Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

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What makes genealogy fascinating is not just finding out who your ancestors were but also making discoveries that make you take step back and really think about the times and lives they lived. I made one such discovery not too long ago while expanding the tree on my mother’s side of the family.

What I discovered was that the younger sister Ines of my 8th great grandfather Miguel de la Peña Lillo y Estrada was prosecuted and convicted by the Spanish Inquisition in Lima, Peru! This was totally unexpected.

On Page 56, Article 4 of the “Anales de la Inquisición de Lima” by Ricardo Ricardo Palma we find the following text:

Ines de la Peñalillo, limeña, de 40 años y dueña de una mazamorrería. Era una mujer blanca y que poseía una decente fortuna. Sus criadas la acusaron de hechicera y de que meneaba la mazamorra con una canilla de muerto. La infeliz dió un paseo á medio vestir y pasó á condimentar mazamorras á Valdivia. Abjuró de leví y fueron confiscados sus bienes.

Not much more is known of this 9th great-aunt of mine but, using today’s understanding of the human mind, it appears that she was probably suffering of some sort of mental illness. I am also convinced that there were some in her environs that probably wanted to get hold of her material assets so, why not use the Office of the Holy Inquisition to help? Naturally, all this is pure conjecture on my part.

In any case, let’s focus on some of the interesting tidbits we see in the text above.

I won’t go into the description of the Spanish Inquisition because all of that can be easily found by looking at online resources like Wikipedia or any number of encyclopedias. Just be aware to separate fact from fiction.

Something that will be hard to find, I know it was for me, are the different types of outcomes for those convicted:

Absolution

The rarest of all outcomes because as opposed to what we are all accustomed to in 21st century modern societies, those taken before the Inquisition were presumed guilty until found innocent.

Suspended process

This was the case when the guilt of the accused could not be unquestionably supported yet the person remained under suspicion. At any time the Inquisition can resume the tribunal against him or her with an eventual conviction. In practice, this was a great loophole for the authorities to get out of prosecuting someone innocent while not admitting error.

Penitence

This required the convicted to publicly denounce (abjure of) his or her crimes. There were three types:

  1. Abjuración de levi: This was a sentence meted out to those that were convicted of “minor” crimes such as bigamists, blasphemers, or those that under a “light” suspicion of heresy. The typical penalties here would be a fine, forced pilgrimage to a holy site, isolation in a convent, or forced fasting of all solids and rarely of even liquids for a period of time.
  2. Abjuración de vehementi: This was for those for whom there were serious suspicions of guilt or there were only two accusing witnesses or the person refused to confess. Typical penalties here would be exile, public flagellation, become a galley slave, or imprisonment.
  3. Abjuración “en forma”: This was in those cases where guilt was proven and the person had confessed their crimes. This was the typical result for those practicing Judaism, especially those that had made a public conversion to Roman Catholicism but continued being practicing Jews in secret. Like with the type above, the typical penalties here would be exile, public flagellation, becoming a galley slave, or imprisonment.

Subsequent convictions of the first type (levi) did not carry extra penalties. Subsequent convictions of the second and third types would mark the person as having relapsed and may even be condemned to death. If the person confessed his or her sins, then they would be strangled before being burned. If they did not confess, they would be burned alive. It should be noted that the actual execution was not carried out by the Church but by the State’s secular authorities to whom the convict would be transferred over after the sentenced was pronounced.

As one can see, the death penalty was reserved for repeat offenders and only in extreme cases, at least in the American Colonies. Contrary to popular belief, the Spanish Inquisition did not automatically burn at the stake everyone that came before it but rather had a range of penalties. Having said that, torture was commonplace and for the non Roman Catholics in Spain, it was a terrifying time with thousands being burnt at the stake during the Inquisition’s existence. Interestingly, as violent as it was at time (at least by today’s standards), torture was not as frequently applied as in the rest of contemporary Europe since even they were of the opinion that confessions brought about during torture are not dependable.

It should also be noted that the Inquisition in the colonies was not as severe as in Spain.

Links of interest:

 

Agustin Edwards Eastman. Una Biografia Desclasificada

cover of book on agustin edwards

Earlier this year a book was published titled “Agustín Edwards Eastman. Una biografía desclasificada del dueño de El Mercurio” by Víctor Herrero, a Chilean journalist with an international background. For those that don’t know, Agustín Edwards Eastman is arguably one of the most powerful men in Chile and has been that for the better part of a century. He is the current owner of the media conglomerate of “El Mercurio” and it is alleged that he was the driving force behind the coup that overthrew President Salvador Allende and installed General Augusto Pinochet as the Head of State of Chile.

