The Pontifical Order of the Eagle (full name, Pontifical Order of the Eagle of Saint Stephen and Mary Immaculate) is the religious-dynastic order of the Pontifical Imperiale State, United Roman-Ruthenian Church. It was founded as a military unit (Ninth Spanish Legion) by Julius Caesar in 58 BC, re-constituted by Caesar Augustus, and finally re-established as a Christian noble order under the blessing of Pope St. John Paul II. The Order represents the Christian preservation of the Roman Empire and all its history. Knights are chosen from the nobility for their devotion to Christ and the Church and for their demonstrated service. Non-nobles who are admitted automatically are ennobled by membership in the Order. Due to its founding, history, and joining requirements, it ranks among the most exclusive of Christian orders of chivalry. Its Bailiffs (hereditary knights) hold a rare distinction that claims pride of place within Christian chivalry. The Bailiffs are nobles of significant standing. They serve as advisers to His Holiness the Bishop of Rome-Ruthenia and hold the distinction of being his honourary cousins.
In 2021, a decree was issued that merged three historic orders of the former Patriarchate of St. Stephen. Those orders are the Legion of the Eagle, the Royal Order of Saint Stephen, and the Sacred Order of Mary Immaculate. All recipients in good standing of any of the three orders are automatically members of the Pontifical Order of the Eagle at their current rank. The histories of each of the three orders are given below. The order ranks immediately above the Order of the Golden Spur and immediately below the Supreme Order of Christ. (In fact, all Knights of Christ created by the Bishop of Rome-Ruthenia must, according to the statutes, already be Bailiffs of the Eagle.)
The ranks of the order are:
Grand Cross (hereditary)
The main ribbon of the order is royal blue, after the principal colour of the coat of arms of the house of the Bishop of Rome-Ruthenia. The ribbon is red for Bailiffs, as the colour of Rome, St. Peter, and St. Stephen. The cross of the order is blue, eight-pointed, with a Roman Eagle in the centre and Eagles in between each of the four main points. Bailiffs and Knights/Dames Grand Cross wear the cross of the order on a sash over the right shoulder. The crosses of both Bailiffs and Knights/Dames Grand Cross are suspended from a gold oak leaf cluster with diamonds and crossed swords. The star of the order is gold with a gold eagle upon a golden cross, worn by Bailiffs and Knights/Dames Grand Cross.
Both the Royal Order of Saint Stephen and the Sacred Order of Mary Immaculate used a similar 8-pointed cross. That of Saint Stephen was red, while that of Mary Immaculate was blue or at times white. The traditional ribbon colour of the Legion of the Eagle was also blue or blue and red. And, while the colour traditionally associated with Saint Stephen is red, as depicted in the Saint Stephen crosses in use throughout the United Roman-Ruthenian Church and the Pontifical Imperial State, the diocesan coat of arms of Rome-Ruthenia is actually blue. Thus blue was chosen for the colour of both the main ribbon and the cross of the Pontifical Order of the Eagle as a representative colour of all three constituent orders.
In the star of bailiffs and knights/dames grand cross, the central cross is a gold cross pattÚe. That is, instead of the double-pointed branches as in the regular cross of the order, each point of the cross is flat. This differentiates it from the regular cross of the order since it was chosen to represent the cross seen in the vision of Emperor Constantine the Great -- an important event in the history of the Order. Upon the cross on the star is the same eagle as on the regular cross of the order.
Miniature Eagles (Above): Bailiff Grand Cross; (L-R): Knight Grand Cross, Knight & Knight Commander,
Uniform Service Ribbons:
Bailiff (Knight of Christ), Bailiff, Knight Grand Cross, Commander, and Knight
Church robes of Bailiffs
(worn over a scarlet habit with matching fascia and gold tassel)
The cap is red velvet with gold cords and a brim. Clerics wear a 4-winged red biretta with pompom, unless
a cardinal, in which case the regular Cardinal's watered silk biretta is worn.
