The allure of fake orders of chivalry

Caveat Emptor: This is solely my opinion; take it with a grain of salt.

Supposedly, the world we live in is full of equal people; surely we can see this when we look around. When I look around, unfortunately, this is not what I see. I see a world that is more akin to what we read of in the Parable of the Talents. Some men are blessed with more than others. Some men are able to do more with what they are blessed with. Some men squander whatever they have, no matter how great or small. Christ even teaches us that in His kingdom, he who thinks he is first will be last, and he who is last will be first. Even in this Kingdom, everyone has different abilities and different roles to play.

While this has given rise to a notion of “Christian communism”, We know that even the Lord Jesus recognized there were men of authority to whom his followers owed earthy allegiance. I’m sure I can quote the Christ’s command to the Pharisees to “render to Caesar the thingsthat are Caesar’sand to God the things that are God’s.” (Mat 22;21, ESV) and anyone reading this will understand what the Lord is saying.

I’m sure we all recall the story of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, and their mother, asking of Jesus that they (James and John) be granted a position of authority at the Christ’s right and left hands in his Kingdom:

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sonsand kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to herWhat do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sitone at your right handand one at your leftin your kingdom.” Jesus answeredYou do not know what you are askingAre you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We areable.” He said to themYou will drink my cupbut to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grantbut it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” (Mat 20:20-23, ESV)

We all know the lesson that Jesus was trying to teach, and we understand that James and John were asking out of pride and ignorance. One thing I’d like to key in on is that the right to essentially ennoble James and John was not one that even Jesus could give, in regard to this heavenly kingdom to come, it belonged to the Father. The LORD God, the great YHW is the fons honorum of the kingdom of Heaven.

Following that example, and hearkening back to Jesus’s statement that we are to render unto Caesar the things that are his, we recognize that God sanctions earthly kingdoms, and we are to abide by the laws of the land in which we find ourselves. In quite a bit of the world, that means we live in republics without a hereditary head of state; without a king, queen, duke, or so forth. Such states do not often retain some of the institutions that exist in monarchical states, and for the purpose of this monologue, orders of chivalry. A good source for this information is found on the website for the International Commission for Orders of Chivalry. The commission states several principles in determining if an order of chivalry is valid;

  1. Every independent State has the right to create its own Orders or Decorations of Merit and lay down, at will, their particular rules. But it must be made clear that only the higher degrees of these modern State Orders can be deemed of knightly rank,provided they are conferred by the Crown or by the “pro tempore” ruler of some traditional State.
  2. The Dynastic (or Family or House) Orders which belong jure sanguinis to a Sovereign House (that is to those ruling or ex-ruling Houses whose sovereign rank was internationally recognised at the time of the Congress of Vienna in 1814 or later) retain their full historical chivalric, nobiliary and social validity, notwithstanding all political changes. It is therefore considered ultra vires of any republican State to interfere, by legislation or administrative practice, with the Princely Dynastic Family or House Orders. That they may not be officially recognised by the new government does not affect their traditional validity or their accepted status in international heraldic, chivalric and nobiliary circles.
  3. It is generally admitted by jurists that such ex-sovereigns who have not abdicated have positions different from those of pretenders and that in their lifetime they retain their full rights as “fons honorum” in respect even of those Orders of which they remain Grand Masters which would be classed, otherwise, as State and Merit Orders.
  4. Although, at one time – many centuries ago – private people of high standing could and did create some independent Orders of Knighthood, some among which came, in due course, to gain considerable prestige and obtained formal validity from the Church and the Crown, such rights of creation of Orders have long since fallen into desuetude and, nowadays, Orders of Chivalry as we understand the term must always stem from or be – by longstanding uninterrupted tradition – under the protection of Chiefs or of Houses of recognised sovereign rank.
  5. The recognition of Orders by States or supranational organisations which themselves do not have chivalric orders of their own, and in whose Constitutions no provisions are made for the recognition of knightly and nobiliary institutions, cannot be accepted as constituting validation by sovereignties, since these particular sovereignties have renounced the exercise of heraldic jurisdiction. The international “status” of an Order of Knighthood rests, in fact, on the rights of fons honorum, which, according to tradition, must belong to the Authority by which this particular Order is granted, protected or recognised.
  6. The only recognised Order with the style of “Sovereign” existing nowadays is that of St John of Jerusalem, called of Rhodes, called of Malta, whose international headquarters were transferred to Rome in 1834, and whose international diplomatic “status” as an independent non-territorial power is recognised officially by the Holy See and by many other Governments.

