Archive for March 2009

Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem

lazarus_crossLazarus Cross

There has been much talk about the Order of St. Lazarus (OSLJ) recently and though my personal opinion on the Order has already been published elsewhere on the excellent blog “Blog de Heráldica” maintained by my friend Maj. José Juan Carrión Rangel, I felt I should expand upon it here (this *is* my blog after all 🙂 ).

The OSLJ presents itself as an Order of Nobility that continues the traditions of the ancient crusader Order of Saint Lazarus. Critics claim that the OSLJ is a self styled Order and it is no way, shape or form a nobiliary corporation.

There are many sources one can look to for the Order’s history, including the Catholic Encyclopedia, the research done by Guy Stair Sainty, the organization’s own site and, of course, Wikipedia.

I won’t try to go through the history of the Order, though you are welcome to read through the links above yourself.

One thing that will become evident is that the French Revolution of 1789 really muddied the waters. This is when the accounts of the Order and those of its critics diverge. The official history of the OSLJ claims that new members were admitted by the King of France in exile while critics point to a statement by the Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honor from 1824 where the text reads “…Orders of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem and Our Lady of Mount Carmel united…this last has not been awarded since 1788 and is to be allowed to become extinct“. (Note that the OSLJ and Our Lady of Mount Carmel had been united in 1608)

Order of St. Lazarus and of Our Lady of CarmelOrder of St. Lazarus and of Our Lady of Carmel

Furthermore, critics claim that as the provisions of Canon Law state that an Order becomes extinct 100 years after the death of its last member and the last member died in 1857, the Order formally became extinct in 1957.

Of course, what has been mentioned above is the story of the “renegade” Lazarites in France, under the Commandery of Boigny.

In 1572, Pope Gregory XIII had united the Sicilian branch to the Crown of Savoy. The reigning head of the House, Philibert III, decided to unite this order with his House’s existing Order of St. Maurice (founded in 1434). Henceforth, the name of the united order became the Order of Sts. Maurice and Lazarus. This Order is still awarded today as a dynastic Order by the House of Savoy.

OSSML CommanderInsignia of a Commander of the Order of Sts. Maurice and Lazarus

Critics who assert that the French Order of Lazarus ceased to exist practically in 1857 and formally in 1957, acknowledge that the Savoian Order is the legitimate successor of the ancient Order of St. Lazarus.

To continue, though, with the modern Order of St. Lazarus, let’s examine some more information.

In the 1830s, it is claimed that since the Order no longer had a protector, a new one was sought in the Melchite-Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch (not to be confused with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch).

It is said that in 1841, the Melkite-Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch Maximos III accepted for himself and his successors to be the Spiritual Protector of the Order.

Though critics question this original acceptance, subsequent Patriarchs have acknowledged this role of theirs in published statements. Personally, I am willing to accept the claim that the OSLJ is under the Spiritual Protection of the Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch.

However, now we reach the crux of the issue with the OSLJ.

As with all Orders of Knighthood, one must determine whether a valid fons honorum is covering the Order. In other words, who is the Temporal Protector of the Order?

Catholic Orders have the Pope as the fons honorum, others have either reigning or previously reigning heads of state. For example, the Most Venerable Order of St. John of Jerusalem is under the currently reigning monarch of the UK, HM Queen Elizabeth II. Another example is the Order of Sts. Maurice and Lazarus that is under the previously reigning House of Savoy. Both completely valid and unquestionably valid Orders.

However, who is the fons honorum for the OSLJ?

The Melchite Greek Patriarch is in communion with the Pope and thus under the latter’s jurisdiction and subordination. Additionally, Patriarchs (both Catholic and Orthodox) have never acted or considered as sovereigns nor did they ever have temporal powers. At most, during the Ottoman occupation, they had some civil powers over their flock but, it was equivalent to a ministerial position.

It is my opinion that the modern OSLJ is indeed lacking a valid fons honorum to claim nobiliary status. At most, I would consider it a church award given by the Greek Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch.

Having said that, let’s examine the Order as it is today beyond the claim to nobility.

The Order counts amongst its knights members of ancient nobiliary houses of Europe, including Grandees of Spain. Additionally, the Patron of the Order in Spain is none other than the Cardinal Primate of Spain, the Archbishop of Toledo.

