the Russian Federation they are quasi foreign.

Sources

Links

Legal Opinion: The Fons Honorum of the House of Paternò Castello

Antonino Paternò Castello, Marquis di San Giuliano (Catania, 9 December 1852 - Rome, 16 October 1914), Italian diplomat and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Antonino Paternò Castello, Marquis di San Giuliano (Catania, 9 December 1852 – Rome, 16 October 1914), Italian diplomat and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

1. Introduction

It may be safely said that the legitimate claimants to the headship of formerly reigning families can continue the prerogative to award their dynastic Orders and, to the extent that the last constitutions of those particular monarchies so permitted, enjoy the right to create or confirm titles of nobility. From a historical point of view, such creations should be in accordance with the legal requirements established before the fall of the monarchy. This may be a problem because it may not always be possible for a head of a dynasty to comply with the precise requirements of the dynastic law. The disappearance of an historic office or position however, is a fact that does not stand in the way of exercising the ancient dynastic rights, since these rights are connected to a specific family. To the extent that it is possible and practical, such requirements should be met and the various acts properly recorded (see for example: W.H. Jones, Granting of Orders and Titles by H.M. King Kigeli V of Rwanda) in order to make the awards of Orders and titles in accordance with its historical origin and therefore acceptable.

This article examines the Sovereign right (fount of honour or in Latin: fons honorum) to grant noble titles (see appendix) and create and administrate dynastic orders of three members of the well known Sicilian House of Paternò Castello, more in particular of prince Roberto II Paternò Castello and his two sons, the princes Francesco and Thorbjorn Paternò Castello. The House of Paternò claims dynastic rights regarding the ancient kingdoms of Aragon, Majorca, Sicily, Valencia and Sardinia. In an earlier article I studied what is meant by a person having the fons honorum to grant e.g. titles. The research question of this article is: to what extend do Roberto II Paternò Castello and his two sons have the right to grand titles of nobility and the right to administer dynastic knightly orders? My approach will be to examine the relevant documents and literature and to answer the question from both a historical (legitimate) and legal point of view.

2. Family background

The House of Paternò Castello is among the most prominent historical families of Italy. Over the course of the centuries the family held more than 170 main fiefs. The Paternò family were Peers of the Realm in Sicily until 1860, when the Kingdom of Sicily was annexed by the Kingdom of Sardinia to form the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. Since the beginning of the 18th century members of the family possessed five hereditary seats in the Sicilian Parliament.

Palazzo Biscari, a private palace in Catania, Sicily, was built by will of the Paternò Castello family, the princes of Biscari, starting from the late 17th century, lasting for much of the following century.

Palazzo Biscari, a private palace in Catania, Sicily, was built by will of the Paternò Castello family, the princes of Biscari, starting from the late 17th century, lasting for much of the following century.

The House of Paternò traces its origins to Prince Robert of Embrun and to the Sovereign House of Barcelona and Provence. The family arrived in Sicily in 1060 as part of the entourage of King Roger, seizing the castle of Paternò and assumed its name. The family obtained numerous honors and titles of nobility (see: Libro d’oro della nobiltà italiana). Amongst the principal titles of nobility held by the house of Paternò are: Princes of Biscari, Sperlinga (1627), Manganelli, Val di Savoja e Castelforte (1633); Dukes of Carcaci (1723), Furnari (1643), Giampaolo, Palazzo (1687), Paternò, Pozzomauro e San Nicola; Marquises of Capizzi (1633), Casanova, Desera (1806), Manchi, Regiovanni, Roccaromana, San Giuliano (1662), Sessa, del Toscano; Counts of Montecupo (1772); Barons of Aliminusa, Aragona, Spedolotto Alzacuda, Baglia e Dogana di Milazzo, Baldi, Belmonte, Bicocca, Bidani, Biscari, Burgio, Capizzi, Castania e Saline di Nicosia, Cuba, Cuchara, Cugno, Donnafugata, Ficarazzi, Gallitano, Gatta, Graneri, Imbaccari e Mirabella, Intorrella, Manchi di Bilici, Mandrile, Manganelli di Catania, Marianopoli, Mercato di Toscanello, Metà dei Terraggi di Licata, Mirabella, Motta Camastra, Murgo, Nicchiara, Officio di Mastro Notaro della Corte Capitaniale di Catania, Oxina, Placabaiana, Poiura, Porta di Randazzo, Pollicarini, Pozzo di Gotto, Raddusa e Destri, Ramione, Ricalcaccia, Salamone, Salsetta, San Giuliano, San Giuseppe, Sant’ Alessio, Scala, Schiso, Sciortavilla, Solazzi, Sparacogna, Spedalotto, Terza Parte della Dogana di Catania, Toscano; Lords of Baglio, Collabascia, Erbageria, Gallizzi, Mandrascate, Sciari, Sigona, del jus luendi of Camopetro (see: Libro d’oro della nobiltà italiana and real-aragon.org).

3. Criticism

The fons honorum of the House of Paternò is heavily challenged by Guy Stair Sainty, stating that as a junior member of a junior branch of the family don Roberto has no right to claim any prerogative pertaining to its chief, whether or not such prerogative actually exists (Guy Stair Sainty and Rafal Heydel-Mankoo, World Orders of Knighthood and Merit 2006).

In 1973 Lt Col Robert Gayre published a booklet in which he states that “certain observations should be made which, in our opinion, destroy completely these historical claims. The Papal legitimation which is brought forward to allow the desired descent was, in itself, insufficient to transfer any title to the Crown of Aragon. Furthermore, as Aragon dit not have the Salic law, the descent of  the crown could pass through a female line. Consequently, even if the legitimization had put Don Pedro Sancho into the line of succession, that succession would have gone through a female line on the extinction of the male descent – and so to the house of Paternò would have been out of succession in any case.”. (…) It is clear that no matter how distinguished is the house Paternò, it cannot claim to be the heirs of the Kingdom of the Balearic Isles or of Aragon.” (Lt Col R. Gayre of Gayre and Nigg, A Glimpse of the Chivalric and Nobiliary Underworld, Lochore Enterprises (Malta) Ltd. Valetta, Malta, pp. 27-28).

