Monday 26 December 2011

O most Holy Night...Christmas 2011

O most Holy Night, all the earth being at peace...

Sebastiano Conca. Adoration of the Shepherds. 1720.

O Adonai,
et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

O Prince and Commander of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.
[Great O Antiphon for 18 December, sung before the Magnificat at Vespers]

Non auferetur sceptrum de Iuda, et dux de femore eius, donec veniat qui mittendus est: et ipse erit expectatio gentium

The royal sceptre shall not be taken away from Juda, nor a ruling prince from his loins, until He come that is to be sent, and He shall be the expectation of the nations.
[Genesis 49:10, sung at Vespers of the Advent Office]

"And Joseph also went up from Galilee out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his espoused wife, who was with child. And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room in the Inn. And there were in the same country shepherds watching and keeping the night watches over their flock. And behold an Angel of the Lord stood by them and the brightness of God shone round about them, and they feared with a great fear. And the Angel said to them 'Fear not; for behold I bring you tidings of great joy that shall be to all people. For this day is born to you a Saviour who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you: you shall find the Infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger'. And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying 'Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will.' "

[Luke 2:4-14]
[The Gospel of the Nativity of Our Lord, the first Mass of Christmas at midnight]

The Eighth Day before the Calends of January, being


In the 5199th year of the creation of the world, from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth;

the 2957th year after the flood;
the 2015th year from the birth of Abraham;
the 1510th year from Moses, and the giving forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;
the 1032nd year from the anointing of King David;
in the 65th week according to the prophesy of Daniel;
in the 194th Olympiad;
the 752nd year from the foundation of the City of Rome;
the 42nd year of the rule of Octavian Augustus,

all the earth being at peace,


the eternal God,
and Son of the eternal Father,
desirous to sanctify the world by His most merciful coming,
being conceived by the Holy Spirit,
nine months after His conception
was born in Bethlehem of Judaea,


[Sung at Prime on Christmas Day from the Roman Martyrology]

Puer natus est nobis,
et filius datus est nobis, cujus imperium super humerum ejus et vocabitur nomen ejus, magni consilii Angelus.

Unto us a child is born,
a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder and His name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor"
[Isaias 9:6]
[Introit of the third Mass of Christmas, during the daytime]

Happy Christmas to all!


Tuesday 20 December 2011

St Kateri Tekakwitha, Lily of the Mohawks and first native North American saint

The Holy Father signed decrees on 19 December 2011 acknowledging miracles attributed to the intervention of seven beati (four women and three men) who will shortly be canonised. One of the new saints is Kateri Tekakwitha, the first native North American to be raised
to the glory of the altars.

St Kateri Tekakwitha was born in 1656 in Ossernenon (present-day Auriesville, USA).

Her father was a Mohawk chief and her mother a Roman Catholic Algonquin who had been educated by French missionaries.

At the age of four she lost her family in a smallpox epidemic which also left her disfigured and with poor eyesight. Adopted by a relative, the chief of neighbouring clan, she continued to nurture an interest in Christianity and was baptised at the age of 20.

The members of her tribe did not understand her new religious affiliation and she was marginalised, practising physical mortification as a path of sanctity and praying for the conversion of her relatives.

Having suffered persecutions which put her life at risk, she was forced to flee to a native American Christian community in Kahnawake, Quebec where she made a vow of chastity and lived a life dedicated to prayer, penance, and care for the sick and elderly. She died in 1680 at the age of 24.

Her last words were: "Jesus, I love you".

According to tradition, Kateri's scars disappeared after her death to reveal a woman of great beauty, and numerous sick people who participated in her funeral were miraculously healed.

The process of canonisation began in 1884. She was declared venerable by Pius XII in 1943 and beatified by John Paul II in 1980. As the first native North American to be beatified she occupies a special place in the devotion of her people.

Her feast day falls on 14 July.

This is a marvellous testimony to the faith of many native Americans who retained their Catholic faith through persecution and oppression.

When the utterly false "manifest destiny" doctrine of Protestant white American racism overran the Spanish settlements in the West and seized the lands of the native Americans, many native Americans were treated appallingly, enslaved or shot. The Catholic native Americans were treated especially badly by the invading white Protestants who had but recently been rebels against their rightful king and set up a Freemasonic and Deist republic in place of a Christian monarchy.

They had a particular hatred of the Catholic religion which had always protected native peoples from exploitation by freebooters and exploiters.

Now the native Anericans have a saint of their very own - St Kateri Tekawitha, the Lily of the Mohawks.

St Kateri, pray for us!


Friday 11 November 2011

Remembrance Day 2011 - St Martin's Mass

Lest we forget...

Remembrance Day 2011

Today is Remembrance Day.

I would like again especially to remember the officers and men from those most forgotten Divisions of all the regiments of the British Army at any time, anywhere, ever.

I mean the 10th and 16th Irish Divisions and their respective regiments.

The established Irish regiments of the Line were:

The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
The Royal Irish Fusiliers

The Royal Irish Rifles

The Royal Irish Regiment

The Connaught Rangers

The Leinster Regiment

The Royal Munster Fusiliers

The Royal Dublin Fusiliers

These brave and dutiful soldiers are little remembered today because the Ireland from which they enlisted to fight for the freedom of small nations had, by 1918, undergone a radical sea-change in national aspirations because of the Rebellion of 1916, the reaction to it and the War of Independence of 1919-20 and the Civil War of 1920-21.

These most noble and brave Irish Divisions vanished into limbo, without honour, lying in an unquiet grave, forgotten by their own country and their own countrymen, save the brave and loyal families of the dead themselves, who were left to grieve alone, forgotten, even reviled, though their sons had faithfully answered the call of the Irish parliamentary leaders, John Redmond MP and John Dillon MP.

They had volunteered to fight in anticipation of the fulfilment of the Home Rule Act 1914, won by the efforts of men like Redmond and Dillon – not by the IRA and Fenian terrorists, and the like traitors and bomb-throwers – and they had been assured that the Act would be honoured once the war was over. So it doubtless would have been but for the Rebellion of 1916.

In that spirit these loyal Catholic men volunteered – and to save Catholic Belgium, too, as they saw it.

The last Absolution of the Royal Munster Fusiliers

Once the Irish Free State government had taken over in 1922, however, all thought of the Irishmen who had fought in the War had gone. Plots marked out for war memorials for the graves of these most honourable men were never used for their intended purpose (though they still lie fallow awaiting the day when the conscience of the nation will allow these brave men to be justly honoured).

One of the few memorials to these brave and noble Irishmen can be seen in the Chapel of St Patrick and the Saints of Ireland in Westminster Cathedral, London, England. Along the wall you can see the plaques of all the Irish regiments as a memorial to them.

But there are none – or virtually none – in Ireland itself where all the memorials are to Fenians, and IRB and IRA men, and many of the memorials bear revolutionary slogans imitative of those used by the very French Revolutionaries who slaughtered Catholics - bishops, priests, nuns and laity - in their hundreds of thousands in the 1790s. What an irony!

No proud and joyous home-coming for the men of the Irish Divisions.

The South would not have them for they fought in British uniform. The North would not have them because they were mostly Catholic.

And yet it is a little known fact that more Irishmen from the South fought – in BOTH World Wars – than did those from the so-called “Loyalist” North.