With these principles in mind, it becomes clear that there are several orders of chivalry floating around that are illegitimate, yet many people are drawn to them. Why so?

First, it is worth noting that very few people in the world will have heard of even legitimate orders of chivalry, much less give a hoot about them. Those who do are either royalists in a monarchical society, or sympathetic to monarchical causes.

Veering slightly off topic for a moment, as a Christian, I find myself claiming to be subject to the kingdom of Heaven; as a pilgrim and sojourner here on earth, and a citizen of the United States in this physical realm. The Constitution is my Caesar, not the President. When I joined the military at an early age, my Oath was to support and defend the Constitution, but to obey the orders of the President. Before taking office, the President of the United States takes this oath:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” (United States Constitution, Article II, Section 1)

Even the President is subject to the Constitution, but the Constitution has no provision making it the fons honorum of the United States. A document can’t be a fount of honor; it cannot bestow privilege upon an individual. How much easier it would have been had that power been reserved for the President, but it was antithetical to the minds of the Founding Fathers who had just years before fought a war to secede from the kingdom that they were born in. I’ll not get into that debate here, now, but suffice it to say the Founding Fathers did not make a full break from the notions of aristocracy, as can be observed in their actions. I am especially thinking of their proud use of heraldry, which I in no way condemn. So I resign myself to the reality that I’ll never be ennobled. I’m common, if such a notion can be expressed as an American. I recognize there are people better than me in higher stations in life. They come from families that have held those positions for generations. But they don’s exist in America. Families here may be richer, even generationally so, but the sons of those houses are common just like me. But I digress…

So of the fake orders of chivalry, with the advent of the Internet they are Legion. Many people may be innocently doing so because they do not know the old rules. They don’t understand the concept of fons honorum, that not anyone can stand up an order and it be legitimate. Not just anyone can revive and extinct order, either. This practice seems to have begun not long after the Enlightenment, when the humanists and deists were destroying the institutions of monarchy. These newly self-made men had no need of a monarch to make them a knight, they could do so themselves. And they still longed for it. We don’t want to recognize anyone else as our “Betters”, but we have no qualms with wanting to be better than others around us. I think this is ingrained in human nature, as evinced in the earlier example of James and John.

But I find myself reticent to be too harsh on those in their ignorance are drawn to fake orders because they are likely my allies in upholding tradition, they just don’t fully understand. Who in their childhood hasn’t wished to become a knight? The problem then lies with those who know better, and flagrantly defy the notion of a fons honorum and set themselves up as grand masters of some order. They wear medallions and capes and pretend their organizations are legitimate. The draw in others who buy their way to worthless knighthoods that are of no more reality than the kingdoms in the Society for Creative Anachronism, which in its own context provides a great outlet for those who yearn for medieval days. And the SCA holds public events where its knights melee and battle for their notoriety and fame.

This also brings up another concern: the diminished value of legitimate orders due to the change of focus in who is honored. Orders of chivalry were originally made up of men of reputable military service. Honorable men. Nowadays, many actors and entertainers make up the ranks of knighthood; men and women who have never served their nations in a military capacity and who may even publicly oppose the monarchic institution. Such appointments betray the honor of the original institutions. I’ll not be too harsh on the fons honorum who grants such appointments, however, understanding the great political influence that forces him or her to do so. Such is the problem with constitutional monarchies.

So in summary, one might find himself drawn to a fake order for a myriad of reasons. To even know they exist means the individual is likely of some royalist bent. The gentleman or lady (I’ll afford them that honor) realizes he or she will likely never be recognized in a legitimate order, thus concedes to seek recognition in a fake order. They then satisfy their desire to put on the mantle of nobility and be recognized in their group of pretend knights. In general I do not see where this creates any true harm, other than perpetrating fraud with little opportunity for damage, although in countries with legitimate orders, the person may be engaging in crime. Is that crime worth prosecution, given the greater violence occurring in the world today? Probably not.

Would I join a fake order to satisfy these cravings for nobility of my own? Absolutely not. Even though I live in a republic where I am free to associate with whomever I please and call myself whatever I please (although it wouldn’t be recognized by the state), I can’t in good conscience support such institutions. I cannot endorse a fraud even if no harm would come from it.


Requiescat in pace Jantzen Murrell Frazier

Yesterday, one of my 1st cousins, Jantzen Murrell Frazier, a US Army veteran who had survived two tours in Iraq, was killed while responding to a fire. He is survived by his wife, Leslie and four children, and his parents, Murrell and Debbie Frazier, and two grandmothers.

WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

I was a little over eight years older than Jantzen, and by the time he has an adult I had a family and we seldom talked, except for family get-togethers. I recall after he joined the Army that he had told his parents he was going to be stationed in Germany. As an only son, he knew how much they would worry if they really knew he was on his way to Iraq. During his two tours, he stared death in the face on multiple occasions. The articles below will attest to his actions in combat.
In the times that I talked with him after his return from combat, the greatest takeaway I had was his deep desire to continue serving. he was involved in several wounded warrior events. he talked proudly of his work with the marshals. I never really did understand what he was doing for them. I think his injuries held him back from the things he so greatly longed to do. Until he died yesterday, I didn’t even know he’d gotten involved with the Oden Ridge VFD. Jantzen was my maternal cousin, and I had paternal cousins who lived in the area. I live roughly an hour away, so I haven’t been to Oden Ridge to visit my family in years. My wife has cousins out there we see about once a year, so I’ve driven by where Jantzen had recently moved to several times over the years. I told him when he bought the house that he would be living a few doors down from my great-aunt Sharon. I’m a bit sad that I never had a chance to introduce him to them. I  hope the community will remember with honor the new guy who had only lived there a few months, but lost his life in their service.
Another thing I know jantzen was proud of was his gunsmithing. On multiple occasions he would talk of firearms he was working on for others, and he was proud of his own collection. I remember one story of when he lived in Hartselle and was up late one night cleaning his AR-15. Someone was in his garage attempting petty larceny, unaware of the armed combat vet just inside the house. Needless to say, the miscreant probably needed to change his pants after he escaped.

An account of Jantzen’s life as documented on the Internet:

More at ease in his jeans, T-shirt and baseball cap than his Army fatigues, Jantzen Frazier said the best parts of his brief visit home to Hartselle have been the food, his family, and the relief from the intense heat of the Iraqi desert.

U.S. Army Pfc. Jantzen Frazier, 19, of Hartselle has served with the 127th Aviation Support Battalion in Baghdad, Iraq since last December, where he repaired a variety of military vehicles.
Jantzen, son of Murrell and Debbie Frazier of Hartselle, arrived home Aug. 12 and is scheduled to return to service in Germany on Sept. 6. (Hartselle Enquirer, 25 August 2004, Hartselle soldier gets break from service in Iraq)

Sgt. Jantzen Frazier, was wounded in Iraq in December while on patrol in Taji, a town south of Baghdad. His father, Murrell Frazier, said an improvised explosive device exploded near his son’s vehicle. Shrapnel struck their son’s lower body.

Murrell Frazier said it took 234 stitches to close the wounds. Jantzen Frazier received a Purple Heart and is back on patrol in Iraq.

The Finis J. Self Chapter 2122 Order of the Purple Heart honored Frazier and Cpl. Jon-Erik Loney on Tuesday morning by placing their names on the Purple Heart Memorial in Hartselle.
“They are two of the youngest soldiers on the memorial,” Chapter Commander James Shaffran said. (Decatur Daily, 11 January 2007, Area warriors honored)

One memory that I remember from Iraq was kinda heart pounding at first then funny later on. It was when my platoon was taking the col and Csm out on patrol with us and the csm’s truck got hit by an ied. No one was injured but I saw the trigger man and started shooting the 240b then over the radio the col started yelling cease fire cease fire do you have pid. I was so pissed I keyed the mic and said I got fing pid … the whole time my finger never let go of the trigger. The only response I got back was well then give em hell and come see me when we get back to the fob. It wasn’t until I got back that I found out who I was yelling at. … This is why the col shouldn’t go out the gate with infantry because it’s a scouts job to do it lol. (Jantzen Frazier, 15 August 2011, One special Memory about your tour)

Zack Williams, an injured 304-pound rookie offensive lineman for the Carolina Panthers, plays a violent sport.

Jantzen Frazier of Hartsell, Ala., is an Iraq War veteran, a recipient of seven Purple Heart medals. In his last battle in 2007, he was wounded six times and broke his back in three places after he was blown out of a Humvee.The two met Tuesday when the wounded veteran asked the NFL rookie for his autograph at Bank of America Stadium during a real-time video game contest organized by the nonprofit Pro vs. GI Joe organization and the Panthers.

[Article continues…]

“It shows us that people care,” said George Bullem, a captain in the N.C. Army National Guard.
Easing readjustment

That’s what Frazier, 27, needed after his injuries forced him to leave the Army.

