Greek language SEAL of the Order of Saint Constantine the Great of Lascaris Comnenus. Alternate is in Latin.

Saint  Constantine The Great
See: a Brief Biography of Constantine the Great

Also, Legal Status of the Order


The title page and text displayed herein were co-authored and produced by the former  Consul General of Greece in Cuba, Dr. George P. Hadjilias and Dr. Mark  Athanasios C. Karras.


Photograph of Investiture Act in Miami, Florida, March 23, 1963 of the Order of St. Constantine the Great and of the Order of St. Hhelen.

(From the left) The Greek Consul General in Cuba,  Dr. George P. Hadjilias, Constantinian Grand Cross;
Mme. George D. Karnegis, Lady Commander, Order of St. Helen;
Constantinian Knight Commander (and later Grand Collar)  George D. Karnegis,  President and Benefactor of
ST. SOPHIA Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Miami, Florida;
Constantinian Knight, Mark Athanasios C. Karras.
Among other prominent guests who heard the spoken message as first delivered, and now reproduced below, were: Mayor of Dade County, Florida, Charles F. and Mrs. Hall; Mr. Culver E. Gidden, United States Department of State; former Miami Mayor and then Dade County Planning Board Member, William M. and Mrs. Wolfarth; Councilman and former Mayor of Miami Beach, D. Lee Powell; Col. Elmo K. Ballard, Vice President, United States Reserve Officers Association of Florida and Mrs. Ballard; Paul Demos, Esq., Grand Counselor-Guardian of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate in Constantinople; and many other distinguished guests, including members of the clergy, the judiciary, the professions and business.
DuPont Plaza Hotel, Miami, Florida
March 23, 1963



"Following is a condensed explanation of the nature, the origin and the actual status of the Imperial & Sovereign Order of Saint Constantine the Great—an Order which by Divine Grace in the light of history is in fact the living Spirit of Christianity and the perpetuation of the Byzantine Idea incarnated in a Dynasty as a carrier of a True Faith.


ORDER: The order of Saint Constantine the Great is one of the oldest Chivalry Orders of Brotherhood.  It differs from any other Order which is given by the State and its Government in that its awards are given by a Personality who has such rights through Royal Heritage.  The present Grand Master is the well known Prince Tehodoros IX Lascaris Komnenos [d. September 20, 2006 - present Grand Master, EUGENE III].

It represents an award to someone who has exhibited proofs of love to his country, his fellowmen, and his brotherhood.  During the period of the first third of the twentieth century, the Vatican wanted to prove that the right heir to the privileges of Byzantine Princehood, was a false Prince Komnenos who lived and died in Rome.  The Greek Government put a stop to these claims by the declarations of the then Premier of Greece Eleutherios Venizelos who openly witnessed the fact by which, if ever Cyprus might become a sovereign Kingdom, Prince Eugenios Lascaris Komnenos (deceased father of Prince Theodoros) had to be the rightful Ruler of this island Kingdom. Under the existing circumstances this is not practicable, otherwise Prince Theodoros would be enthroned today.


ORIGIN: A well known Byzantine custom, later copied by the Romans, was to bestow upon each Royal Guard the title of  “Protector.”  The collective corps of these Protectors was called “Schola Protectores Domestici.”

Upon Constantine’s great victory against Maxentius in Rome in the year 312, [after he was proclaimed Emperor by his troops in York], when the miracle of the appearance of the CROSS occurred, the title of the Guards and Protectors was converted into the rank of “Chevaliers” who were the Guards of the “Royal Lavarum,” and the Order was later confirmed into the “Sacred Order” after Constantine’s victory at Chryssopolis in the year 324.

The first Chevaliers were chosen among fifty of Constantine’s best Guards, who had to be Orthodox Christians.  Later, in the year 330 every one of the Guards was ranked a Chevalier.  The group of Chevaliers formed at that time a corps of Privileged Chevaliers, persons of the Emperor’s confidence within the Imperial Army.

The influence of the Order upon protecting the Orthodox Faith has been a considerable one, and its secular success is mainly due to the classes of Chevaliers known as “Doryphoroi” and “Hypaspistai,” both of whom formed the front known as “Stratilatai.”  These titles became changed with time into “Ducenarii,” “Centenarii” and “Senatores.”


