NEWS LETTER - JANUARY 2009 | NEWS LETTER - APRIL 2009 | NEWS LETTER - SEPTEMBER 2009

NEWS LETTER - JANUARY 2010 | NEWS LETTER - APRIL 2010 | NEWS LETTER - SEPTEMBER 2010

  
The membership in the Order of Saint Lazarus within any constitutional jurisdiction of Carpathia is by invitation only. 

Why?

For the past several years a number of events took place pertaining to a huge proliferation of many groups using the name of the Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, or one of it's variations. It appears that main reason for what we are experiencing is lie to the fact that many local and international Saint Lazarus administrators believed that the strength of their Jurisdictions, or the Order itself, lies in the "membership numbers" and not the quality of it's members. By doing so these groups became platforms for medal seekers and social climbers. In short, the "Honorary Members" became policy makers and the actual reason why the Order was created at the first place is now irrelevant. 

The Order was newer about distributing used clothing, or to act as "middleman" in promoting and distributing questionable commercial products to third world countries under the heading of "charity". There are many good organizations that are experts in collecting and distributing used closing, and there are many good international promotion companies that are good in promoting their client's commercial products to new markets or the Third World Countries. So, let them do it.  

Regardless of the above, we believe that there is nothing wrong with any individual Jurisdictions being involved in various charitable work, including youth and elderly community programs, etc. However, all of these activities should be secondary to Saint Lazarus objectives. The Order was, and always should be about individual member's commitment to work, or to support the work in War Against Leprosy.

2004 Schism. 

Before the summer of  2004, the two main groups that dominated various jurisdictions within the Order (The Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem) were known as the Malta Obedience - under the patronage of Duke of Seville, and the Paris Obedience - under the patronage of Duke of Brissak. The 2004 Schism gave a rise to another entity known as the Paris - Orleans Obedience under the patronage of Prince Fillip, Duke of Anjou. 

NOTE: Due to the numerous schisms and intricacies even a persons with good understanding of history and knightly orders would have a problem in following these events. 

Where to start?

The present-day situation is not about which group is "legally registered or not" by some sort of state authority, but rather we should be asking whether any present-day group using the name of the historical Order of Saint Lazarus is descending from the original historical Order. 

All at the same time, while historians are preoccupied by trying to resolve the puzzle of legitimacy and continuity of the Order, one thing that we can do is at least to subscribe to the original Constitution of the Order of Saint Lazarus and follow the Order's historical objectives. 

What is the Order of Saint Lazarus?

The Order of Saint Lazarus was traditionally a Nobiliary Christian Chivalric Service Order. That means that selected individuals from hereditary nobility (Knights of Justice) were invited or volunteer into the Order to serve and carry for those with Leprosy. 

Does membership in the Order of Saint Lazarus creates Nobility?

"NO" 

Only individuals of a noble descent are admitted into the Order in a category as the  "Knights of Justice". (Nobiliary category). 

However, under special circumstances a deserving persons, not of a noble birth, could be invited into the Order in the category of Magisterial Grace (Honorary Member). However, for those admitted into the Order in the category of Magisterial Grace the admission or promotion to any Grade of the Order, or the privileges derived does not confer on them any rank, style, title, dignity, appellation or social precedence. In other words, a membership in the Order of Saint Lazarus does not elevate a person to the status of Nobility. It is the means of recognizing one’s outstanding volunteerism or leadership to their community trough the work of the Order of Saint Lazarus. Even the present Grandmaster of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem cannot change this. He doesn't have the "Royal Prerogative", i.e. he doesn't have the power to bestow any-kin of titles of nobility on anyone. 

If this is the case, why sow many people are seeking admission into the "Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem"?

The fact is that the majority of the general public does not really understand differences between various chivalric orders. They simply cannot differentiate one Order from another. To them the "Order is an Order", and the "Knight is a Knight".  As a result of this there are many people waiting in line to be "knighted", dress up in fancy uniforms, showoff their new shining medals and tell their uninformed friend and business associates about their importance and "their high social position" in a "prestigious chivalric order".  As well, there  are are many dubious individuals who for various selfish reasons tell to their business associates (or victims) that their Order is truly legitimate and that for a few Dollars or Euros (or a favor), and with their endorsement, they could become "true knights" with certificate, title and all. 

