Papal Brief: Inclytum Antiquitate Originis, June 22nd 1888.
Concerning the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
Source:
Baron de Montagnac, L'Ordonnance des Chevaliers Hospitaliers de Saint Jean de Jerusalem, Paris 1893, pages 115-117.
Translated by: The Reverend Dr. Colin Weale


DlLECTO FILIO
FRATRI IOANNI BAPTISTAE CESCHI A SANCTA CRUCE
MAGNO ORDINIS S. IOANNIS HIEROSOLYMITANI MAGISTRO

LEO PP. XIII.

TO THE BELOVED SON
BROTHER JOHN BAPTIST CESCHI A
SANCTA CRUCE
GRAND MASTER OF THE ORDER OF ST. JOHN OF JERUSALEM

POPE LEO XIII.

Dilecte Fili, salutem et Apostolicam benedictionem. Inclytum antiquitte originis, fratrum militum nobilitate ac virtute, gloriosis e religione et fide catholica gestis, partisque ex hoste christiani nominis victoriis hospitalem ordinem S. Ioannis Hierosolymitani nullo unquam tempore Romani Pontifices singulari studio ac benevolentia prosequi destiterunt. Hic enim ordo Beati Petri Cathedræ semper devotus primordiis suæ institutionis fidelibus peregre hospita JESU CHRISTI loca, sanctissimumque Eius sepulcrum adeuntibus, suæque pietatis vota inibi solventibus hospitium curasque omnes præstare, cosque ab infidelium fraudibus et insidiis defendere sibi gloriæ duxit.
Deinceps plurimorum fratrum numero et donationibus auctus idem ordo sibi proposuit religionem fidemque catholicam omni ope asserere, et omne quod infideles eidem machinarentur periculum vitæ suæ discrimine depellere, barbarisque in christiani nominis cladem et perniciem irruentibus iter suorum quodue fratrum corporibus occludere. Quapropter summi Pontifices huic militari ordini Ecclesiæ præsidio privilegia et honores præcipuos decrevere, quos inter fel : rec : Urbanus VIII. in Consistorio secreto die X. Iunii anno MDCXXX. habito Eminentiæ et Eminentissimorum titulo Patres Cardinales augens eodem titulo honorificentissimo donare etiam voluit Magnos ordinis Hierosolymarii Magistros.
Adversis autem dificillimisque temporibus eidetn ordini ob insignia in rem catholicam Merita omnibus occurrerunt subsidiis, suaque auctoritate fecerunt, ut ille asperrimis bellis rerumque omnium perturbatione pene eversus suum decus suamque dignitatem retineret. Labentibus inde annis res istius ordinis licet in melius conversæ viderentur tamen sa : me : Pius VII. post obitum Magni Magistri Ioannis Baptistæ Tommasi satius pro tempore indicavit supremi Magistri electionem differre, et Innico Maria Guevara Suardo, qui vices Magni Magistri gerebat, locumtenentis magisterii nomen, et peculiares regendo ordini reique communi administrandæ largitus est facultates ac postea ceteri omnes ad eiusdem ordinis regimen vocati, quamvis ex Apostoliæ Sedis indulgentia paribus supremi Capitis oneri et officio facultatibus instructi nonnisi locumtenentis magisterii nomen et dignitatem habuerunt. Iamvero quum Deo auxiliante fratrum equitum zelo, iisque præsertim, quibus summa rerum ordinis demandata erat, studiisque potentium Europæ Principum ita res ordinis solide firmatæ ac feliciter auctæ essent, ut liceret maiora etiam in dies lætioraque de ipso sperare,
Nos supplicationibus cla : me: Antonini S. R. E. Cardinalis de Luca Episcopi Prænestini tunc temporis Hierosolymarii ordinis Protectoris annuentes per Apostolicas litteras Nostras die XXVIII. Martii anno MDCCCLXXIX. servatis servandis prout in iisdem litteris cautum est, Magni Magistri nomen et honorem restituimus, teque, dilecte fili, optime de Hierosolymario ordine meritum, ex completi, uti dicunt, Consilii voluntate, legitimisque sutfragiis locumtenentis magisterii munere naviter sciteque fungentem libenti alacrique animo amplissinw ac honorificentissimo Magni Magistri titulo exornandum censuimus. Modo Venerabilis Frater Noster Raphael S. R. E. Cardinalis Monaco La Valletta Episcopus Albanensis hospitalis ordinis S. Ioannis Hierosolymitani Protector nos rogavit, ut restituto a Nobis Magno eiusdem Ordinis Magistro, eidem titulum etiam ab Urbano VIII., uti supra dictum est, concessum constanterque a Magnis Magistris usque ad dilattionem electionis a Pio VII. præscriptam adhibitum confirmare et decernere velimus. Nos igitur ut Nostra erga illustrem hunc ordinem tot nominibus de religione catholica meritum voluntas vel magis perspecta sit, utque novo hoc Pontificiæ dilectionis testimonio idem prænobilis ordo Bmi. Petri Cathedræ semper devotus arctiori vinculo Summo Pontifici Romano et Apostolicæ Sedi devinciatur, Eminentiæ ac Eminentissimi iam ab Urbano VIII. concessum titulum, tibi, dilecte fili, a quo accepimus egregia amoris, observantiæ et obsequii argumenta, tuisque in Magni Magistri ordinis S. Ioannis Hierosolymitani munere successoribus rite ac legitime electis et Summi Pontifici; Romani auctoritate confirmatis motu proprio, certa scientia et matura deliberatione Nostra in perpetuum confirmamus, decernimus, una cum honoribus quibus S. R. E. Cardinales in Aula Pontificia honestantur iam alias tibi concessis. Proinde volumus et præcipimus, ut deinceps tu ac præicti successores tui Magni Magistri rite legitimeque electi et Apostolica auctoritate confirmati tum in actis ordinis internis, tum externis Eminentiæ ac Eminentissimorum titulo uti et appellari omnino debeatis. Decernimus propterea has litteras Nostras firmas, validas et efficaces existere ac fore, suosque plenarios et integros effectus sortiri et obtinere, non obstantibus Constitutionibus et Ordinationibus Apostolicis, nec non dicti hospitalis ordinis Hierosolymitani statutis et Capitularibus ordinationibus etiam iuramento, confirmatione Apostolica vel quavis firmitate alia roboratis, ceterisque omnibus licet speciali mentione ac derogatione dignis in contrarium facientibus quibuscumque. Interim adprecantes Deum, ut te, dilecte fili, et universum cui præes ordinem in sui gloriam et Ecclesiæ præsidium fortunet, tibique et universo ordini Hierosolymitano Apostolicam benedictionem peramenter impertimus.
