In addition to the four states below, the Commandery of the Southeast also includes Puerto Rico.
- Atlanta, GA
- South Carolina
- Puerto Rico
Memorial Day 2022
This weekend we observe Memorial Day in the U.S., and it has had different meanings in the past in as well as different regions of the country. It began as Decoration Day during the American Civil War where family and community members placed flowers on the graves of those fallen in battle. Those that never came back, still on patrol. More than a few places have claimed its origins, with honor going to both Union and Confederates as well as slaves. Over the years, after the First World War, the day gained national recognition with graves of those who served or had a deep abiding love of country were also decorated with a flag. At Arlington National Cemetery, the President or their representative, places flowers at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
In the New York and New England where I grew up it was also a time to visit graves of family members to clear out the weeds and debris of winter, plant flowers and place a flag. Sometimes we’d pack a picnic lunch and just visit. It also was a time for summer to “officially open” where parks would open up and, finally, iced tea would be served again [but only until Labor Day!]. It was a time to visit the beach, park, or just be outside and finally [we hoped] put the snow shovels away! Spring was finally here, and we feel need to be outside and start summer’s trek! A time for remembrance, revival, and re-birth.
In our trek this summer season, as sisters and brothers in the Military and Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus, we have guideposts to help us on our way:
Looking back, we started our Camino during Lent on our way to Easter and Resurrection with the Jesus Journey:
Looking for our way forward, our Grand Priory of America website provides our “aids to navigation”
As Dames and Knights, our mission is care for outcasts
Lest we forget those who still are fighting for their freedom
The tools to start our summer’s Pentecostal Journey as we give of our time, treasure, and talent:
This summer’s last milestone on Labor Day will lead us to the nation’s capital, where we, as an Order of Christian Chivalry, will don our mantles, stand together, and place a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns this Labor Day.
Peace and all that’s Good
Want to catch up on Southeast Commandery happenings?
Go to Southeast Charitable Activities and Latest News:
Easter 2022: April, St Lazarus: Resurrection, Renewal, Hope
As we approach Easter Sunday there is the tension with Christ Jesus and the “authorities.” Towards week’s end, the Christ is lead away to face his Passion alone, with his disciples scattered and denying they are with him. Hope fades. Our high confidence in the redeemer on Palm Sunday is dashed. We too, perhaps, become part of the crowd and its fears. Who will stand up and rise to a higher calling?
Notwithstanding, in this journey of Lent, Rev. Juliano has led us in the pilgrimage of the Jesus Journey. Over 200 participated, from every corner of the globe, different cultures united in a hope the journey will change us. Many from the Order of St Lazarus, traveling in peace, and in war in Ukraine.
Still others have given time and treasure to helping Ukraine in her struggle with tyranny and aggression. From prayer, to building pallets of medical supplies to writing checks, or all of the above, we, as an Order, are standing with hope.
Members are recovering from coma, grave illness, a step back from death. Answers to prayers. Others have lost loved ones and bore the burden with Christian dignity. One telling me “…if Mother Mary can shoulder the grief of seeing the death of her son and Messiah, I can bear mine.” Perhaps we are stronger than we thought, more giving than we felt, have more faith than we believed.
Traditionally, Easter and April are a month for change and standing with hope. Yesterday’s past and right now are not all that different. Jay Winik wrote in his book, “April 1865: The Month That Saved America “…. if these moments teemed with hope—and they did—it was largely due to two men, who rose to the occasion, to Grant’s and Lee’s respective actions: one general, magnanimous in victory, the other, gracious, and equally dignified in defeat….”
The Sunday after Appomattox, Lee, and Grant rode back to their destiny in the cold dark rain of that Palm Sunday, the future uncertain, but each resolved to do their duty to bind wounds and help heal.
Resurrection and the renewal of Pentecost await.
God Speed us on our Journey this Easter.
27 March 2022
We are halfway thru Lent and still the journey seems long and lonely. Lent began on Ash Wednesday with a purpose to change for the better and bonding with our Christian brothers and sisters. At the halfway mark, the Camino may be a lonely walk with the distractions of life on life’s terms. As in Herman Wouk’s epic Winds of War “…we are but tumble weeds blown by the winds of war…” The war in Ukraine, illness, and loss are storms that burden the journey. We sometimes feel like that tumble weed.
Yet, there’s the light of Easter morning just over the horizon.
Jesus Journey: Looking back, we started with Southeast’s Chaplain, Rev. David Juliano giving us the path with a new Camino called the Jesus Journey – Many of us have signed up, walk with us! There’s still time to join, it’s never too late! If you’re thinking that you won’t make it in time for Easter, remember it’s the journey where we find ourselves and the Divine, as much as the destination.