Despite the criticism it has received, it has been accepted as a legitimate Order of Chivalry in several countries and its decorations are allowed to be displayed alongside those of other Orders and military awards.

The OSLJ truly believes in its hospitaller mission and has a very much respected humanitarian role. The Order’s work has been acknowledged by the European Union parliament, where funds were entrusted to the OSLJ to manage aid in Easter Europe. Also, perhaps ironically, Pope John Paul II welcomed knights of the OSLJ in their full regalia to his palace in Rome in recognition of their work in Poland. However, once again, the Pope did not extend his acknowledgment of the Order.

Finally, from what I have seen, the Order comports itself in the spirit of traditional chivalry and try to maintain its alleged roots. The knights of the Order try to be examples in their communities and to represent the OSLJ in the best possible way.

OSLJ OfficerInsignia of an officer of the Order of St. Lazarus

To summarize my opinion, I don’t consider the OSLJ to either be the actual successor of the ancient Order nor does it have a fons honorum; but, I consider them to act in a more chivalrous way than some of those “legitimate” Orders. Therefore, I see it as complete irony for those who claim to be true knights to treat the OSLJ in the most unchivalrous of behaviors.

The OSLJ deserves our respect, if nothing else, for its proven, hands-on humanitarian work.

Whether the Order of St. Lazarus truly is a “legitimate” Order of Chivalry or not, is up to you as this post only represents my own opinion.

The website of the modern Order of St. Lazarus is:
The website of the Order of Sts. Maurice and Lazarus is:

See also: Further on the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem

Note: Images courtesy of Wikipedia and Morton & Eden Ltd.


Heraldry of Zakynthos


I just received a book from a friend in Greece titled “Heraldry of Zakynthos from the Codex 17 of the Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece” or “Οικόσημα της Ζακύνθου από τον Κώδικα 17 της Ιστορικής και Εθνολογικής Εταιρείας Ελλάδος” by John Laskaratos-Typaldos (Ιωάννης Λασκαράτος-Τυπάλδος).

This book is a reprint from issue 31 of 1988 of the periodical of the Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece.

This Codex was donated to the Society in 1882 by a noted personality of Zakynthos named Sergio Christodoulou Raftanis.

The late Dr. Typaldos painstakingly went through the poor quality images of the Codex 17, indexed them, researched them and tried to match them to the appropriate names. The book has images of the original pages and it is easy to see the poor quality images as well as the  round shields that distorts the charges a bit.

What makes this research work special is 1) the length the author went to tie the heraldry together and 2) that it lists burgher and corporate arms in addition to those of the nobility.

The original text had names written incorrectly or in a way that couldn’t be read clearly. Typaldos managed to make the links and used as a source the unpublished archives of count Alexander Merkatis. These archives contain a treasure trove of genealogical and heraldic information for the families of the island.


The book contains 296 shields with their blazons and names they are associated with. Not only are those of the local Greek populace listed but also that of Venetian nobles that were temporarily stationed on the island as governors, military chiefs, etc. Also, a unique occurrence in Greece, we find corporate arms such as those for the customs & duties office of the island. Moreover, the codex is the largest armorial ever discovered in the Greek language.

In reading the entries for each shield and name, one learns of the title of the person (if titled) or if the family is non-noble. We also learn what are the roots of the family (e.g. Crete, Constantinople, Morea, Athens, Chios, etc.), what is the first recording of the family on the island and in general. We also learn of when was the family first inscribed in the Libro d’Oro of Zakynthos, if applicable.

It should be noted that Zakynthos, along with the other Ionian islands, was under Venetian rule until 1797 when Napoleonic France took over. Thus, the customs, mannerisms and traditions very much mimicked Italy. To this day, the accent of those from Zakynthos has a distinct Italian “feel” to it.

