Responsibilities and Uniforms
There are no particular duties pertaining to membership of the Pontifical Orders but some fifty years ago the late Mr Paul Kelly KCSG suggested that Holy Mass should be offered every year in Saint Gregory’s Chapel in London’s Westminster Cathedral, for the repose of the souls of deceased Knights. The authorities agreed and from the beginning arose the Association of Papal Knights in Great Britain which flourishes today.
The late Mr Alan Rye KCSG became the first Honorary Secretary and as members increased, the Mass was transferred to the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and Saint Gregory in Warwick Street W1, which is usually followed by an annual dinner. These events take place on a date near to 3 September - the Feast of Saint Gregory.
In 1980 HE Archbishop Bruno Heim, then Apostolic Delegate and later Pro Nuncio to Great Britain, wrote to say that he had received many requests from Knights of Saint Sylvester for an association similar to the Knights of Saint Gregory, but that he would prefer one organisation to include members of both Orders. In due course the suggestion was put into effect and His Grace The Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshall of England, agreed to be the Association’s President. Following his death, His Eminence Cormac, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, graciously succeeded him.
Knights of all the Pontifical Orders are entitled to wear a uniform corresponding to the Order to which they belong. Dames are able to obtain a cape. It is important to remember that for recipients of Papal Honours it is a personal honour and as such members have no particular obligations except those just described. The uniform, which was much in evidence at the public ceremonies when His late Holiness Pope John Paul II visited Great Britain in 1982, is normally worn on only a few occasions each year. The wearing of a uniform is not compulsory. Those wishing to acquire one should contact the Honorary Secretary of the Association of the Pontifical Orders who will advise them.
In Great Britain recipients of the Pontifical Order of Saint Gregory the Great and of Pope Saint Sylvester are able to obtain a uniform corresponding to the Order and grade to which the recipient is entitled to wear. For the Order of Saint Gregory the Great it is a dark green with silver lace, and for the Order of Pope Saint Sylvester it is black with gold lace. Each uniform is slightly more embroidered for the higher ranks. The uniform is also accompanied by a cocked hat and a dress sword.
The insignia consists of an eight pointed white enamel cross with an image of Pope Saint Sylvester (314-335 AD), suspended from a black and red ribbon.