The Info List - Order Of Saint Sylvester

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The Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Sylvester
Order of Saint Sylvester
and Martyr (Latin: Ordo Sancti Silvestri Papae, Italian: Ordine di San Silvestro Papa), sometimes referred to as the Sylvestrine Order, or the Pontifical Order of Pope
Saint Sylvester, is one of five Orders of Knighthood awarded directly by the Pope
as Supreme Pontiff
Supreme Pontiff
and head of the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
and as the Head of State
Head of State
of Vatican City.


1 History 2 Before the 1905 Regulations of Pius X 3 Since the 1905 Regulations of Pius X 4 Insignia 5 Uniform 6 Heraldry 7 Obligations 8 Post nominal lettering 9 Notable members 10 National Associations 11 See also 12 References 13 External links 14 Bibliography

History[edit] This Order was at one time united with the Order of the Golden Militia. Pope
Pius X in his motu proprio of 7 February 1905, entitled Multum ad excitandos, divided the Sylvestrine Order into two Orders of Knighthood, one retaining the name of St. Sylvester and the other taking the ancient name of the Order, i.e. Order of the Golden Militia, or Order of the Golden Spur. It is intended to honor Roman Catholic lay people who are actively involved in the life of the church, particularly as it is exemplified in the exercise of their professional duties and mastership of the different arts. It is also conferred on non-Catholics and in the UK current recipients include prominent Anglicans, Muslims and Jews. Awards of the Order are generally made on the recommendation of Diocesan Bishops, or of Apostolic Nuncios (nominations may be made by parish priests to their bishop for his consideration). Awards are also granted on recommendation of the Papal Secretary of State. Pope
John Paul II extended membership in the Order to ladies as well as gentlemen. Awards of the highest rank of Knight or Dame Grand Cross are exceptional and currently there is only one holder of this rank in the UK and Ireland, and one in the United States, Mary Bruemmer of Saint Louis University.[1] Before the 1905 Regulations of Pius X[edit] Prior to the year 1841 it was known as the Militia of the Golden Spur or Golden Militia, and though it is not historically established who among the many supposed founders is the true one, yet it undoubtedly is the oldest and, at one time, was one of the most prized of the papal orders. Faculties granted to the Sforza
family,[2] to the College of Abbreviators[3] and to bishops assistant at the throne[4] to create Knights of the Golden Militia resulted in lavish bestowal and diminished prestige of the decoration. Pope
Gregory XVI in his Papal Brief
Papal Brief
of 31 October 1841, entitled Quod hominum mentes retained the ancient name of the Order and placed it under the patronage of St. Sylvester (one of its alleged founders). He withdrew all faculties to whom and by whomsoever given, and forbade the use of the title or the decoration to all knights created by any means other than a Papal Brief. To restore the Order to its ancient glory and splendour, he limited the number of Commanders to 150 and knights to 300 (for the Papal States
Papal States
only), and appointed the Cardinal of Apostolic Briefs as Chancellor of the Order, with the duty of preserving the name, grade, number and date of admission of each knight.

Golden Chain of the Order of Saint Sylvester
Order of Saint Sylvester
and the Golden Militia prior to 1905.

Gregory divided the Order into two classes:

Commander wore a large-sized decoration suspended at the neck, on a wide ribbon. Knight wore a small-sized decoration on the left side of the breast, on a smaller ribbon.

The decoration or cross of the Order, according to Pope
Gregory's Brief, was an eight-pointed gold cross with an image of St. Sylvester wearing the tiara on its white enameled centre, and around this centre a blue enamelled circle bearing in letters of gold the inscription SANC. SYLVESTER P. M. On the reverse side, in golden characters, was stamped MDCCCXLI GREGORIUS XVI RESTITUIT. A small golden spur hung suspended from the two sides of the foot of the cross of the Order to mark the unity of the Sylvestrine Order with that of the Golden Militia. The ribbon of the decoration was of silk composed of five strands, three of which were red, and two black. The golden chain worn around the neck by members of both classes had the decoration with its tiny golden spur suspended from it. The official uniform was a red evening dress coat with two rows of gold buttons with green collar and facing. The gold embroideries of the coat were of a more ornate design for Grand Crosses and less so for Commanders and Knights. White trousers, with gold side bands, hat with white plumes and a sword with a silver hilt and also gilt spurs, completed this rarely used costume. Since the 1905 Regulations of Pius X[edit] The Order currently has three classes. In order of seniority they are:

