According to pacific international jurisprudence, the “Fons Honorum” or “fountains of honor” are the persons and/or entities that hold the exclusive prerogative of bestowing titles of nobility and honors legally as subjects of international law. These persons by origin, or ministry, must possess the attributes that constitute the sovereignty.
– Heads of State (both monarchists or republican – although the republicans cannot confer “nobility titles”, only meritorious awards),
– Heads of Dynasties (deposed monarchies) since it’s internationally accepted that they preserve the “Jus Conferendi” even being dispossessed of their thrones,
– Heads of Traditional Christian Churches (both Roman Catholic and Orthodox) following authentic apostolic succession. In other words, the Head of the church should prove direct lineage of ordination from one of the original apostles.
Here, we shall concentrate our study on the “Fons Honorum” from Monarchs, both reigning and deposed.
It’s widely known that there are no limitations to a Sovereign (reigning or deposed) in conferring titles and honors. They’re allowed to create and restore Orders of Merit and Chivalry, create and restore titles of Nobility, bestow and revoke as it pleases them. Ironically, the reigning Monarchs have more limitations than the deposed ones, because the reigning must follow certain protocols, constitutions and political limitations that may intimidate them in granting honors. The deposed sovereigns fully govern their Houses and Dynasties, and so, there’s no political pressure or interference with the Dynastic prerogatives.
Regarding reigning Monarchies around the world, many Orders are known and active as the following examples:
– British Crown:(Europe): The Order of the Garter, The Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, The Order of the Thistle, The Order of the Bath, The Service Order, The Order of Merit, The Victorian Order, The Imperial Service Order, The Order of the Companions of Honor and The Order of the British Empire. There’re some dormant Orders as the Order of Saint Patrick and the Orders of India.
– Spanish Crown: (Europe): The Order of the Golden Fleece, The Order of Charles III, The Order of Saint Hermenegildo, The Order of Isabel the Catholic, The Order of Montesa, The Order of Alcantara, The Order of Santiago ,The Order of Queen Maria Luisa, the Order of Calatrava, etc.
– Japanese Crown (Asia): The Order of Chrysanthemum, the Order of the Rising Sun, etc
– Thai Crown: (Asia): The Order of the Crown of Thailand, the Order of the White Elephant, etc
– Jordanian Crown: (Middle East): The Order of the Star,
– Saudi Arabian Crown: (Middle East): The Order of Abdul-Aziz Al Saud,
– Lesotho Crown (Africa): Order of Lesotho, Order of Makoanyane, Order of Molomi, Order of Moshoeshoe, Order of Ramatseatsane, etc
– Swaziland Crown (Africa): The Royal order of Sobhuza II
As previously said, when a Monarch is dispossessed, he or she remains Sovereign, and hence, never loses the Royal prerogatives of: “Jus Majestatis” which is the right of being called and respected by the titles and the “Jus Honorum“, the right to bestow titles and honors.
According to Dr. Mario Silvestre de Meroe, diplomat and acclaimed scholar and author of Dynastic Law:
“Ceasing territorial power, the monarch loses effective control of (“Jus Imperii” – the right to govern a State and people and “Jus Gladii” the right to command an army), retaining, however, the dynastic prerogatives (“Jus Majestatis” and “Jus Honorum”), which, as already stated, are intrinsic to his/her person. Assuming, then, the title of ‘Chief of the Name and Arms of the Royal House’ of his country. While this condition is recognized by the international tradition, like “pretender” to the vacant throne of his country, and among his dynastic power, are to judge the claims around titles of nobility in his jurisdiction, recognize them, validate them, as well as create and bestow new titles in his sole discretion.”
From Professor Doctor W. Baroni Santos, Doctor D’état in Nobility Law by The University of Reims in France, in his book “Treaty of Heraldry / Nobility Law Vol. I, Book II, chapter I “Jurisprudence of Nobility” page 197:
“A “Chief of Name and Arms“, a title attributed to a Claimant, being by juris sanguinis (law of blood) “heir apparent” of a defunct throne, as long as he has not formalized a voluntary act of resignation and acquiescence [formalized, not assumed or presumed] to the new political order of the state, according to the classic expression “subito la debellatio”, retains, in all its fullness, the sovereign prerogatives of Fons Honorum (Fountain of Honors) and Jus Majestatis (right to majestic dignity). It is a fortiori, the source of nobility and honor, and may, without restrictions create nobles and arm knights.”
Professor Emilio Furno, an eminent Italian jurist and scholar, former advocate in the Supreme Court of Appeal, writes as follows in “The Legitimacy of Non-National Orders“, Rivista Penale, No.1, January 1961, pp. 46-70:
“There are not a few judgments, civil and criminal, albeit some very recent, all of which tend as a rule to the acceptance of traditional principles re-enunciated not long since. The issue is that of innate nobility – “Jure Sanguinis” (right of blood) – which looks into the prerogatives known as “Jus Majestatis” and “Jus Honorum” and which argues that the holder of such prerogatives is a subject of international law with all the logical consequences of that situation. That is to say, a deposed sovereign may legitimately confer titles of nobility, with or without predicates, and the honorifics which pertain to his heraldic patrimony as head of his dynasty. The qualities which render a deposed Sovereign a subject of international law are undeniable and in fact constitute an absolute personal right of which the subject may never divest himself and which needs no ratification or recognition on the part of any other authority whatsoever. A reigning Sovereign or Head of State may use the term recognition in order to demonstrate the existence of such a right, but the term would be a mere declaration and not a constitutive act.” (Furno, op.cit.).
