The Order of Saint Lazarus, like the other orders born in the Holy Land during the Crusades, had a turbulent and honorable beginning, a brief but very useful role in exterminating leprosy in Europe during the middle ages, another brief naval period when it served with distinction attacking pirates in the Mediterranean during the seventeenth century, after which it became an honorific distinction bestowed by the King of France.
Gerard de Martigues, a Provençal, later known as the "Blessed Gerard," founded the Order of Saint John and was director of the Hospital of Notre Dame in the Holy City sometime before the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem in 1099. At first, Gerard directed the Hospital under the authority of the Abbot of St. Mary. Later he and his companions left and created a special congregation, adopted a Rule, took vows and were accredited by the Popes. The first bull in their favor is dated 15 February 1113 and refers to "Gerard, Founder and Governor of the Hospital at Jerusalem and his Legitimate Successors".
Godfrey de Bouillon, uncrowned "king" of Jerusalem was so impressed with the dedication of Gerard and his companions towards the sick and the wounded that he supported and gave them funds and facilities. Some believe that the Order of Saint Lazarus took on a separate identity in 1120 when Boyand Roger, Rector of the Hospital of Jerusalem was elected Master of the Hospitalers of Saint Lazarus. Those suffering from the "living death" of leprosy regarded Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) as their patron saint and usually dedicated their hospices to him. The first written reference we have to Saint Lazarus as a "knightly" order is a letter written by Henry II, King of England and Duke of Normandy, dated 1159, in which he makes a large donation to it, and refers to the "Knights and Brethren of Saint Lazarus".
Five major orders were formed in the Holy Land in the late 11th-early 12th century: the Knights Templar, Knights Hospitaller (St. John), Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, Knights of the Hospital of St. Mary of Jerusalem (Teutonic Knights) and Knights of Saint Lazarus. Templar knights who contracted leprosy were sent to the care of the Order of Saint Lazarus. These knights trained the brethren of Saint Lazarus in the military arts and were responsible for transforming the Order into a military one. Gerard (v.s.) became director of the new leper hospital and appointed Boyand Roger as director and Master of Saint Lazarus. William, Archbishop of Tyre, as well as other historians of the period, appeared unaware of the difference between the Orders of Saint Lazarus and Saint John and lumped them together, referring to them in their accounts only as "Hospitalers". By 1256 the Order of Saint Lazarus had grown considerably and its existence was recognized by Pope Alexander IV under the Rule of St. Augustine. It acquired a church, a convent and a mill in Jerusalem and property near the Mount of Olives. It built a chapel at Tiberias and two hospitals for pilgrims in Armenia. It acquired more establishments at Nablus, Ascalon and Cæsarea.
In 1187 Saladin invaded and reconquered the Holy Land. The Order lost its main hospital and convent, and a contingent of knights perished in the loss of Jerusalem. In 1191 Richard coeur de lion defeated Saladin at Azoof and recaptured Jaffa. He and Saladin made a treaty by which the sea coast from Tyre to Jaffa remained in the possession of the Crusaders, and Christians were allowed full liberty to visit the Holy Sepulchre. The Order relocated to Acre, built a hospital, convent and church, and carried on with its hospitaller functions. It secured sovereign rights over a portion of the city on territory ceded to it by the Templars, and Pope Urban IV confirmed its privileges in 1264. They were mentioned as being present at the battle of Gaza in 1244 and at the final siege in 1291 when Acre fell to the greatly superior Mameluke forces. The Christian knights present in Acre perished, as did Christian hopes in the East. The green cross of Saint Lazarus disappeared from the Holy Land after two hundred years. It moved to Cyprus, then Sicily, then returned to its headquarters at Boigny near Orléans in France. The property at Boigny was given to it by King Louis VII in 1154 and erected as a barony in 1288. Many knights who had become used to the Mediterranean climate decided not to return to France and went no farther than Sicily, where they established themselves on properties given to them by the Germanic Roman Emperor Frederick von Hohenstauffen. Their headquarters was in Capua, on the Iralian mainland These expatriates eventually became a completely separate branch of the Order under Papal jurisdiction when in 1489 Pope Innocent VIII fulminated a bull giving the properties of the Orders of Saint Lazarus and of the Holy Sepulchre to the Order of St. John, in effect dissolving the two. The branch of Saint Lazarus at Boigny refused to recognize the validity of the bull.
