Heraldry of the Military Order of the Collar
The cross of the Military Order of the Collar
The General Statutes of the Order of 1968, the year of the demise of H.R.H. Don Francesco Mario II and of the accession to the Grand Magistry of H.R.H. Don Roberto II, constituted a clear step towards a clearer definition of the Order itself as an order of the Cross according to Sansovino’s definition.
The Grand Chancellor, Don Salvatore Ruta Crevy Marquis of Santa Margherita, undertaking such an ambitious programme, began with the most famous heraldist on the international scene Carl Alexander von Volborth, who at that time lived in the United States, to study the Cross for the knights’ mantles and thence the cross of the basic insignia.
The study was not always based on iconographic documents (the artist was characterised by a certain artistic originality) led to a selection of crosses, eight in all, depicted on two sheets, reproduced here.
Inspired by the altarpiece of St. George by the Catalan painter Bernat Martorell (1427-1452) and the cross flory wonderfully depicted by him on the Saint’s surcoat the Grand Chancellor opted for the first cross on the second sheet modified in so far as to be charged with the escutcheon of Paterno-Majorca in place of the monogram SA.
Once the choice had been made, the Regulations on Uniforms and Insignia were issued which while allowing the continued use of insignia in the more ancient form introduced the use of the mantle with on its left shoulder the Cross (25cm wide).
In the years 1967 to 1971 changes were made to the ranks within the Order which reduced from six to three, with the Grand Collar at the apex.
It remained to abolish the previous insignia and establish the new. This was done in two phases : the new insignia were adopted in 1972, the older versions remained in use as the insignia for the Categories of Merit until 1974.
The basic insignia is that of a Knight of Justice and Devotion which consist of “a cross flory Or tierced Gules in the central tierce charged with the inescutcheon of Paterno”, surmounted by the royal crown and suspended from a military trophy. The ribbon is of moire silk, red bordered with gold. The decoration is worn around the neck by means of a ribbon in the form of a collar. Dames wear it hanging from a bow of the ribbon on the left breast. The Categories of Grace do not make use of the military trophy; the Categories of Merit (pro meritis) do not make use of the crown. Knights Grand Cross wear a star on the lower left side of the breast. The star of the Grand Collar and of the Collar are gold, eight pointed, 7cm in diameter, charged with the Cross of the Order; the Grand Cross of Devotion differs being of silver rather than gold. The star of the Grand Cross for Merit is silver and four pointed, always charged with the Cross of the Order.
Knights who make their Profession in the hands of the Grand Master wear the Cross on the breast.
The realisation of the cross flory entailed the creation of a new Grand Collar, formed of letters E affronte alternating with 8 disks charged with the Cross of the Order and in the centre the arms of Paterno from which hangs the insignia.
The Collar has a military trophy instead of the arms of Paterno. It is of gold and enamel.
The composition of the arms
Only the Grand Master may quarter his arms with those of the Order.
In point of fact, since the arms of Paterno and those of the Order are identical, the arms of the Grand Master are quartered I and IV Paternó Castello Guttadauro. Thus the arms of the Sovereign Grand Master are blazoned as follows : Quarterly, I & IV per pale and in the dexter per fess : 1 Or four pallets Gules a bendlet Azure, 2 Azure a castle triple towered Or windows and masoning Sable, 3 Azure three bars Or, between the 1st and 2nd three bezants, between the two bezants and in base one bezant; II & III Or four pallets Gules a bendlet Azure.
Members of the Government, Hereditary Commanders and Professed Knights may augment their arms with the Chief of Saint Agatha, which is : Argent a Cross Gules fimbriated Or.
The other members of the Supreme Council support their shield on the Cross of the Order.
Other members use the insignia of their rank as an external ornament of their arms.
Grand Collars and Grand Crosses with Collar may put this insignia around their shield.
Esquires, Pages and Demoiselles may display the arms of the Order at the base of the shield.
Professed Knights have the right to raise their personal standard above their stall in a chapel of the Order and to erect their stallplate in the same place.
In order not to overload their personal arms, a member of the Order of whatsoever rank may use the simple Cross as a badge by placing it outside the shield in the place that is most aesthetically suitable. The Cross should not have a diameter that exceeds one quarter of the height of the shield.
Banners and Emblems
The high officers of the Order are namely the Sovereign Grand Master, the Grand Chancellor, the Governor, the Marshal, the Grand Hospitaller, the Grand Visitor, not to mention heads of jurisdiction, namely, Grand Priors, Priors and Commanders raise the standard which is a rectangle 60cm wide of white silk with a fringe of gold and embroidered in the centre with the Cross of the Order.
Whosoever raises the standard indicates the designation of his own office on the carmine ribbon hanging from the arrow at the head of the stave.
The Hospitaller Service of the Military Order of the Colar uses as its emblem the Cross flory within the text “Hospitaller Service – M.O.C.”