True fact!

Our brave Irish boys go over the top - but when they got home there was no-one to cheer them, welcome them or even greet them. These are the forgotten heroes of the Great War - loyal and steadfast, their name liveth forever more in the hearts of the few who remember them - and in the heart of God.

Their story is yet to be fully told but you can visit a fine website dedicated to their memory here:

Who can now read the story of these brave men – not least the story below of Fr Willie Doyle SJ MC – with a dry eye? I don't mind admitting that I cannot.

Valiant hearts indeed!

God grant them all eternal rest...

O Valiant Hearts
By John Stanhope Arkwright (slightly amended for the forgotten Irish heroes)

O valiant hearts who to your glory came
Through dust of conflict and through battle flame;
Tranquil you lie, your knightly virtue proved,
But not yet hallowed in the land you loved.

Proudly you gathered, rank on rank, to war
As who had heard God’s message from afar;
All you had hoped for, all you had, you gave,
To save mankind—yourselves you scorned to save.

Splendid you passed, the great surrender made;
Into the light that nevermore shall fade;
Deep your contentment in that blest abode,
Who wait the last clear trumpet call of God.

Long years ago, as earth lay dark and still,
Rose a loud cry upon a lonely hill,
While in the frailty of our human clay,
Christ, our Redeemer, passed the self same way.

Still stands His Cross from that dread hour to this,
Like some bright star above the dark abyss;
Still, through the veil, the Victor’s pitying eyes
Look down to bless our lesser Calvaries.

These were His servants, in His steps they trod,
Following through death the martyred Son of God:
Victor, He rose; victorious too shall rise
They who have drunk His cup of sacrifice.

O risen Lord, O Shepherd of our dead,
Whose cross has bought them and Whose staff has led,
In glorious hope their long-forgetful land
Must now commit her children to Thy hand.

In Flanders Fields
by Lt Col John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place;
and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead.
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the Foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Father Willie Doyle SJ MC


Father William Doyle was born at Dalkey, Co Dublin on 3rd March, 1873, the youngest of seven children. He was ordained as a Jesuit in 1907 and volunteered to serve as a Military Chaplain at the front in 1914. He was appointed to the 8th Royal Irish Fusiliers, 16th (Irish) Division, in November 1915.

His first experience of battle was at Loos where he was caught in the German poison gas attack on 26 April. He ministered to the soldiers in the midst of the battle, displaying a total disregard for his own safety. He was mentioned in dispatches but his Colonel’s recommendation for the Military Cross was not accepted because he had not been long enough at the front. He was presented with the parchment of merit of the 49th Brigade.

In May 1916, he had a lucky escape: "I was standing in a trench, quite a long distance from the firing line, a spot almost as safe as Dalkey (his home village) itself, talking to some of my men when we heard in the distance the scream of a shell......none of us had calculated that this gentleman had made up his mind to drop into the trench itself, a couple of paces from where I stood. What really took place in the next ten seconds I cannot say. I was conscious of a terrific explosion and the thud of falling stones and debris. I thought the drums of my ears were split by the crash, and I believe I was knocked down by the concussion, but when I jumped to my feet I found that the two men who had been standing at my left hand, the side the shell fell, were stretched on the ground dead, though I think I had time to give them absolution and anoint them. The poor fellow on my right was lying badly wounded in the head; but I myself , though a bit stunned and dazed by the suddenness of the whole thing, was absolutely untouched, though covered with dirt and blood".

In August 1916, he took part in the fighting at Ginchy and Guillemont. His description of Leuze Wood is striking: "The first part of our journey lay through a narrow trench, the floor of which consisted of deep thick mud, and the bodies of dead men trodden under foot. It was horrible beyond description, but there was no help for it, and on the half-rotten corpses of our own brave men we marched in silence, everyone busy with his own thoughts...... Half an hour of this brought us out on the open into the middle of the battlefield of some days previous. The wounded, at least I hope so, had all been removed, but the dead lay there stiff and stark with open staring eyes, just as they had fallen. Good God, such a sight! I had tried to prepare myself for this, but all I had read or pictured gave me little idea of the reality. Some lay as if they were sleeping quietly, others had died in agony or had had the life crushed out of them by mortal fear, while the whole ground, every foot, was littered with heads or limbs, or pieces of torn human bodies. In the bottom of one hole lay a British and a German soldier, locked in a deadly embrace, neither had any weapon but they had fought on to the bitter end. Another couple seemed to have realised that the horrible struggle was none of their making, and that they were both children of the same God; they had died hand-in-hand. A third face caught my eye, a tall, strikingly handsome young German, not more, I should say, than eighteen. He lay there calm and peaceful, with a smile of happiness on his face, as if he had had a glimpse of Heaven before he died. Ah, if only his poor mother could have seen her boy it would have soothed the pain of her broken heart".

In December, 1916, he was transferred to 8th Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He met his fellow Jesuit Father Frank Browne who was attached to the 2nd and 9th Dublins. His concern for the his men shines through his letters and diaries.

"I found the dying lad - he was not much more- so tightly jammed into a corner of the trench that it was almost impossible to get him out. Both legs were smashed, one in two or three places, so his chances of life were small, and there were other injuries as well. What a harrowing picture that scene would have made. A splendid young soldier, married only a month they told me, lying there, pale and motionless in the mud and water with the life crushed out of him by a cruel shell. The stretcher bearers hard at work binding up as well as they may, his broken limbs; round about a group of silent Tommies looking on and wondering when will their turn come. Peace for a moment seems to have taken possession of the battlefield, not a sound save the deep boom of some far-off gun and the stifled moans of the dying boy, while as if anxious to hide the scene, nature drops her soft mantle of snow on the living and dead alike".

He was awarded the Military Cross in January, 1917 though many believed that he deserved the Victoria Cross for his bravery under fire. He took part in the attack on Wytschaete Ridge in June,1917. Fr.Browne was transferred to the Irish Guards at the start of August which left Fr. Doyle to service four battalions by himself.

He had a number of close calls before he was killed by a shell along with three officers on 17 August, on Frezenberg Ridge. He was recommended for the DSO at Wytschaete and the VC at Frezenberg. His biographer comments: "However the triple disqualification of being an Irishmen, a Catholic and a Jesuit, proved insuperable".

He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial (Panel 144 to 145) near Passchendaele.

Fr Willie Doyle SJ MC
By Francis Ledwidge, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (himself killed by a shell near Ypres, 31st July 1917)

He shall not hear the bittern cry
In the wild sky, where he is lain,
Nor voices of the sweeter birds
Above the wailing of the rain.

Nor shall he know when loud March blows
Through slanting snows her fanfare shrill,
Blowing to flame the golden cup
Of many an upset daffodil.

But when the Dark Cow leaves the moor
And pastures poor with greedy weeds,
Perhaps he'll hear her low at morn
Lifting her horn in pleasant meads.


Requiem aeternam, dona ei Domine!

Grave at Gallipoli of Pte Duffy of the Royal Munster Fusiliers


Greater love than this no man hath,
that he lay down his life for his friends...
[John 15:13]


Sunday 16 October 2011

7 October - the Battle of Lepanto - the Feast of our Lady of Victory and of the Holy Rosary

The Feast of our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Queen of the Holy Rosary, the chaplet of prayer beads that are used to invoke the Virgin to aid us whilst meditating upon scenes in the life of her Son, JESUS CHRIST.