The names covered are the following (in parentheses is the name in Italian):

  • Αβάσταγος (Avastago)
  • Αβούρης/Αβούριος (Avuri)
  • Αγιαποστολίτης (Ajiapostoliti)
  • Αγουστόνης/Αουστόνης (Austoni)
  • Αλιμπράντης/Αλιπράντης (Alipranti)
  • Αλμπέρτο  (Alberti)
  • Αντρηόλας/Αντριόλας/Ανδρεόλας (Andriola)
  • Αντρίζης/Αντρίτσης/Ανδρίτσης (Andrizzi)
  • Αντρούτσος/Ανδρούτσος-Τρομπέττας (Andruzzo-Trompeti)
  • Ανκούσολα (Anguissola)
  • Αντίπας/Αντύπας (Antipa)
  • Αρακλιότης/Αρακλιώτης/Ηρακλειώτης (Araclioti/Iraclioti)
  • Αργυρόπουλος (Argyropoulo/Jargyropulo)
  • Βαζαΐος/Μπαζαΐος/Μπασέγλιος (Baseglio)
  • Βαλαρέτζος/Βαλαρέσσος (Valaresso)
  • Βάλβης/Μπάλμπης (Balbi)
  • Βαλιέρ (Valier)
  • Βάλσαμος/Μπάλσαμος (Balsamo)
  • Βαρβαρήγος/Μπαρμπαρίγος (Barbarigo)
  • Βαρβιάνης/Βαρβίας/Μπαρμπίας (Barbia/Barbiani)
  • Βαρδάνης (Vardani)
  • Βάρδας (Varda)
  • Βαρζός/Μπαρζός (Barzo)
  • Βελέττης/Μπελέτης (Beletti)
  • Βέμπο/Μπέμπο (Bembo)
  • Βενάρδος/Βερνάρδος/Μπενάρδος (Bernardo)
  • Βενετάντο/Μπενετάντο (Benetanto)
  • Βενέτος/Μπενέτος (Veneto)
  • Βενιέρ (Venier)
  • Βεντούρας (Ventura)
  • Βεντραμίν (Vendramin)
  • Βερίκιος/Βερύκιος (Verichio)
  • Βιδάλε (Vidale)
  • Βιτούρης (Viturri)
  • Βλασόπουλος/Βλασσόπουλος (Vlassopulo)
  • Βλαστός (Vlasto)
  • Βολεντιέρας/Βολοντιέρας/Βολτέρρας/Βολτιέρας (Volterra/Volentiera)
  • Βορήσης (Vorissi)
  • Βούλγαρης (Vulgari/Bulgari)
  • Βούλτσος/Μπούλτσος (Vulzo)
  • Γαήτας (Gaeta)
  • Γαλέτος (Galeto)
  • Γαλιάτζας/Γαλιατζής/Γαλιάτσης (Galliazzi-Stravopodi)
  • Γάμπαρας (Gambara)
  • Γαμπριέλ/Γκαπριέλ (Gabrielli)
  • Γαρδέλης/Γαρδελής (Gardeli)
  • Γαρζώνης (Garzoni)
  • Γερακάρης (Geracari)
  • Γεωργάνος (Jorgano)
  • Γιαννόπουλος (Jannopulo)
  • Γιαργυρόπουλος/Διαργυρόπουλος (Diargyropulo/Jargyropulo)
  • Γκράντος/Γράδος (Grado)
  • Γρατενίγος (Gradenigo)
  • Γριμάνης (Grimani)
  • Γρυπάρης (Gripari)
  • Δάνδολος (Dandolo)
  • Δαρίβας/Νταρίβα/Ρίβας (DaRiva/Riva)
  • Δαρέζης/Νταρέζης (Daresi)
  • Δελαζάρης/Ντελάζαρης/Λάζαρης (De Lazzari)
  • Δενάζης/Ντενάζης (De Nasi)
  • Δερώσσης/Ρώσσης (De Rossi)
  • Δεσύλλας/Σιγούρος-Δεσύλλας (Siguro)
  • Δικόπουλος/Ντονά-Δικόπουλος (Dona-Dicopulo)
  • Δονάτος (Donato)
  • Ζαμπέλης/Ζαμπέλιος (Zambelli)
  • Ζωγράφος (Zografo)
  • Ζωΐτσης (Zoitsi)
  • Ζωναράς (Zonara)
  • Θερειανός (Theriano)
  • Καβάλλης (Cavalli)
  • Καλανδρηνός (Calandrino)
  • Καλάργας/Καλάργκος (Calarga)
  • Κάλβος/Κάλμπος (Calbo)
  • Καλέκας (Caleca)
  • Καλέτζης (Calenzi)
  • Καλλέργης (Callergi)
  • Καλόφωνος (Calofono)
  • Καμύλος (Camillo)
  • Καμινάρης (Caminari)
  • Κανάλε (Canale/Da Canale)
  • Κανδήλας/Καντήλας (Candila)
  • Καντούνης (Canduni)
  • Καοτόρτα (Caotorta)
  • Καούτζης/Καούτσης (Cauzzi)
  • Καπέλλος (Capello)
  • Καπνίσης (Capnisi/Kapnist)
  • Καρβελάς (Carvela)
  • Καρρέρ/Καρρέρης (Carrer)
