Order of Saint George (Kingdom of Hungary)

The Order of St George, Hungarian: Szent György Vitézei Lovagrend, was the first secular chivalric order in the world[citation needed] and was established by King Charles I of Hungary in 1326. It continues to exist today as the International Knightly Order Valiant of St. George, with Grand Priories in the United States and the United Kingdom.

International Knightly Order Valiant of St. George
TypeOrder of Chivalry
CountryUnited Kingdom
MottoIn truth I am just to this fraternal society
EligibilityAnyone who has made significant achievements to charity or who uphold chivalric ideals
Awarded forAchievements in community, charity and chivalric ideals
StatusCurrently constituted
FounderCharles I of Hungary
  • Grand Cross
  • Knight/Dame Commander
  • Knight/Dame
  • Officer
Statutes of the Order with Order's seal with St. George slaying the dragon

History of the OrderEdit

The Order was founded by King Charles I of Hungary as the Fraternal Society of Knighthood of St George. The precise date of its foundation is not known, but based on the text of its Statutes, it was in existence on St George's Day, 23 April 1326. The order flourished during Charles' reign and achieved greater success under the reign of his son Louis I of Hungary. After the death of Louis, the Hungarian throne became the subject of a violent dispute between his relations, and the Hungarian kingdom dissolved into civil war, destroying the original Society.[1] All that is known about the Order in terms of its mission, composition, obligations and activities has been obtained from the only surviving artifact which describes the Society.

Based on the Statutes, although the Society of St George was a political and honorary body, Charles infused the ideals of chivalry into the Society promoting them among the lesser nobles of his kingdom and implementing the classic symbol of chivalry, the knights' tournament, in Hungarian festivals of chivalry. Unlike the ecclesiastical Orders of the period, members of the Society wore a black, knee-length, hooded mantle, bearing not an heraldic device but an inscription:

"I Veritate iustus sum huic fraternali societae"[2] - "In truth I am just to this fraternal society."[3]

The Statutes were written in Latin, the language of learned writing in Hungary before the 19th century, and are about 1700 words long, in the form of letters patent. Suspended from the document was the great seal of the Society with the classic iconic representation of St George mounted on a horse slaying the dragon under the horse's hooves as shown on the right. The document is currently housed in the Országos Levéltar (National Archives of Hungary), DL. 40 483. There are a number of transcriptions and translations of the Statutes, facilitating study.[4][5][6][7][8]

In Hungary, the twentieth century foundation the Order of Vitéz was based upon the Order of St. George, but the Knightly Order Valiant of St George re-emerged in its own right after the fall of communism in 1989.[9]

Modern timesEdit

The Order continues to exist today as the International Knightly Order Valiant of St. George (commonly simply referred to by the original name, the Order of St. George). The Order has charitable status in the UK as Registered Charity No. 1137397,[10] in the USA as a 501(c)3 non-profit organisation, and with the United Nations as an organisation with Special Consultative Status with the UN Economic & Social Council (ECOSOC) since 2015.[11]

Current classesEdit

The four classes of appointment to the Order are, in descending order of precedence:[12]

  1. Grand Cross of the International Knightly Order Valiant of St. George
  2. Knight/Dame Commander of the International Knightly Order Valiant of St. George
  3. Knight/Dame of the International Knightly Order Valiant of St. George
  4. Officer of the International Knightly Order Valiant of St. George


  1. ^ D'Arcy J.D. Boulton. The Knights of the Crown - The Monarchical Orders of Knighthood in Later Medieval Europe 1325-1520. The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK. 1987. ISBN 0-85115-417-4.
  2. ^ Boulton. 44.
  3. ^ Ariella Elema. English Translation of the Statutes of the Fraternal Society of St. George. March 04, 2011.
  4. ^ György Fejér (1766–1851). "Codex diplomaticus Hungariae ecclesiasticus ac civilis" (Budae, 1832), VIII/3, no. L., pp. 163-170.
  5. ^ Antal Pör. in "Az Anjou Ház örösei (1301-1439)", vol III of "A magyar nemzet története" (The History of the Hungarian Nation), ed. Sandor Szilagyi (10 vols, Budapest, 1895), between pp. 138-139.
  6. ^ Veszprémy László. "Az Anjou-Kori Lovagság Kérdései. A Szent György-lovagrend alapítása". Hadtörténelmi Közlemények (Military History Journal), 107. évfolyam. 1994. 1.szám, 3-11. p.
  7. ^ Rácz György. "A Szent György Lovagrend alapszabályai 1326. április 24. - Latin átirat" Budapest, 2008. (Magyar Történelmi Archivum) Archív Kiadó.
  8. ^ Ariella Elema. English Translation of the Statutes of the Fraternal Society of St. George. March 04, 2011.
  9. ^ "Order of St George - Georgia Commandery". stgeorgeamericas.org. Retrieved 2020-08-22.
  10. ^ "Charity Details for The United Kingdom Grand Priory Of The International Knightly Order Valiant Of St. George". United Kingdom Charity Commission. Retrieved 2020-08-22.
  11. ^ "Non-Governmental Organization Committee Recommends 40 Groups for Consultative Status with Economic and Social Council, Defers Action on 62 Others | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases". www.un.org. Retrieved 2020-08-22.
  12. ^ "Symbols and ranks of the Order of St. George". orderofstgeorge.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-08-22.

Further readingEdit

  • Fügedi, Erik: Ispánok, bárók, kiskirályok (Counts, Barons and Petty Kings); Magvető Könyvkiadó, 1986, Budapest; ISBN 963-14-0582-6.
  • Kristó, Gyula (editor): Korai Magyar Történeti Lexikon - 9-14. század (Encyclopedia of Early Hungarian History - 9-14th centuries); Akadémiai Kiadó, 1994, Budapest; ISBN 963-05-6722-9.