Church Robes of Knights and Dames
(through the rank of Knight/Dame Grand Cross)
The cap is black velvet with gold cords and a brim. Clerics wear their usual biretta.
Bishops and Prelates of the Pontifical Court also wear their proper cassock.
When worn by the Bishop of Rome-Ruthenia, this version of the church robes is used.
Uniform of the Pontifical Order of the Eagle
Shown: Knight Commander
- H.H. the Bishop of Rome-Ruthenia
H.I.R.H. Msgr. Grand Duke Daniel v. WŘrzburg
The Historical Most Honourable Legion of the Eagle of Christ
The Most Honourable Legion of the Eagle of Christ was re-established under the blessing of Pope St. John Paul II as a noble company by the Etrurian household and a group of Papal knights as a successor to the ancient Roman Legion of the Eagle. Its re-establishment took place on the 900th anniversary of the First Crusade.
The original "Legion of the Eagle" was a military unit of the Roman Empire tasked with defending the Empire against the barbarians and specifically refers to the Legio IX Hispana (Spanish Legion), which was founded by Julius Caesar and re-activated by Caesar Augustus. It served mainly in Spain, Britain, and Germany. Their principal headquarters became York. Although their mascot was a bull, the eagle refers to the Roman eagle carried by all Roman legions. They earned their name, Hispana (Hispanic), during the Cantabrian Wars in Spain. Its Spanish home is Leˇn, its Germanic home is Speyer in the historic Duchy of Franconia, and its Italian home is Aquilea in the historic sovereign Patriarchate of Aquilea in Imperial Italy. The Legion was formally consecreated to Our Lord in 2020. In addition to the patronage of Christ, the patron saint of the Legion is Saint Patrick, the British Roman best known as Apostle to the Irish. The principle feast days are those of Corpus Christi, the Sacred Heart, and St. Patrick.
Through the gift of Emperor Constantine the Great, the Roman Church became heir and successor to the Roman Empire. The Christian knights defended the Church, in part through the Crusades against the infidels. The Most Honourable Legion of the Eagle was joined with the Orders of St. Stephen and Mary Immaculate in 2021 and is under the patronage of the United Roman-Ruthenian Church and the leadership of the Etrurian Royal Household. Because Companions of Justice are considered honourary cousins to His Holiness the Bishop of Rome-Ruthenia, today all Bailiffs Grand Cross are likewise considered honourary cousins to His Holiness the Papa-Prince of Rome-Ruthenia.
The Pontifical Order of Merit of St. Stephen & Our Lady of Walsingham
The Order of Merit recognises significant service and merit. It is limited to no more than ten living members.
History of the Royal Order of St. Stephen
The Royal Order of St. Stephen is a religious and dynastic order of chivalry within the Anglican Patriarchate of Rome (Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church) as successors to Countess Matilda, Margravine of Tuscany and Vice-Queen of Italy in the Holy Roman Empire and Pope St. Leo X de' Medici. The order was joined with the Legion of the Eagle and the Order of Mary Immaculate in 2021. It is under the hereditary protection of the Royal House of Etruria in the Holy Roman Empire.
The order, one of several orders dedicated to one of several Saints by the name of Stephen, traces its roots back to the Military Order of St. Stephen I, Pope & Martyr, founded by the Medici Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I, in 1561. Following the death of Gian Gastone de' Medici in 1737, the Tuscan order was part of the Habsburg Grand Duchy of Tuscany in the Holy Roman Empire. The Habsburgs also founded a Hungarian Order of St. Stephen I, in memory of the Hungarian King Stephen I. After the expulsion of the Habsburgs from Tuscany by Napoleon on 3 August 1801, the territory was renamed the Kingdom of Etruria (deriving from the ancient Etruscans, Etruria is synonymous with Tuscany and was the Latin form). The kingdom maintained the Tuscan Order of St. Stephen until its dissolution in 1807. The Holy Roman Empire having been illegally dissolved by the Habsburgs, a new Grand Duchy of Tuscany was formed in 1814 as a satellite of the Habsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire. They likewise maintained a Tuscan Order of St. Stephen.
