The Order of Saint Lazarus 

by Guy Stair Sainty

The existence of a body with an international membership styling itself "the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem" has caused some confusion with the Royal Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, not least because both assert the same historical origins as successors of the crusader Militia of Saint Lazarus. This claim to continuity by the modern "Order of Saint Lazarus" has been questioned by many historians over the last eighty years and, at best, must be regarded as unproven. Supporters of this modern foundation have published numerous books and pamphlets designed to sustain their assertion that it is the successor of the French branch of Lazarus knights. This body has conferred its cross on many distinguished individuals, giving it a high profile and making it one of the best known quasi-chivalric organizations. The survey below is an attempt to outline accurately the history of the French knights of Saint Lazarus after 1489 and the emergence of the modern institution of that name.

The French Knights of Saint Lazarus from 1489 - 1608

The French knights of Saint Lazarus, although members of a religious confraternity sworn to defend the Church and bound to obedience to its head, continued to resist the Papal suppression of their community in the Bull Cum solerti of 5 April 1489. This Bull amalgamated the Order with the Order of Saint John, putting it under the authority of the Grand Master at Rhodes. With intermittent support from the Crown and Parliament of Paris over the next century, the knights based at the principal French Commandery of Boigny admitted new members according to the ancient forms but without canonical authority. Devastated by the Papal decision, the Boigny Commandery, also claimed by the Hospitaller knights of Saint John, elected a new head, François d'Amboise, in 1493, who took the title Grand Master General of Saint Lazarus. He was the nephew of Cardinal Georges d'Amboise, the King's First Minister and of Emery d'Amboise, head of the French Langue of Saint John who became Grand Master of Saint John in 1503. With such connections he may have seemed the ideal candidate to reach a compromise with the Hospitallers and gain the support of the Crown. This temporarily stayed action by the knights of Saint John who were fully engaged in a struggle to recover Saint Lazarus properties in Italy and Spain. But, with François's death in 1500 the Hospitallers once again sought to reclaim the Saint Lazarus properties.

Amboise's successor as head of the Saint Lazarus knights, Agnan de Mareul, did not have the political connections of his predecessor but he continued to resist the suppression of his community and ignored Pope Julius II's confirmation of the union with Saint John on 12 July 1505. Agnan de Mareul resigned in favor of his nephew, Claude, in 1519 who managed to obtain Papal confirmation as Commander of Boigny but not as head of the Order. Squabbles between the Hospitallers and Saint Lazarus continued over possession of this valuable property. In 1540 a knight of Saint John was appointed by the Grand Master of (what was now called the Order of) Malta to be Bailiff of Boigny, but failed to get possession, and four years later two rival commanders were appointed to the wealthy Commandery of Saint Thomas-de-Fontenay, one by the Grand Master of Saint John the other by the Master of Saint Lazarus. The dispute was brought to France's highest court, the Parliament of Paris, which in February 1548 preferred to allow the claims of the French based Commander of Saint Lazarus at Boigny.

The uncertain status of the French knights proved a disincentive to recruitment and a drain on Boigny's resources. To try and settle the issue, King Henri II, acting in accordance with the authority acquired by his father in the 1519 Concordat with the Holy See, assumed the right to nominate the Grand Master of Saint Lazarus with the consent of the knights. In 1557 he duly appointed a knight of Malta, Jean de Lévis, dit de Charlus, [2] as their head. This marks the beginning of French royal control of the Order, legally formalized in 1608. Lévis's successor, also appointed by the King (in 1564), Michel de Seure de Lumigny, was likewise a knight of Malta, [3] suggesting that the French Crown hoped to resolve the crisis by putting Saint Lazarus under Malta's authority, while maintaining its partial autonomy.

A few months later, on 10 June 1564, [4] Pius IV confirmed Michel de Seure as Commander of Boigny, which was recognized as the "seat of the knights of Saint Lazarus here and beyond the seas". Seure's appointment to this position by the King may have swayed the Pope on this occasion but it most certainly did not acknowledge any right on behalf of the French knights to elect their head. The Pope did not accord Seure the title of Grand Master and this was the closest the Holy See ever came to undoing the Bull of 1489. It did not prevent the Pope confirming the Prior of Capua, Jeannot de Castillon (Giannotto Castiglione), as "Master-General" of Saint Lazarus on 4 May 1565, but seems to have been tacit recognition that, at least for the moment, the French knights were going to be allowed to act independently of Capua's control. This decision did not dispense with the claims of the Order of Saint John, however, although Lévis, Seure and his successor, François Salviati (also a knight of Malta [5]), clearly regarded Boigny as a subordinate Bailiwick of Saint John. At the meeting of the French Langue of Saint John on 6 October 1571 Seure resigned as "Bailiff of Boigny .... on condition that he have the right to appoint commanders to the first two Commanderies of the same bailiwick to become vacant". Salviati, whose appointment had already been formalized by the King, was accorded the "bailiwick of Boigny" in return for a promise "not to prejudice or cause harm to any of his confrères (in Malta)", [6] No protest was made by the Saint Lazarus Knights at finding Boigny's dependence on Malta confirmed nor at the assumption by the French Crown of the right to nominate their head.

