Bander van Duren, Peter
Orders of Knighthood and of Merit

Orders of Knighthood and of Merit


The Pontifical, Religious and Secularised Catholic-founded Orders and their relationship to the Apostolic See
Hardcover ISBN: 0-86140-371-1 / 978-0-86140-371-4 £70.00
Limited signed edition, three-quarter morocco, vellum panels, marbled end-papers, in slip-case ISBN: 0-86140-380-0 / 978-0-86140-380-6 £450.00

23.4 x 15.5 cm.    xvi, 714 pp. + 48pp colour illustrations and  with c.400  b/w illustrations within the text

Since the publication in 1983 of Archbishop Cardinale’s Orders of Knighthood, Awards and the Holy See, and the two later editions (1984 and 1985) edited and revised by Peter Bander van Duren, whose own work The Cross on the Sword appeared in 1987, there have been major changes in the Holy See’s attitude towards Orders of Knighthood. These changes have meant that large sections of both books are now out of date, so it has been necessary for Peter Bander van Duren to completely rewrite and update the work Archbishop Cardinale began, and without which this book could not have been written.

Orders of Knighthood and of Merit presents the many Catholic-founded Orders of Knighthood in a new perspective, and deals not only with the Pontifical Equestrian Orders and the two surviving religious Orders of Knighthood, but with the many Catholic-founded but secularised Orders – dynastic, state and crown – that exist today. He examines their relationship, where one exists, to the Apostolic See and the Papacy in the light of the changes that have taken place, as well as the dichotomy between the different rôles and functions of the Holy See and the Apostolic See, the Mater et Magistra of all Catholic-founded Orders of Knighthood. Having been able to study various source materials hitherto and not since available to others, he exposes the misunderstandings and misinformation that exist in this field, and highlights errors that have been perpetuated, sometimes for centuries, through genuine lack of information, as well as those that, for political expediency, have been deliberately concealed.

The chapter and appendices on the Pontifical Orders of Knighthood are designed to assist papal knights in their rôle and functions that their appointments have given them.

The author places the Catholic-founded Orders of Knighthood in perspective, and shows that the continued existence of many of them is based not only on authoritative ecclesiastical and temporal documents of foundation, Papal Briefs and Bulls, but also on their lay apostolate which has continued without interruption.

Neither the Codex Iuris Canonici in force from 1917 to 1983, nor that governing the Catholic-founded Orders during the pontificate of St. Pius X (who more than any other pope laid the foundations for the Pontifical Orders as we know them today), created the present situation where necessity dictates that one has to distinguish between the rôle and functions of the Apostolic See and the Holy See: this dichotomy was created by the 1983 Codex Iuris Canonici. The author shows the paradox that would arise if those who wish to equate them according to the latter’s rather vague Canons are not challenged to clarify their positions: their rulings would nullify the present enormous value of many of the Catholic-founded Orders to the Apostolic See and, indeed, to the whole Church. The author goes so far as to suggest that if the authority and the supremacy of the Apostolic See were to be further diminished, those mighty armies that once protected our Christian civilisation will have lost their raison d’être.

Special attention is paid to dynastic Orders of Knighthood, especially those that although secularised, in some cases for centuries, still fulfil a lay apostolate. Many state and dynastic Orders were secularised during the Reformation, and while they no longer have any link with the Apostolic See, they retain the character and insignia of their former existence, and now have a reciprocal relationship with the Holy See in its capacity as a sovereign power. Extinct Catholic-founded Orders, as well as those organisations that without justification claim chivalric status, are dealt with in detail. One of the most important matters dealt with by the author, and not hitherto considered elsewhere, is the raison d’être of several Orders, and some aspects of Hospitaller as well as Military Orders are also examined.

For over half the last millennium, from the time of the first Crusade to the latter half of the seventeenth century, members of Catholic-founded Orders of Knighthood were at the forefront of the defence of West European civilization, and the author suggests that they may once again find a rôle. There are also many appendices that give a wealth of information not readily available to those interested in phaleristics – the study of Orders, decorations and honours bestowed on meritorious individuals. Orders of Knighthood and of Merit is therefore one of the most important contributions to the study of phaleristics that has been published in the past decades.


I. The involvement of the Apostolic See and the Holy See in the field of chivalry – The origin and evolution of Orders of Knighthood.

