The Dynastic Orders: An Overview
The Royal House of the Two Sicilies today bestows three internationally recognized Orders of Knighthood. They are:
The Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George
is an ancient and internationally recognized Order of Knighthood which, from its remotest origins, has resolved to work for the glorification of the Cross, the propagation of the Faith, and the defense of the Holy Roman Church, to which it is strictly bound through special merits acquired in the East, and for which manifold evidences of gratitude and benevolence have been expressed by successive Supreme Pontiffs of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Grand Master and Head of the Royal House of Bourbon Two Sicilies is:
His Royal Highness Prince Carlo of Bourbon Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro.
The Grand Prior to the Order was:
His Eminence The Late Mario Francesco, Cardinal Pompedda
Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Segnatura
President of the Court of Cassation of the Vatican City State until his death in October 2006. The order will soon announce the new Grand Prior. Today many members of the Sacred College of Cardinals are senior members of the Constantinian Order and play an important spiritual role on both a local as well as international level within the Order. Several Cardinals fulfill the role of Prior to a local or national delegation of the Order.
The Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George is not an Order of Knighthood of either the Holy See or the Italian Republic but maintains today a close historic and continued working relationship with the Apostolic See, the Italian Republic, the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, sovereign Royal Houses and Governments across the world. The Order is also fully recognized by the Italian State through successive decrees of The President of the Italian Republic, and military officers may wear the ribbon of the Order on their uniforms.
It is the primary duty of all knights and dames of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order to live as true, exemplary Christians, and to dedicate themselves to any activity or endeavor that fosters the growth of religious principles among mankind, co-operating in every manner with the practice of the Christian way of life.
The Sacred Military Constantinian Order, in keeping with the times, today emphasizes major contributions to the two great social works, namely hospital assistance and charitable relief of the poor.
Knights and dames of the United States Delegation of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George must be practicing Roman Catholics and in good standing with the Church. They must also fulfill two basic principles as part of their membership of the world-wide confraternity:
1. Work for the glorification of the Christian Cross, the preaching of the Roman Catholic Faith and the defense of the Roman Catholic Church.
2. Promote the spiritual and physical welfare of the sick and disabled, the poor, the homeless and the illiterate; to aid and protect them and contribute to their material and moral support; to establish institutions of Christian charity to attend to their needs; to co-operate with other agencies or institutions which engage in like work; and, generally, to do any and all things and engage in any and all activities which in the judgement of the Grand Master and the Council of the Delegation maybe necessary or proper to accomplish the aforesaid purposes and objectives.
The Royal Order of Francis I
Much like the Sacred Military Constantinian Order, a separate Order of Knighthood, it was established and recognized by decree on 28 September 1829 as a Royal Order principally to reward civil merit on the part of government, diplomats, military officials and clerics, in addition to those who had made achievements in commerce, the sciences, arts, letters and literature.
The Royal Order of Francis I has never been exclusively Roman Catholic in origin and its knights and dames need not profess the Roman Catholic Faith, although they are expected to participate in the humanitarian and charitable activities of the dynastic orders of the Royal House of Bourbon Two Sicilies. Today membership of this Order include senior figures from all Christian denominations, Muslims and Jews.
The Distinguished Royal Order of Saint Januarius
Founded in 1738 honors the patron saint of Naples, it is the premier Order of Knighthood of the Royal House of the Two Sicilies. It is bestowed upon up to a maximum of twenty worthy gentlemen professing the Catholic Faith and is traditionally drawn from the Royal Families of Europe and the high aristocracy of the Two Sicilies. (Princes of the Royal House of the Two Sicilies are considered "supernumerary" knights).
Its earliest statutes, promulgated in 1738, establish it as a Roman Catholic institution intended to foster true chivalry and Christian brotherhood.