Order of the Knights of Malta, Lady's Grand Cross of Honour (in gold)
Image courtesy of “Das Ordensbuch Der Gewesenen Osterreichisch-Ungarischen Monarchie Orden, Kreuze, Ehrenzeichen, Medaillen, Denkmunzen, Dienstzeichen, Matrikelzeichen, Amtsabzeichen Etz.” by Hauptmann Heinrich F. Michetschlager
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The Order was originally founded by Godfrey of Bouillon in 1099.
Following Godfrey’s successful campaign to conquer the Holy Land, he assigned a pilgrim hospital in Jerusalem with a constitution and lands. The hospital was run by several of Godfrey’s Knights, who later founded a spiritual Order. The Order was confirmed by Pope Paschal II in 1113.
The Knights were originally divided into three grades, Knights, Priests, and Brother Servants.
Knights were in charge of protecting pilgrims and battling infidels.
Priests managed the Order’s spiritual responsibilities.
Brother servants were responsible for taking care of the sick and wounded in peacetime, while in wartime they functioned as lower ranks in the Order’s military ranks.
The grade of Donatists was added to the Order at a later date. The Donatists were charged with carrying out everyday tasks and duties.
The Order of the Knights of Malta operated in Austria as early as the 12th century.
The Austrian Order was charged with aiding the sick, diseased, disabled, refugees, and elderly of the world.
The Order of the Knights of Malta within Imperial Austria is also known as the Order of the Knights of Malta of Bohemia.
The Order grades were conferred for civil or war related services.
When the grades were awarded to recognize civil merit they had a plain black ribbon.
When the grades were awarded to recognize war merit they had a black ribbon with red and white along the exterior edges.
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