our history







The Christian Chivalry Classification
of the Equestrian Orders In History and in Canon and Civil Law


In dealing with historical issues, it is worth keeping in mind Cicero’s classical adage’. “Primam esse Historiae Legem, ne quis false dicere audeat: deinde ne quid veri non audeat” (De Oratore 1, 2, C.15). “The first law of history is not to dare to utter falsehood: the second, not to fear to speak the Truth”.

In this examination, we do not propose to reach new judgements or to constitute a treatise of historical juridical exposition, but a work, which contains a number of documents and learned options, which would be helpful and easy to consult. Thus, while the readers will find compiled here, the principle knowledge on the history, the constitution, the life of various Orders, and learned opinions – especially those of the Church – these readers will be able to consult this dissertation, with some fruitful result. The legislative documents, statutes, Balls and pontifical briefs, magisterial decrees, official acts – which are included here – which otherwise would be difficult for them to find. These documents are mostly printed in private form for the exclusive use of those to whom they were addressed or kept in the archives of the chanceries of the Orders.

These few Documents, for example, will serve for an easy comparative study of the juridical status of various Orders, a study which is desired by many, because it will definitely clarify many controversial points of the history of Chivalry and also some particular aspects of the Church and certain Popes. In our times, much has been said and written about the Chivalric Orders, especially those of the Church, or under the protection of the Church, not the least about certain initiatives about the revival of Orders which are extinct or about to be extinct.

This question has been dealt with not only by specialist reviews, but also by daily papers, but not all that has been written corresponds to the real facts. That is why, in this work we propose to offer a brief historical and juridical interest about the Christian Chivalry beginning from the time of the crusades up to our time and to furnish about them at least the principle element of judgement, documents and bibliographical information.


SECTION I: The Crusaders

SECTION II: The Chivalry

The Honorary Knighthoods of the Church

The Order after the loss of Malta to the French

SECTION III: Order of the Holy Sepulchre.ORDO SANCTI SEPULCI (O.S.S.)

SECTION IV: Independent Orders