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Chronology of the Key Events in the History of the Order of St. Lazarus

Quick links Middle Ages (1400’s onwards)
Eighteenth Century (the 1700’s)
Nineteenth Century (the 1800’s)
Twentieth Century (the 1900’s)
Recent Time (the 2000’s)

Legend has it that the ancient ancestor of our Order is founded in the Holy Land for the purpose of taking over management of a leper hospital located outside of the city walls of Jerusalem.

Pope Pius IV, by authority of his Bull, Inter Assiduas, confirmed that the Order, or at least its precursor in the form of a working hospital of St. Lazarus, existed in 369 A.D., during the reign of the Pope St. Damasus I. It was also during this time that St. Basil the Great, as the Archbishop of Caesarea, founded a large hospital for lepers outside of the coastal city of Caesarea in the Holy Land. St. Basil has since always been associated with the Order, and is considered the "Father" of the Order, for his active hospitaller interest in Leprosy.

400 By this time, the Order also operated leprosaria in Acre and Constantinople.
530 To support the growing population of Christian lepers, a new and larger hospital was constructed in Jerusalem, on the site of the Order’s original leprosarium.
1098 The First Christian Crusade to the Holy Land culminated with victory for the Christians. This successful campaign included the capture of Jerusalem, and the founding of the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem. Almost immediately, the Order’s hospitaller activities grew with the expanding Christian population. The year also marks the establishment of a "modern" knightly, chivalric order. During the next one hundred years, the Order would take leprous knights into its care. Often, these individuals would fight to the death with a fearlessness that won the Order great respect from their Moslem opponents. Afflicted with an incurable disease, the knights of St. Lazarus could at least choose personal martyrdom.
1118 The first Crusading Grand Master was Gerard de Martigues, from Provence, France. Also known as the Blessed Gerard, he was formerly the Master of the Hospital of Jerusalem, which rapidly expanded to become the Knights of the Hospital of St. John. Gerard’s reign lasted from the 1080s until the year 1118.
1120 The second Grand Master was also a senior official of St. John, Boyant Roger, who was previously the rector of the Hospital of St. John. His reign lasted from 1120 until 1131.
1134 In Switzerland, the Convent of Seedorf was founded. In particular, Seedorf would become a very important unit of the Order, and the Commandery remains active to this day.
1135 In this year the Order’s activities in England began with the founding of the St. Lazarus Hospital at Burton. As noted by the historian Desmond Seward in his excellent book "The Monks of War" (London, 1972), the Burton Preceptory probably controlled at least twenty hospitals in England. Seward also noted that "usually houses dedicated to St. Lazarus or Mary Magdalene (in England) belonged to the Order of St. Lazarus, but not all have been identified. Its London house was at St. Giles-outside-the-city. The preceptor of La Mawdelyne at Locko in Derbyshire depended directly on Boigny." Locko remained active until at least 1350. Another hospital existed at Chosely (there is no mention of it after 1458).
1154 The French Priory at Boigny was founded by grant of King Louis VII as the Knights of St. Lazarus returned to France from the Crusades.
1157 Raymond du Puy was another former Grand Master of the Order of St. John, who contracted leprosy and subsequently became the Grand Master of St. Lazarus for three years, from 1157 to 1159.

King Baldwin IV (1174-1185) was a leper, and as such, he was an enthusiastic supporter of the Order and its work. Another supporter was Raymond III of Tripoli, who also joined and thus became a Brother of the Order.
1187 As an example of the respect that the Order enjoyed, when Jerusalem fell the Moslem General Saladin provided his personal protection to the Order, allowing its work to continue at the Jerusalem Leprosarium. Saladin also allowed the city’s poor, who could not pay ransom to their Moslem conquerors, to exit Jerusalem by the Gate of St. Lazarus, and take refuge in the Order’s hospital there.

Throughout the Crusades, the Order of St. Lazarus would grow in wealth and influence. This came largely in appreciation for the chivalric nature of its hospitaller work, and for recognition of its military achievements. Knights of St. Lazarus fought in all of the major Crusader campaigns. A detachment of St. Lazarus served at the Battle of Hattin, and was slaughtered along with all of the Templars and Hospitallers (all of the captured knights were beheaded in a bloody spectacle soon after the battle ended). Additionally, the Order garrisoned the castles of Kharbet le Zeitha, and Madjel el Djemeriah. These activities would confirm the Order’s status as both a hospitaller and military order, traditions that St. Lazarus continued throughout much of the second millennia, and maintains to this very day.
1191 The Order gains sovereign rights over a portion of Acre. The City of Acre was the last surviving bastion of Christendom in the Levant. The Order constructed a fortress hospital in the town, as well as the Church of Saint Lazarus des Chevaliers. Additionally, the Order garrisoned the fortress Tower of St. Lazarus (next to a Lazarus House) along the northwest corner of the City’s defenses. Deeper within Acre, the nuns of St. Lazarus operated a convent. The Order remained active elsewhere. The Church of St. Lawrence, located between the towns of Athlit and Caesarea, south of Acre, was manned by the Order. It was during this period that both the Pope and the surviving Christian Kings of the Holy Land recognized the Order of St. Lazarus as a sovereign power and chivalric order.