  • Κατελάνος/Κατηλάνος/Κατηλιανός (Catelano)
  • Κατήφορος (Catiforo)
  • Καψάς (Capsa)
  • Καψοκέφαλος (Capsochephalo)
  • Κεφαλληνός/Μαλατέστας-Κεφαλληνός (Malatesta-Cefallino)
  • Κλάδης (Cladi)
  • Κοκκίνης (Cocchini)
  • Κόλας/Κόλλας (Cola)
  • Κομούτος/Κουμούτος (Comuto)
  • Κονταράτος (Condarato)
  • Κονταρίνης (Contarini)
  • Κοντονής (Condoni)
  • Κοντούτζης/Κοντούτσης (Conduzzi)
  • Κόππο (Coppo)
  • Κοραής (Coray)
  • Κορνάρος (Cornaro)
  • Κορνέρ (Corner)
  • Κορρέρ (Correr)
  • Κουερίνης (Querini)
  • Κουκουλομάτης (Cuculomati)
  • Κουρούμαλλος (Curumalo)
  • Κούρτζολάς/Κούρτσολας/Ντακούρτσολα (Curzola)
  • Κούτζης/Κούτσης (Cuzzi)
  • Κουτούβαλης (Cotuvali)
  • Κυβετός (Chiveto)
  • Λαμπέτης (Lambeti)
  • Λεκατσάς/Ρούσος-Λεκατζάς (Russo-Lecazza)
  • Λευκαδίτης (Lefcaditi)
  • Λιβάνης (Livani)
  • Λίβιος (Livio)
  • Λογοθέτης (Logotheti)
  • Λοκατέλλης/Λοκατέλλι/Ντοκαδέλος (Locatelli)
  • Λούντζης (Lunzi)
  • Μαγδαληνός (Magdalino)
  • Μακρής (Macri)
  • Μαλιπιέρος (Malipiero)
  • Μαμουνάς/Μαμωνάς (Mamuna)
  • Μανδρικάρδης/Μαντρικάρδης (Mandricardi)
  • Μάνεσης (Manessi)
  • Μανιατάκης (Maniatachi)
  • Μανιός (Manio)
  • Μανολέσος (Manolesso)
  • Μανούσος (Manusso)
  • Μαρίνης (Marin)
  • Μαρκάτης/Μερκάτης (Mercati)
  • Μαρντίτος (Mardito)
  • Μαρσέλλος /Μαρτζέλος/Μαρτσέλος/Μέγκουλας (Marcello-Mengula)
  • Μαρτελάος (Martelao)
  • Μαρτινέγκας (Martinengo)
  • Μασάρης (Masari)
  • Μάτεσης (Matessi)
  • Μελισσηνός (Melissino)
  • Μελισσουργός (Melissurgo)
  • Μελκύ/Ανέζη/Μέλλη (Melchi)
  • Μέμο (Memo)
  • Μέτζο (Mezzo)
  • Μιχαλίτζης/Μιχαλίτσης (Michalizzi)
  • Μιάνης (Miani)
  • Μικέλης (Michiel)
  • Μιλίκης (Milichi)
  • Μίνιος (Minio)
  • Μινότος/Μιυώτος (Minotto)
  • Μίστορης (Mistori)
  • Μοάτζο/Μοάτσος (Moazzo)
  • Μοθωναίος (Mothoneo)
  • Μολίν (Molin)
  • Μονδίνος/Μοντίνος (Mondino)
  • Μόντε/Μόντης (Monte)
  • Μορέλλης/Μουρέλης (Morelli)
  • Μορζίνης/Μοροζίνης (Morosini)
  • Μόρμορης (Mormori)
  • Μόρο (Moro)
  • Μόστο (Mosto/Damosto)
  • Μότας (Motta)
  • Μοντζενίγος (Mocenigo)
  • Μουλάς (Mula)
  • Μουτζάν (Muzzan)
  • Μπάρμπαρο (Barbaro)
  • Μπαρότσης (Barozzi)
  • Μπάφο (Baffo)
  • Μπιτζάρος/Πέζαρος (Pezaro)
  • Μπολάνης/Μπολύνης (Bolani)
  • Μπολντού/Μπουλντού (Boldu)
  • Μπόν/Μπόνο (Bon/Bono/Bon-Mengula)
  • Μποντιμιέρ/Μποντουμιέρ (Bondumier)
  • Μποριέζης (Borghese)
  • Μπόρσας (Borsa)
  • Μπουζιάνης/Μπυζιάνος (Busiani)
  • Μπραγκαντίν/Πρεγάτης/Πρεγκαντίν (Bragadin)
  • Ναδάλ (Nadal)
  • Νέγρης (Negri)
  • Νεράτζης (Neranzi)
  • Νερούλης (Nerugli)
  • Νικόπουλος/Νικολόπουλος/Νικόλοπουλο-Μπελίνι (Nicolopulo-Belini)
  • Νομικός (Nomico)
  • Ντακουζάν (DaCusan)
  • Νταμουσός/Ντομουσός (Dumusso)
  • Ντάντολος (Dandolo)
  • Ντιέντο (Diedo)
  • Ντονάτος (Donato)
  • Ξανθόπουλος (Xanthopulo)
  • Ογκλέζος ναβάλ (Onglese naval)
