Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”



The Funeral Rites of FRATER FREDRIK JOHN PATRICK CRICHTON-STUART, 56th GRAND PRIOR OF ENGLAND, the first Grand Prior to die since the Tudors occupied the throne of England, and the first Scotsman in this Office, were held in Edinburgh on the 27th and 28th June. The irony of this would not be lost upon Fra' Freddy, himself descended in the direct line from Robert the Bruce, and the Stuart Kings of Scotland. How fitting therefore that for the first time in over 850 years of the history of the Order in Britain the funeral of a Grand Prior of England should be held in Scotland.

The body was received solemnly into St Mary's Metropolitan Cathedral, the coffin preceded by the Sword of the Grand Priory, at 5 o'clock on Monday evening, and Vespers of the Dead were sung by visiting members of the Sovereign Council of the Order, and members of the British Association in choir, in the presence of Fra' Freddy's family. The Office was followed by the Absolutions over the body, given by Monsignor Michael Regan, Magistral Chaplain, Provost of the Cathedral. The Grand Master's legate, His Excellency Fra' Gherardo Hercolani, Grand Commander of the Order, presided in choir.

By ancient tradition of the Order of Malta, dating from crusader times, the coffin of a knight of Malta lies on the floor, surrounded by fallen candlesticks. The coffin is surmounted by the 'stola' of solemn profession, or perpetual religious vows, decorated with the symbols of Our Lord's Passion.

On Tuesday morning the immediate family and members of the Order, together with visiting Knights of St Gregory and members of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, sang the Office of Lauds of the Dead around the body, again presided over by Fra' Gherardo Hercolani.

At 11.15am the High Mass of Requiem was sung in the presence of His Eminence Keith Patrick Cardinal O'Brien, Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion, who presided from the throne, and similarly of the Grand Master's legate. Also present were members of Sovereign Council, Their Excellencies Fra' Carlo d'Ippolito and Fra' Duncan Gallie, who is also Chancellor of the Grand Priory of England; His Excellency Fra' Carl Paar, Prince Grand Prior of Bohemia; His Grace Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow, Grand Cross Conventual Chaplain 'ad honorem', Principal Chaplain of the British Association; and Father Hugh Gilbert, Bishop-elect of Aberdeen, former Abbot of Pluscarden. A large number of members of the Order were present including the Lieutenant of the Grand Priory, Ian Scott of Ardross, and His Excellency the President of the British Association, Charles Weld, and the Lady Talbot of Malahide, Vice-President. The Papal Knights, the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Venerable Order of Saint John (of which the late Grand Prior was a member) were also represented. Fra' Freddy's widow Jane, and children Rhidian, Edward, Amanda, and Ione-Jane, brother Niall and sister Margot were all present.

Among the mourners were Lord Gill, Lord Justice Clerk of Scotland, and Lady Gill; Ninian Crichton-Stuart, Hereditary Keeper of Falkland Palace; Miss Elizabeth Roads, Lyon Clerk, Court of the Lord Lyon; Richard Waller, of the Venerable Order of St John in Scoltand, and other representatives; Captain Jim Reid 52nd Lowland, 6th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland; and Frederick Stone, Chairman, with other representatives of Una Voce Scotland.  Members of the family were assisted by the knights and some of the Companions (who of course were founded in Scotland) as ushers.

The Mass was celebrated by Father John Emerson FSSP, Fra' Freddy's spiritual director, whose daily Mass he had attended for several years until his death; and assisted by Father Gerard Deighan, chaplain of the Irish Association of the Order, and Father Brendan Gerard, both of whom had regularly said Holy Mass in Edinburgh attended by Fra' Freddy in recent years. The Mass was sung to gregorian chant by the schola of St Andrew's Ravelston, and served by Scottish friends of Fra' Freddy, with whom he had frequently served at the altar until very recently.

The Homily was preached most movingly by Cardinal O'Brien, a very close friend of the Grand Prior, who stressed the total unity in Christ between Fra' Freddy's life with his family, his religious and charitable work within the Order, the strength he derived from the liturgy of the Church, and his interior life of prayer. He ended with words of the psalm, which though so familiar, sounded as for the first time with this holy man, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Requiescat in pace."

The state anthem of the Order, "Ave Crux Alba" was played after the Absolutions. In the procession leaving the church, Fra' Freddy's banner, stola and decorations were carried behind the coffin by his two sons and brother. The sword again preceded the coffin, carried inverted by one of the novice knights of Justice.

Following the Mass, guests gathered for a brief reception, and then proceeded to Mount Vernon Catholic Cemetery, where Fra' Freddy was interred among the Religious of the Diocese. Echoing the strain of the Salve Regina sung at the graveside, Pipe-Major David Waterton-Anderson KSG, also a friend of many years of Fra' Freddy, played his own tune, "The Little Flower", which had been dedicated to Fra' Freddy in 2009 on the occasion of the visit of the relics of St Therese of Lisieux to the Conventual Church in London.

A large set of photographs of the funeral may be seen HERE, courtesy of Mr Martin Gardner, to whom we are very grateful.

At the Family's request, donations in memory of Fra' Fredrik may be made to Order of Malta Dial-a-Journey, 3 Cunningham Road, Springkerse Industrial Estate, Stirling FK7 7SW. Charity No. SC 018831. Tel: 01786 46535

Other Masses offered for Fra' Freddy on Tuesday morning.
We have been notified that Holy Mass has been offered simultaneously with the Funeral Mass, for the repose of the Grand Prior's soul, as follows:

in the Conventual Church, London, by the Hospital Chaplain, Fr Richard Sloan,
at the London Oratory by Fr Ronald Creighton-Jobe, Conventual Chaplain 'ad honorem',
at St James's Spanish Place by Fr David Irwin, Magistral Chaplain,
in Burgundy by Fr Anthony Robbie, Magistral Chaplain,
at Gricigliano, five Masses stipended by a member of the Grand Priory,
in the Oxford Oratory, stipended by a member of the Grand Priory,
in Malta, two Masses stipended by the nieces of the late Colonel Tommy Pac.

We have been informed that 5 five Masses have been stipended at the London Oratory.

Please notify additional Masses which were offered at this time, of which we are unaware, in the comments box below.

Exceptionally, we shall leave the comments open for this post, for tributes and notifications of prayers offered. Requiescat in pace.
Our Lady of Philermo, pray for him
Saint John the Baptist, pray for him
Saint Andrew, pray for him
Saint Therese of Lisieux, pray for him
Blessed Gerard, pray for him
Blessed Adrian Fortescue, pray for him
All holy Saints and Virgins of the Order, pray for him

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