By the early sixteenth century the Order was moribund. Leprosy had been virtually eliminated in Europe. The Crusades were over, and in Papal eyes there was very little to justify the continued existence of Saint Lazarus. Though the knights of Saint Lazarus at Boigny continued to function as an order, as far as the Pope was concerned, the Order in France had ceased to exist. The properties of the Sicilian branch had been transferred by the Pope to the Savoyan Order of Saint Maurice, which became the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus. Originally created as a military order whose mission was to protect the Papal States' shoreline from the Barbary pirates, it soon became nothing more than a distinction of the House of Savoy and after the unification of Italy, a state order along with that of the Crown of Italy. Following the Second World War, King Umberto exercised from his exile in Portugal his right of fons honorum and proffered these Savoian orders to many of his deserving friends. His son, Prince Victor Emanuel, continues to award the order.
On 25 July 1593, King Henry of Navarre abjured the Protestant faith in order to accede to the French throne as Henri IV. In 1608, two years before his assassination, he created with the blessing of Pope Paul V the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and named Philibert, Marquis de Nerestang, Grand Master of Saint Lazarus, Grand Master of the new order. He in effect amalgamated the two orders, which then became known as the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Lazarus. The insignia of the new order was an eight-pointed Maltese cross bearing fleurs de lys in the angles and quartered of the colors of both orders (purple and green) bearing on the obverse a representation of Our Lady and on the reverse of Saint Lazarus..
There is a good deal of controversy as to the King's reasons for founding this new order and then joining it to Saint Lazarus. Some historians see it as a move to prove to the Pope that he was now a good Catholic fulfilling the vows he took to create institutions to glorify the Church and the Faith when he abjured Protestantism, .Others hold that the King was being wily and his only desire was to prevent the considerable properties of a moribund Saint Lazarus from falling into the hands of the Hospitallers of Saint John and, in effect to revive Saint Lazarus (which was dissolved by Pope Innocent VIII in 1489). Since over the years he had made several efforts to have the Pope annul the 1489 bull, it is reasonable to assume that the truth lies somewhere in between. Historians of the Order claim that, although they owed allegiance to a common grand master, neither order lost its sovereign identity.
In theory the Order was military, but with the exception of a brief period in the XVIIth century when it manned ten naval frigates it played no military role after it left the Holy Land. It was composed of diplomats, high-level civil servants and members of the titled nobility and was limited to 100 knights. The King was the sovereign head and protector and chose the Grand Master. The Grand Master, however, was only recognized by the Pope as Grand Master of the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and not of Saint Lazarus. During the reign of Louis XVI the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, not the combined orders, was awarded to the top three students of the Royal Military School. The orders were separate though they shared the same Grand Master. Although the Order enjoyed a unique relationship with the French Royal House and was officially under the protection of the King of France, it was never a Royal Order. The King's titles as Sovereign, Founder and Protector meant that he was Sovereign and Founder of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Protector of Saint Lazarus.
During the French Revolution. a decree of 30 July 1791 suppressed all royal and knightly orders. Another decree the following year confiscated all the Order's properties (the Château de Boigny, the Military Academy, the commanderies and hospitals). Louis, Count of Provence, Grand Master of the Order, who later became Louis XVIII, continued to function in exile and awarded the Order, though sparingly. Supporters point out that while in exile in the Latvian province of Mittau he awarded the Order to Tsars Paul I and Alexander I of Russia, Grand Duke Constantine of Russia, Count Rostopchine and General de Fersen... They maintain that he even created an hereditary commandery in Sweden for Chev. Olof Nilson which is still in existence. When the Count of Provence returned to France from exile to reign as Louis XVIII, he gave up the magistracy of the Order and became Protector, as had his predecessors, but appointed no grand master.