RANK: The Order of Saint Constantine the Great ranks equal to the Orders of the Occidental list.  Alike every Occidental Order, the Constantinian observed the “Limited number of Chevaliers” or “Titulars of the Collar” and the “Religious section of the Order,” such as “Hospitaliers” and “Monastiques” who were known to have existed in Spain and in Palestine.

EVOLUTION: When Alexis Komnenos became ruler of Byzantium and he created the “Aristocratic Party” in 1081, he also impulsed the First Crusade.  Alexis Komnenos may be considered the only rightful organizer of this Crusade, its chief militant Officer and its financier.  This ruler produced an evolution to the structure of the Order from social and ecclesiastical to a military Order of Chevaliers.  The ranks became "Court Titles," generally known as "Titles of the Kavallarios."  Young efficient, brave Officers and soldiers were decorated with the Order's insignia.  This corps of Chevaliers later became popularly known as the "Tagma of Archontopouloi."

The Order suffered incommensurable losses when Byzantium fell in 1453 and Trebizond in 1461.  The fall of New Rome signified the fall of the Greek Empire and the complete erasure from the geographical map.  The Order remained as a Spiritual institution through which the desire for resurgence, prestige and patriotism carried on and was interpreted through the poems of the famous and celebrated “Digenis Akritas.”

On the other hand, the Lieutenants of the Order had to find a suitable Superior Protector, and with this aim they turned to the then Patriarch of Jerusalem.  This Patriarch headed Orthodoxy in the Mameluke territory which was considered safe and inviolable.  Jerusalem’s Patriarch, therefore, became the Grand Master “par-interim” of the Order, after the fall of Constantinople.

The new Grand Master proclaimed the Order of Saint Constantine the Great as the DYNASTIC ORDER, indivisible from the IMPERIAL IDEA OF THE RACE and inalienable of the Imperial House of Byzantium.

With the extinction of the last Paleologos, the Sovereign Grand Mastery was claimed by and confirmed upon the person of Porfyrogennitos Prince Jean Theodore Lascaris-Komnenos-Paleologos, (Act of the Roman Senate, 16-V-1525, Lib. Decr., 1515/1526, folio 142).  This Greek Prince, following the advice of his uncle, the famous humanist, Prince Jean Andre Lascaris, recognized the Order from its basis.  Since then, the Order is known as the “Imperial & Sovereign Order of Saint Constantine the Great.”

This Order continued, while in exile, to foster and to perpetuate Greek culture, prestige and patriotism, while conserving all its military tradition.  Its primary objective was the regrouping and reorganization of the military forces of the Greek Army then dispersed throughout Europe.  The high power of the Vatican, however, caused the Order to fail in all of its main efforts, especially through the 16th, 17th and 18th, centuries.  It is for this reason that the minutely prepared plans of Princes Jean Andre and Jean Theodore Las- cans (the latter being Grand Master of the Order) were annulled; and also because of the war declared between the King of France, Francois I and the King of Spain and Germany, Carlos Quinto, and of the consequences of the battle of Pavie.

It is only in the 19th century that the Order of Saint Constantine the Great in the Orient, through Prince Alexios Komnenos and his son Andronikos Theodoros Lascaris Komnenos (both being Supreme Chiefs of the then “FILIKI  ETAIREIA”), created the well known “Tagma ton Adelfon,” and acted greatly towards the liberation of Greece.

The motto of Saint Constantine, “EN  TOUTO  NIKA”, appeared in the banner of the Fiiki Etaireia between the Saints Constantine and Helen.

The Order has to this day retained its patriotic as well as its cultural status, by defending constantly the Spiritual values which were delegated to the world by Byzantium, and through the famous period known as the “Renaissance.”

In 1869 an accord was signed between Porfyrogennitos Prince Andronikos Theodoros Lascans Komnenos Paleologos, Army General of the Greek Army of Liberation, and Professor Grand Duke Prince Jean Antoine Komnenos Paleologos (both Grand Masters of the Order, one for the Orient and the other for the West), by which, in view of the fact that Prince Jean Antoine had no successors (direct), the rights of succession to the Order had to be conferred upon Prince Alexios Emannouil Lascaris Komnenos Paleologos, son of Prince Andronikos Theodoros and Grandfather of the actual Grand Master Sovereign, whose titles are:

His Imperial and Royal Highness Prince THEODOROS IX LASCARIS KOMNENOS, Grand Sovereign Master of the Imperial Order of Saint Constantine the Great; President of the Imperial Philobyzantine Academy and University; Grand Master of the Sovereign and Imperial Order of Saint Helen (Ladies’ Order), and Supreme Chief of the “Etaireia of the Golden Eagle.” [Also see: The Order of Saint Eugene of Trebizond]

The present Grand Master was born in Zaragoza, Spain, on the 27th of October, 1921. Doctor in Law and Philosophy, and University Professor.

GENERAL: The Order depends upon a Grand Master Sovereign and a Grand Council, charged with various duties—since under them come the languages of the Order with their respective hierarchies and national Chapters.  Some of the languages included are: Hellenic, English, Spanish, German, Italian, Slavic and others.  National Chapters exist in England, France, Italy, Greece, Belgium, Spain, United States of America, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, etc.  Under the Slavic languages there are Chapters representing peoples from White Russia, Russia, Servia, Czechoslovakia, etc., who, of course, are anti-communist expatriates.  Each Chapter is directed either by a Master, an Exarchate or a Lieutenant and advised by a Chapter Council.

The grades are: Medal, Chevalier (Knight), Commander and Grand Cross.  For Chiefs of State there is the Grand Collar; and for the Clergy there are the Headpieces of Honor and Devotion and Prelatic Grand Crosses.

The Order is sovereign, and does not depend upon any power.  It is international and world wide.  It is self contained by its own organizational hierarchy.  It is governed by a Constitution which is adapted to current needs in the effort to realize the goals of the Order.

The Order is Christian and admits all the Christian Churches: Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, Armenian, etc.  It is a civil and historic Order which is not religious neither in its history nor in its Constitutions or organization.  Its goals are traditional, historic and cultural.  It propagates Philhellenism and Philobyzantinism, Humanitarianism, the Cultural and Spiritual Renaissance of the Western World, and a better understanding between Occidental thought and that of the Orient in India and China.  It aspires that in the coming unification of the nations of the world, the helleno-byzantine legacy shall rank first in place as a philosophic premise for unity.

The Order is not political and it only seeks to draw together in cooperation the elite intellectuals of the world.  It makes no distinction of races.  Men are divided hierarchically by the culture and Spirituality which they possess, and not by richness nor materiality.  It struggles for the sake of spirituality, duty, honor and the ideals of Universal Knighthood.  It is tied to the innermost Byzantine traditions and strives to secure Byzantine survival as a Spiritual entity.

The Order is Imperial, founded by the Emperor Constantine in 312 A.D., and perpetuated by the ensuing Emperors.  It is military by tradition, as it was distinguished in military undertakings, and it is a Knightly Order.  It is aristocratic, as its members pertain to the aristocracy of culture and spirituality.  It is a Fraternity or Brotherhood, as its Knights are considered tied together in belonging to the Universal Constantinian Family.  The Order is not secret and its actions are clear and diaphanous in the light of day and the gaze of all.

The Order was persecuted in Spain during the middle part of the twentieth century when the then Pope wanted to acquire the same.  Even the present Grand Master was brought before a dilemma whether to renounce his heritage or leave Spain to save the Order rather than to abandon it and cause it to cease to exist.  Actions were perpetrated against him by one Iturmendi, Spanish Minister of Justice, and Prince Theodoros resigned his position as Professor of Law at the University of Madrid and established himself in Colombia, South America, as Professor of the University.  The premise which was adopted indicated that all Knightly Orders depend on the Pope.  This is a manifest error from the point of view of religion, history and justice.  The Constantinian Order is a Paternal Inheritance of the Great Family and pertains to the Byzantine legacy.  It does not belong to the [Roman] Catholic Church neither is it religious, but traditionally military and of the citizenry.

The Order does not accept a Constantinian Order of Parma which is completely without basis, invented by the Duke of Parma.  It has no more truth as an Order, other than its falsely acquired name.  It is false by history, its goals and organization.

