The website of the Grand Priory of Terra Nordica of the Military Order of the Collar of Saint Agatha of Paternò serves to make known the Royal House of Aragon, Majorca and Sicily and the international charitable activities they support today. Among them are a school for blind children and children with multiple disabilities in Delhi, India, and the work of the Bridgettines in Bethlehem. More information about the charitable work can be found on the web site of the foundation.
The Royal dynasty formerly reigned over the Lands of the Crown of Aragon, which at various times comprised not only Aragon itself, but also Catalonia, Valencia, the Balearic Islands, Sicily, Sardinia and parts of Southern Italy, Provence and parts of South-western France, as well as Athens and Neopatras in Greece.
Knights and Dames of the Military Order of the Collar (MOC) strongly believe that the essence of chivalry in our time is not the adherence to outdated practices related to ancient disputes, but honour and service to needy individuals and communities, regardless of creed, race or nationality.
The Head of the Royal House of Aragon is His Royal Highness don Francesco, Prince of Emmanuel and Duke of Perpignan, who succeeded as Head of the House on 10th March 1996 when his father H.R.H. don Roberto for personal reasons abdicated.
Regarding the history of the Military Order of the Collar reference is made to the following opinion by professor Dick Harrison.
Regarding the succession in the Royal House reference is made to the following opinion by professor Gunnar Bramstång.
Regarding the position of the Head of the House in public international law reference is made to the following opinion by professor Jacob Sundberg.
Regarding the wearing of the insignia of MOC reference is made to the following opinion of Bulgarian Professor Todor Petrov, and to the following opinion of Swedish Ambassador and former Head of Protocol of the Swedish Foreign Office H.E. Karin Ehnbom-Palmquist.
MOC is not a Catholic but a dynastic Order, but has longstanding, close and indissoluble ties with the Catholic Church. From November 2009 MOC enjoys nihil obstat from the Catholic Church, both from the Catholic Diocese of Stockholm and the archdiocese in Catania. The seat of MOC is the Church of Saint Anna in Catania, donated to H.R.H. don Francesco by the archbishop H.E. Salvatore Gristina to be the seat of MOC:s work. Every year knights and dames of MOC participate in the great Feast of Saint Agatha in Catania to celebrate their Patron Saint.
The Roman Catholic Church regards Paternó as a princely house, as can be seen in the family’s own chapel in the church of Santa Maria de Gesú in Catania, where their coat of arms is prominently displayed, and in the Cathedral in Catania the reliquary of Saint Agatha is decorated with the Grand Collar of the MOC.
In the church of Sant’Anna in Catania, which was given by the archbishop to the Grand Master of MOC, a plaque has been placed by the archbishop with thanks to the “Real Casa d’Aragona Maiorca e di Sicilia”.
Regarding relations with other princely houses, the house of Bourbon Two Sicilies has accepted the MOC as a dynastic Order of Knighthood. In addition to the decree by the ruling Head of State H.M. Francesco II 16/9 1860, there is also a dedicated photograph by H.M. king Francesco to don Mario Paternò Castello, then Grand Master of MOC, 24 December 1893. The dedication reads “to my dear don Mario Paternò Castello e Guttadauro, prince of Emmanuel sovereign Grand Master of the Order of the Collar of Paternò. Affectionately Francesco.”
The House of Paternó has close relations with the princely house of Biscari, in their palace MOC has a gala dinner in February every year.
The house of Paternó is united through marriage with the House of Savoy, the branch headed by Amadeus of Aosta.