Shortly after Louis acceded to the throne in 1814, Napoleon escaped from Elba and returned to France, forcing the King to leave Paris again to seek refuge in Ghent. During this period and after he returned to France, circumstances did not permit the King to summon a Chapter General to elect a Grand Master. The Order was governed by a Lieutenant-General, the Duc de Châtre, assisted by M. Silvestre, the Herald, M. Dacier, the historiographer, and Father Picot, a chaplain from Versailles.
King Louis XVIII, the Protector, and the Duc de Châtre both died in 1824. King Charles X succeeded his brother and took the title of Protector, and left the Order to be governed by a Council of Officers, headed by the marquis d'Autichamps, and the Council of (hereditary) Commanders. Recruitment slowly resumed and promotions were made. In 1830 Charles X abdicated, and with his de jure successor, the young Duc de Bordeaux, who reigned from 2 to 7 August 1830 as Henri V, went into exile. King Henri V was the last de jure royal Protector of the Order. The Order did not enjoy the protection of the new king and was not listed thereafter in the royal Almanac. From 1830 the Order of Saint Lazarus was governed by a Council of Officers. The knights and hospitallers of the Order felt it was necessary for the Order to have a Protector. Patriarch Maximos III Malzoum had for years been acquainted with the Order of St Lazarus. In 1821-23, whilst Archbishop of Myra, he spent three years living in France, where, with the support of King Louis XVIII, he founded the Greek Catholic church of Our Lady of Myra. While living in Paris he brought the sufferings of Eastern Catholics to the attention of Louis XVIII and other members of the Order of Saint Lazarus.
Now Patriarch since 1833, Maximos III Malzoum came to France again in 1841, after visiting Pope Gregory XVI in Rome. The Knights and Hospitallers of the Order of St Lazarus made contact with the Patriarch during his second sojourn in Paris and asked him to be the Spiritual Protector of the Order. He accepted for himself and for his successors. The knights and hospitallers of the Order of St Lazarus, now confident that their traditions would be maintained, continued their charitable work, especially for the benefit of Christians in the East. Under the spiritual authority of the Greek Catholic Patriarch, there was cautious recruitment to the Order, so that by 1850 it numbered some twenty knights. Among the Eastern prelates appointed to the Order were, notably, the Greek Catholic Archbishops Clement of Beirut (who became Patriarch in 1856), Msgr. Agapi Dumani (appointed in 1864) and Msgr. Antoine Sabbagh (appointed in 1871). In the West, recruitment of new members was restricted by the Patriarch's position vis-à-vis the Ottoman Empire. Knights appointed up to the end of the 19th century included (in 1853) Admiral Alphonse Hamelin, who commanded the Black Sea squadron during the Crimean War, became Minister for the Navy and was Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honour when he died in 1860. In the same year, Admiral Louis Edouard BouëtWillaumez, who became an Imperial Senator and died in 1871; in 1863: Comte Louis François du Mesnil de Maricourt, who became French Consul at Larnaca in Cyprus and died in 1865 while ministering to cholera victims; Comte Paul de Poudenx, who died in 1894; the Rev Abbé Jean Tanski, who came to France after taking part in the Polish uprising, lived at Paris (where he was attached to the parish of Sainte Marie-des-Batignolles), later became Almoner of the Order, contributed to its maintenance and died in 1913; in 1865: Comte Jules Marie d'Anselme de Puisaye, a zouave in the Papal armies; the Vicomte de Boisbaudry in 1875; Baron Yves de Constancin in 1896, who was later to become commander of the Hospitaller Nobles of St Lazarus, a knight of the Order of Isabella the Catholic and of Saint Anne of Russia. A man of letters, he founded the Association of Parliamentary Journalists and was the director of the Revue Internationale, dying in 1914. In 1880, Comte Jules Marie d'Anselme de Puisaye, a Hospitaller Knight of St Lazarus, living at the time in Tunisia and desirous of involving the Order in a charitable and hospitaller project, founded in Tunis the Association de Ia Croix Verte, a society for aid to the injured and sick.
