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The Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem— OSLJ— is an order of chivalry which originated in a leper hospital founded by Knights Hospitaller in the twelfth century by the crusaders of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. The Order of Saint Lazarus is one of the most ancient of the European orders of chivalry. It was originally established to treat the virulent disease of leprosy, its knights originally being lepers themselves. It is one of the less-known and less-documented orders.
From its foundation in the 12th century, the members of the Order were dedicated to two ideals: aid to those suffering from the dreadful disease of leprosy and the defense of the Christian faith.
The first mention of the Order of Saint Lazarus in surviving sources was in 1142. The order was initially founded as a leper hospital outside the city walls of Jerusalem, but hospitals were established all across the Holy Land dependant on the Jerusalem hospital, notably in Acre. It is unknown when the order became militarised but militarisation occurred before the end of the twelfth century due to the large numbers of Templars and Hospitallers sent to the leper hospitals to be treated. The order established ‘lazar houses’ across Europe to care for lepers, and was well supported by other military orders which compelled lazar brethren in their rule to join the order on contracting leprosy.
The Order of Saint Lazarus remained primarily a hospitaller order but it did take part in a number of battles including the Battle of La Forbie on 17 October 1244 where all of the lazar brethren who fought died and the Battle of Al Mansurah in 1250. The leper knights were protected by a number of able-bodied knights but in times of crisis the leper knights themselves would take up arms.
In 1572, Pope Gregory XIII merged the Italian foundation of the Order of Saint Lazarus with the Order of Saint Maurice (founded in 1434) as the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus. This became a national order of chivalry on the unification of Italy in 1861, but has been suppressed by law since the foundation of the Republic in 1946. King Umberto II did not abdicate his position as fons honorum however, and the head of the former Royal House of Savoy remains the Order's Grand Master today.
In 1604 Henry IV of France declared protectorate of French Crown over French branch and in 1608 the Order was merged in union with Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel into Royal, Military,and Hospitaller Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Lazarus of Jerusalem. During 1660s the Order operated war ships in St. Malo against England.
Today, the "Lazarus-Hilfswerk" an accredited (international NGO) organisation is linked to the Order of St. Lazarus through the European Humanitarian Grand Priory, an jurisdiction which is standing under the direct patronage of the Grandmaster of the Order. The LHW has been engaged in a major charitable program to help people in need and to revive Christianity in Eastern Europe: Kithunia,Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, and the Near East: Lebanon, Syria, Palestine. Millions of dollars worth of food, clothing, medical equipment and supplies have been distributed in Poland, Hungary, Romania and [[Croatia], Lithuania,Macedonia, Bulgaria,Kosovo. Because of this experience, the European Community commissioned the accredited the Lazarus-Hilfswerk (Humanitarian Grand Priory Europe) to transport more than 21.000 tons in food to the hungry in Russia. By financial support of the Order the LHW (GP-EU)organized food-aid and manged reconstruction-projects after the Tsunami Catastrophe in Indonesia on the Isle of Nias the projects were cofinanced by ADH because of the NGO-membership of the LHW
- ↑ David Marcombe, Leper Knights: The Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem in England, c. 1150-1544 (Rochester, NY: Boydell) 2003; Chapter 1 gives the general history.
- ↑ David Marcombe, Leper Knights, The Boydell Press 2003, p. 11
- ↑ David Marcombe, Leper Knights, The Boydell Press 2003, p. 14
- ↑ David Marcombe, Leper Knights, The Boydell Press 2003, p. 23
Organisation's Official Websites:
- Official International Website of the United Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem - former Malta & Paris Obedience
- Official International Website of the Orleans Obedience
Different and alternative views on St. Lazarus Order history:
- The Order of St Lazarus. A Short History
- A more measured view of The Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem by James J. Algrant
- "Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Order_of_St._Lazarus_of_Jerusalem.
- The Order of St Lazarus. Paris Obedience view for history
- The origins of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus
- Heraldry of the St Lazarus Order
- Symbol of the Order
- The Order of St Lazarus. Orleans Obedience view for history
- The Order of St. Lazarus by Guy Stair Sainty
- "Revived" Orders of Chivalry: the case of the Order of Saint Lazarus by François Velde
- The Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem from the book: Orders of Knighthood and Merit : The Pontifical, Religious and Secularised Catholic-founded Orders and their relationship to the Apostolic See by Peter Bander van Buren. (Gerrards Cross : Colin Smythe, 1995)
- Statement by Gregorios III Patriarch of the Melkite-Greek Catholic Church and Spiritual Protector of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem
- Belloy, Pierre de, De l'origine et institution des divers ordres de chevalerie tant ecclésiastiques que prophanes, Paris, 1604, 2nd edition Toulouse, 1622
- Gautier de Sibert, History of The Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, Paris, 1772
- Francis Elphinstone, The Opponents of St Lazarus which appeared, The Armorial, vol.III, no.4, November 1962, Edinburgh
- Algrant y Cañete, James J. / Beaugourdon, Jean de St. Vincent de, Armorial of the Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem, Delft, 1983
- Morris of Balgonie, Stuart H., Ygr., The Insignia and Decorations of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, Perthshire, 1986
- Francis Elphinstone, The Opponents of St Lazarus, The Armorial, vol.III, no.4, November 1962, Edinburgh
- Bander van Duren, Peter, Orders of Knighthood and of Merit-The Pontifical, Religious and Secularised Catholic-founded Orders and their relationship to the Apostolic See, Buckinghamshire, 1995, p. 495-513, XLV-XLVII
- Montilla Zavalía, Félix Alberto, Las Órdenes de Caballería y las Órdenes Honoríficas Católicas en la actualidad (Una visión histórico-jurídica y política) introduced by Dr. Isidoro J. Ruiz Moreno, Argentinian Lieutenant of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, Editorial Dunken, Buenos Aires, 2001, p. 16
- M. Ellul, The Green Eight Pointed Cross, Malta, 2004
- Charles Savona-Ventura, The Knight Hospitallers of Saint Lazarus, Malta, 2006
- D. Marcombe, Leper Knights: The Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem in England, 1150-1544 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2003).
- D. Seward, The Monks of War: The Military Religious Orders (London: Penguin Group, 1995).