The Rosary developed out of the habit of lay brothers, who did the manual work and did not have time to pray the whole Monastic Office, of praying Paternosters and Ave Marias in monasteries. This habit then passed to the devout laity.

In 1208 our Lady appeared to St Dominic in the Church of Prouille, France, and gave him a chaplet of beads representing roses commending to him the devotion which had spread among the Faithful of saying Paters and Aves whilst meditating upon the life of Christ.

St Dominic then gave the Rosary to all his Friars Preachers to use in their efforts to convert the heterodox Cathars in Southern France and to call upon our Lady to assist the soldiers of Count Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester, father of the founder of the later English Parliament, to defend Christendom from the attacks by the armies of the heterodox Cathars and Albigensians.

St Dominic receives the Holy Rosary from our Lady

On 12 September 1213, whilst St Dominic and his brethren were praying in the Church at Muret in the South of France, Count Simon and 700 knights charged out of the town to meet an invading army of 50,000 marauding heterodox Albigensians who were set upon capturing the whose of Southern France for the Albigensian heresy.

The Albigensians were a type of Manichee and they believed in euthanasia, abortion and sodomy and opposed marriage and child-birth because they believed that all material things were evil and created by an evil force. They had one Sacrament which was called the consolamentum and consisted in euthanasia by either starvation or suffocation. They had murdered Catholic missionaries sent to preach to them and murdered bishops, priests and the Papal legate who was sent to negotiate with them.

Count Simon and his knights straight into the middle of their ranks and slew their leader King Pedro of Aragon, much to the chagrin of Count Simon who wanted to defeat him but not slay him. At this the Albigensian horde fell into disarray and were routed. Our Lady, Count Simon de Montfort and the Rosary saved the day.

Ever after, the Rosary became a great weapon of prayer against evil, and especially in time of battle.

In thanks for the victory of the Battle of Muret, Count Simon built the first shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Victory.

The Rosary was prayed in 1529 at the Siege of Vienna and a great victory won under Count Nicholas von Salm against the Ottoman Turks and their Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.

In 1571 Pope St Pius V instituted the Feast of Our Lady of Victory as an annual feast to commemorate the victory of Lepanto, off the Greek coast, the huge naval battle won by the Christian navies against the navy of the invading Muslim Turkish hosts. The Turkish navies were many times larger than the Christian navies and had been bent upon conquering the whole of Christendom and enslaving all Christians.

The Battle of Lepanto 1571

The victory was attributed to our Lady, as a rosary procession took place on that day in St. Peter's Square in Rome for the success of the forces of the Holy League to hold back the Muslim forces from over-running Western Europe.

In 1573, Pope Gregory XIII changed the title of this feast-day to the Feast of the Holy Rosary. This feast was extended by Pope Clement XII to the whole of the Latin Rite, inserting it into the Roman Calendar in 1716, and assigning it to the first Sunday in October.

King Jan Sobieski and his army at the Battle of Vienna, 12 September 1683

On 12 September (that date again!) 1683, King Jan Sobieski, appointed commander by Roman Emperor Leopold I, and his Polish Hussars, inflicted a massive defeat upon the Turkish hosts in the Battle of Vienna. Again a Rosary campaign had preceded his victory.

Venerable Pope Innocent XI instituted the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary on 12 September to mark the victory obtained by praying to our Lady.

Kara Mustapha Pasha, the commander of the Turkish host, was unfairly executed by his own king, Sultan Mehmed II, after losing the Battle of Vienna

Pope St Pius X changed the date to 7 October in 1913, being the actual date of the great victory at Lepanto.

In 1969, Pope Paul VI changed the name of the feast to Our Lady of the Rosary.

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us!


Our Lady's Nativity and the Great Siege of Malta of 1565: "Victoria Day" of the Knights of Malta

8 September is the Feast of our Lady's nativity but it is also Victoria Day for the Knights of Malta, the day when, with our Lady's help, they defeated the Ottoman Turkish invasion of their home and headquarters on the island of Malta.

It is is also "Malta Day" for the same reason.

The Knights Hospitaller (also known as the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta; the Knights of Malta; the Knights of Rhodes; and Les Chevaliers de Malte) is an organization that began as an Amalfitan hospital founded in Jerusalem in 1080 to provide care for poor and sick pilgrims to the Holy Land.

After the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 during the First Crusade it became a religious/military order under its own charter, and was charged with the care and defence of pilgrims to the Holy Land. Following the loss of Christian territory in the Holy Land, the Order operated from Rhodes, over which it was sovereign, and later from Malta under the grand magistry of the renowned religious, soldier and defender of Malta from the Turks, Prince and Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Valette, after whom Valetta in Malta is named.

After the loss of the Holy Land and years of moving from place to place in Europe, the Knights were established on Malta in 1530, when the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, as King of Sicily, gave them Malta, Gozo and the North African port of Tripoli in perpetual fiefdom in exchange for an annual fee of a single Maltese falcon, which they were to send on All Souls Day to the Viceroy of Sicily, who acted as the King's representative. (This historical fact was used in Dashiell Hammett's famous book The Maltese Falcon).

It was from here that the Hospitallers continued their actions against the marauding Muslims and especially the savage Barbary pirates.

Although they had only a small number of ships, the Muslim Ottomans were less than happy to see the order resettled. Accordingly, Sultan Suleiman assembled another massive invasion force in order to dislodge the Knights from Malta, and in 1565 invaded, starting the Great Siege of Malta.This siege proved one of the great victories of history for an undermanned and vastly outnumbered defence force, numbering some 700 knights and about 8000 soldiers.

At first the battle looked to be a repeat of the earlier defeat of the Knights at Rhodes. Most of the cities were destroyed and about half the Knights died in battle. On 18 August the position of the besieged was becoming desperate: dwindling daily in numbers, they were becoming too feeble to hold the long line of fortifications. But when his council suggested the abandonment of Il Borgo and Senglea and withdrawal to Fort St. Angelo, Grand Master La Valette remained obdurate.

The Viceroy of Sicily had not brought help. Possibly the orders of his master, Philip II of Spain, were so obscurely worded as to put on his own shoulders the burden of a decision – a responsibility which he was unwilling to discharge because defeat would mean exposing Sicily to the Turks. Whatever may have been the cause of his delay, the Viceroy hesitated until the indignation of his own officers forced him to move, and then the battle had almost been won by the unaided efforts of the Knights.

On 23 August came yet another grand assault, the last serious effort, as it proved, of the besiegers. It was thrown back with the greatest difficulty, even the wounded taking part in the defence. The plight of the Turkish forces, however, was now desperate. With the exception of Fort St Elmo, the fortifications were still intact. Working night and day, the garrison had repaired the breaches, and the capture of Malta seemed more and more impossible. The terrible summer months had laid many of the troops low with sickness in their crowded quarters. Ammunition and food were beginning to run short, and the Turkish troops were becoming more and more dispirited at the failure of their numerous attacks and the unending toll of lives.