In 1902, the Greek Melkite Archbishop of Saint-Jean-d'Acre, Msgr. Cyrille Ghea, a member of the Order, became Patriarch Cyril VIII. Under his aegis, new members joined the Order, among them Msgr. Gregoire Haggear, his successor as Melkite Archbishop of Saint- Jean-d'Acre, Paul Watrin, Paul Beugnot, Charles Otzenberger, Jean-Paul Eyscher, Alexandre Gallery de la Tremblaye, Jean Georges de Guillet de Pardes de Fleurelles.
In 1910, the Patriarch, on Canon Tanski's advice, decided to re- establish the Order's Chancellery in France, its historic seat. A council of the Order was appointed: Paul Watrin, an advocate at the Appeal Court in Paris, was appointed Chancellor; Paul Beugnot as the Judge of Arms and Canon Tanski as Chaplain. After this reorganisation Patriarch Cyril VIII wrote a long letter, dated 3 June 1911 from Damascus, to the Chancellor, in which he discussed the role of the Eastern Church in which the Order was interested, and concluded:"Finally, as a pledge of our recognition and affection, we gran.t our blessing to all the Order.
There is some confusion about the name the Order gave itself at that time. Guy Coutant de Saisseval, Grand Chancellor of the Paris Obedience, stated that it was the "Nobiliary Association of the Knights of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem". The late Paul Bertrand de La Grassière, the Order's modern historian, on the other hand, wrote in 1932, that it never took on that title but was called "Order of Noble Knights of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem and our Lady of Mercy."
After the First World War erupted in 1914, new upheavals battered the institution of Saint Lazarus. In the Near East, the Turkish Government massacred Christians, sentenced bishops to imprisonment and sentenced Patriarch Cyril VIJI to death because of his opposition to the Ottoman government. He evaded death by escaping to Egypt, where he died at Ramleh on 11 January 1916.
When the Ottoman Empire was defeated, Demetrios I Cadi was elected Patriarch on 29 March 1919, and became the new Spiritual Protector of the Order of St Lazarus. Under his protectorate, recruitment resumed, Canon Pierracini became Chaplain of the Order and the marquis de l'Église de Férier de Félix became Judge of Arms. The Patriarch died on 25 October 1925, and Cyril IX Mogabgab was elected Patriarch 8 December 1925. He was a great Francophile and a Commander of the Legion of Honour. The Order developed under his spiritual protection, and on 17 March 1926, the Patriarch wrote a lengthy letter ferom Beirut to the members of the Order, in which he said:"The work of the recruitment of priests and their support in poverty-stricken villages.., accomplished by my beloved hospitaller sons of St Lazarus of Jerusalem, is a work of essentially missionary character and worthy of their traditions. God will assuredly reward them a hundredfold, for they shall have the merit of saving thousands of souls for God. In especially commending all these endeavours to you, I send to you and to all your confrères in the Order my paternal benediction...
On 10 June 1926, Msgr. Attié, the Melkite Patriarch's archimandrite and rector of the Church of Saint Julian the Poor in Paris, was installed as Chaplain of the Order. Recruitment intensified over the next two years. The year 1927 saw the official constitution under French law of the Association Française des Hospitaliers de Saint-Lazare, which then took the name of Association Française des Chevaliers de Saint-Lazare and which is now the Hospitaliers de Saint-Lazare de Jerusalem. The marquis de l'Église de Férier de Felix became its president. In the same year,
In 1929 the Order continued its onward progress. More than fifty people, French and foreign, joined its ranks, among whom were Cardinal Lienart, Bishop of Lille, Cardinal Hayes, Archbishop of New York; Msgr Dub. Dubowski, Bishop of Luck and Zytornec, General de Castelnau, Admiral Lacaze, General Weygand, don Francisco de Borbón y de Borbón, the Duc de Clermont-Tonnerre, the marquis de Migré, the marquis de Bellevue and Colonel Raoul Hospital. This period also saw increased recruitment outside France, notably in Spaln and Poland.
