The truth about the Principality of Seborga
The Abbey Principality of Seborga is a territorial entity, about 4 km2, an independent sovereign state following the approval of the first statutes and regulations, drawn up in 1261, at the Chaplaincy of Saint Mickael in Ventimiglia.
The territory of Seborga, including the Cuneo (land bordering the municipalities of Perinaldo and San Remo) and the Chaplaincy of Saint Mickael in Ventimiglia was donated by the Easter, Lord Guidone of Ventimiglia to the Monks of the Abbey of Lerino (island opposite Cannes-France) in the year 954 AD.
The Abbey Principality of Seborga was ruled by an Abbot-Prince from 1261 until 30 January 1729. The Sovereign of Seborga was elected from among the monks of the Abbey of the same name together with the monks of the Abbey of Lerino located on the island of Sant’Onorato, opposite Cannes (F). The island of Lerino, through the ‘Seborca’, was an enclave within the Republic of Genoa and was territorially dependent on the County of Provence, then on the Kingdom of France and today belongs to the French Republic, while the Abbey Principality of Seborga became a garrison of the Savoy in 1729, hence today it is a municipality of the Italian Republic.
To be precise, the Savoy family, not wishing to relinquish the longed-for strategic territory, persuaded the Abbot of Lerino to convene the congregation of the Fathers of Lerino on 11 December 1728 and confirm the longed-for alienation to the King of the House of Savoy, hence the sale in Paris on 30 January 1729.
In an exchange of communications of 12 January 1729, between the Advocate Lea and the Archbishop Prince of Embrun, Pierre Guerin de Tencin, Apostolic Commissioner and delegate of the Pope for the approval of the sale, which among other things mentions the already attempted sale of 1697, a missive of Pope Benedict XIII, dated 13 October 1728 (Nostra Apostolica Petitum) was mentioned, which authorised the sale on condition that the debts of the Pricipality were paid. This missive reads verbatim: ” …in exstravaganti ambitiosa contrabona Eccelsia alienantes statutis…” (source: Archivio di Stato di Torino).
The Archbishop and Prince of the metropolitan city of Embrun, Pierre Guerin de Tencin was delegated by the Supreme Pontiff to settle the dispute between the Republic of Genoa, which could count on the friendship of the Prior of Seborga, Milord Giuseppe Biancheri, and the Abbot of Lerino Prince of Seborga, His Most Reverend Highness Fauste de Ballon, who was pushed by the Savoy to alienate the Ancient Abbey Principality of Seborga.
The Apostolic Commissioner carried out a meticulous investigation, which began in Paris and ended in Versailles on 8 July 1728. This document stipulated no less than 9 points to be respected. It is essential to emphasise that the final alienation required the authorisation of the Fathers of the Abbey of Montmajour in Arles, since in the original document of donation by the Earl of Ventimiglia, Lord Guidone, dating back to 954, in the event of attempted alienation by the Cistercian Fathers and Monks of the Isle of Lerin, of the aforesaid territory of Seborga (including the Chaplaincy of San Mickael in Ventimiglia and the surrounding lands) the bequest would have been transferred ex officio to the Fathers of Mont Majeur d’Arles.
Therefore, the delegate of the Supreme Pontiff, Archbishop and Prince of Embrun, questioned the Benedictine Fathers of Arles, who quantified the amount of compensation for the sale to the Savoy at 15,000 Liras of Savoy currency.
The sale price, which was set at 147,000 Liras of Savoy currency, had to be reduced by the sum of 15,000 Liras of Savoy currency, set as compensation for the Montmajour Fathers of Arles. The remaining 132,000 Liras of Savoy currency, according to the document available at the Turin Archives, drawn up at the notary’s office in Paris, should have been paid to the Republic of Genoa to settle the debts contracted as far back as 1584, with the relevant receipt to be attached to the deed of sale.
However, the delegate of the Supreme Pontiff, Benedict XIII, authorised the sale therein without further papal authorisation.
