It was the year of our Lord 1186 when, in the stronghold of Seborga, the centre of the said priorate, by the decree of Saint Bernard of Chiaravalle (Clairvaux), the povera milizia di Cristo (the poor militia of Christ) came into being, to protect the territories of the priorate, as well as the arrival and departure point for the crusades in the Terrasanta (the Holy Land).
In 1363, after several tragic events for the old militia of Christ, Prince Abbot of Seborga Pons Lance decided to reform the force by founding the “Venerabilis Equester Ordo Principatus Sancti Sepulchri”, from which the knights travelled far and wide through Europe and the Middle East, always as defenders of the priorate (the principality) of Seborga and the Christian faith.
With the arrival of the 19th century the militia was reduced to a few units surviving until the conflict of World War II.
H.R.H. Giorgio I° came to the throne in 1962, by popular consent, and since that time pledged that one day he would re-institute the knights of the “Venerabilis Equester Ordo Principatus Sancti Sepulchri”. The many engagements that followed his mandate forced Prince Giorgio I° to delay the plan until the year 2000 when the first Priorate was formed. From that time until today 6 new Priorates have been established: one in France and five in Italy, but not until recently in Seborga.
Following a meeting one day between the Prince and the knights of the E.N.G.E.A. (Ente Nazionale Guide Equestri Ambientali) a series of developments lead to the opening of a representative office in Seborga of E.N.G.E.A. and subsequently the idea of establishing a Priorate in Seborga.
The proposal was received with great enthusiasm by both parties and it was decided to organize a date to carry out the investiture.
On the 9 October 2005 at 16,30, H.R.H. Giorgio I°, accompanied by the French and Roman prior, received the 10 knights of the E.N.G.E.A. in the old public square of San Martin and in the Church of San Martin.
The knights were dressed in the typical habit (saio) to receive the blessing and then the white mantle with the sword to make an oath of loyalty and reverence towards the Sacred Principality of Seborga. It was a very significant, solemn and moving ceremony.
The knights invested were: Prior Vinati Matteo from Brescia; Vice-Prior Magnetto Attilio from Seborga; Master of Arms Testarella Mauro from San Vero Milis (Or); Sir Peli Leonardo from Brescia; Sir Gianfranco Guerra from Bergamo; Sir Paris Marcello from Rome; Sir Del Vecchio Augusto from Milan; Sir Ivaldi Cesare from Asti; Sir De Michelis Piero Michele from VillaNova Solara (Cn); Sir Musso Lorenzo from Seborga; chaplain of the priory, Don Marco Muraglia.
Soon after the ceremony the knights, the godfathers, the chaplain, the priors and the Great Prior met for the first assembly with a full program of tasks, collaborations, projects and assistance for the needy and humanitarian missions in disadvantaged lands.
These knights of the Principality, through the establishment of the magioni, will carry their creed and faith in all the Regions, Provinces and towns of Italy and in other countries where the E.N.G.E.A. and its associates are present.
Sincere wishes to all and keep up the good work. Adina Pinzi