SOVEREIGN ORDER OF ST. PAUL
Members of the Order of St. Paul are willing, wholehearted Christians, living their lives according to the principles and inspirations of the Gospel. Their Christian denomination is irrelevant: they are Christians! They are defenders of noble justice, of human rights and human dignity. They are Knights-Advocate of the Christian Faith.
Membership of the Order is a vocation, and being a knight involves honouring the three principles of the religious life: Obedience, Poverty and Chastity.
In honouring the principle of Obedience, the personal will is placed in a state of submission to the Holy Will of God, as this may inwardly be discerned.
In honouring the principle of Poverty, the knight’s attitude is detached from earthly conditions of avarice and miserliness, and instead, while maintaining his accustomed mode of living and earning, looks to sharing blessings, as his conscience indicates and his means allow, with the needy.
In honouring the principle of Chastity, the knight maintains a healthy self-respect coupled with respect for the lives and rights of others; nobility in thought and purity of deed are his watchwords.
The Knights of the Order of St. Paul are heirs to a rich chivalric tradition of noble duty and honour.
In these times of immense social and financial inequality, the Knights are champions of the weak, of those who have no voice to call for justice, of the oppressed; it is their privilege to work for the alleviation of the material sufferings of the less fortunate.
Being part of an ecumenical Order, the Knights respect and honour the views of all Christians; and they promote full Christian Unity, according to the principles and aspirations set forth by Christ himself.
The Patron Saint of the Order
In 2004, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Order of St. Paul chose Saint Rita de Cascia as its Patron Saint. St. Rita was born on May 2nd 1381 in a mountain village of the Apennines, approximately 120 miles from Rome. She was married, against her will, to a brutal man, but by faith and patience she succeeded in accomplishing his conversion. She had two children, but shortly after the death of her husband fate dealt her a cruel blow by robbing her of the lives of those precious ones. She entered the Convent of Cascia and became a nun. Her complete devotion to the Lord Christ caused her to ask of God that she might bear the sufferings of his Son. Her prayer was answered, and for fifteen years she bore the stigmata upon her brow. She selflessly cared for the sick, and her loving and prayerful concern brought about numerous healings. On May 22nd 1457 she was born in heaven, and thereafter became known for the healing miracles accomplished through her intercession.
The Daily Prayer of the Knights of St. Paul
O Lord Jesus Christ, you have called me to the ranks of the Knights of St. Paul: grant me, I pray you, always to remain faithful to the noble traditions of chivalry, to practise the Christian Religion with devotion and truth, and to defend Christianity against all impiousness, for the greater Glory of God and for the wellbeing and good reputation of the Order of St. Paul.
May the intercession of blessed St. Rita of Cascia accompany this my petition, O Lord, and may the words of my mouth and the intentions of my heart find favour in your sight.
Sweet Name of Jesus, strengthen my heart.
Holy Name of Jesus, save me and lead me.
Wondrous Name of Jesus, protect me from all powers of darkness.
Radiant Name of Jesus, be my armour of light and my strong defence.
I shall live with God, and I shall fear no evil.
The Lord shall be at my side, to comfort me and to walk with me.
The Lord shall surround me, and his splendour shall illumine my path.
The Lord shall be behind me, and he shall save me.
The Lord shall be above me, to pour forth his blessing upon me.
The Lord shall be under me, my strong foundation and my hope.
The Lord shall be within me, his voice my inspiration, his praise my song.
Glory be to Christ Jesus, throughout all ages. Amen.
Ceremony of Investiture of a Knight
Sovereign Order of St. Paul
Before Eucharist, in an antechamber or annexe, the future knight is introduced, with his spiritual patron, to the Chancellor or the Lieutenant-General.
The Chancellor questions the one who is to be granted knighthood:
Pilgrim, you who stand upon our threshold, what do you seek?
I seek the Companionship of the Noble Order of St. Paul.
Why do you seek this Companionship?
I seek the Companionship of the Order of Saint Paul that I may work with its members in justice and truth, in all worthy and reasonable endeavours, spiritual and material, that I may be called upon to undertake and whose accomplishment lies within my strength, ability or aspiration.
One brother or sister asks the Chancellor:
Noble Chancellor: will you accept N…… as a candidate for knighthood in the Order of St. Paul, in the name of Christ and for the greater Glory of God?
I will so accept N……
Then the Chancellor asks:
N……, do you hold allegiance to any other Order of Chivalry?
The Chancellor continues:
What is your Faith?
The Chancellor offers this prayer to the Holy Spirit:
Holy and Life-giving Spirit, Holy Spirit of wisdom and understanding, enlighten our minds that we may perceive more clearly our part in your great and eternal plan of Salvation.
Holy Spirit of right judgment and courage, guide us and make us firm in our baptismal resolution to follow Christ’s way of love.