The death of Dragut, a corsair and admiral of the Ottoman fleet and skilled commander, on 23 June, had proved an incalculable loss. The Turkish commanders, Piyale Pasha and Mustafa Pasha, took few precautions, and, though they had a huge fleet, they never used it with any effect except on one solitary occasion. They neglected their communications with the African coast and made no attempt to watch and intercept Sicilian reinforcements.

On 1 September they made their last effort, but all threats and cajoleries had little effect on dispirited Turkish troops, who refused any longer to believe in the possibility of capturing those terrible fortresses. The feebleness of the attack was a great encouragement to the besieged, who now began to see hopes of deliverance. Perplexity and indecision of the Turks were cut short by the news of the arrival of Sicilian reinforcements in Mellieħa Bay. Unaware of the small size of this new force, they hastily evacuated and sailed away on 8 September, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, ever after celebrated by the Order of Malta as "Victoria Day".

At the moment of the Turkish departure the Order had left 600 men capable of bearing arms, but the losses of the Ottomans had been yet more fearful. The most reliable estimate puts the number of the Turkish army at its height at some 40,000 men, of which but 15,000 returned to Constantinople. The siege is portrayed vividly in the frescoes of Matteo Perez d'Aleccio in the Hall of St. Michael and St. George, also known as the Throne Room, in the Grand Master's Palace in Valletta. Four of the original modellos, painted in oils by Perez d'Aleccio between 1576 and 1581, can be found in the Cube Room of the Queen's House at Greenwich, London. After the siege a new city had to be built – the present city of Valletta, so named in memory of the Grand Master who had sustained this siege.

In 1607, the Head of the Order, the Grand Master, was granted the rank of Reichsfürst (Prince of the Holy Roman Empire). In 1630 the Grand Master was awarded ecclesiastic equality with the Cardinals and the uniquely hybrid style "His Most Eminent Highness", reflecting both qualities qualifying him as a true prince of the Church.

Following the Christian victory over the Ottoman fleet in the Battle of Lepanto in 1570, the Knights continued to defend Christendom from Barbary pirates and Muslim raiders.

The Patron Saint of the Order is our Lady of Philermo whose image was first acquired when the Knights were still settled on the island of Rhodes. The icon, depicted below, is ancient and famous.

Our Lady of Philermo, pray for us!


Thursday 13 October 2011

Our Lady's Nativity and the Great Siege of Malta of 1565: "Victoria Day" of the Knights of Malta

13 OCTOBER 2011


The Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in Council in Malta

On 13th October 2011 the 57th Lord Grand Prior of England of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Ian Scott of Ardross, made his vows of office during solemn Mass in the 12th century crypt chapel of the former Priory Church of St John of Jerusalem, Saint John's Square, Clerkenwell EC1M 4DA, now the seat of the Anglican Venerable Order of St John.

The last such ceremony took place in 1558 in the reign of Queen Mary I, when Thomas Tresham, the last Grand Prior of the Order of St John before the Reformation, was installed in the Priory Church.

On this the Feast Day of the founder, Blessed Gerard, the relic of his jawbone, brought to England by Sir George Bowyer in 1830, one of the great treasures of the Order of Malta in England, was venerated and used to give the final blessing, the first visit of the relics to this historic priory church, making the occasion a double celebration.

Mass was held at 7pm and the ceremony was followed by a drinks reception in the Museum of the Order Church.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for him
Blessed Gerard, pray for him
Blessed Adrian Fortescue, pray for him


Monday 12 September 2011

We came, we saw, God conquered: 9/11, the Battle of Vienna, the Holy Name of Mary

Today, 12 September, is the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary.

It is the day that the cavalry of Poland and the Holy Roman Empire saved Christian Europe, aided by the Holy Mass and the Holy Rosary.

It is, perhaps, no accident that the 9/11 terrorists chose the first day of the Battle of Vienna, 11 September, to launch their now world-famous attacks on the World Trade Towers in New York City.

After the loss of the Holy Land, the Eastern Roman Empire and control of the Mediterranean, Christendom was in constant danger of being overwhelmed by the Muslim Ottoman Turks and the Protestant Reformation further weakened the defences.

Moreover, Catholic Christendom was fighting, now, on two fronts against both Muslim and Protestant and might, at any time, be swept away altogether.

Particular determination, tenacity and courage were now needed more than ever from the defenders of Christendom.

Fortunately, courage was not lacking.

In September 1529, after defeating the Hungarians at the Battle of Mohacs, the Ottoman Turks and their allies laid siege to Vienna – the famous Siege of Vienna of 1529.

After a tremendous struggle the Austrians, under the 70-year-old Count Nicholas von Salm, were finally victorious, although Salm himself was killed during the siege.

On 7 October 1571, the Ottoman Turks had seized the opportunity to launch a vast fleet to conquer as much of Christendom as they could conquer.

Almost miraculously, they were defeated at the Battle of Lepanto by the combined Christian fleets under the command of Grand Admiral Don John of Austria, the illegitimate son of the Roman Emperor, Charles V.

To these were added the prayers of Christendom since the pope, St Pius V, had ordered a Christendom-wide Rosary prayer campaign for victory.

Moreover, a copy of the miraculous image of our Lady of Guadalupe sat in the cabin of Don John throughout the battle. The victory of Lepanto was commemorated by a new Feast, that of our Lady of Victory (or Victories) which was later made universal and later still re-named the Feast of our Lady of the Rosary.

In 1716, Clement XI inscribed the Feast of our Lady of the Holy Rosaryon the universal calendar in gratitude for the victory gained by Prince Eugene of Savoy, commander of the Imperial forces of the Habsburg Roman Emperor, on 5 August at Peterwardein in Vojvodina, in Serbia.

Later, however, on 11 September 1683 – 9/11 no less – came the Battle of Vienna of 1683, when King Jan (John) III Sobieski of Poland-Lithuania, also accompanied by Christendom-wide praying of the Rosary, delivered Vienna and Christendom once again from the Muslim Ottoman Turks and protected the Holy Roman Empire of Emperor Leopold I from imminent destruction.

Emperor Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor at the Battle of Vienna

After the victory of Sobieski over the Turks, Blessed Pope Innocent XI, extended the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary to the whole Church to be celebrated on 12 September in memory of the deliverance of Christendom. The feast was extended to the universal Church and assigned to the Sunday after the Nativity of Mary by a Decree of 25 November 1683, or, if that was not possible, then it had to be kept on 12 September.

12 September had also been the day of the Battle of Muret 1213, when Count Simon de Montfort (father of the founder of the English parliament) and 700 knights had defeated the Albigensian army of some 50,000, whilst St Dominic and his friars were praying the Rosary in the church of Muret.

But 9/11 was the day that the battles began in each case.

The Battle of Vienna took place on 11 September and 12 September 12, 1683 after Vienna had been besieged by the Ottoman Empire for two months. The battle broke the advance of the Ottoman Empire into Europe, and marked the political hegemony of the Habsburg dynasty and the beginning of the end of the Ottoman Muslim Empire.The battle was won by Polish-Austrian-German forces led by King Jan III Sobieski against the Ottoman Empire army commanded by Grand Vizier Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasha.

King Jan III Sobieski of Poland -Lithuania

The siege itself began on 14 July 1683 with an the Ottoman Empire army of approximately 138,000 men. The decisive battle took place on 12 September, after the united relief army of 70,000 men had arrived, pitted against the Ottoman army.

