On the 15th May 2004 following the Grand Ball of the Order in Kiev a meeting was held to discuss the present situation and organisational principles of the Order. Concern being raised about the way the Order was operated, Grand Priors from the following countries resolved to form a new organisation to be styled the International Order of Saint Stanislas, (I.O.S.S.), with each Country having its own National Association. Ukraine, Lithuania, Macedonia, Turkey, Italy, China. Being unintentionally present at the meeting and supporting their objectives I was appointed Acting Grand Prior for Great Britain. The Grand Prior for Benelux reserved his decision but has since joined.
Membership into the Order of Saint Stanislas is by invitation from a member in good standing. The Order is made up of men and women of all faiths who believe in one Almighty God, and share a common concern for their fellow man. The Order itself reflects chivalry in its purest form; that is "people helping people", We do not claim to be the continuation of the original Order, nor do we consider that we require a "Fons Honorum", (that is not to say we would not accept one in the future). We derive our legitimacy as an Order of Knighthood from the nobility of the ideals we seek to promote.
There are Five Classes in our Order:
Class I: Knight/Dame Grand Collar (GCCStS); Chain worn about the neck, attached to the shoulders,
Knight/Dame Grand Cross (GCStS); worn on a sash, hung right shoulder to the left hip, the star of the Order is also worn on the left breast.
Class II: Knight/Dame Commander with Star (CSStS); worn as a neck badge, the star of the Order is also worn on the left breast.
Class III: Knight/Dame Commander (CStS); worn as a neck badge.
Class IV: Officer's Cross (OCStS); worn on the left breast, chevalier fashion with a rosette on the ribbon.
Class V: Chevalier's/Dame's Cross (KCStS); worn on the left breast, chevalier fashion.
It is a sad fact that throughout history Orders of Chivalry have been created, ceased to function, merged and of course frequently split. St Stanislas is no exception, there are many Orders styling themselves as Orders of St. Stanislas each considering themselves to be legitimate and all raising considerable funds for Charity. One day perhaps they will merge together, however until that time, as our prinicpal aim is Charity, we will always welcome members of any Order of St. Stanislas to our meetings and events and will always be willing to attend theirs.
The Order of Saint Stanislas was established on 8 May 1765, by King Stanislas II, Augustus Poniatowski to honour the Patron of Poland. It was a one class order and the highest decoration after the Order of the White Eagle which had been established in 1325.
The Companions of the Order of Saint Stanislas, who were limited in number to 100 persons had to prove descent from the nobility for at least five generations. Their duty in the first instance was faithfulness and obedience to the Monarch and State. They were also obliged to do charity work. At their investiture ceremony they paid 25 red zloty for the upkeep of the Order, which was in those days a very large sum, also they had to undertake to pay to the hospital of Jesus the Child in Warsaw an annual oblation of 4 red zlotys.
The first investiture ceremony took place in the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw when 35 Companions of the Order were created. The day of the feast of Saint Stanislas (8th May), became the feast day of the Order.
The insignia of the Order of Saint Stanislas consisted of a four armed Polish gold cross, with red enamel, gold ball tips and a white border. Between each arm was an uncrowned Polish eagle in the first version of the insignia and crowned eagles in the later productions. The centre enamelled disk had the likeness of Saint Stanislas holding a staff with the letters SS on the side. The reverse centre disk had the King's monogram S.A.
After the partition of the old Polish Commonwealth in 1795, between Russia, Austria and Prussia, the Order fell into abeyance. As a result of Napoleons victories the central area of Poland was created into the 'Duchy of Warsaw' under Frederick Augustus I King of Saxony, the second Grand Master, revived the Order and added a second white stripe to the border of the sash.
At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the Kingdom of Poland was created with Emperor Alexander I of Russia as King of Poland. Alexander I, as the third Grand Master divided the Order into four classes
After the Polish-Russian war of 1830-1831, the Kingdom of Poland was united to the Russian Empire. Emperor and King Nicholas I as Grand Master of the Order included it into the Orders of the Russian Empire
With the Russian Revolution, and abdication of the last Emperor and King, Nicholas II in March 1917, the Order of Saint Stanislas once again fell into abeyance. It was not re-established by the restored independent Republic of Poland, but was instead superseded by the Order of Polonia Restituta.
On the 9 June 1979, the Order of Saint Stanislas was re-established in five classes to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Stanislas of Szezepanow, Bishop of Krakow. by one of the two Polish Government's (In Exile) which was based in London.
On 20 December 1990 following the withdrawal of Soviet Forces from Polish soil and the free election of a new and democratic President, "both" Polish Government's (In Exile) were merged with the now legal Government in Warsaw. Control of all Polish decorations was returned to Warsaw, but as it was alleged that the new Government had no intention of continuing the Order, Juliusz Nowina-Sokolnicki, former President of one of the governments in exile decided to give the Order an independent character. He therefore transferred it from a Polish decoration into a charitable Order of Chivalry.