Unauthorized representation of the San Luigi Orders

For the purposes of clarification, the Abbey-Principality of San Luigi has made it its policy to disclaim association from those bodies and individuals who have made use of the names and insignia of the San Luigi Orders without authorization.

The sole legal and legitimate representation of the San Luigi Orders worldwide today is that maintained by the present-day Abbey-Principality under Prince-Abbot Edmond III. However, the Abbey-Principality has provision for establishing relationships with persons of appropriate standing who in good faith and amid circumstances of some confusion have become members of other bodies falsely claiming the San Luigi heritage, and who now wish to transfer their membership to the Abbey-Principality.

Although many of the best-known Orders of Chivalry have had to deal with the problem of unauthorized and sometimes fraudulent misrepresentation, this is often the outcome of many centuries of history in which complex vicissitudes can give rise to branches that have become separated from the original parent body without necessarily being consciously schismatic in intent. The position within the San Luigi Orders, which are relatively small in their membership and are of comparatively recent origin, is far less ambiguous.

The San Luigi Orders are not a democratic organization where members can exercise autonomy of governance. Instead, governance is autocratic, and is specifically entrusted to the Prince-Abbot, and in his absence to the Supreme Council. No other party possesses any rights whatsoever in the matter. The governing document of the Abbey-Principality is the Constitution issued on 26 January 2012 by Prince-Abbot Edmond III. This replaced the notarized Declaration of Prince-Abbot Edmond I of 22 June 1954 (as amended by resolution of Prince-Abbot Edmond II and Vice-Chancellor Archbishop Frederick C. King on 20 August 1971). The antecedents of the Declaration of 1954 were the notarized Declaration of Prince-Abbot Joseph III of 25 May 1923, the legalized transfer of Prince-Abbot Louis-François of 7 May 1899 and the legalized transfer of Prince-Abbot José II of 5 May 1897.

The succession of the Prince-Abbots, and their appointments to Supreme Council, is unambiguous. Supreme Council has existed continuously, so far as can be determined, since its establishment by Prince-Abbot Edmond I, and as of 2012 included current and retired members whose involvement with the San Luigi Orders extended over some fifty years. During that time, there has never been any attempt to challenge any issue of succession through legal due process. What has happened instead is that various individuals have, for reasons best known to themselves, chosen to make false representations.

We list the principal unauthorized representations of the San Luigi Orders during the past fifty years below:

1. Joseph William Damian Hough and the Order of the Crown of Thorns
Joseph William Damian Hough was Grand Prelate of the Order of Antioch for California. In 1964, the headship of the Order of Antioch passed to Prince-Abbot Edmond II of San Luigi. Hough and other members of the Order were strongly opposed to Prince-Abbot Edmond II and in the ensuing years this extended to open feuding. While Hough was a member of the Order of Antioch, there is no evidence that he was ever a member of the Order of the Crown of Thorns or authorized to act on behalf of that Order. The archives of the San Luigi Orders contain a fake brevet of the Order of the Crown of Thorns from 1967 that (according to Prince-Abbot Edmond II) was obtained from Hough and issued to a man convicted of serious sexual offences. It is a relatively accomplished forgery, betrayed only by the fact that the signature of Prince-Abbot Edmond I appears on the document when he had, in fact, died some four years before its date of issue.

2. “Irish Grand Priory or Irish Bailiwick of the Order of the Crown of Thorns”
This entity was created by one Peter McCauley, who was admitted a member of the Order in 1970. Unbeknownst to the Order, with whom he corresponded on unheaded paper and without using any form of title, McCauley styled himself “Patrick II, hereditary Prince of Westmeath and Offaly, Duke of Kildare, Athlone, Ennel and Shannon”. However, it would appear that he did not possess official recognition from the Genealogical Office of Ireland as the holder of any chiefly or noble style.[1]

McCauley illegally formed an Irish “bailiwick” of the Order and admitted, we are told, some sixty individuals who must have been under the impression that they were joining the authentic Order. At some point, McCauley compounded the difficulties by declaring himself, entirely without authority,“Grand Master” of the Order. He was accused, notably by the Frenchman Patrice Chairoff, of engaging in the commercial sale of orders and titles[2], and a report in the News of the World of 17 February 1974 alleged that the Order of the Crown of Thorns was being sold by an associate of McCauley’s for a modest fee.

Although McCauley wrote to make peace with Mgr. Tull on 6 September 1981, saying that his representative “has handed over the Irish branch to yourself and that all is well once again with the Order. Please do include me in any newsletters,” some of the members of this schismatic entity continued to cause trouble for several years to come.

Mgr. Tull’s final comment on the matter, in a letter of 10 February 1985, was that “The so-called Irish Priory has never had any legal existence, since the Grand Master [Prince-Abbot Edmond II] ruled against its creation when the matter was referred to him. Therefore all its actions are outside the Order of the Crown of Thorns and not officially recognized. That is the simple truth of the matter and there is nothing else to say.”

3. Robert Iler (de St Germain)
Like Peter McCauley, Robert Iler had been a member of the Augustan Society (which we have discussed elsewhere). He claimed that he had been knighted by King Peter II of Yugoslavia, although there is no independent confirmation of this, and later became a member (together with McCauley) of the “Council of Jugoslavian Knights”, very much the lesser of two bodies formed to represent those who had received the accolade of Knight Bachelor from King Peter II, as well as those who had been created knights by the King Peter-invested knights in turn. Iler served as “Knight Plenipotentiary” of the Council, while it is not known how or when McCauley came to receive his knighthood. A further member of the Council as of 1993 was Antonio Adolfo Boada, “Duke of Campobello and Marquis d’Alessio”,[3] whose activities regarding the sale of noble titles have been the subject of much controversy. An associate of Boada was Jean Marie Duval, claiming to be “Alexander II, Patriarch of Antioch” and head of the “Ecumenical Jacobite Orthodox Church”, an ephemeral body. Duval incardinated Iler, previously a priest in the Mercian Orthodox Church, on 17 July 1991 and “consecrated” Iler as Mar Germanus, “titular bishop of Caesarea” on 19 July 1991, advancing him to “titular archbishop of Laodicea” on 27 August of the same year.