The Royal Order of St. Stephen under the United Roman Ruthenian Church is a successor to the original Medici Tuscan Order as a religious and dynastic order under ecclesiastical authority in succession from both Matilda, Margravine of Tuscany and Pope Leo X. However, the Royal Order changed its patron saint to St. Stephen the Deacon and Protomartyr. This was in part to differentiate it, pointing to its origins in the early days of the Tuscan order. St. Stephen was the saint in whose honour the Basilica of Arles was dedicated, with Arles/Burgundy being the origin of the early rulers of Tuscany and Italy from whom the line of the Etrurian and Florentine household descends. Since Stephen the Deacon was also an important saint in Tuscany and the Diocese of St. Stephen is dedicated to his eternal memory. An important feast of St. Stephen the Deacon is 3 August, the day that the Grand Duchy of Tuscany was ended in favour of the Kingdom of Etruria. Additionally, St. Stephen I, Pope and Martyr was archdeacon to his predecessor as pope. As St. Stephen the Deacon is patron saint of deacons, the dedication of the Royal Order to him also retains the legacy of St. Stephen I the Pope.
History of the Sacred Order of Mary Immaculate
FOUNDED A.D. 1270
The Sacred Order of Mary Immaculate is a religious and dynastic chivalric order dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Order descends from the Confraternity of the Most Holy Immacolata (in reference, of course, to Mary Immaculate), founded in Palermo, Sicily in 1270. The Confraternity provided health service and assistance for its members and for pilgrims. It also provided burial services for the poor, as well as requiem masses for all the companions and their families. The Prior of the original Confraternity was Frß Girolama BusÓ. Other priests at the time that held special sacred offices included Don Vincenzo Carastro and Don Salvatore Virzý.
The early years of the Confraternity included the period of the Sicilian Vespers in which a movement in Sicily succeeded in removing Charles I d'Anjou, King of Sicily and Naples, replacing him with Peter I as King, a member of the House of Barcelona. Interestingly, Charles I was also descended maternally from the Spanish House of Barcelona. However, there was public opposition in Sicily to rule by the French House of Anjou. Combatants who opposed the Angevins (House of Anjou) During often had a battle cry of "Viva la SS. Immacolata," or "Long live the Most Holy Immaculata. During the warfare of the Sicilian Vespers, members of the confraternity provided humanitarian assistance to those in need, and the confraternity's priests provided the sacraments to those on the point of death.
Later, in the 14th century, the confraternity took on the nature of a chivalric order, and its members became knights. Today, the Sacred Order of Mary Immaculate is one of the ecclesiastical descendents of the original confraternity and order of knights of the Immacolata. Like the original confraternity, the hallmark of the modern knights and dames is hospitality and service to the needs of others.
Knights and Dames must exhibit devotion to the Holy Church and service to others. Candidates are admitted in recognition of proven humanitarian or military service. The order is part of the patrimony of the Pontifical Imperial State, United Roman-Ruthenian Church and was joined with the Legion of the Eagle and the Order of St. Stephen in 2021. It is under the hereditary leadership of the Etrurian household. The order particularly represents the titular Rhineland territories of the patrimony of the Pontifical Imperial State and Southern Italy. The line of the Florentine Bishop of Rome-Ruthenia descends from Peter III, King of Arag˛n, King of Sicily, of the House of Barcelona that ruled in Sicily after the Sicilian Vespers. The Arag˛n claim was based on the spouse of Peter III, Constance, who was the daughter of Manfred, King of Sicily, 2nd-great-granddaughter of Friedrich I Barbarossa, Holy Roman Emperor (House of Hohenstaufen). Constance of Sicily was also 2nd-great-granddaughter of Roger II, King of Sicily, of the Norman House of Altavilla. Today the Florentine Archfather is heir to the Spanish Houses of Ivrea and Barcelona in Imperial Italy.
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