Order of the Obsidian Sparrow
|Sovereign Holy Hospitaller Order |
of St. Mark and the Obsidian Sparrow
|Supremus Ordo Militaris Hospitalis Sancti Marcus et Obsianas Passer|
"Nam Claritas Dei" |
("For the Glory of God")
|Type||Order of chivalry|
|Purpose/focus||Support the spread of the Levantine Catholic Church|
|Official languages||Ecclesiastical Latin|
|Grand Master||Sean MacLochlainn|
|Grand Prior||Edouard-Bonaventure Dalsie|
|Parent organization|||Holy See|
- 1 Name
- 2 Status as a Subject of International Law
- 3 History
- 4 Organisation
- 5 Insignia
- 6 Membership
- 7 Medals, awards and distinctions
- 8 Military Corps
- 9 See Also
The Order of the Obsidian Sparrow is a late crusader order that was founded in 1429 by decree of Pope.... Established by a group of Burgundian noble knights who had become disenfranchised with what they saw as "vainglorious ineptitude of the leadership of the Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John". They sought to establish a new, more pious order "devoted to the work of the Lord and his flock." The pope granted the nobles a charter for a new order who took the Holy Hospitaller Order of St. Mark and the Obsidian Sparrow. They wanted to recognize the importance of their charitable work so they retained the Hospitaller title. They chose St. Mark as their patron saint for his evangelizing effort. The sparrow was chosen as a reference to Psalm 84:3, "The bird also has found a house, And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God." The knights, like the sparrow, may travel aboard and face great trials, but they will always return to God and his teachings as their true centering force.
The tale of the Obsidian Sparrow was told by Martin McDonavan, Duke of Solibris, considered the founder of the order, to the Pope thusly:
I came one day out of the chancellery of the Order [of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John] in a rage for the boasting and braggadocio in which they engaged. Flinging myself to the ground in the garden I prayed to Almighty God for a form of deliverance. Upon my prostrated form alighted an sparrow so dark and with feathers glossed that I thought it at first to be made of obsidian. I was so fraught with my anger that I sought to shake it away, but lo, it spoke: For I am a messenger of the Host Most High and He commands you to find your most pious men and seek from the Pope a new order, a righteous order without fanfare and pageantry. Seek to serve not to command and the Lord shall show you favor.
The "obsidian sparrow" was later identified by ornithologists as a Lark bunting, however this was the furthest north in Levantia that a Lark bunting has ever been reported. They mostly live in central Kistan and Kuhlfros as well as northern Urcea.
Status as a Subject of International Law
The Order is widely considered a sovereign subject of international law, even enjoying Extraterritoriality in many countries. However, the Order maintains all of the land it owns "on behalf of the host nation" and therefore is subject to those nations laws in the act of governing its holdings.
This bifurcated status has led to a number of famous court cases across Greater Ixnay in which the court was asked to decide if the knight to whom a criminal complaint was leveled against was acting as an individual (in which case extraterritoriality often applies) or as a governing representative of the Order, in which case the local laws apply. The Order has tried to distance themselves from the courtcases siting that the only knights who are allowed to carry political power (and therefore are subject to local law) are the dually appointment Knight-Governors of a province, "who are well known to the country's officials and legal system". All other knights cannot be subject to local laws on Order territory as they are private citizens "devoid of the prerogative to govern".