How could this happen? 

When the majority or the entire membership of a Jurisdiction is made up of the Honorary Members the formula for Schisms, "high" personal ambitions and dubious objectives get in place. And, as already pointed out, when a general public is lucking knowledge in recognizing differences between legitimate Order of Chivalry and the groups active in creative anachronism the opportunity is just right for making mail-order "modern-day knights" by dubious "Grand Priors". Especially in non-monarchial states or pos-communist countries".

On top of that many of this "modern-day knights" pretend their affiliation to the legitimate churches, or, and become "Armigers". However, once again the unexpected general public doesn't know what making a promise to a church means, or what being an Armiger is all about.

Lets answer the first point first. Making a promise, or wows to a church is a one sided act, and it doesn't mean that the church is recognizing a persons credentials, or is entering into any kind of special relationship with that person. Anyone can make a promise to anyone.  Annually, as a part of the New Year's resolution, great many smokers promise to themselves and their families that they will stop smoking. Do they? A great many people during their wedding ceremony, before God, make wows to each other to be faithful to each other, etc.  In most of the countries around the world the divorce rate is on increase. 

So, what is Armiger?

An armiger is a person entitled to use a Coat of Arms. Such a person is said to be armigerous.

Originally an armiger was an Armour-Bearer or Esquire, attendant upon a Knight, but bearing his own unique armorial device.

The term "armiger" is well-defined only within jurisdictions (such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, and Spain) where heraldry is regulated by the state (monarchial state) or monarchial heraldic body (such as the College of Arms in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, (the Office of the Chief Herald in Ireland or the Court of the Lord Lyon in Scotland).  In the Netherlands titles of nobility are regulated by law but heraldry is not. In Sweden the nobility has had since 1762 the prerogative to use an open helmet, while others use a closed helmet. etc. 

Since anyone may use any coat of arms in countries that lack regulated heraldry, such as the United States or Slovakia this creates even more confusion. For example, Slovakia is a state in an open denial of its Hungarian monarchial past, however, in a peculiar way it grants Citizens Coat of Arms, that very closely resemble Coat of Arms of the Hereditary Nobility of the Kingdom of Hungary and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to its citizens.  

So, how about Coat of Arms granted by a non-monarchial state?

For a fee, any person in the Republic of Slovakia can apply for Coat of Arms: 

HERALDICKY REGISTER - Slovenskej republiky:  http://www.civil.gov.sk/p19/p19-04.shtm

Are these Coat of Arms a mark of Nobility? 

"NO".  

All of the Coat of Arms issued by the non-monarchial, or Republic state heraldic offices  are known as the "Citizens Coat of Arms" . These Citizens Coat of Arms have nothing to do whatsoever with the nobiliary hereditary Coat of Arms issued by a monarch.  

As well, the Republic's state heraldic offices, or any of its affiliates, cannot matriculate Arms belonging to a person who has the hereditary right to such nobiliary Coat of Arms.  In fact, if a person who possesses hereditary Coat of Arms under the Letter Patent of Nobility chooses to register his/her Coat of Arms by a non-monarchial state heraldic office he/she is actually  changing the status and the character of his/her hereditary Coat of Arms from Nobiliary to Citizens Coat of Arms. Please see: Law of Arms

Back to the resent developments within the Order of Saint Lazarus, including 2004 Schism.  

The initial position and the Statement filed by the Constitutional Commandery of Slovakia - Carpathia and all it's sub-jurisdictions during September 12, 13, Chapter General of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem (MHOSLJ), held in the City of Manchester, England, was:

"The entire membership of the Commandery of Slovakia is in support of the reunification process and the election of the new Grandmaster, but we will not support the development of the Order into new organization that will be without the historical mandate of the Order, traditional organizational structure, knightly and noble virtues and Christian believes". 

