Brotherhoods and Orders of Saint Michael
In history, there have been several Orders of Saint Michael. The most prominant ones are listed hereafter.
Bavarian Brotherhood and Order of Saint Michael
On 8 May 1693, Joseph Clemens, duke of Bavaria, then Archbishop-Elector of Cologne, formed the Bruderschaft des hl. Erzengels und Himmelsfürsten Michael, that still exists today and has about 800 members, mostly in Germany and Austria. On 29 September 1693, Joseph Clemens created the Bavarian Orden zum Heiligen Michael or Königlicher Verdienstorden vom heiligen richael, as a Military order. Initially, the latter was only open to the Catholic nobility. On 16 February 1837, the Order was abolished by king Louis I of Baviaria.
Portuguese Brotherhoods and Orders of Saint Michael
The original Knights of St. Michael’s Wing founded an order in the Cistercian monastery of Alcobaza about 1171, by Alfonzo I, King of Portugal, in commemoration of victory over the Moors, in which, according to tradition, he was assisted by St. Michael in person. The knights were placed under the jurisdiction of Abbot of Alcobaza and were pledged to recite the same prayers as the Cistercian lay brothers. Some authors state that the Order only existed briefly in the 12th century (Alston, George Cyprian “The Benedictine Order”. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company 1907); some claim it lasted until 1732 (James Anderson. Royal genealogies: or, The genealogical tables of emperors, kings and princes, from Adam to these times; in two parts. London), and some claim it existed until 1910, the year Portugal became a republic (Rodrigues Lima, Carlos [2009-01-09]. “Nuno da Câmara Pereira ganha batalha judicial a D. Duarte”. Diário de Notícias. Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-01-21.
Juíza vinca que Portugal é uma República, desvalorizando herança. O Tribunal Cível de Lisboa acaba de dar razão a Nuno da Câmara Pereira num conflito que o opunha a D. Duarte de Bragança, obrigando este último a desistir da denominação Real Ordem de São Miguel de Ala, uma ordem que criou em 2004. (Judge stresses that Portugal is a Republic, and values heritage. The Civil Court of Lisbon had initially ruled in favor of Nuno da Câmara Pereira in a conflict with Dom Duarte de Bragança, forcing the latter to give up the name the Royal Order of Saint Michael of the Wing, an order created in 2004.)
The history of the ancient Order is obscure, but the current Order’s predecessor was revived sometime in the 19th century (Almeida, Gomes Abrunhosa Marques de and Manuel Ângelo (2007), Precedentes histórico-teóricos dos regionalismos dos Açores e da Galiza. Santiago de Compostela: Univ Santiago de Compostela) as a secret society – not as a knighlty order – with political motives, aiming to restore Miguel’s branch of the Bragança family to power in Portugal.
The newly created entity in 2004 is not a dynastic award of the House of Bragança (Carlos Rodrigues Lima. “Nuno da Câmara Pereira ganha batalha judicial a D. Duarte“, 9 January 2009).
American Royal Brotherhood of Saint Michael of the Archdiocese for Military Services
The Royal Brotherhood of Saint Michael of the Archdiocese for Military Services was canonically erected by Decree of His Excellency Archbishop Timothy Broglio STD (2016), specifically as an Association of the Faithful for active or reserve military personnel. Dedicated to Saint Michael it is headquartered in the Military Archdiocese of the United States Armed Forces. The Commandry is a registered non profit Charity 501 C3. Its activities, fall under the canonical jurisdiction of Royal Brotherhood of the Archdiocese governed by the Canonically confirmed Judge, Col. Stephen Michael Besinaiz. The Royal Brotherhood was canonically erected in 2016 in the Archdiocese for Military Services, and is a Member of the Federation of Royal Brotherhoods of Saint Michael of the Wing. This branch of the Order is affliated with Dom Duarte Pio.