The news that the Priory of Capua of Saint Lazarus, the only legitimate successor of the ancient Order recognized by the Holy See, had been combined with Saint Maurice and given an hereditary Grand Master in the person of the Duke of Savoy cannot have been welcome to the knights in France. Nonetheless, in 1574, King Charles IX acknowledged the Duke as Grand Master of the Order with authority over the knights in France in a warrant [7] later confirmed by his brother, Henri III. This resulted in protests by the Order of Malta and the knights based at Boigny. Neither royal edicts were registered and their provisions were not enforced although the Duke of Savoy attempted unsuccessfully to persuade the French knights to recognize him. In 1578 a "Chapter-General" was held at Boigny, to confirm the "election", actually nomination, of Salviati, who was acknowledged by the small group of assembled knights as "head, governor, administrator Grand Master general of hospitals, leper houses and of all the Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth here and beyond the seas..." with the condition that he adhere to the statutes and not undertake any policy initiative without the approval of the Council. Salviati continued to hold regular Chapters until the year before his death in 1586. This was followed by a seven year interregnum until the appointment by the new king, Henri IV, of Aymard de Clermont de Chaste, also a knight of Saint John, [8] as "Grand Master" in 1593. Clermont was much occupied with plans to colonize "New France" (Canada) for the Order of Saint John, so resigned in 1599 in favor of his nephew, Jean-Charles de Gayand, like himself a knight of Malta. Gayand was unable to gain sufficient authority and resigned in 1604 From 1557 until 1604, every head of Saint Lazarus had been a knight of Saint John. Since professed knights of Saint John took an oath of obedience to their Grand Master, the Commandery (or Bailiwick, as it was designated by Malta) of Boigny and its dependent Commanderies were effectively under the authority of the Grand Master of Malta.

The Order of Saint Lazarus united with Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Gayand's resignation was provoked by Papal confirmation of the Duke of Savoy's authority over Boigny and the French Saint Lazarus knights in the Bull Decet Romanum Pontificum of 1603. Domestic political needs seem to have inspired Henri IV's decision to ignore this Bull and appoint Philibert de Nérestang [9] to the office of "Grand Master" on 8 October 1604. The French King could not tolerate a foreign sovereign controlling a group of valuable benefices and commanding or recruiting well trained and valuable French knights. Neither was the Order of Malta able to withstand the influence in Rome of the Duke of Savoy as the confirmation of his prerogatives in the Bull of 1603 made apparent. Henri's appointment of Nérestang marks the sixth successive Grand Master of Saint Lazarus nominated by a French King and accepted as such by the remaining knights, evidence of the Crown's de facto authority over the Order.

While Henri was confident that his protection could insure the independence of Boigny from any intervention by the canonically legitimate Grand Master in Turin, and the demands of the knights of Saint John, it was not worth a conflict with the Holy See. The Pope made it clear, however, that he was not going to allow a separate Order of Saint Lazarus to survive and a compromise became essential. A new Order was founded, of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, by the Papal Bull Romanus Pontifex of 16 February 1608, expanded upon in Militantium ordinum of 28 February of the same year, with the king being given the power to nominate the Grand Master, subject to Papal confirmation. Henri was first persuaded to suppress the charge of "Grand Master" of Saint Lazarus by Letters Patent of April 1608 and hand over its Commanderies [10] and properties to the new body. [11] Instead, by Royal Letters Patent of 31 October 1608, duly registered in the Parliament of Paris, he declared the two Orders united under Nérestang while granting to Our Lady of Mount Carmel all the surviving properties and benefices of the Order of Saint Lazarus. [12] The seven remaining knights of Saint Lazarus gratefully accepted this compromise and, indeed, welcomed the normalization of their position and the support of the French Crown. The new Statutes given to the combined "Royal and Military Orders of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem united" put them together firmly under French royal control.