In the same year, the Order published an edition of its Rules and Statutes, which recapitulated the Order's ancient customs whilst adapting them to modern times and relying upon the basis of the Fundamental Statute of the Knights and Hospitallers which had been drawn up in 1841 at the time of the resumption of the links between the Knights and Hospitallers and the Melkite Patriarchate; articles on the Hospitallers of St Lazarus were published in various journals and conferences were held on the subject.
The expansion of the Order in Europe was so successful that it decided to explore the possibilities in the New World. Here again the Order thrived; among those received were no less than four American Cardinals and one Bishop, who accepted the Order's Ecclesiastical Grand Cross. A former Chief Justice on New York's Supreme Court was awarded its Grand Cross. We know that the Presidents of the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Brazil were honored by, and officially recognized, the Order.
In 1930 officers of the Order asked don Francisco de Borbón y de Ia Torre, Duke of Seville, Grand Bailiff of the Order for Spain, to assume the governance of the Order, with the title of Lieutenant-General of the Grand Magistracy. The Duke, a direct descendant of the kings of Spain and France, who distinguished himself on the field of battle during the Spanish Civil War and was known as the "Hero of Malaga," accepted the office. He worked for the revitalization of the Order by rallying the knights to its traditional double mission: aid to lepers and collaboration in the defense of the Christian Faith. By a unanimous vote in 1935 he was elected Grand Master, re-establishing the office, vacant since 1814.
After the Second World War the Order's expansion reached its zenith. Membership grew as did its charitable missions. The Duke of Seville melded some of the Order's ancient traditions with modern reforms with evident success. The Order, wishing to revert to its original mission, became actively involved in the care of lepers in Spain. In 1952 the Duke of Seville died. His son and co-adjutor, don Francisco Enrique de Borbón y de Borbón, was named Lieutenant General of the Grand Magistracy and elected Grand Master six years later. Because he was a serving officer in the Spanish army and resided in Spain, he was unable to devote himself fully to the Order. In 1956, he appointed Pierre Timoléon de Cossé-Brissac, twelth Duke of Brissac, a member since 1954, Administrator General of the Order. This move eventually resulted in new fragmentation of the Order.
The French administration complained that Lt. Colonel don Francisco Enrique de Borbón y de Borbón, the Grand Master, was increasingly tied up by his military and personal obligations and was unable to fulfill his commitments, and that a de facto vacancy existed in the grand magistracy.
Don Francisco immediately issued decrees annulling the appointments of the Duc de Brissac as Administrator-General and the other members of the Paris administration and reassumed the grand magistracy. The Parisians paid no attention to the decrees. They convened the membership in a Chapter General to depose Don Francisco and elected H.R.H. Prince Charles Phillip of Orleans, Duc de Nemours, Duc de Vendôme, Duc d'Alençon and First Prince of the Blood of France, as Grand Master. They easily accomplished their aims and created the second scission in the Order at the negligible cost of losing the Spanish jurisdiction which understandably remained loyal to don Francisco. Thus there were now two Grand Masters, the Duc de Nemours in Paris and don Francisco in Madrid, who, as a consolation prize was named Grand Master Emeritus of the Order and Grand Prior of the Spanish Grand Priory by the members in Paris. The Supreme Council re-established the Grand Magistracy at Boigny, returning it to the status it held for 500 years before the French Revolution. Lt. Col. Robert Gayre of Gayre and Nigg was given responsibility for propagation of the Order in Britain and the Americas.
The Duc de Nemours was educated in England and an ardent anglophile. He married Miss Margaret Watson, an American lady from Virginia, and the couple spoke English at home. It was only natural that he and Gayre, the Commissioner-General for the English-speaking world, would soon become fast friends. This was resented by the Administrator General of the Order and his entourage, and forebode another storm. The Duc de Nemours appointed Col. Gayre Grand Referendary of the Order to replace the deceased marquis de Cardenas de Montehermoso, which provoked the wrath of Brissac and his staff. This was tantamount to turning over the control of the Order to Gayre, which was totally unacceptable to Paris.
