In this fast moving world it is increasingly difficult to help people properly, or to preserve our heritage for future generations.

The Order was established in 1932 under the name “Community Order BENE MERENTI.”


Due to the political and social disorder in the 30s the founders of the Princely House of Hohenzollern agreed to cancel the Order again, but Order Decorations were nevertheless conferred at Germany until the year 1941.


King Carol 2nd of Romania has recorded with Decree of December 16, 1935 the “Order BENE MERENTI” under the Royal Romanian Order. On March 8, 1940, the “Order BENE MERENTI” of the reign Romanian Royal Family was in the newly simultaneously instituted “Order of St. George`s” converted.


In 1950, His Highness Emanuel Joseph Prince of Hohenzollern-Emden gave the Order new, modern Statutes and decided by end of the 80s to establish the Grand Chancellery in the Republic of Austria. In 1998, the succession of the Order was governed by a Preamble.


In the Republic of Austria the Order was registered in „Amtskalender der Republik Österreich“ (Austrian Official Handbook) and the permission to wear the Order to the uniform of the Austrian Army was given by the Federal Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Austria.
The same permission for the military (Armed Forces) is also given in the Republic of Latvia.


In 2002 the declaration of sovereignty was made by the Parliament of the Republic of Latvia. The seat of the Grand Chancellery was moved to Riga.


HH Prince Emanuel Joseph Maria Wilhelm Ferdinand Burkhard of Hohenzollern-Emden
(* 23.2.1929, Munich – + 8.2.1999, Balingen-Stettberg)

The Order shall spread as a Community. The admission is for every honest person possible, regardless of religion, social or political attitude. The admission is the Grand Master`s responsibility.

In each state a representative office, so called Consulate, should be established. Those individual, dependent Consulates are led by one of our Chancellor’s. The duties are under command and subject to our Grand Chancellor. The Grand Chancellor adds the further task of purpose and responsibility set out in Article 7, as far as the relevant Consulate is concerned. The Consulate are registered in the respective states, where this is required by its domestic law. The registration as a joint-stock company is not allowed.


The ORDER BENE MERENTI was founded by Our House of Hohenzollern-Emden in 1932 and it should be against the case that a stranger, third person, institution, etc., has illegally made use of the name, the insignia, etc. of Our Order or get hold of it or will, it is Our explicit desire to prevent this by all means, if there is no Grand Master`s own hand or signed authorization exemption exists.


As a top priority, is the accession of the “Recognition of the Order under International Law” in one of the following countries: Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Kaliningrad, Lithuania and Latvia. This is be determined that by the parliamentary act, the current Grand Master will become the Sovereign Head of the Order. To this purpose, the Grand Master has the permission to transfer the installed seat (residence) of the Order.


As a further premise, is the accession of the “Allowance to wear Order`s Decorations to the Uniform (military)” of the state, in which the Order is established.


Is the leading of “Titles of Nobility”, in once state possible or approved, the Grand Master can change the honorable designations as set out in Article 3. The honorable designations and honorable titles are inheritable.


The title of nobility “Prince” is exclusively reserved to the function as Grand Master, if he is not already bearer of this honor. “We (the Prince)” do not want a generalization of this titling.


The approval of all types of applications is subject to Grand Master`s responsibility only.

Done, HH Prince Emanuel Joseph of Hohenzollern-Emden, Salzburg, December 23, 1998


We, Emanuel Joseph, by mercy of God, Prince of Hohenzollern-Emden, have let Us found after the establishment of our Order Community “BENE MERENTI” to execute provisions and We therefore determine that the ORDER BENE MERENTI should worn solely as an accolade of the Order Community.

Article 1

The Order of Merit consists of the following Grades:

1st Grade:        Grand Commander Cross on the Collar G.C.C./OBM

2nd Grade:        Gold Star                                            C.C/OBM

3rd Grade:        Silver Star                                          K.C/OBM

Special Class Grade I:    Grand Commander Cross with Emeralds on the Collar    G.C.C./EMD/OMB

Special Class Grade II:  Grand Commander Cross with Gold Star on the Ribbon   G.C.C./STAR/OMB

Article 2

The Order consists of a white cross with four rays and avers black outer brink. In the middle is the inscription “BENE MERENTI” surrounded by a green laurel wreath. At the reverse there are the initials of the respective Grand Master with sublime crown on a white ground with black border. The Order is dominated by a five stirrup shaped crown. The ribbon of the Order is white with three black stripes.