The Order of St. Constantine is properly instituted in the United States of America by legal records in the State of California [and otherwise legally instituted today in the United States]."

© 1967 No copies may be made in whole or in part without the prior permission
of the copyright owner.

Perpetuation of the Byzantine Idea incarnated in a Dynasty . . . living evidence spanning some 350 years.

Image of Juan Pablo Lascaris, Grand Master of the Order of Malta, Valletta, Malta (1636-1657).

Image of Juan Arcadio Lascaris, Grand Master of the Order of St. Eugene of Trebizond, Madrid, Spain (present).

GRAND MASTER (1636-1657)
Valletta, Malta

GRAND MASTER (present)
Madrid, Spain




confirms and recognizes
 Grand Mastership
of The
Order of Constantine the Great
in The

Reproduction of the Document of the Roman Senate by which in 1515-1526 the Order of St. Constantine the Great was confirmed vested in the Lascaris Comnenus.


     With the extinction of the last direct Palaeologos—converted to Mohammedanism—
the Sovereign Grand Mastership
[of the Order of Constantine the Great] was reclaimed
by and recognized in the person of the Porfyro
génnitos [born in the Purple or Firstborn],
 Prince Ioánnis Theódoros Láskaris-Komnenós-Palaeológos (Acts of The Roman Senate,
16-V-1525, Lib. Decr. 1515/1526, f. 142).*


*Copy of this Decree of 1525 may be requested from the Conservator of the Archives of Rome [see above reproduction].




Archives of the capital city of Rome.  

Castro y Tosi, Norberto de. (1989). Eugenio II: Un Príncipe de Byzancio [Eugene II: A    prince of Byzantium]
     (p.136). Biblioteca Universitaria. Madrid, Spain: Prensa y Ediciones Iberoamericanas, S.A.



ST. SOPHIA Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Miami, Florida
Sunday, March 26, 1989
The Order of St. Constantine the Great and the Order of St. Helen at the Cathedral of St. Sophia in Miami, Florida on March 23, 1989.

(Center to right) Constantinian Knight Bearer of the LABARUM accompanies
Prince Theodore IX, Princess Gabriela, and Knight George D. Karnegis
--honoring the Order of St. Eugene of Trebizond.
(From the left) Artist Knight Jesús María and Lady Del Rincón
and Knight Mark Athanasios C. Karras

More History and Background . . .


U. S. Congress.   House.  “Five Hundredth Anniversary of the Fall of Constantinople.” Congressional Record-Appendix, v. 99, part 11, 83rd Cong., 1st Sess. pp. A330-332, Washington, Jun. 10, 1953.


Five Hundredth Anniversary 
of the
Fall of Constantinople
Wednesday, June 10, 1953


Mr. MADDEN.  Mr. Speaker, I wish to hereby include with my remarks the address made by John C. Sciranka, chairman, board of governors of American Friends of Slovak Freedom, delivered Sunday, May 31, 1953, at the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the fall of Constantinople by the Imperial Byzantine University held in New York City.


            I hope that every Member of Congress will read this outstanding message:


            We have gathered here to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the fall of Constantinople, a great Christian bastion, founded by our patron Emperor Constantine the Great, whose memory we are perpetuating and find inspiration in his brave and noble deeds.  We are mindful today of the fact that Constantine the Great saw a burning cross in heaven, beneath the sun, bearing the inscription “In hoc signo vinces” (under this sign thou shalt conquer).  On the following night, Christ himself appeared to him, and commanded him to take for his standard an imitation of the fiery cross which he had seen.  Constantine himself became a Christian and established many reforms.  On November 26, A. D. 329, he laid the foundations of a new capital of the empire at Byzantium, on the Bosporus in Thrace.  The city of Byzantium, which had been almost entirely destroyed by Severus, was rebuilt by Constantine, and called by his own name, now commemorated as Constantinople.  Highly favored by nature, it soon rivaled Rome.  We all know the history of the Golden Horn and the fall of Constantinople, now Istanbul.