Gautier de Neufchatel ruled as Grand Master of St. Lazarus in the 1220s, and was related to Guillaume de Chateauneuf who was Grand Master of St. John. As such, the Order of St. John played an important role in providing St. Lazarus with an infusion of military leadership, as well as influencing the traditions and rule of the Order.
1211 The Preceptory at Capua was founded in the year 1211, and Pope Leo X granted it extraordinary privileges. It has survived into modern times as the Italian Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus.
1244 Most of the remaining Knights of St. Lazarus fell at the Battle of La Forbie near Gaza in 1244, along with 5,000 other Christian soldiers.
1250 The Order accompanied Saint Louis of France during his Egyptian Crusade, and accompanied him into Syria from 1250 to 1254.
1254 While besieging Jaffa, the Grand Master of St. Lazarus – Raynaud de Flory – led a raiding expedition against the hamlet of Ramleh. Counter-attacked by Egyptian forces, only four knights of the Order survived the slaughter.
1255 Papal Bull issued by Pope Alexander IV on the 18th of February to protect the Order’s hospitals in Italy. A second Bull issued this same year was addressed to the Masters and Brothers of the Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem in Burgundy, in which he declared himself their protector against whosoever should venture to appropriate any portion of their rights or property under the pretext of diocesan jurisdiction.
1256 By this date, the Order’s hospital activities in Europe were on par with those of the Knights of St. John. Hospitaller orders had indeed found an important social role to play.

As an example of the Order’s esteem, Jean de Meaux, Preceptor-General of St. Lazarus, escorted Our Lord’s Crown of Thorns from Jerusalem to the Sainte Chapelle in Paris during the 1260s.
1288 Boigny is elevated to the status of a barony. After the fall of Acre in 1291, the Order in France was known as "the Grand Masters of the Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, Upon and Beyond the Seas". As such, the Order continued to enjoy its independent and sovereign status in France.
1291 When the Moslem army of Sultan al-Ashraf marched upon Acre in March, almost 15,000 Christian soldiers stood in defense of the city. However, the vast majority of these were inexperienced foot soldiers. The Order of St. Lazarus had only twenty five knights for the defense of Acre. All would die in the ensuing siege and battles, along with all of the remaining Knights of St. Thomas, and those of St. Mary (the Teutonic Order). With the fall of the city of Acre on the 5th of April, Christian Government of the Levant came to a sad end. The Order’s activities in the Holy Land closed, just as its hospitaller mission in Europe was expanding.
1308 King Philip the Fair takes the politically vulnerable Order of St. Lazarus under royal protection. This action angers the competing pope in Rome (remember, there was also a second pope at that time, in Avingon France, resulting in a French monarchy firmly at odds with Rome), and fueled the Vatican’s support for the Capua Priory as a means of retaining control of the Order of St. Lazarus.
1312 The Order’s Grand Master, Thomas de Sainville, dies. His successor remains unrecognized by the Vatican.
1314 Sigried de Flatte, the Knight Commander of Seedorf, promulgates uniform regulations that include instructions for wearing the green cross of the Order. He instructed that the cross would be worn on the front of their habit, on their mantle, and on their horse’s harness.
1316 The schism was completed when Pope John XXII grants the Italian Commandery at Capua complete independence as an Order with full papal sponsorship. The survival of the French Commandery at Boigny, and its eventual and significant growth during the 17th and 18th centuries, also sent the Order in a new direction. It was now an independent Order enjoying the Royal Protection of the French Throne. Boigny’s activities would eventually expand into the Protestant realms of Northern Europe, as well as England, resulting in the emergence of the modern, ecumenical, Christian Order of St. Lazarus.
1400 By the later half of the 14th Century, the worst of the plague had run its course in Europe. As a result, need for the hospitaller orders declined as the surviving population, now healthy, turned its attention towards economic growth. As a result, the Order began to administer to a wider population suffering from a number of maladies " the hospitaller Order was becoming a true hospital.
1450 The Pope granted the petition, and thus recognition, to the English Preceptory at Burton. Its Catholic leader, William Sutton, sought the right to independently elect Masters, without requiring further approval from Boigny.
1459 Pius II attempts to unite the Order of St. Lazarus with a newly created Order of Our Lady of Bethlehem. This, fortunately, fails.
1489 Pope Innocent VIII proposes that St. Lazarus would be merged along with the Order of the Holy Sepulchre into the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (the modern Order of the Knights of Malta). A papal bull to this effect was issued, but was not enforced due to the longstanding sovereignty enjoyed by St. Lazarus and the Holy Sepulchre (and, it should be noted that both Orders remain active even today).
1500 During the first quarter of the 16th century the Mareul Family would attempt, unsuccessfully, to capture the Grand Mastership as a hereditary right. Agnan de Mareul would serve as Grand Master from 1500 to 1519, and his nephew, Claude de Mareul, would serve briefly from 1521 to 1524.
1516 An agreement was reached between the French king and the pope, whereby the French clergy " including members of the military orders in France " would be appointed by the French Crown, with subsequent papal approval. In fact, despite the Concordat of 1516, the King of France would continue, until the French Revolution at the end of the 18th Century, to appoint Grand Masters of the Order without further papal approval. So, the Grand Mastership has evolved from an elected position, with election by a Grand Council of the Order, into an appointed position designated by the King of France.
1517 Pope Leo X issues a Bull establishing the Catholic seat of St. Lazarus at Capua. From 1517 onwards, the leadership of this Rule called themselves "Grand Master of the Order within the Kingdom of Sicily, and elsewhere."
1544 The Burton Preceptory would remain active until the 1540s, when anti-Royalist politics put an end to many nobles and their aristocratic pursuits. The House closed in 1544, having a Master and eight brethren in residence during its final years.
1548 The Parliament of Paris would formally set the matter to rest regarding St. John’s claims against the Order. The Parliament decided in favor of the Order of St. Lazarus, and provided a final rejection of the claims of the papal bull.
1572 Pope Gregory XIII unites the Capua Priory with the House of Savoy. The Duke of Savoy, at that time Philibert III, quickly moved to merge the St. Lazarus Preceptory at Capua with the only recently-founded Savoyan Order of St. Maurice Ever since the later years of the 16th Century, the Order of Saint Maurice and Saint Lazarus has been a hereditary organization of the Italian Royal House as well as with the Ducal House of Savoy. Today, Prince Victor Emmanuel, the Prince of Naples, continues to award the Order.
1578 The reigning Commander of Boigny and Grand Master of the Order, Florentine Francois Salviati, issues an order ruling that the surrender of the Italian Priory to the Duke of Savoy did not in any way effect the French Branch of St. Lazarus. This claim by the Order was further affirmed by King Henry IV of France on 7 September 1604, at which time the King also confirmed himself, by Letters of Patent, to be the Supreme Sovereign of the Order. However, the numbers of Knights continued to dwindle, and only seven knights remained active in the Order by the year 1608.
1608 King Henry IV has the Order joined with the newly created (1607) French Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The Ordre de Notre Dame du Mont Carmel represented a further intrigue in the history of St. Lazarus. It was founded by King Henry IV as a method of regaining papal recognition for the Grand Master of the Order of St. Lazarus This worked because, politically, the pope could recognize Our Lady of Mount Carmel without contradicting the standing papal denial of a French-sponsored Order of St. Lazarus. In fact, the statutes and insignia were identical, except that the Notre Dame cross was purple. Knights were invested into both Orders simultaneously, and they pledged their allegiance to a common Grand Master. King Henry came out a winner by preserving the French crown’s ownership of the properties of St. Lazarus, which might have otherwise been lost to the Catholic Church though an amalgamation with the Knights of St. John. The political ruse worked, and the Marquis de Nerestang, who had already become Grand Master of St. Lazarus in 1604, was subsequently approved by the Pope as Grand Master on the 4th of April 1608. A papal bull actually approved the uniting of these two orders, and King Henry confirmed the unification on the 31st of October 1608. In this manner, the Order continued to operate until the French Revolution.

