Monday, December 10, 2007

The Habsburgs in Dijon

Christine of Laudem Gloriae has an account of a recent, historic ceremony in Dijon of the Order of the Golden Fleece.
Though their principal feast is held yearly at the Hofburg Palace, this year the Austrian Order of the Golden Fleece chose, for the first time in over 500 years, to return to Dijon to celebrate its chapter meeting in the city in which it was founded. The chapter meeting was held in secrecy in the Crypt of St. Bénigne Cathedral, after which prayers were said before the buried remains of Duke Phillip the Good, followed by a solemn Mass celebrated by Archbishop Roland Minnerath, with a number of priests from the diocese, including members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher and the Knights of Malta.
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16 comments:

Georgette said...

Oh how very mysterious and interesting! It's neat to know there are still equestrian orders of knights.

One thing I don't understand, though. How was it a "secret meeting", when it was televised on French television (as she links at the bottom of her post) and it was attended by so many people?

elena maria vidal said...

I think that the chapter meeting in the crypt was private but not the ceremony afterwards.

Terry Melanson said...

I find it incredible that an Order symbolizing a pagan myth would have conned the Church into tolerating its rituals and celebrations. The allegory of the Golden Fleece, as a tradition, is taught to alchemists, occultists, Freemasons and Rosicrucians.

Even when the Order was founded the bishop of Chalon-in-Burgundy tried to get Philip III to change the Order's symbolism to the Biblical fleece of Gideon - to no avail. Occult tradition has it that Philip III was a "true adept" serving the Hermetic art. The ceremonies, rituals, garb and regalia of the Order certainly contain advanced hermetic meaning. A good summary of what a Rosicrucian writer in the 18th Century said on the Order can be found in pp. 178-86 of Antoine Faivre's Access to Western Esotericism.

Christine said...

Georgette,
As my blog notes, "The chapter meeting was held in secrecy in the Crypt of St. Bénigne Cathedral...."
The Mass was televised.

There are a number of orders still in existence, though their purpose today is far different from that of their founding.

Terry,
With all due respect, Fictuld's interpretation of the Order of the Golden Fleece is his own; he was a heretic who imposed his own understanding of myth and hermeticism onto an order that was founded on the Catholic faith and has always remained thus. For instance, his esoteric explanation of Duke Phillip's choice of Mary and Andrew as patron saints of the Order is ridiculous, and shows he understood the Catholic faith only from the outside.

The Masons themselves have never claimed any direct tie to the Order of the Golden Fleece; at most, they attempt to emulate the Order's chivalric code and, of course, have adopted the Golden Fleece as a mythological symbol (entirely apart from the Order's use of that symbol).

Christine said...

Another note: chivalric orders originated in monastic-military orders created to combat the infidels during the Crusades. The knights bound themselves to a rule, just as in other monastic orders. Once their primary purpose became obsolete, some were abolished, some were transformed into charitable organizations, and new orders arose for the purpose of binding oneself in loyalty to a particular monarch (e.g., the Order of the Golden Fleece). Whatever rites and rituals these monarchic chivalric orders contained derive from the monastic-military orders; the rosicrucians and the freemasons are merely copycats.

Georgette said...

This article seems to support what terry melanson is saying:

http://www.amaluxherbal.com/alchemy_unveiled.htm


All sounds very gnostic to me...

elena maria vidal said...

Thanks for clearing this up, Christine.

Very interesting, Georgette, although I do not always trust what New Agers say about themselves; their historicity is usually more than a bit flawed.

Christine said...

The article at Amalux Herbal should not be taken as accurate; he makes a bald assertion without any evidence or documentation. For a clearer, more objective explanation of the Order of the Golden Fleece (both the Spanish and Austrian Orders), please see this article by Guy Stair Sainty. There is nothing mysterious or conspiratorialist about them, nor about any other monarchic chivalric order (although it may seem so to 20th-century readers unfamiliar with medieval European tradition; thus the number of people easily taken in by Dan Brown).