Nérestang's appointment as Grand Master never received Papal confirmation; the only Grand Masters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel who were canonically appointed being the Marquis de Dangeau (in 1693) and the Count of Provence, later Louis XVIII (in 1773). As the Order was still a Religious Military foundation, the lack of such confirmation was a notable defect. There were several subsequent reforms of the Order, first under Louis XIV who, in April 1664, confirmed its privileges, stating incorrectly the French belief that Saint Lazarus had been founded by King Louis VII and confirmed by Louis IX. The union of the two Orders was confirmed in a Bull of Cardinal de Vendôme, [13] of the 5 June 1668 addressed to "Charles-Achille de Nérestang, Grand Master of the Royal, Hospitaller and Military Orders of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem.....". It gave a brief history of Saint Lazarus, once again mistakenly attributing its foundation to Louis VII but omitting mention of the Bull Cum solerti of 1489, which suppressed it. The Cardinal did mention Sicuti bonus Agricola of 7 February 1567, although ignoring the fact that this was addressed to the Master-General at Capua, and not to the Commander at Boigny. The most important clause was that by which the Cardinal "approves and confirms ..... the union of the aforesaid Orders.... revalidating and fortifying the inviolable apostolic authority" over the united body.

Just eleven months later, on 18 May 1669, Louis XIV issued new letters patent, addressed to the "Grand Master, Priors, Commanders, Brothers, Knights and Officers of the Royal, Military and Hospitaller Orders of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem" [14] which confirmed the existing privileges, outlining some of the various Bulls and acts favorable to the united Orders. Four years later, in a edict of the Grand Council of 27 February 1672, the right of knights of the united Orders to the style of Messire and Chevalier were confirmed. [15]

The Expansion of the Order

In December of the same year, Louis XIV issued an important edict, designed to enlarge the size and work of Mount Carmel and Saint Lazarus, adding to its already not inconsiderable properties those of a group of recently suppressed religious and military Orders. [16] The addition of the benefices of extinct religious Orders initiated a century of conflict with the French clergy as it was against all precedent to alienate religious benefices to a lay institution. At the same time the title of Grand Master was left vacant after the resignation of Charles-Achille de Nérestang, there being various proposals to make the united Orders a purely royal institution, to be awarded for military distinction. Meanwhile the Marquis de Louvois acted as "Vicar-General", initiating an explosion in the number of knights with five hundred and sixty-six new members admitted in his twenty years as head of the Order. These included many Knights "of Grace" who were unable to make the required noble proofs. With Louvois's death, the King decided to found a third royal Order under his direct control as Grand Master, ranking after the Saint Esprit and Saint Michel. This "Royal Order of Saint Louis" was to be awarded for military merit; the edict of 1672 was undone and the benefices of the former military Orders handed over by Mount Carmel and Saint Lazarus to Saint Louis. A new Grand Master of the united Orders, the Marquis de Dangeau, was appointed in 1673 who soon established a reformed Council to regulate its affairs.

Dangeau's first and major innovation was the establishment of family (sometimes styled hereditary) Commanderies, actually called "Gradual, Masculine and Perpetual Commanderies" in an act that received royal approval on 9 December 1693. Members of the Order, with the agreement of the Grand Master and Council, were permitted to establish a family property (or donation of funds) as a Commandery. [17] Knights who made such donations were regarded as "Founder Commanders". [18] Certain of these Commanderies could be established with the right of succession to a Commandery, and heirs of such Commanderies who could prove their Catholic faith could apply for the Cross of the united Orders with no further requirements. Inheritance of a "gradual and perpetual" Commandery did not automatically confer knighthood in Saint Lazarus as the would-be knight still had to apply for the Cross and be received as a member according to the forms required in the Statutes. During Dangeau's administration there were four hundred and thirty five new members received, with many being unable to make the proofs for Knight of "Justice" - in the forty-seven years since Louvois' appointment there had been one thousand new knights or promotions in the united Orders! Dangeau was succeeded in 1720 by the son and heir of the French Regent, Philippe, Duke of Chartres - henceforth every Grand Master was a Prince of the Blood Royal.