Article 3

The Order of the 3rd Grade will be worn as a Silver Star. The 2nd Grade will be worn as a Gold Star. The Order of the 1st Grade will be worn on a collar. The breast stars will also be worn on the left side of the chest.

Honorable titles are connected with the 3rd Grade as “Chevalier/Dame de”, of the 2nd Grade as “Baron/Baroness” and the 1st Grade with the honorable title as “Count/ Countesse”. Honorable titles can also be conferred separately.

Article 4

All grades of the ORDER BENE MERENTI being conferred to women, will be worn on a ribbon from the loop formed and include as set out in Article 2 that the cross generally mentioned as follows: 1st Grade cross with a crown of gold in the double loop ● 2nd Grade cross with a crown of gold in the loop ● 3rd Grade cross without the crown on the loop.

Article 5

Special Class Grade I:     Grand Commander Cross with Emeralds on the Collar      G.C.C./EMD/OMB

Special Class Grade II:    Grand Commander Cross with Gold Star on the Ribbon      G.C.C./STAR/OMB

Article 6

For extraordinary cases, We reserve Our rights, to confer personally higher decorated grades of Our ORDER BENE MERENTI. We (the Prince) do not want a generalization of this conferment.

Article 7

The purpose of the foundation of the Order, will henceforth guide Us to confer the ORDER BENE MERENTI as a reward of special merits and as awarded recognition for those who have assisted the ORDER BENE MERENTI putting their loyalty and devotion at disposal to Us.

Article 8

The conferment of our Order will be made by Our free motivation, recognizing the services being done.

Article 9

All Order (decorations) and Medals may be retained in the family after the death of the wearer. In conferring the decedent with a higher grade, the lower existing decoration must be returned tax-free.

Article 10

If contrary to all expectations, one case revealed that the proprietor of an Order has done undignified behavior he could be guilty, We will consider as Our duty to withdraw the honor of the Order and its sign from that person.

Article 11

Our plenipotentiary is obliged to establish a Special Order Chancellery, which acquires the conferment of the Order and its sign.

Article 11 Addition

According to our demise as Grand Master it is our express desire that the current Grand Chancellor of the ORDER BENE MERENTI shall maintain the leadership as interregnum. It is not in Our will to hand over the Order to our son and it is obliged to our Grand Chancellor only to change that direction and by voting (electing) a new Grand Master only persons who are of noble descent and noble birth, could be elected and excludes any natural person.

Article 12

We have approved the current statutes and let in print them under the seal of the Princely House of Hohenzollern-Emden.

HH Prince Emanuel Joseph of Hohenzollern-Emden

2nd Grade
1st Grade
3rd Grade
Grand Master:

1950 – 1999
Emanuel Joseph Prince of Hohenzollern-Emden

1999 – 2001
Interregnum in the Republic of Latvia

Declaration of Sovereignty by the Parliament of the Republic of Latvia

Johann de Heidendorf-Schuster de Medgyes
Princeps Transylvania Saxones

Vladimirs Prince of Starcevs

Grand Chancellor:

1950 – 1988
Johann II. Prince de Heidendorf-Schuster de Medgyes
Princeps Transylvania Saxones

1989 – 2003
Peter de Heidendorf

Vladimirs Graf de Starcevs

Peter de Heidendorf


Bearer of the Special Classe: No 2• No 4• No 5• No 10• No 11• No 12• No 19.

The indication of the names do not follow the Order Degrees (1st Grade • 2nd Grade • 3rd Grade), but following its ennobling date of the Order Ceremony.

