Saturday, February 7, 2015


During his residence at Gaeta, Pius IX founded two medals, one for the foreign military who had given assistance to his government, and another with the inscription 'Alia Fedelta', for papal subjects of all classes, as an acknowledgment of their devotion in the cause. Both are worn suspended by a ribbon of the papal colours, but no privileges are attached to them.

The following is a list of the Orders which were founded by those Popes who have sanctioned and confirmed the ancient secular Orders, as established by Christian Princes.

1. The Order of St. Peter, founded by Pope Leo X for the victorious campaign against the Turks.
2. The Order of St. Paul, by Pope Paul III.
3. The Order of the Knights of St. George, by Pope Alexander IV.
4. The Order of the Knights of St. John of the Lateran, by Pope Pius IV in 1560.

All these Orders, even the last, may now be considered as extinct or dormant, since no nomination has taken place in them during the present century, though some of the Knights who wore the Cross as given No. 10, are still alive, and the abolition has, moreover, never been publicly or officially announced.

There still exists at Rome a knighthood, the members of which generally pass by the name, 'Merciful Brethren of the Holy Ghost'. Both priests and laymen belonging to it, make vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, and engage themselves, besides, to nurse and assist the sick, even in times of pestilence. Since the Pontificate of Innocent III, under whose reign the Knights of the Order came over to Rome from France, they have had the sole management of the hospital of Santo Spirito, at Sassia, near the Vatican. The badge is a white Cross, embroidered upon the coat, or suspended round the neck.

Source : the book of orders of knighthood and decorations of honour of all nations, sir Bernard BURKE, 1858

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