Don John of Austria receives the baton of command and the standard of the Holy League before the battle of Lepanto

May 26, 2011

Pontifical Mass from a Missal

Cardinal Granvelle celebrated the Pontifical Mass, and at the end of it D. John of Austria mounted to the chancel, and, kneeling in front of the altar, received from the hands of Granvelle, first the baton and then the standard, with these words, which the Cardinal said over three times in Latin, Spanish and Italian: “Take, fortunate Prince, the insignia of the true Word made flesh; take the living sign of the holy faith of which this enterprise is the defender. He gives thee glorious victory over the impious enemy, whose pride shall be humbled by thy hand.” Then a shout burst out in the church, and a thousand voices, with one accord, cried “Amen! Amen.”


Than a brilliant military procession was formed to carry the standard from the church to the port; it was carried, furled, on the back of a white horse, whose crimson velvet cloth dragged on the ground, led by two captains who took it in turns. Behind came the Lord D. John, carrying the baton of Generalissimo, followed by the brilliant suite, all with drawn swords, as if ready to defend the insignia of the Holy League. It was at length hoisted at the magnificent stern of the royal galley at one o’clock. D. John himself directed this, and the fleet and the port saluted him with a formidable salvo of artillery, muskets, and arquebuses, which lasted more than half an hour.

Standard of the Holy League used in the Battle of Lepanto.

Rev. Fr. Luis Coloma, The Story of Don John of Austria, trans. Lady Moreton, (New York: John Lane Company, 1912), pp. 244-245.


Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 78

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