The battle marked the turning point in the 300-year struggle between Roman Christendom and the Ottoman Empire.

The siege before the Battle of Vienna (1683)

The capture of the city of Vienna had long been a strategic aspiration of the Ottoman Empire.

The Ottoman Empire had even been providing military assistance to dissident Hungarians and to anti-Catholic minorities in Habsburg-occupied portions of Hungary. There, in the years preceding the siege, Ottoman-fomented unrest had become open rebellion upon Leopold I's pursuit of Catholic Counter-Reformation principles.

King Jan Sobieski salutes the Roman Emperor Leopold I

In 1681, Protestants and other anti-Habsburg forces, led by Imre Thököly, were reinforced with a significant force from the Ottoman Muslims, who recognized Imre as King of "Upper Hungary". This support went so far as explicitly promising the "Kingdom of Vienna" to the disloyal and treacherous Hungarians, if it fell into Ottoman hands.

In 1681 and 1682, clashes between the forces of Imre Thököly and the Habsburgs' military frontier forces intensified, which was used as a casus belli by Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa Pasha in convincing the Sultan Mehmet IV and his Divan, to allow the movement of the Ottoman Army. Mehmet IV authorized Kara Mustafa Pasha to operate as far as Győr and Komarom castles, both in northwestern Hungary, and to besiege them. The Ottoman Army was mobilized on 21 January 1682, and war was declared on 6 August 1682.

Sultan Mehmet IV

The wording of this declaration left no room for doubt what would be in store after a Turkish success.

Mehmet IV wrote to Leopold I thus, verbatim:

"We order You to await Us in Your residence city of Vienna so that We can decapitate you... (...) We will exterminate You and all Your followers... (...) Children and adults will be equally exposed to the most atrocious tortures before being finished off in the most ignominious way imaginable..."

During the winter, the Habsburgs and Poland concluded a treaty in which Leopold would support Sobieski if the Turks attacked Kraków; in return, the Polish Army would come to the relief of Vienna, if attacked.

The King of Poland prepared a relief expedition to Vienna during the summer of 1683, honouring his obligations to the treaty. He went so far as to leave his own nation virtually undefended when departing from Kraków on 15 August, the Feast of the Assumption of our Lady. Sobieski covered this with a stern warning to Imre Thököly, the rebellious Hungarian Protestant leader, whom he threatened with severity if he tried to take advantage of the situation — which, nevertheless, the treacherous Thököly did.

The main Turkish army finally invested Vienna on 14 July.

Count Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg, leader of the remaining 11,000 troops and 5,000 citizens and volunteers, refused to capitulate.

Count Ernst Rudiger von Starhemberg, commander of the Vienna garrison

The Turks dug tunnels under the massive city walls to blow them up with explosives, using sapping mines.

The Ottoman siege cut virtually every means of food supply into Vienna, and the garrison and civilian volunteers suffered extreme casualties. Fatigue became such a problem that Count von Starhemberg ordered any soldier found asleep on watch to be shot. Increasingly desperate, the forces holding Vienna were on their last legs when in August, Imperial forces under Charles, Duke of Lorraine, beat Imre Thököly of Hungary at Bisamberg, 5km northeast of Vienna.

On 6 September, the Poles crossed the Danube 30km north west of Vienna at Tulln, to unite with the Imperial forces and additional troops from Saxony, Bavaria, Baden, Franconia and Swabia who had answered the call for a Holy League that was supported by Pope Innocent XI.

The devious King Louis XIV of France declined to help and instead used the opportunity to attack cities in Alsace and other parts of southern Germany. Anyone who thinks Louis XIV a good Catholic king really needs to think again.

During early September, the experienced 5,000 Turkish sappers repeatedly blew up large portions of the walls, the Burg bastion, the Löbel bastion and the Burg ravelin in between, creating gaps of about 12m in width. The Austrians tried to counter by digging their own tunnels, to intercept the depositing of large amounts of gunpowder in subterranean caverns. The Turks finally managed to occupy the Burg ravelin and the Nieder wall in that area on 8 September. Anticipating a breach in the city walls, the remaining Austrians prepared to fight in Vienna itself.

The relief army had to act quickly to save the city from the Turks and to prevent another long siege in case they would take it. Despite the international composition of the Army and the short time of only six days in which to organise, an effective leadership structure was established. This was largely the work of the extraordinary and holy Austrian Chaplain-General, Blessed Marco d'Aviano, Emperor Leopold's privy counsellor.

Blessed Marco d'Aviano, OFMCap, Imperial Chaplain-General

The Holy League forces arrived on the Kahlenberg (bare hill) above Vienna, signalling their arrival with bonfires. In the early morning hours of 12 September, before the battle, King Jan served a Solemn High Mass.

While the Turks hastily finished their mining work and sealed the tunnel to make the explosion more effective, the Austrian "moles" detected the cavern in the afternoon and one brave man entered and defused the mines just in time.

At the same time, the Polish infantry had launched a massive assault upon the Turkish right flank.

After 12 hours of fighting, Sobieski's Polish force held the high ground on the right. At about 5pm, after watching the ongoing infantry battle from the hills for the whole day, four cavalry groups, one of them Austrian-German, and the other three Polish, totalling 20,000 men, charged down the hills - the largest cavalry charge in history.

The attack was led by the Polish king himself in front of a spearhead of 3000 heavily wing-armoured Polish lancer-hussars. This charge thoroughly broke the lines of the Ottoman troops. Seizing the initiative, Starhemberg led the Vienna garrison in sallying out of its defences to join the assault.

The massive charge of the Polish winged lancer-hussars which terrified the Ottoman troops and decided the Battle of Vienna. The wings made a terrifying sound as the Polish hussars came charging down the mountainside.

In less than three hours after the cavalry attack, the Christian Imperial forces had won the battle, saved Vienna from capture and rescued Christendom from the Turks.

One may recall the decisive charge of the Rohirrim from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, to get a flavour of what it must have been like, King Jan III Sobieski leading his Polish hussars just as King Theoden led his Riders of Rohan.

After the battle, Sobieski paraphrased Julius Caesar's famous quote by saying "venimus, vidimus, Deus vicit" - "We came, we saw, God conquered".

The Battle of Vienna

The Turks lost about 15,000 men in the fighting, compared to approximately 4,000 for the Habsburg-Polish forces. Though routed and in full retreat, the Turkish troops had found time to slaughter all their Austrian prisoners, with the exception of those few of nobility which they took with them for ransoming.

King Jan vividly described events in a letter to his wife a few days after the battle:

“Ours are treasures unheard of ... tents, sheep, cattle and no small number of camels ... it is victory as nobody ever knew of, the enemy now completely ruined, everything lost for them. They must run for their sheer lives ... Commander Starhemberg hugged and kissed me and called me his saviour.”

The victory at Vienna set the stage for Prince Eugene of Savoy's reconquest of Hungary and the Balkans within the following years.

Long before that, the Turkish Sultan had disposed of his defeated commander. On 25 December 1683, Kara Mustafa Pasha was executed in Belgrade.

However, it was the end for the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans fought on for another 16 years but lost control of Hungary and Transylvania and capitulated finally by the Treaty of Karlowitz.

Christendom was once again safe.