Therefore, the question arises if the Paternò claims can be taken seriously (both legitimate and legal).

4. Legitimacy of the claims

The Crown of Aragon became part of the Spanish monarchy after the Marriage of Isabella I of Castille and Ferdinand II of Aragon in 1469. This dynastic union laid the foundations for the kingdom of Spain. It is considered a de facto unification of both kingdoms under a common monarch. The Decretos de Nueva Planta (promulgated between 1707 and 1715) ended the kingdoms of Aragon, Valencia and Mallorca and the Principality of Catalonia, and merged them with Castile to officially form the Spanish kingdom (I. Ruiz Rodríguez, Apuntes de historia del derecho y de las instituciones españolas, Dykinson, Madrid, 2005, p. 179; Albareda Salvadó, Joaquim, (2010). La Guerra de Sucesión de España (1700-1714). Barcelona: Crítica. pp. 228–229. ISBN 978-84-9892-060-4). The Decretos de Nueva Planta were a number of decrees issued between 1707 and 1716 by Philip V, king of Spain (grandson of Louis XIV, during and shortly after the end of the War of the Spanish Succession by the Treaties of Utrecht (1713-1714). An important document in this respect is the will of James I.

Recognitions of the claims

At the end of the 18th Century, Ignazio Vincenzo Paternò Castello, prince of Biscari, a man who took a deep interest in history (see: Giuseppe Guzzetta, Per la gloria di Catania: Ignazio Paternò Castello Principe di Biscari), , made a visit to the Balearic Islands. The notes he made during this visit were the basis of the investigations of Francesco, duke of Caraci, in the succeeding century. The events that followed are described by the website real-aragon.org as followed (documents retrieved from mocterranordica.org):

A family conclave, on the initiative of the Duke of Carcaci Don Francesco Paternó Castello e Sammartino, was called on the 14th of June 1853, and held in Palermo in the palace of the Marchese di Spedalotto, head of one of the more senior branches of the family. After a review of the relevant evidence and a wide-ranging discussion, it was the finding of the conclave that the royal rights, which had been the subject of the debate, should be confirmed as belonging to Don Mario, son of the Duke of Carcaci’s younger brother Don Giovanni and his wife Donna Eleonora Guttadauro of Emmanuel Riburdone, the heiress of the House of Guttadauro. This conclusion which had in fact already received the assent of King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies (in whose realm they resided), subject to ratification by the conclave, was reached on the recognition that Don Mario alone had the royal blood of Aragon in his veins from two sources, through the separate descents of both his mother and his father from King James the Conqueror. A family pact was then signed, registered on 16 June 1853 and sealed in the Chamber of Seals and Royal Registers of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. It was decreed that during the minority of Don Mario, his father Don Giovanni should be Regent.

Important documents in this respect are the book “L’Ordine del Collare” by the 7th duke of Carcaci, Don Francesco Maria Giuseppe (1786–1854), 1849/51; the funeral eulogy for the 7th duke of Carcaci,  by Francesco Tornabene, 1854; the letter from the Attorney General of 18 May 1851 and the circular from the governor of the province of Catania, 30 March 1853.

The sealing of the family pact was but one of a series of events following the death of the last Prince of Cassano which determined and confirmed the dynastic rights of the House of Paternó Castello Guttadauro. The final endorsement came on 2nd February 1860 when the Royal Commission for Titles of Nobility recommended to the new king Francis II that a petition by the Most Excellent Lord Don Mario Paternó Castello Guttadauro of the Dukes of Carcaci be granted. The petition was that the Prince should receive all confirmation of the Sovereign’s assent for those “chivalrous distinctions” which he wished to bestow. On 11th February 1860 the king approved the recommendation of the Royal Commission and directed the Secretary of State for Sicilian Affairs to give effect to his approval.

Important documents in this respect are the communication of the Royal Secretary of State, Palermo, 8th March 1860, the decree of H.M. Francesco II, Gaeta, 16 September 1860 and the verification of authenticity regarding the decree, from the City of Padova

The designated Regent, Don Giovanni, worked vigorously to assert the dynastic rights of the family. In doing so he was crowning the work of his elder brother the great Duke of Carcaci who had died in 1854, having spent his life establishing his family’s Royal dynastic rights and regulating the succession.

This series of events shows that a number of members of the family established recognized claims regarding the dynastic rights of ancient independent kingdoms in Italy and Spain.

Succession

The line of succession is claimed by the House of Paternò as follows: After the death of the last Prince of Cassano the heads of the different branches of the Paternò family met in family council at Palermo and recognised that the family’s royal rights were vested in Don Mario Paternò Castello Guttadauro d’Emmanuel of Don Giovanni Paternò Castello iure maritale Prince of Emmanuel (son of Don Mario Guiseppe IV Duke of Carcaci) and his wife Eleanor Guttadauro, last of the house of the Princes of Emmanuel and herself a descendant of the Kings of Aragon (real-aragon.org). The succession of the claim follows both the male and the female line:

  • 1859-1906 Mario I Paternò Castello, Prince of Emmanuel, m. Anna Spitaleri e Grimaldi of the Barons of Maglia and had issue:

1.  Giovanni (-1900) sp.
2.  Felice (-1880) sp.
3.  Enrico Prince of Emmanuel d. 1908 and was succeeded by his sister
4.  Eleanora who succeeded her brother

  • Eleanora Paternò Castello, princess of Emmanuel  m. 1906 her second cousin Roberto I Paternò Castello, Regent 1908-1934 B. of Francesco Mario I (1850-1915) 9th duke of Carcaci and had issue:
  • Francesco Mario II Paternò Castello,  prince of Emmanuel (1913-1968) succeeded when of age in 1934 m. (1) 1932 Angela Reboulet and had issue:
  • Roberto Enrico Francesco Mario Gioacchino Paternò Castello (1937-1996) married (1) Maria of the counts Fattori and has issue:

1.  Aurora (1962-), Duchess of Palma
2.  Francesco Nicola Roberto Paternò Castello (1964-), duke of Gerona m. on Jul 1990 Nob Guiseppina Campesi. Issue:

– Maria b. and d. 17 Mar 1991
– Roberto b. 15 Jul 1992 Duke of Palermo;
– Domenico b. 4 May 2001 Duke of Ayerbe

Prince Roberto m. (2) Bianca Monteforte (1948-1990), marchioness of Montpellier and had issue:

1.  Thorbjorn Paternò Castello (1976-), duke of Valencia

Don Roberto Paternò Castello abdicated in favor of his first son as well as in favor of his second son. To his first son (Francesco) he left the claims to the prerogatives the ancient kingdoms of Aragon, Majorca and Sicily. To his second son (Thorbjorn) he left the claims to the prerogatives of the ancient kingdoms of Valencia and Sardinia (see documents below).

Following these lines of succession, the legitimacy of the fount of honor of the House of Paternò in present circumstances is backed by the prestige of being a descendant in the female line of the early rulers of the ancient kingdoms of Aragon, Majorca, Sicily, Valencia and Sardinia, as well as the recognition of the fount of honor by the King of the Two Sicilies.

5. Legality of the claims

The pretensions of the House of Paternò Castello where also investigated more than once by various judicial courts in the 20th and 21st centuries. The little known 20th century cases were described as an example of the concept of fons honorum in and important Leiden PhD-thesis of Dr. Hans J. Hoegen Dijkhof. This section of the present article is also based on this thesis.

The Fount of honour and the power to grant nobility played a role in the various Paternò cases in Italy. On 1 April 1952, the ‘Pretura Unificata di Bari’, evidently a court of first instance in criminal cases, had to decide a criminal case against a certain Umberto Z., a resident of Bari, who had publicly presented himself as Count of St. Ilarico. Z. was prosecuted for violating article 496 of the Italian Penal Code, as he was denounced by an anonimous person for having committed this crime.

Important document: judgment of the Court of Bari (13 March 1952).

Retaining the Fons honorum
His decisive defense was inter alia that this title had been validly conferred upon him by the ‘Prince Emanuel Francesco Mario Paternò Castello di Caraci’. It appeared after a full investigation of all relevant documents by the Court, that this Prince belonged to one of the first families of Sicily, a family who are descendants of William I, the Conqueror, descendants of the Counts of Gascogne, the Kings of Navarre and Castil and that the Prince was a direct descendant of the Kings of Mallorca and the Baleares and was still Pretender to this throne. The Court found that on these grounds, he had retained his full rights of fons honorum, which meant according to the Court, that he had the power to nobilitate, to grant and confirm coats of arms and to award predicates, taken from places in which his ancestors in fact had exercised sovereign powers, not to mention his right to constitute, resuscitate, reform and exercise the ‘Grand Magistry’ of the chivalric Orders of the dynasty, which are passed from father to son as an insupprimable heredity of birth, which in the ascendants of the Prince had found in fact also a confirmation by Francesco II of Bourbon, King of the Two Sicilies, in 1860. Z. was acquitted.

Legitimate power to grant honours
Then it was the Prince’s own turn. He was denounced on 14 July 1958 and prosecuted, as a resident of Brunate, before and condemned on 29 May 1962 by the ‘Pretore of Monsummano Terme’, the competent judge in first instance, to 4 months and 15 days imprisonment for having allegedly conferred false titles to a number of persons (Article 81 of the Penal Code and article 8 of Law 3.3.51 N.178.) but he was acquitted of several connected alleged counts (Articles 81cpv 640, 56, 640 of the Penal Code) for lack of evidence. He appealed with the ‘Tribunale di Pistoia’ and on 5 June 1964, this court of appeals confirmed his acquittal in first instance and annulled his condemnation in first instance. Basically, the Court said that the conferment to and acceptance of foreign honours, the honours conferred being foreign, by Italian citizens, was legal, while only the public use of these honours by Italian citizens was subject to authorisation by the President of the Republic, to properly safeguard the merits reserved to and represented by the honours bestowed by the Italian State. The Court had also investigated the fons honorum of the Prince and had found that he was the legitimate possessor of this faculty, which according to the Court was an expression of the honorific power of his house, which had been conserved by family tradition and had not suffered ‘debellatio’, the forced surrender of power. He was therefore entitled to grant the honours given by him, because the Court deemed that he had the legitimate power to grant these honours.

Important document: judgment of the Appeal Court in Pistoia (5 June 1964).

The quote from the website of the Corpo della Nobiltà Italiana Circolo Giovanilegt, section ‘Alcune domanda sulla nobiltà’, dated 24 December 2004, may further elucidate this point.

The Public Prosecutor did not institute cassation and it was therefore definitively established between the Italian State and the Prince that the Prince or his direct descendants, by using their fons honorum, can validly confer noble titles.

The courts involved had consulted independent experts who provided concurring opinions in arriving at their judgments. In this connection, reference can also be made to the well known legal  notion of res judicata (the principle that a matter may not, generally, be relitigated once it has been judged on the merits), which is based on the principle of public order of lites finiri oportet, the policy that there must be an end to litigation

6. Conclusions

Some critics regarding the dynastic claims of the House of Paternò lack objectivity. Their statements often do not express the idea that judging the Paternò-claims should not be influenced by particular perspectives, value commitments, community bias or personal interests, to name a few relevant factors. Stair Sainty’s remarks however are fully understandable. The question whether as a junior member of a junior branch of the family don Roberto had the right to claim any prerogative pertaining to its chief can be answered from both a legitimate and a legal point of view. From a legitimate perspective there are a number of cases where a junior branch came to eclipse more senior lines in rank and power, for example the Kings of Prussia and German Emperors who were junior by primogeniture to the Counts and Princes of Hohenzollern, and the Electors and Kings of Saxony who were a younger branch of the House of Wettin than the Grand Dukes of Saxe-Weimar. It is clear that the senior members of the House do not claim the any rights regarding the former kingdoms of Aragon, Majorca, Sicily, Valencia and Sardinia. Therefore it is perfectly legitimate that members of a cadet branch of the House pursue these claims.