II. THE PONTIFICAL ORDERS OF KNIGHTHOOD. The origin and evolution of Pontifical Orders of Knighthood and the attitude of individual pontiffs to the Orders – The Supreme Order of Christ – The Order of the Golden Spur, or The Golden Militia – The Golden Collar of the Pian Order – The Order of Pius IX – The Order of St. Gregory the Great – The Order of Pope St. Sylvester – Corollary on non-Catholic Knights of the Order of St. Gregory the Great.

III. PAPAL KNIGHTS. The rôle and function of the Pontifical Equestrian Orders – The procedure for admission – The implications of the Supreme Pontiff being the fons honorum of Pontifical Knighthoods.

IV. PONTIFICAL RELIGIOUS AWARDS OF MERIT. The Golden Rose – The Cross ‘Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice’ – The Medal ‘Benemerenti’.

V. RELIGIOUS BUT NON-PONTIFICAL ORDERS OF KNIGHTHOOD. The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta – The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem – The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.


VII. CATHOLIC-FOUNDED DYNASTIC ORDERS. Their nature, rôle and function, and their relationship with the Apostolic See
The Noble Order of the Golden Fleece of Burgundy
The Imperial and Royal House of Habsburg-Lorraine – The Noble Order of the Golden Fleece of Austria – The Order of the Dames of the Starry Cross
The Royal House of Bragança of Portugal – The Order of Our Lady of the Conception of Vila Viçosa – The Royal Order of Saint Isabel
The Royal House of Bourbon of the Two Sicilies – The Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George – The Royal Order of St. Januarius
The Royal House of Savoy-Italy – The Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunziata – The Order of SS. Maurice and Lazarus
The Royal House of Bavaria Wittelsbach – The Order of St. George – The Order of St. Hubert – The Order of St. Michael
The Royal House of Bourbon of France – The Royal House of Bourbon Orléans – The Order of the Holy Ghost – The Royal and Military Order of St. Louis – The Order of St. Michael of France
The Ducal House of Habsburg-Tuscany: The Grand Duchy of Tuscany – The Order of St. Stephen – The Order of St. Joseph.

Denmark: The Order of the Elephant; The Order of the Dannebrog
Great Britain and Northern Ireland: The Most Noble Order of the Garter; The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle; The Most Honourable Order of the Bath; Knights Bachelor
Monaco: The Order of St. Charles
The Republic of Poland: The Order of the White Eagle; The Order of ‘Polonia Restituta’
The Republic of Portugal: The Riband of the Three Orders; The Military Order of the Tower and the Sword, of Valour, Loyalty and Merit (although not a Catholic-founded Order); The Military Order of Christ; The Military Order of Avis; The Military Order of St. James of the Sword
San Marino: The Equestrian Order of St. Marino; The Equestrian Order of St. Agatha
Spain: The Noble Order of the Golden Fleece (Spanish branch); The Monastic Military Orders of Alcantara, of Calatrava, of Montesa & of Santiago; The Most Distinguished Order of Carlos III; The Order of Isabella the Catholic; The Military Order of St. Ferdinand; The Royal & Military Order of St. Hermenegildus; The Orders of Cisneros, & of St. Raymond of Peñafort
Sweden: The Royal Order of the Sword (The Order of the Yellow Ribbon); The Royal Order of the Seraphim



XI. RECOGNIZED KNIGHTLY ORGANISATIONS. The Association of the Knights of Columbus -
The Knights and Dames of St. Michael of the Wing



1. Pontifical Equestrian Orders: Papal Letters of Foundation and Decrees
2. Additional Guidelines for Papal Knights and Investitures
3. Conferment of Pontifical Religious Awards
4. The Pontifical Medal
5. The Pontifical Corps of Guards: the Pontifical Noble Guard – The Pontifical Swiss Guard – The Palatine Guard of Honour – The Pontifical Gendarmerie
6. Perrot’s List of Extinct Orders
7. On Chronological Lists of Orders of Knighthood
8. The Prerogatives of the Dukes of Bragança
9. Bull of Foundation of the Portuguese Order of Christ and Royal Brief of Acceptance by King Dom Dinis I
10. Insignia as objets d’art
11. Orders and Decorations of the Republic of Poland
12. Appointment of S.A.R. Don Carlos de Borbón-Dos Sicilias y Borbón-Parma as Infante of Spain




More info →
Buy now!
The Cross on the Sword

The Cross on the Sword


A Supplement to 'Orders of Knighthood, Awards and the Holy See'

