The (Italian) Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem

Disclaimer: wacky hats, awful uniforms, and Mussolini lookalikes to follow.

Spot the real Mussolini...

Spot the real Dictator…

Let me introduce you, readers, to the “Ordine Militare et Hospitaliero di San Lazzaro di Gerusalemme- Malta” (but, as far as I can tell, is not actually based in Malta). This group has gained a lot of attention recently for its events, and what one might call slightly more adventurous attire. The self-styled Order does certain charity work, although this is, in this writer’s opinion, most likely in order to boost its own credibility. On their website, it gives an obscure history written by their ‘Grand Prior’, H.H., the Chevalier, Grand Commander, Vittorio Galoppini di Carpenedolo GCLJ-J, GCMLJ, GMLJ, GCrLJ, Don1LJ, MMSLJ. Oddly enough, all of this man’s honours seem to be from the same organisation, and you’d never guess which one… The Order of St Lazarus!

Left to right, Ezio Scaglione, Oskars Jānaitis, Vittorio Galoppini, Web Deutschmeister, and Bonfissuto Carlo

Left to right, Ezio Scaglione, Oskars Jānaitis, Vittorio Galoppini, Web Deutschmeister, and Bonfissuto Carlo

Many of the group’s officer’s claim to have a number of important titles. Their Chancellor, Ezio Scaglione, has made a bizarre list of claims which I feel are too long (and amusing) to be included in this article, so will be covered individually at a later date. The Group’s “Grand Master”, claims to be known as, His Royal Highness, Prince Pieter Cantacuzino. The only links I could find to him after an extensive internet search were to (no surprises here) the organisation’s own website. The organisation’s Prior, Bonfissuto Carlo (who bears a striking resemblance to a certain Italian dictator), claims he is ‘Count of Acquanegra’, and seems to be a member of dozens of  ‘Orders’, many of which I’m not sure even exist. But don’t say that to his face- or he might order your arrest.

Grand Prior?  Or did Mussolini put on a few pounds...

Prior? Or did Mussolini put on a few pounds…

The group's 'Prior' boldly saluting to his army of 'Knights'

Carlo boldly saluting to his army of ‘Knights’

The group also seems to have their own hilarious equivalent of mess dress. If you feel like joining them, get an ill-fitting cream suit, wrap on one of those garish sashes, throw a dazzling display of badges and medals (it doesn’t matter which, as long as they’re big and shiny) onto your jacket, slap  a couple of epaulettes on your shoulders and you’re ready to go! If you feel like going the full nine yards, get a cape and a feathered bicorne. Once you’ve ticked them off, just make yourself a title (nothing minor, mind you, or you’ll risk looking like an amateur. A Dukedom will do), and you’re ready to go! Before you know it people will be bowing at your feet.

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Ooooh! Shiny things!  Lots and lots of shiny things!

I wonder, did he nick that hat from Marshal Ney?

I wonder, did he nick that hat from Marshal Ney?

All jokes aside, The (Italian) self-styled Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem is a large organisation and has fooled a lot of people with its extravagant ceremonies. Do not be one of those. It seems to me lik a group of want-to-be generals and knights, who masquerade as aristocrats and other important personages. The truth is, The (Italian) Military and Hospitaller ‘Order’ of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem has, as far as I can se, no credibility whatsoever, and is merely another group of grown men playing dress-up. If anyone is approached by this self-styled group, stay clear of them by a mile.

The real Orders

There are currently two Orders of St Lazarus that are generally considered to be the only two legitimate Orders of St Lazarus. The first of these enjoys the patronage of the Orleanist Royal House of France & the Count of Paris (who has expressly stated he supports no other Orders of St Lazarus), as well as the Cardinal-Archbishop of Prague. It was led up until 2010 by the Count’s Nephew, who uses the title Duc d’Anjou (not to be confused with the legitimist head of the French Royal House, Louis XX, also currently using the title Duc d’Anjou).
The second of these Orders received recognition by the Spanish government in 1940. In 2008, King Juan Carlos I allowed his cousin Carlos Gereda y de Borbon to become its Grand Master.