Robert Gayre’s remarks concern the succession in the female line. He claims that succession is not possible in the female line. The House of Paternò’s claim is in accordance with the agnatic (or semi-Salic) succession, prevalent in much of Europe since ancient times. This succession is reserved first to all the male dynastic descendants of all the eligible branches by order of primogeniture, then upon total extinction of these male descendants to a female member of the dynasty. Former monarchies that operated under semi-Salic law included Austria (later Austria-Hungary), Bavaria, Hanover, Württemberg, Russia, Saxony, Tuscany, and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Now that it clear that no male successors of the former kingdoms of Aragon, Majorca, Sicily, Valencia and Sardinia exist, the succession in the female line should also be considered as legitimate.

Over the last 60 years at least two independent judicial courts came to the conclusion that the fount of honor of the House is valid. It is very rare that the fons honorum of a family is backed by judicial decisions. As a matter of fact, the House of Paternò is one of the few royal Houses whose pretensions are not only raised by the family but also declared valid by the courts.

It is therefore surprisingly that in the 21st century the claims were again challenged in court in a matter regarding an interlocutory freezing order by an Italian public prosecutor. The seizure was lifted because the court (again) confirmed the fons honorum of the House of Paternò.

Important documents: Tribunale Ordinario di Roma dated 19 December 2013 and  A. Squarti Perla, Sulla sovrana prerogativa come patrimonio famigliare dinastico-titolarità delle sovrane prerogative e del patrimonio araldico della famiglia ex regnante spettanti, jure sanguinis, al re spodestato, purché non debellato, in «Studi della real casa di Savoia», Torino 2007..

The court explicitly states (appendix 2):

Well, on the basis of the voluminous documentation produced by the defense, the attribution to Paternò Castello of the power to confer honors, decorations and chivalric distinctions, cannot be doubted. The suspect is a descendent of the Paterno dynasty, whose consanguinity with the House of Aragon was recognized by numerous judicial findings; (…)

The House of Paternò Castello’s claims regarding the former kingdoms of Aragon, Majorca, Sicily, Valencia and Sardinia are therefore also perfectly legal.

Further reading

  • Abate, A. “Esequie del Duca di Carcaci” Catania 1854
  • Agnello, G. “Il Museo Biscari di Catania nella Storia della Cultura Illuministica del ‘700” in Archivio Storico della Sicilia Orientale, 1957, a. X p. 142
  • Amico, “Catana Illustrata”, 1741
  • Amico, “Sicilia Sacra” 1742
  • Maria Concetta Calabrese, I Paternò di Raddusa, C.U.E.C.M. 1998
  • G. Carrelli, Hauteville e Paternò, in Rivista Araldica, n.3, 1932
  • Enciclopedia Treccani Vol. XXVI, voce “Paternò”, curata dal prof. Giuseppe Paladino dell’Università di Catania
  • Francesco Gioeni, Genealogia dei Paternò, Palermo,1680
  • G. Libertini, Il Museo Biscari, Milano 1930.
  • V. Librando, Il Palazzo Biscari in Cronache di archeologia e di storia dell’arte, 3, 1964, p. 104 e ss.
  • Denis Mack Smith, “Storia della Sicilia Medioevale e moderna”, Universale Laterza (1970) pp. 367 e ss, 376-377.
  • Filadelfo Mugnos, Theatro Genealogico, 1650, s.v. “Paternò” p. 27
  • Filadelfo Mugnos, Teatro della nobiltà del mondo, 1654, s.v. “Paternò“, p. 297
  • Muscia, Sicilia Nobile, 1408, s.v. “Paternò
  • Scipione Paternò e Colonna, Storiografia della Casa Paternò, Catania. 1642
  • Francesco Paternò di Carcaci, I Paternò di Sicilia, Catania, 1935.
  • Vincenzo Notaro Russo, Genealogia della Casa Paternò, 1721, – Archivio Comune di Catania
  • Gaetano Savasta, Storia di Paternò, Catania, 1905
  • F. Ughello, Antonius Paternò, nobilis neapolitanus”, Palermo,1729
  • Bruno Varvaro, Nuove indagini sulla contea di Paternò e Butera nel sec. XII, in Rivista Araldica, n. 4 – dicembre 1931
  • Bruno Varvaro, Hauteville e Paternò in Rivista Araldica, n. 1 – 20 gennaio 1933 *G.E. Paternò di Sessa, F. Paternò, “Dell’origine regia e aragonese dei Paternò di Sicilia”, in Rivista Araldica Fasxcicolo n. 6, giugno 1913
  • Salvatore Distefano, Ragusa Nobilissima – Una famiglia della Contea di Modica attraverso le fonti e i documenti d’archivio, contributo alla Historia Familiae Baronum Cutaliae, Ancillae et Fundi S. Laurentii, Richerche (2006), 109-160, a pag.128 si ricorda che Eleonora Paternò e Tornabene, vedova Biscari, sposò Guglielmo Distefano, duca di San Lorenzo.
  • Librando, V. “Il Palazzo Biscari” in Cronache di Archeologia e di Storia dell’Arte, 1964, n. 3 p. 104 e ss.
  • Guzzetta, G.: “Per la gloria di Catania: Ignazio Paternò Castello Principe di Biscari” Agorà, Luglio- settembre 2001
  • Garuffi, Archivio Storico della Sicilia Orientale, anno IX, 1912
  • Garuffi, Gli Aleramici ed i Normanni, Palermo 1910, Vol. I
  • La Dinastia Sovrana Paternò-Ayerbe-Aragona – L Pelliccioni di Poli
  • 1956 Rome Nobiliario Internazionale – C Santippolito
  • 1985 RAM Messina Corpus Historiae Genealogicae Italiae et Hispaniae – J.W. Imhof 1702 Nurnberg
  • Los Condes de Barcelona Vindicados Cronologia y Genealogia – Prospero de Bofarull y Mascaro Secretario de SM Archivero de la Corona de Aragon
  • 1836 Barcelona Rivista Araldica 1922 p295-305, 343-346
  • Rivista Araldica 1913 p330-335
  • Anales de la Corona de Aragon by Jerònimo Zurita, Tom 1 libro IV cap.126
  • J Lee Shneidman, The Rise of the Aragonese-Catalan Empire 1200-1350, New York and London 1970

Websites

Credits

I wish to thank mr Stephen Screech for his contributions and help.

