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The San Luigi Orders

The High Protectorate

High Protector of the Order of the Crown of Thorns

The late H.M. King Peter II of Yugoslavia

High Protector of the Order of the Lion and the Black Cross

H.I.M. Emperor Akihito of Japan

High Protector of the Order of Antioch

The late H.I.R.H. Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia

The Royal Patron

Royal Patron of the Orders of the Crown of Thorns and of the Lion and the Black Cross

H.M. Rukirabasaija Agutamba Solomon Gafabusa Iguru I
49th Omukama of the Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara
>>Profile and further information

The Prince Grand Master

Prince Grand Master of the San Luigi Orders

H.S.H. Edmond III
8th Prince-Abbot and 6th Mukungu of San Luigi
>>Profile and further information

(1) The Sovereign, Chivalrous, Noble and Religious Order of the Crown of Thorns (L’Ordre Souverain, Chevaleresque, Nobilaire et Religieux de la Couronne d’Epines)

OCT w ribbonA full history of this Order, which is a revival of an earlier mediaeval entity, is given on a separate page:

>>Full history of the Order of the Crown of Thorns

In the modern era, the Order was re-established on 1 June 1891 on the authority of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch, His Beatitude Ignatius Peter III/IV, who was also responsible for authorizing the consecration to the Episcopate of the fifth Prince-Abbot, Archbishop Joseph-René Vilatte (Mar Timotheos, Prince-Abbot Joseph III), in 1892. The petitioner for this authority (who had submitted his petition over a decade earlier, in 1880) was the Revd. Gaston Jean Fercken (1855-1930) who was a priest in the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America and worked closely with Prince-Abbot Joseph III during the early years of the Order. In 1892, the 1922 History relates, “Patriarch Ignatius Peter III, the successor of St Peter, sent for Mar Timotheus I, who had been consecrated metropolitan archbishop for work amongst the Orthodox Catholics in America by Julius I, Archbishop of the Syrian Church in Ceylon, in accordance with the Bulls issued by the Patriarch, and conferred upon him the Grand Mastership of the Order of the Crown of Thorns, and intrusted to him the regulations of the Order.” Whether or not this act was undertaken with Fercken’s knowledge and consent is not clear. In any case, on 30 May 1893, Fercken resigned the Grand Mastership so far as he was concerned in favour of Mgr. Vilatte.

Meanwhile, a separate Order of the Crown of Thorns had been founded together with the Order of the Lion and the Black Cross by Prince-Abbot Henrice on 15 October 1883. By decision of Prince-Abbot Joseph III, who was consecrated by the Syrian Orthodox Church and therefore accorded primacy to the 1891 Order under the authority of the Patriarch, this branch was absorbed into the 1891 Order when both came under the same headship in 1899.

OCT Grand Cross breast starThe Order has as its aims (1) to defend the Christian Ideology, Tradition and Cultural Inheritance; (2) to preserve the best ideals of Knighthood of past centuries and the noble spiritual virtues of the Knights Templar; and (3) to help forward the complete re-establishment of the Abbey of San Luigi, and any charitable works under its Patronage. The Order also has the aim of rewarding persons who have distinguished themselves in defence of the Church, of humanity, or in philanthropic work initiated by the Order and have shown a Christian spirit, a clean life and a noble example. Membership of the Order is confined to baptised Christians who accept the Nicene Creed in its natural interpretation.

The Statutes of the Order, which give full details of its protocols for membership and related activities, can be read here.

The historic Statutes of the Order issued under Prince-Abbot Joseph III in 1900, 1922 and the additions effective in 1938 are all in the possession of the Abbey-Principality, and can be read on the historic documents page.

OLBC w ribbon(2) The Sovereign, Knightly and Noble Order of the Lion and the Black Cross (L’Ordre Souverain, Chevaleresque et Noble du Lion et de la Croix Noire), also known as the Order of the Lion and the Black Star.

This Order of Chivalry was founded by the first Prince-Abbot of San Luigi, Revd. Fr. Dom Henrice Pacomez, on 15 October 1883. The symbolic Lion represented is the Lion of Judah, which overcomes the Cross in its act of salvation.

It has as its aims (1) to unite together those who accept the ancient standards of Chivalry; (2) to help forward the complete re-establishment of the Abbey-Principality of San Luigi in the Fezzan, and any charitable works under its Patronage; (3) to reward those who have distinguished themselves in the service of mankind or of the Orders of the Abbey-Principality, without distinction as to race or creed. It is thus open both to Christians and to non-Christians.

The Statutes of the Order, which give full details of its protocols for membership and related activities, can be read here.

The original Statutes of the Order, published in 1899 under Prince-Abbot Joseph III, and their revision in 1934-35 are in the possession of the Abbey-Principality and can be read on the historic documents page.

(3) The Order of Antioch

This Order was planned by Prince-Abbot Joseph III de San Luigi and organized in 1928 by Archbishop the Hon. Frederick E.J. Lloyd, Primate of the American Catholic Church and a former member of the House of Representatives for the State of Illinois. It is a religious order originally open only to bishops (now also open to priests and deacons) who can establish their Apostolic Succession from the Syrian Orthodox Church.

After the death of Archbishop Lloyd in 1933 the Order developed under the leadership of the Rt. Revds. Dr Howard Ellsworth Mather and Dr. Frank Dyer. Dr Dyer in the 1920s built what is now the Wilshire United Methodist Church, a California historical monument. In June 1963 the legal title to the Order was inherited from Dr Dyer by Prince-Abbot Edmond II de San Luigi.

The Order was at one point the principal gathering-point of clergy of the Vilatte succession, and today continues to admit to membership those who serve in the churches that descend from his foundations. Its activities are described in the Church section of this website.

(4) Le Grand Prix Humanitaire de France et des Colonies

GPH w ribbonThis award was established on 18 September 1892 by M. Charles Leroy and subsequently became attached to the San Luigi Orders in 1899 as part of the transfer of Prince-Abbot Louis-François, when it was designated as the Cross of Merit of the Order of the Crown of Thorns, this being confirmed in the succession document in favour of Prince-Abbot Edmond I of 1923. A description is given in the statutes of that Order from the 1930s, and in the 1953 history of the Orders. This award was originally intended to honour those who had strived in the service of saving human life “to save their fellow rescuers and particularly at sea.” Subsequently, its scope was expanded to an award limited to a maximum of ten per year and usually four or less. The Grand Prix was formerly under the Patronage of the late Sawai Man Singh II, the last Maharajah of Jaipur.

GPHFC breast starWith its attachment to the San Luigi Orders in 1899, the Grand Prix Humanitaire de France et des Colonies acquired an international character and ceased to be purely a French award. Although it preserves its original title, today the present-day Grand Prix has no organizational connection with the French Republic or its former colonies, and is a purely commemorative and chivalric award.

It is not possible to apply for this award, which is conferred rarely and with an annual limit on the number of recipients. Nominations of deserving candidates may be made to the Prince-Abbot by existing members of the San Luigi Orders.

The Statutes of the Grand Prix can be read here.

Arms of the Royal House Polanie-Patrikios

Device of the Abbey-Principality of San Luigi