Seven centuries of history
“The first (of the chivalric Orders) was probably the Order of St.George … It was a brotherly union of knights who swore to defend the realm and protect the king, and to follow him in ‘pastimes and knightly sports’ – doubtless a reference to tournaments they contested.”
The International Knightly Order Valiant of St George takes its inspiration from the ancient and military order of knighthood, founded on 23 April 1326 in Visegrad, Hungary, by King Károly Róbert, great-grandson of Charles of Anjou – in 2026 we’ll be celebrating our Septcentenary – 700 years!
The original foundation documents are preserved in the Hungarian National Archives in Budapest. It is the most ancient of those Chivalric Orders which were created as “Royal” institutions, independent of the church, and is a religious confraternity of Knights and Dames who are committed to a life of humility, loyalty and service for the common good. Over the centuries, governance of the Order has been in the hands of Kings of Hungary, Holy Roman Emperors, Cardinals and a Pope. An image of the national symbol of Hungary, the Holy Crown of St Stephen – pictured above – features in the regalia of the Order.
In Hungary, the twentieth century foundation the Order of Vitéz was based upon the Order of St. George, but the Knightly Order Valiant of St George re-emerged in its own right after the fall of communism in 1989. The ceremony in St Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest, to install the Grand Master was attended by the President’s representative, the Cardinal Primate and the senior Protestant bishop, as well as numerous politicians.
In the twentieth century the international Order was registered as a charity under English law. The Order is also a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in the United States. In 2015 the Order also became an officially recognized Non-Governmental Organization (NGO).