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you, once again, Christine! The Sainty article gives an extremely well-documented history of the Order of the Golden Fleece. And thank you for your original article of history in the making.

Georgette said...

Gosh, I really know nothing at all about all this. But I wonder why they call themselves the "Hermetic" order of the golden fleece? Do a wiki search for "hermetic" and see what I mean...

Christine said...

Georgette,
You may be confusing Golden Fleece with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the latter which is indeed a heretical masonic cult.

Terry Melanson said...

Last I checked Mrs. Vidal had a comment right below mine that said "Fascinating." Now in its place is Christine's remarks. Strange ... and a bit disappointing since this was my new favorite blog.

Choose to believe what you will, but you can't deny the fact that the legend of the Golden Fleece is pagan. Nothing will ever change it - Catholic-sponsored or not. Philip III instituted such an Order knowing full-well what it was he was paying homage to.

Princely occult dabblings is a well established current throughout the historical record; as are occultist/alchemical interpretations of the Fleece legend.

Those chivalric degrees added to Freemasonry? They were indeed copycats, as Christine suggests. The part she leaves out, however, is that it was a device introduced by the nobility who increasingly joined during the formative years of Masonry in the 18th century. You know: those Dukes and Princes who were invested as knights the Order of the Garter and/or the Order of the Golden Fleece, while simultaneously being initiated into the occult mysteries of the Golden and Rosy Cross, the Rite of Strict Observance, and the Bavarian Illuminati.

elena maria vidal said...

Dear Mr. Melanson,

I removed my initial comment since it was perceived by some that I was agreeing with you, when I merely found it to be interesting. Actually, what you say reminds me of the conspiracy theories that Dan Brown had in his book about Opus Dei. And I am at liberty to remove comments, my own and other people's, as I see fit. Whether you like it or not is your affair.

elena maria vidal said...

Speaking of things with pagan origins, our Christmas tree is certainly among them, but I am not about to throw it out the window. There are so many pagan myths and practices that were incorporated into Christianity as it spread, and "baptized" one might say.
I would certainly concede that many who have worn the Order of the Golden Fleece, such as Marie-Antoinette's father Emperor Francis and her brother Emperor Joseph were die-hard freemasons. Similarly, Philppe d'Orleans wore his masonic emblem next to his order of the Saint-Esprit. Many nobles who were involved in the Orders of Chivalry blessed by the Church were also deeply involved in masonry. But that does not make the Orders of Chivalry bad in themselves, since they did have ecclesiastic approval (most of the time) and many truly devout laymen were involved over the years.

Mr. Melanson, you had a link embedded in your last comment which got lost in publication, I apologize.

Terry Melanson said...

Please feel free to address me as Terry.

"I would certainly concede that many who have worn the Order of the Golden Fleece, such as Marie-Antoinette's father Emperor Francis and her brother Emperor Joseph were die-hard freemasons."

Actually, Joseph II wasn't a Freemason. He tolerated it (for a time), but was never a member himself. Nearly his entire court council though were masons, and a great majority of them, Illuminati. Austrian/Viennese Illuminati were incredibly numerous, and that's a fascinating story in itself.

Speaking of Illuminati: I'm finishing up a non-fiction book on the subject. This is what drew me to your site. I was doing a search of something to do with the French Revolution. Anyway, my book includes 400+ biographies of confirmed members of the Illuminati. With 200 years hindsight and over 1000 members identified from official lists of the Order found in European archives (most only recently), the time is ripe - especially in the English language - to write, at last, a complete and authoritative history of the Order.

elena maria vidal said...

Interesting, Terry. Good luck with your new book.

Joseph was never officially a Mason? Really? I suppose he may dabbled in it while never formally joining. Well, that is good to know, I guess. I knew that it was pretty rife at his court.

This blog actually does not have too much about the masons and Illuminati, just what I came across when researching the novels about Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette and their family. Mostly, I talk about books, movies, women's issues, decorating and the like.