His Serene Highness the Most Revd. Prince Kermit Poling de Polanie-Patrikios de Gniezno (1941-2015) was appointed the first Prince of Miensk and Ecclesiast of all Byelorussia by Patriarch Peter II Andreas Zhurawetsky of Byelorussia in 1970, and was installed by the Patriarch as head of the newly created Royal House Polanie-Patrikios.
The future Prince Kermit was born on 1 October 1941, on the family farm near Crystal Springs (Randolph County), West Virginia, the son of the late Revd. Durward Willis Poling (later Duke of Bransk-Marmora) and Mrs Della Boyles Poling. He entered the ministry of the Evangelical United Brethren Church in 1967. A year later, that church merged with the Methodist Church to form the United Methodist Church. Prince Kermit served as pastor of Parkersburg Circuit, Crossroads Circuit, Hope-Halleck Charge Morgantown, Trinity-Warren Grafton, First Trinity Pennsboro, and South Parkersburg United Methodist Church. He was co-ordinator for Taylor and Ritchie County Co-operative Parishes, and president of Taylor and Ritchie County Ministerial Associations, an instructor for the United Methodist Lay Academy, and Assistant Secretary of the West Virginia Conference. He was awarded a Commendation for Outstanding Achievement in Ministry from the Ohio House of Representatives. For seven years he hosted the “Morning Devotions” radio programme. He was the last pastor of the former Evangelical United Brethren Church to retire in 2004.
Prince Kermit received his ministerial education at West Virginia University, Reed College of Religion, The American Bible College and Divinity School, the College of Martinist Studies, Wesley and Zion Theological Seminaries, the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies, the University of Oxford and Selly Oak Colleges, Birmingham. He held numerous earned and honorary degrees and was a founding member of the Association of Bible Teachers.
Before entering the ministry, Prince Kermit had served as a petty officer with the United States Navy on the staff of the Commander Amphibious Forces U.S. Atlantic Fleet. He was on the team that printed the top secret amphibious assault operation orders during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He continued in service with the reserves, and also worked for the F.B.I. In 2001 he was inducted into the Naval Order of the United States.
Scion of an ancient family, Prince Kermit traced both his paternal and maternal ancestry to King Edward I of England, and thence to the early kings of Poland, Russia and Belarus, twelve Holy Roman Emperors and – of the greatest significance – thirteen of the Byzantine Emperors, including Emperor Leo V (Patrikios) the Armenian. In 1970, his Belarusian royal descent and ministerial ability led Patriarch Peter II Zhurawetsky of the Byelorussian Patriarchate of St Andrew the First-Called Apostle to appoint him Ecclesiast of All Byelorussia and crown him Prince of Miensk, establishing the Royal House Polanie-Patrikios and its House Orders, of which the Holy and Blessed Order of the Sacred Cup became the most prominent. Prince Kermit succeeded Patriarch Peter as Grand Knight Chancellor of the Order of the Sacred Cup in 1988. He published The Excubitor as his house journal.
Prince Kermit’s connexion with the San Luigi Orders was an intimate one. He was a valued friend of Prince-Abbot Edmond II of San Luigi, who conferred upon him high honours including the designation of Count; he would subsequently be raised to the Marquisate of Inheressu and the Dukedom of Kelibia. He became in due course the senior living member of the Order of the Crown of Thorns and also held the Order of the Lion and the Black Cross and the Grand Prix Humanitaire. In 2013 he was appointed a Royal Patron and Vice-Chancellor Emeritus of the San Luigi Orders by Prince-Abbot Edmond III of San Luigi, whom, with the consent of his sons, he would adopt as his heir in nobiliary and chivalric matters in 2015.
Prince Kermit was the sole bishop of the Apostolate of the Order of the Holy Wisdom, the senior jurisdiction of the Antiochean Ferrette Succession. He was consecrated on 11 April 1972 at Woodford Green, Essex, by Mar Basilius Abdullah III (Dr William Bernard Crow), Patriarch of Antioch in the Ancient Orthodox Catholic Church and the Apostolate of the Order of the Holy Wisdom, and was assigned as Mar Titus, Bishop in partibus of Tayma, and Bishop of the Apostolate of the Order of the Holy Wisdom. He further received from the late Patriarch the knighthood of the Sacred Antiochene Order of Ss. Peter and Paul.
These accolades stand alongside Prince Kermit’s many other chivalric, nobiliary, academic and civic honours. Among many other distinctions, he was a Prince and member of the Menuorfeme Ruling House of the Volo Empire, Volta Traditional Region, Ghana, by decree of the reigning Paramount Chief, HRH Togbe Kwasi Abliza III. He was a Fellow honoris causa in the fifth class of the Augustan Society, and in 1973 received that Society’s Principate of Avgvstvs Commemorative Medal.
Prince Kermit was very happily married to Princess Patricia Ann “Pat” (née Groves), with whom he would have celebrated his fiftieth wedding anniversary in June. They had two sons, Princes David and Mikael, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
A memorial service was held on April 11 2015 at Pennsboro United Methodist Church officiated by Pastor Dr Bill Durst.
MEMORY ETERNAL! MEMORY ETERNAL! MEMORY ETERNAL!