Appendix 1

A diploma of nobility, issued by Thorbjorn Paternò Castello typically contains the following considerations and conditions:

We, Our Royal Highness Thorbjorn I Paternò Castello di Carcaci Guttadauro di Valencia D’Ayerbe D’Aragona D’Emanuel etc… etc… For the grace of God and by right of hereditary succession, Sovereign Prince, Head of Line and Arms of the Royal House of Valencia and Sardinia, by land and by sea, to all those who will read the present paper, under the eternal protection of the Lord, Having evaluated the high merits and the illustrious and distinguished deeds of Faith, Virtue, Compassion, Feats and Intelligence and the worthy and beseeching requests by [name].(…)

We have decreed and proclaim, certain in science and out of our free will, with a decided and resolute spirit, for special grace and in the fullness of Our Royal Authority at every effect of the ius nobilitandi according to civil, religious, noble, heraldic and chivalric laws, and according to the ways and customs of any time and place, every Country and Nation, that We recognize, concede and bestow on [name] The title of [e.g. Count] with the predicate of [geographical name]. (…)

With the right to transmit them perpetually from male to male in order of primogeniture, and, in the absence of heirs, to the first born of the closest line, and, in the absence of males, una tantum to females. Both male and female collaterals have the title of “Noble of the“, as is the custom, and in any case, the title of “Don” and “Donna” to the most beloved Don [name] [title, e.g. Count] of [geographical name]of the Sovereign House of Valencia (…).

Appendix 2

N. 1080/2013 R.G. SEQ.

Ordinary tribunal of Rome
Section for appeal from attachment measures

Composed by the Messrs. Judges:
Dott. Filippo Steidi                                        President
Dott. Roberta Conforti                                  Judge
Dott. Laura Previti                                        Judge
Gathered in the council chamber, under dissolution of the reservation undertaken at the hearing of 19 December 2013, have pronounced the following

ORDER
on the appeal from a preventive attachment measure, presented on behalf of Paterno Castello Dei Duchi di Carcaci Principi d’Emmanuel Thorbjorn Francesco Giuseppe Nicola Roberto, dated 9 December 2013, regarding a decree issued with respect to the suspect dated 26 November by the GIP of the Tribunal of Rome
– – – – –

The objection is well founded and is admitted.
Paterno Castello Dei Duchi di Carcaci Principi d’Emmanuel Thorbjorn Francesco Giuseppe Nicola Roberto has instituted appeal against the decree indicated above, by virtue of which are subjected to preventive attachment the bank accounts with Cariparma in the name of the Sovereign Order of St John of Jerusalem with Branch 4 of Reggio Emilia and with Banca Intesa in the name of Delio Cardilli with branch Roma Ostia 12, in connection with the crime of forming a criminal association aimed at committing crimes of serious fraud through the constitution of a false chivalric order, of having committed continuous fraud in unison as well as the crime of illicit conferment of decorations under art. 8 of law 178/1951, better described in the provisional indictments which are deemed integrally inserted here.
The defense has contested the existence of suspicion of crimes committed, attaching a voluminous documentation, having examined which, the Court deems the exception well founded.
In the first place it must become clear that the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem Knights of Malta O.S.J., according to the accusatory hypothesis mainly organized and promoted by Paterno Castello and used to confuse an indeterminate multitude of subjects, thus as to draw unjust profits through the conferment of false decorations, is a real order and operating at a supranational level falling under the list of the non authorized “non-national Orders”, as appearing from the annex C to f.n. M_D GMIL III 10 4/051891 of the Ministry of Defense, produced by the defense in Annex 7.
To correctly define the question, it is useful to recall the norms issued in the matter of conferment and use of decorations which were introduced after the birth of the republican order with law 178/1951 which, by instituting the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, sanctioned the general prohibition for Italian citizens if not authorized by the President of the Republic at the proposal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to use in the Republic’s territory honors, decorations or chivalric distinctions conferred to them in non-national Orders or by Foreign States (art. 7).  The norm maintains the dispositions valid before with regard to the use of honors and chivalric distinctions of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Article 8 of the law cited on the other hand forbids the conferment of honors, decorations and chivalric distinctions on behalf of entities, associations and private parties.