It should be noted that, there are many more fake orders of St Lazarus, which, eventually, will all be written on. This was the primary reason for my using of the word ‘Italian’ when talking about this fake group.

 

 

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Lord Brett McLean of Hastings

Is he aristocracy? No. Is he a midget? Possibly.

Is he aristocracy? No. All that we know for certain is that he doesn’t seem to know what a proper dinner jacket is.

Meet Brett McLean, self-styled Lord of Hastings, who seems to have risen up from relatively humble beginnings and done quite well for himself.

Do not underestimate this man because of his apparent small stature… He’s got powerful friends (aallegedly). He has apparently used his ‘title’ to gain various positions in what seem like perfectly reputable organisations. Intrigued after learning about him, I decided to look a bit further into his claims. After contacting this fellow, I inquired as to how he obtained his ‘title’. The response I received was;

“It was given to me by the speaker to the confederation of the cinque ports when he died.”

Following this, I told him that it was the government’s duty to bestow titles upon people, he replied;

“Hm and government but also other hereditary titles that just get passed down rather than terminated.”
Ok… Back up a minute. OF COURSE hereditary titles are passed down. That’s the whole point! But they’re not “given”! I then asked him if he had inherited  the title, and if the speaker was his relative, he responded
“No he was a friend. We served on the council together” Oh dear.

This writers thoughts in response to Brett's absurd claims

This writer’s thoughts in response to self-styled Lord Brett’s absurd claims

Intrigued by McLean’s ‘title’, I then asked for some more information on its origins.

“[It] was delivered by his solicitor [in] a rather large bundle of paperwork. No ceremony or anything just a massive brown envelope.”
Now, I may not be the greatest authority on the Peerage of Great Britain, but this writer would hazard a guess that if a so-called ‘solicitor’ brings a you a bundle of papers, tells you you’re a Peer of the Realm, then promptly buggers off, there’s *possibly* something amiss. It’s as if somebody played a trick on this poor man and he never got over the joke. Unfortunately, readers, the reality of McLean’s foolish claims is not as clear to some others than it is to you and I…
‘Lord’ Brett served four years on Hastings Borough Council as its youngest (and probably its shortest) Councillor. He also does various charity work- although it’s a shame that he seems to feel the need to have a title to do so. He also claims to have a Diploma in Forensic Science Crime Scene Investigations and to currently be studying Law- as well as owning his own photography business. Which isn’t a surprise. Because little Brett seems to LOVE having his pictures taken with big, important people!
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Yes, Brett mixes with the high and mighty on a regular basis. In fact, he boasts of visiting Downing Street & regularly uses pictures of himself outside of Number 10 on Facebook. But how did this man get invited, you may ask? Brett holds a number of important jobs, and he’s always looking for more from what we can tell!
Now, this is where impostors cross a line and the fun and games end. Many of these fakes are harmless, but this man, I am afraid, is anything but. From what I can tell, he has lied and cheated his way into (otherwise trustworthy) organisations and holds a number of positions which he, as far as I can see, has gained with false credentials (pretending he is a ‘Lord’). These have included & include:

Chairman for the friends of the Conquest Centre

Club leader for Hastings Gateway Club

Chairman for St. Leonards Liberal Democrats

Vice Chairman of East Sussex Federation of Small Businesses

Chairman for the East Sussex Economic Advisory Board

Deputy National Councillor/Director for the National Federation of Small Businesses

President of Bexhill Furry Friends and Trustee for Hastings Furniture Services

The reality is that many people are totally naive in the world of Peerages, and will believe almost anything. This man acts as if he’s a public figure- why should people think he’s a fake? The sad truth is that people are far too quick to accept the claims of people like McLean. In reality, he has no claim to any titles whatsoever. He has deceived and infiltrated many innocent organisations, and flaunts around pretending he is aristocracy. If anybody in Hastings sees him, they should stay far away. This man is, if not the subject of a poor deception, nothing but a fraud, a scoundrel, and a liar.