  • Παήδης/Παΐδης (Paidi)
  • Παλαιολόγος (Paleologo)
  • Παλλαδάς/Πολάδας (Pallada)
  • Παντουβέρης (Badoer)
  • Παπαδάτος (Papadato)
  • Παρούτας (Paruta)
  • Πασκαλίγος/Πασκαλίκος/Πασκουαλίγος (Pasqualigo)
  • Πατρινός (Patrino)
  • Πετρόπουλος (Petropulo)
  • Πετρουλής (Petruli)
  • Πετρούτζος/Πετρούτσος (Petruzzo)
  • Πιζάνης (Pisani)
  • Πιτζαμάνος-Ζαύρας (Pizzamano)
  • Πλανήτερος (Planitero)
  • Πλατιγένης (Platigeni)
  • Πόντε (Ponte)
  • Πόντζο ντε Μπόργκο/Ποτζοτεπόργο (Pozzo de Borgo)
  • Πρεμαρίν (Premarin)
  • Πρετόριος (Pretorio)
  • Πριάνης (Priani)
  • Πριόρος (Prioro)
  • Πριούλης (Priuli)
  • Πιρόπουλος/Πυρόπουλος (Pyropulo)
  • Ραυτόπουλος/Ραφτόπουλος (Raftopulo)
  • Ραψομανίκης (Rapsomanichi)
  • Ρεκαντζάς (Recanza)
  • Ρενιέρ/Ρενιέρης (Renier)
  • Ρεξομάντης (Rexomandi)
  • Ροΐδης (Roidi)
  • Ροματζάς (Romanza)
  • Ρόμας (Roma)
  • Ρομιόπουλος (Romiopulo)
  • Ρονκάλας (Roncala)
  • Ρόσης (Rossi)
  • Ρουκάνης (Rucani)
  • Ρουσάς/Ρούσιας (Russia)
  • Ρουσελάτος (Russelato)
  • Ρουσιανός (Russiano)
  • Ρουσμέλης (Rusmeli)
  • Ρουτζέρης/Ρουτζιέρης (Ruggeri)
  • Ρουτζίνης-Σούλος (Ruzzini-Sulo)
  • Σαγρέδος (Sagredo)
  • Σαλαμαλέκης (Salamalechi)
  • Σαλαμόν (Salamon)
  • Σαντόκιας/Σαντούκας (Sanducha)
  • Σαντορίνης (Sandorini)
  • Σεμιτέκολος (Semitecolo)
  • Σεμπρικός (Sembrico)
  • Σέρρας (Serra)
  • Σιδέρης (Sideri)
  • Σιρίγος/Συρίγος (Sirigo)
  • Σκλαβουνάκης (Sclavunachi)
  • Σκληρός/Σκούρτας (Scurta/Scliro)
  • Σκορδύλης/Σκουρδούλης/Σκουρδούλης-Σάρτζης (Scordili)
  • Σκουλογένης (Sculogeni)
  • Σκούφος (Scufo)
  • Σολίμας (Solima)
  • Σοράντζο (Soranzo)
  • Σουμμάκης (Summachi)
  • Σουριάν/Σουριανός (Surian)
  • Σοφιανός (Sofiano)
  • Σπανούδης/Φαρμάκης (Farmachi)
  • Σπαταφόρας (Spatafora)
  • Σταυράκης (Stavrachi)
  • Σταφέττας (Stafetta)
  • Στράνης (Strani)
  • Στρούτζας (Struza)
  • Ταλαπιέρας (Tagliapierra)
  • Τελωνείο
  • Τετράδης (Tetradi)
  • Τζανετήνης (Zannetini)
  • Τζαντάνης (Giantani)
  • Τζελεμάν/Τζελεμάς (Zeleman)
  • Τζέλσης (Celsi)
  • Τζεν (Zen)
  • Τσιγώνια/Τσικόνια (Cicogna)
  • Τζόντας (Gionta)
  • Τζορτζέτος (Zorzetto)
  • Τζουστινιάν (Giustinian)
  • Τιέπολο (Tiepolo)
  • Τομάζης (Tommasi)
  • Τριβιζάς (Trivisan)
  • Τρον (Tron)
  • Φαλιέρ (Falier)
  • Φασόης (Fassoi)
  • Φερεντίνος (Ferentino)
  • Φέρρο-Φλώριος (Ferro-Florio)
  • Φίλανδρος/Φόλανδρος (Folandro)
  • Φισκάρδης/Φωσκάρδης (Foskardi)
  • Φλαμπουριάρης (Flamburiari)
  • Φλεμοτόμος (Femotomo)
  • Φόσκολο/Φώσκολος (Foscolo)
  • Φωτινός (Fotino)
  • Φραγγόπουλος/Φραγκόπουλος (Frangopulo)
  • Φράγγος/Φράγκος/Φράνκος (Frango)
  • Φραντζής (Franzin)
  • Χαρακόπουλος (Characopulo)
  • Χαργιάτης (Cariati)
  • Χατζημίρης (Chadzimiri)
  • Χιόνης/Χυώνης/Χιώνης (Chioni)
  • Χρυσοπλεύρης (Crissoplevri)
  • Ψαρομήλιγκας (Psaromilinga)
  • Ψιμάρης (Psimari)