On the basis of a systematic reading of the two norms, it appears that the subject law distinguishes with regard to the penal effects between the activity of conferment of honors and their use. In the case of Non-national Orders or foreign States, the conferment of honors, of which it may not be excluded this can also take place on the national territory, remains indifferent to the Italian national order which is only concerned with the use, which is prohibited, unless, it is repeated, the use is authorized. In all other cases (institutions and private parties) the possibility of conferment, with the measure of the criminal sanction, is fundamentally excluded
From this follows the permissibility, in abstracto, of the conferment of the honors granted by the O.S.J., being a non-national Order.
It remains in concreto to verify the possibility of Paterno Castello to confer these honors, or rather the entitledness of the suspect to the ius honorum (the faculty to create nobles and chivalric arms) which transfers itself iure sanguinis to the proper descendants, in the person of the Head of the Name and Arms of the Dynasty.
Well, on the basis of the voluminous documentation produced by the defense, the attribution to Paterno Castello of the power to confer honors, decorations and chivalric distinctions, cannot be doubted. The suspect is a descendent of the Paterno dynasty, whose consanguinity with the House of Aragon was recognized by numerous judicial findings; the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem Knights of Malta, whose Grand Master was H.R.H. Prince Don Roberto II Paterno Castello di Carcaci Ayerbe-Aragona, ascendent of the present suspect, to whom the Grand Mastership was transferred by public act, is a branch historically derived from the original Hospital Order of Malta; from which follows that Paterno Castello as Grand Master of the Order and titulary to the fons honorum (including the ius honorum and the ius maiestatis) had and has the power to confer honors of the same Order.
Furthermore, in view of the existence of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, the question might be raised of induction in error of ignorant subjects beneficiaries of the honors, through taking advantage of the similarity (in the symbols and the insignia) with the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, whose honors can be used on Italian soil.
However, this hypothesis can already be excluded by reading the document ” list of documents to be annexed to the request for admission” which is furnished to who wishes to become part of the order and wherein the difference between the O.S.J. and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta is expressly set out.
In conclusion, the decree objected to, is annulled because of the non existence of suspicion of committed crimes with respect to the alleged crimes.

FOR THESE MOTIVES,
ANNULLS

The decree objected to and orders the Chancery to do the necessary
Rome, 19 December 2013
The Editing Judge

Deposited at the Chancery
Rome, 31 December 2013
The Chancellor

Lines of succession: the case of Faustin Soulouque, emperor of Haiti

soulouque-adelina2

Adélina Soulouque (b. c. 1795-after 1859), née Lévêque, was Empress Consort of Haiti from 1849 until 1859, as wife of Faustin I of Haiti.

The order or line of succession is the sequence of members of a royal family in the order in which they stand in line to the throne. The basis for the succession is often determined in the nation’s constitution. As a matter of personal interest, I have examined the line of succesion of the emperors of Haiti, starting with Faustin I.

Legal basis of the succession

The legal basis for the line of succession at the time that it was in force, was the Constitution of 20 September 1849.

The Constitution made the Imperial Dignity hereditary amongst the natural and legitimate direct descendants of Emperor Faustin I, by order of primogeniture and to the perpetual exclusion of females and their descendants. The Emperor could adopt the children or grandchildren of his brothers, and become members of his family from the date of adoption. Sons so adopted enjoyed the right of succession to the throne, immediately after the Emperor’s natural and legitimate sons (Les constitutions dHaiti, 1801-1885).
Art. 108. — La dignité impériale est héréditaire dans la descendance directe, naturelle et légitime, de Faustin Soulouque, de mâle en mâle, par ordre de progéniture, et à l’exclusion perpétuelle des femmes et de leur descendance.
Art, 109. — La personne de l’Empereur est inviolable et sacrée.
Art. 110. — L’Empereur Faustin Soulouque est proclamé sous le nom de Faustin 1er.
Art. 112. — L’Empereur pourra nommer son successeur, s’il n’a point d’héritier mâle et s’il n’a point de fils adoptif. Cette nomination devra être secrète et enfermée dans une cassette déposée au palais impérial de la capitale.
(…)
Art. 115.— A défaut d’adoption et de nomination par l’empereur, le grand conseil de l’Empire nomme son successeur. Jusqu’au moment où l’élection du nouvel empereur est consommée, le grand conseil exerce le pouvoir exécutif.
Art. 134. — Les princes et les princesses de la famille impériale ne peuvent se marier sans l’autorisation de l’Empereur.
Art. 135. — Les enfants mâles deviennent membres à vie du Sénat lorsqu’ils ont atteint l’âge de 18 ans.
Art. 145. — Il est institué un grand conseil de l’Empire, composé de neuf grands dignitaires choisis par l’Empereur. L’Empereur préside le grand conseil ou en délègue le pouvoir à un de ses membres.
Art. 146. — Les attributions du grand conseil sont :
1° D’exercer l’autorité exécutive dans le cas où il y aurait empêchement pour l’Empereur de l’exercer lui-même;
2° De nommer le successeur de l’Empereur et d’exercer le pouvoir exécutif dans les cas prévus par l’article 115;
3° D’élire le régent dans le cas de l’article 141 ;
4° D’être le conseil de la régence ;
5° De procéder à l’ouverture de la cassette qui renfermera le nom du successeur de l’Empereur, conformément à l’article 112.
tHoDOwZ

Sword with Scabbard of Faustin I (1782–1867), Emperor of Haiti. Inscription: Inscribed on the guard beneath the crowned coat of arms of Haiti: DIEU MA PATRIE ET MON EPEE LIBERTE INDEPENDENCE; on the obverse of the blade: HOMMAGE DU G•O•D’ HAITI; on the reverse of the blade: A L.’ ILL. FAUSTIN SOULOUQUE EMPEREUR D’ HAITI (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Genealogy

In order to see how the line of succession has developed, I have tried to make a fragment of the genealogy of the imperial family.

I. Marie-Catherine Soulouque. b. at Port-au-Prince, Saint-Domingue, 1744. A slave of the Mandingo race. She d. at Port-au-Prince, 9 August 1819.

IIa. H.I.M. Faustin-Élie Soulouque (Faustin I), by the grace of God , and the Constitution of the Empire, Emperor of Haiti. b. at Petit-Goâve, 1782. Freed by Felicite Sonthonax 29 August 1793. Fought in the War of independence as a private soldier 1803-1804, Cmsnd. as Lieut. and ADC to General Lamarre 1806, Lieut. Horse Guards under Presdt. Petion 1810, prom. Capt., prom. Maj. under Presdt. Rivière-Hérard, prom. Col. under Presdt. Guerier 1843, prom. Brig-Gen. and later Lt-Gen. and supreme commander of the guards under Presdt. Riche. Became President of the Republic of Haiti (*1) and took the oath of office 2 March 1847.