    1. Andreas CORDIERGermany • Freiburg/Breisgau • Lawyer
    2. Attila Graf de BAJTSY de URÖGH et GECZEFLAVA Austria • Napels/USA • Civil- & Real Estate Agent
    3. Consul Detlef Werner JONAS Germany • Hannover • Entrepreneur
    4. Marcel-Claudiu OLTEANU
      Romania • Arad
    5. Senator Peter LÖFFLER Austria • Linz • Civil Broker Agent
    6. Mag. Christian FRECH Austria • Steyr • Proprietor „The Order Specialist“
    7. Mag. Martina FRECH Austria • Steyr • Executive Officer
    8. Oberst Heinz KOFLER Austria • Vienna • Federal Ministry of Defence/Procurement
    9. Generalkonsul Captain Eike F. MALLING Germany • Hamburg • Captain • Entrepreneur
    10. Senator Peter BEHNEKE (Serene Prince Benkovsky/Poland) Germany • Munich • Auctioneer
    11. Senator Prof. DDr. hc. Hans-Wolfgang de HEIDENDORF-MOHNSSEN Germany • Nindorf • Entrepreneur
    12. Senator Michael de HEIDENDORF-SCHUSTER Austria • Salzburg • Entrepreneur
    13. Dignitary revoked
    14. Ernst Albert PRINCE of SACHSEN-COBURG and GOTHA Germany • Munich • Entrepreneur
    15. Alexander GRAF of SCHÖNBORN-BUCHHEIM Germany • Munich • Real Estate Agent
    16. Generaldirektor Herman FRANCKEN Germany • Leverkusen • Senior Officer
    17. Herr Almants CHEVALIER de POLIKEVICS Latvia • Riga • Deputy Head Court of Auditor of Riga
    18. Olga GRÄFIN de STARCEVA-MASLOVA Latvia • Riga • Civil Broker Agent
    19. Prof. Mag. iur. Dr. hc. Vladimirs GRAF de STARCEVS Latvia • Riga • Colonel (retired) • Civil Broker Agent
    20. Normands CHEVALIER de PUTANS Latvia • Riga • Entrepreneur
    21. Viktor Nikolaevitsch BARON d’EGOROV Kazakhstan • Astana • Member of Parliament
      Republic of Kazakhstan/Chairman Budget Committee
    22. Dr. habil. Igor CHEVALIER de KABASHKIN Latvia • Riga • Vice Rector and Full Professor
      University of Transport and Telecommunications
    23. Dr. habil. Eugene CHEVALIER de KOPYTOV Latvia • Riga • Rector and Full Professor
      University of Transport and Telecommunications
    24. Diana GRÄFIN de VASKEVICA Latvia • Riga • Person living on private means
    25. Olga GRÄFIN de VASKEVICA Latvia • Riga • Person living on private means
    26. Vladimirs GRAF de VASKEVICS Latvia • Riga • General Public Prosecutor
    27. Claude COMTE de KOX Grand Duchy Luxembourg • Luxembourg •
      President of the European Security Agency (ESA)
    28. Alexandru Tiberiu BARON de DEKANY Romania • Arad • Vice Mayor of Arad
    29. Lady Anna, COMTESSE de POPPER Hungary • Budapest • Secretary General of
      KNFAP (Order of Malta/Red)
    30. Sir George, COMTE de POPPER Hungary • Budapest • Prime Minister of
      KNFAP (Order of Malta/Red)
    31. José M., PRINCE COSMELLI Portugal • Lisbon • Grand Master of KNFAP (Order of Malta/Red)
    32. Jelizaveta GRÄFIN von RUMYANCEVA – KRUMINA Latvia ● Riga • Person living on private means
    33. Dipl. Ing. Heinz NOWOTNY Austria • Vienna • Broker Owner RE/MAX Masteragents Vienna
    34. Natalja BARONESS DE DOROHOVA Latvia, Stadt Riga; Privatier
    35. Christian MACHOWETZ Austria • Vienna • Entrepreneur
    36. Dr. Friedrich GRAF of HOLLEIS
      Romania • Oradea • Entrepreneur
    37. Jan BARON de APELIS
      Lettland, Stadt Riga; General a.D.
    38. Igor BARON von BARULIN
      Lettland, Riga; Artist
    39. Leonid BARON de DUMA
      Latvia, Riga; Dipl.Ing.; Privatier
    40. Vladimir GRAF von SOLOMENNIKOV
    41. Dignitary deleted
    42. Dignitary deleted
    43. Dignitary revoked
    44. Igor Borisowitsch BARON von SAMOJLENKO

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    1046 Riga, Republik Lettland

    Grand Chancelary – Embassy

    LV-1046 Riga, 6/92 Lielirbes iela


    Consulate LUXEMBOURG:

    LU-1424 Luxembourg, 4, Rue André Duchscher


    Consulate ROMANIA:

    RO-310124 Arad, Blvd. Decebal Nr. 29/4