The Imperial And Royal Dragon Court And Order – The Hungarian Court of the Dragon is currently registered at the High Court of Budapest as The Imperial and Royal Dragon Court and Order – Ordo Dragonis, Sárkány Rend, 1408. The Grand Chancellor is Chev. Dr. Gyorgy von varhegyi Lehr, Count of Oberberg, with Inner Court members including:
- HRH Prince Michael of Albany, Head of the Royal House of Stewart
- Grand Duke Peter Galicin of Carpathia
- Baron Wodiank Zoltan Nemessary
Bishop Bela Csernak is the Grand Prior in Transylvania and Chev. Baron Andreas G. von Lehr the Grand Prior in Germany.
Other notable members are:
- Count Monsignor Laszlo Esterházy
- Chev. Count Dr Janos szeki Teleki
- Chev. Monsignor Laszlo von galantal Esterházy, Papal Chaplain, Provost Parochus of the Mariaremete Cathedral in Budapest
In the English speaking world the Order resides within the Protectorate of the Royal House of Stewart, with the Grand Prior in Britain being Chev. Dr. Andrew von Zsigmond, Baron de Lemhény, of the Hungarian Consulate.
The Egyptian Academy
The original fraternity, which was resurrected in the 15th century to become the Hungarian Court of the Dragon, can first be identified as the Dragon Court of ancient Egypt under the patronage of the priest-prince Ankhfn-khonsu in about 2170 BC. It was later established more formally as a pharaonic institution by the 12th-dynasty Queen Sobeknefru (c.1785-82 BC) and its operation was much like that of a present day royal academy, being a unique assembly of science and scholarship.
The Court provided a foundation for priestly pursuits associated with the teachings of Thoth, which had prevailed from the time of King Raneb, a pharaoh of the 2nd dynasty and grandson of the biblical Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-10). Raneb reigned c.2852-13 BC, about three centuries before the Gizeh pyramids are reckoned to have been built.
The Dragon and the Grail
In those far-off times, the priests and temples were not solely associated with religion as were their later successors in other lands, but rather more with the duties of preserving and teaching the old wisdom. The temples were, therefore, places of work-ship, rather than of worship in the modern sense, and they incorporated the ‘al-khame’ (alchemical) workshops of the Master Craftsmen. It was the obligation of these Masters and the temple priests to maintain the spiritual welfare of the pharaohs, while preserving the heritage of a royal bloodline which progressed through the Dragon Queens of the matrilinear Grail succession.
It transpired, however, that much of the old wisdom was lost as the great empires of Persia, Macedonia and Rome took their successive holds in the Mediterranean world. Around a million valuable documents were destroyed by fire when Julius Caesar invaded Egypt in 48 BC, and many more hundreds of thousands were lost in AD 391 when the Christians destroyed the great Library of Alexandria.
The Hungarian Court and Order
Long afterwards, on 13 December 1408 (when Britain was in her Plantagenet era), the fraternal aspect of the Dragon Court was formally reconstituted by King Zsigmond von Luxembourg of Hungary at a time of wars and general political turmoil. Having inherited the ancient legacy in 1397, he drew up a pact with twenty-three royals and nobles who swore to observe ‘true and pure fraternity’ within the ‘Societas Draconis’ (Society of the Dragon) – a style which later became “Ordo Dragonis” (Hungarian: Sárkány Rend – Order of the Dragon), although the Court was by no means a conventional Order in the recognized chivalric sense.
Along with Zsigmond (Sigismund), other officers of the Court were his second wife Barbara Cilli (daughter of Duke Hermann II of Styria) and their daughter Elizabeth, thereby achieving an traditional overall standard of twenty-six members. Others prominent in the Societas Dragonis were King Vladislav Jagello of Poland, King Alfonse V of Aragon, Grand Prince Vitovd of Lithuania, and Duke Ernst of Austria, along with Christopher III, Duke of Bavaria and King of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Later, in 1439, Thomas de Mowbray, England’s Duke of Norfolk, was admitted to the Court.
