THE HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE MOST HONOURABLE ORDER OF CHRISTIAN KNIGHTS OF THE ROSE
Mark S. Douglas, J.D., M.A., K.O.R., D.S.R
Justiciar for the Order
There are four components of historical significance of the establishment of the Knights of the Rose: (1) Timing of the formation of the Order; (2) 21st century technology utilized to develop a millennium old social form; (3) the ecumenical nature of the KOR; and (4) the authenticity or legitimacy of the KOR as an Order of chivalry and knighthood.
n TIMING OF THE FORMATION OF THE ORDER
The KOR was formally constituted with the issuance of a Charter or Patent of Authority by His Grace the late Right Reverend Peter Compton-Caputo, Bishop of the Anglican Independent Communion, on July 4, 2001. This charter received the Bishop’s seal of office and his blessing.
Contrary to the impression of many, the third millennium of the Christian era in fact began on January 1, 2001, not on January 1, 2000. With the charter for the KOR having been issued on July 4, 200l by a bona fide eccliastical fons honorum, this to our awareness makes the KOR the first authentic or legitimate order of chivalry and knighthood established in the third millennium of the Christian era.
It is interesting to note that the formation of the KOR in July 2001 occurred roughly 905 years subsequent to the initiation of the First Crusade by Pope Urban in late summer 1096. The first crusade lasted from 1096 until 1099. This and subsequent Crusades led to the creation of orders of chivalry under Papal authority consisting of “monk knights”.
Eccliastical orders of chivalry began during the first crusade with the incorporation of the Knights Hospitaller of St. John in 1098, and the Knights of St. Lazarus in 1099. The Knights Templar were subsequently established as a religious order in 1119, which was formally recognized by the church at the Council of Troyes in 1128. The KOR was thus founded approximately 903 years subsequent to the establishment of the Knights Hospitaller of St. John as an eccliastical order of chivalry and knighthood in 1098.
Just as the Crusades, the Knights Hospitaller of St. John, the Knights of St. Lazarus, and the Knights Templar initiated the establishment of eccliastical orders of knighthood in the early part of the second millennium of the Christian era, the KOR is the first order to continue this tradition into the Third millennium of the Christian era.
n 21ST CENTURY TECHNOLOGY IS UTILIZED TO DEVELOP A MILLENNIUM OLD SOCIAL FORM
As noted, eccliastical orders of chivalry and knighthood were first formed nearly one millennium ago in conjunction with the Crusades. At that time, knights were recruited from families of some standing known to be loyal to the church, or to the secular nobility. Interaction thus occurred very much on a face-to-face basis, and knights were recruited on such a basis.
With the advent of modern technology, it is now possible to bring together people from the entire planet so that they may interact utilizing the Internet, e-mail, messenger services, and message boards. The local method of face-to-face interaction in social organization can now be expanded to include interaction between individuals on a planet wide basis.
It is the latter method which was utilized by the KOR in bringing together individuals from Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand to form the KOR. In fact, the KOR can be truly said to have its inception at an individual level in the mind of our Grand Master Chev. Brent Spencer, and at a collective level in Chev. Paul Grant’s Yahoo Chivalry and Knighthood club. The Yahoo Knights of the Rose club was subsequently founded on the date of the funeral of His Grace the late Bishop Peter Compton-Caputo in August 2001, and has since served as the primary medium of interaction between officers, knights and dames, and friends of the Order.
This cutting-edge communications technology has in the case of the KOR been utilized to establish an organization which consists of a social form nearly 1000 years old. This social form is the Order of Chivalry and Knighthood. It is based on the Code of Chivalry as it has developed from the time of formation of the first orders of chivalry. It is further based on the role model of the “warrior monk” of the crusades, which constituted the basis for the first eccliastical orders of chivalry at that time.
n ECUMENICAL NATURE OF THE KOR
I begin by noting that I am using the term “ecumenical” in its meaning of that which is universal, or worldwide. There are two elements which define the ecumenical nature of the KOR; i.e., religion and geography.
The ecumenical nature of the KOR recognizes that Christianity is broad and universal enough to include a very wide range and diversity of belief patterns in the form of varied ideologies, doctrines, liturgies, and organizational entities.
We have among our numbers representatives from the Eastern Rite, and from the Western Rite, including both Roman Catholic and Protestant denominations. This represents an enormous diversity, making the KOR one of the most varied and inclusive traditional Christian orders in existence today. It represents contemporary Christian religious diversity, with respect for varied historical Christian religious traditions.
The KOR currently has Grand Priories established in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
* This includes both the Eastern
and Western hemispheres of our
* It further includes three of
the seven continents of our planet; i.e.,
* I presume that in due time,
the KOR may be forming and
Thus, in terms of contemporary Christian denominational diversity, Christian historical traditions, and physical geography, the KOR can be properly said to be “universal” and “worldwide”, and as such, genuinely ecumenical in its scope.
n AUTHENTICITY AND LEGITIMACY OF THE KOR AS AN ORDER OF CHIVALRY AND KNIGHTHOOD
The authenticity or legitimacy of an order of chivalry and knighthood stems from its fons honorum (fount of honor). To be considered as legitimate, such an order must not only have a fons honorum, but that fons honorum must meet certain criteria in order to have the historical authority to “make knights” as it were.