During the 17th Century, the Order became once again involved in military activities when St. Lazarus began operating a naval flotilla in the Mediterranean during the campaigns of King Louis XIV. Over time, the squadron would grow to include ten ships. Lazarus galleys conducted independent anti-pirate naval campaigns, to include hunting British privateers in the English Channel, and performed convoy duties, and this activity would continue for almost a hundred years (until 1748).
1664 A number of hospitals in France were turned over to St. Lazarus (in 1664, and again in 1672). In all, Lazarus’s fortunes were on the rise as it reclaimed its military and hospitaller heritage.
1669 The Order founds Europe’s first national Military and Naval School, located at Montpellier. This mission was successful, further defined by the Order’s establishment of a Royal Naval Academy, located in Paris.
1680 The King of France declares the right to appoint commanderies for life to Knights.
1690 The Order has 173 active commanderies with relatively large incomes, and the Order’s total annual income was by that time averaging around 300,000 livres. Commandery appointments grew as a means of providing pensions for retiring officers who had served the King well. Throughout the period of 1620 to 1691, more than 789 commanderies of St. Lazarus were thus appointed by the Kings of France. Notably, many of these appointments were in the category of Grace, indicating that these were indeed warriors who had earned their knighthoods through sheer valor or merit. Only with the modern Order would Knights of Grace come to once again become prevalent in the membership’s ranks. These commanderies were valuable properties indeed. Papal sponsorship of the Order permitted Knights of St. Lazarus the rare privilege of collecting ecclesiastical revenues that might be associated with their estates. This was a privilege that was directly related to rights enjoyed by the military orders during the Crusading years.
1701 The hereditary Commandery of la Motte des Courtils is founded.
1703 Cyril V, the Greek Melkite Patriarch of Antioch " successor of St Peter on the throne of Antioch from which Jerusalem was formerly dependent " resumes relations with Rome. He was the successor of the Melkite Patriarchs who had been the 11th century spiritual protectors of the St Lazarus Hospital outside the walls of Jerusalem.
1710 The hereditary Commandery of Saint Francois de Bailleul is founded.
1720 The Duke of Orleans, regent for the King of France, would serve as Grand Master from 1720 to 1752. The Duke was a famous Masonic figure, dedicated to both history and chivalry. The numbers of appointments during his reign would fall to 175 Knights.
1724 Melkite Church’s Union with Rome is confirmed by Patriarch Cyril VI.
1741 The Order has 591 members, including 440 Knights.
1757 The young 3-year-old Louis XVI is appointed to the role of Protector of the Order by his grandfather, Louis XV. The fact that the French Kings only claimed a role as "protector," and not as ’sovereign or founder" would become a fact of legal significance regarding the Order’s survival beyond the death of Monarchy rule in France, and the Order’s subsequent revival in modern times.