Ukraine Stands Against aggression: H.E. The Chevalier Jack Schroder and our Grand Prior, H.E. The Chevalier John Byrnes are gathering with members of the Southeast in Atlanta to re-package critical supplies for Ukraine on 9 and 10 April 2022. St Lazarus and other Christian Orders of chivalry are answering the call for help! Through a partnership of orders, many are assembling needed medical supplies and necessities for Ukraine. There’s still time to join with Jack and John to do God’s Work. If you are unable to join you can still help thru the Order’s new donation page:
We know this is true, we see recovery from illness, calamity, and war. We pray apart and together in St Lazarus. A member close to death recovers and so we know this but doubt always seems to distract. There’s always an opportunity for daily prayer:
So, at this halfway point in Lent, let us continue pray, do God’s work, keep the Faith with each other and continue on the way toward Easter.
From the earliest days of its existence, the Commandery of the Southeast has advanced its chivalrous and charitable purposes through many worthwhile efforts. Initially, members volunteered for duty in the intensive care unit of a local children’s hospital, providing personalized comfort and solace to patients and their families. This spirit of personal service has survived to the present, most notably in efforts to support and expand our nation’s organ donation program, and Commandery volunteers traveling to India to provide medical and humanitarian assistance to leprosy clinics supported by the Order.
In the early 1990’s through 2006, the Commandery focused its philanthropic efforts on the transportation needs of local and regional nonprofit service organizations by providing passenger vans and/or refrigerated trucks to assist the following organizations in serving the needs of their specific constituencies: the Atlanta Community Food Bank; the Council on Battered Women; Sheltering Arms Child Care Services; the Partnership Children and Project Open Hand, the country’s largest preparer and transporter of meals for the needy.
More recent charitable activities have included support of the University of Miami’s Hansen’s Disease Clinic (to assist with transportation of their patients and patients’ families to the clinic for treatment), St. Joseph’s Mercy Care Clinic in Atlanta providing medical support for the homeless, Amigos for Christ’s orthopedic clinics in Nicaragua, Emory University Hansen’s Disease Clinic in Atlanta, Peg Leg Pirates in Tampa, FL (provide prosthetic devices and aid to amputees), Georgia Transplant Foundation, Buckhead Christian Ministries which provides assistance and financial aid to homeless families in Atlanta.
In addition to the above charitable activities, in 2015, the Commandery began supporting the Iraqi Christian Relief Council which provides medical and humanitarian support to Christian refugees that have been driven from their villages and homes by ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
Support for these organizations continued in 2016, and the Commandery also sent assistance to Rising Star Outreach’s leprosy clinics and colonies in India which suffered from devastating floods at the end of 2015. The charities which the Southeast Commandery supports are funded through the generosity of our Commandery’s local bi-annual charitable giving campaign.
Additionally, our members volunteered their time and efforts in numerous areas of charitable interest in the community including Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness programs, both locally and nationally, Catholic and Orthodox Ecumenical Services, the Buckhead Christian Ministries and the Rising Star Outreach.
Perhaps the most unique symbol of the Commandery’s charitable efforts may be found in the sanctuary of Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Atlanta, where a stained glass window dedicated to the Order of Saint Lazarus was generously donated by one of our members. Emblazoned with the green cross of Saint Lazarus and guarded by our Commandery’s flag, this perpetual memorial symbolizes our organization’s commitment to Christian service for those less fortunate.
The Order of St. Lazarus first appeared in the Southeast during the Revolutionary War when one of its knights, Comte d’Hervilly of France, served with distinction as an officer in the assault which liberated Savannah from British occupation. It would be many years before Lazarite knights would again serve the Southeast, but more than two centuries later, the Commandery of the Southeast honors this knight’s service to our nation by displaying his coat of arms on its Commandery flag.
As the Order of St. Lazarus began to grow in America, the Commandery of the South looked to expand beyond its Louisiana borders. Accordingly, a sub jurisdiction of the Order – called a “Lieutenancy” – was formed in Georgia in the early 1980s. Among its charter members were Richard C. Everett, Edward G. Hitt, Jr. and Sam C. Inman, and the journey began.
By 1988, the membership list had grown to 56, from Atlanta to Key West to Charleston. The nascent Lieutenancy had grown in an amazing short period of time, and was now deserving of a more lofty status and became the Commandery of the Southeast covering members in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee. The Cadre of Puerto Rico was transferred to the Commandery of the Southeast in 2012.
From May 5 – 8, 1988, some 250 members from across the globe attended the Grand Prioral Council of the Order held in Atlanta, Georgia. It was a glorious affair to celebrate not only the inauguration of the new Commandery of the Southeast, but to honor the Order’s Protector, Patriarch Maximos V Hakim, on the occasion of his 80th birthday. Many attended the festivities, including princes, nobles and even a grandson of Queen Victoria.
Over the years, the Commandery has been served by a steady procession of prominent Commanders, starting with Edward G. Hitt, Jr., Richard C. Everett, Scott G. Thompson, Edward P. Vollertsen, III, Jack S. Schroder, Jr., Dr. Harold R. Penton and Charles L. Bearden. Our current commander is John A. Tempone, who was installed as Commander at the Grand Prioral Council in New Orleans in 2018.
From its humble beginnings as a lieutenancy three decades ago led by only three members, the Commandery of the Southeast has generated a proud history as a vital contributor to the Order’s chivalric mission. As the other web pages on this site demonstrate, the Commandery provides unique leadership in the Order’s local charitable efforts, furnishes officers to serve in high-ranking positions of the national Order, and offers its members an important outlet for their civic and philanthropic aspirations.
27 March 2022
H.E. The Chevalier Jack Schroder and our Grand Prior, H.E. The Chevalier John Byrnes are gathering with members of the Southeast in Atlanta to re-package critical supplies for Ukraine on 9 and 10 April 2022. St Lazarus and other Christian Orders of chivalry are answering the call for help! Through a partnership of orders, many are assembling needed medical supplies and necessities for Ukraine. There’s still time to join with Jack and John to do God’s Work.
Calling all Georgia Lazurites! This is your chance to help the people of Ukraine in a direct and meaningful way.
As noted in our most recent newsletter, the Order has procured a large shipment of medical supplies for the people of Ukraine, both those who remain inside Ukraine and those who have left their homes and immigrated to neighboring border countries. Together with another nonprofit, we have arranged for the US Air Force to fly these pallets (2 tractor trailer loads) into either Germany or Poland. On arrival, a representative of the German or Polish branch of the Order will meet the aircraft, accept delivery, and then start the process of transporting these pallets to where they are needed, with most going into Ukraine itself. We have just learned that the shipments will be sent through Atlanta on the way to their destination in Germany or Poland, and volunteers will be needed to open the pallets so they can be reviewed by customs. There will be physician assistant students from Emory University and Merceron hand to help out, but with 52 pallets we will need all the assistance we can get. Our Grand Prior John Byrnes and his wife Anna (who is Ukrainian) are driving up from Orlando to help out, and we are hoping to get some Georgia Lazarus members there as well. The address is 140 Enterprise Blvd SW, Atlanta, Georgia, 30336 near Six Flags Over Georgia, and the expected dates of arrival in Atlanta are the weekend of April 9-10. We are hoping you can help us out with this unique opportunity to serve both the Order and the people of Ukraine. Please let me know of your availability so I can send you more details, and feel free to call me with any questions. Thanks in advance
Vice-Commander, Georgia Region
From hosting annual meetings of the Order attended by hundreds to arranging small informal cocktail parties, from pilgrimages to the Holy Land to regional weekend retreats in the mountains, from filling high office in the Order’s hierarchy to serving on numerous committees – the activities of the Commandery of the Southeast are notable and varied.
Members of the Commandery participate in many activities on an international and local scale. Each year the Order convenes meetings in such cities as Los Angeles, Houston, New Orleans, Chicago, Toronto, Dublin, Vienna and Mexico City. But Commandery members do much more than travel – they also serve the Order in highly important positions. For example, Scott G. Thompson serves in the crucial post of Treasurer of the American Association of the Order of Saint Lazarus, Inc., the charitable arm of our Order, and John Byrnes as the Hospitaller for the Order.
On the local front, Commandery activities include a yearly vespers service, an annual meeting and dinner at a prominent private club, weekend retreats to resort locations such as Asheville, Callaway Gardens, and Burge Plantation, participation in church dedications and other significant religious services, and informal social gatherings at members’ homes. These activities serve to instill camaraderie of fellowship and service among Commandery members, providing an impetus for our charitable and chivalric activities. Consistent with the Order’s ecumenical mission, religious services have been held in such churches as Saint Philip’s Cathedral, the Cathedral of Christ the King, Saint James United Methodist Church, Holy Spirit Catholic Church and Sardis United Methodist Church.
Every seven years the Commandery organizes and hosts the Annual Meeting of the Grand Priory of America, where members from across the country and the world convene to renew friendships, discuss the philanthropic and other business of the Order, and invest new members. To date, the Commandery of the Southeast has hosted annual meetings in Atlanta in 1988, 1995 and 2002, in Savannah in 2010, and in Charleston in 2016. We are looking forward to hosting the annual meeting in Tampa, Florida in 2023.
Together, the members of the Southeast Commandery enjoy these and many other opportunities to serve their fellow man in furtherance of the example set by our patron saint, Lazarus.