The activities of the Order since 1960

The new Grand Master thoroughly revitalized the Order, appointing several non-Italians including eight Spaniards to the Deputation [Note 8.1] and extending the membership. Among the new Grand Crosses were the Count and Countess of Barcelona, the present King and Queen of Spain, the Dukes of Parma and Braganza, and later King Paul and King Constantine II of the Hellenes, King Simeon of the Bulgarians, Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia and Cardinals N. Canali, G. Cicognani, Eijo Garay, Larraona and Micara. [Note 8.2] He also reappointed several members of the Deputation of Ferdinando-Pius, Duke of Calabria, including the Duke of Carcaci and Marquess Persichetti-Ugolini, both Bailiffs, along with Bailiff Prince Oderisio di Sangro, Prince of Fondi, Bailiff Count Thierry de Limburg-Stirum, and Grand Cross Baron Umberto Fasulo. Since 1961 the Grand Master has been invited to send a delegation of Constantinian Knights to the bi-annual ceremony of the Military Order of San Hermengildo, held at the Palace of the Escorial and presided over from 1961-1973 by H.E. General Francisco Franco and from 1977 to date by H.M. King Juan Carlos I.

Prince don Carlos, then Duke of Noto, was received in audience by Pope John XXIII on February 27, 1960, and both he and his father, as Duke of Calabria and Duke of Noto, were received again by His Holiness in June of the same year when the Holy Father offered both the Infante don Alfonso and the knights of the Constantinian Order his Apostolic Blessing.

Infante Don Carlos, Duke of Calabria, at the time of his succession in 1964

The Infante don Alfonso, married to Princess Alice of Bourbon-Parma, died in 1964 and was succeeded in his Two Sicilies titles and dignities by his only son, Prince don Carlos, Duke of Calabria, who, married to Princess Anne of Orléans, lives in Spain where he has actively maintained his position as Grand Master. At the time of the 1978 Constitution HRH the Infante D. Carlos was fourth in line of succession to the throne of Spain [Note 8.3] and, with the Prince of the Asturias and the former Grand Duke of Luxembourg, is one of only three Bourbon Princes to be a Knight of the Golden Fleece, of which he is the doyen. In July 1993 King Juan Carlos appointed him President of the Council of the four Military Orders of Santiago, Calatrava, Alcantara and Montesa [Note 8.4] and, on 16 December 1994, he was nominated Infante of Spain [see text of this decree]. [Note 8.5]

Spanish recipients of the Order may receive official authorization to wear their decorations from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Order is also invited officially in the name of the King to the bi-annual service of San Heremengildo, at the royal monastery of the Escorial. The statutes of the International Association of the Order have been registered and published in the Boletín Oficial del Estado and dependent associations have been established in Italy, Portugal, Great Britain, and North America, and national groups that will eventually become Associations in France, Brazil, and Mexico.

The latter government has also authorized Mexican citizens to accept and wear the Order, and these authorizations have been published in the Diario Oficial de la Federación. The Portuguese Association holds a regular annual Mass (both the Infantes Dom Miguel and Dom Henrique attended the 2003 Mass), and the British have held an annual Mass at the Brompton Oratory in recent years, at which the Grand Master or his representative has presided. The French knights celebrate an annual Mass and in Italy regular monthly Masses are celebrated at the Basilica of Santa Croce al Flaminio, with periodic Masses being celebrated in Palermo, Milan and Bologna.

In the United States the membership includes several very prominent Catholics, among whom are five Gentlemen of His Holiness. The Italian Commission has been headed since its formation in 1993 by Count Don Enzo Capasso Torre, Count of the Pástene, who had been admitted to the Order by Ferdinando Pius, and holds an annual Mass an Investiture in the Basilica of Santa Croce al Flaminio normally presided over by the Grand Master [see Italian Commission].

On December 12, 1995, H.R.H. the Grand Master, accompanied by H.E. the Grand Chancellor, personally conferred the dignity of Bailiff Grand Cross of Justice on H.E. the Most Rev Monsignor Antonio María Rouco Varela, Archbishop of Madrid, since elevated to the rank of Cardinal; in 2001 H.R.H. invested H. Em. Norberto Cardinal Rivera, Archbishop of Mexico, at a ceremony in Madrid (followed by a luncheon in the Palacio Liria). On 26th February 2004 H.R.H. the Grand Master formally appointed H.Em. Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, Prefect of the Congregation of the Clergy and President of Ecclesia Dei to the post of Grand Prior of the Order.

Infante Don Carlos, Duke of Calabria, at the Escorial

NOTES

8.1.His son, the Duke of Noto was appointed President, the Infante don Luis Alfonso and Prince Aspreno Colonna (Vice-Presidents), Count don Piero Dentice di Frasso (Grand Inquisitor), Baron Giovanni Carbonelli di Letino (Grand Chancellor), Count don Alfonso Pucci Boncambj della Genga de Domo Alberini (Grand Treasurer), and Count don Vincenzo Capasso Torre, the Marquess of Villarreal de Alava, don Alfonso Falco Prince Pio, Count Thierry de Limburg-Stirum, the Marquess of Revilla, the Marquess of Goyanes, Prince don Oderisio di Sangro, Baron Hervé Pinoteau and the Marquess of Desio to various other posts.

8.2.His son, the Infante don Carlos, Duke of Calabria later admitted Cardinals Cento, Traglia, Palazzini, Poletti, Glemp, del Mestri, Bevilacqua, Agustoni, Poggi, Winning, Oviedo Cavada, Echeverria Ruíz, Vargas Alzamora, Lopez Trujíllo, Rivera Carrera, Innocenti, Rouco Varela, Schotte and Cardinals Rubín, Martínez Somalo and Grochelowski, who were already members, were promoted.

8.3.Under article 57.1 of the Spanish Constitution, by which "the Crown is hereditary in the successors of H. M. don Juan Carlos I de Borbón, legitimate heir of the historic dynasty. The succession to the throne follows the regular order of primogeniture and representation, the senior line always being preferred to the junior; in the same line, the closest to that which is the most distant, in the same degree, the male to the female, and in the same sex, the older rather than the younger".

8.4. He is also Grand Commander of the Military Order of Alcantara.

8.5. The first Infante of Spain by nomination since 1909, the only other living male to bear this title being the Infante don Felipe, Prince of the Asturias. Several previous Kings and Princes of the Two Sicilies were also Infants of Spain, notably King Charles VII (III), King Ferdinand I and Prince Gaetano, Count of Girgenti.

 

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