of St. Hubert
(Sankt Hubertus Orden von Wotanberg)
Serving God by protecting
and caring for His people.
The Wotanberger Order of St. Hubert is both
a Grand Ducal and a religious order founded c. 1100 by
Siegfried I, Grand Duke of Wotanberg. It was originally founded
to serve the cause of Christ by carrying out military as well
as hospitaler functions in support of the Crusades in the Holy
Land. The Order came to play a not insignificant role in the defence
of the Christian settlements in Palestine and Syria which had
been set up by the Crusaders. While never compromising its military
function, the Order has never neglected its hospitaler functions.
Driven from Palestine with the rest of the
Catholics in 1291, many of the members of the Order returned to
Europe. Although most of these returned to the "motherhouse"
in Castle St. Hubert in Weselstein, Wotanberg, some joined one
the Order's many non-Wotanbergers to establish a new "daughterhouse"
in his family's castle perched atop Rothenberg ("Red Mountain")
overlooking the fabled Rhine River. This castle was soon expanded
and renamed in honor of the Order's patron saint.
A sizable contingent of the
Orders members remained overseas and were reinforced from the
two priories in Europe as needed from time to time. This contingent
assisted other larger--and more famous--orders in the defence
of Christianity in the Mediterranean, serving on both the islands
of Rhodes and Malta. In 1649,
shortly after the Church of Wotanberg was formally established
as an independent national Church after end of the Thirty Years
War, this group was called back to Wotanberg. (Among the artifacts
and treasures it brought back were a pair
of black jewel-encrusted weasels known as the "Maltese Weasels".
These artifacts may have been the inspiration for the motion picture
of a similar name.)
From 1549 to the present, the Order has continued to carry
out its hospitaler and military functions, as well as other ones,
in and from its motherhouse in Wotanberg, its daughterhouse at
Rothenberg (except from 1939-1945 when the order was expelled
from Germany), St. Hubertus Hospital in Trevorstein, and other
facilities in Wotanberg. (See "The Present Day Work of the
Order" below.) In addition, two other daughterhouses and
various medical facilities are maintained in both the Seiber
Islands and the Mustela Islands.
For nearly two centuries, the Order has
been associated with a religious and nursing order known as the
Sisters of St. Elizabeth (of Hungary), whose members have long
served alongside those of the Order at St. Hubertus Hospital.
In 1939--when in response to the Grand Duchy's permitting women
to enlist in its Armed Forces, membership in the Order was opened
up to women--the members of of the Sisters of St. Elizabeth were
invited to become members of the Order of St. Hubert as well.
The Membership and Leadership of the Order
Since the Order's reorganization in 1939,
there are three classes of members of the Order.
Members of the first class--Brüder
or Schwestern (Brothers or Sisters)--are professed
religious, members of an order of the Church of Wotanberg, who
have taken the usual monastic vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.
There are only about 120 of them.
The vast majority of members (c. 2500) are
either members of the second class--Ritter (Knights) or
Damen (Dames)--or of the third class--Jäger or
Jägerinnen (Hunters) or Hospitaliter or Hospitaliterinnen
(Hospitalers) depending on the type of service chosen--are
generally laypersons, who in other orders might be called confratres
or tertiaries. One does not have to be
a member of the Church of Wotanberg to belong to the Order as
a member in the second and third classes, but membership is the
Order is restricted to citizens of the Grand Duchy. (Except, of
course, for honorary memberships occasionally conferred on foreigners!)
Although membership in the second class is
quite selective, it has for centuries been based "not on
nobility of blood, but on nobility of spirit." For example,
recently admitted Knights and Dames include a gardener at the
Order's hospital in Trevorstein and two of its kitchen staff.
Although many (c. 200) of the members
of the second and third classes carry out the work of the Order
on a full-time, paid basis, many of its services on carried out
on a part-time, unpaid basis. When not performing services on
behalf of the Order, all members are still expected and required
to maintain the ideals of the Order.
Members of the Order also include ordained
priests and deacons of the Church of Wotanberg who, regardless
of which class they belong, are denominated Kapläne ("Chaplains") .
The Head of the Order is the Hochmeister/in ("Grand Master/Mistress") . The Hochmeister/in is a Brüder or Schwester,
elected for life by those members of the Order who are also
members of the Church of Wotanberg. With his installation, the
Hochmeister/in is also ordained as an abbot/ess. Although
elected for life, the Hochmeister/in can, however, be removed
by either the Grand Duke (or Grand Duchess Regnant) of Wotanberg
or the Archbishop of Wotanberg.
The Hochmeister is assisted by the
Generalrat ("General Council") a Council on which
sit, the Grand Duke (or Grand Duchess Regnant) of Wotanberg serving
ex officio as Rittmeister (or Rittmeisterin)
("Captain of the Knights"), the Generalsekretär
("General Secretary") , the Generalökonom
("General Treasurer"), the Jägermeister/in ("Master/Mistress
of the Hunters"), and the Hospitalitermeister/in ("Master/Mistress
of the Hospitalers").
The Present Day Work of the Order
Throughout its history, the Order has remained
committed to its hospitaler functions, and operates hospitals
for the poor both in Wotanberg and the Seiber Islands, provides
ambulance services in both of those countries, and has a number
of medical units available to assist victims of both natural
and man-made disasters around the world. St. Elizabeth of Hungary
is a special patron saint for those performing these services.
The Order's military functions include providing
Chaplains to the armed forces of the three members of the Wotanberger Commonwealth, maintaining various
special units to support that nation's peacekeeping operations
and provide security for facilities and operations both of the
Order and the Church of Wotanberg. Especially important in this
regard are the Order's mine-clearing teams. (For additional
information regarding international efforts to rid the world of
the approximately 120 million landmines lurking in the ground,
please click here.)(Note: The members of these units are
armed with small arms and, in some cases, light anti-aircraft
and anti-tank weapons. However, they operate under very strict
rules of engagement which preclude their use of weapons except
in self-defence or the defence of others.)In addition, many of the members of
to the armed forces of the three members of the Wotanberger
Commonwealth, are members of the order. St. Joan of Arc is
a special patron saint for those performing these services.
Other important Christian missions undertaken
by the Order today include:
Christian scholarship and contemplation,
especially at the Order's priory at Rothenberg. (Today, although
only a few Brothers and Sisters remain in residence there, Rothenberg's
St. Hubert's Castle become a spiritual retreat for persons of
many faiths. Revenue generated from this and other uses of the
Castle support the other activities of the Order.) The special
motto of the members carrying out these activities is "The
tree of knowledge is the cross of Christ". St. Brigid is
their special patron saint.
In keeping with St. Hubert's status as
a patron saint of domestic animals and the Order's traditional
hospitaler functions, the Order operates a veterinary hospital
and ambulance services in Wotanberg. The special motto of the
members carrying out these services is "Serving God by protecting
and caring for all of His Creatures." St. Francis of Assisi
is their special patron saint.
Further, in keeping with St. Hubert's
status as a patron saint of hunting, the Order assists the governments
of all three members of the Wotanberger Commonwealth,
in ensuring that all hunting in those countries is carried out
in a safe and humane way and in keeping with our role as stewards
of God's creation. Services in this regard include providing
hunter safety courses and assisting governmental Jägermeister . The special
motto of the members carrying out these services--and of all
members of the Order who hunt--is "Das ist des Jägers' Ehrenschild, daß er
beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch Jagd, wie
fich's gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt."