History


After many years of devoting himself to God, in 1071, Stanislas, who was from the Turzyana clan, was appointed Bishop of Krakow. At the time there was much discontent amongst the populace because of the constant wars of King Boleslaw II of Poland and Bishop Stanislas became a focal point of vocal opposition. In 1079 the king ordered the Bishop to be seized and put to death for his activities. In 1253 Stanislas was proclaimed a Saint and a Patron of Poland for his defence of human rights and Christian teachings.

On the 8th of May, 1765, the Royal Order of St Stanislas was established by King August Poniatowski, Stanislas II of Poland, with the heraldic motto “Praemiando incitat” (by awarding encourage). After the third and last partition of the old Polish Commonwealth between Russia, Austria and Prussia in 1795 the Order fell into abeyance and remained without a Grand Master until 1809.

After the creation of the Duchy of Warsaw, the Elector and then King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony became Duke of Warsaw on 7th of July, 1807. In 1809 he became the 2nd Grand Master of the Order of St Stanislas and there was a revival of the Order.

With the abdication of Frederick August on 22nd May, 1815, by a decision of the Vienna Congress the greater part of the Duchy of Warsaw was ceded to the Russian Empire as a Polish kingdom. The 3rd Grand Master, Alexander I, again revived the Order on 1st December, 1815, and the 4th Grand Master, approved statutes of the Order on 14th September, 1829. With the loss of polish autonomy to the Russian Empire the Order of St Stanislas was incorporated into the Chapter of Russian Imperial and Tsarist Orders, the 3rd to the 7th Grand Masters being Russian Emperors.

At the beginning of the 20th century the Order of St Stanislas formed the largest Order in Russia. Chevaliers fees were put at the disposal of the Chapter and directed to good works, i.e. the care of wounded soldiers, the maintenance of students in schools and institutions, and other charities

After the abdication of the 7th Grand Master, Tsar Nicholas .II the Council of Peoples Deputies decreed on the 29th December, 1917, that all previously given Orders and titles be abolished.
When the new Polish state was created after World War I a number of Orders were created or re-established. However the Order of St Stanislas was not one of them. Its place was taken by the new Order of Polonia Restituta with the President of the Polish Republic automatically becoming a Chevalier 1st class and Grand Master.

At the beginning of World War II the Government of the Polish Republic (in exile) was formed in London and continued there until the restitution of democracy in Poland in 1990.
During the period of exile Juliusz Nowina-Sokolnicki became President on 6th April, 1972. On the 9th June, 1979, to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the martyrdom of St Stanislas he decreed the re-establishment of the Order of St Stanislas. The Statutes of the Order were approved on 11th November, 1984, with stated goals to reward people for services “in the protection of Faith and human rights for the good of the Polish people and State. Juliusz Nowina-Sokolnicki took the position of 8th Grand Master and created the Grand Magistry of Chevaliers of the Order of St Stanislas. With the restitution of democracy in Poland, Nowina-Sokolnicki extracted the Order of St Stanislas from the list of state decorations of the Polish Government and on the 15th September, 1990, announced its “independence and sovereignty” as an international Order devoted to the ideal of brotherhood of humanity irrespective of religion or race. The Order developed wide ranging charitable activities and created a system of Grand Priories, Priories and Commanderies in 33 countries around the world.

However there was a schism in the Polish Government in exile in 1954 and since 1972 Nowina-Sokolnicki’s position as President has been denied by Stanislaw Ostrowski, Edward Raczynski, Kazimierz Sabbatt and Rysard Kaczorowski in favour of another candidate, August Zaleski. The 1st elected President of the democratic Poland, Lech Walesa, was presented with the Presidential insignia and seals of the Grand Master of the Orders of the White Eagle and Polonia Restituta 0n the 22nd December, 1990, by Ryszard Kaczorowski and not Nowina-Sokolnicki. There were further problems in the Order when Nowina-Sokolnicki declared the Grand Mastership of the Order to be the hereditary prerogative of his family, and on the 1st January, 1997, the National Chapter announce the dismissal of Nowina-Sokolnicki and the election of Count Kazimierz Dworak-Biziel-Dworakowski, a resident of the USA, as the 8th Grand Master. At the same time the Catholic Church of Poland recognised Marek Kwiatkowski as Grand Master of the Order and he headed an alternative Chapter.

The issue is further complicated by the view that with the abolition of communism the Order reverts back to the dynastic line of the house of Romanov, and on the 23rd December, 2003, on the occasion of her jubilee the Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna Romanova invested several persons as chevaliers of the Orders of St Anna and St Stanislas.

On the 16th May, 2004, a number of Grand Priors from various Countries met in Kiev, Ukraine, and decided to split from Nowina-Sokolnicki’s Order and form the International Order of St Stanislas. We do not claim to be the authenticate original Order, only that we follow their basic principles and precepts. We recognise that there are several Orders of St. Stanislas and are happy to welcome members of any of them to our functions and acknowledge that each in their own way do good works.

Although originally a Christian Order membership is now open to any male or female over the age of 21, (18 by agreement of the Grand Prior), who profess a belief in a Supreme Being and is a believer in the fundamental principles of chivalry.