Military order (religious society)

A military order (Latin: Militaris ordinis) is a chivalric order with military elements. Western military orders were originally established as Catholic religious societies; the first orders originated during the medieval Crusades with the stated purpose of protecting Christians against violent persecution by Islamic conquests in the Holy Land, which later evolved into serving as a standing army that defended the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Most members, often titled knights were laymen; however, they cooperated with the clergy, frequently taking religious vows such as poverty, chastity, and obedience, according to monastic ideals.

Prominent examples include the Knights Hospitaller and the Knights Templar, as well as the later Teutonic Knights in the Baltics.[1]

The Knights Templar, the largest and most influential of the military orders, was suppressed in the early fourteenth century; only a handful of orders were established and recognized afterwards. However, some persisted longer in their original functions, only later evolving into purely honorific and/or ceremonial chivalric orders with charitable aims in modern times, such as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and the Order of Saint John, the respective Catholic and Reformed successors of the Knights Hospitaller.[2] Notably, the Catholic mainstem of the Teutonic Order became exclusively monastic except a limited associated confraternity of honorary Knights; the Protestant Bailiwick of Utrecht of the Teutonic Order continues as a chivalric order.[3]

Ritterorden-Outremer-bis-1291
Indications of presence of military orders associated with the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Holy Land during the Crusades (in German).
Spain Reconquista cities
Reconquista of the main towns (per year) (in Spanish).
Teutonic Order 1410
Extent of the Teutonic Order in 1410.

History

In 1053, for the Battle of Civitate, the Knights of Saint Peter (Milites Sancti Petri) was founded as a militia by Pope Leo IX to counter the Normans.[4]

In response to the Islamic conquests of the former Byzantine Empire, numerous Catholic military orders were set up following the First Crusade. The founding of such orders suited the Catholic church's plan of channeling the devotion of the European nobility toward achieving the Church's temporal goals, and it also complemented the Peace and Truce of God.[1] The foundation of the Knights Templar in 1118 provided the first in a series of tightly organized military forces for the purpose of opposing Islamic conquests in the Holy Land and in the Iberian Peninsula — see the Reconquista — as well as Islamic invaders and pagan tribes in Eastern Europe which were perceived as threats to the Church's supremacy.

The first secularized military order was the Order of Saint George, founded in 1326 by King Charles I of Hungary, through which he made all the Hungarian nobility swear loyalty to him. Shortly thereafter, the Order of the "Knights of the Band" was founded in 1332 by King Alfonso XI of Castile. Both orders existed only for about a century.[5]

Purpose

The original features of the military orders were the combination of religious and military ways of life. Some of them, like the Knights Hospitaller and the Knights of Saint Thomas, also had charitable purposes and cared for the sick and poor. However, they were not purely male institutions, as nuns could attach themselves as convents of the orders. One significant feature of the military orders was that clerical brothers could be subordinate to non-ordained brethren.

In 1818, the orientalist Joseph von Hammer compared the Catholic military orders, in particular the Knights Templar, to certain Islamic models such as the Muslim sect of Assassins. In 1820, José Antonio Conde suggested they were modeled on the ribat, a fortified religious institution which brought together a religious or hospital way of life with fighting the enemies of Islam. However popular such views may have become, others have criticized this view, suggesting there were no such ribats around Outremer until after the military orders had been founded.

The role and function of the military orders extended beyond their military exploits in the Holy Land, Prussia, and the Baltics. In fact, they had extensive holdings and staff throughout Western Europe. The majority were laymen. They provided a conduit for cultural and technical innovation, such as the introduction of fulling into England by the Knights Hospitaller, and the banking facilities of the Knights Templar.

List of military orders

These are military orders listed chronologically according to their dates of foundation and extinction, sometimes approximate due to scarce sources, and/or repeated suppressions by Papal or royal authorities. Presently active institutions are listed in consideration with their legitimacy according to the International Commission on Orders of Chivalry.

They are divided into international and national according to their adherence, mission, and enrollment, disregarding the extent of eventual gradual geographical distribution outside of their region of concern.

