Knight of St. Gregory

For the monastic order, see Sylvestrines.
Order of St. Gregory the Great
Ordo Sancti Gregorii Magni
Knight Commander's cross of the Order of St. Gregory the Great (1841)
Awarded by
The Pope
Type An honorary Order of Knighthood of the Holy See, but not necessarily of the Roman Catholic Church.
Motto PRO DEO ET PRINCIPE
Status Bestowed by authority of the Pope as the monarch of the Holy See and as the temporal sovereign of the Vatican City State entirely within the city of Rome, Italy, now.
Sovereign His Holiness Pope Francis, as of April 2013
Grades (w/ post-nominals) Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the First Class
Knight/Dame Commander with Star
Knight/Dame Commander or
Knight/Dame
Former grades Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Second Class
Established Established on 1 September 1831
Precedence
Next (higher) Order of Pius IX
Next (lower) Order of St. Sylvester
Ribbon bar of the order

The Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great (Latin: Ordo Sancti Gregorii Magni, Italian: Ordine di San Gregorio Magno), was established on 1 September 1831, by Pope Gregory XVI, seven months after his election to that seat by the College of Cardinals.

The Order of St. Gregory the Great is one of the five Orders of Knighthood of the Holy See. This special honor is bestowed upon Roman Catholic men and women (and sometimes in rare cases to non-Catholics[1]) in recognition of their personal service to the Holy See and to the Roman Catholic Church, through their unusual labors, their support of the Holy See, and their excellent examples set forth in their communities and their countries.

The eligibility of Eastern Orthodox Catholics to receive the The Order of St. Gregory the Great seems to be an open question as of the year 2012.

The Order of St. Gregory the Great has four "classes" in civil and military divisions:

  • Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the First Class (GCSG/DCSG)
  • Knight/Dame Commander with Star (KC*SG/DC*SG)
  • Knight/Dame Commander (KCSG/DCSG)
  • Knight/Dame (KSG/DSG)

The motto of the Order of St. Gregory the Great is Pro Deo et Principe (For God and Prince).

History and appointment

The inaugural brief states, in part, that "gentlemen of proven loyalty to the Holy See who, by reason of their nobility of birth and the renown of their deeds or the degree of their munificence, are deemed worthy to be honored by a public expression of esteem on the part of the Holy See". The end of the brief states that they must progressively maintain, by continued meritorious deed, the reputation and trust they had already inspired, and prove themselves worthy of the honor that had been conferred on them, by unswerving fidelity to God and to the sovereign Pontiff.[2]

The awarding of the Order of St. Gregory the Great presents no particular obligations on the recipients toward the Roman Catholic Church – except for the general ones stated above.

The Insignia

An eight-pointed cross, the insignia of the Order, bears a representation of St. Gregory on the obverse and on the reverse the motto Pro Deo et Principe (For God and Prince). The cross is suspended from a red and gold ribbon. In ecclesiastical heraldry, laymen awarded the high rank of Grand Cross can display a red and gold ribbon surrounding the shield in their personal coats of arms, but the recipients of the lower ranks place an appropriate ribbon below the shield.[3]

Vestments and accoutrements

The difference between the civilian and military uniforms at formal occasions for the Order of Saint Gregory the Great is that the former group wears the cross hanging from a green crown of laurel, whereas the latter group wears the cross hanging from a trophy. A green uniform was later prescribed by Pope Pius IX. The uniform contains a black beaver-felt hat decorated with black silk ribbons, silver metallic twisted rope, buttons and black ostrich feathers. The jacket, made of green wool, is trimmed with silver metallic thread, and has a tail, nine yellow metal buttons in the front and three buttons on the cuffs and is lined with black satin. Finally, the costume contains suspenders, several yellow and red rosettes, white leather gloves, and a short sword with a handle made of mother of pearl with a medallion of the order at the end.

Knights Grand Cross wear a sash and a badge or star on the left side of the breast; Commanders wear a cross around the neck; and Knights wear a smaller cross on the left breast of the uniform:

Knight
Knight Commander
Knight Commander with Star
Knight Grand Cross

Notable members

Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the First Class
Knight/Dame Commander with Star
Knight/Dame Commander
Knight/Dame

See also

  • Papal Orders of Chivalry

References

External links

  • Association of Papal Orders in Great Britain
  • Photograph
  • Time Magazine, 25 Jun 1928, reporting an award of the Order of St. Gregory the Great

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