Crown Soulouque

Crown of Faustin-Élie Soulouque, decorated with emeralds, diamands, garnets, and other jewels. It had been exhibited in the Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien (MUPANAH)

Proclaimed as Emperor Faustin I, by the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, and assumed the style of His Imperial Majesty, 26 August 1849. Crowned at Port-au-Prince, by the Abbe Cessens according to Episcopalian (Franc-Catholique) rites, 18 April 1852. Attempted to conquer, but failed to take, Santo Domingo in 1856. Founded the Military Order of St Faustin and the Civil Haitian Order of the Legion of Honour, 21st September 1849. Also founded the Orders of St Mary Magdalen and St Anne, 31 March 1856. Deposed 15 January 1859.

Founded the Imperial Academy of Arts in 1856. Fled to the French legation, seeking asylum, but was later taken into exile in Jamaica, aboard a British warship 22 January 1859 (1). Married at Port-au-Prince, December 1849, H.I.M. Empress Adélina (b. ca. 1795), raised to the title of Empress of Haiti with the style of Her Imperial Majesty 26th August 1849, Crowned with her husband at Port-au-Prince 18th April 1852, daughter of Marie Michel Lévêque. After the death of her husband, Adélina fled to the Dominican Republic and then went to Spain, where she was received by the King of Spain himself. She remained at the Royal Palace of Spain in Madrid from 1868 to 1874.

Adélina then left for France and remained there from 1875 to 1877. She ended her days in Rome, Italy in 1879, until her death at the age of about 84 years. She was buried first in Rome near the Vatican and then in Haiti near her husband in 1907, 28 years after his death (*2).

Daughter:
1) H.I.H. Princess Célita Soulouque, m. Jean-Philippe Lubin, Count of Petionville, who was very rich. Together they had four children: three daughters and a son who died at birth.
Adopted daughter:
2) H.S.H. Princess Geneviève Olive [Madame]. b. 1842 (quinze à seize ans in September 1858), d. 1936. Adopted by Emperor Faustin, raised to the title of Princess and granted the style of Her Serene Highness 1850. m. Amitié Lubin (b. ca. 1800), son of Jean Philippe Vil Lubin, Count de Pétion-Ville, by his wife, Elizabeth Ulcénie, née Amitié (*3). Princess Olive travelled around the world: France (1893-1894); Portugal (1894-1899) with her daughter Marie; Canada 1901; America (Philadelphia) (1902-1913); Dominican Republic (1913-1914); France (1914-1918); Dominican Republic (1918-1923); Thailand (1923-1927) as a guest of a friend of the Royal Family; Australia (1927-1929); Haiti 1929-1936) (*4) [Oliva Soulouque, Biografia].

Prince Mainville Joseph and Prince Jean Joseph Soulouque

Prince Mainville Joseph and Prince Jean Joseph Soulouque

IIb. (Prince) Jean-Joseph Soulouque. He d. after 1850, having had issue, eleven sons and daughters, including:
1. H.I.M. (Prince) Mainville-Joseph Soulouque, pretender under the name Joseph I, m. 1854 with Princess Olive (IIa,2). He did participate in some attempts to restore the monarchy in Haiti, without success and d. in 1891. Children:

a. “S.A.S. la princesse” Maria Soulouque, d. Portugal 1899.
b. H.I.M. (Prince) Joseph Soulouque, “prince impérial”, pretender to the throne as Joseph II, left for France with his mother in 1914, fought for the Allies in WWI, returned to the Dominican Republic in 1918 and lived there until his death on 18 June 1922. In 1930 Princess Geneviève Olive received a letter from the new pretender to the throne, her great grandson of 31 years told her that his wife was pregnant. Their names are unknown to me.
c. “S.A.S. le prince” Faustin-Joseph Soulouque, lived in the United States (Philadelphia) until his death in 1913.
d. Marie Adelina Soulouque, daughter of Mainville-Joseph Soulouque with Marie d’Albert. Daughter: Marie Adelina Soulouque, who married Johan Carl Sictus Weijgel Quast (*1), pharmacist [Santa Domingo].

Son?

De Curaçaosche courant 24-07-1852 delpher.nl

De Curaçaosche Courant 24-07-1852 delpher.nl

H.I.H. Princess Célita Soulouque is said to have been the only daughter of Faustin. It has been reported in the Curacaosche Courant of 24 July 1852 that Faustin made preparations for his son “Bobo” to marry the actress Lola Montez. In 1846, the actress arrived in Munich, where she was discovered by and became the mistress of, Ludwig I of Bavaria. Ludwig made her Countess of Landsfeld on his birthday, 25 August 1847. Along with her title, he granted her a large annuity. In 1848 Ludwig abdicated, and Montez fled Bavaria, her career as a power behind the throne at an end. From 1851 to 1853, Lola Montez performed as a dancer and actress in the eastern United States, one of her offerings being a play called Lola Montez in Bavaria.

Interesting comments by mr Christopher Buyers (FB 27 January 2016):

Bobo was actually an escaped galley-slave who had been “candidate” for president several times, but was persuaded to join Soulouque’s cause. After the latter became Emperor, Bobo was ennobled and created a Prince. In April 1851, while serving as Governor and C-in-C of the Northern Province, he was suspected of rebellion and summoned to court. Fearing a certain death, he fled. Later captured and executed along with some other generals the following year. He is mentioned by Helen O’Donnell Holdredge in her biography “The Woman in Black: The Life of Lola Montez”, Putnam, 1955. There, he is described on p 141 as Grand Chamberlain to Faustin I, sent by him to persuade Lola Montez to visit his court in Haiti. Prince Bobo had a son named Alexandre, who was in turn the father of Dr Pierre François Joseph Benoit Bobo aka “Rosalvo”, who was a leading politician, Secretary of State for the Interior, and leader of the revolution which toppled President Sam II in 1915, prompting the US to intervene and occupy Haiti to prevent him becoming president.

