What is the OCM?

 

1. A Contemporary Order

Ordo Sancti Constantini Magni (OCM) is a contemporary spiritual Order trying to promote the Constantinian ecumenical Christian tradition. The chivalric spirit does not depend on the period, and chivalric virtues are not bound to sword and armour. The chivalric duty to help has never depended on nationality, confession, or form of government. Chivalric thinking and principles are universal and will therefore maintain their values even in modern times. It has to recognize contemporary religious, social, and political realities. An organization which aspires to the unity of the Church that existed before the separation of Anno Domini 1054, and to the collaboration between men at peace, to Christian love, tolerance, and chivalrous conduct has a mission to fulfil in the future. 

2. Constantine the Great

The Roman emperor Constantine the Great (288-337), whose name the Order bears, changed our way of thinking through his reforms: he proclaimed the principle of tolerance in his vast empire, stopped the persecution of Christians, and legalized the Christian Church as the state religion. Seeking to unite East and West, he created the new metropolis of his empire - Constantinople. The beginning of a new civilization, that of Christian Europe, he called ORDO CONSTANTINI. To overcome disputes about the dogmas of the new religion he summoned to Nicea (325) the first Ecumenical Council, with 318 participating bishops from East and West. At this meeting, presided over by the emperor himself, the ecumenical thinking of the Patriarchs of Alexandria, Alexandros I, and his successor St. Athanasios I the Great, were accepted as the basic doctrine for the whole of Christianity. 

3. High Patron

A contemporary Order cannot be considered legal or empowered if it is not accepted and recognized by an individual sovereign or sovereign ecclesiastical authority with a tradition from the first Christian centuries. Only such a High Patron grants international legality and provides the inspiration for all its activities. The legal rights to give spiritual protection to an Order belong exclusively to the five bishops of the Pentarchy, approved in 431 by the Ecumenical Synod of Ephesus - Rome, Constantinople, Alexandia, Antioch, and Jerusalem. In 1970, the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria, Nicolaos VI, legalized OCM, our ecumenical Order, i.e. an order recognizing the confessional differences of its members. Being a chivalric lay organization it is protected from attempts at absorption by movements hostile to the Christian faith. 

4. Activities

The OCM was founded in Switzerland on the May 29th, 1953, and registered according to Swiss law as a "Chivalric Association" with the goals of promoting ecumenical thinking, spreading tolerance, building spiritual bridges between people, races and cultures in all sectors of life, promulgating the Graeco-Roman-Christian heritage of Byzantium, and supporting those who need help. The founders were united by their sense of chivalric behaviour - the wish to serve truth and to practise charity. 

Also today the most important activity of the OCM is to promote an ecumenical spirit and work for a more humane society. Personality and the acceptance of the Order´s moral principles create the foundation for this work, which can be fulfilled by everyone in his own surroundings and daily duties. The duty of a knight is to set an example for others and to be someone whom people can trust. The knight is a servant and basis of the Order´s activities. The social and charitable work of the Order is coordinated by the Government of the Order. The Order continuously supports the educational work of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in Africa. The local units are free to practise their own spiritual and charitable activities in their countries, however, in conformity with the ideals of the Order. 

5. Membership

Every Christian person of integrity can be accepted as a member in order to serve the ideals of the Order, to respect his neighbour, to help those in need, and to participate in the work of the Order, obeying its constitution. 

6. Administration

The High Patron of the Order is His Beatitude, the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa. The Master is elected by the Council of the Order for life and must already have the confidence of the High Patron. He can as his substitute choose a Deputy Master. The council of the Order, with its 30 representatives of all units and all members of the Government, has legislative power and works under its elected Chairman. It approves proposed alterations to the Constitution of the Order, and the budget as well as elects the Master. The Chancellor, who is the chairman of the Government, is chosen by the Master. The members of the Government are appointed by the Master based on a proposal of the Chancellor. The Exarchates and Bailiwicks are regional units of the Order. Their activities are conducted by the Exarchs and Bailies according to the instructions of the Chancellor.