However, several days after Chapter General in Manchester, UK, the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem (MHOSLJ) published, on their official Website < http://www.st-lazarus.net/ > it's "new Constitution" of the Order. As a result of it, the Commandery of Slovakia declares that in "NO WAY" it could support such Constitution. Therefore, together with it's International Green Cross Organization for reasons hear indicated terminated all relations with the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem and their 49th. Grandmaster, H.E. Don Carlos Gereda y de Borbón, Marquis de Almazŕn

As well, the Commandery of Slovakia wish to point out that there is no connection "whatsoever" between the Constitutional Commandery of Slovakia and so called "Grand Priory of Slovakia", or its members, or any other group masquerading under the banner of the Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem within the territory of the Republic of Slovakia. 

During "Norwich Group's" Chapter General in Vienna, September 5 -7, 2008, the Grand Prior of Ireland in a private discussion with the writer spoke about the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem in becoming an "Electoral Kingdom". Than, on October 4th. 2004 the following entry was made on the Wikipedia WebPages: 

..."Today the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem (former Malta & Paris Obedience) is an international self-governing and independent body, having its own Constitution; it may be compared with a kind of electoral kingdom"... 

NOTE: Order of Saint Lazarus - Wikipedia - Statement may differ significantly from the current revision, however, the Web link below will do the connection to the above mentioned reference.  

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Order_of_Saint_Lazarus&diff=242955744&oldid=242927454 

Several days later we received a call, from a member of another to us sympathetic Jurisdiction, pointing us to the United Malta & Paris Obedience of the MHOSLJ Website < http://www.st-lazarus.net/international/index.html >, especially to the  information posted under the heading "The Order", and sub-heading "Introduction", where again the reference to "electoral kingdom" was made: ... "Today the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem is an international self-governing and independent body, having its own Constitution; it may be compared with a kind of electoral kingdom." ... 

We believe that this type of talk is usually typical and in line with groups active in creative anachronism and not legitimate Orders of Chivalry.  

NOTE:  Due to the "reunification" between Malta and Paris Groups (including Norwich Group) into one United Malta & Paris Obedience of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, the above thinking is becoming a mainstream idea for the future of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem. We fill that our Jurisdiction can-no-longer support, or be associated with such organization. 

Our Response to Chapter General and to the "new Constitution" of the MHOSLJ.

We believe that the Reunification Meeting, held on September 12, 13 in Manchester, England, didn't just unfulfilled our expectations, but instead left us with even more unanswered questions. In-fact, the new Constitution of the Order published shortly thereafter, plainly spelled-out that the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem - United Malta & Paris Obedience became nothing more than another social club, and thus stray-away from being a Nobiliary Christian Service Order of Chivalry. 

Following are some of the points that support our view: 

1. Before the Election there was no information available to Chapter General as to how will the "reunified body" deal with various entities (self-style groups) that were created by "self-appointed" individuals during the 2004 - 2008 schism period? 

Note: During September 4 - 5, 2008, the Norwich Group Chapter General in Vienna simply ignored the legitimacy issue of some of their self-appointed groups, and in fact allowed these self-style groups to participate in the reunification vote and the  Grandmaster's elections in Manchester

2. Before the Election there was no information available to Chapter General as to how will the "reunified body" deal with various entities (Priories) that were created by "opposing camps", in already established Jurisdictions during 2004 - 2008 schism period, that bluntly violated: Chapter 2 / 2.1., a., b., c.; Chapter 6 / 6.1., c.; Chapter 7 / 7.1., a., b.; 7.3., h., i., j., k., of the Constitution of the Order of Saint Lazarus. 

3. Before the Election there was no information available to Chapter General as to how will the organizational structure of the "new Order" look like, especially what will be the role and the position of Knights of Justice in comparison to members in the category of Magisterial Grace

4. Before the Election there was no information available to Chapter General as to how will the "new Order" deal with recruitment of new members, especially those from post communist countries, and those who have communist, racist or other extremist past?  

5. Before the Election there was no information available to Chapter General as to how will the "new Order" deal with recruitment of new members, especially those who in their past held, or presently hold a membership in organizations that are in total contradiction to the objectives of Christian Chivalric Orders and the Canon Law? 

Therefore, we believe that the "new Constitution of the Order" has made the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem nothing more than another civic organization parallel to Lions Club, Rotary Club, etc.

