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Christian orders

Last modified: 2006-03-11 by martin karner
Keywords: discoveries | reconquer | calatrava | avis | bauceans | spain | portuguese of temple | templar | dominican | christian | christian orders | order | catholic |
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Order of Calatrava

[Putative BOA of the Calatrava Order]
Putative banner of arms (BOA) of the Calatrava Order
by António Martins, 19 February 1998

This is a Castillian Reconquista order, whose cross (bleu, a cross fleury gueules, outlined in gold and hollow of the field) can be found on some Portuguese family coats of arms.
António Martins, 19 February 1998

The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem


[Emblem of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre
of Jerusalem]by Ivan Sache

The Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem is an organization with non-religious (men and women) and religious members; it has currently 21,000 knights all over the world, grouped in 54 Lieutenancies of Magistral Branches. The Order is recognized by 25 countries, including Belgium.
The statutes of the Order were approved by Pope Paul VI on 8 July 1977. The Order is placed under the protection of the Holy See. Apostolic Letters by Pius XII (14 September 1949) and John XXIII (8 December 1962) recognize to the Order a legal status by canonical right; Apostolic Letters by John-Paul II (1 February 1996) recognize its legal status in the State of Vatican.
The goals of the Order are to increase among its members the practice of Christian life, to support and help the Roman Catholic Church in the Holy Land, especially in the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, to encourage the preservation and spread of the [Christian] Faith in the Holy Land, and to defend the rights of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land.
The Order is directed by a Grand Master, who is a Cardinal appointed by the Pope. The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem has the title of Grand Prior of the Order. Lieutenants are appointed by the Grand Master to run the Lieutenancies.

As already mentioned in the message about Godefroid de Bouillon:
"The emblem (not necessarily a flag) and the motto of the Order are those of Godefroid de Bouillon and his successors in Jerusalem: the cross potent gules, cantoned with four crosslets not potent of the same, which symbolize Christs' five wounds, and the motto "Deus lo vult", granted to the Crusaders by Pope Urban II when he called for the Crusade on 27 November 1095."
The emblem shown on this site is a square with the red cross and crosslets and the motto DEUS LO VULT, in red too.

On its website is the complete name of the order: "The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem".
Ivan Sache, 11,12 December 2005


[Gonfalon of the Order] located by Ned Smith

At a webpage of the Magistral Delegation of EOHSJ for Canada-Atlantic there is an illustration of the order's banner and one of its gonfalon or ensign [sic].
[picture above]

Regarding the gonfalon/ensign, it says:

The Ensign of the Order consists of the Gonfalon of white silk with a red staff surmounted by Military Trophy. The cloth (1.80 x 2.10 m) is knotted to the staff set spirally. A fringe border of 0.40 m hangs from the horizontal lower pole, its colors and fringes symbolizing the Lieutenancies of the Order. On the face of the Gonfalon stands the Crusader Flag. On the top of the empty Sepulchre the ornamental scroll with festoon and the motto in Gothic characters, ‘Deus lo vult’ is extended.
The figure of the resurrected Christ is enclosed at the side by an ornamental motif alternated with Crosses of Godfrey of Bouillon and Crowns of Thorns. From the knobs of the upper transverse pole hang the ribbons of the Order in watered black silk.
The Cross of Godfrey of Bouillon stands out on the side of the Gonfalon
[I don't see that in the image].
The Gonfalon is kept in the seat of the Order in Rome. Its use is regulated by the Cardinal Grand Master.
Ned Smith, 11 December 2005


[Banner of the Order] located by Ned Smith

This banner is also hung vertically from a crossbar as the gonfalon/ensign is. It has a blue field with a gold border all around. The border is divided into compartments with religious imagery and arms within. On the blue field is the Sepulcher, surmounted by a large medallion bearing the Cross of Godfrey of Bouillon, and above the medallion a papal tiara extends into the upper compartment of the border. In the upper corners of the blue field are two images - I can't be sure but think they are angels [source: same webpage].

