Episode 2 – OEVE and the tradition of the Order of Saint George

Eques Ornatus Bogdan Gîlculescu

In any ceremony of accreditation or advancement in rank, as it appears in Part III – “Recognitions and Values”, in the OEVE’s Knightly Atlas, the OEVE’s status as continuator of the tradition of the Order of Saint George is mentioned, with a sequence of years: 1273, 1308, 1468.

A layman will implicitly ask the question of what these years represent in the history of the Order and what the continuation of this tradition actually means.

The foundation of the Order of St. George is linked to the Habsburg Dynasty, one of the most important dynasties in Europe, which held many high dignities – emperors of the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation, of Germany (structures abolished by Napoleon), Emperors of the Austrian Empire, Kings of Hungary, Croatia, Galicia and Lodomeria, Spain, Portugal, Bohemia, Marquises of Moravia, Princes of Transylvania, Grand Dukes of Tuscany, Kraków and Bukovina.

The first German-born prince of the House of Habsburg, Rudolf I, became king of the Holy Roman Empire, seated on the throne of Charles the Great of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1273, after 20 years of political instability in the Empire following the death of Frederick II of the Staufer dynasty.

It was Rudolf who founded the Order of St George of Carinthia in Carinthia – in the Friulian mountain region between the present borders of Italy and Slovenia, at that time part of the Empire – in 1273. The main purpose of the Order was to protect the borders of Carinthia from the Turkish invasion in particular and the Catholic Church from heretics in general, and its effigy depicted St George slaying the dragon, coiled at the horse’s feet.

In 1308, Henry VII of Luxembourg transformed the Order of St George of Carinthia into the Order of the Four Emperors, also known as the Order of the Old Nobility.

In 1326, Charles Robert of Anjou founded the Societas Militae Sancti Georgii, and in 1408, Sigismund of Luxembourg, King of Hungary and Croatia and then Emperor of the Holy Empire, founded the Order of the Dragon, on the same principles developed in Carinthia, wishing to assume the already almost secular tradition of the Order of St. George, whose influence in the kingdom must have been much greater than the sporadic documentary information we have about it suggests. (It should also be noted that the ruler of Wallachia, Vlad II, father of Vlad III “Tepes”, was received on 13 December 1431 into the Order of the Dragon founded in 1408 by Sigismund.)

On this historical foundation, on Christmas night 1468, another member of the House of Habsburg, Frederick III, took over the dogmas of the Carinthian Order, founding the Order of St George in Rome as a secularised order of the House of Habsburg, for which he received the consent of Pope Sixtus IV in 1472. It was not until 1493, however, under Emperor Maximilian of Habsburg and with the consent of Pope Alexander IV, that the Order of Rome and the Order of Carinthia united to become the Order of St George.

Archduke Maximilian Hansburg-Lothringen – Wein Ordensprotektor of the Ordo Equestris Vini Europae – will be present in Timișoara and Recaș, between 22-24 September 2023, to participate in the Romanian Wine Festival, organized by the Romanian Consulate of the OEVE.