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History of the Order of Saint Stanislas

Stanislaw Szczepanowski, (July 26, 1030 – April 11, 1079) was a Bishop of Kraków known chiefly for having been martyred by the Polish king Boleslaw II the Bold. On September 17, 1253, at Assisi, Stanislaw was canonized by Pope Innocent IV. Saint Stanislaw's veneration has had great patriotic importance in Poland. The Bishop's body was then hacked to pieces and thrown into a pool outside the church. According to the legend, his members miraculously reintegrated while the pool was guarded by four eagles. In the period of Poland's feudal fragmentation, it was believed that Poland would one day reintegrate as had the members of Saint Stanislaw's body.

In May 1765 King Stanislaw August Poniatowski established the Order of Saint Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr, in honor of Poland's and his own patron saint, as Poland's second order of chivalry to reward Poles for noteworthy service to their king. Three partitions of Poland took place in the second half of the 18th century and ended the existence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland for 123 years. The partitions were perpetrated by the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and Habsburg Austria.

Depicts Catharina II of Russia, Emperor Josef II, and King Frederick II of Prussia tearing a map of Poland apart. Stanislaw August Poniatowski, the beleaguered Polish king, struggles to maintain his crown. Post Napoleonic victories led to the formation of the Grand-Duchy of Warsaw, only for it to be dissolved in 1815, leading to the Kingdom of Poland's creation in a union with the Russian Empire.

After the 1830/31 uprising was crushed, Poland was integrated into the Russian Empire. The Order underwent significant changes, both in design and in the principles guiding its awarding. It was used as an instrument of Russification and lost its Polish identity and charitable spirit.

After its abolishment by the Bolshevik Government in 1917, Poland, upon regaining independence in 1918, decided against reinstating the Order of the Knights of St. Stanislas. Instead, the Order of Polonia Restituta was founded in 1921 to reward noble values. The Polish Government in Exile, active from 1940-1990, played a significant role during and after WWII. This government had influence through the Polish Underground State and its military arm, the Armia Krajowa (Home Army) resistance.

The initial President in Exile was Wladyslaw Raczkiewicz, succeeded by various others due to political differences and events. The office underwent numerous transitions, including a notable handover in 1971 from August Zaleski to his friend and Minister-in-Exile, Juliusz Novina Sokolnicki. Despite the challenges, the government in exile provided unwavering support to the Polish opposition against the totalitarian communist regime.

The Organogram

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