John the Blind
Count of Luxembourg
and the LIONS
The last knight of Europe
Despite his partial blindness, John of Bohemia, known as "the Blind Man" was an inspiring figure of his time. An emblematic figure of the Middle Ages, he swore loyalty to both the German emperor and the French king and took part in all the great campaigns and battles of his time.
The son of the German Emperor Henry VII, from the house of Luxembourg, Count John of Luxembourg, King of Bohemia, incorporated chivalric ideals like few of his contemporaries: he rode all over Europe, from Paris to Prague, from Lithuania to Italy, to realize his idea of political order in Europe. Moreover, he regularly participated in tournaments; he put himself at the service of Christianity and also took part in crusades. Finally, he swore loyalty not only to the German emperor, but also to the French king.
In 1310, he married Elisabeth, the sister of the last Bohemian king, from the Premyslid dynasty. As there was no male successor in this family, John became king at the same time. From this relationship was born the future Germanic emperor Charles_IV.
The fact that he lost his sight did not affect his ambitions. Indeed, when his oath to the French king called him to arms against the English, he did not withdraw. He therefore went into battle at Crécy in 1346, despite his handicap. He was guided by his knights, but he was mortally wounded in the middle of the battle.
The "Black Prince" impressed
Legend has it that Prince of Wales Edward of Woodstock, the son of the English king, called the "Black Prince", found the remains of John after the battle and, impressed by his dedication and to honor his fallen adversary, adopted the crest as well as the motto "Ich_dien" (I serve), which continues to this day to adorn the coat of arms of the heir to the English crown,
Prince of Wales Emblems
"Ich dien" appeared most often on the reverse of two pence coins minted between 1971 and 2008, which means that many circulating coins can still be found bearing this phrase.
John the Blind Spiritual Father
of the Lions ?
One could even imagine that the four lions that the knight Jean de Luxembourg carried in his emblem and in his standard were at the base of the name of our movement LIONS.
Wasn't it Helen KELLER, deaf, dumb and blind, who exhorted, during the International Convention of 1925, the LIONS of the whole world to become the
She urged the LIONS of the world to become "Knights of the Blind in the Crusade against Darkness" in allusion to the chivalry of the Middle Ages.
Who would have thought that Count John the Blind, the last knight of the Middle Ages, with his motto "Ich dien", would be the patron and spiritual father of the LIONS?
DG 2003/4 and 2019/20
Visit October 23 - 25, 2022
PI Brian E. Sheehan and his wife Lori
International President Brian E. Sheehan and his wife Lori at the Shrine of John the Blind in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Luxembourg City