King Louis XV is noted for modernizing the statutes, and for subsequently returning prestige to the active membership. The changes were numerous, and included limiting the size of the Order to 100 Knights, 8 priests, and three officers (a herald, and two ushers). All Knights had to be at least 30 years of age, Catholic, and fourth-generation nobility in the male line. For graduates of the St. Lazarus-founded Royal Naval Academy, and the recently founded Military Academy, eligible officers (catholic nobles) could enter the Order as Novice Knights. They wore a Green Cross of the Order that was somewhat smaller in size, but otherwise identical, to the Knight’s Cross. Some eighty of these Novice Knights would be created before the French Revolution. In all, 50 Knights of St. Lazarus were invested during the rule of Louis XV.
1772 By a decree of 13 July, the Holy See gives the Greek Melkite Patriarch of Antioch, Maximos II, religious jurisdiction over all Melkite Catholics (including those in the area of the former Patriarchate of Jerusalem) and recognizes his title as Patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem.
1773 The Grand Master (the Count of Provence who would be the future King Louis the XVIII) increases the nobiliary requirement to 8 generations, in an attempt to make the Order even more aristocratically exclusive.
1778 Antoine Francois, the Vicomte de Beaumont, served as a Divisional Commander in the French Royal Navy during America’s War for Independence. He became famous when, as commander of the Junon, he captured the HMS Fox on the 11th of September. His portrait today, complete with the Cross of St. Lazarus, is on display at the National Naval Museum in Paris. During the French Revolution, he went into exile after serving with Royalist Forces.

Also in 1778, The Vicomte de Kersaint, first saw action while onboard the Languedoc during 1778, before commanding the Senegal in 1779. His brother (and also a Knight of St. Lazarus), Joseph Jean de Cambis, commanded theL’Aigrette and distinguished himself during the Battle of Savannah. He then commanded the Hector and the Saint Espirit. In 1982, he seized the HMS Surprise.
1779 On the 21st of January, Knighthood is granted to the three top graduates of the Royal Military Academy. During the rule of Count of Provence, only 82 Knights of St. Lazarus would be created. In fact, along with the rest of royal France, the Order was lapsing into entropy.
1780 Armand Claude Poute, The Marquis de Nieul and a Knight of St Lazarus, commanded the Citoyen in action against the British near the island of Martinique in April. Later, while in command of the Robuste, he again fought the British off Gibraltar on the 20th of October, 1782.
1782 The Marquis de Chabert-Cogolin, a Knight of St Lazarus, commanded the Valiant and later the Saint-Espirit. He was wounded in action at Chesapeake on the 5th of September.

Another Knight of the Order, Gaspard de Bernard de Marigny, took part in the entire sea campaign under Admiral de Grasse. He had earlier made his fame as a General in the Royal Catholic Army during the War of the Vendee in 1773. The Order was also well-represented in the Land Forces of the American War of Independence. These active Knights of the Order included the Marquis de Chastellux, the Comte de Poudenx, the Comte de Segur, the Marquis d’Autichamps, the Duc de Laval, the Comte d’Hervilly, Marquis de Voimesnil, the Vicomte du Lau, and the future Prince of Wagram and Neufchatel.
1788 The last St. Lazarus investitures by the King of France occur.
1791 As a result of the French Revolution, the National Assembly published a decree on 31 July 1791, signed by the King, that dissolved all Royal Orders of France. As an independent Order St. Lazarus survives, and the King continues to legally award the Knighthood while in exile thus confirming that the Order of St. Lazarus survived the revolution.
1814 Upon the restoration of the Monarchy, the Order regained its protected status under the King of France. While it once again recruited new members, the Order was unable to achieve the restitution of its properties. For the duration of the restored monarchy (1814 to 1830) each year’s edition of the Almanach Royal listed the Order of St Lazarus among the official bodies of the Kingdom and the King as its Protector. Approximately one hundred Knights of St Lazarus had been living in France at the time of the Restoration. There had also been some twenty abroad, notably in Sweden and Russia. They included Tsar Alexander I (d.1825), Grand Duke Constantine (d.1835). Count Rostoptchin (d.1826), Count Koutaissov (d.1834), General Koutchelev (d.1833), and among the Swedes, the then-exiled King Gustav IV, who died in 1834, Johan Albrech Stroman-Ehrenstrom (d.1847), Admiral Johan Puke (d.1816), and Nils Olofson (d.1847); there was also a Swiss Knight, Major de Dreisen.
1819 The Comte Garden de Saint Ange published a Code des Ordres de la Chevalerie and dedicated it to the King. In it, he devoted a chapter to the Order of St Lazarus, not only recounting its history but also listing its rules and regulations, and remarking: "at the present time of writing, the Order of Saint Lazarus, to which public opinion accords the premier place among the Kingdom’s orders of chivalry, enjoys the King’s particular favor...

