February 22, 2017

Knights Out On the Town

Sated partygoers outside Patrizia's Neapolitan pizzeria and restaurant
 Photos by Cav. John Napoli
By Cav. John Napoli
After Mass Saturday evening, knights and postulants of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George met at Patrizia’s in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for a little fellowship and to celebrate the recent appointment of Nob. Dr. Robert LaRocca as our Vice-Delegate.
Packed to the gills, Patrizia’s was loud and exuberant. Serendipitously, almost every table that night was celebrating a birthday (or two!). Staff and diners would wildly twirl their cloth napkins in the air (“rally towel” style) while singing “Happy Birthday” or “Jolly Good Fellow.” So be warned, while ideal for a party, the uproarious atmosphere is not conducive to a quiet or relaxing evening. 
After saying grace and toasting our kings of yore, our party was treated to a bevy of delicious courses served by Patrizia’s crack wait staff. Naturally, our meal began with a few outstanding antipasti dishes, bountiful plates of burrata all’amalfitana, mulignan a fungitiell and parmigiana di melanzane. This was soon followed by a veritable seafood bonanza, which included polpo alla fuorigrotta, al forno vongole, cozze alla posillipo and insalata di pesce misto, among others. 
After a much-needed break, our sumptuous (and admittedly somewhat decadent) repast continued with classic pizza napoletana, vongole alla positano and Patrizia’s signature pasta dish, fioretti alla boscaiola, ricotta-stuffed “little purses” smothered in a creamy mushroom and prosciutto sauce. 
Incredibly, there was still more to come! The servers brought out platters of perfectly cooked skirt steak and lamb chops with salad. Luckily for me, I was warned beforehand not to fill-up too soon because there would be several courses served and each one could have been a meal in and of itself. Capped off with dessert and espresso, we definitely experienced the full gamut of their menu.
Each of us received a custom patch
courtesy of Cav. Vincent Gangone
I was more than a little relieved when the extra food was packed up to take home (or offer to a homeless person) and not waisted.
Although the food was exceptional (I highly recommend Patrizia's), without a doubt the highlight of the evening was Baron LaRocca. His Excellency regaled us with the history and lore of our illustrious Order, the Royal Family and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. 
Reputed to have a one of a kind collection of Bourbon–Two Sicilies memorabilia, the Baron was thoughtful enough to bring out one of his prized pieces to share with us. Complete with their original gilded presentation case and red watered silk ribbon, he passed around a breast star and neck badge of the Royal Order of Saint Januarius (Isigne Reale Ordine di San Gennaro). 
Founded on July 3, 1738 by HM King Carlo di Borbone in celebration of his marriage to Princess Maria Amalia of Saxony, the Order was created to honor San Gennaro, the Patron Saint of Naples, and to foster true chivalry and Christian brotherhood. Membership, never numbering more than twenty worthy gentleman at any given time, was drawn exclusively from the Royal Families of Europe and high aristocracy of the Kingdom. They were expected to “increase, at all costs, the Holy Religion” and to be “a heroic example of piety towards God and loyalty towards their Prince.”*
The beautiful insignia is made up of a cross with four bifurcated arms separated by fleur-de-lis. The Order’s motto In Sanguine fœdus, or “a covenant by blood,” is inscribed beneath the half-length image of San Gennaro with pastoral staff and ampoules of blood resting on the Book of the Gospels.
What a thrill it was to see them in person. Next to the relics of the saints and, of course, my own medals, these were perhaps the most awe-inspiring objects I ever held in my hands. 
Thank you Delegate John M. Viola, Vice-Delegate Baron LaRocca, Vice-Chancellor Patrick O’Boyle; my confratelli Cav. Thomas Crane, Cav. Anthony O’Boyle, Cav. Thomas Portelli, Cav. Charles Sant’Elia; and postulants Rosanna Minervini, Michael Auricchio and Andrew Portelli for a fantastic evening. I look forward to getting together again soon. Special thanks to Cav. Vincent Gangone for organizing the affair. Your hard work and dedication to our community is an inspiration to us all. It was an honor and a privilege to be a part of this high-spirited celebration. Viva ‘o Rre! 
* For more about the Royal Order of Saint Januarius visit www.realcasadiborbone.it
The Baron discussing the history of the Order
while Rossana admires the medals
(L-R) Breast star and neck badge of the Royal Order of Saint Januarius 
(Isigne Reale Ordine di San Gennaro)
(L-R) Ornate presentation box with Royal Coat of Arms and wax seal ring with Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George insignia