Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Most Honourable Legion of the Eagle – Over Two Thousand Years of History

PATRIARCHAL SEE 19 Sept. 2019 (ORCNS) - The seniormost of the religious and the dynastic orders of the Anglo-Italian Imperial Patriarchate is the Most Honourable Legion of the Eagle. With roots in a Roman Legion founded by Julius Caesar, the Legion of today enjoys over 2000 years of rich history. This year, 2019, the Legion celebrates the 2060th anniversary of the first reestablishment of the Legion by Caesar Augustus. The Most Honourable Legion of the Eagle was again re-established under the blessing of Pope St. John Paul II as a noble company by the Etrurian household and a group of Papal knights as a successor to the ancient Roman Legion of the Eagle. Its second re-establishment took place in 1996 on the 900th anniversary of the First Crusade. The modern Legion is the original and sole legitimate successor to the Roman "Legion of the Eagle" (Legio IX Hispana) as a Christian Order.

Chapel of Pope St. John Paul II in the Basilica of
St. Peter, Vatican during a visit of the Archprince-Bishop
of St. Stephen, Sovereign of the Legion of the Eagle.
The original "Legion of the Eagle" was a military unit of the Roman Empire tasked with defending the Empire against the barbarians and refers to the Legio IX Hispana (Spanish Legion), which was founded by Julius Caesar and re-activated by Caesar Augustus. It served mainly in
Julius Caesar
Founder of the original
Legion of the Eagle, the
IX Spanish Legion
Spain, Britain, and Germany. Their principal headquarters became York, and their mascot was the eagle. They earned their name, Hispana (Hispanic), during the Cantabrian Wars in Spain. Its Spanish home is León, its Germanic home is Speyer in the historic Duchy of Franconia, and its Italian home is Aquilea in the historic sovereign Patriarchate of Aquilea in Imperial Italy. The patron saint of the Legion is Saint Patrick, the British Roman best known as Apostle to the Irish.

Caesar Augustus

Through the gift of Emperor Constantine the Great, the Roman Church became heir and successor to the Roman Empire. The Christian knights defended the Church, in part through the Crusades against the infidels. The Most Honourable Legion of the Eagle is under the patronage of the Anglo-Italian Imperial Patriarchate (Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church) and the leadership of the Etrurian Royal Household. Membership is limited to 10 Companions of Honour, in addition to the Companions of Justice (hereditary), and no more than 15 Supernumerary Companions (ad honorem). Companions are generally required to be Catholic and of noble lineage and to have rendered significant service at a high level to the Church or to humanity in general. Companions in all categories are considered honourary cousins to the Archprince-Bishop of St. Stephen. 

Symbolism plays an important role in the Catholic Faith. These symbols help us to encounter, engage, and learn about our Faith. Nowhere is this greater than in the Holy Mass. Religious societies and orders also make much of symbolism, some of which are rooted deeply in antiquity. The insignia is known for its two-tone gold and silver design. Gold is used to represent the eternal light of Christ, and silver is used to represent purity and Evangelism (Psalm 11.7 "The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.")

Top Left: Greater Eagle badge
Bottom Left: Bullion star of the Legion
Right: Cordon with Lesser Eagle badge

The greater badge consists of a gold eagle, symbolic of the divine nature of Christ, pendant from a gold filigree and a lapis lazuli stone (known for its Marian symbolism). It is worn suspended from a royal blue neck ribbon. The lesser badge is worn suspended from a royal blue sash and consists of a blue cross with a gold eagle upon a red stone, together representing a stylised form of the aquila and standard of a Roman Legion. Companions of Justice also have a collar for wear with the church habit consisting of similar badge worn suspended from two gold chains upon a red ribbon with royal blue borders.
Eagle miniature badge, a combination
of the Greater & Lesser Eagle badges,
is the standard form of the insignia
typically worn by Companions.

The star badge of the Legion (depicted above) is gold of eight point, with a central starburst of twelve points, coming from the twelve stars in Marian symbology. The five stars represent the five wounds of Christ. This symbolism is continued in the 5-pointed version of the star worn on the Legion's church cape. The motto is "Honor Virtutis Praemium," which translates as "Honor is the prize for virtue."