Holy Spirit of knowledge and reverence, help us to see the lasting value of justice and mercy in our own lives and in our interaction with the lives of others.
Holy Spirit of God, as we work to find positive solutions to local, national and global issues, spark our faith, brighten our hope and increase our love, to inspire us to new and vigorous action with each day’s dawning.
Fill our lives with the wonder and awe of your guiding presence, Holy Spirit; fill our hearts and minds with your light and your power, and strengthen our dedicated service to Christ’s Church Militant.
The Candidate for knighthood bows, and says:
Noble Chancellor, I stand before you and before the Companions who are present with you, seeking worthy and honourable commitment to the Order of St. Paul; whereunto I solemnly declare to you now, in faith and in truth, that the doors of my heart and mind are open to the precepts of the Order.
Chancellor or Lieutenant General:
So be it! N……, place your right hand upon this Holy Bible, as you solemnly swear to observe and cherish the traditions and works of the Sovereign Order of St. Paul.
The following nine articles are read aloud by the Candidate’s spiritual patron, and repeated aloud by the Candidate:
I will protect the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter & Saint Paul.
I will respect the decisions of the hierarchy of the Order of Saint Paul.
I will defend our cultural identity, our Christian foundation and faith, and I will advocate the Christian Religion according to the principles exemplified in Christ’s Sermon on the mount.
I will defend the freedom of the Christian Religion, wherever and in whatever context.
I will defend justly the safety and the rights of Christians, irrespective of their denomination.
I will be governed by Faith, and live my life according to an honourable Christian Rule.
I will help my Brothers and Sisters of the Order of Saint Paul when they are genuinely in need, whether that need be spiritual or material.
I will assist the work of the Order of Saint Paul, freely and gladly, by submitting my annual dues as a companion of the Sovereign Order.
I will honour the Twenty-One Articles of Religion of the Church of Saint Peter & Saint Paul.
I proclaim this, with my hand upon the Holy Bible, before the companions of the Order here assembled and in the presence of the Living, Holy and Triune God.
The hospitality and fellowship of the Order are now symbolically offered.
The Candidate is presented with a small piece of ordinary bread.
Chancellor or Lieutenant General speaks:
Receive the bread of the Order, the staff of life, as token of that true companionship which exists within the Order of St. Paul.
The Candidate is offered a goblet containing pure water.
Receive the draught of refreshment, the token of that celestial virtue which shall fill your deeds of chivalry.
The Chancellor, the spiritual patron, the brothers and sisters and the future knight make their way towards the chapel for Eucharist and reception in the Order.
In the chapel, the Grand Chaplain, officiating as Bishop, sits in his chair near the Holy Table.
Chancellor or Lieutenant General addresses the Grand Chaplain:
Reverend Father in God, I present to you N……, to be admitted as a Knight of St. Paul.
Take heed that the person you present unto us be apt and meet to exercise his duty as a Knight of this Order, to the honour of God.
I have inquired concerning him and have also examined him, and I firmly believe this to be so.
The Grand Chaplain speaks to all:
Companions, if any of you know of adequate reason why N…… should not be granted the noble honour of knighthood in the Order of St. Paul, in the Name of God stand forth, and declare now what is known to you.
There being no impediment declared, the Grand Chaplain continues:
May God’s blessing be with N……, who is now to be admitted to the Order of St. Paul. May that which he undertakes this day may be ratified in eternity; and may he faithfully and worthily fulfil his duties as a Christian Knight of God’s Church Militant, to the perpetual honour of his chivalric estate and for the greater Glory of God.
The Grand Chaplain addresses the Candidate:
N……, are you, in faith and truth, inwardly moved by the Holy Spirit to receive this rank of chivalry, for the service of God and for his greater Glory?
In faith and truth, I am so moved.
The Candidate bows humbly before the Grand Chaplain, who lays his hands upon the head of the Candidate.
The Grand Chaplain says:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, I welcome you, N……, humble servant of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as a Knight of the Order of St. Paul.
The new Knight stands, and is invested with the insignia of his rank.
The Grand Chaplain, and then the Chancellor, kiss the new Knight on both cheeks.
The Holy Communion is celebrated, the following prayer being offered prior to the final blessing:
Most mighty God, giver of all good things, of your great and loving kindness you have accepted N……, your servant, as a Knight of the Order of St. Paul: cause him, we ask you, O Lord, to be modest, humble, and constant in his promises, and to have a ready will to observe all spiritual discipline. May he always have the testimony of a good conscience, with vigilant mind and a heart faithful to your service, that he may he so pass through this earthly life as to merit the eternal reward of your promises. Guard his life from all reproach by the seal of your Holy Spirit, guide his steps in the path of righteousness, and grant him to behold the dawn of your eternal day. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.