The Order of Saint Stanislas...
…was established on the feast of the Bishop and Martyr Saint Stanislas, on the 8th of May 1765, by King Stanislas II Augustus Poniatowski, the last native king of the Commonwealth of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
The Order of Saint Stanislas was established in the spirit of the age of enlightenment, to collect “enlightened men” around the king. The goal was to encourage the development of a modern socially enlightened country.
To find a link between the medieval and new enlightened Poland, King Stanislas Poniatowski choose his titular saint, the bishop and martyr Saint Stanislas, the old patron of Krakow and Poland, as the patron of his new order. To encourage the new knights, he choose the motto “Praemiando incitat” what means “encourage by rewarding”.
It was a single class order and the highest award and honor after the order of the White Eagle, which was previous established in 1325.
After the third and last partition of the old Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1795, between Russia, Austria and Prussia, the Order of Saint Stanislas fell into abeyance.
As a result of Napoleon’s victories, and freed from occupation, the central area of Poland was created into the ‘Duchy of Warsaw’ under Frederick Augustus I King of Saxony, who became the second Grand Master, renewing the bestowal of the Order of Saint Stanislas. He added a second white stripe to the border of the sash.
Czar Alexander I, as the third Grand Master of the Order divided the Order into four classes and the condition to receive a higher class was to have already received a lower class.
With the Russian Revolution, Czar Nicholas II was forced to abdicate in March 1917. The Order of Saint Stanislas once again fell into abeyance.
History during the 20th Century till today
On the 9th of June in 1979, the Order of Saint Stanislas was re-established in five classes by Juliusz Nowina-Sokolnicki one of the two former legitimate Polish Governments in Exile, which was based in London.
Upon re-establishment in 1979, the first Diploma of the Order of Saint Stanislas, along with the Grand Cross and Sash were placed at the shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Poland (Poland’s most sacred shrine). Later, the second Dipolma of the Order of Saint Stanislas, together with the Grand Cross and Sash, were presented to His Holiness Pope John Paul II . His Holiness wished the Order well and the decoration that was presented to him is now on display at the Royal Castle in Krakow.
Jan Zbigniew Potocki followed Juliusz Nowina Sokolnicki as IXth Grand Master of the Order in August 2009. He was dismissed from his position as Grand Master in February 2010, after he violated the Constitution of the Order repeatedly. He never recognized this decision.
The Order was then governed by the Regency Council internationally. The Confederacy of Priories and Commandories governed the Order in Poland.
On the 16th February 2011 the priors, chancellors and commanders of the Order of St. Stanislas Bishop and Martyr in Poland issued a statement recognizing Waldemar Wilk as rightful successor of Juliusz Nowina Sokolnicki.
On the occasion of the Annual General Assembly in London on November 2018 the Xth Grand Master as a Titular Head Waldemar Wilk was removed by vote.
Chev. Tomas Lorant, head of the Regency Council became the Regent of the Order. He governs the Order worldwide with the exception of mainland Poland in association with Grand Priores and senior members of the Order. The office of Grand Master remains vacant.
Since 2018 their Royal and Imperial Highness Sandor and Herta-Margaret Habsburg-Lorrain, Archduke of Austria, Prince of Hungary and Bohemia, Prince of Tuscany etc.etc., accepted the function of High Protectors of the Order of Saint Stanislas.