GRAND PRIORY OF ST MICHAEL INTERNATIONAL
This Grand Priory recalls the eternally valid values of Christian Chivalry, Christian Culture, and Ecumenism. Therefore it forms part of the historical heritage of Religious - Chivalric Orders with a particular significant reference to the most ancient and eminent Greek Orthodox Order Of The Holy Sepulchre.
Along with the devotion to the Holy Sepulchre, the Grand Priory of St. Michael International highly regards the Ecumenical Movement surrounding the unity of the Chalice in high esteem in its utmost reverence along with the recognition of the saints depicted in our most holy icons. St. Michael International Grand Priory embraces the Hospitalar code of charity, which emanated from the earliest Crusaders, even those founded by the Roman Emperor Constantine The Great, son of Saint Helen, who discovered the Holy Sepulchre and found the Holy Cross on which Jesus Christ was Crucified and Died.
Considering the influence of Constantine the Great upon the Ecclesiastical matters of the Church, leaves no doubt that this Order was also recognized by the Church.
An Invitation By His Eminence
I am the Knight Grand Cross and Grand Priory of St. Michael International and the Order of the Holy Sepulchre (O.S.S.) Orthodox Priory in America. As such I have authority to grant knighthood within this most ancient order, established by the Emperor Constantine in 324 A.D. This ecumenical order historically had as its mission to protect pilgrims in their journey to the empty tomb. Today the mission is spiritual and unites Christians of all denominations in the common proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
All Orthodox, Protestants, and Catholic Chalice believing Christians who desire to join in and become knights to promote the ecumenical movement of the Lord Jesus Christ and fulfill His prayer of unity as recorded in the Gospel of John, chapter 17 verse 21, "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us....", please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you and God Bless you,
+Metropolitan Archbishop Haralambos, Primate of the Holy Ukrainian Orthodox National Autocephalic Church in Exile, Blessings of Kiev, Grand Prior Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Holy Sepulchre (O.S.S.), Grand Priory of St. Michael Intlernational.
O.S.S. & GRAND PRIOR KNIGHT GRAND CROSS GRAND PRIORY OF ST. MICHAEL INTERNATIONAL
His Eminence is Grand Prior Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Holy Sepulchre (O.S.S.), which is the most ancient and glorious Chivalric Order in the world.
Considering the influence of Constantine the Great upon the ecclesiastical matters of the Church leaves no doubt that this Order was also recognised by the Church, even before Orthodoxy. It traces its reorganization, however, to the tumultuous period spanning the military and political events of the fall of Constantinople, Capital of the Empire in 1453.
These events severed the bonds between Eastern and Western Christendom, and brought to the fore the political vocation of the Russian Grand Dukes who granted assistance and protection to the wandering and dispersed knights of the Holy Sepulchre, including the Orthodox crusaders who had militated in the Order of Saint Catherine of Mount Sinai since 1063 and who had fought in various crusades for the liberation of the Holy Land, and to protect the Holy Sepulchre from the Ottomans.
The marriage in 1472 between Zoe (Sophis) Paleogina, niece of the last Emperor of , Constantine XI Paleologo, and Ivan III Velicky (The Great) Grand Duke of Russia and the Head of the Rjurick Dynasty, brought to the Rjuricks, as the noble bride’s dowry, the title of Pretender to the Throne of and encouraged the absorption of many noble Houses and Chivalric Orders which belonged to her dynasty. From that time onwards the Grand Dukes of Russia adopted the title of "Tzar" meaning "Caesar."
The Religious upheaval provoked by the dissolution of the Empire, led many dispersed knights to seek refuge in the Patriarcates of Alexandria, Constantnople (ecumenical Patriachate), and Antioch. Meanwhile, Dimitrij VII Dimitrevic, Grand Duke in exile of the Imperial Rjurick House of Russia and direct descendant of Ivan and Zoe Paleogina, had established himself in Enos in the Ottomon Empire, around 1660, where many dispersed knights gathered around him seeking protection and guidance. The Grand Duke organized and led them with great prudence and wisdom, earning their gratitude and devotion until they proclaimed him Grand Master of the Order. This resulted in forming a fusion between the survivors of the Greek Orthodox Order of the Holy Sepulchre and those of the Order of St. Catherine of Mount Sinai.
In 1669 Sultan Mohammed IV Osman granted Dimitrij VII Dimitrevic recognition of his prerogatives and membership of the House of Moscow as Head of the Name and Arms of the Rjurick Dynasty. The Sultan accorded him the title of Bay of Enos and granted hospitality and protection to him, as Head of the House of Moscow and to his Orders and Cultural Institutions.