The Duc de Brissac once again convened a Chapter-General and deposed the Duc de Nemours. This time the move was much more costly because Gayre, who had been active in recruiting in the English-speaking countries, took with him more than half of the Order's membership, with the exception of Canada. The members in Paris appointed the Duc de Brissac Supreme Head of the Order, without naming him Grand Master.
Gayre and the Duc de Nemours moved their faction's headquarters to the island of Malta and the appointed the Grand Master's nephew, Prince Michael of France, co-adjutor with right of succession to the Grand Magistracy. Gayre continued to travel and recruit extensively
The Duc de Nemours died suddenly in Paris in 1970 and the group on Malta found itself without a Grand Master. Prince Michael of France, the co-adjutor temporarily assumed the duties until a permanent replacement could be found. It was not long before Gayre decided to call upon don Francisco de Borbón in Madrid and propose to him that he return to the head of the largest faction in the Order. Don Francisco would be Grand Master, his seat would be in Madrid and he would have direct control over the Spanish jurisdiction. This was the fourth scission but it resulted in the Order's being reduced to two obediences, one known as the Paris obedience and the other, for convenience's sake called the Malta obedience because the Order's Grand Chancellory was situated there, and because Gayre maintained a residence on the island.
Maintaining a Grand Magistery in one country and a headquarters in another was bound to bring on problems, especially when the lines of communication between the Chancery and the Grand Magistery were hampered by the lack of a common language. In this case the Grand Master spoke only Spanish and French and Gayre spoke only English. Admittedly the Grand Chancellor, Amato Gauci, did have an assistant who was familiar with Spanish, but the latter's duties as a Maltese civil servant left him little time for the affairs of the Grand Chancellory. While there were no official contacts betweeen the two obediences during this period, members of the rank and file of each made efforts to convince their leaderships that the Order be reunified, if for no other reason than to better be able to withstand the attacks against the divided Saint Lazarus made by that segment of the European press which covered the activities of the European nobility, and others who specialized in heraldry and genealogy. Tentative contacts between members of each obedience were made, and it looked as if each leadership was coming around to the general principle of a reunification. The Canadians who had gone over to the Paris side and those Canadians who remained loyal to don Francisco decided to set an example and joined forces, pledging allegiance temporarily to a commonly elected Grand Prior of Canada. The Americans, who had been urging a reunification for some time, helped to arbitrate and welcomed this first step.
Dissatisfaction arose over the administration of the Order in Spain. Gayre, because he had delegated authority to the Grand Chancellor, Amato Gauci, and his assistant, was unable to control matters. The Grand Chancellor was perfectly aware of what was happening in the Grand Magistracy but, personally loyal to Don Francisco, did not see fit to influence him. Gayre, realizing his own lack of control decided that the problem required radical action and vowed to jettison the Grand Master and rejoin the Paris Obedience.
His Beatitude Georges Hakim, MAXIMOS V, Melkite Patriarch of Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch and All the East, the Spiritual Protector, agreed to head a reunification committee to which don Francisco refused to name members, sensing a coup. Preliminary meetings took place at Philadelphia, Paris and London, to which Malta sent "observers." These deliberations resulted in a meeting in Washington in 1984 which was attended by the marquis de Brissac, representing his father, the Grand Master of the Paris Obedience, and don Francisco de Borbón y de Borbón, representing Malta. A declaration of intent to unify was drawn up at Washington which provided for both grand masters to step down and become "Grand Masters Emeriti" so that an election could be held to select a grand master for a unified Order. The representatives of Paris signed the declaration, don Francisco refused to sign, saying he had to consult his advisers and constituents on return to Madrid.
