What is The Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem?
The Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem was a medieval military, religious and Hospitaller Order of Chivalry, and bore no resemblance to modern-day historical or charitable organizations, all using the name Saint Lazarus.It was military in that it played a military role from 1120 to about the beginning of the 16th century. Until 1291, its military activities were centred in the Holy Land helping to hold it for Christianity, while after the loss of l’Outremer, they were involved in the protection of the various pilgrim routes, particularly of that to Santiago de Compostela. The military role was partly revived in the early 17th century when the Order maintained a squadron of ten frigates based at St Malo, manned by the knights, novices and chaplains. With the ending of the Order’s naval activities in 1668, the military role was continued by means of its naval academy, and the ownership of a military school in Paris, which it held until the French Revolution in 1791.
Today, the Order has a number of its own properties in Europe, America and the Caribbean. It runs clinics and boasts of its own Hospitaller Museum in Nevis. Its hospital and clinical services have been volunteered to in a number of different countries, specifically targeting the vulnerable sector within the communities. Extensive donations for worthy causes have been given by means of fund raising initiatives within the Order’s jurisdictions.
It has been the policy of the United Grand Priories of the Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus to constantly present the history and ethos of the Order of Saint Lazarus throughout the ages from its crusading past to the present day in an undiluted and non-interpolated manner. We actively ensure that people interested in Saint Lazarus operations in the 21st Century understand that it is a proven historic fact that the medieval Order of Saint Lazarus became extinct immediately after the French revolution. For these last decades since the founding of the United Grand Priories in 1995, we have humbly sought to emulate the Hospitaller tradition of the medieval Order by means of an international chivalric organization, fully compliant with the laws and regulations of the jurisdictions in question, and without the need to manipulate history in order to project an inaccurate account of a wishful Lazarite past. It is, we believe, primarily due to this sincere approach to our members and patrons that one can understand why the United Grand Priories of the Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus have grown to be the most active and the most expanding Lazarite chivalric organization worldwide.