* FONS HONORUM (fount of honor):
As noted earlier, the fons honorum or fount of honor for the KOR is His Grace the late Right Reverend Peter Compton-Caputo, Bishop of the Anglican Independent Communion. On July 4, 2001, His Grace placed his seal of office on a charter for the Knights of the Rose, establishing it as an authentic and legitimate eccliastical order of chivalry and knighthood.
The authority of His Grace to serve as a fons honorum for an order of chivalry and knighthood stems from historical tradition, and from his established line of apostolic succession stemming from St. Peter. By the imposition of hands, a bishop is consecrated and endowed with sacred powers, and the line of succession continued. By this manner, Apostolic authority has been passed on down through the Catholic and Apostolic Church for 2000 years.
His Grace received his eccliastical authority as a Bishop from eight lines of apostolic succession. These lines are as follows:(1) Anglican Use
(2) Petrine Line
(3) Celtic-Hebraic (extends back to James the Less, who was
recognized by the other apostles as the Bishop of Jerusalem
(4) Old Catholic Church of Utrecht (Holland)
(5) Protestant Episcopal, Church, U.S.A.
(6) The Order of Corporate Reunion
(7) Non Jurors and the Scottish Episcopal Church
(8) Church of England Line
The eccliastical authority vested in His Grace was descended through two Popes that I can specifically ascertain. These Popes are as follows:
* Pope Benedict XIV (14th), who
reigned from 1740 until 1758
* Pope Nicholas I, who reigned
from 858 until 867
* TYPES OF FONS HONORA HISTORICALLY
Historically, there are two types of fons honora; i.e., secular and eccliastical
* Secular: A secular fons honorum includes monarchs, or other bona fide nobles. Perhaps the most well known and widely recognized secular fons honorum for orders of chivalry and knighthood is the British monarch.
* Eccliastical: An eccliastical fons honorum includes historically recognized authorities in the form of the Pope in his capacity as the Bishop of Rome; Eastern Rite Patriarchs; and subsequent to the Protestant Reformation, Protestant Bishops with an appropriate apostolic line of succession, which provides historical rooting for their eccliastical authority. Anglican Bishops because of their strict adherence to the doctrine of apostolic succession plainly qualify on this score.
There has been an historical rivalry between the Church and State for institutional supremacy in western society, which dates back a good thousand years or so. Ultimately, it appears that the State has won out. Still, the pre-eminence of the Church and the State as historical social institutions in Western society is significant in terms of who may legitimately serve as a fons honorum for an order of knighthood or chivalry.
The authority of secular royalty and nobility, and the authority of the Pope has been said to be based on their status as a “sovereign”. “Sovereignty” consists of the exercise of supreme authority or power within a limited sphere by one who is an acknowledged leader within that sphere. As such, the concept of sovereignty includes autonomy and freedom from external control within the sphere of concern.
A secular sovereign, which includes a monarch or other noble, rules over a state or province. An eccliastical sovereign in the form of a bishop rules over a diocese, which consists of a collection of parishes. The office of bishop and the diocese as an administrative unit are of Roman secular origin, with the diocese originating with the ancient Roman Emperor Diocletian. Both a state or province, and a diocese contain the elements of an organized body of people generally occupying a definite physical territory. It is these elements of the organization of a specifically defined human population occupying a definite physical territory that characterize the sphere over which a secular or eccliastical sovereign rules.
From the Roman Empire’s recognition of Christianity in the 4th century A.D. until the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, the bishop was the chief pastor, priest, administrator, and ruler of his Christian community, having spiritual or eccliastical supervision over that community. In the course of the Reformation, some of the new Protestant churches repudiated the office of the bishop. Of the post-reformation Christian communions, only the Roman Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, Old Catholics, Anglicans, and a few others have maintained both the bishop’s office, and the belief that bishops have continued the apostolic succession.
Popes, cardinals, archbishops, patriarchs, and metropolitans are different gradations of bishops. Among the insignia traditional to a bishop are a miter, pastoral staff, pectoral cross, ring, and caligae (i.e., stockings and sandals). The miter as a symbol of authority is of Roman secular origin, descending from ancient Roman practice, having been worn by ancient Roman bishops. These accouterments are analogous in the secular realm to the crown, scepter, and orb of a monarch. All are traditional symbols of authority, and the power to rule. Although he rarely chose to display them, our own late fons honorum possessed these symbols of eccliastical authority.
Thus, secular monarchs and nobles, as well as the various grades of bishops who receive their authority in a proper line of apostolic succession, are in their own domains “sovereigns.” As such, both may properly serve as fons honora for orders of chivalry or knighthood, and such orders may correctly proclaim legitimacy and authenticity based on a charter or patent of authority issued by such eccliastical or secular authorities.
Our own fons honorum has (and I use the present tense) credentials which are beyond repute. The historical precedent for eccliastical orders of chivalry dates back to the first crusade. The KOR can therefore proclaim with authority and confidence that it is indeed the first legitimate and authentic order of chivalry and knighthood in the third millennium of the Christian era.
Delivered on the occasion
of the first international investiture dinner held at the Petroleum Club in
Edmonton, Alberta Canada on Saturday, July 13, 2002.