Sources

(*1) Website of Chistopher Buyers

(*2) ayudamosconocer.com

(*3) Roman Catholic Church Kingston (Jamaica) Marriages 1839-1869. Act of marriage: Pierre Joseph Amitie Vil Lubin, native of Haiti, lawful son of His Lordship Earl Philippe Vil Lubin and by his wife, Elizabeth Ulcénie. Lord Amitie Vil Lubin, maried on 26 December 1861 HSH Princess Geneviève Olive Soulouque, native of Haiti, lawful daughter of Emperor Faustin Elie Soulouque and Empress Adélina Lévêque. Witnesses: Alexandre Bravo, Charles Grant, widow Lubin, Amitie Lubin, widow of Louis Lubin, Elizabeth Grant, James Male, Jean Baptiste Vil Lubin, George Clermont, A.M. Lhoste, Felicite Faustin, Ameisima Amitie, Elina Mainvaille, L. Bedonet, Elizabeth Bourke, Caroline Crosswell. Source: website of Thierry Jean-Baptiste Soulouque Vil Lubin.

(*4) ayudamosconocer.com

(*5) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Pedigree Resource File,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/2:2:9HXC-TTG : accessed 2015-11-14), submitted by rcsimon2749685.

Literature

  • Alaux. Soulouque and His Empire: From the French of Gustave d’Alaux. 1861. Reprint. London: Forgotten Books, 2013. Print.      
  • Facebook Almanach Royal d’Hayti
  • Constitutions of the World from the late 18th Century to the Middle of the 19th Century, The Americas. Multi-volumed work Constitutions of the World from the late 18th Century to the Middle of the 19th Century Sources on the Rise of Modern Constitutionalism / Quellen zur Herausbildung des modernen Konstitutionalismus.  Ed. by Dippel, Horst The Americas Vol. 10 Constitutional Documents of Haiti 1790–1860 / Documents constitutionnels d’Haïti 1790-1860 / Verfassungsdokumente Haitis 1790-1860  Ed. by Dubois, Laurent / Gaffield, Julia / Acacia, Michel
  • Hartog, [dr.] Johan Curaçao; From Colonial dependence to autonomy. Oranjestad, Aruba: De Wit publishers 1968 (Faustin’s exile on the island of Curaçao)

Discovery (1)

Proof that Soulouque was a free masonI recently discovered that Faustin I was a member of a Masonic lodge in France. This was in tradition with other Haitian leaders. In 1743, after the death of Louis de Pardaillan de Gondrin , duke of Antin, Louis de Bourbon-Condé (1709-1771), count of Clermont, prince of the blood and future member of the Académie française, succeeded him as “Grand Master of all regular lodges in France”. He remained in office until his death in 1771. Around 1744 there were around 20 lodges in Paris and 20 in the provinces. Lodges in the provinces were most often founded by Masons out of Paris on business or via the intermediary of military lodges in regiments passing through a region – where a regiment with a military lodge left its winter quarters, it was common for it to leave behind the embryo of a new civil lodge there. The many expressions of military origin still used in Masonic banquets of today date to this time, such as the famous “canon” (cannon, meaning a glass) or “poudre forte” (strong gunpowder, meaning the wine). 

Discovery (2)

Imperial and Military Order of St Faustin

Imperial and Military Order of St Faustin

In France, only decorations recognised by the Chancery of the Legion of Honour may be worn publicly, and permission must be sought and granted to wear any foreign awards or decorations. Failure to comply is punishable by law. A non-exhaustive list of collectively authorised orders is published by the French government. According to a report in Chambers’s Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, XI, jan-jun-1859, pp. 150-152), the Order of Saint Faustin seems to have been recognized by the Legion of Honour. Further research is being conducted.

Is het in Duitsland strafbaar om ten onrechte een adellijke titel te voeren?

Duitsland, dat moet worden beschouwd als rechtsopvolger van het Heilige Roomse Rijk der Duitse Natie, heeft de adel als stand in 1919 bij wet afgeschaft. Artikel 109, derde lid, tweede volzin, van de Grondwet van de Republiek Weimar van 1919 Weimarer Reichsverfassung) luidt immers als volgt: “Öffentlich-rechtliche Vorrechte oder Nachteile der Geburt oder des Standes sind aufzuheben. Adelsbezeichnungen gelten nur als Teil des Namens und dürfen nicht mehr verliehen werden”. Openbare voorrechten van geboorte en stand zijn middels deze bepaling sedertdien blijvend opgeheven. Onder meer de voorheen adellijke titel “Freiherr” maakt vanaf 1919 uitsluitend onderdeel uit van de geslachtsnaam. De overgang van dit onderdeel van de naam wordt in Duitsland niet beheerst door adelrechtelijke bepalingen, maar door regels van naamrecht, zoals geregeld in het Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch. De vraag kan worden gesteld hoe het zit met het onterecht voeren van adellijke titels in Duitsland. Lees verder

Lex Salica

Als het gaat om de erfopvolging binnen vorstenhuizen, wordt regelmatig een beroep gedaan op de zogenoemde Lex Salica. De Frankische koning Chlodowich I (Clovis) gaf tussen 507 en 511 de opdracht de zogenoemde Lex Salica op schrift vast te leggen. Het is interessant na te gaan in hoeverre een beroep hierop gerechtvaardigd is.

Verspreiding van de Lex Salica

De Salische Franken kwamen in 358 het Romeinse Rijk binnen bij Toxandrië (een gouw die zich uitstrekte van de Kempen in het zuiden tot de Maas in het noorden). In 440 stichtten ze een koninkrijk met als centrum Doornik. Ze breidden hun rijk steeds verder uit naar het zuiden. De Salische Franken leefden voorafgaande aan de Grote Volksverhuizing rond de IJssel, maar zij verplaatsten zich later naar het tegenwoordige Vlaanderen en Frankrijk. Onder Karel de Grote werden stammen in Duitsland, Zwitserland en Noord-Italië onderworpen. Hierdoor kwam een groot deel van West-Europa onder de Salische Wet (zie het proefschrift van W. J. D Boone, De Franken van hun eerste optreden tot de dood van Childerik, Groningen 1954). Lees verder