COL Chev. Fred W. Darley, GCTJ formed the nucleus of a commandery in California’s San Fernando Valley in 2005, in which he served as Commander and Thomas E. Hanson was Chancellor. The GPUSA recognized Christian Soldier as a commandery of the Priory of Our Savior in 2007 and approved its coat of arms. Its first convent and investiture, independent of Our Savior, was at the Northridge Congregational Church in the San Fernando Valley in 2008, which was followed by a banquet at the Universal Hilton Hotel afterwards.
The Commandery achieved priory status at the Priory of Our Savior’s Convent and Investiture in Pasadena in 2009. Chev. Fred Darley was installed as Prior I and Chev. Brian Gray, KCTJ served as Chancellor. The Priory of the Christian Soldier follows a military theme with military traditions, including honoring the colors, POW-MIA honors presentations, folding the flag and military branch table settings. Chev. Brian Gray, became Prior II at the C&I on October, 2011.
Chev. Gray brought a new dimension to the Priory by initiating informal social activities at different venues, which were spread along the California coastline. These Priory events included meals at the Royal Khyber Indian Restaurant in Orange County, summer beach parties at the Jonathan Club in Santa Monica and Christmas dinners in Long Beach.
Christian Soldier has focused its outreach mainly on helping military families in its beginnings first as a commandery and then as a priory. It has an impressive record of doing so, such as supporting Fisher House in San Diego which cares for families of recovering soldiers, Sew Much Comfort which manufactures clothing for wounded troops, Pendleton’s Tender Loving Canines which purchases dogs and Toys for Tots. The Priory holds Summer Works Raffles with the Priory of Our Savior in support of these charitable endeavors.
The Priory of the Christian Soldier has interacted with other priories over the years, including the development of an especially strong relationship with the Priory of the Light in Arizona. The Priory has contributed to GPUSA in many other ways as well, such as a silent jewelry auction in support of the Jerusalem Mite.
Several members participated in parading the colors in the processional at the Grand Convent and Investiture at West Point in 2010. The color guard participated at the Grand Convent and Investiture in Norcross, Georgia in 2011. COL Fred W. Darley, who served as Grand Standard Bearer, led his Priory team of ten members at the ceremony.
The Priory of the Christian Soldier is looking toward the future, even as a young priory with an admirable history. It plans to implement an electronic database for more efficient organization, communication and record-keeping. It is looking for a more centrally located church, at which the Priory can hold its future convents and investitures.
The Priory has hosted in the past a Burns Supper in La Cañada Flintridge. It also had organized trips to The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe for a social weekend in San Diego with some of the representatives and their dogs at the Tender Loving Canines. The Priory of the Christian Soldier continues to grow as a strong, vibrant, viable and expanding priory, with a Commandery to be soon established in the San Diego area as well as a Preceptory in the Las Vegas area in late 2016-early 2017.
Priors of the Christian Soldier
Prior I COL Chev. Fred W. Darley, GCTJ (2009-2011)
Prior II Chev. Brian Gray GOTJ, (2011-2013)
Prior III Maj Chev. Sandor X. Mayuga, Esquire, GOTJ (2013-2015)
Prior IV MG Chev. James W. Comstock, GOTJ (2015-2017))
Prior V CSM Michael A. Leogrande, GOTJ (2017-2020)<
Prior VI CPO Chev. James K. Wilkinson, KCTJ (2020-Present)