|| Seine Durchlaucht, Fürst Heinrich XXVI Reuß
(His Serene Highness, the Sovereign Prince Heinrich XXVI Reuß)
Born His Serene Highness, Prince Heinrich XXVI Reuß (Seine Durchlaucht, Prinz Heinrich XXVI Reuß) on the 3rd of February 1942 in what became East Germany, the son of His Serene Highness, Prince (Fürst) Heinrich XXV Reuß-Obrenovic-Brankovic (an Orthodox priest) and Her Royal Highness, Princess Maria Obrenovic of Serbia, the family escaped from Nazi Germany into Switzerland. His father’s aunt (and his great aunt) was Her Majesty, the Kaiserin Hermine (Reuß) the second wife of Kaiser Wilhelm II in exile. His baptismal godmother was Her Imperial Highness, the Princess Royal Viktoria Luises (the only daughter of Kaiser Wilhelm II). She was also known after her marriage as the Princess of Hanover and the Duchess of Brunswick. He was educated in West Germany, Canada, the United States, and England.
As a member of the Order of St. John (Knights of Malta), the oldest medical and nursing Order in the Church (both east and west) founded during the Crusades, he was ordained a priest in 1968. He established medical and surgical stations and hospices in Southeast Asia, India, and South America. When he was released from the Chinese communist prison camps in 1973, he was reassigned to the United States.
In his private office, nowhere are to be found his two earned doctorates (medicine and laws) nor any of his 47-honourary doctorates. Over his desk are hung: the full family achievement of arms with its motto: “Ich bau auf Gott (I build upon/trust in Gott)”, a picture of his priestly ordination day with his parents, his consecration document as the metropolitan, and the very first letter of congratulations upon his consecrations as the metropolitan: from the then Governor of the State of California and later President of the United States, Ronald Reagan (the beginning of numerous letters between the two). A single plaque sits upon his writing desk: “To love as Christ loves requires a daily decision.”
In spite of his ever- increasing physical disabilities over the years (which according to his physicians are the results of the communist imprisonment, the daily physical beatings and torture in 1972-1973 for the crime of being a priest, he maintains a normal priestly schedule as well as fulfilling the metropolitan’s diplomatic and hierarchal schedule. He mixes with ease among presidents and prime ministers, monarchs and nobles, ambassadors and general consuls, hierarchs and cardinals, clergy of all denominations, beggars and lepers, politicians and parishioners, etc. In spite of his two canes and knee braces, he still travels up the Andes Mountains, up the Korean Mountains to the Abbey, into Peru. Chile, Mexico, throughout the United States, Germany, Austria, Canada, --on the go for over 5-6 months every year and traveling well over 300,000 miles.
Unlike most other hierarchs and bishops, for over 33 years, he has traveled without any priestly staff in attendance. He believes that priests should be saving souls, not chauffeuring him about in an automobile. He has always appeared where he is least expected: relieving sick priests, priests who need a vacation, unexpectedly as a wedding anniversary relief for his married priests, etc.
Anyone and everyone can dial the chancellery telephone number and can speak with him directly-without having to go through five priests to reach him.
On the 30th of June 2004, the Feast of the Twelve Holy Apostles, he celebrated his thirtieth anniversary of his consecration as a bishop and metropolitan. As the Metropolitan, he is also the Prince Grand Master of the three (3) ecclesiastical Chivalric Orders which exist within the church and within this jurisdiction: the Sovereign Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (the third oldest branch of this Order), the Order of Saint Thomas the Apostle, and the Order of Saint Peter the Apostles.
Unlike other Chivalric Orders of other historic sacramental churches, candidates cannot buy their way into these orders. They have to do it the old fashioned: they have to earn their “spurs.” This means that have to actually care for Christ’s poor, sick, needy, and dying as well as assist those professed members of these monastic orders who provide the direct medical and/or nursing care.
Membership of Prince Heinrich XXVI Reuß within other Orders of Chivalry:
The Grand Collar of Justice: The Eastern Catholic Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (the third oldest branch of this Order).
The Grand Collar and Grand Cross of the Imperial Constantinian Military Order of
The Grand Collar and Grand Cross of the Sovereign Military Order of the Cross of Constantinople.
The Grand Cordon of the Order of Saint Stanislaw (Poland).
The Grand Cross of the Military Order of the Collar of the Order of Saint Agatha of Paterno (Spain).
The Grand Cross of the Venerable and Holy Orthodox Order of Saint Basil.
The Grand Collar and Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Thomas the Apostle.
The Grand Collar and Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Peter the Apostle.
The Grand Gross of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, the Knights Hospitaller in Malta.
The Grand Cross of the Sovereign Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem (Knights of Malta), the German Priory in Exile.
Grand Prelate of the Sovereign Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem (Knights of Malta) the Polish-Lithuanian Grand Priory in Exile and for the Bohemian Grand Priory in Exile.
The Grand Prelate and Grand Cross for the Noble Companions of the Swan.
The Metropolitan has been listed, under his family name in Marquis Who’s Who in America, Religion, and in Medicine and Healthcare.
The Eastern Catholic Archdiocese has been listed in Encyclopaedia of American Religions 7th Edition and updated into the 8th edition which shall also be on-line.