 

The Royal House of Tanna

 

Ooooh! Shiny things!

Ooooh! Shiny things!

Now who is this curiously be-dazzled chap? The dictator of some obscure country? A pantomime character? Captain birdseye? Apparently not. Meet, as he prefers to be known (translated from French as accurately as possible);

“His Majesty, Claude-Philippe I, by the Grace of God and the Chiefdom of the Island, Traditional King of Tanna, Head of the Royal House, Chief of the Name and Arms of the Princely House of Tanna Shepherd, Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, Duke of Swabia, Duke of Styria, Earl Berger, and Count of Sablon, Count Calvayrac, Baron Glatens, Baron Von Pleiss, Baron to the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Throne, Baron of the Holy Roman Empire, Lord of Brocard and Puechguizel. According to the Orthodox tradition, His Majesty was consecrated Bishop of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Europe.”

Seems legit… Right? But before we start pulling apart his impressive selection of titles, lets take a look at some of his other claims… His so-called ‘Kingdom’, Tanna, is a small Island in the Tafea Priovince of Vanuatu, formerly part of the New Hebrides.  According to Birdseye, er… His Majesty, the title of ‘Prince of Tanna’ was first granted to ‘King Antoine I’, in 1993. On  July 10, 1994, this supposed title was confirmed as hereditary, and then in 1998, Claude Philippe was appointed (yes, appointed to a hereditary title!) to the position Crown Prince. Shortly before this alleged King’s death in 1999, he ‘abdicated’ in favour of ol’ beardy who now ‘reigns’ as Claude Philippe I.

'King' Claude giving  a speech

‘King’ Claude-Philippe giving a speech

When I took a look at this fellow’s website, he (claims) his supporters include a variety of notable bodies and personages, including; Prince Charles of Wales, the Foreign Office, the Dowager Countess of Paris, and, wait for it…  Queen Elizabeth II! It is amusing, but perhaps sad, that this self-styled King seems to think people will believe his ridiculous claims.

Not only does he claim to have the support of many Royals, he also provides an EXTREMELY long list of honours he holds, which is as follows:
Grand Master of the Order of the Dynastic Pelican
Grand Master of the Dynastic Order of Royal Crown of Tanna
Grand Master of the Dynastic Order of Volcano
Grand Master of the Royal Order of the Dynastic Emerald
Regent of the Sovereign Order of the Temple Celtic
Honorary Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights
Grand Cross Vicar General Orders of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Europe
Grand Prior Orders Corona Swabia
Lieutenant-General Le Cordon Bleu du Saint-Esprit
Consul General Marseille Corona Azteca

Member of the Institute of the Great Mosque of Paris.

Grand Elector con di Giustizia Collana (San Gereone)
Grand Collar Justicio Capitulo de Caballeros del Antiguo Reino de Corona of Arag ó n
Grand Collar of Justice Cordon Bleu du Saint-Esprit
Large Collar de Justiça da Ordem dos Cavaleiros do Leão Soberana Azul

Grand Cross Orden Signum Fidei.
Nobiliaro Grand Cross Circulo de los Caballeros Universales.
del Grand Cross estament Cavallers Nobles of the Principality of Catalonia
Grand Cross Imperial del Ordine di Carlo Magno
Grand Cross Imperial Ordine del Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe del Anahuac
High Colar de Justiça Cruz da Ordem Sobrana religiosa da Coroa theocratic back Auranitas
Filhos David
Grand Cross of the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Christ the Savior

Grand Officer of the Public Encouragement
Grand Officer of the Order of the Star of friendship

Grand Commander of the Sovereign Order of the Knights Occitans
Grand Commander of the Sovereign Order of Saint George of Burgundy

