Constantinian Order of St. George, Knight of Grand Cross (Grace)
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The origins of the Order are unclear. Some authorities believe the beginning of this Order can be linked to Emperor Constantine I and the Battle of the Milvan Bridge in 312. Others believe the founder was Byzantine Emperor Isaac II in 1190.
The best-recognized iteration of the Order arose with the amendments to the Order statutes made by Duke Francesco Farnese of Parma in 1705. The Duke’s changes were formally recognized by Pope Clement XI in 1706, and finalized as a dynastic Order of the Duchy of Parma by a Papul Bull in 1718.
It became a dynastic Order of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1731, following the death of Antonio Farnese, the last male descendant in Parma of the Farnese dynasty. Consequently, the Order passed to the King of the Two Sicilies, Charles III, resulting in the move of the Order out of Parma and into Naples.
Thus from 1731-1816, it was not considered an Order of the Duchy of Parma. When Marie Louise ascended to the throne of the Duchy of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla she restored it as a dynastic Order of the Duchy of Parma, resulting in the creation of two Order branches.
The Duchy of Parma Order branch features a lower case omega in the inscription “V I H S A ω P.”
The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies Order branch features an upper case omega in the inscription “V I H S A Ω P.”
Members of the Order were predominately noble, and they were charged with defending Roman Catholic beliefs and traditions.
There are two versions of this branch of the Order, the "of Justice" awards and the "of Grace" awards.
The awards conferred “of Justice” are surmounted by a crown and a trophy of arms suspension, while the awards conferred “of Grace” are only surmounted by a crown.
The “of Justice” awards are also known as awards “by Right.” While the “of Grace” awards are also known as awards “by Favour.”
The motto of the Order is “In hoc signo vinces,” which roughly translates to “In this sign you will conquer.”
This Order is also known as the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George.
There is a lot of variation in the size, composition, and design of the Order awards due to the long history of the Order.
See Constantinian Order of St. George in the Orders of the Duchy of Parma in Italy for more information.
The Knight of Grand Cross features the gold figure of St. George killing the dragon suspended below the cross.
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