International

Symbol Name Founded Founder Origin Recognition Protection Extinction Notes
Cross of the Knights Hospitaller Knights Hospitaller
(Sovereign Military Order of Malta and the Order of Saint John)
c.1099
1113
Gerard Thom Jerusalem, Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem 1113 by Pope Paschal II Grand Master (1113-),
Prince (1607-),
Cardinal (1630-)
Officially it still remains a Christian order, with a Catholic successor, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and a Protestant successor, the Order of Saint John, both of whom mutually recognise one another.[2]
Regional connections are also claimed by Freemason bodies.[6][7]
Croix de l Ordre du Saint-Sepulcre Order of the Holy Sepulchre c.1099
1113
1122
Godfrey of Bouillon Jerusalem, Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem 1113 by Pope Paschal II
1122 by Pope Calistus II
Kingdom of Jerusalem to 1291,
Custos of the Holy Land: 1230-1489,
Pope: 1489-
Awarded to prominent pilgrims. Reorganised as Sacred and Military Order of the Holy Sepulchre in 1496 by Pope Alexander VI. Reorganised by Pope Pius IX with the residential restoration of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem in 1847.[8] Known as the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem since 1931.
Cross of the Knights Templar Knights Templar
(Supreme Order of Christ)
(Order Of Christ)
c.1118 Bernard of Clairvaux,
Hugues de Payens
Jerusalem, Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem 1129 by Pope Honorius II
until 1312 by Pope Clement V
Pope: 1129-1312 1312 The Knights Templar order was reconstituted in Portugal after the Templars were abolished on 22 March 1312 by the papal bull,Vox in excelso, issued by Pope Clement V.[9][10] King Dinis I of Portugal created the Order of Christ (Portugal) in 1317 for those knights who survived their trials throughout Europe and was officially founded in 1319,[11][12][13] The property of the Templars was transferred to the Knights Hospitaller except in the Kingdoms of Castile, Aragon, and Portugal. In effect, causing the dissolution of the Templars by the rival order.[14][15]

Thus when being recognized, the Pope allowing only the "Order Of Christ" a Portuguese order and its Papal branch Supreme Order of Christ can claim to have any descent from the Templars, which is now used for Honorary State merits in Portugal and preserved as such.[14][16][17]

Lazarus cross Order of Saint Lazarus
(Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus)
c.1118 Jerusalem, Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem 1255 by Pope Alexander IV
until 1489 by Pope Innocent VIII
King Fulk of Jerusalem: 1142
Pope: circa 1255-1572
House of Savoy: 1572-
House of France: 1609-1830, 2004-
1489,
1572,
1609,
1830
(1856)
Italian branch merged 1572 with the Order of Saint Maurice to form the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus under the Royal House of Savoy, still extant.

In 1609, King Henry IV of France linked it in France administratively to the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel to form the Royal Military and Hospitaller Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem united, which remained listed as of royal protection in the French Royal Almanac until 1830.[18] Royal protection of the Royal house of France renewed 2004.

