Order of the Christian Militia

Established in 1616 by Charles de Gonzague, duc de Nevers, the Order of the Christian Militia is a crusading order devoted to freeing the East from the infidel Turks. Nevers, an heir to the throne of the Byzantine Empire, and Père Joseph, principal advisor to Cardinal Richelieu, travelled across Europe to gain the support of the Pope as well as the Habsburg monarchs of Austria and Spain in establishing the order and the attendant Order of the Conception and providing men and materials for the crusaders’ first objective, freeing the Greek Christians of Morea from their Turkish occupiers. However, in 1618 war broke out within the Holy Roman Empire, and the Austrian Habsburgs could no longer lend support; the Spanish monarch also withdrew his offer of assistance, perhaps noting that should the crusade succeed, France would gain influence in the eastern Mediterranean.

Both Nevers and Père Joseph hope that once the strife afflicting the Empire is resolved, the order can resume its crusade. The duke, on behalf of the order, recently purchased five Dutch galleons to transport the knights, men-at-arms, and instruments of war necessary to the liberation of Morea.

The order holds chapter houses in Vienna and Charleville, the latter in the duc de Nevers sovereign principality of Arches near Lorraine.

Order of the Christian Militia

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