Louis XV's reformation of the Order

Six "gradual and perpetual" Commanderies were established initially, of which one ceased to exist with the renunciation of its founder. [19] The foundation of these Commanderies has been held by the proponents of the modern Saint Lazarus as enabling their representatives to perpetuate the Order's existence after the death of the last knights appointed before 1789. It is claimed that the first two of these, La Motte des Courtils and Saint François de Bailleul, still exist today. However, in the reforms of 15th June 1757 made by Louis XV, [20] these so-called "hereditary" Commanderies were permanently suppressed in very explicit words: "Article Five: His Majesty wishes from henceforth that no Knights of Grace, Founder Commanders, nor Serving Brothers will be received into the said Orders; his intention being that the said Orders should be composed only of those persons who have satisfied article one of these present acts". This first article stated that no-one could be received who had not proved his Catholic faith and four degrees of paternal nobility. [21]

The royal edict goes on to elaborate the suppression of these Commanderies, "Article Six is the intention of His Majesty that the Founder, received as right, enjoys, during his lifetime, the Commandery that he himself has founded, that he should continue to bear the Cross of the said Orders, and to enjoy the honors, prerogatives privileges and distinctions that are attributed to it; but, after his death, the funds of the Commandery will return to his family in the state in which they were found, as a patrimonial estate, with the children and descendants of the Founder being unable to pretend, by virtue of the foundation made by their father or grandfather, to be received as Knights of the said Orders, unless at least they have the qualities required in article one, and the age prescribed in article three". [22]The King continues "the intention of His Majesty being, in reforming the said Orders, to recognize and recompense merit and services, without having regard to any other particular considerations ..... without the children or descendants of the Founder being able to demand, under pretext of their foundation, to be received as Knights of the said Orders". The royal intentions could not have been more specific, no longer could anyone claim the Cross of the united Orders unless their service to the Crown merited the award. Not one of the descendants in the male line of these Commanders was ever again received as a member of the Order. [23] The loss of the properties of the Commanderies of the two Orders in the succeeding years and during the revolution would in any case have led to their extinction, as a Commandery was a form of real estate. [24]

Grand Master Orléans had begun his tenure of the headship of the united Orders as enthusiastically as his predecessors, admitting four hundred and sixty-three knights in the first decade of his Grand Magistery. In 1731 there was a radical change of policy, however, and between 1731 and 1746 only ten knights were admitted, the Cross without the other privileges of Knighthood also being given by special brevet to nine French Consuls to wear while in post and to four foreign noblemen. The number of knights had declined, through the deaths of members, by the time of Louis XV's 1757 act but not to the maximum of one hundred knights the King demanded. He also abolished the categories of Grace, as many of the knights admitted before 1731 had been unable to make the proofs established under the original statutes. Passage money was fixed at the not inconsiderable sum of 1000 livres while the Cross was to be worn at the neck, from a dark purple ribbon. The King appointed his young grandson, the Duke of Berry (future Louis XVI) to be Grand Master, and the Count de Saint-Florentin as administrator. Finally, he commanded that those Knights of minority who had not yet been received could not be admitted unless they could satisfy the proofs required under article one, and then only at the age of twenty-five, while requiring that no more Knights of minority should be allowed. The King also permitted the number of one hundred to be exceeded for those particularly distinguished pupils of the École Militaire who could satisfy article one, but who had not reached the minimum age, authorizing them to be admitted as novices. [25] Until they attained the age of thirty when they could be received as full members they were permitted to wear only the small cross. During the Duke of Berry's Grand Magistery, of a total of one hundred and thirty-two admissions, seventy four were novice knights, admitted while still cadets at the École Militaire. Many of them went on to have distinguished military careers.

An agreement between the Canons of the Order of San Ruffo and the united Orders by which the latter would acquire the benefices of the former was the source of considerable problems in the 1760's. Letters of protest by the Bishops of Vienne, Valence and Die, addressed to the Holy See, complained that the Canons of San Ruffo had made this agreement with the "knights of Saint Lazarus" or the "Military Order of Saint Lazarus" (as the Bishops described it in their protests), leading to responses [26] in which the Holy See describes Saint Lazarus in the same words used by the Bishops. These Papal responses were not, however, "recognition" of the Order of Saint Lazarus in France as some modern writers have asserted. The Holy See first decided to abrogate this agreement as being contrary to Canon Law but later, by the Bull Copiosa Sedis Apostolicae of 1 June 1771, [27] agreed to the secularization of the Order of San Ruffo and the annexations of its benefices to the united Orders; this Bull was registered in the Parliament of Grenoble on 14 August 1773. The French Clergy had vehemently protested in a declaration of June 23, 1772 at the unification of ecclesiastical benefices with Saint Lazarus but not before the registration in Grenoble. This led to the Bull Militarium Ordinum institutio of December 10, 1772 which, undoing the grant of San Ruffo benefices to the united Orders, also prohibited the Mount Carmel and Saint Lazarus knights from enjoying ecclesiastical benefices in the future. This Bull, sometimes described erroneously as the secularization of Saint Lazarus, did not released Mount Carmel thereby from Papal jurisdiction nor lift the limitation of membership to Catholics. The dispute with the French Clergy was now resolved and the existing ecclesiastical benefices still held by the Order were handed over to the Church by an agreement dated March 18, 1773, in return for an annual sum in compensation. Similar problems with the knights of Malta were also settled, with the French Langue acknowledging the united Orders' autonomy and renouncing its claims on its benefices.