National

Symbol Name Founded Founder Origin Recognition Protection Extinction Notes
Sigillo Altopascio Order of Saint James of Altopascio 1075
(1084)
Matilda of Tuscany Altopascio, Tuscany, Holy Roman Empire 1239-1459,
but mentioned in a Papal bull 1198 of Pope Innocent III
Properties of the hospice of "Altopassus" in Italy confirmed in 1244 by Emperor Frederick II 1459,
1587,
1672
Primarily provided safety and protection to Italian pilgrims to the Holy Land and Camino de Santiago. Merged with the Order of Saint Stephen in 1587 by Pope Sixtus V at request of Grand Duke of Tuscany. In France absorbed into the Order of Saint Lazarus in 1672.
Ordem Avis Order of Aviz 1146
(1128)
Avis, Portugal Received a grant in 1129 by Theresa, Countess of Portugal
House of Aviz: 1385-1580
1789 Secularised 1789. Statutes revised repeatedly together with the other Portuguese orders of merit, during the First Republic (1910–1926), then in 1962, and again in 1986.
Cross wing saint michael Order of Saint Michael of the Wing 1147
(1171)
(1828/
1848/
1986)
King Afonso I of Portugal Santarém, Portugal First statutes approved in 1171 by Pope Alexander III House of Braganza: 2001- 1732 Abandoned by 1732,[19] restored[20] by King Miguel I in 1828[21] during his brief rule before losing the Liberal Wars to his brother King Pedro IV,[22] revived 1848[20]/1986 [23]
Cross Calatrava Order of Calatrava 1158 Raymond of Fitero Calatrava la Vieja, Kingdom of Castile, Spain 1164 by Pope Alexander III House of Bourbon 1838 by secularisation King Charles III of Spain requested old orders to contribute to his new order in his name (1775), which led to dissolution. Confiscated by King Joseph (1808), re-established by Ferdinand VII at the Restoration (1814). Secularised in 1838.
Croix de l'Ordre Hospitalier du Saint-Esprit Order of the Holy Ghost 1161 Guy de Montpellier Provence, France ca. 1161–June 16, 1216 by Pope Innocent III in Santo Spirito in Sassia, Rome 1692/
1700/
20th century
Historically both religious and chivalric. In 1692 in France, King Louis XIV merged it with his own Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The remaining organisation was edicted in 1700 as purely religious order.[24] Offshoots of the order in France survived into the 20th century.
Aubrac sceau Order of Aubrac 1162 Aubrac, France 18th century Disappeared during the French Revolution in late in the 18th century.
Cross Santiago Order of Santiago 1170 León or Uclés in Castile, Spain By Papal bull 5 July 1175 by Pope Alexander III House of Bourbon
Badge of the Order of Alcantara Order of Alcántara 1177 Alcántara, Extremadura, Spain
Cross of order of mountjoy Order of Mountjoy 1180 Holy Land 1221 Merged into the Order of Calatrava.
Crux Ordis Teutonicorum Teutonic Knights 1190 Acre, Israel The main stem of the Teutonic Knights converted into a purely Catholic religious order since 1929.
The Bailiwick of Utrecht of the Teutonic Order separated from the Roman Catholic mainstem during the time of the Reformation and continues as a Protestant chivalric order.[3]
Cross saint thomas 1236 Hospitallers of Saint Thomas of Canterbury at Acre 1191 1538
Cross of order of mountjoy Order of Monfragüe 1196 1221 Merged into the Order of Calatrava.
Croix Gueules Order of Sant Jordi d'Alfama 1201 15th century Early 15th century, merged into the Order of Montesa.
SwordBrothers Livonian Brothers of the Sword 1202 1236 Merged into the Teutonic Order as the Order of Livonia, disbanded 1561.
Dobrzynski braty Order of Dobrzyń 1216 Dobrzyń Land, Poland 1240 Small number, maximum 35 knights. Battled by the Prussians, around 1235 most knights joined the Teutonic Order. In 1237 the rest of the brothers reinforced Drohiczyn by order of Konrad. Last mentioned when Drohiczyn was captured by Prince Daniel of Kiev in 1240.