Lands Currently Held
- Isle of Midthavet, Burgundie: Knight Commander-Governor Finn Thordsson
- Margraviate of Falkötvor, Zwallerkad: Grand Officer-Margrave Drajan Gryzmiv
- Principality of Ghildsparr, Zwallerkad: Grand Officer-Prince Lanzud Glimskul
- Isle of GrofSee, Order of the Obsidian Sparrow: Grand Cross-Prince Skuf Åsmundsson
- Isle of Levantx, Burgundie: Knight Commander-Governor Giermund Sigerædsson
- County of Sziklapu, Aëscárácta:Grand Cross-Count (name)
- Grand City of Szolvek, Zwallerkad: Knight Commander-Mayor Dagor Sjallörad
- Bishopric of Valkjerka, Zwallerkad: Grand Officer-Bishop Vhilud Kjerdenen
- Margraviate of Zekullö, Zwallerkad: Grand Officer-Margrave Högar 'The White Sparrow' Nysprovdar
The Order's Presence in Zwallerkad (1516-present)
The Obsidian Sparrows were invited to Zwallerkad in 1513 by Lord Glimkskul's pious third son, Hirzal Glimskul, who had served under them for one-and-a-half year. They were invited in order to fight the pagan Shriinaask Tribes in the Western Zwallerkaddish Dominions where the Glimskuls were the dominant landowners and nobles, being Grand Princes of Szalryk. At first the Grandmaster, name, refused, saying Zwallerkad was not the Order's concern until Hirzal pointed out the Zwallerkaddians were Christians as well, deserving the Order's protection, in return for lands and holdings of course. It was on the First of March 1516 that a fleet carrying over four thousand Order troops, among whom about threehundred knights, disembarked at the Glimskul capital of Szalhavn. Here joined by six thousands of Glimskul troops they marched north to northern Snevryk and Klivryk to fight the Shriinaask. For five years the joined forces kept smashing the tribal armies, logically much to the pleasure of King Kalrak I the 'Pagan-Eater' who once the war was done granted them the right to hold lands in Zwallerkad and directly gave them various marcher domains in the north of Snevryk and Klivryk. Directly once this was decreed offered Hirzal, by know a knight-brother, the Order his birthright: The wealthy Margraviate of Falkötvor in Klivryk. Over the next decade the King granted themfurther border holdings as well as the large Margraviate of Zekullö, a royal possession in Klivryk. The next great acquisition was the Prince-Bishopric of Valkjerka, again in Klivryk, which put itself under the Order's 'protection', effectively becoming its vassal. By now other greater houses, chief among them House Ghildsparr and house Gryzmiv, started to align themselves with the Order, providing them with smaller lands in Klivryk as well as monetary support.
About halfway through the 16th century the moment had come that the Zwallerkaddians, now joining exponentially, outnumbered the Burgundians within the Order on Zwallerkaddian soil. By now further border domains were gained in the current Yssjryk. However, when King Kalrak I passed away the new King, Ghildin III 'the Rich', though benevolent towards the Order, commanded that the Order was not to gain any further holdings within the Kingdom, fearing that the political balance would be too much disturbed by their ascension. It was therefore that the Order went on the defensive for the rest of Ghildin's illustrious reign, mainly defending the borders while Ironcoin expanded the Kingdom westwards instead. In 1592 the Order gained one more great gain as Prince Vardal Stranvak joined took his vows as a brother-knight whereas his elder brother, Dagor 'Goldhammer', joined two years after. The next gain came after Ghildin's death when Irzad 'Ironcoin' took Wogronzod for it was during the Battle of the Gates that the last Ghildsparr of Ghilsparr was killed by Lanzud Spujarrak and this last Lord Ghildsparr had left all his house's possessions in Klivryk to the Order, chief mong which the rich Principality of Ghildsparr.
The Order had remained neutral through the First of the Wars of Gold and Iron yet sided with its member princes Dagor and Vardal during the second. Dagor, now ascended as king Dagor II, rewarded the order by granting them further domains in Snevryk and Yssjryk as well the administrative power of Klivryk. As the Order followed Goldhammer under Knurig Gryzmiv into the Third War they received the city of Szolvek, the overlordship over all 'Free cities' in Klivryk and various social and economical privileges. It was under Dagor's successor, King Ghildin IV, that the Order possessions in Zwallerkad became non-hereditary. This was both a blessing as a curse for it meant the Greater Houses felt lesser bound to the Order while at the same time the power of these houses within the Order was greatly decreased, allowing a more meritocratic, and thus more capable, leadership. The Order's greatest extent came half a century later under Jaskor II Glimskul who was leader of the Order within Zwallerkad, Grandmaster of the Gildkruss League and Grand Prince of Szalryk. During this time the Order held more power than the crown. However, after Jaskor had died the Order was back to its power as it had been before him. A decade later the Royal Conquest of Yssjryk was completed and the Order sold most of the now useless possessions outside of Klivvryk to the crown.
During the Zwallerkaddian Revolution the Order, like House Spujarraak, surprisingly remained almost unscathed. It lost the administrative power over Klivryk as well as Szolvek and its overlordship over the cities of Klivryk and all privileges. Besides this they lost all remaining possessions outside of Klivryk.
After the Royalist Coup of 2028 the administrative power over Klivryk as well as Szolvek and the overlordship over the cities of Klivryk were returned to the Order by royal decree.
Purpose and activities
Its principal mission is to reinforce the practice of Christian life by its members in absolute fidelity to the Pope; to sustain and assist the religious, spiritual, charitable and social works and rights of the Levantine Catholic Church and the Christians in the Holy Land, which annually receives some 10 million Imperial Dollars by the donations of the members of the order. Other various activities around the world are connected to their original functions.
Grand Masters and Grand Magisterium
In 1496, Pope... vested the office of Grand Master in the Papacy where it remained until 1949. From 1949, Cardinal Grand Masters have held the office. The incumbent Cardinal Grand Master is ... since 2011.