Also in 1819, the Order’s agent, the Chev. Louis du Prat-Taxis asks to withdraw from public deposit any ...deeds of investments and, finally, all that is not related to assets already sold, also to be authorized to take possession of any existing unsold assets and to receive payment o rents appertaining to specified properties not repurchased by or returned to the original owner (i.e., to the Order)."
1821 On 2 April, Louis XVIII’s gives his blessings on the foundation of the Greek-Catholic Church of Our Lady of Myra at Marseilles. This event provides the catalyst that forms the Melkite Church’s first relationship with the Order.
1824 Louis XVIII dies at the Tuilieries on 17 September. Those who were with him in his last moments included Knights of St Lazarus such as the Duc de Damas. During his lying-in-state and funeral at the Royal Abbey of Saint Denis on 24 October, the insignia of the Order of St Lazarus was placed on the royal mantle, thus recalling that the late King had been the Order’s Grand Master.
1825 With King Charles X serving as the new Protector of the Order, ten Knights are invested between 1825 and 1827.
1830 At the time of the Revolution of 1830, the Order of St Lazarus numbered over sixty members in France, alone. Most of these remained faithful to Charles X, but others served under the July Monarchy. As the Monarchy is overthrown, The Order officially loses its official status in France, and thus France gives up any claim to St. Lazarus. The Order was again free to reconstitute itself in its original form: as a sovereign military and hospitaller order.
1834 The Order of St Mary of the Germans (the Teutonic Order), dissolved by Napoleon, resumes its existence under the aegis of the Emperor of Austria.
1837 On 31 October, Maximos III Malzoum obtains form the Ottoman authorities recognition of his civil jurisdiction in the territory of the three Patriarchates of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem. On 31 July 1838, the Holy See confirms his right to use the title of Greek Melkite Patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem. The Vatican’s recognition was also recognized by the Ottoman authorities.
1840 The Order’s Council of Officers, mindful of its origins in the Holy Land, turned to the Greek-Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem (also of Antioch and Alexandria) who possessed civil jurisdiction, making him the Order’s Spiritual Protector, a position which his successors have since retained.

Also in 1840, the Order was still mentioned among the existing chivalric institutions. In the Cours abrege du Blason, Published in 1840 by the Journal des villes et des campagnes, the author, while writing of the existing orders of chivalry, describes the Order’s insignia thus: ...the Grand Cross of the Knights of St Lazarus is of eight points, similarly to that of the Knights of Malta, having on one side the image of the Blessed Virgin and on the other that of St Lazarus leaving his tomb...
1875 The Order of St. John of Jerusalem (the Order of Malta), which had lost its properties during the Napoleonic Wars and saw its Knights scattered, finally regained its unity in Rome (and was not recognized in France until 1924).
1883 The Order of St John in Great Britain (having been dissolved by Henry VIII), was finally reconstituted by a Royal Charter.
1910 The Order was once again registered in France, this time as a non-profit organization.
1930 Don Francisco de Borbón y de la Torre, the Duke of Seville, a member of the Spanish Royal Family and a colonel in the Spanish Army, assumes magisterial duties as Lieutenant General of the Order.
1935 In December, the Duke is elected by the Grand Council to become the first Grand Master of the revived Order of St. Lazarus. At that time, the Duke named his son, Don Francisco Enrique de Borbón, to the post of co-adjutor of the Order, and as the designated successor to the office of Grand Master. Inheritance of the position, rather than election by a Grand Council of the Order, was at odds with the historical traditions of St. Lazarus. However, the revived Order now had a leader and a clear path to succession.
1936 Beginning in 1936, the Grand Master and his son both serve with the Nationalist forces under General Franco during the Spanish Civil War, fighting the dictatorship of the communist Popular Front. As a respected and successful battlefield commander, our Grand Master was honored with the title "Hero of Malaga" after capturing that city from communist forces. During the war, the Belgian Grand Priory provided an Ambulance Train. As a result of the Order’s gallant military service, the Spanish Government officially recognized the Order of St. Lazarus, and provided direct financial support to the various St. Lazarus hospitals in Spain and its colonies. The Grand Master remained in the Spanish Army, retiring as a Lieutenant General. Today, the Grand Priory of Spain continues to support leper hospitals, and maintains childcare centers for to assist leper parents during their treatment and recovery.
1940 In July, the Duke of Seville as Grand Master moved administration of the Order back to Madrid, Spain, appointing the Marquis Cardenas de Montehermoso to assume duties as head of the Order’s Supreme Council.