Cross of MJC Militia of the Faith of Jesus Christ 1221 1285 Note: Symbol that of the Dominican Order. Merged into the Third Order of Saint Dominic.
Cross monreal Military Order of Monreal 1231 King Alfonso the Battler Monreal del Campo, Aragon 1143
1150
Order of the Faith and Peace Order of the Faith and Peace 1231 1273
Cross with red star Knights of the Cross with the Red Star 1233 Agnes of Bohemia Bohemia 1237 by Pope Gregory IX
Confirmed 1292 by ambassador of Pope Nicholas IV
Mainly hospitals, in Bohemia still existing.
Militia of Jesus Christ Militia of Jesus Christ 1233 Bartolomeo da Vicenza Parma 22 December 1234 by Pope Gregory IX. 1250s Disappeared mid-13th century.
Cross frati gaudenti Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary 1261 Loderingo degli Andalò, Catalano dei Malavolti, Ugolino Lambertini Bologna 23 December 1261 by Pope Urban IV 1556
Emblema OrdendSantaMariadEspaña Order of Saint Mary of Spain 1270 1280 Merged into the Order of Santiago.
Cross montessa Order of Montesa 1317
OrderOfCristCross Order of the Knights of Our Lord Jesus Christ
(Knights Templar)
1317
1917
Portugal 1789
1910
Secularized 1789.
Insignia Hungary Order Ordo Draconum History Order of the Dragon 1408 Sigismund of Luxemburg Hungary 1475s Disappeared late 15th century.
Cross of saint Maurice Order of Saint Maurice 1434 Amedeo VIII of Savoy Château de Ripaille, Thonon-les-Bains, Savoy 1572 Merged with the Order of Saint Lazarus in Italy in 1572 by Pope Gregory XIII into Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, considered the legitimate successor of both by the ICOC.
Ordem Militar da Torre e Espada Order of the Tower and Sword 1459 King Afonso V of Portugal Portugal Revived 1808 by Prince Regent John, later John VI of Portugal. Since the end of the monarchy in 1910, all military orders abolished except the Order of the Tower and Sword, with President of Portugal ex officio its Grand Master.
Order of Our Lady of Bethlehem Order of Our Lady of Bethlehem 1459 Pope Pius II Lemnos, Byzantine Empire 18 January 1459 by Pope Pius II 1460 Founded in 1453 by Pope Pius II after the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire, to defend the island of Lemnos, soon recaptured by the Turks, thus rendered useless and suppressed almost as soon as founded.[25][26]
311St.Georgs Ritterorden Einsetzung durch Papst Paul II Order of Saint George of Carinthia 1469 Emperor Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor In 1469 by Pope Paul II Abolished 26 July 1598
(1732?)
Croix constantinien Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George 1522-1545
(1520?)(1550?)
Angeli Comneni family Addressed in 1550 by Pope Julius III
Cardinal protector in 1910 by Pope Pius X
Decrees by King Philip III of Spain, Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor on 7 November 1630 Appears to have been established between 1520 and 1545, with certain statutes dated 1522 by the Angeli Comneni family. Its Grand Master Andrea Angelo Flavio Comneno was addressed first in 1550 by Papal bull Quod Aliasla by Pope Julius III.
Cross of saint stephen Order of Saint Stephen Pope and Martyr 15 March 1561 Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany Tuscany 1 October 1561 by Pope Pius IV Founded as Benedictine order by Cosimo I de' Medici,.[27][28] dedicated to the martyred Pope Stephen I and the victories at the Battle of Montemurlo in 1537 and the Battle of Marciano (Scannagallo) in 1554. Fought the Ottoman Turks and pirates in the Mediterranean Sea. Abolished in 1859 by the annexation of Tuscany to the Kingdom of Sardinia.[29] Present, Catholic continuation claimed by Archduke Sigismund, Grand Duke of Tuscany.[30][31]