Knight / Dame Grand Cross (GCSS) - wears a large cross suspended from a broad ribbon (sash) over the right shoulder across the breast to the left hip, along with the breast star Knight Commander wears a smaller cross suspended by the ribbon of the Order encircling the neck. Dame Commander wears the same cross suspended from a bow on the left breast. This class is divided into two categories:

Knight / Dame Commander with Star (KC*SS / DC*SS) - wears the star of the Order on the lower left breast Knight / Dame Commander (KCSS / DCSS) - does not wear the star

Knight / Dame (KSS / DSS) - wears the smallest cross on a ribbon attached to the left breast of the tunic.

Insignia[edit] The current decoration or cross of the Order is a gold cross of white enamelled surface, in the centre of which is impressed the image of St. Sylvester, surrounded by a blue enamelled circle bearing the inscription in letters of gold SANC. SYLVESTER P. M. On the obverse, in the centre, are the Papal tiara
Papal tiara
and crossed keys with the date of the Order's restoration under Gregory: MDCCCXXXXR, and that of the Pius X renovation, MDCCCCV, impressed in characters of gold upon a blue circle. The ribbon of the decoration is black silk with three narrow red stripes. The star or badge is the cross of the Order attached to a silver star. Uniform[edit] The official uniform is a black coat ornamented with one row of gilt buttons, black velvet, gold-embroidered collar and cuffs, black gold-striped trousers, a bicornered cocked silk (bicorne) hat with a cockade of the papal colors to which is added a white plume when worn by a Knight Grand Cross, a black plume when worn by a Commander, and a sword. Knights Grand Cross wear a sash and a badge or star on the left side of the breast; Commanders wear a cross around the neck; and Knights wear a smaller cross on the left breast of the uniform. The uniform is considerably more embroidered for the higher ranks and white gloves are usually worn.


Knight Commander

Knight Commander with Star

Knight Grand Cross

Heraldry[edit] In ecclesiastical heraldry, laypersons awarded the rank Grand Cross display a blue enamelled circle bearing the inscription in letters of gold SANC. SYLVESTER P. M around the shield in their coat of arms, while other ranks place an appropriate ribbon below the shield. Obligations[edit] Papal knights and dames do not have any specific obligations by virtue of their having been given the personal honour of membership in an Order. However, it is customary for them to be invited to participate in major events of their diocese, such as the consecration of Bishops, the ordination of Priests, and the introduction of a new Bishop
into his diocese. On such formal occasions they would wear the uniform of the Order. Post nominal lettering[edit] The Order has four classes in civil and military divisions. Each recipient may illustrate their Papal knighthood with the following post nominal lettering which are listed in order of seniority:

Knight / Dame Grand Cross of the First Class (GCSS) Knight / Dame Commander with Star (KC*SS / DC*SS) Knight / Dame Commander (KCSS / DCSS) Knight / Dame (KSS / DSS)

Notable members[edit]

