The Order of Saint Lazarus is one of the most ancient of the European orders of chivalry, dating back to the time of the Crusader knights. From its foundation in the 12th century, the members of the Order have been dedicated to two ideals: aid to those suffering from the disease of leprosy and the defence of the Christian faith.
Today the Order is an international self-governing and independent body, with its own Constitution. The Order is registered as a Foundation in Madrid, in accordance with the laws of Spain. Traditionally it is organized as a Christian Chivalric Order. It is apolitical, ecumenical, and non-denominational.
With the exception of the present Teutonic Order ("Deutscher Orden"), the Order of Saint Lazarus is today the smallest of the orders of Christian chivalry. It is made up of approximately four thousand members in the five continents.
This short leaflet gives a brief overview and introduction to the Order.
The aims of the Order
The aims of the Order are:
- to preserve and defend the Christian faith;
- to support, care for and help the poor, the sick and the dying;
- to promote and maintain the principles of Christian chivalry and
- to follow the teachings of Christ in all it does.
The activities of the Order are worldwide, with particular attention to Hansen’s Disease (otherwise known as leprosy). By its activities in charitable, philanthropic, health and education fields the Order contributes to the achievement of the aims and principles of the United Nations Charter and the Statute of the Council of Europe.