Other

Chivalric and/or military orders that could qualify depending on definition.

Modern development

A few of the institutions survived into honorific and/or charitable organizations, including the papal orders of knighthood.

While other contemporary Catholic societies may share some military organizational features and ideology, such as the Society of Jesus,[32] they differ from the medieval military orders in the absence of military purposes or potential.

Modern orders may still be founded explicitly as a military order; the Military Order of Loyalty (Spanish: Orden Militar de la Constancia) was founded in 1946 by the Spanish protectorate in Morocco. Awarded to both Spanish and Moroccan military officers and soldiers, the single-class order was abolished in 1956.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Crawford, Paul (1996). "The Military Orders: Introduction". The ORB: On-line Reference Book for Medieval Studies. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b McCreery, Christopher (2008). The Maple Leaf and the White Cross: A History of St. John Ambulance and the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in Canada. Dundurn. p. 187. ISBN 9781770702806. It should be noted that there are only five legitimate and mutually recognized Orders of St. John that continue to carry on the historic work of the Knights Hospitaller. These are the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jersusalem of Rhodes and of Malta (The Order of Malta), Die Balley Brandenburg des Ritterlichen Ordens Sankt Johannis vom Spital zu Jerusalem, commonly known as the Johanniter Orden (Germany), Johanniter Orde in Nederland (Netherland), Johanniterorden I Sverige (Sweden), and the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (Order of St. John, sometimes referred to as the Most Venerable Order). In 1961 an allaince was formed between the Most Venerable Order, the Johanniter ORden, Johanniter Orde in Nederland, and Johanniterorden I Sverige; these four orders compromise the Alliance of the Orders of St. John.
  3. ^ a b Riley-Smith, Jonathan Simon Christopher (1999). The Oxford History of the Crusades. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780192853646. Teutonic knights are still to be found only in another interesting survival, Ridderlijke Duitse Orde Balije van Utrecht (The Bailiwick of Utrecht of the Teutonic Order). Like the Hospitaller Bailiwick of Brandenburg, this commandery turned itself into a noble Protestant confraternity at the time of the Reformation.
  4. ^ Template:Ref-Demurger-Templiers
  5. ^ Michael Jones ed., The New Cambridge Medieval History, vol. 6: c. 1300 - c. 1415, (Cambridge, 1998), p. 209.
  6. ^ Beyond the Craft by Keith B Jackson, published 1980 by Lewis Masonic (Terminal House, Shepperton, Middlesex, TW17 8AS, England), and subsequent later revised editions. Current (5th) edition (2005) is ISBN 0-85318-248-5.
  7. ^ The Orders of Saint John Joint Declaration dated 14 October 1987.
  8. ^ "Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem". Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  9. ^ Robert Ferguson (26 August 2011). The Knights Templar and Scotland. History Press Limited. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-7524-6977-5.
  10. ^ Jochen Burgtorf; Paul F. Crawford; Helen J. Nicholson (28 June 2013). The Debate on the Trial of the Templars (1307–1314). Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 298. ISBN 978-1-4094-8102-7.
  11. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Order of the Knights of Christ" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  12. ^ Matthew Anthony Fitzsimons; Jean Bécarud (1969). The Catholic Church today: Western Europe. University of Notre Dame Press. p. 159.
  13. ^ Helen J. Nicholson (1 January 2004). The Crusades. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-313-32685-1.
  14. ^ a b José Vicente de Bragança, The Military Order of Christ and the Papal Croce di Cristo
  15. ^ Martin, pp. 140–142.
  16. ^ "Note of Clarification from the Secretariat of State". news.va. Pontifical Council for Social Communication. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 27 November 2012. Vatican City,(VIS)-
  17. ^ Noonan, Jr., James-Charles (1996). The Church Visible: The Ceremonial Life and Protocol of the Roman Catholic Church. Viking. p. 196. ISBN 0-670-86745-4.
  18. ^ Moeller, Charles. "The Military Orders." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 22 Jun. 2015
  19. ^ Anderson, James (1732). Royal genealogies: or, The genealogical tables of emperors, kings and princes, from Adam to these times; in two parts. London: James Bettenham. pp. ix. Retrieved 9 December 2011. St Michael's Wing in Portugal founded by the said King Alphonse 1165 or 1171 after his obtaining a notable Victory over Moors and Alberto King of Seville in which Battle MICHAEL the Arch Angel is said to appear on the right Side of Alphonse and fight against them. This Order is now out of use. (1732)
  20. ^ a b Almeida, Gomes Abrunhosa Marques de and Manuel Ângelo (2007). Precedentes histórico-teóricos dos regionalismos dos Açores e da Galiza. Santiago de Compostela: Univ Santiago de Compostela. p. 187.
  21. ^ Cheke, Marcus (1969). Carlota Joaquina, queen of Portugal (Reprinted. ed.). Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-8369-5040-3.
  22. ^ Jenks, George C (1911). Monarchs in Exile, The Bookman vol. 32. New York: Dodd, Mead and Co. p. 273.
  23. ^ Sainty, Guy Stair (2006-11-22). "Royal Order of Saint Michael of the Wing". rec.heraldry. Retrieved 2011-01-21. While the Duke of Braganza is the unquestioned heir and successor of Dom Miguel, the institution of the Royal Brotherhood of St Michael of the Wing is better seen as a modern memorial revival of the original institution than any kind of continuation of the Miguelist award.
  24. ^ Orders of the Holy Ghost - Catholic Encyclopedia article
  25. ^ Besse, Jean. "Bethlehemites." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 23 Jun. 2015
  26. ^ Trollope, Thomas Anthony. An encyclopædia ecclesiastica, 1834
  27. ^ Pasquale Villari, '"The Medici" (1911). Hugh Chisolm (ed.). The Encyclopædia Britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information, Volume 18 (11 ed.). New York: Encyclopædia Britannica. p. 36. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  28. ^ Woodhouse, Frederick Charles (1879). The military religious orders of the Middle Ages: the Hospitallers, the Templars, the Teutonic knights, and others. With an appendix of other orders of knighthood: legendary, honorary, and modern. New York: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. p. 338. The members followed the rule of St Benedict and the Popes granted them the same privileges as those enjoyed by the Knights Hospitallers
  29. ^ Carmichael, Montgomery (1901). In Tuscany: Tuscan Towns, Tuscan Types and the Tuscan Tongue. New York: E P Dutton. p. 173. The Order was swept away by the French Revolution but was revived again in a modified form in 1817. The Italian Revolution once more swept it away beyond hope of revival on 16 November 1859 and its Church and property became the property of the State. Alas that modern Italy should not be a little more tender of the memories of her past glories.
  30. ^ Bernardini, Rodolfo (1990). Il Sacro Militare Ordine di Santo Stefano Papa e Martire (in Italian). Pisa: Familiare della Casa Asburgo Lorena.
  31. ^ Cardinale, Hyginus Eugene (1983). Orders of knighthood awards and the Holy See. Gerrards Cross: Van Duren. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-905715-13-1.
  32. ^ Harro Höpfl (2004), Jesuit Political Thought: The Society of Jesus and the State, c. 1540–1630, Cambridge; p. 25