French Order of Saint Michael
The French Order of Saint Michael (French: Ordre de Saint-Michel) was a French chivalric order, founded by Louis XI of France in 1469, in competitive response to the Burgundian Order of the Golden Fleece, that was founded by Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy. As a chivalric order, its goal was to confirm the loyalty of its knights to the king. Originally, there were a limited number of knights, at first thirty-one, then increased to thirty-six including the king. An office of Provost was established in 1476. The Order of St Michael was the highest order in France until it was superseded by the Order of the Holy Spirit.
The Order was abolished by the French authorities in 1830. However, in 1929-1930 Jaime, Duke of Anjou and Madrid, and in 1960 Infante Jaime, Duke of Anjou, Segovia and Madrid, granted membership of the Order to their confidants, thus de facto reviving the Order.
Intellectual Property issues
On 4 August 1981, Nuno da Câmara Pereira, José da Câmara Gonçalves, Gonçalo da Câmara Pereira, António de Sousa Lara and João Ferreira Rosa established the association Ordem de São Miguel da Ala by public deed at the Instituto dos Registos e do Notariado, which was recorded in the database of the Institute, the Registo Nacional de Pessoas Colectivas. Nuno da Câmara Pereira is the great grandson of Dom Vasco António de Figueiredo Cabral da Camara, 3rd count of Belmonte. As a monarchist, Nuno da Câmara Pereira disputes the validity of the dynastic claims of the Miguelist Branch of House of Bragança, of which the current pretender is Dom Duarte Pio de Bragança, his distant cousin. Dom Nuno de Figueiredo Cabral da Câmara Pereira, is Marques de Castelo Rodrigo and President of the Council of the Portuguese Nobility and Chancellor of all Knightly Orders of the House of Loulé, the second major claimant to the dynastic rights to the throne of Portugal.
In 2004 Dom Duarte Pio de Bragança registered the association Real Irmandade (=Brotherhood) de São Miguel de Ala. In 2007, Câmara Pereira sued Dom Duarte on charges of breaching the intellectual property rights of his Ordem de São Miguel da Ala and won the case in 2009.
The judge noted that in the current legal-constitutional order, which configures Portugal as a Republic and enshrines the principle of separation between Church and State, it is irrelevant whether the association is a dynastic order, if the use of the insignia is exclusive to the putative heir of the royal house (which is not recognized in the legal order of the Republic), or if it was canonically erected. Despite the historical arguments put forward by the Dom Duarte, the judge determined the problem as “purely legal”. In this respect, the simple apposition of the word ‘Real’ (royal) before the name already used by the association “Ordem de São Miguel da Ala” is not enough to achieve an effective and objective differentiation between the two associations. In 2011, Dom Duarte, saw 17 of his properties seized as well as a bank account worth more than 260 thousand Euros, as a result of a judicial execution.
Dom Duarte appealed and on 1 October 2015, the Portuguese Supremo Tribunal de Justiça (Supreme Court of Justice) finally condemned Dom Duarte, forbidding him to use the name and insignia of the “Ordem de São Miguel da Ala“, forcing him to indemnify the rightful holders and preventing him from even requesting a new appeal in the face of that process. However, the case was turned upside down when on 3 November 2015 Nuno da Câmara Pereira’s intellectual property rights to use the symbols expired. Subsequently, on 7 December 2016 Dom Duarte regained the intellectual property rights to use the insignia. Although admirers of Dom Duarte, often mention that the legal procedures show that Dom Duarte is the dynastic successor to the historical Order of Saint Michael of the Wing, the matter was a legal one (not historical) and solely a matter of intellectual property law.
The revived Order is organised as an entirely new private entity and not a dynastic award of the House of Bragança. Aspirant members can apply for membership and subsequently pay a fee to members of the House of Bragança or their representatives. In recent times, it has been alleged that Dom Duarte himself no longer approves membership in his society. The Order is said to be de facto controlled by other members. Many members of the Order today are Americans and citizens of the British Commonwealth.