Iler was born in Canada in 1922. He had served during World War II with the Canadian Air Force, represented Canada in soccer’s World Cup, and was energetic in the promotion of youth soccer. By profession he was an architect and designed many buildings on the West Coast of Alabama; he was also a trained natural healer and homoeopath and was Professor Emeritus at Covenant College, the Presbyterian institution in Georgia. On 15 June 1993 he incorporated “The Jacobite Orthodox Church” in the state of Alabama. His chivalric authorities included the Grand Mastership of the Hospitaller Order of St George International and knighthoods in the orders of St John (The Hereditary Order), the Holy Sepulchre and St Lazarus. He believed that he was a descendant of the French royal family, and used the titles Comte de St Germain, Graf von Iler and Baron of Trevor. Around 1996, he succeeded to the title of “Duke of Bourbon” as a result of its transfer to him by “Prince Michael de Bourbon, the Capetian Royal claimant”[4].

It is unclear exactly when Iler began to claim to be Prince-Abbot of San Luigi in opposition to Prince-Abbot Edmond II, though it appears, perhaps unsurprisingly, that this spurious action postdated his acquaintance with Boada and Duval. The available records do not indicate that Iler was ever a member of the San Luigi Orders. His claim, as set out in a letter of 1992, is based on an account that is almost purely fictional. It begins with an elaborated and highly inaccurate account of the foundation of San Luigi (“in Tunisia”), and acknowledges Prince-Abbot Joseph III as Prince-Abbot. Then, in contradiction to that acknowledgement and to all known historical facts, Iler goes on to claim that one of the Prince-Abbots of San Luigi was the “Comte de St Germain of Lons-le-Saulnier” (no such person being known to have existed, let alone connected in any way with San Luigi), and that the descent of San Luigi was thence by supposed hereditary right from him with Iler the present holder. This is arrant nonsense presented with no form of historical proof in support, and thus stands as a baseless assumption by Iler of titles to which he had no right whatsoever.

On 5 October 1996 at the Lumpkin House, Albertville, Iler held an Investiture Banquet for San Luigi; the list of “distinguished guests” on the invitation begins with the name of Antonio Boada, continues with many titled persons who are associated with the Principality of Alabona-Ostrogojsk, and under “The Grand Officers” lists Iler and his family, who had received both titles of nobility and pseudo-appointments from his hand in the San Luigi Orders. Photographs show that the event, which also included the conferral of appointments in the Order of St John (The Hereditary Order), was well attended. The cover features an adaptation of the San Luigi coat of arms in which the lion in the third quarter is replaced by the eagle of Yugoslavia, the lion in the first quarter is shown without his staff and the accompanying star, and a collar of the Order of the Crown of Thorns is pendant from the shield. Doubtless these emendations were employed in order to avoid infringing the copyright of the authentic Abbey-Principality.

On 10 November 1996 Iler was killed in a car crash and his false claims regarding the San Luigi Orders came to an end. He predeceased Prince-Abbot Edmond II (who continued to administer the authentic San Luigi Orders right up until his death), by some eighteen months.

4. Serge Thériault
The spurious claims of Bishop Serge Thériault are dealt with in a separate paper. A summary of the facts is as follows:

  • Serge Thériault has never been a member of the Order of the Crown of Thorns or the Order of the Lion and the Black Cross.
  • Following the death of Prince-Abbot Edmond II, Serge Thériault claimed, falsely, to be Prince-Abbot of San Luigi and that Prince-Abbots Edmond I and II were never Prince-Abbots. The historical basis of these claims is provably false and rests upon an invented history with no evidence in support of it. Thériault’s claim was put forward to H.M. the Omukama of Bunyoro-Kitara, who declined to recognize him. H.M. the Omukama recognized the present Prince-Abbot Edmond III as successor to the nineteenth-century Mukunguship of San Luigi in the Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara in 2012.
  • Serge Thériault now appears to have abandoned his claims to the Prince-Abbacy and instead spends time trying to discredit the rightful Prince-Abbot and the San Luigi Orders.
  • Serge Thériault claims falsely that the Order of the Crown of Thorns was a Masonic body. The Order was never Masonic in character and is entirely neutral regarding the admission of Freemasons.

5. Lowell Barker and Edwin S. Malone
The spurious claims of Dr Lowell Barker (Archbishop Mikhail) and Dr Edwin S. Malone concerning the Order of the Crown of Thorns are dealt with in a separate paper.

[1] He received the additional title of Duke of Mullingar in 1984 from the pretender to the Aztec throne. Among the Orders that he asserted headship to were the Ancient Royal Gaelic Order (stated to have been founded in 1301), the Knights of St Patrick (reconstituted 1861), the Order of Marie-Thérèse, the Order of the Celtic Cross (1798), the Royal Order of Westmeath, and the Order of Descendants of Westmeath. He also maintained a ceremonial paramilitary organization, the Rangers of Westmeath, which appointed to ranks of colonel etc.

[2] Chairoff, La Bible de la Micropatrologie, Paris, 1999, p 970.

[3] Since Boada was only twelve years old at the time of the death of King Peter II, it can be safely surmised that his claim was that he was among those who had been knighted by an existing knight. Information concerning his activities can be found at http://www.fraudsandscams.com/Boada/BoadaReport.pdf

[4] Nothing is known of this individual.