|History of the Order|
History of the Order
The International Knightly Order Valiant of St George is an ancient and military order of knighthood, founded on 23 April 1326 in Višegrad, Hungary, by King Károly Róbert, great-grandson of Charles of Anjou, in the presence of his bishops and courtiers and has been honorably registered with the Pactio Secreta (The International Council of Chivalric Orders) since 1998.
It is a lay order dedicated to the name of the Blessed Trinity under the particular patronage of St George (patron of chivalry). The original foundation documents are preserved in the Hungarian National Archives in Budapest. It is the most ancient of those Chivalric Orders which were created as “Royal” institutions, independent of the church and is a religious confraternity of Knights and Dames who are committed to a life of humility, loyalty and service for the common good. Over the centuries, governance of the Order has been in the hands of Kings of Hungary, Holy Roman Emperors, Cardinals and a Pope. Its flourishing, and advancement internationally, in our times, is due, in no small measure, to the indomitable personality, and the inspired and skilled leadership of HE Major-General vitez Janos Karaszy-Kulin, GCStG GCLJ (1929-2008).
Originally a military and charitable Order, military service is no longer an absolute requirement, although much of the ceremonial and pageantry of The Order continues to imbibe a military flavour. The Order plays an important part in Hungarian State traditions and since the year 1989, an annual investiture ceremony has been held each April in Hungary.
Inevitably, the history of most chivalric and religious orders is complicated by the vicissitudes of internal and external politics but they persist where there is a genuine response to the needs of the times prompted by the Spirit. Derivatives of the fraternal society of knighthood inspired by St George can be traced all over Europe.
In Hungary, the twentieth century foundation the Order of Vitéz was based upon it, but the Knightly Order Valiant of St George re-emerged in its own right after the fall of communism in 1989.
Uniquely for a republic, Hungary maintains as a national symbol the Holy Crown of St Stephen – the President, ministers of state and officers of the armed forces all take their oath of allegiance to it. In the sixteenth century, when he was Grand Master, Pope Paul III added the image of this crown, to the insignia of the Order.
The Insignia of The Order Valiant of Saint George incorporates the Crown of St. Stephen, surmounting a cross centered with a depiction of St. George. The Crown is the highest legal symbol of Governmental authority used in modern day Hungary.
Noteworthy Historical Details
The following is a list of some notable dates and events within the International Knightly Order Valiant of St. George from its inception to the present day:
In the twentieth century the international Order was officially registered as a charity under English law and was recognised by the International Council of Orders of Chivalry. King Károly Róbert created his knightly society at a time of civil strife and struggles for power in Hungary and used the Knights as a means of restoring order, not least by setting an example of loyalty and good character. The obligations of the original fifty Knights of the royal court were to be faithful and obedient to the King, to be practising Christians carrying out works of charity, and to uphold the chivalric code of the Society.
Nowadays the members of the International Knightly Order Valiant of St George observe the same obligations, proving their worthiness by upholding the laws and sound moral traditions of society, by affirming their belief in Almighty God, and by maintaining the spirit of chivalry in the world.
This involves encouraging understanding and cooperation between individuals and nations and providing a charitable service to humanity by supporting the underprivileged in hospices, orphanages and homes for the elderly. All members of the Order sustain its work directly by means of an annual oblation and voluntary donations.
Gradually the knightly fraternity is spreading internationally. The Hungarian and United Kingdom Grand Priories are expanding with members being added at each annual Investiture which are held in Rochester Cathedral under the guidance of the Spiritual Protector of the Order The Rt Rev’d Dr Michael Nazir-Ali GCStG BA M Litt ThD, The Lord Bishop of Rochester.