Commander of the Order of National Merit (CARICOM States Saint Vincent and the Grenadines).
Commander of the Sovereign Order of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem – Knights of Malta-order hereditary
Commander Imperial Orden del Soberano e Corona Azteca ,
Commander of the Order of Saint-Michel.
Commander Order of Saint Andrew.
Commander Orden de San Jorge and Santa Rosa de America.
Commander of the Order of Michael the Archangel
Commander of Justice of the Sovereign Order of St John Jerusalem – Order hereditary Officer of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Santa Maria of Bethlehem.

Plaque for Merit Ordo Militaris Teutonicus
Plaque of Merit of the Order of the Griffon
Plate “Humanitas den-Verdienstorden” Gold Ordo Sancti Ladislai
ereditario dell’Ordine Cavaliere di Santa Militare e ospedaliere Elizabet hesse Darmastad
del Caballero Orden del Camino de Santiago
Knight of the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem.
Knight of Justice del Supremus Militaris Ordo Templi ac Hierosolymitani.
Chevalier Sovereign and the Royal Order of Piast.
Chevalier of the Order of the Knights of the International Star Peace.
Chevalier de la Orden del Collar of Piedro of Boriquén
Knight The Noble Corporation of Honour Guard of the Imperial House of Sellassie
Caballero del Capitulo Hispano-Americano del Caballeros-Encomenderos
Cross Chest Traditionsverband Der Auschlusskampfer Burgenland. (Austria).
Cross Fighters of Europe.
Croce d’Onore di Gerusalem
Crusem di Ordo Honoris Santorum Martyrum Cosmae and Damiani
Croce di merito del Sacro sovrano Ordine dei Cavalieri di Cristiano San Basilio Il Grande
Croix St. Anthony of the Desert. (Holy Coptic Orthodox Alexandria)
Bronze Medal – Marshal Radetzky Kameradshaft.
Premio della Sodarieta Notta di Natale
Medal of the City of Duisburg. –
Medal of the City of Villotte.
Bronze Medal of the French courtesy.

Interestingly, I know of very few Orthodox Patriarchs of Europe who are recipients of dozens of Catholic Chivalric orders!

 

Members of the self-style Royal house at an 'official function'

Members of the self-styled Royal house at an ‘official function’

His ‘life partner‘, who calls herself ‘Princess Sylviane of Isangel’, a title bestowed upon her by who else but His Serene Falsity, King Claude, also has a similarly long list of titles, most of which (no surprises here) were also awarded by Tanna’s supposed King. Interestingly, nobody on the island seems to have heard of the pair. A spokesperson on behalf of one of the Island’s chiefs was reported to have said:

“We do not know him [Claude] and never see him before. Not that we know of, this impostor has never set his feet on Tanna, nor Vanuatu because if he did come to Tanna we would have known about it.”

The truth is that ‘King’ Claude is nothing more than an impostor, an international fraudster, and a despicable liar. His name is Claude Berger and he lives in Nice, France. From what I  can gather, the majority of his claimed honours  are self styled or made up. As for the few legitimate Orders, I doubt they have ever even heard of this man. I am amazed by the sheer audacity of Mr Berger, whose absurd claims are so ludicrous it makes me question whether he is at all sane. His friend ‘Sylviane’ is clearly just as deluded and has no attachment to world Royalty whatsoever. The Royal House of Tanna is nothing more than a sad figment of Claude Berger’s creative imagination.

The Imperial Order of St Stanislas

The self-styled Imperial Order of St Stanislas, who can be found at http://www.ststanislas.com/ has recently caught this reader’s attention on Social Media, and has a variety of “Royal patrons”, descendants from the Russian Imperial House (who have unwisely chosen to lend their name and patronage to the group). Although this self-styled order (very subtly) claims it is not a continuation of the original order of St Stanislas, and is merely a charitable organisation, many of its members seem to treat it as if it were the original Order.

