Order of Saint Michael (Bavaria-Kurköln)

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The Archangel Michael in the electoral castle Bonn
Archangel Michael in the Michael Chapel of Bonn-Bad Godesberg, the former house chapel of the Order of Saint Michael
Order cross
Breast star to the Grand Cross
Cross IV Class of the Order of Merit of St. Michael (from 1910)

The Order of Merit of St. Michael was originally an order of knights founded by Duke Joseph Clemens of Bavaria as Prince Archbishop of Cologne on September 29, 1693 .


Unlike the Arch Brotherhood of St. Michael , which was founded at the same time, the Knightly Order of St. Michael was only open to the nobility . In order to be accepted into the order, a commitment to the Christian-Catholic faith and an ancestral test were necessary. Under the protection of the archangel, the members were supposed to defend the Catholic faith through prayer and the reception of the sacrament, but also through financial contributions . They were recorded in the annually updated Nouveau Calendrier , in which each member received a separate page with a coat of arms, a copper engraved portrait and all titles.

The seat of the Rhenish branch of the Michael Order was the Koblenz Gate in Bonn , which was built especially for this purpose in 1751-57 , the house church was the late Romanesque Michael Chapel at the Godesburg in the Bonn district of Bad Godesberg . The Bavarian branch shared the Munich Baroque Church of St. Michael in the Berg am Laim district with the Arch Brotherhood .

In the Rhineland, the order went under with the secularization of the Prince Archbishopric of Cologne in 1803. By King Maximilian I Joseph in 1808 the continuation after the secularization was regulated in such a way that the order continues under the name House Knights Order of St. Michael , but no one could be accepted into it without his consent. On February 16, 1837, King Ludwig I declared the abolition of the order.

At the same time, the new foundation followed under the name Order of Merit of St. Michael . All persons “regardless of class, birth or religion [...] who has acquired the special satisfaction of the king through devotion, through love of the country and through excellent useful work of any kind” could be included.

Order classes

The order was originally donated in two classes:

In 1808 the class of knights of honor was added.

After the new foundation (1837) the order comprised three classes:

On June 24th, 1855, Maximilian II of Bavaria introduced the Grand Commander and divided the knights into knight's crosses I and II class.

In 1887 the order received a complete new division:

  • Grand Cross
  • I. class
  • II. Class with a star
  • II class
  • III. class
  • IV class with crown
  • Cross of Merit
  • Silver Medal of Merit

In 1894 the bronze medal of merit was added as well as in 1910 the cross of honor , the division of the fourth class into with and without a crown and the foundation of the cross of merit with a crown. Until the end of the monarchy on November 7, 1918 and the proclamation of the Free State of Bavaria , the order was awarded as follows:

  • Grand Cross
  • I. class
  • II. Class with a star
  • II class
  • Cross of Honor
  • III. class
  • IV class with crown
  • Merit Cross with Crown
  • Cross of Merit
  • Silver Medal of Merit
  • Bronze Medal of Merit

Order decoration

The medal is a dark blue, gold-rimmed cross, which is surmounted by the royal crown . In high oval medallion is the obverse of the Holy Michael to see the one plate with the inscription Quis ut Deus (Who is like God) and which kills the dragon. The word VIRTUTI (virtue) can be found in the round medallion on the back . The letters P (Principi) F (Fidelis) F (Favere) P (Patriae) on each end of the cross .

The ribbon is dark blue with pink border stripes.

Award numbers

The following award numbers can be determined from the register lists and from the court and state handbooks for the Kingdom of Bavaria. From 1910 onwards, awards to foreign recipients were no longer published, so that clear deviations can be assumed for the order classes introduced at that time. These are likely to be 20–30% higher than indicated below. The medal had to be returned after the owner's death.


Order class Awards
Grand Cross 434
Grand Commander (since 1855) 428
Commander 657
Knight 1st class 4.016
Knight II class (since 1855) 434


Order class Awards
Grand Cross 143
I. class 240
II. Class with a star 326
II class 776
Cross of Honor (since 1910) 224
III. class 1,470
IV class with crown 4,419
IV class (since 1910) 505
Cross of Merit with Crown (since 1910) 350
Cross of Merit 1,884


  • Maximilian Gritzner : Handbook of the knight and merit orders of all civilized states in the world. Leipzig 1893, pp. 24-26.
  • Arnhard Graf Klenau: Order in Germany and Austria. Volume II. Verlag Graf Klenau GmbH, Offenbach 2008, ISBN 3-937064-13-3 , pp. 118-127.
  • Johann Baptist Kranzmayr: Coat of Arms Almanac of the Royal Bavarian House Knight Order of Saint Michael. House Knight Order, Munich 1834 (digital view) .
  • Werner Bergmann : News from the old Bavarian house knight order of St. Michael (1693-1837). In: Orders and Medals. The magazine for friends of phaleristics. Ed .: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ordenskunde , Issue 116, Volume 20, Gäufelden 2018, ISSN 1438-3772.

Web links

Commons : Order of Saint Michael  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Extraordinary supplement to the Franconian Merkur, No. 3 1837, statutes of the St. Michael Order, Article II. Google Books .
  2. ^ Arnhard Graf Klenau: Order in Germany and Austria. Volume II, Verlag Graf Klenau GmbH, Offenbach 2008, ISBN 3-937064-13-3 , p. 126.