The Order was active in France during World War II. At the beginning of the war, the Order provided its patronage to the Anglo-American Ambulance Corps. As a direct result, many of the ambulances were marked with the green cross of the Order. French members of the Order joined the Corps Lasariste of the Group "Lord Denys" in the guerilla forces of the successful French Resistance. After the war, the Order provided assistance to the civilian populations of many European countries, as well as to displaced prisoners of war.
1952 The 4th Duke of Seville dies. His son assumed duties as Lieutenant General of the Order, and was elected Grand Master in 1959. However, the Grand Master was on active service as an officer in the Spanish Army, precluding him from devoting significant personal time to the administration of the Order.
1954 Pierre Timoleon de Cosse Brissac, the Duke of Brissac becomes the Grand Prior of France.
1956 The Duke of Brissac was appointed to the post of Administrator General of the Order by the Duke of Seville (still on active service with Spain’s Army). In effect, the Order now had two seats: Paris, where the administration and day to day activities of the Order were managed; and Madrid, where the leadership resided. The appointment of the Duke of Brissac was interesting from a historic perspective: A Cosse-Brissac was knighted into the Order in 1779, and Francois Artus Hyacynthe Timoleon de Cosse was invested into the Order in 1785. So now, once again, a Duke of Cosse-Brissac was active within St. Lazarus.
1967 After the death of the Marquis Cardenas de Montehermoso, the relations between the Grand Master (the Duke of Seville on active duty as a Colonel with the Spanish army in North Africa), and the French administration in Paris disintegrated. The French administrators called a Chapter General, which placed the Duke of Seville on retired status and elected HRH Prince Charles Philippe d’Orleans, Duke of Nemours, Vendome and Alencon Grand Master.
1968 The Duke of Nemours proved a visionary leader who promoted the growth of the Order throughout the world, and stressed the ecumenical nature of the Order. These goals were strongly supported by Lieutenant Colonel Robert Gayre, Royal Artillery Corps and Chief of the clans Gayre and Nigg, who had well-established contacts in the Anglo-Saxon countries.
1969 The policies of the Duke of Nemours and Colonel Gayre led to a rift with the Duke of Brissac and his close associate, Chevalier Guy Coutant de Saisseval. The Duke of Nemours transferred the official seat of the administration to the island of Malta where Colonel Gayre had donated an ancient castle, Castello ta Lanzun as headquarters for the Order, and a series of townhouses for the use of Knights of St. Lazarus.

The French administrators called another Chapter General to elect a new Grand Master. Before the election came to pass, the Duke of Nemours became seriously ill and died. Before his death, he appointed Colonel Gayre as Grand Commander. The Chapter General, consisting mainly of French members, elected the 12th Duke of Brissac as Supreme Head of the Order, and Paris as the seat of the administration. These events lead to a schism between the Anglophile administration in Malta, and the Francophile administration in Paris.
1970 The Order’s Hereditary Commandery of Lochore (Scotland) provided an Ambulance Brigade of 12 vehicles to serve in Northern Island during the protracted civil war there. Volunteers from the Order bravely man the Brigade. Emblazoned with the green cross, the Order’s services are welcomed and sanctioned by both sides of this unfortunate Christian dispute. Subsequently, the Grand Priory of America provided four additional ambulances for service in Northern Ireland.
1971 Following negotiations between the Grand Commander Colonel Gayre and the Duke of Seville, the latter was reinstated as Grand Master of the Malta Obedience, and the schism widened.
1972 At the Grand Magisterial Meeting, held in Liege, Belgium in June, it was announced that the Malta Obedience had a worldwide membership of 700. In that same year, in the aftermath of the terrible earthquake that struck Managua, the American Grand Priory provides more than $120,000 in medications and supplies for the victims.
1973 On the 12th of May, the 47th Grand Master, Colonel Francisco Enrique de Borbón y de Borbón, the Duke of Seville, was officially received as the Grand Master of the Malta Obedience. The Duke would also would officially dedicate Malta’s new headquarters, the Castello ta Lanzun.
1976 The American Grand Priory responds to an earthquake in Guatemala, donating money and supplies. At a formal ceremony at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Commodore John Paul Jones is posthumously awarded Knighthood in the Order, a recognition that the French were unable bestow during the War for Independence because Commodore Jones was Protestant (the Order, then, was exclusively Roman Catholic).
1979 Representatives of the Grand Priory of Canada (French Obedience) and the Grand Priory of America (Malta Obedience) meet in Canada to discuss the potential for reunification.
1981 After repeated meetings between the Officers of the Grand Priories of Canada and America, the two Grand Priories arranged a joint meeting and investiture under the auspices of the Spiritual Protector, His Beatitude Maximos V Hakim.

