Grand master (order)

Last updated
His Most Eminent Highness Fra' Giacomo dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto, 80th Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (elected 2018) FraGiacomoDallaTorre.jpg
His Most Eminent Highness Fra' Giacomo dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto, 80th Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (elected 2018)

Grand Master (Latin : Magister generalis; German : Großmeister) is a title of the supreme head of various orders, including chivalric orders such as military orders and dynastic orders of knighthood.

Contents

The title also occurs in modern civil fraternal orders such as the Freemasons, the Odd Fellows, and various other fraternities. Additionally, numerous modern self-styled orders attempt to imitate habits of the former bodies.

History

Medieval era

In medieval military orders such as the Knights Templar or the Livonian Brothers of the Sword, the Grand Master was the formal and executive head of a military and feudal hierarchy, which can be considered a "state within the state", especially in the crusader context lato sensu , notably aimed at the Holy Land or pagan territories in Eastern Europe, as well as the reconquista in the Iberian peninsula.

If an order is granted statehood and thus widely considered sovereign, the Grand Master is also its Head of State. If within the Holy Roman Empire, a Reichsfürst and Head of Government, and thus a true territorial Prince of the church, as was the case with the Teutonic Knights and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Modern era

Except the modern continuation of the organisations of medieval foundation, the title of Grand Master has been used by the heads of Grand Lodges of Freemasons since 1717, and by Odd Fellows since the 18th century.

The title of Grand Master is also used by various other fraternities, including academic ones associated with universities. The national leader of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity goes by the title "Worthy Grand Master". [1] The heads of local chapters use the title of "Grand Master".

Orders of chivalry

A sovereign monarch often holds the title of Grand Master of the highest honorary dynastic orders of knighthood, or may confer or entrust it upon another person including a prince of the royal family, regularly the heir to the throne, who in other orders may hold another high rank/title.

The term "Sovereign" is generally used in place of "Grand Master" for the supreme head of various orders in Britain and other Commonwealth nations. In the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the Grand Master is styled "Sovereign", e.g. Sovereign Grand Master, due to its status as an internationally independent sovereign entity.

In republican nations, a president may also serve as the grand master of the various state orders such as in France, where the president is the grand master of the Legion of Honour, and Portugal.

Fraternal orders

Freemasonry

In Freemasonry, the Grand Master is an office given to a Freemason elected to oversee a Masonic jurisdiction.

Further reading

See also

Related Research Articles

The York Rite is one of several Rites of Freemasonry. A Rite is a series of progressive degrees that are conferred by various Masonic organizations or bodies, each of which operates under the control of its own central authority. The York Rite specifically is a collection of separate Masonic Bodies and associated Degrees that would otherwise operate independently. The three primary bodies in the York Rite are the Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, Council of Royal & Select Masters or Council of Cryptic Masons, and the Commandery of Knights Templar, each of which are governed independently but are all considered to be a part of the York Rite. There are also other organizations that are considered to be directly associated with the York Rite, or require York Rite membership to join such as the York Rite Sovereign College but in general the York Rite is considered to be made up of the aforementioned three. The Rite's name is derived from the city of York, where, according to one Masonic legend, the first meetings of Masons in England took place.

Jacques de Molay Grand Master of the Knights Templar

Jacques de Molay, also spelled "Molai", was the 23rd and last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, leading the Order from 20 April 1292 until it was dissolved by order of Pope Clement V in 1312. Though little is known of his actual life and deeds except for his last years as Grand Master, he is one of the best known Templars.

Military order (religious society) One of a variety of Christian societies of knights

A military order is a Christian religious society of knights. The original military orders were the Knights Templar, the Knights Hospitaller and the Teutonic Knights. They arose in the Middle Ages in association with the Crusades, their members being dedicated to the protection of pilgrims and the defence of the Crusader states. They are the predecessors of the secular chivalric orders.

Order of the Holy Sepulchre Roman Catholic order of knighthood

The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, also called Order of the Holy Sepulchre or Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, is a Roman Catholic order of knighthood under the protection of the Holy See. The pope is the sovereign of the order. The order, with the five other papal equestrian orders and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, are the only Orders of Chivalry that are recognised and protected by the Holy See.

Order of Saint Lazarus Roman Catholic military order founded by crusaders around 1119

The Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, also known as the Leper Brothers of Jerusalem or simply as Lazarists, was a Catholic military order founded by crusaders around 1119 at a leper hospital in Jerusalem, Kingdom of Jerusalem, whose care became its original purpose, named after their patron saint, Lazarus. It was recognised by King Fulk of Jerusalem in 1142 and canonically recognised as a hospitaller and military order of chivalry under the rule of Saint Augustine in the Papal bull Cum a Nobis Petitur of Pope Alexander IV in 1255. Although they were centered on their charism of caring for those afflicted with leprosy, the knights of the Order of Saint Lazarus notably fought in the Battle of La Forbie in 1244 and in the Defense of Acre in 1291. The titular seat was successively situated at Jerusalem, Saint-Jean-d'Acre and - after the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem - split in two main branches in Italy and in Château Royal de Boigny-sur-Bionne in France.

Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation

The Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation is a Roman Catholic order of knighthood, originating in Savoy. It eventually was the pinnacle of the honours system in the Kingdom of Italy, which ceased to be a national order when the kingdom became a republic in 1946. Today, the order continues as a dynastic order under the jurisdiction of the Head of the House of Savoy, Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples, who is the order's hereditary Sovereign and Grand Master.

A dynastic order, monarchical order, or house order, is an order under royal patronage, bestowed by the head of a currently or formerly sovereign royal family as legitimate fons honorum. These are often considered part of the cultural patrimony of the royal family. They are orders of chivalry, and orders of merit just as those distributed by sovereign states, but dynastic orders were often founded or maintained to reward service to a monarch, or the monarch's subsequent dynasty.

Order of chivalry Order, confraternity or society of knights

A chivalric order, order of chivalry, order of knighthood or equestrian order is an order, confraternity or society of knights typically founded during or inspired by the original Catholic military orders of the Crusades, paired with medieval concepts of ideals of chivalry.

Commander, or Knight Commander, is a title of honor prevalent in chivalric orders and fraternal orders.

Knights Templar (Freemasonry)

The Knights Templar, full name The United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta, is a fraternal order affiliated with Freemasonry. Unlike the initial degrees conferred in a regular Masonic Lodge, which only require a belief in a Supreme Being regardless of religious affiliation, the Knights Templar is one of several additional Masonic Orders in which membership is open only to Freemasons who profess a belief in Christianity. One of the obligations entrants to the order are required to declare is to protect and defend the Christian faith. The word "United" in its full title indicates that more than one historical tradition and more than one actual order are jointly controlled within this system. The individual orders 'united' within this system are principally the Knights of the Temple, the Knights of Malta, the Knights of St Paul, and only within the York Rite, the Knights of the Red Cross.

Masonic bodies Auxiliary organizations of Freemasonry.

There are many organisations and Orders which form part of the widespread fraternity of Freemasonry, each having its own structure and terminology. Collectively these may be referred to as Masonic bodies, Masonic orders or appendant bodies of Freemasonry.

Scottish Knights Templar

There are Masonic degrees named after the Knights Templar but not all Knights Templar Orders are Masonic.

Order of Saint Stephen Tuscan dynastic military order founded in 1561

The Order of Saint Stephen is a Roman Catholic Tuscan dynastic military order founded in 1561. The order was created by Cosimo I de' Medici, first Grand Duke of Tuscany. The last member of the Medici dynasty to be a leader of the order was Gian Gastone de Medici in 1737. The order was permanently abolished in 1859 by the annexation of Tuscany to the Kingdom of Sardinia. The former Kingdom of Italy and the current Italian Republic also did not recognize the order as a legal entity but tolerates it as a private body.

The original historic Knights Templar were a Christian military order, the Order of the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, that existed from the 12th to 14th centuries to provide warriors in the Crusades. These men were famous in the high and late Middle Ages, but the Order was disbanded very suddenly by King Philip IV of France, who took action against the Templars in order to avoid repaying his own financial debts. He accused them of heresy, ordered the arrest of all Templars within his realm, and had many of them burned at the stake. The dramatic and rapid end of the organization led to many stories and legends developing about them over the following centuries. The Order and its members increasingly appear in modern fiction, though most of these references portray the medieval organization inaccurately.

A self-styled order or pseudo-chivalric order is an organisation which claims to be a chivalric order, but is not recognised as legitimate by countries or international bodies. Most self-styled orders arose in or after the mid-18th century, and many have been created recently. Most are short-lived and endure no more than a few decades.

Passage fee donation given by a newly dubbed knight

Passage fee is a donation given by a newly dubbed knight in celebration of his investiture into the knighthood. During the Crusades, passage fees, known as droit de passage, were used to cover the cost of travel to the Holy Land. The passage fee is still present in some modern chivalric orders, such as the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. In the medieval era, the passage fee for the Knights Hospitaller was around 360 Spanish pistoles. The large passage fee of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, which was rumoured to be $50,000.00 USD in the 1950s, may have led to the creation of self-styled orders, such as the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Oecumenical Knights of Malta, that mimic the genuine chivalric order of knights.

The orders, decorations, and medals of the Holy See include titles, chivalric orders, distinctions and medals honoured by the Holy See, with the Pope as the fount of honour, for deeds and merits of their recipients to the benefit of the Holy See, the Catholic Church, or their respective communities, societies, nations and the world at large.

Grand Masters of the Order of Saint Lazarus Wikimedia list article

The Grand Master of the Order of Saint Lazarus was the leader of an order of chivalry that was established by the Holy See in the 12th century. A number of Masters of the order, eventually termed Grand Masters, have been listed by previous historians of the order.

The Rite of Baldwyn or Rite of Seven Degrees is one of several Rites of Freemasonry. It exists and is only practiced in the Masonic Province of Bristol, England. A Rite is a series of progressive degrees that are conferred by various Masonic organizations or bodies, each of which operates under the control of its own central authority. The Rite of Baldwyn specifically is a collection of separate Masonic Bodies and associated Degrees that would otherwise operate independently. The three primary bodies in the York Rite are the degrees of Craft Freemasonry, the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch, and the Camp of Baldwyn.

The Golden Age of Fraternalism is a term referring to a period when membership in the fraternal societies in the United States grew at a very rapid pace in the latter third of the 19th century and continuing into the first part of the 20th. At its peak, it was suggested that as much as 40% of the adult population held membership in at least one fraternal order.

References

  1. http://kappasigma.org/about/leadership/