Friday, March 15, 2019

Statement on New Zealand Mosque Shooting by the Imperial Patriarch

On behalf of the people of the Imperial Patriarchate of St. Stephen, we express our heartfelt sadness at the mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. It is unfortunate that some resort to brutal violence to settle their differences. It is unfortunate that some cannot live and let live. Let us pray for the victims of all violence in places of worship around the world.

Rutherford P.I.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Merovingian & Carolingian Origins of the Imperial Patriarchate

The ethnic heritage of the modern institution of the Imperial Patriarchate of St. Stephen stretch back over 1500 years to the ancients Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties that ruled much of Europe from after the fall of the Roman Empire until the Napoleonic era. The Merovingian dynasty was Frankish and considered the oldest ruling dynasty of modern-day France (which takes its name from the Franks). Clovis I, grandson of the founder of that dynasty, united Gaul (essentially modern-day France) under their rule in the fifth century. Their territory expanded to include much of the Germanic territory, as well as Burgundy. They were succeeded by the Carolingians, which takes its name from Charlemagne, crowned Emperor of the Romans by the Pope in the year 800. Charlemagne also conquered much of Italy from the Lombards and established the Imperial Kingdom of Italy. Charlemagne is considered the founder of the Holy Roman Empire.

Lothair I, son of Charlemagne, King of Italy
Two of the main territories within the ethnic heritage of the Imperial Patriarchate, Etruria (Tuscany) and Westphalia, have deep roots that go back to the Holy Roman Empire and beyond. During the Napoleonic era, those two territories were established as kingdoms within the French Empire. Their legacy came to the Imperial Patriarchate later via right of the Holy Roman Empire in a form of reclamation, and thus the heritage of the Napoleonic era remains by right as a valued part of that heritage. Etruria, due to its rule, also brings Spanish legacy.

Infanta Maria Luisa of Spain,
Queen of Etruria (center), with her
son Louis II, Napoleonic King of Etruria (left)
and daughter Princess Maria Luisa Carlotta.
Napoleon (himself an Italian), upon becoming Emperor, saw the new French Empire as a legitimate reestablishment of the ancient Merovingian dynasty. That dynasty is the oldest in France, even older than the Bourbons. Their symbol was the bee, and thus Napoleon made regular use of the bee as his own symbol. His other (and more famous) symbol of the Empire was the eagle, reminiscent of both the Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire.

Emperor Napoleon in regalia
as King of Italy
Also, as ecclesiastical claimant to the temporal patrimony of Florence and the ancient Margraviate of Tuscany in the Holy Roman Empire, the Imperial Patriarchate holds succession to the honorific title of Imperial Vice-King of Italy in the Holy Roman Empire. The Vice-King was the crowned, de facto ruler of the Imperial Kingdom of Italy (the title of King of Italy was usually held by the Holy Roman Emperor). Indeed, that title has links to the very origins of the Imperial Patriarchate’s patronage of St. Stephen the Deacon and Protomartyr. The first Vice-King of Italy, during the first period of Carolingian rule of Italy, was Bosone I d'Arles, King of Lower Burgundy and Provence. He was given the title by Charles the Bald, Holy Roman Emperor, King of West Francia, and King of Italy. There exists an image of Bosone humbling himself before Saint Stephen the Deacon and Protomartyr, celestial Patron of the Patriarchate of St. Stephen, in a fresco in the Abbey of Charlieu in Burgundy. Also, the Basilica of Arles was dedicated to St. Stephen. The Carolingian Kingdom of Arles succeeded the Merovingian Kingdom of Burgundy and is a major line of the Margraves of Tuscany and Kings of Italy. 

King Bosone of Lower Burgundy and Provence, Imperial Vice-King of Italy,
humbles himself before Saint Stephen the Deacon and Protomartyr,
celestial Patron of the Patriarchate of St. Stephen.
From a fresco in the Abbey of Charlieu in Burgundy.
Also within the heritage of the Imperial Patriarchate are direct Merovingian titles recognised and held by family right by the Imperial Patriarch and the Governor-General. Their family titles were given in time the Imperial Patriarchate and thus descend with the specific semi-hereditary, semi-elected ecclesiastical offices to which they are tied.