The contract of sale was stipulated by the lawyer Francesco Lea, in the presence of a representative of the last Prince-Abate, His Most Reverend Highness Fauste de Balon, the Reverend Bursar of the Abbey of Lerino, Father Benoit de Benoit. The sum was fixed at 147,000 lire of Savoy currency. The sale was made in Paris in the presence of a notary who registered the effects.
A copy of this deed of sale to the Savoy is kept in the Turin State Archives (I).
Unfortunately, the monks’ main creditor, the Republic of Genoa, did not collect, intentionally or unintentionally, the title deed that the King had the Reverend Bursar delegated to the deed.
Hence this deed became legally null and void.
The King of Sardinia took possession of the territory of Seborga following the notarial deed in Paris, but he could never take possession of the title of Prince of Seborga in the absence of the completion of the deed of purchase. The Abbatial Principality fell into a “dormant” status, i.e. inactive from 30 January 1729 until 29 September 2019, the day of its formal reactivation.
Since 2 June 1946, the territory of Seborga has been a municipality of the Italian Republic and is administered by its Mayor elected from among the citizens and residents of Seborga.
Some of these, headed by the Seborgian floriculturist Giorgio Carbone, in order to re-establish independence in Seborga, improperly elected their own Prince of Seborga, named: Giorgio I, in the 1980s.
This vote was arranged in the absence of detailed historical-legal knowledge, as this right was only held by those entitled to vote for the election of the office ad vitam of Prince-Abate, namely the monks of the Abbey of Seborga.
Legally, it is not possible to transfer a right from religious to laymen or fans of ancient orders of chivalry. Only the presbyters and monks in Seborga held and still hold the exclusive right to elect the head of the religious congregation in turn head of the Monastic State, i.e. the Prince-Abate. Therefore, the alleged successors of Giorgio Carbone, Marcello Menegatto or his ex-wife Nina Dobler, or MD. Diego Beltrutti, it is safe to assume that they have not thoroughly studied the history of Seborga, nor the historical, legal and religious foundations on which the Principality of Seborga was founded. For the sake of brevity, let us not mention other subjects claiming the “throne” of Seborga, alleged heirs of Napoleon or other imperial or aristocratic families, because they are light years away from the historical, legal and theological reality of Seborga.
What Giorgio Carbone claimed, which today is wrongly stated in the claims of his alleged successors, can be summed up in five focal points:
1) Seborga became a Monastic Principality as far back as 1079.
2) The Knights Templar including some Grand Masters passed through Seborga, laid down their swords there and became Monks.
3) The deed of sale of 30 January 1729 was never legally and officially registered.
4) The deed of sale of 30 January 1729 concerned the simple possession of the territories of Seborga and not sovereignty over it.
5) The Monks left Seborga so that the right to elect the Prince passed to the citizens and residents of Seborga, for Messrs. Marcello Menegatto and Nina Dobler or to the Knights Templar or Holy Sepulchre inspired knights, founded by Giorgio Carbone, today presided over by Dr. Diego Beltrutti and/or others.
Following the meticulous historical-theological study conducted by the Prince-Abate, His Most Reverend Highness Giovanni Luca (born Gianluca de Lucia), it is only right to briefly state the following:
1) Seborga became an Abbatial Principality, i.e. governed by an Abbot-Prince in the year 1261, the year in which the Statutes and Regulations of the Abbatial Principality were officially drawn up.
2) The mere presence of a Chapel dedicated to St. Bernard and an Oratory of St. John of Matha in Seborga does not officially confirm that the Knights of the Temple laid down their arms in Seborga and became the monks that years later constituted the Abbey Principality of Seborga. Hence, any alleged emanation from it is to be considered folklore and purely amateurish.
3) The deed of sale authorised by Pope Benedict XIII in 1728, drawn up and registered in Paris on 30 January 1729 is preserved in copy at the Turin State Archives.
4) This deed of sale stipulated the cession of the territories of Seborga, the appurtenances such as the Chapel of San Michele (today the Church of San Michele in Ventimiglia) and the noble titles held by the Abbots of Seborga and Lerino.