In future posts, I’ll be presenting some of the more interesting arms in the armorial.

Order of the Redeemer

Order of the Redeemer

The Order of the Redeemer or, in Greek, “Το Τάγμα του Σωτήρος” is the foremost order of merit in Greece. Interestingly, it not only is the first in order of precedence, it is also the first to be established after the revolution from Ottoman rule. Specifically, the Order was established in 1829 (the final year of the revolution) by Fourth National Assembly (Δ’ Εθνική Συνέλευση) in Argos. However, it was not awarded until 1833 when given to King Ludwig I of Bavaria, father of the new King of Greece, King Otto I.

Though decided upon in 1829 by a revolutionary assembly, it officially became an order of the country on May 20, 1833 by royal decree (ΦΕΚ 19, τ.Α΄από 20.1.1833).

It was so named as a constant reminder of the divine assistance to the liberation of the Greek people.

The Order of the Redeemer, even while Greece was a kingdom, never conferred nobility and always was an order of merit.

Star of the Order of the Redeemer

As with the rest of the Orders of the country, it is awarded in five classes: Grand Cross, Grand Commander, Commander, Gold Cross and Silver Cross.

The insignia of the Order has at its center an image of Jesus Christ the Redeemer encircled with the text “Η ΔΕΞΙΑ ΣΟΥ ΧΕΙΡ ΚΥΡΙΕ, ΔΕΔΟΞΑΣΤΑΙ ΕΝ ΙΣΧΥΙ” (“Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power”). On the reverse, the text reads “Η ΕΝ ΑΡΓΕΙ Δ΄ ΕΘΝΙΚΗ ΤΩΝ ΕΛΛΗΝΩΝ ΣΥΝΕΛΕΥΣΙΣ αωκθ΄” (“In Argos IV National Assembly of Greeks 1829”). The enameled center rests upon a white enameled cross over a wreath whose dexter half is of oak and the sinister of laurel. The stars of the Grand Cross and the Grand Commander have eight radiated points instead of the enameled cross.