The descent from the Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties is depicted in the Imperial Patriarchate’s symbology. The basic coat of arms of the Imperial Patriarch features a white eagle on a blue shield. The Frankish eagle recalls both Carolingian heritage and the Merovingians, for the shield is similar to that of the Merovingian Kingdom of Burgundy. 

Basic coat of arms of the 
Imperial Patriarch of St. Stephen
The Imperial Patriarchate of today has a rich ethnic heritage rooted in the Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties stretching from the Italian peninsula to the northern Rheinland and spanning over 1500 years of history. Latino and Germanic, it is a composite of distinct and ancient legacies united together in one ecclesiastical sovereignty. The Imperial Patriarchate carries those legacies into the future.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Patriarchal Allocution - Christmas 2018

PATRIARCHAL SEE 25 December 2018 (ORCNS) - The following is the transcript of the allocution given by HIRH the Imperial Patriarch of St. Stephen, Christmas 2018. 

From the Florentine Household to the Christian faithful throughout the world and especially to the members of the Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham, grace, peace, and Our Apostolic Blessing on this joyous celebration of the two thousand eighteenth Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord. When Christ came into the world, He came to fulfill the Hebrew prophecies – yet He came for all mankind without regard to ethnic background or national origin. It is perhaps the one thing that knows no border, and as the national borders of the world change and move over time, membership in the Kingdom of God is something that unites all of the faithful around the world. It is indeed the greatest hope for mankind and at times the only thing that unite disparate peoples.

Remembering again the unity in the Corporate Body of Christ, We call again for unity among the Christian faithful of the world. That is often seen as an elusive goal, particularly given not only the political issues separating the faithful, but also the sincerely held religious beliefs. Yet, we must never abandon hope. Let Us call again upon that principal which We have invoked as the ecumenical motto of Our Patriarchate – Cooperation without Compromise. Can we as the Christian faithful truly find nothing on which to agree with those of other Christian jurisdictions and communities? Shall we truly allow the presence of disagreements – even at times significant ones – to prevent us from displaying Christian brotherhood and cooperation? If we will not seek what common ground we can find, how can we truly hope for unity? If we will not work with our brethren despite disagreements, how can we look to our Saviour and say that we have done all that we humanly can do from brotherhood? Furthermore, if we not only do not seek cooperation and brotherhood without compromise, but add to the flames of discontent by hurling petards of arrogant insults and hate, can we even truly call ourselves authentic practitioners of the Christian faith? That is not, of course, to say that we cannot and should not speak out against what is truly wrong and not merely wrong in our opinion, but rather that there are many words that are best kept to ourselves. If we truly believe others to be wrong, we will not so easily win them over by vitriol – even if we are indeed right according to the Doctrine of the Faith.

Now, as we have start a new liturgical year, which is, in the Imperial Patriarchate, dedicated to the Faith of Imperial Italy, it is an excellent time to resolve to grow in Christian brotherhood and cooperation. We do not serve our purpose by yielding on that which cannot be yielded, but neither must we seek war where there need be none.

Let Us furthermore remind you all, dear brethren, the reason that we maintain with great determination the traditions of the Imperial Patriarchate of St. Stephen. It is, first, in our blood and our faith. Yet, the majority of the world, for better or worse, is no longer as it once was. In Christian tolerance and charity, we do not actively seek others to change to suit us. Our goal is not to achieve any particular temporal outcome, for ultimately the kingdom we represent on earth is not of this world. Nonetheless, by perpetuating the great and glorious legacy that is our sacred duty to maintain, of a society flawed in humanity, but centred on Christ and His Holy Church, we serve as an example to all people and all governments of the world today, no matter their form. In that way we serve in the best way we possibly can. Seek in this coming year to increase your service in the mission that we all share.

Now, therefore, prepare yourselves to receive God's blessing.

Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris+, et Filii+, et Spiritus + Sancti, descendat super vos et maneat semper. R. Amen.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

On the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice

Rutherford Cardinal Johnson, PhD, FPRS, FRGS
Count of Sainte Animie, Imperial Patriarch of St. Stephen

The Cardinal Count of Sainte Animie
in a uniform of the Walsingham Guard,
the humanitarian wing of the Imperial
Patriarchate of St. Stephen with
military heritage dating back to the
Crusades and early years of the
Holy Roman Empire. Aspects of the
Guard's heritage are shared with
both sides of the Great War.
As we raise our swords and dip the colours in salute to the millions who died in the Great War (World War I) on this hundredth anniversary of the Armistice, it is interesting to note that the causes of the war are still being debated. It was a spark that snowballed into a global conflict. Fingers pointed, and blame was passed faster than a game of hot potato. Being of an ethno-religious Catholic minority that shares ancient heritage with both sides of the war, I especially believe in a cautious approach to the analysis of cause. Of course, growing up in the United States, I heard and indeed believed the rhetoric common to the Allied countries that it was Germany and especially Wilhelm II who was entirely to blame. Yet, particularly when the start was considered the assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, some things did not quite seem logical. How did Austria putting down a Serbian rebellion lead to a global conflict, much less blame being placed on Germany? Has blame been mislaid? Have we been misled over the last century? 

It is true enough that Wilhelm II encouraged the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef to put down the social-democrat rebellion that involved the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. The Allied countries also demonstrated their willingness in history to do the same thing. Also, Austria asked for and received Germany’s assurance of support in the event of need, as there was a possibility that the Russian Empire might oppose Austria since the Serbs are Slavs. Wilhelm II contact Tsar Nicholas II to try to dissuade him from war with Austria (and hence also with Germany), but to no avail. The war happened. 

And why did Germany invade France? The French and Russians had a long-standing treaty. War with Russia brought France into the war. Germany chose a strategic move of declaring war and striking first rather than waiting to be squeezed from both sides (which ultimately is what happened as the war dragged on). 

Belgium declared neutrality, but Germany invaded Belgium in order to outflank the French. I rather expect the Allied nations in a similar situation would do the same. However, Britain used that as a justification for entering the war – placing them, ironically, on the side of France, with whom they had centuries of wars. The British royal family, Saxe-Coburg-und Gotha, even changed its name to the now-familiar “Windsor,” after one of their castles. Britain was understandably concerned about German domination on the continent, but now the entire conflict had exploded to almost the entirety of Europe, with Germany and Austria fighting on two fronts. 

Then enter the United States in 1917. The sinking of the British liner Lusitania by German U-boats (submarines), which had a good number of American passengers, was used as a partial justification for entering the war. The Germans said she was a legitimate military target for carrying arms, which the British denied. However, it has since been shown that the Lusitania likely was carrying ammunition for small arms in compartments designed especially for that purpose. The unrestricted submarine warfare, coupled with a communique from Germany to Mexico asking for their support in the event that the United States entered the war (in return for reclaiming parts of the U.S.) actually caused Woodrow Wilson’s request to Congress for a declaration of war to be granted – even though no actual attack against American soil had taken place. Wilson gave as part of his justification his belief that the U.S. should spread American-style democracy around the globe, much as is discussed in present U.S. conflicts. 

So, where is the blame to be laid? It all started with a Serbian terrorist group. Why not there? Or why not Austria-Hungary, who sought to put down the rebellion in Serbia, rather than blaming Germany? Or how about with the Russian Empire, whose entry couple with the Franco-Russian Treaty caused the opening of the Western Front? Was Britain justified in entering the war simply because Belgium had been invaded for strategic military purposes, or was Britain’s action merely out of fear? Was the United States really justified in entering the war, or was it a “strike first” approach like Germany used? It is truly difficult to pinpoint one culprit, though propagandists find no trouble doing so. 

