Military Order of the Collar


The Military Order of the Collar of Saint Agatha of Paternò

Militare Ordine del Collare

Originally called the Order of the Collar of Paternò, then of the Collar of St. Agatha Virgin Martyr, and subsequently the Order of St. Agatha of Paternò, it took its name from St. Agatha, a Sicilian virgin martyred with atrocious torture, rolled on live coals (in 251 according to some writers, in 232 according to others) for order of Consul Quintianus, during the persecutions of Decius (Cneius Messius Quintus Traianus Decius), Governor of Mesia under the reign of Philip, censor and leader of a fierce persecution of the Christians, the seventh, proclaimed Emperor by his soldiers in 249, killed during the second war against the Goths in 251); Patron of the Island of Malta and of the city of Catania, to which Nobility the Paternò ascribe for centuries, and to which, particularly in the past, they were devoted.

It is a dynastic order of Collation and the Patronage of the Paternò Castello Princes of Emmanuel, to which the Grand Magistracy was confirmed and recognised by the aforesaid king Francesco II of Bourbon, in a Decree issued in Gaeta on the 16th September 1860.

It is divided in two categories: that of Justice, for the Nobles who can demonstrate noble descent on their paternal side for at least 400 years before their birth; and that of Grace for non-nobles. Both categories confer the ranks of Knight, Knight Officer, Commander, Grand Officer, Knight Grand Cross and Grand Collar. It was the subject of a work entitled “The Order of the Collar, Patrimony of the Serene Royal House of Paternò”, written by don Francesco Paternò Castello, Duke of Carcaci, brother of the paternal and maternal great grandfathers of the present Grand Master Prince of Emmanuel, published in Catania in 1851 by the University Press.

The insignia consists of the Paternò coat of arms supported by two lions in gold, and laying on two ears of corn, these also being of gold.

The ribbon is of red with two lateral gold bands. The Justice category has the decoration with two swords crossing the coat of arms.

For Knight Officers, the coat of arms is surmounted by a small royal crown; Commanders have a larger royal crown; Grand Officers wear the aforementioned on a small star; a Knight Grand Cross on a larger star. The Grand Collar, limited to 25 recipients, and only for the Category of Justice, consists of a chain of two kinds of discs, one with the Trinacria alternating with one with the Balearic (Paternò) coat of arms; for the chain hangs the Paternò coat of arms with the swords and the ears of corn previously described, attached to a medallion depicting St. Agatha. This confers the rank and the style of Cousin of the Grand Master and personal nobility, as is the case in the Order of the Holy Annunciation of the House of Savoy.