The group were recently spotted in London. Princess Olga Andreevna, and Prince Rostislav Rostislavovich are both members of this self-styled Order, Olga being its Patroness. Soon after, a variety of pictures surfaced, showing ‘Knights’ and ‘Dames’ festooned with shiny breast stars and badly worn sashes.

left to right; Roger Djupvik, "Grand Master" Glenn Hole, HH Prince Rostislav of Russia, and "the Vicomte Lawrence de Donges Amiss-Amiss"

left to right; Roger Djupvik, “Grand Master” Glenn Hole, Prince Rostislav, and “the Vicomte Lawrence de Donges Amiss-Amiss”

The man on the far left of that photo is the group’s ‘Grand Sword Bearer’, Roger Djupvik. Photos from his Facebook account show him wearing a variety of exotic medals (including an OBE), many of which are only given to a handful of people- and I have seen no proof of Mr Djupvik being one of them. He has been seen at a number of St. Stanislas events and nobody seems to question his dubious claims.

Djupvik wears a number of medals he has no right to.

Djupvik wears a number of medals which I can find no record of him receiving.

Secondly, on the centre left, is the Order’s ‘Grand Master’, Glenn Hole. Glenn seems to be very good friends with Prince Rostislav, and the group’s Patroness, Princess Olga, who is the daughter of HH Prince Andrei Alexandrovich of Russia. It confuses this reader as to why their Highnesses have become so heavily involved in such a ridiculous group. It calls itself a ‘Charitable Organisation’ but then also goes onto say that it is an ‘Order of Chivalry’. It is not a legitimate Chivalric Order and should not be treated as such. It should be remembered that, we cannot hold the Romanov’s involvement  in this group against them. One cannot expect descendants of Royal houses to be experts of groups such as these, and it is not the fault of their own that they have became involved in such a group.

Glenn and Olga (centre)  at one of the group's ceremonies in Norway.

Glenn and Olga (centre) at one of the group’s ceremonies in Norway.

Finally, the man on the far right calls himself ‘the Vicomte Lawrence de Donges Amiss Amiss’ although I doubt that is his real name given that this man seems to have a history of false claims according to one website. Among these, ‘His Lordship’ has previously told this writer he is the descendant of exiled French Aristocracy, while his mother supposedly masquerades as  ‘Lady Jennifer’. One wonders why on Earth such a man’s presence is tolerated in the group, given his previous history of false and dubious claims.

‘His Lordship’ and the group’s ‘Grand Prior’

On the group’s website, when looking at the ‘Origins of the Order’ section, it goes into great depth about the original order of St Stanislas- which this group is in no way connected to. It includes pictures of the original Order’s leaders and the group’s badges mimic that of the original Order. Without reading the small print on this website- one could be very easily misled into thinking that it was the original Order; on whether this is intentional or not, this writer couldn’t possibly comment.

To summarise, although this group admits it is not the original Order, it still calls itself an Order of Chivalry- which is not true. The self-styled Imperial Order of St Stanislas is nothing more than a group of men (most of which seem to be masquerading as aristocrats or distinguished military figures) playing dress-up; some of whom ironically can’t even wear the organisation’s sash correctly. After looking at some of the group’s members, I despair to see that real members of Royalty such as Princess Olga and Prince Rostislav have been misled into being involved in such a ridiculous, deceitful, and frankly embarrassing self-styled ‘Order’. I would firmly advise any readers to avoid this group like the plague.

The Real Orders

According to Burke’s World Orders of Knighthood and Merit and the International Commission for Orders of Chivalry, there are two Orders legitimately claiming descent from the Order of St Stanislas. These are the Order of Polonia Restituta, given by the Polish state, and the Royal and Imperial Order of St. Stanislas, awarded by HIH Grand Duchess Maria, head of the Russian Imperial House. A more in-depth history of the original order can be found here.