ISBN: 978-0-905715-32-2

23.5 x 15.5 cm.        196 pp.    illus.  Van Duren 1987

With an Introduction by Archbishop, later Cardinal, Jacques Martin

This book attests to the fact that there is nothing more ancient, more venerable, more diversified than the Orders of Chivalry that have existed or still exist, and more desired, more sought after by certain people, than a papal decoration. It is always necessary to underline the essential differences between temporal decorations and those that are conferred by the sovereign Pontiff. A papal knighthood is not to be viewed solely as an honour, as a reward: it also incorporates a duty and a mission, that of serving and protecting the person of the Vicar of Christ. Papal Knights form a sort of army, on the devotion of which the Pope must be able to rely. To the Knight it is not the honour that matters but his obligations and services.    + Jacques Cardinal Martin

Peter Bander van Duren's The Cross on the Sword is a supplement to his edition of the late Archbishop H.E. Cardinale's Orders of Knighthood, Awards and the Holy See (1985), and consolidates his revisions and additions that appeared in that work.

The first part deals with the statutes and regulations concerning the Pontifical Equestrian Orders of Pius IX, St. Gregory the Great and Pope St. Sylvester, the privileges granted to Papal Knights and their juridical position. As His Excellency Archbishop Jacques Martin writes in his introduction the author had to rely, for the information in this section, on ‘the Papal Briefs of the Orders' founders and the provisions made for the Papal Knights by Pope St. Pius X, many of which were contained in personal directives. It was left to Peter Bander van Duren to interpret them in the light of today's need as the Holy Father wrote them over eighty years ago.’

For the first time in the history of the Papal Knights, guidelines have been devised for an investiture ceremony, and the question of precedence has been examined in the light of the privileges granted to Papal Knights by Pope St. Pius X.

Part II deals with general juridical questions arising from Archbishop Cardinale's work, particularly the position of Catholic Orders of Knighthood that he stated were ‘extinct’, ‘abolished’, ‘suppressed’ or ‘in abeyance’. The author also examines the degree of importance that should be attached to the Bullarium Romanum when establishing the status of an Order.

Part III contains addenda to the 1985 edition of Orders of Knighthood, Awards and the Holy See concerning Catholic and Catholic-founded Orders of Knighthood, and Part IV introduces two Christian but not Catholic Orders, each unique in their nature.

The Cross on the Sword is a most useful work, not only for Papal Knights and everyone who may at one time or another be connected with their investiture ceremonies — Parish Priests, Masters of Ceremonies, diocesan and parochial administrations, for example — but also for everyone who is interested in Orders of Chivalry, and their continuing role in the world today. The illustrations not only show insignia — medals and uniforms — of the Orders examined in this book, but also illustrate the ceremonies themselves, adding a further dimension to the help that this work provides for the reader.

More info →

The Prophecies of St. Malachy & St. Columbkille

The Prophecies of St. Malachy & St. Columbkille


19.5 x 13.6 cm.      6th edition 2005 illustrated with papal coasts of arms from 1198 - Pope Innocent III to Pope Benedict XVI (1st edition 1969)

This has been and still is one of the most popular books with which Peter Bander has been associated. It has gone through six editions and over a dozen printings, has been published in the USA and Europe, and since its first publication in 1969, extracts have appeared in many magazines, newspapers and journals.  The present edition takes the reader up to the election of Pope Benedict XVI, 'gloriae olivae'. in 2005, the last pontiff to be given an epithet by St Malachy before 'Petrus Romanus'.  So who will occupy the papal throne after the present pope and before Peter the Roman?

His Excellency, the late Archbishop H.E. Cardinale, who was Apostolic Nuncio to Belgium, Luxembourg and the Common Market, following his term as Apostolic Delegate to Great Britain, wrote in his foreword to the Malachy Prophecies: "Here is a fascinating study which provides the curious reader with much profit and pleasure", quoting the Italian proverb "Se non è vero, è ben trovato" - If it isn't true, it's well thought out!

Thomas A. Nelson, a leading Catholic writer introduced the American edition with a lengthy preface, in which he wrote : "The overriding value of this volume is twofold: these prophecies are extremely accurate. Mr Bander has compiled here an inestimably valuable tract in the field of prophecy because the prophecies of Malachy fit beautifully into a pattern woven from the various saintly prognostications, the sibylline oracles, quasi-secular and folk predictions, and Biblical prophecies of Malachy, at the same time further develops and enlarges the picture we gain from other sources about the times we live in and the events, it would seem, we are about to witness".  Illustrated with all the papal coats of arms, including Pope Benedict's.

The illustrations on the front cover are taken from Sebastiano Borghi's Cronologia Ecclesiastica la quale contiene le Vita de' Pontefici (Bologna, c. 1670).

More info →
Buy now!