Normally, I wouldn’t write about a book published that writes about such a public figure. However, this is an exception because (a) Agustín Edwards Eastman is a relative (3rd degree cousin of my maternal grandmother) (b) I was contacted by the author last year while he was doing his research and my name is listed in the book.

The book was the #1 best seller in the non-fiction category in Chile for several weeks and, as of this writing, it is still in the top 10 after 7 weeks. It has had a mixed reception in the country with a broad range of reactions on either side of the political divide. I know that the reception among the Edwards family members hasn’t been entirely positive.

I won’t go into the “meat” of the book which is the actual life of the man but just the genealogy listed. I have not had the pleasure of meeting him though I think my grandmother probably did. In any case, let’s move on.

I have written several articles about the Edwards family of chile:

On pages 102-113 of the first edition of the book, the author goes over the origins in Chile and the family legends that are prevalent in the Edwards family. As the author says, though the founder George Edwards was humble about his origin, his descendants created many stories about a noble past and an exotic origin.

Herrero starts with the story of how George Edwards arrived in Chile in the beginning of the 19th century and then goes into several of the myths that exist. The principle of which is the claim that George Edwards was really the 4th son of Lord Hugh Mostyn, Baron de Vaux and of Elizabeth O’Higgins and not the humble son of the working class George Edwards and Elizabeth Brown.

One of the tantalizing details written in the book is how the first Agustín Edwards in Chile (George Edwards’ 6th born child) married his niece Juana Ross Edwards who was his elder sister’s daughter. It caused a huge scandal at the time considering that the Edwards family was one of the richest in the country and Agustín the richest man. Because they were to marry in the Roman Catholic Church, they needed to get a special dispensation to be allowed to marry. Even though they were very rich, it was not easy (and it shouldn’t be) but they were eventually successful. Juana Ross Edwards, was a very religious woman and there have been many books written about this extremely interesting woman.

Herrero accurately recounts the conversation I had with him regarding the origins of George Edwards, at least according to the available documentation and my 4th great-grandfather’s own words. George Edwards was of humble origin, the son of a carpenter, and grew up in a working class family. He was a barber/surgeon (they were the same thing in the 18th century) and sailed with various ships serving the Crown against the Spanish. There are various stories of how he ended up in Chile, most very romantic speaking of love at first sight, etc. Whichever the truth he deserted his shipmates and chose to stay in “enemy” territory and after spending some time in a Chilean prison, he ended up marrying the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in the area and becoming a very successful businessman himself. However, he never forgot his enmity towards the Spanish Crown and when the Chilean Revolution broke out, George Edwards was one of the principle financiers of Bernardo O’Higgins’ enterprise and because of that was granted citizenship in the new republic.

He also summarizes well my refutation of the Mostyn de Vaux myth where I demonstrate that not only is the legend false, it’s also a really bad story that has all facts going against it. As the author states, the particular branch of the Edwards family was among the richest and its scions studied at Eton and Oxford, their members were regulars in the highest aristocratic circles of London and socialized with members of the Royal Family there. The author speculates that they felt they needed a backstory to make them fit in better and, considering it was the late 19th century/early 20th, it may or may not be true. What is true is that when a professional genealogist was hired to research the family, the findings were discarded and never spoken of again because, presumably, the findings were not liked.

What was news to me and pleasantly surprised me was that the famous writer Joaquín Edwards Bello (1st degree cousin to my grandmother’s father) shared the same opinion as I. If someone like him reached the same conclusion as I did, I know I am on the right track!

Now to the disappointing part…

Section from page 104 of the book “Agustín Edwards Eastman. Una Biografia Desclasificada”

 

However exciting it was that my name was in such a popular book, it was a bit of let down to see that my name was written incorrectly (my name is “Kimon Andreou” and not “Kim Andreou”), had my nationality wrong (I am not English but an American of Greco-Chilean parentage), and I am not a distant relative of the Edwards.

However, the citation in the bibliography has my name correct.

To the author’s credit, when I reached out to him he did commit to working with his publisher to correct the mistakes in the next edition. Hopefully, the edits were submitted in time.

Again, as mentioned at the top of this article I am only discussing the sections relevant to the subject area of the blog and not the rest of it. I leave that criticism to others more qualified than I and I will keep my own personal opinions to myself, though my family is aware.

In any case, I would recommend to anyone that is interested in the subject matter to pick up a copy regardless of one’s personal political affiliation and opinion on Agustin Edwards Eastman.