Dimitrij VII Dimitrevic incorporated the Order in his House and rendered the Order Dynastic, revising the Statute and rendering the Grand Mastership hereditary in his family. In 1671, the Order was recognized by an Edict of Roi Soleil. Meanwhile the Order consolidated and flourished in various countries in the East and West.
In 1788 Duke Ercole III authorized the establishment of the Order in the Duchy of Modena, granting the Citizenship of the Duchy of Modena to the Head of the Imperial House of Moscow and de jure recognition to his Orders and Cultural Institutions.
On that occasion the Order was confirmed under the Rule of Saint Basil and assumed as one of its principal aims that of assisting Christian pilgrims visitng the Holy Places, recalling the ecumenical spirit of the “Edict of Milan ” with which Constantine the Great had decreed the freedom of worship be guaranteed to the faithful of all religions, principally the Christians.
The Tzars in the Romanoff line were killed by the Bolshevics in 1917, but the Dimitrtrevic dynasty continued. In 1965, Grand Duke Dimitrij X Dimitrevic Di Russia, and as such the hereditary High Patron and Hereditary Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, decided to separate the Dynastic succession of the Order from that of the authorized Grandmastership. The Dynastic succession will belong always and exclusively to the Head of the Grand Ducal House of Moscow – Rjurik Dynasty. The authorised Grandmastership, by contrast, could be transferable to other persons for the day to day running of the Order, thus subtracting from the Magisterium the fons honorum and jus conferendi which can only be transmitted by legitimate succession by blood (jure sanguinis) or by Birth to whoever will be the Head of the Rjurik Dynasty.
The position of authorized Grand Master was given first to the Patriarch Joannes Maria I, Primate of the Primitive Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch, and Orthodox Church of Syro – tradition. However when Patriarch Joannes Maria I, tried to abuse, or usurp the fons honorum, the Grand Duke, High Patron and Hereditary Grand Master, ipso facto resumed the Grand Mastership of the Order, accusing the Patriarch of Laesa Maesta and therefore he was ipso facto automatically dismissed from the Order.
In 1986, the Hereditary Grand Patron and Hereditary Grand Master of the Order after recommendations from the Grand Council, accepted Alfred J. Baldacchino as Authorised Grand Master of the Order with the same conditions as those of the Patriarch.
In 1989, the Vicar Grand Master of the Order, as Vice President of the Magistral Council, recommended in the name of this Council to the Grand Duke to adopt the Authorised Grand Master. The Grand Duke kindly accepted this recommendation, but it turned out that this was legally impossible, and so it never took effect.
It is among the responsibilities of the Authorised Grand Master or Regent of the Order Pro Tempore to continue the confering of Knights by delegation, as is customary through Grand Priories established by the Magistral Council. In the Americas the Council has elevated His Eminence Metropolitan Archishop Haralambos as Knight Grand Cross and established the Grand Priory of St. Michael International and the Order of the Holy Sepulchre (O.S.S.) Orthodox Priory in America.
To achieve full membership in the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, an associate member must volunteer their time for worthy causes. All members must be recommended through their local Priory. Affiliation with a local Priory during this period will facilitate study and acquaint the associate member with the general work of OSS in his or her area. In the Grand Priory of St. Michael International completion of the Associates or Bachelor of Theology program of study is required but life experience may be considered and replace academic achievement requirements.
The time spent as an associate member is a time for reflection and prayer to discern if this is a path to which you are called. After at least six months as an associate member, an associate member may apply to an OSS official for induction into the Order of the Holy Sepulchre as a full member. Full Members are also eligible to vote and to hold office. Membership entitles the person to a voice in the internal affairs of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.
His Eminence is also Vatican Decorated with the Cross of St. Gregory. The highest rank, that of Grand Cross, is an exceptional award. Less than nine US citizens have received this honor in the past twenty-two years with the latest being, +Metropolitan Archbishop Haralambos, Primate of the Holy Ukrainian Orthodox National Autocephalic Church in Exile, Blessings of Kiev, Grand Prior and Chevalier of the Order of Holy Sepulchre (O.S.S.) Orthodox Priory in America, Ordinis Sancti Gregorii Magni e Classe Militari Eligimvs Eqvitem a Magna Cruce. The brevet was signed by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI on September 17, 2005 and gave His Eminence, +Metropolitan Archbishop Haralambos the Vatican Decoration cross of Saint Gregory.