The reality is that the Great War was a tragedy that had been brewing at least since the Franco-Prussian War, but still did not need to happen. A simple rebellion sparked an inferno that engulfed much of the world and changed the face of Europe. The terms of the armistice were also so punitive towards Germany that it opened the gates for Hitler to take over. Indeed, the seeds for the Second World War were sewn in part by the Allies in the terms of the treaty at the end of the First World War. The Great War was a tragedy that spanned not only the four years of its direct conflict, but for decades after, even into the death and destruction of the Second World War. If we want to know the culprit for the Great War, like in so many tragedies in history, we humans, no matter our flag, need only look in the mirror. Ultimately the blame game is unhealthy and a detriment to true healing and harmony.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Patriarchal Comments on Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

PATRIARCHAL SEE 28 October 2018 (ORCNS) - The Imperial Patriarch of St. Stephen spoke today regarding the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA on Saturday. The Cardinal Father joined other religious and civic leaders in condemning the violent and brutal attack. He stated, "History has shown that there are those who are filled with hatred towards others and are willing to do violence to others because of that hate. The synagogue shooting appears to be yet another sad manifestation of that."

The Cardinal Father also said, "Even in the worst of tragedies, we should always hope for and work for something positive to come out of it. Let us hope that this tragic, senseless, and needless event may bring diverse peoples together in a lasting peace." 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Counts of the Patriarchate

The title of Count is of particular importance to the Patriarchate of St. Stephen. It is an old title dating back to the Roman Empire, and today it comes in many forms. It can be a middle or high level of nobility. When held by a royal person, it usually is among the highest of all titles. Count translates as Comes in Latin, meaning companion and was common to high officials of the imperial court and for provincial rulers as "companions of the Emperor." In the time of the early Holy Roman Empire, it was a common title for many rulers. In Italy, where some of the independent states were ruled by Counts, the last ruler of Tuscany in the ancient Holy Roman Empire was Countess Matilda, Margravine of Tuscany. She was a princess of the houses of Canossa, Lorraine, and Bar. (See also Les Comtes Royales.)

The use of the title of Count by certain princes in the Patriarchate of St. Stephen follows these ancient customs. Certain princes of the Patriarchate hold comital titles, mostly quite ancient in origin. It is the custom for the personal title of those princes to be Count, used with their forename, surname, or title name -- all are equally correct. The title applies also to their children and heirs. This is similar not only ancient Italian and French usage, but also to the Spanish and Italian use of "Don" for all nobles, including the King, as well as the international ecclesiastical custom of addressing all prelates as "Monsignor," regardless of rank. It is also similar to the British custom of using "Lord" for all peers, regardless of rank (excepting Dukes). The usage within the Patriarchate reflects its ancient, rich, and diverse heritage. 

Today this usage in the Patriarchate is common currently to four members of the Patriarchal Household -- the Counts of Marmande, Sainte Animie, Römerberg, and Coberly -- as well as to the members of their individual houses. 


Saturday, June 2, 2018

Patriarchal Allocution on the Feast of Corpus Christi 2018

Allocuzione Patriarcale del Festo del Sacratissimo Corpo di Nostro Signore

Patriarchal Address on the Feast of Corpus Christi
31 May A.D. 2018

DALLA Casa Fiorentina al mondo, come sempre, grazia e pace in questo festo del Sacratissimo Corpo di Nostro Signore Jesu Christo, nel anno 2018. Oggi e’ una celebrazione dell’unita’ di tutti in Cristo. In verita’ siamo unificati per il corpo di Cristo. Non esiste nessun politico chi puo’ unificare il mondo o, certo, neanche una nazione. L’unico chi puo’ unificare il popolo del mondo e’ Cristo. Carissimi, vi ammoniamo ricordare bene questo punto.

Oggi soffre il mondo per che’ il mondo si manca l’unita’. La vera unita’ venga solo da Cristo. Quindi, il clero cattolico ed i cristifideli devono pensarne. Non possiamo continuare definire noi stessi in tutto il mondo come “liberali” o “conservatori,” o per qualunche partito politico. Non possiamo usare quelli nomini e quelle idee come un esame di verita’ o come una ragione per amare o odiare qualcuno. Anzi, vi ammoniamo ancora usare solo la verita’ della santa fede di nostro Signore Jesu Christo per determinare la verita’ nel mondo. Non dire che tutte le idee dei conservatori, o dei liberali, o di qualcun politico sono buone o cattive. Se una idea politica fosse in accordo colla dottrina della fede, quella idea sarebbe buona. Se una idea politica non fosse in accordo colla dottrina della fede, quella idea sarebbe cattiva. Questa e’ l’unico esame autentico della verita’.

