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Knights of the Redeemer

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A secular community founded in 1608 by the Duke of Mentone, Vincent Gonzaga, on the occasion of the marriage of his eldest son Francis II Gonzaga with Marguerite of Savoy. It was founded in honour of the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, a relic of which has been venerated since time immemorial in the cathedral of Mentone. The emblems of the order consisted of a red silk robe and a golden necklace with a medal on which were figured three drops of blood in a monstrance. The duke was invested with these insignia by his son, Cardinal Ferdinand Gonzaga, and with the approbation of Paul V proclaimed grand master of the order, a dignity inherited by his successors in the duchy. The duke in turn distributed the same insignia to fourteen knights chosen from the highest nobility of Mentone and the neighbouring states. The statutes of the order obliged the members to devote themselves to the defence of religion, the Holy See and their sovereign. This order lasted only a century. It disappeared when the last of its dukes, Ferdinand Charles, having died childless, the Emperor Joseph I in 1708 merged the duchy into his hereditary estates.

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