Initially, the Order was awarded to those, Greeks and foreigners, who gave great service to the cause of Hellenic liberation. Today, it is awarded to Greek citizens who have provided an exemplary service to Greece or have distinguished themselves in some way. The Grand Cross of the Order is typically awarded to foreign heads of state.

The Presidency of the Hellenic Republic has a comprehensive website covering the history of this and the other orders of the country at

Note: images from the website of the Presidency of the Hellenic Republic

Order of the Orthodox Hospitallers

Order of the Orthodox Hospitallers

There are many quasi-orders and other self-styled Orders who use “Orthodox” in their name and claim to be under the protection of some Orthodox bishop or archbishop. Some claim to continue the Orthodox branch of some ancient Order. While others even go so far as to claim recognition by the Holy See in Rome! Perhaps the most notorious of all these Orders are those that claim some kind of descent from the famous Orders of the Crusades and in their names use such terms as “Templar” or “Hospitaller” or both.

The Order being presented today is none of the above. It is a very much bonafide Order but, its current status is questionable.

Before continuing, I would like to clarify that I tried contacting the government of the Republic of Cyprus through the country’s embassy in the United States, the Press Office of the government and the Office of the President of the Republic. Unfortunately, I never even received a form email saying that my message was received.

What is especially interesting about the Order of the Orthodox Hospitallers is that it has a purely Orthodox Order with an unquestionable fons honorum, something that has not always been the case with Orthodox Orders.

The Order was established in December of 1972 by His Beatitude Archbishop Makarios III of Cyprus. The Archbishop was the head of the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Cyprus which is in full communion with the other Orthodox Churches of the world. However, Archbishop Makarios was also the President of the Republic of Cyprus and as such, combined in his person both the highest spiritual and temporal power of the sovereign nation. This combination is not found anywhere else, with the best comparison being His Holiness the Pope.

It must be noted that the Order was not created as an Order of Chivalry and it does not confer nobility, in any way, to any of its members. Simply put, the Orthodox Church does not have a tradition of nobiliary corporation and the granting nation is a presidential republic.

The governance of the Order was established with the Grand Master being the Archbishop of Cyprus and the Temporal Protector the President of the Republic. The headquarters were set to be in the monastery of St. Barnabas, Famagusta (Αμμόχωστος). It should be noted that after the 1974 invasion of Cyprus by Turkey, Famagusta (and thus the monastery) ended up on the Turkish occupied side of the now divided island. It is not clear what the status of the monastery and the headquarters of the Order is today. However, in Peter Bander van Duren’s “The Cross and the Sword” it is mentioned that the Turkish authorities have allowed the Order to retain the seat there. Personally, I find that to be highly implausible; especially knowing how the Turkish authorities have treated anything Greek or Orthodox in the north of the island.

The Order is a purely Orthodox one and has obtained the recognition of all the other heads of Orthodox Churches in communion with the Church of Cyprus. Furthermore, these Archbishops and Patriarchs are considered as the Spiritual Protectors of the Order within their territories. Membership in the Order is restricted strictly to those members of the Orthodox Church however, non-Orthodox may be recognized as Companions of the Order. Members and Companions have the Badge of Honor conferred upon them. The symbol of the Badge is simply a gold trimmed white enameld cross botonny. The higher levels have the text “FOR THE GLORY OF GOD AND THE GOOD OF MANKIND” encircling the cross.

Companionships exist in three classes: Companion, Companion First Class and Companion with Star. It should be made clear that a companionship does not equate membership in the Order.

When Archbishop and President Makarios instituted the Order, he decreed that certain non-Orthodox personages receive the Companionship with Star automatically, these are: the Apostolic Pro-Nuncios to Cyprus and the UK, the Aglican Bishop of Cyprus and the Vicar General of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem in Cyprus. He also believed strongly that the Order can be used to strengthen inter-faith and interdenominational relationships and suggested that perhaps the religious leaders of territories hosting large Orthodox communities should be honored.