They came five days after he’d reenlisted “indefinitely.” He was on a 15-man patrol in three Humvees when a dump truck with 23,000 pounds of explosives rammed the convoy.
The blast destroyed two Humvees, and blew Frazier’s vehicle on its side, throwing Frazier out. Thirteen of his comrades died.
He was married and his first of four daughters had been born while he was in Iraq.
Still, he would have gone back.

“When you go into the military, you have a second family,” Frazier said. Readjustment was hard. Loud noises sent him to the ground. When he drove under a bridge, he’d change lanes so no one above would drop a bomb on him.

“I didn’t want to go out of the house,” he said.

Then he found the Pro vs. GI Joe organization, which also includes rehabilitation events.
Now he gets paid to go on the road with the group, helping set up and tear down events – and talking to recently wounded veterans.

“I feel I’m starting to come out of my shell,” Frazier said. “My family still doesn’t know what I did over there.

“But this has helped – I’m starting to feel alive again.” (Charlotte Observer, 4 November 2011, Pro Vs Joe News)

On Oct. 12, 2007, while on a patrol convoy in Taji in a command support unit with the 1st Cavalry Division, Frazier was manning his Humvee’s turret when his unit was attacked by insurgents.

Frazier was shot in the head. Seconds later, a second bullet ricocheted off his helmet and tore into his side. The impact knocked him unconscious and shattered several vertebras. Miraculously, his Kevlar helmet proved to be the young Soldier’s best weapon, stopping the quarter-size bullet millimeters from penetrating his brain.

Although he doesn’t remember much from that day — his memory muddled by one too many concussions – the helmet the young man has tucked away in a hall closet is his reminder of how he cheated death.

“That helmet saved my life,” the married father of two young girls said, adding that he also has the bullet that almost ended his life.

Call it being at the right place at the wrong time or the wrong place at the right time, Frazier had already survived numerous firefights, roadside bombs and sniper attacks during his two tours in Iraq. He was injured twice during his 2003-2004 tour, and at least three times during his 2006-2007 tour. But it was the Oct. 12, 2007, attack that jerked him from the battlefield and on to a medical evacuation flight first to Germany and then Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio where he spent several month recovering from severe back injuries and a swollen brain. In February 2008, he transferred to Fort Hood to what is now the Warrior Transition Brigade.

Frazier loves the Army and would gladly trade all of his Purple Hearts infor one more fight. He admits it will be difficult wearing civilian clothes instead of his uniform and size 13 boots on his nearly six-foot frame, but more importantly, he will miss “soldiering,” which is why the Warrior Games were so important to him. When he was in Colorado Springs, he was back to soldiering, marrying his rifle skills to Army mission. (Gloria Montgomery, 17 June 2010, Peck Funeral Home online Guest Book)

 Jantzen Murrell Frazier, 28, was headed south on Wilson Mountain Road to put out a fire at a neighbor’s house when the engine ran off the road and flipped, knocking down a utility pole, about 3 p.m., authorities said.

Frazier, the only person aboard, was killed instantly by blunt force trauma to the head, Morgan County Coroner Jeff Chunn said.

Oden Ridge Fire Chief Jeff Duffey said Frazier, a medically retired soldier and part-time U.S. marshal, was an “amazing guy.” (Decatur Daily, 17 October 2013, Firefighter killed in crash: Volunteer was decorated soldier, ‘amazing guy’)



Remembering George Washington on his birthday

Given that February 22nd  is the birthday of one of my American heroes, I thought I’d share an excellent post written by David Boaz. In reference to the quote at the end of the article from the oft maligned King George III, I think there may have another man who eschewed an earthly kingdom after achieving an even greater victory, and Washington’s faith in Him may have been a contributing factor into making Washington into the man he was.

