Orders of Merit
A Brief History
by Dr. Roger Chylinski-Polubinski
Another change, in the structure of society, affected the development of Orders in France. After the French Revolution, the Commune decided to reward citizens, in the military, for their role in fighting for freedom, as well as civilians who benefitted their new society. In 1802, the French Legion of Honor gave commendations for service. By 1805 there were five classes of honor, and they became the prototype for Orders of Merit.
In the Legion of Honor, democracy became a part of the new chivalry. No longer was this limited to men of noble birth, as in the past, who received favors from a Sovereign. The Order of Merit was the new society’s way of recognizing citizens of merit. The head of state, be the King or President, could now bestow honors upon their citizenry.
The new Democratic society spread through many countries as the old monarchy lost their control. This resulted in existing Orders of Chivalry and Secular Orders being changed and divided. In 1808, the Danish Order of Dannenberg (1671) was divided, by the founding of new Orders of different classes. This was originated before the French Revolution by the French Military Order of St. Louis in 1693, whose three classes were:
This then became the pattern for later Democratic Orders. Today the Polish Nobility Association administers two Orders (Awards) of Merit each consisting of one class:
The Royal Order of Piast
The Royal Order of Piasts (one class), was established on January 27, 1927. The Royal Order of Piast is a progressive Order of Chivalry and Merit, given by the PNAF to recognize individuals who contribute to the well being and knowledge of the Polish-Lithuanian Nations.
Its purpose is to protect the absolute independence of the Polish Lithuanian States, and the ultimate recovery of the achievements of the Piast Dynasty; through the realization of a project/movement via “The Slavic Commonwealth of Nations.” The main organizer was Rev. Count Chodkiewicz and other Polish-Lithuanian nobles.
Today, the Royal Order of Piast is granted as a Merit Award to a qualified individual regardless of religion, race, sex, or national origin for cultural or humanitarian contributions made on behalf of Poland/Polonia and Lithuania. They must be recognized and have achieved recognition in the criteria for nomination.
A cross pate, indented, each cross arm is red with gold trim and each point ending with a silver ball. In the center is a circle of white dots surrounding a blue field upon which is displayed a crowned white eagle. The cross is surmounted on a silver multi rayed star, and can be suspended on a red moire sash. or the star can be used as a breast decoration on formal wear.
The Royal Order of Piast was named after Piast, the legendary 9th century founder of the Piast dynasty, of Poland (c. 840 A.D.)
*The cross background was black, and was changed to red after the demise of the communist state.
II. The Royal Order of the Jagiellon
The Royal Order of Jagiellon was established in 1969 at the recommendation of the late Sigmund H. Uminski, former Grand Chancellor of the Polish Noblility Association Foundation, to recognize the significant role played by Lithuania and the Lithuanian people in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth of Nations.
Sigmund H. Uminski, R.O.P. and R.O.J. had the unique pleasure of being knighted twice in the same day. This event took place in the chapel of the Felician Sisters Convent, Mother Angela Hall, on February 25, 1975. The ritual ceremony of investiture into the Royal Order of Piast, was conducted by Dr.Roger Chylinski-Polubinski, President of the PNAF. The prince was assisted by Countess Aleciya Orlowski-Andrews who represented the PNAF Board of Trustees.
Sigmund H. Uminski was also accepted into the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta by Bishop, Prince von Lobkowitz.
The late Sigmund H. Uminski wrote, Poland Discovers America, the first volume in a series printed by the Polish Publication Society of America in New York. Uminski was directly involved with the 22-volume historyas its General Editor. One of his other works River’s Edge has also received recognition.
DAVID P.J. SAS-TYSOWSKI, R.O.P. AND R.O.J. For his years of work in Library research and development, political activities on behalf of Poland and Polonia, Philanthropic contributions David P.J. SAS-TYSOWSKI was presented with both the R.O.P. and R.O. J. awards of merit.
ALECIJA ANDREWS (nee Countess Orlowska), R.O.P. , For her promotion of Polish Culture, having survived a Warsaw labor force roundup by occupying Nazi invading forces, her removal to forced labor in Germany and loss of her family and immigration with Col. Robert. Andrews (later General) U.S.A. pursuing a career in the Arts and promoting Polish Culture.
Bishop Paul, Prince von Lobkowitz, R.O.P. and R.O.J. for his enthusiastic support and service as a long time member of the Board of Trustees of the PNAF. The loss of his siblings to the Nazi occupation of his homeland and eventually immigrating to the U.S.A. and founding the Hospice of St. John in Lakeland, Colorado.
Countess Judith Arz und Arzio, R.O.J. for her heroic flight during the Hungarian Revolution with her infant son and the loss of her family estates in Hungary and donation of their estate ARZIO in Italy to a Catholic Religious Order of nuns for the perpetual care of her ill husband during his life.
Princess Tatiana Galitzin, R.O.J. as a descendant of Gedymin Grand Duke (maternal from Rurik) of Lithuania and founder of numerous Princely Houses some extinct while other prosper with descendants residing around the world.
Count Leonard Lesczczynski for his dedication and service as a Board member of the PNAF and hosting the PNAF delegation at the 1983 celebration of the Polish-Lithuanian and allied armies in the defeat of the Turks at the “Battle of Vienna”. All members of the PNAF delegation attended the special mass celebrated by His Holiness, John Paul II.
This unique monarchy, Jagiellon Dynasty, was created by the descendants of Guedymine/Gedimin as hereditary Grand Dukes of Lithuania/elected Kings of Poland beginning with Jogaila (Wladyslaw Jagiello, Polish King from 1386-1434). This union made the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth the largest land empire in Europe during its Golden Age. The Royal Order of Jagiello is awarded to individuals for their significant humanitarian/cultural contributions to Lithuania, on behalf of Lithuanians around the world. Individuals must be recognized by their charitable activities, which have a major impact on people of Lithuanian ancestry.
A Maltese cross, of eight points, each point ending with a silver ball. The cross is blue and edged in gold, and surmounted of a gold patriarchal (double armed) cross. Between the arms of the cross are radiating rays. The decoration is suspended from a blue moiré sash or mounted on a silver multi-pointed star and worn as a breast decoration, and suspended from a grand cordon sash of blue moiré for the Knight's Grand Cross. The Knight's Commanderdegree is suspended from a neck ribbon. This decoration is also surmounted of a gold crown, when suspended from a sash.
The patriarchal cross, in this decoration, commemorates the conversion of King Jagiello, of Lithuania, to Christianity upon his marriage to Queen Jadwiga of Poland. The above star is no longer issued. The present day Orders are of one class with a similar cross suspended from a ribbon may be worn over the left breast.
Registration of the Orders
The PNA Foundation has officially registered the Orders with the Institute of Orders Researches in West Berlin (in 1974) under Dr. Klietman, Director of the Institute.
In the past, nominees (Chevaliers and Dames) into the Royal Order of Piast and Royal Order of Jagiellon were of noble origin. Applicants for this honor were chosen from the membership of the Polish Nobility Association Foundation. Today anyone regardless of nationality, religion, race, who meets the criteria may be nominated.
The Royal Order of Piast and the Royal Order of Jagiellon are the only PNAF Orders of Merit. The Orders are administered jointly by the Chairman and President of the PNAF Board of Trustees.
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