The Count of Provence as Grand Master

The last great royal reform was instituted at the initiative of the Count of Provence, younger brother of the Duke of Berry (now Dauphin), who was appointed Grand Master in 1773. [28] His intentions were first to increase the prestige of the Order, elevate its nobiliary status, insure its award as a military distinction and provide a stream of suitable future recruits. The very first article of his edict of 3 December 1778, [29] limited the Order to one hundred professed knights, including the eight Ecclesiastical Commanders, to be chosen from among the gentlemen of the most ancient nobility in the kingdom. By article two no-one was to be admitted who had not served as either an army Captain or naval Ensign, while those who had served the Crown as an Envoy in a foreign Court could be given the same privileges as those who had served with the rank of Colonel or higher (article two).

A royal act of 20 March 1773 had made the nobiliary requirements stricter, requiring eight, instead of four, degrees of paternal nobility not including the candidate, and this provision was re-enforced in the edict of 1778, along with the minimum entry age of thirty and the requirement to practice the Catholic religion (article three). A new regulation concerning the wearing of the decoration was instituted, giving the right to the breast star only to those knights who had attained the rank of Colonel or navy Captain or higher (the first class) while those between Colonel or navy Captain and army Captain or naval Ensign (the second class) would only wear the neck badge. There was to be no differential in precedence between classes, however, each ranking according to the date of reception. A further article introduced, or rather reintroduced, the green ribbon from which the cross of the united Orders was in future to be suspended. To encourage knights to stay in military service, they would lose the right to a Commandery on retirement, and any further prospect of promotion in the Order.

The following year, the relationship with the École Militaire was enlarged with the privilege being given to three cadets, to be chosen from the six best qualified at the school, to be received as knights of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. [30] This right was of some significance not simply because such worthy cadets automatically became novice members of the united Orders, wearing the small Cross suspended from the old purple ribbon rather than the green, but because they were exempted thereby from proving eight degrees of nobility, only having to prove four degrees for the École Militaire. This did not "separate" the two Orders, united by royal edict and by edict of Cardinal Legate Vendôme; no-one was admitted to Saint Lazarus who had not already been admitted as a knight of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the majority were still received in the normal way into the united Orders. Between his nomination as Grand Master in 1773 and the last admissions in 1788, the Count of Provence admitted a total of eighty-six knights of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Lazarus and twenty-nine novice knights or knights of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The extinction of the Order

The united Orders were abolished along with the other Royal Orders by a edict of the National Assembly of July 30th, 1791, promulgated in the name of the "King of the French" and signed by the Minister of Justice who sealed it with the Great Seal. No further knights of the Order were received according to the proper forms. [31] A number of nominations may have been made by the Grand Master in exile but proofs were not submitted and evidence of Catholicity not demanded, as was required by the reforms of 1753 and 1778. According to some modern historians the cross was conferred on a number of Russian Orthodox noblemen and even one Swedish Lutheran but no contemporary accounts survive and such awards conflicted with the Statutes and the Papal Bull of foundation so cannot be regarded as legal even if the relevant documents can ever be discovered. [32] The post-restoration Rolls do not disclose these purported nominations, however, those published in the Almanach Royal [33] only listing the knights received before the Revolution and, in editions of the 1820's, the name of an officer, Baron Dreisen, apparently admitted at Mittau (where the Grand Master was living in exile in 1800), as a "knight of Honor", a hitherto unknown rank not permitted in the Statutes.