Because Sobieski had entrusted his kingdom to the protection of the our Lady of Czestochowa before the battle, Blessed Pope Innocent XI commemorated his victory by extending the feast of the Holy Name of Mary to the universal Church.

Croissants signify the Turkish crescent

The Battle of Vienna was marked by culinary inventions:

1. The croissant was invented in Vienna to celebrate the defeat as a reference to the crescents on the Turkish flags.

2. The bagel was made as a gift to King Jan Sobieski to commemorate the victory, being fashioned in the form of a stirrup, to commemorate the victorious charge by the Polish cavalry.

The Bagel, symbolising the Polish stirrup

3. After the battle, the Austrians discovered many bags of coffee in the abandoned Turkish encampment. Using this captured stock, Franciszek Jerzy Kulczycki opened the third coffee house in Europe and the first in Vienna, where, Kulczycki and Marco d'Aviano adding milk and honey to sweeten the bitter coffee, thereby invented the cappuccino, so named after Blessed Marco because of the Capuchin’s brown hood.

The Capuccino or "Capuchin", named after Bl Marco d'Aviano, Imperial Chaplain-General

Our Lady of Czestochowa, pray for us!
Blessed Marco d'Aviano, pray for us!
Holy Name of Mary, protect us!


Saturday 13 August 2011

London's burning - the London riots reflect years of contempt by secular liberal fundamentalists for ordinary values

London streets have been the scene of rioting and havoc which are plainly the result, not of poverty, but of decades of contempt for ordinary human values, particularly on the part of secular liberal fundamentalists.

The innocent are punished by the riotous children of sloth, envy, greed and arrogance. The police have not handled matters ideally, either.

Events have unfolded as follows, according to London’s Metro magazine:

August 4: 29-year-old Mark Duggan was shot dead by police in Ferry Lane, Tottenham.
Officers had stopped his taxi to arrest him as part of a pre-planned operation, according to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

August 6: Around 120 people march peacefully from the local area of Broadwater Farm to Tottenham police station, demanding "justice" for Mr Duggan's family.

However the initially peaceful protest turns ugly after missiles were thrown at police, cars, and buildings and a double-decker bus are set alight by rioters.

Rioters attack police horses

August 7: The looting begins in the early house of Sunday morning, with a mob taking things from almost all the stores in Tottenham Hale Retail Park half a mile away.

Mr Duggan's family state that they do not condone the action of the rioters, which left property in Tottenham damaged and rendered a number of people homeless.

On Sunday evening, trouble flares in Enfield, North London, with further violence and looting in the high street, and in Brixton, south London, with shops and buildings ransacked and damaged.

A rioting yob kicks in a window

August 8: Reports emerge of “copycat criminal activity” in several other parts of London.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Kavanagh blames Twitter for fuelling looting and violence as the website is used to organise riots.

The Home Secretary Theresa May returns home from holiday to deal with the crisis, followed several hours later by the Prime Minister who returns from Italy.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson announces he will also return from his family holiday to help deal with the crisis.

Scotland Yard apologises to the family of Mark Duggan for the “distress” caused to them following his death. His fiancée, Semone Wilson, says the riots had “got out of hand” and were “not needed at all”.

As night falls, mayhem grips London with riots and looting on the streets of Clapham Junction, Ealing, East Dulwich, Bethnal Green, Newham, Lewisham, Camden, Enfield, Croydon, Peckham and Hackney.

A department store in Croydon is burned out

The violence also moves out of London for the first time, with thugs going on the rampage in Liverpool, Bristol, Birmingham, Reading and Kent.

A 26-year-old man, Trevor Ellis, of Brixton Hill, is found with gunshot wounds inside a car in Croydon.

August 9: Scotland Yard announces it has had help from 11 other forces in policing the streets.

The Prime Minister chairs a 9am meeting of the Cobra Committee to discuss the unfolding emergency.

Acting Met Commissioner Tim Godwin calls for all special constables to be allowed on duty and announces 16,000 police officers would be on duty in London, with all leave cancelled.

A woman jumps to rescuers to escape being burnt to death

The Football Association announces that England's friendly match against Holland at Wembley Stadium, due to take place on Wednesday night, has been called off.

Mark Duggan's inquest opens and adjourns after hearing the father-of-four died from a single bullet to the chest.

The Ministry of Justice confirms there is enough room in jail for anyone sentenced to custody as a result of the violence and looting. Meanwhile David Cameron announced Parliament will be recalled from its summer break on Thursday to discuss the crisis.

Trevor Ellis, who was shot in Croydon on Monday night, dies from his injuries.

Riot clean-up sees members of the public take to the streets to clear up the damage caused to parts of London in Monday's night of violence - with the campaign quickly gathering momentum on Twitter. This “broom army” restores tidiness to many streets.

Businesses in London close early in anticipation of a fourth night of violence - but the capital remains quiet. However rioting spreads to Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Wolverhampton and Gloucester.

A police station in Nottingham is fire-bombed by a group of 30 to 40 men. Cars are burnt and shops looted in West Bromwich and Wolverhampton.

A bus is set alight and explodes

August 10: A murder investigation was launched after three young men died after being hit by a car while trying to protect their community from rioters in Birmingham.

Tariq Jahan, whose 21-year-old son Haroon Jahan was killed alongside Shazad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31, made an emotional, dignified plea for the violence to stop.

Police charge a number of people for using social networking sites to incite others to commit acts of disorder.

Boris Johnson calls on the Government to reconsider plans to reduce police numbers in the wake of the widespread rioting.

The first people to be arrested during the riots are fast-tracked through the courts, with judges sitting around the clock in order to hear all the cases. Among the first to be convicted is Alexis Bailey, a primary school learning mentor from South London.

A "hoodie", a youth wearing a hooded top so that he cannot be later identified, walks past a burning car

David Cameron insisted the "fightback" by police was succeeding adding that contingency plans were in place for water cannon to be available at 24 hours' notice. He said: "It is clear there are things that are badly wrong in our society".

Six forces - the Metropolitan Police, West Midlands, Nottinghamshire, Avon and Somerset, Greater Manchester and Gloucestershire - drafted in extra officers from other constabularies amid fears of a fifth night of violence.

The streets of London and other cities affected by the riots remain calm.

The burnt out department store

August 11: Parliament is recalled to discuss the emergency and Mr Cameron vowed to do “whatever it takes” to restore order to the streets.

He announced £30 million in central government funding to help businesses get back up and running and councils to clear up the riot damage.

An 11-year-old girl appears in court charged with criminal damage after she was caught with a group of youths smashing store windows in Nottingham.

An anarchist sloganises and waves the Black Flag of the Anarchists.
The "small print" on the sign says "One War - Class War", the cry of every Marxist or anarchist revolutionary

A murder investigation is launched after Richard Mannington Bowes, 68, who was attacked by rioters as he tried to put out a fire during the riots in Ealing on Monday, dies in hospital from his injuries.

The IPCC appeal for witnesses to come forward a week after Mr Duggan's death.
Scotland Yard said a total of 1,009 people had been arrested in connection with violence, disorder and looting in London since Saturday, of whom 464 have been charged.

Greater Manchester Police said they had so far made 147 arrests in connection with the riots and more than 70 people had already appeared in court.