            It will be proper at this time to recall briefly what Constantinople gave and meant to the people of my humble origin—the Slovaks.  As I have stated, Rastislav, the ruler of Great Moravian Empire, sought missionaries from Emperor Michael of Constantinople to implant Christianity among his people.  At that time two young philosophers lived in Constantinople: Cyril and Methodius, later apostles of the Slavs in general and of Slovaks in particular.  They were born in Solun, principal city of Macedonia, the fertile country in the northern plains of Greece.  The city is also known as Salonika, or Thessalonika, which was visited by St. Paul on his apostolic journeys.  Constantine, the eldest, later known as Cyril, was born in 827 A. D.  His younger brother, Methodius, was sent to the court of Bulgarian Czar Boris in 859 to convert the monarch to Christianity.  The historians record that Czar Boris was at that time engaged in building a palace for himself, expending time and money lavishly.  Methodius was an eminent painter.  Czar Boris requested him to paint several murals that would impress His Majesty.  Methodius chose to paint The Day of Last Judgment, the Second Coming of Christ, and the Horrors of Hell.  The story goes that the finished paintings so impressed Boris that he asked to be admitted to the Christian church and was baptized with his entire court and many people.  (In passing, I wish that we could exhibit these painting to the present rulers of the Kremlin with such magnetic results.)


            Cyril and Methodius brought Christianity to my early Slovak ancestors in 863 A. D., although the first Christian church in Nitra, Slovakia, was built in 833 A. D. by ruler Pribina.  The German missionaries came then to Slovakia but failed in their mission.  Archbishop Methodius was later imprisoned by the Germans.  It reminds me that while today we read about concentration camps and salt mines where millions of true followers of Constantine the Great languish, history tells us that the Khazars, living near the borders of the mighty Byzantine Empire, wished to draw themselves closer to the protection of Constantinople and thus offset the incursions of their enemies.  They asked for missionaries to spread the faith of Christ among their people.  Cyril and Methodius were sent likewise by Greek Emperor Michael to the Khazars in the Crimea on the Black Sea in 860 A. D.  Their journey took them through lands hallowed by two apostles of Crimea—Philip and Andrew—who later were followed by Christian exiles from Rome, sent to Crimea by the Emperor Trajan.  I mention this because St. Clement, the fourth Pope (87-97 A. D.), was one of the 2,000 Christians condemned to the Crimean salt mines by the Roman tyrant, where he perished.  Cyril and Methodius found his relics.


            This should suffice about history in general.  I shall touch briefly about what the fall of Constantinople meant to my Slovakian people.  My dear friend and colleague, Dr. Franco Stevek, recalls that the defeat of Greeks in Constantinople meant weary and horrorful days for the people of Slovakia.  Their situation can be compared to the present conditions existing behind the Iron Curtain.  For instance, in a county of Nitra, which gave to Slovaks such eminent leaders like Gen. Milan R. Stefanik, French scientist, astronomer, aviator, and cofounder of first Czechoslovak Republic, who was eulogized in the United States Congress on May 4, 1953, by United States Senator HOMER FERGUSON, of Michigan; Sgt. Matej Kocak, hero of World War I, who received the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously; Col. John Slezak, recently appointed United States Assistant Secretary of War by President Eisenhower and many, many others.  During the invasion of Turks into Slovakia after the fall of Constantinople, 65 villages—like the modern Lidice—were razed, and 32 villages were left without any inhabitants.  The internal commerce in the country fell off 60 percent, and 12,000 Slovak captives were carried away by the Turks.  The country was plundered.  The invasion was followed by famine, various diseases, and countless deaths.  The Janioiari, or Janizaries, are still remembered in horrorful legends by the Slovaks.


            And today, due to Greek-Turkish alliance, the significance of the fall of Constantinople is minimized.  Nevertheless this 500th anniversary should be a lesson to us living in the free world that we should not trust the 20th century Janizaries.  We should also remember what the United Press reported on Sunday, May 24, 1953, from Washington, D. C., when a story was released by Representative HAROLD H. VELDE, Republican of Illinois, and chairman of the Un-American Activities Committee in connection with the secret testimony of Col. Jan Bukar from the National Committee for Liberation of Slovakia, who testified that the Soviet peace offensive which is being spread now is aimed to deceive the free world in the West.  The 41-year-old Colonel Bukar testified that while he attended the Frunze Military Academy in Moscow from 1945 to 1947 the Communist leaders said that “we Russians must take over the Dardanelles and Bosporus before 1955.  We shall close in the Mediterranean Sea so we will prevent the British and Americans from having a thoroughfare through Suez to the Indian Ocean.  We shall not till they strike, but, comrades, officers, we shall take over the Western Europe before 1955.”