The Lazarus Hilfswerk (European Commandery of the Order) started, with support of the Grand Priory of America, a humanitarian aid program for the Polish population in need, while Poland was still under the Communist regime. Hundreds of Lazarus trucks break through the Iron Curtain and deliver weekly food and medicine to all dioceses in Poland for many years, in close collaboration with the Polish Bishops" Conference under the patronage of the Archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Franciszek Macharski and Bishop Czeslaw Domin.
1982 The Grand Hospitallers, Doctors Hans von Leden and C. Conor O’Malley, conduct a survey of the Order’s twenty-seven national jurisdictions. The results of this survey are used to organize a centralized program for directly supporting and coordinating, hospitaller activities of the Order. The long-term commitment of St. Lazarus to its two clinics in Jerusalem was one of the results of this hallmark effort.
1984 Senior representatives of the Paris Obedience (The Marquis de Brissac and Chevalier Coutant de Saisseval) were invited to attend the Grand Magistral Council of the Malta Obedience in Washington. With Patriarch Maximos V Hakim as Presiding Officer, the Senior Officers of the two Obediences agreed to a joint declaration of reunification, which became known as the "Declaration of Washington". Patriarch Maximos V Hakim, the French Representatives, Colonel Gayre as Grand Commander, and other Senior Officers signed the Declaration. At the 11th hour, the Duke of Seville requested a delay until he had consulted his advisors in Spain; however, he appointed the Maltese representatives on the reunification commission.
1985 In Canada, the leaders of the two factions agree to unify the Order in that country. The American Grand Priory provides money and supplies to México in the aftermath of a massive earthquake. His Eminence Ernesto Cardinal Corripio, the Primate of Mexico and an Ecclesiastical Grand Cross-ranking member of the Order of St. Lazarus supervised the Order’s large Mexican relief effort.
1986 After two years of negotiation between the two Obediences, Patriarch Maximos V Hakim, the head of the Bilateral Reunification Commission, called a joint Chapter General of the two Obediences in Oxford, England. There were three candidates for the position of Grand Master: The Duke of Seville, the Marquis de Brissac, and the German Prince Ernst-August zur Lippe. Shortly before the meeting, the Duke of Seville called a counter-meeting in Luxembourg. Representatives from both Obediences attended the record-breaking Chapter General in Oxford, and the Knights and Dames of the Order elected the Marquis de Brissac as Grand Master of the unified Order. All major jurisdictions except Spain and Malta supported this new Grand Master.
1988 The Communist regimes in Hungary and Romania could not keep Lazarus from driving with LHW-trucks through the border and delivering food and medicine for the people in need. The Lazarus Volunteers successfully endured all the difficulties, which had been established at the border crossing-points, and in collaboration with the Christian Churches, secured vital help for the needy.
1988 The Holy Father invited 35 members of the LHW and concelebrated a Holy Mass in his private Chapel in the Vatican with 3 Lazarus-Chaplains, Cardinal Macharski (Krakow) and Bishop Frotz , as representative of Cardinal Hoeffner (Cologne). At a private audience in his library, the Holy Father greeted every LHW-member personally and found for each of the guests a very personal word of thanks and motivation, after the President of the LHW had explained to him at his special request what the individual had done for St. Lazarus and the Church. In the presence of the German Ambassador to the Vatican, the President of LHW promised the Holy Father to serve and to help in Eastern Europe wherever aid was needed.