Further reading

  • Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Military Orders" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  • Nicholson, Helen J. The Knights Hospitaller (2001).
  • Riley-Smith, Jonathan. Hospitallers: The History of the Order of St John (1999).
  • Morten, Nicholas Edward. The Teutonic Knights in the Holy Land 1190-1291 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2009)
  • Burman, Edward (1988). The Templars: Knights of God. Inner Traditions/Bear.
  • Forey, Alan John. The Military Orders: From the Twelfth to the Early Fourteenth Centuries. *(Basingstoke: Macmillan Education, 1992)
Christian militias in Iraq and Syria

A number of Christian militias in Iraq and Syria have been formed since the start of the Syrian Civil War and Iraq Civil War in the 2010s. The militias are composed of fighters from the various Syriac/Assyrian, Arab and Armenian Christian communities in Syria, and are also found amongst Assyrian communities in neighbouring northern Iraq; a number of foreign Christian fighters from the Western world have also joined these militias.Before the war, as much as 10% of the population in Syria was Syriac/Assyrian, Armenian or Arab Christian, and together they formed one of the largest Christian minorities in the middle east. In the early days of the civil war, some Christian communities were armed by the Syrian Government and Kurds to defend themselves against what were seen as threatening sectarian Sunni Islamic rebels.

The Syriac Military Council, a Syriac-Assyrian Christian militia allied with the Kurdish YPG, is the largest Christian militia in the Syrian civil war. By comparison with some of the other armed groups in Syria, Christian militias are usually not large and dependent on the Kurdish or Syrian government aid. Maronite Christians in Lebanon have also formed militias to fight against ISIS incursions from Syria, over the border, and the Assyrians in Iraq have formed well armed militias in the north to protect Assyrian communities, towns and villages in the Assyrian homeland and Nineveh plains.These formed defence units called Popular Committees. The popular committees do not exist as standalone units, and have now been combined into the Syrian National Defence force, under its formal structure. After the spread of the civil war, and the rise of the Islamist factions, many Christian civilians have fled, in particular in fear of ISIL, who have violently persecuted Christians in the areas that have come under their control. Some of those that have stayed had formed militias, largely to protect their own populations from ISIL and other hardline Sunni Islamist factions such as al-Qaeda's Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham, and Jund al-Aqsa. While initially forming to protect their own territory, some of the larger militias have gone on the offensive. Christian Militias in Syria either support the Government, or work side by side with the Kurdish forces in Rojava.

Orders
(by traits)
Other distinctions
Jurisdictions
People, titles, and styles
Ceremonies, and events
Regalia, and insignia
Related organisations
Related concepts
Levant
Greece
Baltic
Patriarchates
(by order
of precedence
)
History
Great Doctors
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(Latin Mass)
See also
Orders
of the Holy See
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under protection
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(with distinctions)
Other distinctions
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distinctions

(1870, 1954, 1977)
See also

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