The Grand Magisterium also includes:
- Grand Prior
- Lieutenant General
- Governor General
The offices of the grand magisterium are situated in the headquarters in GrofSee.
Above the shield of the Armorial Bearings is a mantling of brugundy, sovereign's gold helmet upon which is a 8-point cross (the cross granted to the Order by Pope... in 1684). The mantle is ermine on the interior after the Duke of Solibris's arms, the first appointed knight of the order. Beneath the mantle is the 8 pointed cross blanc with the pearl rosary that the noble knights wear. In the center is the badge with the obsidian sparrow.
The motto is "Nam Claritas Dei" (translation: "For the Glory of God").
The order has a predominantly burgundy-colored levée dress court uniform, and a more modern, military-style uniform, both of which are now only occasionally used in some jurisdictions. Pope... ordained that usual modern choir (i.e. church) dress of knights be the order's cape or mantle: a "grey cloak with the Obsidian Sparrow", as worn by the original knights. Dames wear a burgundy cape with a Obsidian Sparrow bordered with gold.
The order today is estimated to have some 23,000 members in 52 Lieutenancies around the world, including Monarchs, Crown Princes and their consorts and heads of state from countries such as Aëscárácta, Burgundie, Pauldustllah and Zwallerkad.
Membership of the order is by invitation only, to practicing Catholic men and women—laity and clergy—of good character, minimum 25 years of age, who have distinguished themselves for concern of the Christians of the Holy Land. Aspirant members must be recommended by their local bishop with the support of several members of the order, and are required to make a generous donation as a "passage fee", echoing the ancient practice of crusaders paying their passage to the Holy Land, as well as an annual financial offering for works undertaken in the Holy Land, throughout their life. There is a provision for the Grand Master to admit members by motu proprio in exceptional circumstances and also for the officers of the Grand Magistery to occasionally recommend candidates to the Grand Master.
The honor of knighthood and any subsequent promotions are conferred by the Holy See through diploma sealed and signed by the Assessor for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State in Urceopolis as well as the Cardinal Grand Master, which approves each person, in the name of and by the authority of the Pope. The candidate is subsequently knighted or promoted in a solemn ceremony with a Cardinal or major prelate presiding.
Members of the order may not join, or attend the events of, any other order that is not recognized by the Holy See or by a sovereign state, and must renounce any membership in such organisations before being appointed a Knight of the Obsidian Sparrow. Members may be expelled from the order in circumstances where they breach its rules of conduct.
There are several grades of knighthood. These are open to both men and women. While laity may be promoted to any rank, clergy's ranks are usually: Cardinals are generally Knights Grand Cross, Bishops are Commanders with Star, and priests start with the rank of Knight but may be promoted to Commander.
Dames wear chest ribbons rather than neck crosses, and the military trophies in insignia and heraldic additaments are replaced by bows.
The titles of the ranks in English
- Knight / Dame of the Collar
- (GCHS) Knight / Dame Grand Cross
- (KC*HS / DC*HS) Knight / Dame Commander with Star, or Grand Officer
- (KCHS / DCHS) Knight / Dame Commander
- (KHS / DHS) Knight / Dame
In some jurisdictions the term "Lady" is used rather than "Dame," but this is a misnomer since the honorific term of Lady refers to the wife of a Knight. However, a woman upon whom the Order has been conferred is properly termed a "Dame".
Saints and beatified members
Medals, awards and distinctions
Ceremonial and Parade Dress
While serving as a commissioned officer of the Military Corps of the Order of the Obsidian Sparrow (MCOOS) members are entitled to wear the "Blessed and Righteous Armor of the Ancestral", a custom suit of armor that must follow specific guidelines. They are as follows:
- A tunic of burgundy (symbolic of being baptized (bathed) in the blood of the enemies of the Order)
- A cuirass of steel, adorned to reflect the position in the order (members receiving a promotion are entitled to adorn their armor in the style of the rank they are receiving)
- A pair of "Sparrows Wings" (an Ulna made of wood festooned with feathers)
- A gorget, spaulders and vambraces of steel similarly adorned to the cuirass
For the horse, the guidelines are more simple:
- Tack of burgundy bound by the family crest of the member
- A saddle blanket of the colors of the arms of the members country
The Military Corps has become known in mainland Levantia for its operation of hospital trains, a service which was carried out intensively during the Great War. The Military Corps still operate a modern 28 cars hospital train with 192 hospital beds, serviced by a medical staff of 38 medics and paramedics provided by the Order.