            This, distinguished knights and members, is a warning given to us on this the 500th anniversary of the fall of Constantinople.  Let us, therefore, pledge ourselves to use every effort to stop communism.  Let us renew the memory of that sign shown to Constantine the Great: “In hoc signo vinces.”


            And while I am making comparisons, permit me to quote Welles Hangen from the New York Times of May 30, 1953.  In his special story from Ankara about the 500th anniversary of the fall of Constantinople, Hangen writes: “The ensuing capture of Constantinople destroyed the last vestiges of the 1,100-year-old Byzantine Empire and closed the Eastern Mediterranean to the Christian emperor’s ships, thus contributing to the eventual discovery of America [NEW BYZANTIUM ed. op.].  The Turkish victory also caused many Byzantine scholars, scientists, and artists to flee to Italy where they played an important part in stimulating the Renaissance.”


            History repeats itself, and today, after 500 years, Soviet Russia is planning to block the Mediterranean, as testified by Colonel Bukar.


            On this the 500th anniversary of the fall of Constantinople, I pay my humble tribute to His Imperial Highness Prince Eugene II, Lascaris Comneno, Sovereign Master of the Imperial Order of Constantine the Great and of the Royal Slav Crown of the Wends, and to his two illustrious sons, Theodore and Constantine [the two senior brothers. A third brother, Prince Juan Arcadio, heads the Order of St. Eugene of Trebizond. Ed. note].    I further pay tribute to the Imperial Philo Byzantine University on behalf of myself and the American Friends of Slovak Freedom, an organization founded on the principles of true Christian democracy with anti-communist program.


            At this time I am inspired by an old Byzantine legend according to which a huge Cathedral shall be again erected and dedicated in Constantinople.  And there a Greek priest will finish the sacrifice of mass which was stopped on that tragic day of May 29, 1453, when the cathedral was suddenly taken by the Turks.  When this prophecy is fulfilled, the old glory of Byzantine, the greatest empire of medieval ages, will return again to its lost might and splendor.  I pray that this legend will be fulfilled and become reality.


            In conclusion, may I be permitted to renew in the spirit of Constantine the Great, as his humble, nonetheless devoted although an unworthy knight, a wish with a message to all Slavonic peoples: Let us all, whose ancestors received their Christian philosophy from the great apostles Cyril and Methodius, now saints, erect in their memory and the memory of those who are persecuted or died in the manifestation of their faith against communism, a huge monument in Washington, D. C., where we and our future generations will gather at least once a year to be inspired by their sacrifices, and where we can be inspired to carry on the crusade of Constantine the Great under his banner, In hoc signo vinces,” for the greater glory of our most wonderful country, the United States of America and for the freedom of the world in a true Christian spirit and philosophy.  Thank you.            

Go to Home

Expansion of Western Civilization: from Constantine the Great to Constantinople and Byzantium and onward to America

 We are sincerely pleased you have come to visit our Site and we extend to you our warmest greeting in the highest tradition of BYZANTIUM.  Our Principal goal is to impart to you heretofore intentionally little known facts about BYZANTIUM as the foundation of Western Civilization.  We will avoid knowingly withholding the truth as an aim to social disorientation.  Practice of historical deception must cease.  We hope that you will enjoy our contribution to the fullest.  Welcome.
Constantine the Great began his eventful climb in York, England and reached the apex of his achievement in Constantinople, the City that he founded and named after himself (Constantine+Polis [city]=Constantinople).  By means of these pages, our readers travel through time, touching upon the early periods, including that of Constantine, of historical Constantinople, and of Hagia Sophia—the nexus of the Christian world—to arrive at places and events of our present day.  Our readers reach the outermost limit to which both Eastern and Western Christian groups expanded, bringing forth the flower of Western Civilization.  That limit is the Western Hemisphere as a whole, and in particular the coast of California near San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge where the two groups converged  as they approached from the North and from the South.