Current holder of the intellectual property rights
The European Union Intellectual Property Office shows the IP registration for the word combination “QUIS UT DEUS” and the accompanying graphic representation in the name of “Duarte Pio De Bragança, Rua do Campo, 4, San Pedro P-2710, Sintra, Portugal” since 7 November 2016. This registration (nr. 016009748) also shows that the registered trade mark has been published for opposition, at which time one or more challenges to registration were filed but they have not yet been decided. On 23 March 2020 the case was still pending before the Board of the Office. The representative of the opposition is Mr António José Caeiro da Mota Veiga (b. Lisbon, 8 June 1951), a lawyer, who married in Sintra on 31 October 1974 to Maria José Trigueiros de Aragão Acciaioli de Avilez (b. Lisbon, Santa Maria de Belém, 21 June 1954), youngest of the only three daughters of José Maria de Avilez Juzarte de Sousa Tavares (Lisbon, 14 August 1926 -), 7th Count of Avilez, Representative of Viscount of Torre do Terrenho, of the Viscounts of Reguengo, and his wife (m. Castelo Branco , Alcains, 28 September 1947) Ana Maria de Portugal Lobo Trigueiros de Aragão ( Fundão , Aldeia de Joanes, 16 August 1923 -), of the Counts ofIdanha-a-Nova and Viscounts of o Outeiro.
Under Portuguese law, the dynastic rights to the ancient Brotherhoods and Orders of Saint Michael of the Wing are not recognised. There is a tradition of affiliation between the House of Bragança and the Brotherhood/Order, but the headship of the House is disputed. The jurisprudence in this case shows that the intellectual property rights regarding the insignia of the Order are irrelevant to the question of whom the legal successor is to the dynastic rights regarding the Order. Simply, because Portuguese law is not interested in the historical aspects, but judges the matter in terms of IP-rights only. The holder of the IP rights to the insignia can be anyone. It is only a matter of who registered the IP-rights first (or forgot to reregister them).
In my opinion, (knightly) orders or brotherhoods should not be subject to costly legal battles. Historical evidence should be the key to the question if an order or brotherhood has historical substance. An example of a total escalation is the long-running intellectual property dispute between two knightly orders: the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta on the one hand, and the Florida Priory of the Knights Hospitallers of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, the Ecumenical Order on the other hand.
SMOM alleged that The Florida Priory had infringed on five of its registered trademarks including its cross and shield imagery. The organization also alleged that The Florida Priory engaged in false advertising by claiming a historical background that belongs to the SMOM.
The legal costs for both parties have been enormous. Such a waste of money and effort is an insult to their donors, who think that their money benifts the poor. Instead, their donations end up in the pockets of overpaid lawyers. In a published opinion, one district judge wrote the following disparaging comment (Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, October 15, 2015, Case: 14-14251, Page: 9 of 49):
“The parties present themselves as Christian charities. The Court struggles with the parties’ characterizing themselves in that manner, however. The amounts of money each party has raised for charitable purposes are unimpressive, which leads the Court to believe that the members of both [the Sovereign Order] and the [Florida Priory] are more interested in dressing up in costumes, conferring titles on each other and playing in a “weird world of princes and knights” than in performing charitable acts.”
The Michael of the Wing-dispute has similar characteristics.
- Association of Knights and Dames – Dynastic Orders Portuguese Royal House – Posts
- Alessandro Cont, La Chiesa dei principi. Le relazioni tra Reichskirche, dinastie sovrane tedesche e stati italiani (1688-1763), preface of Elisabeth Garms-Cornides, Trento, Provincia autonoma di Trento, 2018, pp. 19-55)
- Hubert Glaser (Hrsg.): Kurfürst Max Emanuel. Bd. 1, Zur Geschichte und Kunstgeschichte der Max-Emanuel-Zeit. München 1976, ISBN 3-7774-2790-X; Bd. 2: Katalog der Ausstellung im Alten und Neuen Schloss Schleissheiml. München 1976, ISBN 3-7774-2800-0.
- Thea Christians (Redaktion), Friedrich Fahr (Beitrag), Siegmund Benker, Quis ut Deus. 300 Jahre Erzbruderschaft St. Michael, Berg am Laim, München, 1693 – 1993 (= Diözesanmuseum Freising, Kataloge und Schriften, Band 13), Freising 1994. ISBN 978-3-930618-00-2.
- EUIPO – eSearch