Unfortunately, it is unclear what has happened to the Order since His Beatitude died in 1977 and a number of organizations have popped up claiming to be the continuation of it. However, none of them are headed by the Archbishop of Cyprus nor by the President of Cyprus and don’t include an explanation as to how this radical change occured. Peter Bander van Duren includes a picture of President Spyros Kyprianou, who succeeded His Beatitude, wearing the insignia of the Order and thus, one can infer that it was still in existence for at least a few years after Archbishop and President Makarios’ death.

As mentioned earlier, none of my attempts to get official information about the current status of the Order met with success. Hopefully, I will uncover some information in the near future.

Order of Saint Andrew – Archons

Archon crossThe Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle is one of the premier Orthodox Orders in the world and it is under the protection of His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Members of this Order are not called Knights or Chevaliers (which is French for knight). Each member is called Archon (Άρχων; pl. Άρχοντες) which is Greek for “Ruler”. However, it must be noted that this Order is one of merit and not of chivalry.

The Order was created on March 10, 1966 when His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos, as a representative of the then Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople. On this day, the first 30 members of the Order were honored with the title of Archon with the full support of Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople.

The Archons are not mere members of an organization whose only commitment is to pay an annual oblation and attend an event. Each Archon holds an Offikion (Οφφίκιον) or Office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and acts in that capacity.

Though the 1966 act was not unique in the investiture of official Patriarchal offices upon laymen, it was unique in that it was done in such an organized matter. Historically, the Patriarch has bestowed an Offikion upon members of the Church as far back as the Byzantine era and continued until present. However, before the Order came into being, it was extremely limited to those very extraordinary laymen who also were able to visit the Patriarchate and were personally honored by the Patriarch.

Each of the Archons take an oath to defend and promote the Greek Orthodox faith and tradition with their work and treasure.

Below is a list of Offikions:

  • Grand Deputy (Μέγας Λογοθέτης)
  • Grand Orator (Μέγας Ρήτωρ)
  • Grand Archivist (Μέγας Χαρτοφύλαξ)
  • Grand Counselor (Μέγας Πρωτέκδικος)
  • Grand Liaison Officer (Μέγας Ρεφενδάριος)
  • Grand Notary (Μέγας Πρωτονοτάριος)
  • Grand Recorder (Μέγας Υπμνηματογράφος)
  • Grand Jurist (Μέγας Δικαιοφύλαξ)
  • Grand Lawkeeper (Μέγας Νομοπύλαξ)
  • Grand Overseer (Μέγας Ιερόμνημων)
  • Grand Sacristan (Μέγας Σκευοφύλαξ)
  • Recorder of the Court (Ακτουάριος)
  • Summoner (Δεπουτάτος)
  • Teacher of the Gospel (Διδάσκαλος του Ευαγγελίου)
  • Teacher of the Apostle (Διδάσκαλος του Αποστόλου)
  • Teacher of the People (Διδάσκαλος του Γένους)
  • Interpreter (Διερμηνεύς)
  • Counselor (Έκδικος)
  • Exarch (Έξαρχος)
  • Secretary (Χαρτοφύλαξ)
  • Archivist (Χαρτουλάριος)
  • Chaplain (Καστρίνσιος)
  • Overseer of the Holy Chrism (Μύρεψος)
  • Lawkeeper (Νομοφύλαξ)
  • Notary (Νοτάριος)
  • Commissioner for the Orphans (Ορφανοτρόφος)
  • Ostiary (Οστιάριος)
  • Lay Ecclesiarch (Πρίμικρος)

Important positions all of them that have maintained their significance for over a millennium. I am not going into details on each Offikion above as the Order’s official website is very comprehensive.

Along with their duties, the Archons are also very active in their pursuit to protect the Patriarchate of Constantinople and its rights in Turkey from an ever increasing zeal to take away more from it. Their attempts in promoting religious freedom, relaxing the overbearing controls on the Church and the return of the stolen properties have met mixed success.

It should be noted that a similar organization covering the members outside of the United States was created in 1991 called the Brotherhood of the Most Holy Lady Pammakaristos”.

The Order of Saint Andrew maintains a very informative and comprehensive website at