Datum Romæ apud S. Petrum sub Annulo Piscatoris die XII. Iunii MDCCCLXXXVIII. Pontificatus Nostri Anno Undecimo.
To the beloved son, greetings and Apostolic blessing. From ancient times brother knights, renowned for their nobility and virtue, never failed in the order of St. John of Jerusalem during the time of the Roman pontiffs to follow the catholic faith with good will.
For this order, devoted from its beginning to the see of Blessed Peter, could be trusted while abroad to be loyal to JESUS CHRIST by visiting his most holy sepulchre and to be renowned for their vows of piety in that place and for their hospitality and care in defending his glory from faithless deceit.
Successively, an increase in the number of brothers and by gifts exposed the catholic religion and faith to all to join its might, and by all these things the unfaithful contrived to expel the danger of their lives. Foreigners in the name of Christian by rushing in bring danger and ruin to their way and also shut out the brothers from the body. Wherefore the supreme Pontiffs decreased the special privileges and honours to this military order of the Church which Urban VIII in secret consistory 10 June 1630. met with Cardinal Priests having the title of eminent and most eminent, also wished to give the most honourable title to the Grand Masters of the Order of Jerusalem.
However, during adverse and very difficult times for the order they hurried to help in things catholic, and did them under authority, and during the most harsh wars and in disorders the order was barely able to maintain its honour. With the passing of the years things seemed to improve in the order. However, to sum up Pius VII, after the death of the Grand Master, John Baptist Tommasi, made it known that he would defer the election of the Grand Master for a better time, and to Innico Tommasi Maria Guevara Suardo, who was acting in the place of the Grand Master, he gave the name of Master for the time being. He generously gave power to those governing the order, and afterwards to all the others called to govern the order. From the Apostolic See was given an indulgence of equals with the burden and powers of supreme head to those who had the name and dignity of Master for the time being. Indeed with the help of God and zeal of brother knights, and especially to those to whom all matters of the order have been entrusted, and with the zeal of able princes of Europe, the affairs of the order may solidly, firmly and happily increase, so that we may hope for brighter things in the days ahead.
With thanksgiving Antonini of the Holy Roman Church Cardinal of Luca, Bishop of Præneste and at that time Protector of the Order of Jerusalem annually by our Apostolic letters 28 March, 1878. on behalf of the servant of the servants who is a rock. We have restored the name of Grand Master to you, beloved son, greatly deserved by the Order of Jerusalem, completely, as they say, by the will of the Council, and with proper prayers we have recommended fully the honour of the title of Grand Master. The Venerable Father our Raphael, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, Bishop of Monaco La Valletta and Protector of the Hospital of Alban of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem asked us to restore the Grand Master to the Order, the title also given by Urban VIII, as is said above. We wish to confirm and settle the concession made to the Grand Masters from the time of its postponing of the election by Pius VII . We therefore that the works of the noble order may be more fully known to the names of the catholic religion, and that this right honourable order of the church of Blessed Peter may be bound closer by a chain to the supreme pontiff to Rome and the Apostolic See, the titles of Eminent and Most Eminent; granted by Urban VIII, to you, beloved son, from whom we have received proofs of distinguished actions of love, respect and submission. We give, to you and to your successors as Grand Masters of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, duly and properly elected and confirmed by the supreme Pontiff of Rome, together with the honours of Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church who are honoured in the papal hall. Accordingly, we will and command, that next you and the aforesaid after you in the office of Grand Master, legally and properly elected and confirmed by apostolic authority, both in the internal acts of the order, and outside you may have the title of eminent and most eminent. Therefore, We decree these our letters to be valid and about to be effective, notwithstanding apostolic constitutions and ordinances, nor the statutes of the said Hospital of the Order of Jerusalem and ordinances of the chapters or oath. You give strength to others by apostolic support, and to all others who would do otherwise is allowed a loss of dignity. Meanwhile praying to God, that you, beloved son, and the whole Order may be blessed in his glory and the defence of the Church and to you and to the whole order of Jerusalem we lovingly impart our apostolic blessing.
Given in Rome at St. Peter's under the seal of the Fisherman on 12 June 1888 in the eleventh year of our episcopate.
M. CARD. LEDOCHOWSKI.
M. CARDINAL LEDOCHOWSKI.


Created 20th July 1999
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