Wednesday 16 February 2011

40th Grand Master - Philippe de Courcillon, Marquis de Dangeau

Philippe de Courcillon, marquis de Dangeau,

Grand Master of the Order of St. Lazarus and Mount Carmel, by Hyacinthe Rigaud.

On 24 December 1693 King Louis XIV chose Philippe de Courcillon, Marquis de Dangeau as Grand Master of the united orders of St Lazarus and Our Lady of Mount Carmel. In a religious ceremony Dangeau then swore loyalty to the king on 18 December 1695. His reception as head of the Order was celebrated with great pomp on 29 January in a church in Versailles. The new Grand Master sought to raise the prestige of the order.

Louis XIV receives the oath of Dangeau as Grand Master, 18 Dec 1695, by Antoine Pesey.
(source: Ministère de la Culture, base de données Joconde.)

Dangeau's major innovation was the establishment of family (sometimes styled hereditary) Commanderies, actually called "Gradual, Masculine and Perpetual Commanderies" in an act that received royal approval on 9 December 1693. Members of the Order, with the agreement of the Grand Master and Council, were permitted to establish a family property (or donation of funds) as a Commandery. Knights who made such donations were regarded as "Founder Commanders". [Commandeur fondateur] Certain of these Commanderies could be established with the right of succession to a Commandery, and heirs of such Commanderies who could prove their Catholic faith could apply for the Cross of the united Orders with no further requirements. Inheritance of a "gradual and perpetual" Commandery did not automatically confer knighthood in Saint Lazarus as the would-be knight still had to apply for the Cross and be received as a member according to the forms required in the Statutes. Six "gradual and perpetual" Commanderies were established initially, of which one ceased to exist with the renunciation of its founder. The first was that of the des Courtils family, the Commandery of La Motte (1701), then that of Saint François, of the Bailleul family (1710), that of Saint Charles, of the Bory family (1711), the fourth that of Saint Michel de Bruxelles (1712), and the fifth that of Saint Anthony of Castille, founded in 1712 by a Spanish nobleman. That of Saint Eulalie of Barcelona, founded in 1709, converted to "gradual and perpetual" in 1711, ceased to be such when the Commander, Don Juan Graëls, renounced the right to nominate a successor in 1714.

During Dangeau's administration there were four hundred and thirty five new members received, with many being unable to make the proofs for Knight of "Justice". Dangeau was succeeded in 1720 by Prince Louis de Bourbon, Duc d'Orléans, the son and heir of the French Regent, Philippe, Duke of Chartres.

Arms of Philippe de Courcillon, Marquis de Dangeau (1693 - 1720)
He bore: Argent, a Bend lozengy Gules, in chief a Lion rampant Sable.