There are also descriptions of two other flags on the page:

Standard of the Lieutenancies
The Ensign of the Lieutenancies of the Order is a standard of white silk, with a red staff, surmounted by the Military Trophy. The wide panel (0.80 x 2.40 m), which ends in a point, bears on its face the figure of Christ Rising from the Sepulchre, and He is bearing the Crusader Flag. At the base is the ornamental scroll with the motto: "Deus lo vult,' which can also be translated into the language of the respective nations. From the knobs of the transverse pole hang the ribbons: to the right that of the Order, in black watered silk, to the left the ribbon with the colors of the nation of the Lieutenancy. The Cross of Godfrey of Bouillon stand out on the side of the standard. The standard is kept in the seat of the Lieutenancy and the Lieutenant regulates its use.
(An illustration can be seen at

Ensign of the Sections
The Ensign of the Sections is a flag of white silk with a red staff, surmounted by the Military Trophy. On the face of the material (0.60 x 0.60 m), with a swallow-tail of 0.80 m, stands out the Cross of Godfrey of Bouillon. The arms or the colors of the Region stand out on the side. The flag is kept in the seat of the Section and the President regulates its use.
Ned Smith, 11 December 2005

Linguistic notes
In modern French, someone riding a horse is called a "cavalier". The word was derived at the end of the XVth century from Italian "cavallere",
from "cavallo", a horse.
"Cheval", a horse, comes from the Lower Latin word "caballus", derived from the Gallic word for a bad horse, and superseded the Classic Latin word "equus". "Chevalier", a knight (and not anybody riding a horse - at that time, however, only knights could ride a horse), appeared in 1080 as "chevaler" and around 1130 in its modern form, from Latin "caballarius". In the Ancient Rome, the knights were the members of the equestrian order, intermediate between the plebeians and the patricians. "Ordre équestre" is used today in French to designate certain chivalric orders.
The meanings of "cavalier" and "chevalier" are strictly different in modern French, even if the two words have a common origin. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are "les Quatre Cavaliers de l'Apocalypse", whereas the Knights of the Round Table are "les Chevaliers de la Table Ronde". King François I was nicknamed "le Roi-Chevalier" (the King-Knight) after Knight Bayard ("le Chevalier sans peur et sans reproche" - the Knight above fear and reproach) had dubbed him on the battlefield of Marignan in 1515.
Accordingly, there are "cavalières" (horsewomen), but a "chevalière" is only a signet ring. Even Joan of Arc was never granted such a title.
Ivan Sache, 26 December 2005

Order of Santo Domingo (Dominicans)

[Putative dominican BOA]
Putative dominican banner of arms (BOA)
by António Martins, 19 February 1998

On black over silver gyronny, a cross fleury counterchanged. At least these are the charges used in the 1935 Portuguese Timor coat of arms to honour the Dominicans... I don't know if this particular design was used by other non-Portuguese Dominican congregations...
António Martins, 19 February 1998

The Dominican cross uses a very peculiar style of cross flory (or fleury) usually known in heraldry as an Iberian cross, because it was used by the four main Iberian orders of chivalry: Alcántara, Calatrava, Montesa and (except for the bottom arm of the cross) Santiago. We have an image of the Calatrava cross above. The Iberian cross has however more elaborate arms, their curved and buttoned ends touching back on the straight part near the cross' centre. An image is worth a thousand words so: Further information on these four Order can be found at
Santiago Dotor, 29 September 2004

Order of Saint James / Order of Santiago

[Putative banner of arms (BOA) of Santiago]
by António Martins, 19 February 1998

[Putative BOA of Santiago]
Another version of the previous
by António Martins, 19 February 1998

Was created in Castille in 1175, devoted to the anti-moorish reconquer. The portuguese branch (Ordem de Santiago da Espada), autonomous since 1288, used a purple sword-like cross, wich can be found in many southwestern Portugal municipal arms. Many flags were used but most frequent and distinct were the ones with this cross, sometimes with a sun in the dexter canton and a moon in the sinister. Note that the very name of the saint himself evolved in a curious manner. Called originally Iak (a variation of Jacob?), it originated names like Jacques / Jack / Joachim / Joaquim / Joaquin, and Iago (remember Othello?); which, through the preffixation of "Santo", gave "Sant'Iago" and then "San Tiago", wich brought the name Tiago / Diego / Diogo...
António Martins, 19 February 1998