The Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation ( it. : Ordine Supremo della Santissima Annunziata , "Highest Order of the Most Holy announcement " shortly "proclamation Order") was, until 1951, the highest Order of Merit of Italy . Today it is a dynastic award from the former Italian royal house of Savoy .
The order was in 1362 by Amadeus VI. , donated to the 14th Count of Savoy. Initially the award was named "Collar Order", and the foundation was made for the "Glory of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the fifteen friends of the same, the saints of Paradise and the whole heavenly court". Duke Charles III. consecrated the order in 1518 to the Annunciation of the Lord ( Annunciazione , "Annunciation").
The star of the order was only introduced in 1680 by Duke Viktor Amadeus II . He exchanged the Kingdom of Sicily , which had been awarded to him in 1713, for that of Sardinia and elevated his order to the Royal Sardinian Order.
After King Victor Emmanuel II united Italy under his crown in 1861, the order became the first among the Italian awards. From 1869 it could also be awarded to non-aristocrats who had rendered outstanding services to the crown and state. The award included, among other things, the right to tax exemption, to be addressed as " excellence " and other protocol privileges. The bearers of the order were considered the king's cousins .
The Announcement Order was canceled as a state award on March 3, 1951 and was de facto replaced by a special grade of the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic . It is still awarded as a dynastic order by the deposed royal house of Savoy. The current Grand Master of the Order, Amadeus of Savoy , the 5th Duke of Aosta (Duca d'Aosta) , presides over the House of Savoy . With a few exceptions, the persons to be admitted must be of high nobility, sovereigns or the highest dignitaries. The last award so far was in 1983 by Umberto II.
As with the Order of the Garter, there are different versions of the Foundation of the Order of Announcements. While some assume that the founder wanted to create a memory of his brave predecessor, Amadeus V , because he stood out for his particular bravery during the defeat of the Turks off Rhodes in 1310 , others assume that the deep piety and care the rosary devotion caused the founder to create such an order. However, it does not seem impossible that a love story could have led to the foundation of the order, because the order was first called Ordre militaire du Lacs d'amour and Amadeus is said to have received a bracelet from the lady of his heart that was plaited from her hair and was held by love loops. He later wanted to keep this memory in the form of the medal. For this very reason, the letters FERT , which the order contains, are accessible to different interpretations. Among other things, the following explanations were given: Fœmina Erit Ruina Tua (“the woman will be your ruin”), “Frappez, Entrez, Rompez Tout” (“Hit the door, come in, break everything”) or “Fortitudo Ejus Rhodum Tenuit ”(“ His strength held Rhodes ”).
The sign of the order consists of a depiction of the Annunciation, freely embossed in gold, surrounded by a strong cord that forms various loops. This cord is also made of gold. The symbol is worn on a gold chain around the neck, which is partly made up of love knots and the letters "FERT".
The knights wear the star introduced in 1680, which has the shape of a sun and in the middle of which the representation of the proclamation is surrounded by the letters "FERT". The star is also made entirely of gold.
Like all old knightly orders , this order also has a ceremonial costume consisting of an amaranth-colored cloak with blue lining and silver embroidery, which was worn over a gold-embroidered taffeta robe . On their heads the knights wore a toque with gray fur trimmings, from which a long wing of light blue velvet hangs down. After many changes, this costume, to which a longer chain of orders is worn, was introduced in 1627,
- Knight Order of St. Mauritius and Lazarus
- Order of the Crown of Italy
- Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
- List of Italian orders and decorations
- Ernst August Prinz zur Lippe: Orders and awards in the past and present. Keysersche Verlagbuchhandlung, Heidelberg-Munich 1958.