5) The monks left Seborga because the King of Sardinia made payment for two titles of credit received, as per the receipt in deed of the Presbyter Bursar, Father Benoit de Benoit, delegated by Abbot Fauste de Ballon for the deed executed in Paris.
Before explaining what the Monastic Order of Seborga is, it is only right to make two clarifications that will help you understand why we proceeded to reconstitute a religious congregation in Seborga and decide to officially reactivate the inactive Monastic State:
1) The Abbey Principality of Seborga lost any duty of legation with the Abbey of Lerino that constituted the Abbey State as a result of the sale in 1729 and the closure of the Abbey itself in 1788 by Napoleon.
2) The Vatican lost all rights of sovereignty and autonomy outside the Vatican walls in 1929 following the signing of the ‘Lateran Pacts’.
Therefore, the only solution, according to the modest and intensive studies of the official documents available in both the Italian and French State Archives that the Prince-Abate has undertaken in recent years, has defined the establishment of a religious congregation in Seborga, in this case, the Monastic Order of Seborga, untied from the Vatican but incardinated in a religious body that has official relations with the Roman Catholic Church. The Monegasque Worship Association, chaired by Gianluca de Lucia, is a religious emanation of the Polish National Catholic Chruch, a church that was created in the USA out of a schism with the Vatican in 1909. The P.N.C. is one of the few ‘recent’ schismatic churches in the world that has had official relations with the Vatican since 1994 at the behest of St John Paul II.
Hence, on 29 September 2019, Gianluca de Lucia, then lay president of the Monegasque cult association, became a monk-oblate of the Monastic Order of Seborga, along with other brethren, receiving the two required vows: obedience and moderation (a milder level of poverty) and on the same occasion was elected Abbot Commendatory of the newly constituted Abbey of Seborga, formalising de facto the reactivation of the Abbey Principality of Seborga.
Today, this date is commemorated every year in Seborga in memory of the re-establishment of the Abbey State.
The strong desire to try to reunify Christians in the world, according to the Gospel of St. John: “UT UNUM SINT”, has led to a focal decision by the members of the Monastic Order of Seborga, transforming this religious congregation into a Catholic-Orthodox hybrid, as a result of the communion of faith and intentions with the Autocephalous Italian Orthodox Church of the Ancient East (C.O.I.A.O.), founded by Professor Alessandro Meluzzi, a famous Italian psychiatrist. This church has official relations with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, known as “Tewahedo” .
On 1 November 2019, the Commendatory Abbot of Seborga, formerly Consecrated Deacon, was ordained a priest by the then Vicar General of the C.O.I.A.O.
On 28 December 2019, a ceremony was held to install the Abbot Mitre of Seborga, who assumed the title of His Most Reverend Highness Giovanni Luca, Prince-Abbot of Seborga. On that date, the new Constitution of the Principality of Seborga was adopted. Today, this date is a national holiday in Seborga dedicated to the Prince-Abate of Seborga.
The Prince-Abbot, wishing to follow a purely Orthodox Christian denomination, not Coptic or Ancient Oriental Rite, left the Autocephalous Ancient Oriental Italian Orthodox Church founded by Prof. Meluzzi.
Confirming his desire to be an Orthodox Christian prelate, he was incardinated into the Italian Orthodox Autocephalous Church, presided over by the Archbishop Primate, His Most Reverend Eminence Archbishop Teodoro (born Prof. Armando Corino); this church has regular Apostolic Succession, being a direct emanation of the Ukrainian Autocephalus Orthodox Church
(U.A.O.C.), which was presided over by His Holiness Filaret.
In February 2022, the Prince-Abbot of Seborga was duly consecrated Bishop by H.E. Most Rev. Monsignor Teodoro, assisted by H.E. Mons. Pietro, assuming the title of Archbishop of the Abbey Principality of Seborga and the Principality of Monaco.
We therefore wish to affirm that all those who have not documented themselves on official nocuments, deposited in the Italian or French state archives, have no right to express hilarity or derision towards us, nor even less to claim their alleged sovereignty over the Principality of Seborga, which has always been the exclusive prerogative of the priests and monks of Seborga.
We thank you again for your valuable attention.