A Religious Military Order in The Kingdom of Acre
Edited Excepts from The Monks of War by Desmond Seward
The thought of Christians devoting their lives to warfare in the service of God seems like a paradox.
Nevertheless, there have been men consecrated to battle, the brother-knights of the religious military
orders- noblemen vowed to poverty, chastity, and obedience. They lived a monastic life in convents
that were at the same time barracks, waging merciless war on the enemies of the Cross. To enter their
chapels was to see monks in hooded habits chanting the office, but on active service the soldiers in
black and white uniforms were no different from other troops, save for an iron discipline. The spirit
of the cloister had been transferred to the parade ground and the battlefield. Such men tried literally
to fight their way into Heaven.
The three greatest orders were the Knight Templars, the Knights of Saint John, or
Hospitallers, and the Teutonic Knights, but there were many others, less well known. These brotherhoods
were created in the twelfth century to tame a brutal warrior nobility and provide the Roman Church with
storm troopers, for chivalry had not yet eradicated pagan savagery, and legions were still needed to defend
the Holy Land. St. Bernard of Clairvaux took over the new Templar concept of soldiers under religious vows
and synthesized knight and monk. Again arose the creative genius of Catholicism. Just as it had once
transformed pagan gods into saints and heathen temples into churches, it now transformed the ideal
of a Germanic war band into a spiritual calling. Those heeding the call sacrificed their lives for Christ, not
only in the monastery, but on the battlefield as well. They did this with a startling mixture of humility and
ferocity. By adopting the monastic organization, they became the first properly staffed and officered Western
armies since the Roman Legions.
THE ORDER OF ST. ADRIAN
The Sacred and Cenobitic Order of Saint Adrian the Martyr was created in the likeness of the three largest
orders. Ideas were taken from all three and were molded for use in modern medievalism. We are portraying
a militant Roman Catholic order of monks, and we do a great deal of religious pomp and ceremony. In the
Middle Ages, life revolved around the Church. It is important to understand that we are not true clergy and
do not intend to pass as such. As a group, we do not preach any religion.
Acknowledging the fact that certain practices may be offensive to some, we perform most
of our ceremonies when out of the public eye. Likewise, the Order shall only accept people who shall take
no offense to such rituals. The rituals are meant neither to advocate nor mock real ceremonies. We do such
pomp and ceremony for our own entertainment. It adds atmosphere so vital to a recreation group. It's all in fun.
The brethren of St. Adrian are organized as follows:
The Master of the Order (Magister Ordinis) oversees all activities. Since
the Orders establishment in 1992, this position has been filled by Fr. Maximilian Delmonico (Fr.
stands for frater- brother in Latin).
The Seneschal of the Order (Seneschal Ordinis) acts as a deputy to the
Master, and in his absence may act of his behalf. Fr. Fulk has filled this role, from 1995 through 2002,
and acted on Fr. Maximilian's behalf while he was away in the West. Fr. Jibril currently holds this position.
The Senior Chaplain (Prior Capellanus) oversees the spiritual activities
of the Order. Since the OrderÔs establishment in 1992, this position has been filled by Fr. Richard Civetta-
affectionately (if not accurately) referred to as The Abbot, until his death in November 2002.
Brethren Remaining are those who have taken the Full Brothers Oath for the
remainder of his days. They are few, but form the nucleus of the Order. Confratres are those who take
the Full Brothers Oath for a term (ad terminum), typically six months at a time. They are
considered full brethren for the duration of their terms. Familiars (also known as donati) are those
who take the less-restrictive Familiars Oath. Though they remain laymen, they may fight, feast, and
camp alongside the brethren at their convenience. They serve as an important reserve pool.
While the status of each brother is given above, each also serves a distinct function
in the Order. Soldiers (either knights or sergeants) further the Orders goal by means of armored
combat. Chaplains see to the Convents spiritual needs. Serving brethren, as neither soldiers
not chaplains, serve the house by a variety of miscellaneous chores or skilled craftsmanship.
For more information contact the brothers at: StAdrian@yahoogroups.com