Author: Dr. Vitéz Nob. Ádám Berniczei-Roÿkó de Bernicze
Deputy Captain General, Staff Captain of Hungary
Lately, from less informed, or simply misinformed friends I often hear the question:
“– So how is it now, which Order of Vitéz is this… ? Because there are a few of them out there…. and they all claim to be the real one, … and the registered association…”
Well that’s just it… Then let’s clarify.
The National Seat of Vitéz was established in the Kingdom of Hungary by Prime Minister’s Decree No. 6650/1920.
The Order of Vitéz – whose fons honorum is the Holy Crown – was already established by the National Seat of Vitéz itself by its own decision. The head of the Seat and also of the order is the Captain General. Until 1945, the Order of Vitéz was created a public body in terms of its legal status, in the same way the Hungarian Academy of Sciences was created.
Unfortunately, currently it is not possible to rehabilitate this legal status.
After 1945, the Order continued to operate abroad in exile; since 1962, it has been recognized by the ICOC as a knightly order – this was exactly 60 years ago – and since then it has been the only (!) internationally recognized knightly organization of Hungarian origin.
An institution of order status can never and will never be equal to an association founded by it or others under a similar or identical name, which, by its very nature, has no fons honorum, even if horribile dictu all the members of the order would leave the order and “cross” into the association, to use a more accurate military term, in violation of the oath of order to the Holy Crown sworn before the Captain General.
For example, here is the imaginary ‘independence’ of the Maltese Charity Service, an aid organization of the Sovereign Order of Malta.
If the Charity Service suddenly decided that from today it would continue to operate as the “Order of Malta”… , well that would not make it a knightly order, it would still be a registered association – albeit under the name “Order of Malta” – but even then it would not become a knightly order, it would just imitate the traditions, appearance, ceremonies, or even the objectives of the Sovereign Order of Malta…
However in this unfortunate situation which is created by misrepresenting to say the least, is an opportunity to deceive many bona fide but less prudent people, since they believe that they are entering a long-standing “Order of Chivalry” or “Order of Vitéz”, even though they may only become a member of an association that imitates the legitimate order.
– If the Hungarian State establishes a ”Hungarian State Association” – which the court registers under this name, and is entered in the registry of associations – and later this already registered ”Hungarian State Association” changes and simplifies its name to Hungarian State – removing the word “Association” from its name – well, that does not make it a second Hungarian State, it simply remains an association. I gather we can see the problem here…
Then the elected president of this “Hungarian State registered association” inspired by a cheerful idea begins to call himself ”head of state” that is ”grandmaster or Captain General” in our situation, and to unsuspecting people who are interested he grants “citizenship” in the framework of an “inauguration” ceremony, which of course has financial implications… Well, the value of the end result and authority of this process (pseudochivalric or pseudo vitéz “rank”) should be decided by everyone for himself.
Furthermore neither had the legitimate Order of Vitéz become equal to the association founded (!) by members of the order, registered in 1992 as the ”Vitézi Rend Magyarországi Tagozata” (”Hungarian Department of the Order of Vitéz”) which was represented by a member of the order who became president of this association and he registered his own apartment as headquarter. After this the legitimate Order of Vitéz and its association did not unify, the latter later changed its name simply to ”Order of Vitéz”, thus turning its back on the real and legitimate Order of Vitéz, deceiving its Captain General, Archduke Joseph Árpád of Habsburg-Lothringen, Royal Prince of Hungary (this association is now headed by association president János Molnár-Gazsó).
They could not have become equal, since in addition to organizational and authority issues, they are completely different legal entities in terms of their organizational structure. Apple vs pear, more specifically one is an Order, the other is an association…
The legitimate Order of Vitéz is a legal entity within the European Union, registered in Kingdom of Sweden, proudly and surely standing on its Hungarian historical foundations, with Hungarian national consciousness, patriotic feelings, professing and promoting the traditional European Christian/Christian values, an internationally recognized, highly respected ideological community, which has a hierarchical order structure headed by Archduke Joseph Charles of Habsburg-Lorraine, Crown Prince of Hungary, while civil associations which use the name ”Vitézi Rend” in one form or another are not – by definition- orders even if their structure also imitates the structure of the order, they are headed by presidents registered in association registers, or if they call themselves grandmasters or captains-general and their main decision-making body is the general assembly of the association.
Conclusion: there is one legitimate Order of Vitéz – as an Order. Other companies known by the same or similar names are legally nothing more than an association. They are to be considered a different genre. It’s like the difference between classical opera and an operetta.