“A notable example of this principle is that of the People’s Republic of China which for a considerable time was not recognized and therefore not admitted to the United Nations, but which nonetheless continued to exercise its functions as a sovereign state through both its internal and external organs.” (Furno, op.cit.).
The eminent author concludes:
“To sum up, therefore, the Italian judiciary, in those cases submitted to its jurisdiction, has confirmed the prerogatives “jure sanguinis” of a dethroned sovereign without any vitiation of its effects, whereby in consequence it has explicitly recognized the right to confer titles of nobility and other honorifics relative to his dynastic heraldic patrimony. “(Furno, op.cit.).
It is Important to cite the fact that there are no isolated verdicts, but over 100 years of several decisions, in different courts, in both Monarchical Italy and Republican Italy.
“Dynastic orders are the exclusive domain of a sovereign, remain as such even if the monarch goes into exile, and are thus transmissible to the legitimate successor and head of the family. Generally, even if a sovereign abdicates of his/her own free will, unless he/she does so explicitly, he/she does not renounce the grand mastership of those dynastic orders belonging to his/her family. If the sovereign should renounce his/her status as Fons Honorum, this cannot involve any of his/her heirs that hold the right of inheritance, unless the renunciation took place prior to the sovereign’s marriage, and thus the birth of any heirs. A sovereign (or head of a royal house) in exile, and his/her legitimate successor, continue to enjoy the ius collationis, or “the right to confer honours,” and therefore may bestow honours in full legitimacy. No authority can deprive them of the right to confer honours, since this prerogative belongs to them as a lawful personal property iure sanguinis (by right of blood).”
Regarding Dethroned Monarchies around the world, many Orders are known and some are still active as the following examples:
– French Crowns (Europe): Royal – The Order of Saint-Louis, the Order of the Holy Ghost, etc. Imperial – Order of the Legion of Honor
– Italian Crown (Europe): The Order of the Crown of Italy, The Order of the Holy Annunciation, The Order of Savoy, etc.
– Rwanda Crown (Africa): The Order of Intare
– Ethiopian Crown (Africa): The Order of Solomon, The Order of Saint Mary of Zion, etc.
– Iranian Crown (Asia Minor): The Order of the Crown, The Order of the Lion and the Sun, etc.
– Brazilian Crown (South America): The Order of the Red Rose, The Order of Our Lord Jesus Christ, The Order of D. Peter I, The Order of Saint Tiago of the Sword, etc.
In Africa, there is a very interesting case. There are both reigning Monarchs as in Morocco and Swaziland, and also dethroned Sovereigns, as the ones from Ethiopia and Rwanda. But also a third group of Monarchs, who are still (and fully) reigning (since thousands of years ago) even if, presently in their territories, the regime is “officially” Republican. The Republican Government totally respects the Kings’ authority and even, in some cases, pays taxes to lease their land.
“There are presently as many as 10,000 monarchies in Africa; that is: actually or nominally self-governing states, territories, nations, sections and cities on the continent of Africa where supreme power resides with an individual, who is recognized as the head of state. All are similar in that the sovereign inherits his or her office and usually keeps it until death or abdication.”
The Roman Catholic Church only recognizes as Orders of Chivalry “per se” the following: the Supreme Order of Christ, the Order of the Golden Spur, the Order of Pius IX, the Order of Saint Gregory the Great, the Order of Saint Sylvester and the oldest one, the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre. In addition to that the Holy See recognizes only the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Therefore, officially the church doesn’t recognize even historical and very prestigious orders like the Order of the Golden Fleece, the Constantinian Order, etc. But that doesn’t mean, in any way, that they’re less legitimate.
However, chivalric organizations and associations can be recognized or “erected canonically” by the Holy See according to Canon Law. That’s the only legal recognition an Order outside the aforementioned ones can receive from the Catholic Church. That recognition was bestowed upon the Sacred Order of Saint Michael Archangel – Grand Priory of Brazil on Saint Michael’s day (September 29th) by Decree of His Excellency Dom Roberto Francisco Ferreria Paz, Diocesan Bishop of Campos in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and also Grand Chaplain of the Order in Brazil. The decree was read during the thanksgiving mass celebrating the Saint Michael Archangel’s feast and HRH Prince Gharios El Chemor’s 43rd birthday at the Saint Benedict’s Church in Campos, Brazil.
With regards to “Fountains of Honor“, there are only two options: whether reigning (that also includes incumbent republicans head of State) or dethroned Monarchs, in both situations, they’re fully entitled to bestow titles and honors, without limitations, and at their discretion. Even though no formal recognition is required to establish the legitimacy of a dethroned “fons honorum” (sovereign or heir), it’s very difficult to be taken seriously without it. The Royal House of Ghassan and HRH Prince Gharios El Chemor have received numerous formal and informal recognitions from heads of State, the Holy See and also from Heads of Traditional Churches (Orthodox and Catholic Patriarchs). See more HERE
- The El Chemor/Gharios Family Vis-à-vis with International Law
- Why is the El Chemor/Gharios Family endowed with the Ghassanid Royal Titles?
- The Legal reasons for the use of the Royal titles by the El Chemor family
The Order of Saint Michael was recognized and received by many VIP members. Amongst them, some of the main political and religious leaders in the Middle East like: The President of the Lebanese Republic General Michel Aoun, The President of the Albanian Republic, His Holiness Pope Francis, His All Holiness Bartholomew I the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, His Holiness the Coptic Pope Tawadros II, His Holiness Aram I the Armenian Orthodox Patriarch, His Eminence and Beatitude Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai the Maronite Patriarch, several cardinals, etc. See more of the VIP members HERE