Why We Honor George Washington:
By David Boaz
Today is some vaguely named “Presidents’ Day,” but Wednesday is the anniversary of George Washington’s birth. So it’s a good day to remember the contribution he made to the American republic. I wrote this several years ago:
George Washington was the man who established the American republic. He led the revolutionary army against the British Empire, he served as the first president, and most importantly he stepped down from power.
John Trumbull, “General George Washington Resigning His Commission”
In an era of brilliant men, Washington was not the deepest thinker. He never wrote a book or even a long essay, unlike George Mason, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams. But Washington made the ideas of the American founding real. He incarnated liberal and republican ideas in his own person, and he gave them effect through the Revolution, the Constitution, his successful presidency, and his departure from office.
What’s so great about leaving office? Surely it matters more what a president does in office. But think about other great military commanders and revolutionary leaders before and after Washington—Caesar, Cromwell, Napoleon, Lenin. They all seized the power they had won and held it until death or military defeat.
John Adams said, “He was the best actor of presidency we have ever had.” Indeed, Washington was a person very conscious of his reputation, who worked all his life to develop his character and his image.
In our own time Joshua Micah Marshall writes of America’s first president, “It was all a put-on, an act.” Marshall missed the point. Washington understood that character is something you develop. He learned from Aristotle that good conduct arises from habits that in turn can only be acquired by repeated action and correction – “We are what we repeatedly do.” Indeed, the word “ethics” comes from the Greek word for “habit.” We say something is “second nature” because it’s not actually natural; it’s a habit we’ve developed. From reading the Greek philosophers and the Roman statesmen, Washington developed an understanding of character, in particular the character appropriate to a gentleman in a republic of free citizens.
What values did Washington’s character express? He was a farmer, a businessman, an enthusiast for commerce. As a man of the Enlightenment, he was deeply interested in scientific farming. His letters on running Mount Vernon are longer than letters on running the government. (Of course, in 1795 more people worked at Mount Vernon than in the entire executive branch of the federal government.)
He was also a liberal and tolerant man. In a famous letter to the Jewish congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, he hailed the “liberal policy” of the United States on religious freedom as worthy of emulation by other countries. He explained, “It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens.”
And most notably, he held “republican” values – that is, he believed in a republic of free citizens, with a government based on consent and established to protect the rights of life, liberty, and property.
From his republican values Washington derived his abhorrence of kingship, even for himself. The writer Garry Wills called him “a virtuoso of resignations.” He gave up power not once but twice – at the end of the revolutionary war, when he resigned his military commission and returned to Mount Vernon, and again at the end of his second term as president, when he refused entreaties to seek a third term. In doing so, he set a standard for American presidents that lasted until the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose taste for power was stronger than the 150 years of precedent set by Washington.
Give the last word to Washington’s great adversary, King George III. The king asked his American painter, Benjamin West, what Washington would do after winning independence. West replied, “They say he will return to his farm.”
“If he does that,” the incredulous monarch said, “he will be the greatest man in the world.”
Why We Honor George Washington is a post from Cato @ Liberty – Cato Institute Blog

The heraldic fraud (II)

I got one of these certificates from a vendor in a mall back in the nineties (before I knew better) that purported to tell the history of my surname. I keep it to remind me how easy it is to be taken advantage of. If any positive can come from the experience, I did gain a stronger desire to learn my family history after obtaining it.

The heraldic fraud (II):

OR private message, a kind lady lives in Urugay sent me an informative consultation on the family crest. The lady, interested in their genealogy, traveled to Mallorca, in the municipality of Sineu, accompanied by her son to continue digging into your family tree, getting to know the daughter of an aunt of hers who now have over 90 years.
With permission to display the image I wanted to show another example of heraldic fraud, in which a company disguised as serious historical research center, inform your buyer on the arms of his surname.
This scroll, reports that the coat of arms of Vanrell, and variant Vendrell, is as follows:
Azure, a fleur de lis silver bordure gules stitched.
Coat of Vanrell – Vendrell as the General Nobiliari Català. De Azure, a fleur de lis silver bordure gules stitched.

Indeed, in the General Nobiliari Català see the same shield associated with Vanrell de Mallorca and Valencia Vendrell.

But one thing is that a man with that name had once had a shield and another to say that is the shield of the surname, which is not true. There are many companies that offer a heraldic study surname, committing fraud, as the shields belong to lineages Agnation borne, not names.
It would have to prove who is a descendant of the gentleman who wore that coat to say that it is his shield. Even if your ancestors are from Mallorca and have that name, could correspond to another branch of the surname Vanrell, having no right to say that this is their coat of arms.
If you do not have complete assurance that it is a direct descendant of someone ennobled with a coat of arms and want to be represented by a shield, I advise you diseñéis new one .
As happened in another entry on her heraldic fraud , fijaros that the scroll is adorned with thirteen shields, of which only three meet the first rule of heraldry , the on glazes. Only say to reflect the reliability thereof.

It is also curious adornment in the form of Phoenix. What will you do with it? The bird, a phoenix seems more than an eagle, as it lacks some features and distinctive details. One day I will make an entry on this chimerical figure.

PS I send a cordial greeting to Mrs. Rosita.

Related Entries
  1. The heraldic fraud.
  2. The rule of glazes.