The position of the Order between 1791 and 1815 is uncertain. In French Law it ceased to exist but, in Canon Law it continued to survive. The Count of Provence became titular King as Louis XVIII after the death of his nephew in the Temple prison on 8 June 1795. Between that date and the Restoration he made a handful of nominations to the Saint Esprit (to two Two Sicilies Princes and the Cardinal de Talleyrand) and Saint Michel (his doctors) and a considerably larger number to the Order of Saint Louis. All these are listed in the Almanach Royal with their date of nomination. Why then were the nominations in exile which it is assumed the King made to the united Orders of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Lazarus not listed also? Five individuals were included in the 1816 Almanach with the M with an interlaced L that signified membership in the united Orders; none of them, however, were named in the pre-1789 rolls nor in the Roll of the united Orders published in the Almanach. [34] Later some other names appear, again without appearing in the Roll itself, with no explanation as to why the ML symbol was first added and then, in later editions, dropped. [35] In one case, a Swiss officer, Albert de Steiguer, Maréchal de Camp, is recorded in 1827 with the ML symbol but it seems that he had been received as a knight in 1788 and so the appearance of his name was not, as has been claimed by the proponents of the modern Order, evidence of continued admissions after 1814. [36]

Proponents of the modern survival have published lists of French noblemen purportedly admitted to the Order after 1788. In a handful of cases the use of the ML symbol in the Almanach Royal would seem to support the claim, but in most cases no source is given and the names seem to have been selected on an arbitrary basis or on the evidence of notations in much later publications. [37] There is limited documentary evidence cited by supporters of the modern foundation (not reproduced, however) to support the claim that some knights were admitted after 1788, but there are no surviving diplomas and no records in the archives of the Order maintained in the Archives Nationales. Indeed, the complete absence of any contemporary documentation such as diplomas or letters of nomination (whereas there are numerous examples from before 1788), of paintings (or later of original nineteenth century photographs) of these individuals wearing the Saint Lazarus Cross, or of any record in contemporary correspondence of such nominations or admissions, is astonishing.

Charles-François le Prévost de Basserode, born in 1774, was authorized to wear the decorations of the united Orders in a letter written in the name of the Duc de Gramont [38] dated July 6, 1814, on the basis that he had been nominated by the King in exile; [39]and a M. de la Brousse, Captain at the École Militaire de la Flèche, was authorized in a letter dated 12 Aug 1814 from the Marquis de Dreux-Brezé, Grand Master of Ceremonies of France, to wear the decorations and this last gentleman was listed in the Almanach Royal in several editions from 1817 with the ML symbol. [40] A Chevalier Pastou de Boussas in a letter dated 14 August 1826, stated that he had been admitted (nominated, but not received) in 1791 at Coblentz, but no action was taken following his claim, unlike the two 1814 examples. [41] We can be certain that no new nominations were made after the second Restoration in 1815, from which time Louis XVIII dropped the title of Grand Master, which remained vacant, while retaining the title of Protector. Award of the Order may have been considered to have conflicted with the provisions of the "Charter", which declared all citizens to be equal and consequently prohibited the maintenance of state institutions limited to the nobility.

The united Orders continued to be listed in the Almanach Royal as "Royal, Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem and of Our Lady of Mount Carmel reunited", sometimes omitting the "of Jerusalem". This stylization was incorrect, although that preferred by the members, since in every official act of the Grand Masters the names of the two Orders are reversed, as in Henri IV's letters patent and successive edicts of the French Crown and Grand Masters of the Order from 1608 until 1788. When members of the Order were listed elsewhere in the text of the Almanach the sign that one was a knight of Mount Carmel and Saint Lazarus was often omitted, while it can sometimes be found next to the names of people who were not, in fact, listed as members in the published Roll. Later editions sometimes corrected what may have been simple errors by omitting the sign against the names of individuals indicated earlier as members.

The officers of the royal household were certainly very specific when replying on behalf of the King to requests for admission to the united Orders. A series of requests in the period from 1815 to 1820 were met with the initial response that "the King has not made known his intentions relative to the two Orders" (April 9, 1816), to "the King has postponed any nomination" (May 27, 1817), and, to a knight of the Order Charles de Valory (received in 1767) wishing to be promoted to Commander, "the King has not until now manifested the intention of making any nomination or promotion in this Order". [42] In 1822 when a request was directed to the Minister of the King, he inquired from the Chancellor of the Legion of Honor, but the latter's response was that it was not his responsibility. A subsequent note from the Minister of the King dated October 31st, 1822, stated that "H.M. since re-entering his states has stated nothing regarding this Order". By the following year a clearer policy had been devised, the Minister stating on August 31, 1823 that "the Order in which you wish to enter is no longer conferred". [43]

The supporters of the modern foundation of Saint Lazarus have asserted that after 1815 the Orders of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Lazarus were separated, with Mount Carmel being allowed to become extinct and Saint Lazarus continuing to thrive. No edict supporting this has been produced, and none to support the claim that at least thirteen knights were admitted to Saint Lazarus alone between 1815 and 1830. Despite the successive refusals of the Crown to respond positively to requests for admission, despite the failure to produce any evidence that the requests of these thirteen knights were met with in the affirmative, despite the fact that none of these thirteen are listed in the Roll in the Almanach Royal and the complete absence of any official record of such admissions in the French official archives, this assertion has been repeated many times.