HRH Prince Michael of Albany, President of the European Council of Princes, Head of the Royal House of Stewart, Grand Protector of The Imperial and Royal Dragon Court and Order
In popular terms, the Hungarian Court of the Dragon is perhaps best known for its association with Vlad II, 15th-century Prince of Wallachia, and his son Dracula. In this regard, the story begins in 1431 at the fortress of Sighisoara in Romania, where Vlad III was born into the Wallachian princely House of Barsarab the Great (1310-52). His father, Prince Vlad II, was the appointed military governor of Transylvania and, on 8 February in the year of his son’s birth, he was inducted into the Dragon Court by King Zsigmond of Hungary.
This installation was directly responsible for Vlad II’s style of Lord Dragonis, from which derived his sobriquet Dracul (the Dragon), while his son Vlad III (who inherited the Dragon office at his father’s pledge) became known as Dracula (son of the Dragon). In later times, the Irish author Bram Stoker made use of Prince Vlad’s nickname in his 1897 Gothic romance, ‘Dracula’, although creating an entirely fictitious character for his legendary Count (see ‘Realm of the Ring Lords’ – ISBN 1-86204-843-6, by Laurence Gardner).
The founding document of ‘Zsigmondus dei rex Hungaraie’ confirmed that members of the Court might wear the insignia of a dragon incurved into a circle, with a red cross – based upon the original emblem of the ‘Rosi-crucis’ (the Cup of the waters) which, in its various forms, had identified the Holy Grail from the 4th millennium BC. This original Insignia is still in use, along with a black mantle bearing a red cross design on centre back and front, while a customary gold dragon brooch is worn upon braid on left shoulder.
Emperor Zsigmond von Luxembourg, King of Bohemia and Hungary, by Antonio Pisanello, 1432
Shortly after this foundation, Zsigmond was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1411 and, although the Court’s ancient origins were steeped in pre-Christian lore, Pope Gregory XII was obliged to approve his Emperor’s establishment, for the nature of the Dragon is such that its princely tradition surmounts the mundane constraints of denominational dispute. After all, King David, Solomon and even Jesus were all pre-Christian dynasts of the line.
Chev. Dr. Andrew von Zsigmond, Baron de Lemhény of the Hungarian Consulate, Grand Prior in Britain for The Imperial and Royal Dragon Court and Order
In those days, the main concern of the Dragon Court was to help protect regional Europe against the invading sultans of the expanding Ottoman Empire. Modern historical writers are often inclined to perceive these Turkish invasions as being a matter of Muslims against Christians, but that was not the crux of the matter. The reality was that the Turks, like others before and after them, were building an ’empire’ and their greatest obstacle was the long-existing Byzantine Empire established by Rome, to which much of the Balkan region had been in some way affiliated. In practice, the religious differences were of secondary consequence and, in any event, Christianity was by no means supreme in countries like Hungary and Romania, which supported a strong pagan contingent.
It is in this tradition of weighing governmental and religious balances that The Imperial and Royal Dragon Court and Order persists today. It provides a fraternal rallying standard for those of all creeds and cultures who are dedicated to preserving the rights and values of others.
The Dragon Court Today
The non-joining Court and Order of Sárkány Rend 1408 is a closed establishment of selected ‘invitees’ who pursue the ancient virtues of chivalry, traditionally known as The Five Holy Obligations. They are:
1. Protection of the Earth
2. Upholding of Peace
3. Support of the Downtrodden
4. Defence of the Feminine
5. Pursuit of Knowledge
It is recognized that an increasing number of people are searching for the original, uncluttered roots of their faith and for their purpose in society. They are seeking more effective forms of administration to combat the all too apparent slide into social and moral decline. They are, in fact, questing for the Holy Grail. This quest for new enlightenment is considerably heightened by the new millennium and there is a widespread feeling that this should also present a new Renaissance – an era of rebirth wherein the precepts of the Grail Code are acknowledged and practised – the precepts of liberty, fraternity and equality.
It is in these respects that the Court of the Dragon is most active – supporting at all times the sovereignty of the individual and the responsibilities to protect life and liberty which are inherent within that sovereignty, while pursuing avenues of hitherto suppressed knowledge for the benefit of all. The primary aspects of the Order’s constitution are: Nobility, Equity and Justice.