Posts tagged ‘order of saint andrew’

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 http://www.archons.org


Orthodox Orders

There are many orders of chivalry, knighthood or merit in the world. Some of them are completely secular, such as the Légion d’honneur of France while others are completely religious and tied to a specific church such as the Papal Order of Christ.

 

Officier Légion d'honneur Order of Christ

 

The insignia above are those of a knight of the Légion d’honneur (on the left) and the star and badge of the Order of Christ.

The majority of orders are somewhere in between though one can argue that almost all of them have a religious aspect to them. Some, of course, more than others.

One thing that differentiates the Orthodox Orders from all the others is, as the name implies, their foundation on Eastern Orthodox Christianity and under the spiritual protection of one of the Orthodox Patriarchates or Autocephalous Churches. There is a debate in the West on whether the heads of any of these Churches or even the Ecumenical Patriarch have the fons honorum to establish an Order of Chivalry however in the East they always enjoyed a sovereign status and continue to do so to this day. Regardless though, the notion of a religious Order of Chivalry is a foreign concept to the Eastern Churches; however, in the past century or so they have started giving out awards that even though they may resemble a knightly Order, they are clearly Orders of Merit. One of these meritorious Orders is the Order of St. Andrew or Archons under the auspice of the His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constaninople.

 

Archon crossArchon cross

Naturally, the Orthodox lands have had royal sovereigns to rule them and in their capacity as sovereigns, with a font honorum that cannot be disputed, had or have instituted Orders of Chivalry under their Grand Mastership and the spiritual protection of their Archbishop or Patriarch. Perhaps the most widely known Orthodox sovereigns were the Czars of the Russian Empire who where under the spiritual guidance of His Holiness the Patriarch of All Russia. Though, it must be noted that there were many other Orthodox sovereigns that were either completely independent or autonomous and under a greater and more powerful king/emperor.

Since there is so much written about all the non-Orthodox Orders while very little, if anything, about the Orthodox ones, we’ll be examining them one at a time as my research completes for each. I hope you enjoy this journey and if you can contribute or correct anything, please comment or contact me!

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