On May 5th, 1824, the Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honor issued a statement on Orders, which could be worn and which were to be suppressed, and included a list of "pretended" Orders. Of the French Royal Orders, each was listed in a brief mini-paragraph identifying the government department which dealt with it. The "Orders of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem and Our Lady of Mount Carmel united" came last, with the statement that "this last has not been awarded since 1788 and is to be allowed to become extinct". The suggestion [44] that "this last" meant just Our Lady of Mount Carmel only makes sense if one ignores the fact that each Royal Order had its own separate paragraph, but Saint Lazarus and Our Lady of Mount Carmel were included as one institution, in the same paragraph. [45]

Louis XVIII, who had been until 1814 the last Grand Master of the Order, died on September 16, 1824, when he was succeeded as King by his brother, the Count of Artois, as Charles X, who continued to be styled "Protector" of the Order in the Almanach Royal. The following year in response to yet another request for admission to the Orders, the Minister of the new King replied on March 12, 1825, that "the Order of Saint Lazarus...... is designated in the instruction that followed (in the 1824 ordinance) as an Order which has not been conferred since 1788 and which will be left to become extinct". That this statement makes mention specifically of Saint Lazarus, the conventional short form for the united Orders, must put paid to any suggestions that there were secret or hidden nominations to a separated Order of Saint Lazarus, as the advocates of the modern survival without Mount Carmel have proposed. [46]

Those who were listed in later editions of the Almanach Royal with the ML symbol but not in the Roll had presumably been nominated before 1814 but, never having been formally received and being unable to get permission to wear the Order, adopted the symbol without royal authorization. There is no documentary evidence to support the suggestion that the Council of the Order, acting in direct contravention of the wishes of the King and the instructions of the Chancellor of the Legion of Honor, assumed for itself the right to admit or nominate anyone to membership in either the united Orders, or Saint Lazarus alone. Even had it done so, such actions were not permitted under the Statutes and no such nominations would have been legitimate. [47] A prohibition was imposed on wearing the cross by the government of Louis-Philippe in an act of 10 February 1831; although this was an usurpation of the powers of the exiled Charles X, neither he nor his successors as Head of the Royal House of France have ever attempted to revive, or approve the revival, of the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Lazarus. The last surviving member admitted and received before the revolution, Antoine-François de Charry des Gouttes, Marquis des Gouttes, died in 1857 at the age of 103. By the provisions of Canon Law [48] an Order becomes extinct one hundred years after the death of its last member; any possibility of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Lazarus being revived either together or separately ceased on December 31st, 1956.

The purported survival of Saint Lazarus.

The supporters of the modern revival state that in 1841 the surviving knights persuaded the Melchite Patriarch of Antioch, then visiting Paris, to assume the role of Protector of the Order. If there is any documentary evidence of this, it has never been produced. Neither did a researcher inquiring from the present Patriarch, Maximos V, obtain any further elucidation on this point and a letter directed to one of the senior Melchite prelates who specialized in the history of the Patriarchate did not even receive an acknowledgment. It has been claimed that the records of the Patriarchate concerning the alleged protection given to the Order have been destroyed, but no nineteenth century members of the Order appear to have left written record of any involvement with the Patriarchate. That there should be absolutely no record surviving in France or the Lebanon, if indeed the then Patriarch, Maximos III, had done this, seems to stretch the bounds of credibility. Without such written record these claims must be considered to be unsubstantiated at the very least; many scholars consider them to be inventions. Although the proponents of the modern foundation state that the Patriarch has confirmed the patronage accorded to the Order in 1841, since such affirmation can only be made on the basis of documentary evidence available to the Patriarch, why cannot this evidence be published?

The Patriarchs are not Sovereigns, or even claimants to Sovereignty, and therefore lack the authority to found or give their protection to Orders of Chivalry, particularly since the Melchite Church was in communion with Rome and the Patriarch subordinate to the See of Saint Peter. The Patriarchal "Orders" awarded by several Patriarchs of the both the Latin and Greek Churches can therefore be considered to be Church awards but should not be worn with other Military or State decorations. In 1930 the then Patriarch, Cyrill IX, was reported in the official French Catholic newspaper as having withdrawing his patronage of Saint Lazarus because it was neither officially recognized by the French Government nor the Holy See. The civil jurisdiction given nineteenth century Patriarchs by the Ottoman Emperor was strictly limited in its extent and they were no more entitled to found or protect Orders of Chivalry than were other civil administrators appointed by the Sultan. [49] Subsequently the Melchite Patriarchs were persuaded to restore their Protection and their nominal connection with the Order has been preserved - the Patriarchate has benefited from this association as some donations have been made to charities and groups with which they are associated.