In the 1960s Pope
John XXIII created Oscar Schindler, German Industralist and Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem
honouree as Knight Grand Cross of the Order. In 1945 Pope
Pius XII created Ken Harada, Japanese envoy to the Holy See, into the order. In July 1944 Pope
Pius XII created Major General William Joseph Donovan, father of the CIA, Knight Grand Cross of the Order. George Borg Olivier, Prime Minister of Malta, Knight Grand Cross of the Order. Archduke Otto von Habsburg, Crown Prince of Austria and Hungary and former MEP, George, Duke of Mecklenburg, head of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Knight Grand Cross[5] Karl August, 10th Prince of Thurn and Taxis, German Prince, Knight Grand Cross of the Order. Joseph Flores, Governor of Guam. Bob Hope, KBE, entertainer. Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala
Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala
Maharaja of Khapurthala. Sir Burton Hall Chief Justice of The Bahamas and Justice of the UN International Court at The Hague, Knight. Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, Knight Commander Charles Delporte, Belgian artist, Knight Shūsaku Endō, Japanese author Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Austrian-American Holocaust survivor, clergyman and activist.[6] Lorenz Weinrich, German historian, Knight Commander with Star Martín Marciales Moncada, Venezuelan philanthropist, Knight 1932: Count Maurice de Patoul, Grand Marshall of the Royal Court.[7] 1945 : Count Pierre Ryckmans.

In Great Britain, members include:

Anthony Bailey inter-faith campaigner, Knight Grand Cross. General Sir Richard Lawson, Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces Northern Europe, Knight Commander. Professor David Khalili, art collector, Knight Commander. Mahmoud Khayami businessman and interfaith campaigner, Knight. Don Maclean, entertainer, Knight.[8]

National Associations[edit] There are National Associations of Papal Knights in France, Great Britain, Ireland
and the United States, as well as Diocesan Associations such as those in Milan
and Los Angeles. See also[edit]

Papal Orders of Knighthood


^ http://www.slu.edu/slu-alumna-and-volunteer-awarded-papal-knighthood ^ Pope
Paul III, Hinc est quod nos, 14 Apr., 1539 ^ Pope
Leo X, Const. 14 Summi ^ Pope
Julius III, 6 Apr., 1557 ^ Duke Georg - House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz ^ " Pope Francis
Pope Francis
to bestow knighthood on New York rabbi". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 23 April 2015.  ^ http://www.odis.be/lnk/AE_6054 ^ bbc.co.uk Comedian Don Maclean made Papal Knight accessed 27 May 2012

External links[edit]

Association of Papal Orders in Great Britain Star of Order of St Sylvester

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Order of Saint Sylvester". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.  Bibliography[edit]

Rock, P.M.J. (1908) Pontifical Decorations, The Catholic Encyclopedia, New York, Robert Appleton Company Moroni, Diz., XI, 6 sqq.; XVIII, 210 sqq. ; XLIX, 81 sq q.; LXIV, 91 sqq.; LXVIII, 238 sqq. Giobbio, Lezioni di diplomazia ecclesiastica (Rome, 1899), Part I, lib. I, cap. x, art. iv, 514 sqq. André-Wagner, Dict. de Droit Canonique, III, 83, 501; IV, 361 Battandier, Ann. Pont. Cath., 1901, 483 sqq.; 1902, 468 sqq.; 1908, 646 sq. For a list of knights of all the decorations see Ann. for 1905. 1907, and 1908; Pii IX P. M. Acta, Part I, 43 sq., 195 sq.; IV, 391 sq. Bernasconi, Acta Gregorii papæ XVI, 48; III, 179 sq.; Analecta Ecclesiastica (Rome, 1905), 99 sq.; 1907, 189; Leonis XIII Pont. Max. Acta (Rome), VIII, 259, 282; XXI, 74

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Supreme Order of Christ Order of the Golden Spur Order of Pope
Pius IX Order of St. Gregory the Great Order of Saint Sylvester

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Other distinctions

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Defunct/dormant distinctions (1870, 1954, 1977)

Order of Saint John of the Lateran Order of Saint Cecilia (1870) Order of the Moor (1870) Order of Saint Sylvester
Order of Saint Sylvester
and the Militia Aurata (1905) Advocates of Saint Peter (1909) Blessed sword and hat
Blessed sword and hat
(1823) Medal of Military Merit Fidei et Virtuti Pro Petri Sede Lauretan Cross (middle part of the 20th Century) Papal Lateran Cross
Papal Lateran Cross

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See also

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