The Holy Father expressed his personal thanks for the humanitarian work of St. Lazarus in each country, and especially since the beginning 1980s in his native country Poland. He called on the Lazarus Volunteers to continue the charitable work of love both at home and also for the people in need, especially in the Eastern European Countries, including Russia, and finally blessed the participants.
1989 The Order begins successful delivery of more than $40 million in donated relief supplies to Poland, from 1989 through 1994. The German Agency, Lazarus Hilfswerk, maintains a fleet of tractor trailers, as well as mobile field kitchens, buses, ambulances, hospitals, and hospices in Germany, and elsewhere in Europe. This virtual "army" within the Order is manned by paid staff and a large number of volunteers, and has been active in a variety of war zones, including the former Yugoslavia, and more recently, in Chechnya.
1991 After the collapse of the Communist regime in Russia, a famine threatened in the two major cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg. The European Community donated food and divided these supplies exclusively between the International Red Cross (Kiev and Minsk) and the Lazarus-Hilfswerk, the major charitable arm of the Order of Saint Lazarus (Moscow and St. Petersburg). With the city of Novgorod as an additional aid project St. Lazarus volunteers delivered to these large Russian cities in 2 years more than 28.000 tons of food with a total value of several hundred millions dollars. For about 2 years Lazarus maintained coordination offices in all major cities and collaborated with the Christian Churches. The Mayor of St. Petersburg proclaimed that this supply of food prevented famine and a counter-revolution.
1992 The Grand Priory of America arranged an international visit to Rome in honor of the Golden Jubilee of their Spiritual Protector. At the general audience, the Patriarch introduced the heads of the delegation to His Holiness, Pope John-Paul II. On the following day, the Pope received the members of the Order in the throne room for a private audience. His Holiness greeted every member of the delegation personally, and presented them with a small gift. As the result of the charitable program of the Lazarus Hilfswerk in Poland, and major donations from the Grand Priory of America to hospitals and hospices in that country, the Order’s relationship with the Roman Catholic Church strengthened. A special medal was struck for the work of the Lazarus Hilfswerk in Poland, which the Holy Father graciously accepted, as did the President of Poland Lech Walesa and the President of Germany, Walter Scheel and Minister for Economic Affairs Graf Lambsdorf.
1993 An additional large humanitarian aid project was carried out. Lazarus was called to help in Croatia and accepted the care for thousands of refugees who had lost their homes in the conflict areas. In cooperation with charitable organs of the Church, the Lazarus-Hilfswerk delivered hygienic items to all refugees, and placed many in need into private apartments and houses.
1996 The Malta Obedience’s Grand Master, Don Francisco Enrique de Borbón y de Borbón, died on the 18th of November, 1995. His son, HH Don Francisco de Paula de Borbón y Escasany, the 5th Duke of Seville and Grandee of Spain, is subsequently elected on January 1996, by the Supreme Council of the Malta Obedience, as the 48th Grand Master of the Order. The Grand Chancellor of the Malta Obedience visits the United States and meets with the Grand Prior of America to re-open discussions on reunification. After a meeting of the Grand Prior of America with the young Duke of Seville in Madrid, the two factions in the United States reunify.
1998 Grand Priory of America organizes and hosts the 900th Anniversary Pilgrimage by the Order to the Holy Land. This memorable event not only supports ecumenical Christianity in the region, but also acts as a powerful catalyst for reunification: The two Grand Masters meet and shake hands at the Tomb of our Lord in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Subsequently, a bilateral commission is appointed to further the work of reunification.
2000 International meeting of the Paris Obedience is held in Melbourne, Australia, but the expected decision on reunification is postponed. The Grand Priory’s annual meeting in Chicago, held at the prestigious Union League Club, is a tremendous success, with both Grand Masters and their wives in attendance. After the death of Patriarch Maximos V Hakim, the Synod of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church elects Archbishop Lutfi Laham as Patriarch. In November of that year His Beatitude was installed and assumed the name Gregorios III Laham.
2002 International meeting of the Paris Obedience in Dublin results in the Duke of Brissac’s formal declaration of his support for the Order’s reunification, including his promise to retire in 2004 upon his 75th Birthday. He recommends the 5th Duke of Seville as the Order’s choice for Grand Master upon its reunification. An international commission for reconciliation is formed to guide the reunification of the Paris and Malta obediences.
2003 Constitutional Commission and Reconciliation Committee begin work to reunify the two Obediences of the Order. Work progresses smoothly, although a small group within the Paris Obedience works to foil reunification by promoting Prince Charles Philippe d’Orleans, who is not a member of the Order, as the new Grand Master, thereby rendering the schism permanent.

The Grand Hospitaller reports that international charitable contributions by the Order have grown to $31.5 million worldwide for 2002-2003, with the Lazarus Hilfswerk (LHW) – European Commandery -contributing the largest share – some $24 million. The LHW has grown into an organization that has some 400 active duty volunteers, operating a satellite communications network that extends from St. Petersburg to Bosnia, 2 large homes for the aged with a third under construction. The LHW has built in Poland a network of 11 LAZARUS convalescent stations responsible for homecare-patients in closed cooperation with the Polish Church. This concept shall be expanded.

Other notable charitable works included the Order’s financial support for the Salvation Army Hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe, which had performed some 7500 surgeries in 2003; and, for its ongoing support of the St. Lazarus Clinic in Beit Hanina and the Infant Welfare Center in Jerusalem, especially critical during the ongoing crisis in the Holy Land.
2004 In March, the Chapter General of the Order in Toronto, Canada elects the 5th Duke of Seville as the 49th Grand Master by a vote of 542 Knights and Dames for the Duke versus 47 votes for the Prince Charles Philippe d’Orleans. The Duke of Brissac is appointed acting Grand Master pending the official investiture the Duke of Seville. Thus, some 1500 members of the Paris Obedience move towards reunification with the 4000 members of the Malta Obedience.

Meanwhile, a disaffected group of European members, led by the jurisdictions of Ireland and Switzerland, refuses to accept the result of the election and attempts to form another organization.
2005 The two Grand Masters establish a Humanitarian Commission for the Order. The Commission is headed by Lady Primrose Potter, AO, GCLJ, the Grand Prioress of Australia. The Commission’s first action is to deploy Chev Peter Klemser, KLJ (Austria) to Jakarta to serve as the LHW representative to the regional tsunami disaster’s relief effort.
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