Links of interest:

 

 

2015 Gala Fundraising Event for the Royal House of Portugal

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Further on the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem

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I have written before about the Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem several times and my personal opinion on their status is on public display right here on this blog. Since writing that original article I have been contacted over the years by many individuals that are members of the various factions of the group. Some have been unchivalrous but most have been very kind in their communications. All, however, tried to prove that the particular Lazarite faction they belong to is legitimate and some even tried to recruit me!

In any case, I have decided to put together a quick reference guide in response to some of the most common arguments presented by the Lazarite supporters.

Fons Honorum

The fundamental requirement for any chivalric order is to have a fount of honor (fons honorum) backing it up. The requirement exists because the chivalric order is a conferral of a distinct kind of honor that elevates the recipient. Such an honor can be granted solely by one that has the capacity to do so, in other words a source for the honors. In practical terms, this means that founts of honor are:

  • Regnant Monarchs of Sovereign States. Examples are the King of Spain, the King of the Belgians, etc.
  • The Head of State of a Republic of a Sovereign State. Examples are the President of the USA, the President of the Hellenic Republic, etc.
  • Heads of formerly regnant Sovereign Houses. Examples are the Royal House of Portugal, the Imperial House of Russia, etc.
  • The 5 Ancient Apostolic Sees of the Christian Church:
    • Holy See of Rome, in the person of the Pope. Note: The sovereignty of the person of the Pope is through the recognition of the sovereignty of the Holy See and not that of the Vatican City State
    • Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, in the person of the Ecumenical Patriarch. Note: beyond the Apostolic See, he is also co-sovereign of the State of Mt. Athos
    • Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, in the person of its Patriarch
    • Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, in the person of its Patriarch
    • Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, in the person of the Pope & Patriarch of Alexandria
    • Note: Though not widely known in the Roman Catholic and Protestant West, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchates are considered sovereign in their own right, particularly the Ecumenical Patriarchate, based on the same principles as those of the Holy See only in a different geographical area.

There is also the unique case of an Order being in itself sovereign: The Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Rhodes, and Malta. They are today known simply as the Order of Malta or SMOM.

So, let’s examine the Order of St. Lazarus today and their main factions starting with the “Paris-Malta Obedience”, generally referred to as the “Spanish Branch”.

The “Spanish Branch” is currently headed up by its Grand Master Don Carlos Gereda y de Borbón, de jure uxoris Marquis de Almazán. However, he is not a fount of honor and cannot confer honors. Now, if the Order of St. Lazarus were placed under the Spanish Crown, it would become a Spanish Royal Order and effectively a new creation.

I should also note that Francisco de Borbón y de La Torre, de jure uxoris Duke of Seville, under whose Grand Magistry the Order of St. Lazarus was allegedly reconstituted in 1930 (after deciding in 1910 that they are to be governed by its knights without the need of a temporal protector), was also not a fount of honor.

The other main faction is known as the “Orléans Obedience“, under the Royal House of France (Orléans). This one would be considered as a legitimate and valid chivalric order since the Royal House of France is indeed a fount of honor. One can even argue that it would be a sort of revival of the ancient Order that was merged with the Order of Mt. Carmel by the French Crown in the 17th century. However, in a statement made by Henri, Count of Paris & Duke of France, on January 31, 2014 in his capacity as Head of Royal House of France (Orléans) the temporal protection of any group named as “Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem” has been rescinded since Easter 2012. I am including an image of the declaration from the website.

Statement by Count of Paris regarding the Order of St. Lazarus

This means that today, there is absolutely no group with the Lazarite name that has any sort of fons honorum to back it up.

Recognition by the Spanish Crown or any other State

This has been brought up so many times that it never ceases to amaze me how some people just don’t understand what they’re saying. Having a registered legal entity in any jurisdiction does not mean State recognition. It simply means that the proper paperwork was filed and the fees paid to set up a corporation (for-profit or non-profit). Nothing more and nothing less.

Then there are the examples brought forward of certain States, for example the Republic of Hungary, thanking or in some other way acknowledging the Order for something. This is interpreted as recognizing the Order as being a valid Chivalric Order. It’s not. This is the same sort of acknowledgement given to such organizations as the Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, etc. and using the name the group uses for itself. It does not mean anything else.

However, let’s hypothetically accept that the group is recognized by a sovereign State. What exactly is being recognized? Is the Order of St. Lazarus claiming to be a sovereign entity in its own right like the Order of Malta? Is the Order of St. Lazarus being recognized as an Order of the sovereign State doing the recognition? What exactly is being recognized other than there exists a group that calls itself “Order of St. Lazarus”?