The power of the Order is in it's historical continuity and in it's historical Constitution. The actions of the executives of the MHOSLJ and their new Constitution have failed on all of these points. 

In addition to the above we also say that not only the Grandmaster of the Order, but also the administration of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem and it's respectable Jurisdictions must be appropriately represented by Knights of Justice if the Order is to remain a traditional nobiliary institution. Please read ...

What is the public's response to all of this?

As already pointed out the general population doesn't really understand the inner workings of various private organizations or various Orders of Chivalry.  A good reference-point from where to start, and from where to learn about it, is the "Register of Orders of Chivalry". 

Following information is the position of The International Commission of the Register of Orders of Chivalry regarding the Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem:  "Premise". 

    
Why are we involved? 
   
Since all of the legitimate Christian Chivalric Service Orders "have rightfully" very stringent admittance rules therefore are virtually inaccessible to the majority of the post communist hereditary Nobility. The winds of time under the communist regime left its mark on these people. To really understands the level of the damage caused is sometime hard to even imagine. Nevertheless, we believe that Saint Lazarus tradition could provide a platform for the old Nobility of Carpathia to learn about their hereditary past and their civic duties in a environment that cannot be replicated by any other type of civic organization. As already pointed out this is especially important in the countries where Nobility Class was almost entirely decimated by the communist regime. If there ever was an organization that is more suited for this, is no other than the Order of Saint Lazarus. Even the motto of the Order  gives legitimacy to this idea: "Atavis et Armis" (by Ancestors and Arms). 
    
Order of Saint Lazarus and the Kingdom of Hungary. 
   
Right from the beginning the Knights of the Order of Saint Lazarus came from most Noble families in the Kingdom of Hungary. Many of these young men served in the Order during the Crusades. 
   
NOTE: For those visitors who are not familiar with the history of Central Europe we would like to explain the reasons why does the Commandery of Slovakia making a reference to Hungary when presenting its own history and the history of the Order of Saint Lazarus in this geographic region. 

For over one thousand years prior to 1918, 14 counties, which today form country of Slovakia, were a part of the Kingdom of Hungary.

In 1867 Hungary, together with Austria, became a part of the Dual Monarchy. This constitutional and monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary was a result of the Ausgleich or Compromise of 1867, under which the Austrian Habsburgs agreed to share power with a separate Hungarian government, dividing the territory of the former Austrian Empire between them. The Dual Monarchy existed for only 51 years until 1918, when it dissolved following military defeat in the First World War.

    
The earliest evidences of the history of the "Lazarettos" date back to the time of the first Hungarian king, Saint Stephen I. The members of this Society  dedicated their lives to the healing of the lepers. The leprosy was known in Hungary already in the 11th century. This is documented in the life history of St. Gerardus, bishop of Chanad, written in the second half of the 11th century. As well we can see the same evidence in the "First Book of Laws" issued by King Saint Ladislaus (1077-1095), and also in the Land & Estate Registry at the Bishopric of  Veszprém. (Reference: puteus leprosorum). However, whether this can be connected with the first presence of the (Knightly) Order of Saint Lazarus in Hungary it still a question. 

Nevertheless, there is a historical evidence that the Order of Saint Lazarus was already operating in Hungary in 1162.  This was documented by a royal charter, and recorded by Abberg Bakonybél, archivist of the Hungarian King, Stephen III.  He writes about quarantine facility known as the  "Forest of the Lepers" (silvula leprosorum) near the town of Dorog, about 20 km south of the city of Esztergom. Approximately twenty years later, in 1181, this charter was confirmed again. 

The Saint Lazarus Order has gained a number of new estates in the first decades of the 13th century, and its Grand Prior (Magister Sancti Lazari de Strigonio) exercised an increased influence on the social and political life of not only Esztergom, but also over the territories belonged to the royal court. There are historical documents from the time of the King Andrew II (1205-1235) attesting to a great prestige of the Hungarian Grand Prior of the Order.  The evidence speak about Hungarian members of the Order participating in the crusades for liberation of Jerusalem led by Andrew II in 1217.  It was at that time that the Order had built its Chancellery in Esztergom. 