The Patriarch called for a chapter general at Oxford in 1986, which don Francisco refused to attend and ordered his followers to boycott. The Duc de Brissac gave up the reins of his obedience to his son, the marquis de Brissac, who was one of the three nominees at the Oxford election. The Malta Grand Master and the Prince zur Lippe were the others. The marquis won handily and was acclaimed as the 48th Grand Master by an overjoyed assemblage, who thought they had at last healed the breach.
The Malta Grand Master refused to acknowledge the validity of the election and resolved to carry on as before. Instead of a reunification, a realignment occurred. The Paris obedience acquired the largest (more than 500 members) and richest of the Order's jurisdictions, that of the United States, as well those of England, Lochore (Gayre's personal jurisdiction), Holland, and several others. Germany, Austria, Italy and Hungary remained divided.
After the failed attempt at reunion, tempers flared at first, but as they gradually cooled down, members of good will on both sides made new overtures. The members in the U.S. belonging to the Malta Obedience are incorporated in Paris Obedience Grand Priory of America for administrative purposes. A member of the "Commandery of Malta" thus created is the Hospitaller of the American Grand Priory. Name calling and threats of legal action have virtually ceased, and both divisions have turned to their charitable efforts which both feel must be significant in order to justify their claim to be a Order of Chivalry
The Order of Saint Lazarus is an cumenical organization of Christian hospitallers whose spirit goes back to the Holy Land and the Crusades. The United looks to His Beatitude Gregory III, Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem and all the East, for spiritual support as the constitutional Spiritual Protector.
With the exception of the Teutonic Order, the Order of Saint Lazarus is the smallest of the orders so far mentioned. Its membership numbers approximately 7000 members in Grand Priories, Priories, Commanderies and Delegations in the five continents. The Order's traditional humanitarian activities are in the field of leprosy. It maintains leprosaria and dispensaries and sends medical supplies to various medical missions in Africa, and in the Pacific islands. A recent thrust of the American Grand Priory is the support of organ donation, led by its Hospitaller, the Deputy Surgeon General of the US. The Order is also involved in geriatric care for the needy, it operates several Volunteer Ambulance Corps including one for young drug addicts and directly supports a medical and religious mission in Kenya. Among the more noteworthy projects undertaken by the Order has been the weekly transport of basic food and medical supplies to Poland, Russia, Jugoslavia, Macedonia, Kosovo and the Asia Relief Project after the Tsunami disaster in Indonesia on the isle of Nias.
There are two categories of membership in the Order: Justice, for individuals able to submit nobiliary proofs, and Magistral Grace for those unable to do so. Christians may be admitted in the following grades: Member, Officer, Commander, Knight or Dame, Knight or Dame Commander, Knight or Dame Grand Cross. As a mark of the Grand Master's special esteem, the Order may also award a Collar to a head of State and very occasionally to its high dignitaries. The Order also confers decorations of merit to its members and to individuals not necessarily members of the Order who have contributed, by their service, to its humanitarian work.
The order's badge is a green Maltese cross edged in gold, worn in different sizes according to rank. The decoration of merit is a green cross flory, with crossed swords in the angles, in the center of which is a circle surrounding the order's green Maltese cross on a white background. The badge depends from a green ribbon edged with purple. It is awarded in the same grades as that of the order. In the English-speaking jurisdictions of the Order members, use post-nominal initials indicating their rank (MLJ,OLJ,CLJ,KLJ,GCLJ) on internal correspondence, and in the ranks of KLJ and above refer to and address one another as "Chevalier".
1. Les Chevaliers de Saint Lazare de 1789 à 1930, Guy Coutant de Saisseval, Drukkerij Weimar by the Hague, undated
2. An Up-Date to the History of the Order 1983-1987, James J. Algrant y Cañete, privately printed, undated
3. "Another View of the History of the Order of Saint Lazarus," James J. Algrant, "Caltrap's Corner,"(webpage )
3. The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913, electronic version by New Advent, Inc., 1998
1. French titles in French not capitalized except "Duc." Titles in English all upper case.
2. Spanish title "don" not capitalized except at beginning of sentence; in English, is capitalized.