Welcome to the official website of
the Association of Papal Orders in Great Britain of Pius IX, Saint Gregory and Saint Sylvester.
Founded some fifty years ago, the Association of Papal Orders in Great Britain consists of members who have been awarded Papal Knighthoods. Currently there are five Pontifical Orders - The Supreme Order of Christ, The Pontifical Order of the Golden Spur, The Pontifical Order of Pius IX, The Pontifical Order of Saint Gregory the Great and the Pontifical Order of Pope Saint Sylvester.
Today, British members are traditionally members of the Pontifical Orders of Saint Gregory the Great and Pope Saint Sylvester with the previous Orders being reserved for Sovereigns and Heads of State or high ranking government or diplomatic officials. Currently the only exception to this rule is Lord Hunt of Tanworth, who was appointed by Pope John Paul II as a Knight Commander of the Order of Pius IX.
The Pontifical Orders represent one of the highest and most prestigious distinctions which the Pope, as Supreme Pontiff and Head of the Roman Catholic Church and as Sovereign of the Vatican City State, can bestow on an individual. Such awards are made to lay individuals, both males and female, of the Roman Catholic faith as well as to those of other Christian denominations and of other faiths. Such awards are granted in recognition of an individual’s pre-eminent service to their faith, community, or the work of the Holy See on a local, national and international level.
His Eminence Cormac, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster, is the Association’s Honorary President. His Grace The Duke of Norfolk, KG, GCVO, CB, CBE, MC DL, Earl Marshal of England, and Knight Grand Cross of the Pontifical Order of Pius IX, held this post up until his death in June 2004.
The current Chairman of the Association is The Rt Hon Sir Swinton Thomas, KCSG, who succeeded the late British diplomat Sir Paul Wright, KCMG, OBE, following his death in June 2005.
The Honorary Secretary of the Association Mr Leo Simmonds, KCSG, KCHS.
Recipients of all Pontifical Orders may apply for membership of the Association should they wish to.