The Right "Honourable" Harriet Harman MP
blames it all on government "cuts" - cuts that became necessary because of the waste and mismanagement of the spendthrift government of which she was deputy leader and, for a time, interim leader

The Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP, Deputy Leader of the British Labour Party, comes from an upper class family and has no idea about living in poverty or on the margins of society. She is a radical, “pro-choice” Feminist of the most typecast kind and a typically rich, self-interested “champagne Socialist”. Her aunt was Elizabeth Pakenham, Countess of Longford, and her cousins include writers Lady Antonia Fraser, Lady Rachel Billington, and the Hon Thomas Pakenham, 8th Earl of Longford, all theoretically Catholic.

Harman attended a fee-paying public (i.e. private or "preppie") school, St Paul's Girls' School. In 1982 she was found in contempt of court by Mr Justice Hugh Park - see Harman v The Home Office [1983] 1 AC 280, the conviction for contempt being upheld on appeal.

Documents were released by the Home Office for use in court, Harman having indicated that she well knew that she was forbidden, by her implied solicitor’s undertaking, not to use them outside court.

Instead, she handed some of the documents to a journalist to use and, when he used them to criticise the Home Office, Harman was accused of contempt and found guilty.

She appealed to the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords and lost. Her appeals were dismissed and she remains a convicted contemnor.

She seems to fit neatly into the category of persons whom Bob Dylan criticised when he sang of "law-breakers making laws".

Now she claims to tell us that the riots are not due to crime, injustice or immorality but rather to "cuts".


Tuesday 19 July 2011

HIRH Archduke Otto of Austria - the Kaiserhymne and the Habsburg burial ritual

The Vienna Requiem


His Imperial & Royal Highness

Archduke Otto of Austria

~~~ " ~~~

The Kaiserhymne

The Habsburg burial ritual

Austria Erat in Orbe Ultimo


Sunday 10 July 2011

His Imperial & Royal Highness Archduke Otto of Austria, successor to the Roman Emperors, dies - RIP

Of your charity

pray for the soul of

His Imperial and Royal Highness


Franz Joseph Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xavier Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetan Pius Ignatius

By the Grace of God

and hereditary right

Emperor of Austria


King of Hungary

and of Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia and Lodomeria
King of Jerusalem
Archduke of Austria
Grand Duke of Tuscany and Cracow
Duke of Lorraine, Salzburg, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola and Bukowina
Grand Prince of Transylvania, Margrave of Moravia
Duke of Silesia, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Guastalla, Oświęcim and Zator, Teschen, Friaul, Dubrovnik and Zadar
Princely Count of Habsburg and Tyrol, of Kyburg, Gorizia and Gradisca
Prince of Trent and Brixen
Margrave of Upper and Lower Lusatia and Istria
Count of Hohenems, Feldkirch, Bregenz, Sonnenburg etc
Lord of Trieste, Kotor and the Windic March,
Grand Voivod of the Voivode of Serbia etc

Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta

Grand Master of the Order of the Golden Fleece (Austrian Branch)
Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen

Knight Grand Cross of the Imperial Austrian Order of Leopold

Knight of the Order of the Most Holy Annunciation (Savoy)

Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Januarius (Bourbon-Sicily)

Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Hubert (Wittelsbach-Bavaria)

Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Immaculate Conception of Vila Viçosa (Braganza-Portugal)

HIRH Archduke Otto of Austria
at the coronation of his father, HIM the Blessed Emperor Charles of Austria,
as King Charles IV of Hungary in 1916
alighting from the royal coach with his mother, HIM Empress Zita


Austria Erat In Orbe Ultimo

The Funeral Exequies


His Imperial and Royal Highness

Archduke Otto of Austria

occurs five times in three countries

Bavaria – The first requiem was initiated with a mass for His Imperial and Royal Highness Archduke Otto of Austria, Prince Royal of Hungary, celebrated on 9 July 2011 by Bishop Konrad Zdarsa of Augsburg in the St. Pius church in Pöcking, near the home of Archduke Otto.

Bavaria – The second requiem mass will be celebrated in the Theatine Church in Munich on 11 July 2011 at 10am by Cardinal Reinhard Marx.
The requiem will be screened on big screens at Odeonsplatz.

Following the requiem, the Prime Minister of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, hosts a reception for around 700 invited guests in the Kaisersaal of the Munich Residenz. Among the guests are former Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, members of the House of Wittelsbach, of the Order of Malta and the Order of the Golden Fleece, and other European royals and leading politicians.
Bavarian Television will broadcast the entire ceremony.

Austria – The third requiem will be celebrated in the pilgrimage town of Mariazell on 13 July 2011 at 2pm. Mariazell has for centuries been the most important pilgrimage town for the House of Habsburg, and large parts of the former Austria-Hungary.

Austria – The main funeral ceremony will take place in Vienna. The requiem will be celebrated in St Stephen's Cathedral on 16 July 2011 at 3pm, at which His Eminence, Christoph Cardinal Count von Schönborn will preside.
It will be followed by a funeral procession through the Innere Stadt of Vienna and the entombment of Archduke Otto and his wife, Archduchess Regina, in the Habsburg Imperial Crypt of the Imperial Capuchin Church of Vienna

Hungary – The last requiem mass is scheduled for Sunday, 17 July 2011 at 3pm, and will be celebrated in St Stephen's Basilica in Budapest, Hungary.

Finally Otto's heart will be interred in Pannonhalma Archabbey with only the close family present.

Tributes to Archduke Otto of Austria

EU – The President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, stated: "This morning, a European giant passed away [...] In the darkest hours of our continent, Otto von Habsburg has been a rock of truth and humanity. He resisted Nazism with the same determination he opposed the Communist regimes of the Eastern bloc".

Paneuropean Union flag Paneuropean Union – Zoltán Wodianer-Nemessuri, chair of the Paneuropean Union in Hungary, stated: "He deserves undying respect in Hungary (for doing) by far the most to ensure that the 1956 Hungarian Uprising should not fade from public memory".

Holy See – In a telegram addressed to Karl von Habsburg, Archduke of Austria, Pope Benedict XVI offered his condolences to the House of Habsburg. Pope Benedict XVI praised Otto von Habsburg as "a great European" who had worked tirelessly for peace, the coexistence of peoples and a just order in Europe. "In the hour of grief over this tragic loss, I associate myself with you and the entire imperial family in prayer for the deceased. In a long and fulfilling life, Archduke Otto was a witness to the eventful history of Europe", the Pope wrote.

HE Renato, Cardinal Martino remembered Otto as one of the twentieth century's "greatest defenders" of the Catholic faith and human dignity, stating that his father, "Blessed Karl of Austria, instilled in him from an early age that the office of a ruler is one of holy service and selfless sacrifice for the good of the peoples entrusted to him. It was a philosophy that would influence him all his life."

HE Christoph, Cardinal Count von Schönborn said that "Otto von Habsburg was without doubt one of the really great Europeans". Schörnborn regretted that it had taken so much time for Austria to show "the reasonable gratitude towards the House of Habsburg, to which Austria owes so incredibly much" and whose "political and cultural heritage we live on today."

Hungary – As the news emerged about Archduke Otto's death in Budapest, Hungarian lawmakers immediately held a minute of silence in parliament. The President of Hungary, Pál Schmitt, and the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, both sent their condolences to the Habsburg family.

An official government statement said that "his staunch support for the Hungarian cause and for Hungarian people brought him universal recognition and popularity in our country".

Austria – Austrian president Heinz Fischer labeled Archduke Otto a "loyal citizen of the republic of Austria", despite the fact that his family was forbidden to enter Austria until Archduke Otto formally renounced his claim to the throne.

Chancellor Werner Faymann said that "his life reflects the great turning points of the Austrian and European history".

Czech Republic – Foreign Minister His Serene Highness Prince Karel von Schwarzenberg praised Archduke Otto, stating that Otto had "courageously fought for the peoples imprisoned behind the Iron Curtain". Schwarzenberg remarked that Otto was the last person who had had a constitutional position "in the old Monarchy", stating that "we should never forget that he was the Crown Prince of Austria, Hungary, and Bohemia". Schwarzenberg also praised Archduke Otto's strong anti-Nazi stance, stating that the fact that the annexation of Austria was codenamed "Operation Otto", meant that "the Nazis knew Otto was their main enemy".

Slovenia – President Danilo Türk said: "Otto von Habsburg was one of the strongest advocates of a united Europe, a great man and a promoter of human freedom".

Latvia – Foreign Minister Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis sent his condolences to the German Foreign Minister, saying Archudke Otto's "involvement of spreading European democracy and the European idea will be remembered in Latvia".

Macedonia – President Gjorge Ivanov sent his letter of condolences to the Habsburg family, stating that Archduke Otto was a "friend of the Republic of Macedonia" and that "he never forgot about Macedonia".

Kosovo – President Atifete Jahjaga sent her condolences to the Habsburg court, stating that "with deep sorrow I heard the news of the death of His Majesty Archduke Otto von Habsburg. Today, Europe has lost a prominent politician, the great proponent of peace and a contributor to its union, while Kosovo has lost an irreplaceable friend who will be considered and remembered forever. On this painful occasion, on behalf of the Republic of Kosovo and its citizens, and on my personal behalf, I express my most heartfelt condolences and my deepest sympathy to the Court of Habsburg".

Croatia – Foreign Minister Gordan Jandroković sent his condolences to the Habsburg family, and described Archduke Otto as "a great political role model, a great European and a relentless promoter of human rights". He said that the Croatian people always had a great friend in Archduke Otto and that he will be especially remembered for his involvement and contribution to the international recognition of the Republic of Croatia.

Germany – Member of Parliament and President of the Federation of Expellees Erika Steinbach praised Archduke Otto as "a strong supporter of the refugees and a compassionate intermediary between the peoples of Europe".

Bavaria – The ruling Christian Social Union of Bavaria, the party which Otto represented as a MEP, issued a statement, stating, "the CSU mourns the death of His Imperial and Royal Highness Dr Otto von Habsburg". Prime Minister Horst Seehofer lauded Otto as "an advocate for Europe, a defender of freedom, and of the faith and our values". He also mentioned Archduke Otto's role in bringing down the Iron Curtain.

Austria – Former Chancellor of Austria Wolfgang Schüssel said that Archduke Otto "internalized like no other person the all-European idea and articulated it already at a time when there was still a dark shadow over the continent".

Othmar Karas, leader of the European Parliament delegation of the Austrian People's Party, said that "all of Europe is crying" at the news of Archduke Otto's death.

Archduke Otto speaks about the importance of religion in the world today and his life in politics

A 13-day period of mourning started in several countries formerly part of Austria-Hungary on 5 July 2011, when the body of His Imperial and Royal Highness Archduke Otto of Austria, Prince Royal of Hungary was laid in repose in the Church of St. Ulrich near his home in Pöcking, Bavaria.

The body will be transferred by train to the Catholic pilgrimage basilica in Mariazell on 12 July 2011 before being transferred by train to Vienna.

In accordance with the Habsburg tradition, his body and heart will be buried separately.

Archduke Otto will be entombed in the Imperial Crypt (Kapuzinergruft) together with his parents, wife and other family members.

His heart will be buried in Pannonhalma Archabbey in Hungary.

Archduke Otto was educated by monks from Pannonhalma Benedictine College.

He and his family were exiled from Austria and Hungary in 1918 and then again after his father attempted to re-gain the throne of Hungary but was stopped by Admiral von Horthy, the Regent, who later sided with Hitler.

The funeral is expected to be a major event in Vienna's history. Cardinal von Schönborn described it as "an historic moment for Austria", stating that it will be good for the country to "think of this great Habsburg in prayer and gratitude".

Otto's mother, Empress-Queen Zita, dies in 1989 and her state funeral was attended by 40,000 people.

Otto will be buried with military honours.

The funeral in Vienna will be broadcast live by Austrian Television and the requiem will also be screened at big screens at Stephansplatz.

The organisers are planning one of the longest funeral processions in history (some 1.5 km long) through the inner city.

Following the procession, Archduke Otto will be entombed in the Imperial Crypt.

According to Der Standard, "the Republic and the Church are preparing an imperial funeral".

A blessing from Pope Benedict XVI will be read during the requiem.

Archduke Otto will be the penultimate person to be entombed in the Imperial Crypt, where 145 other members of his family have been entombed since 1633. The Crypt is almost full.

In Bavaria, the ruling Christian Social Union of Bavaria are also organising the largest commemorations in the state since the death of the former Prime Minister, Franz Josef Strauss. The commemorations include the celebration of two requiems and a reception at the Munich Residenz.

Archduke Otto's coffin has been draped with the Habsburg imperial flag in black-yellow emblazoned with the imperial-royal coats of arms of Austria and Hungary in addition to the Habsburg family coat of arms.

Archduke Otto wrote that the funeral of Franz Joseph I of Austria in 1916 had been the most profound experience of his childhood; the 4-year old had attended the funeral dressed completely in white among all the adults dressed in black.

Archduke Otto's funeral is organised by his sons, Charles, head of the House of Habsburg, and George. Charles revealed that the planning for the funeral had started 12 years earlier, and that Otto had not involved himself in it, except for expressing the wish for a ceremony in Hungary in line with the family tradition.

The Imperial Crypt of the Habsburg family is each year visited by around 200,000 people. The Crypt was constructed ain accordance with the will of Empress Anna.

At the traditional Habsburg funeral ceremony the procession of mourners arrives at the gates of the Imperial Capuchin Crypt, and a Chamberlain knocks on the door. A Capuchin friar then asks "who demands entry?" The Chamberlain responds with the name and many titles of the imperial personage. The Capuchin friar then responds "we don't know him". The same procedure is repeated but with less titles on the second occasion. On the third occasion, the Chamberlain responds, answering "a sinful, mortal human being", the friar responds "then we know him" and the gates are opened and the dead imperial Habsburg is admitted into the Crypt. This ceremony was used at the funeral requiem in 1989 of Empress Zita of Austria, the mother of Archduke Otto.

The sarcophagus of Archduke Otto's wife, Archduchess Regina, which was interred in her family crypt in the castle of Veste Heldburg in Germany in 2010, will be transferred to Mariazell and then to the Imperial Crypt in Vienna at the same time at that of Archduke Otto. However, the heart of Archduchess Regina will remain in her family crypt in Veste Heldburg.

Requiescant in pace...

May they rest in peace...