During the rule of Bela IV (1235-1270) the Order had lost some of its estates, partly in consequence of the Royal Estates Repatriation Actions, and partly because of the Mongolian invasion.  As a result of unfair treatment of the Order by the King, the Prior wrote a letter to Pope Gregory IX. that lands given to the Order by King Andrew II. (1235 - 1236) were unjustly confiscated.

NOTE: During the Mongol siege of the town of Esztergom in 1241 the Chancellery and hospital of the Order were damaged. 

In the middle of the 13th century the Order regained its former influence in Esztergom for a short time. But few years later king donated some of the Order's estates to the Order of Saint John (charters from 1256, 1264, 1272).  In consequence of these facts the Order of Saint Lazarus was pushed into the background.  An interesting fact to mention is that in 1272 there was a "Union" between the Hungarian Priory of the Order of Saint Lazarus and the Crusading Order of Saint Stephen and the Convent of Esztergom. 

After the Battle of Roszgony (June 15, 1312), specifically in 1330, the Order and all of its members came under the "special protection" of the Hungarian Palatine Johannes Drugeth (of the Sicilian origin), who moved to Hungary as an Anjouvian supporters and became to be known as  "The Ornament of the Faith of the Roman Catholic Church" (- Robur et Augmentum Fidei Catholicae Romanae Ecclesiae in Regno Hungariae -). 

According to the Royal Charter of 1335 the Order build a hospital for lepers in the new capital of Buda. This side became a first leprosarium in this town.  The hospital was located near to the royal castle of Buda, on the western side of the hill, and near to the former monastery of Saint Lawrence, of what is now a suburban district of Krisztinaváros - Christineville).

The Chapel of Saint Lazarus in the vicinity of the hospital was also build by Order of Saint Lazarus, and it's existence is documented by the charter (testimony) from 1355. On the basis of this document we know that the church was built on the actual place of the destroyed village Logod. The ruins of this church were discovered in 1939. (Today the remains of the side are located of the Bugát street). As well, in a later charter (1441) issued by the King Ladislav I., is stated that Chapel became a Church of the Order of Saint Lazarus. Various historical document attest that the Church of Saint Lazarus was still standing at the time the Turkish occupation of Buda in 1541. It is documented very well on the picture of Buda painted in 1541. (The church was probably destroyed by the siege of the fortress of Buda in 1686.

As already stated, during the first half of the 15th century the Order of Saint Lazarus entered into relations with the Order of Saint Stephen in Esztergom, by signing a contract about a joint ownership of the village Budafelhévíz. In 1440 this estate was demolished by a siege, however, in 1445 the village became a property of the Preceptory of Buda of the Order of Saint Lazarus. 

In the 15th century the Order of Saint Lazarus gained many other properties,  buildings and hospitals (leprosaria) all over the country. According to many historical documents during this period Hungary became constituted and independent province of the Order of Saint Lazarus. There were established leprosaria in the different towns of the country, for instance in Bártfa (now Bardejov, Slovakia), Brassó, Beszterce, Lôcse (now Levoca, Slovakia), Nagyvárad (from the year 1370 already known a hospital for lepers), Szeben etc.

After expulsion of Turks from Hungary (Carpathia) in 1710 the Order established many churches and the hospitals under the name  "Lazarethum"  which have been operating until  the end of the 18th century.

Reference: 

Fejér György: Codex diplomaticus ecelesiasticus ac civilis. Vol. I-XL. Budae, 1829-1842; Wenzel Gusztáv: Arpád-kori új okmánytár. I-XII. köt. Pest-Bp., 1860-1874; Anjou-kori okmánytár. I-l. köt. Bp., 1891-1898; Szentpétery Imre : Az Arpádházi királyok okleveleinek kritikai jegyzéke. I-Ill. köt. Bp., 1923-1986; Garády Sándor: Szent Lázár temploma az I. Ker.., Bugát utcában. In: Budapest Régiségei. XIII. köt 193-202.: Zolnay László: Az elátkozott Buda. Buda aranykora.

 
  

BACK