Finally, many insist that by having Carlos Gereda y de Borbón, de jure uxoris Marquis de Almazán, as the Grand Master of the Paris-Malta Obedience it means that the Royal House of Spain approves the Order. This is a preposterous claim! Carlos Gereda y de Borbón is the 6th cousin once removed on his mother’s side of HM King Felipe VI of Spain, not exactly a close relative.

Protection by the Melkite Patriarch

The Melkite Patriarch has repeatedly confirmed his protection of the Order of St. Lazarus and its various factions. Nobody can dispute this fact. However, this does not make the order anything more than an ecclesiastical honor for the simple reason that the Melkite Patriarch is not a fount of honor and is subordinate to the Roman Pontiff. The Melkite Patriarch has asserted that he is “equal” to the Bishop of Rome but, it is patently clear that is not the case:

  • The Melkite Patriarch has accepted Roman Supremacy and being fully subordinate to the Holy See of Rome
  • Pope Gregory XVI granted Patriarch Maximos III Mazloum the titles of “Patriarch of Alexandria and Jerusalem” in 1838, an action no typically done to one’s equal.
  • In around 1891/2, during Melkite Patriarch Gregory II Youssef’s visit to Rome he was forced to the floor in front of Pope Pius IX and the latter placed his foot on the Patriarch’s head, reminding him of his place.[1][2] The Melkite Patriarch continues to this day to be subordinate to Rome.

This protection is also referenced to cover the gap in the Order of St. Lazarus from 1830 when the Royal House of France decreed it no longer offers its protection to either 1910 (when the Order of St. Lazarus decided it no longer needed a fons honorum) or 2004 (when the Orleans branch of the Royal House of France granted temporal protection, rescinded Easter 2012). It should also be noted that there really isn’t any documentation to cover the period between 1830 to 1910 and much of what is claimed about the period is based on interpretations of insignia seen in paintings that resemble (under certain angles, lighting, and discoloration assumptions) those of the Order of St. Lazarus (maybe).

Finally, support and/or protection of a bishop or archbishop or even the head of a particular Church that makes up the Roman Catholic Church does not grant a group any status above that of ecclesiastical decoration for the simple reason that the fons honorum is not present.

References
  1. Zoghby, Elias (1998). Ecumenical Reflections. Fairfax, VA.: Eastern Christian Publications. p. 83. ISBN 1-892278-06-5.
  2. Parry, Ken; David Melling (editors) (1999). The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity. Malden, MA.: Blackwell Publishing. p. 313. ISBN 0-631-23203-6.

VIP Membership

Another argument put forward to support the legitimacy of the Lazarite groups is the very impressive list of members they have. Nobody can argue that having Grandees of Spain, Flag Officers of the Military, Peers of the UK, and Bishops is not a big deal; it definitely is. However, regardless of the length and breadth of the VIP member list, it does not make it a chivalric order. It makes it a great club for networking but not an order of chivalry.

 

Closing remarks

In closing this article, I will repeat what I have said many times before. Most of the Lazarite groups do amazingly good charity work, moreso than many legitimate chivalric order or even NGOs. I am first to recognize this work and commend them for that; they surely deserve congratulations and admiration for that work. However, they could do that same work without the trappings of a chivalric order and losing their credibility.

 

A Coat of Arms is a big deal

I’ve said it before and will say it again: don’t adopt a coat of arms lightly!

Arms serve, primarily, an identification function i.e. identifying the bearer/owner of the arms. This was true in the legendary beginning of heraldry, recognizing one knight from another from a distance on the battlefield, to today where the arms are more likely to be used as an online profile pic. An equivalent of sorts is an identifying tattoo or your unique signature.

However, what makes a coat of arms particularly special is that it is inherited. Using the tattoo example, think of a coat of arms as a tattoo that will be inherited by your descendants until the end of time (or the line dies out, whichever comes first). Just like you would want to be absolutely sure about the tattoo you’re going to get, you need to be absolutely sure about your arms. Even more so because of the hereditary nature of arms.

The inspiration for this post comes after reading the entry of October 9th on the blog “Crónicas heraldicas” by José Juan Carrión Rangel whereby someone is announcing publicly that he no longer wants his adopted arms as they no longer represent him. He is essentially going through a tattoo removal process, something most everyone wants to avoid happen.

The lesson learned from this story is to take it slow, do your soul-searching, take your time, test different versions, take your time, think hard and deep, and did I mention take your time?

 

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