Modern Crusade – Teutonic Order

Deus Vult!

The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem (Latin: Ordo domus Sanctæ Mariæ Theutonicorum Hierosolymitanorum, German: Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen Haus der Heiligen Maria in Jerusalem), commonly known as the Teutonic Order was Catholic religious military order, founded in the 12th century in Acre (Israel).

The Order was formed to aid the pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land and to build hospitals. At the beginning of 13th century, the Order slowly lost its influence in Palestine (mainly because the presence of the older and more powerful knight orders, especially the Templars and the Knights Hospitaller) and shifted its presence to Europe, serving as defenders of the eastern European borders and defending the Christian faith. The peak of their power was reached after the establishments of the state of the Teutonic Order (Staat des Deutschen Ordens) in Prussia.

Because all powerful things must come to an end, also the Teutonic Order was not an exception. The Battle of Grunwald (1410) was the first major defeat of the Teutonic Knights, where they (together with multiple mercenary armies from Germany, Swiss and Bohemia) faced the combined might of the Polish-Lithuanian armies (together with the Tatars, Moldavians and Czechs) and suffered a crushing defeat. Even though they kept most of their lands, they have lost the image of invincibility.

The Order was later transformed into a charitable and ceremonial body, and still existed even before WWII. It was outlawed by Adolf Hitler in 1938 but re-established in 1945. Today it functions as a charitable organisation in Central Europe.

The symbol of the Order was a black cross on a silver background, even though it changed its form multiple times across the centuries. The black cross with golden borders, enriched with a golden coat of arms with a black eagle was the symbol of the Grand master. The black cross was also used as the Iron Cross, the military medal from Prussia, later used as a german symbol in the WWI and WWII (Luftwaffe).

The design is a minimalist version of the Orders black cross, together with the motto Helfen, wehren, heilen (to help, to defend, to heal.)

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