Quindi, non parlare delle cose politiche senza pensare della fede. Se un argomento politico fosse politico solo e non fa parte della dottrina della fede, non parlare mai di questa cosa. Non contribuare alla discordia nel mondo moderno. Essere una luce della pace.

Nel mondo moderno, non c’e’ nessun paese cristiano. E’ un grandissimo peccato, ma, carissimi, dobbiamo ricordare questa realta’. Non pensare mai che servire il stato e’ servire Cristo. Anzi, servire il stato e’ servire Cristo solo quando un regolo particolare o una situazione particolare e’ in accordo della dottrina della santa fede. Parlo e parlaro’ solo per la Chiesa, non per nessun stato, ecceto nostro sovrano patriarcato, e non per nessun partito politico. Dovete, carissimi, anche parlare solo per la Santa Chiesa e non essere un pedone di qualsiasi stato o di qualsiasi partito politico.

Allora, nostro patriarcato e’ forte e robusto per la grazia di Dio e per il Vostro lavoro, per cui vi ringraziamo di buon cuore. Il patriarcato è allo stesso tempo storico e modern – antico e nuovo. È sia distinti nel suo patrimonio e diversi nel suo lavoro in servizio a Dio ed agli altri. Ha una storia profonda di lavoro parrocchiale, ma oggi si concentra solo sul lavoro di missione. È del Regno del cielo di Cristo, ma saldamente piantato nel mondo. Il suo passato è radicato nella guida di diverse nazioni, ma oggi è una nazione senza frontiere. Il suo popolo è devoto e pio, compassionevole in servizio, feroce in difesa. È forse singolare nella storia moderna del mondo e la relativa gente è giustamente fiero di esso.


FROM the Florentine Household to the world, as always, grace and peace on this Feast of Corpus Christi, in the year of our Lord 2018. Today is a celebration of the unity of all mankind in Christ. Indeed we are unified through the Body of Christ. There is no politician who can unify the world or, in fact, not even a nation. The only One who can unify the people of the world is Christ. Carissimi, we admonish you to remember this point well.

Today the world is suffering for a lack of unity. The true unity comes only from Christ. Therefore, the Catholic clergy and the faithful in Christ must think on this. We cannot continue to define ourselves all around the world as "liberals" or "conservatives," or for some particular political party. We cannot use those labels and those ideas as an examination of truth or as a reason to love or hate someone. Indeed, we admonish you again to use only the truth of the Holy Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ to determine the truth in the world. Do not say that all the ideas of the conservatives, or of the liberals, or some particular political are good or bad. If a political idea were to be in agreement with the doctrine of the faith, that idea would be good. If a political idea were not to be in agreement with the doctrine of the faith, then that idea would be bad. This is the only authentic examination of the truth.

So, do not talk about political things without thinking about faith. If a political argument were to be political only and not part of the doctrine of the faith, never talk about this thing. Do not contribute to discord in the modern world. Be a light of peace.

In the modern world, there is no Christian country. It is a great shame, but, carissimi, we must remember this reality. Never think that serving the state is serving Christ. Indeed, to serve the state is to serve Christ only when a particular rule or a particular situation is in agreement with the doctrine of the Holy Faith. I speak and will speak only for the Church, not for any state, excepting our sovereign Patriarchate, and not for any political party. You must, carissimi, also speak only for the Holy Church and not be a pawn of any state or any political party.

Now, our Patriarchate is strong and robust by the grace of God and also by your work – so we thank you sincerely. The Patriarchate is at once historical and modern — ancient and new. It is both distinct in its heritage and diverse in its work in service to God and others. It has a deep history of parochial work, but today focuses only on mission work. It is of Christ's Kingdom of Heaven, but firmly planted in the world. It past is rooted in the rule of nations, yet today it is a nation without borders. Its people are devoted and pious, compassionate in service, fierce in defense. It is perhaps singular in modern world history, and its people are rightly proud of it.

Allora, preparatevi ricevere la benedizione di Dio.

Now, prepare yourselves to receive God's blessing.

Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris +, et Filii +, et Spiritus + Sancti, descendat super vos et maneat semper. R. Amen.