The actual foundation of the modern Saint Lazarus seems to have been in or about the year 1910, and may be attributed to a few individuals including possibly a Mr Jean-Joseph Moser as originator of a "chapter of Knights Hospitaller of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem and Our Lady of Mercy". Although Moser's [50] connection is hotly denied by the present supporters of the modern foundation, possibly embarrassed at the association with such an obvious confidence trickster, there is documentary evidence available of his association with a body of that name. Moser was a member of the French Heraldic and Archeological Society founded by Paul Watrin who was associated with the Chancery of the "Order of Saint Lazarus" established in Paris in 1910 with the help of a Polish priest, Abbé Tanski. Tanski had obtained the "protection" of the Greek Melchite Patriarch and the Chancery was seemingly established under the latter's patronage. [51]

Watrin published the journal of the French Heraldic and Archeological Society and if he was prepared to allow Moser to be closely involved with this organization, why should it have been so unlikely that there was no connection between Moser's “Chapter” of Saint Lazarus and Watrin's “Order”, as the proponents of the modern survival insist? Other Society members, who were also involved in Watrin's Order, were Paul Beugnot and Fritz Hahn (self-styled Count Guige de Champvans, Marquis de Faremont). [52] There is little published evidence of the Order having been active during the First World War but by the time it reemerged in 1926, minus Moser (who had committed suicide in 1928), it was dominated by another figure, the self-styled "Count" Charles Otzenberger, who apparently had first joined in 1911 and was nominated General Superintendent.

In the early 1930s there was a fall out between Watrin, who wished to keep the membership to one grade (knight or dame) with very simple insignia, closer in spirit at least to the Crusader Order of leper knights, and Mr Paul Bertrand and Otzenberger on the other hand, who had much grander plans (and who ultimately succeeded in their ambitions). Later the Order came to be run by the Spanish Marquis of Cardenas de Montehermoso, as Grand Referendary until his death in 1965, who effectively directed the Order's affairs during the Grand Magistery of the Duke of Seville. With the active involvement from the early 1960's of an Anglo-Scottish Lieutenant-Colonel of the Education Corps, the late Robert Gayre (first Chief of the newly formed Clan Gayre), who successfully urged opening membership to non-Catholics, there were further disputes, not least because Gayre's energy and ability placed him in a central role in the Order's government. The Order soon split into three but, after the repair of one schism, now remains divided between those who recognize the French Duke of Brissac as head and those who supported the late Don Francisco de Borbón (Sevilla) y Borbón and now his son and successor, the Duke of Seville. The more active is that led by the Duke of Brissac which, perhaps unsurprisingly, is described by its members as being the one, true Order of that name. They state that he was overwhelmingly elected to the post of Grand Master, and that the mantle of legitimacy (at least in succession to the events of 1910), has passed to the Brissac “obedience”.

The original Order owed its legitimacy not to its foundation by any Sovereign Prince but, as a Religious Military Order of the Church, to several Papal Bulls. This ancient Order was amalgamated with the Order of Saint John by Papal authority, except in Italy where it was joined with Saint Maurice. The surviving French rump was later perpetuated thanks to the protection and support of the Kings of France, and it was by a decision of a King of France under whose royal authority it was placed from 1608 that it was allowed to become extinct. As an institution of Religious Military origin, whose privileges derive from various Papal Bulls, only the Papacy could restore this Order before its extinction in 1956: the attitude of the Holy See is demonstrated above. Neither can it be revived as anything other than a civil institution by the French authorities, whether Republican or Monarchical. Thus the modern foundation, not having been instigated by a Sovereign or Head of State, cannot be compared with other Orders founded to perpetuate ancient traditions, of which the most notable example is the British Most Venerable Order of Saint John of Jerusalem.

Nonetheless, the members of this Order have been effective fund raisers for significant humanitarian causes. They have obtained substantial donations from their own membership as well as successfully acquiring large grants from the European Union and the German government which have been put to good use in Eastern Europe. Leading members of the Lazarus Hilfswerk, the German charitable arm of Saint Lazarus which has been the primary instrument in obtaining government and E.U. funding, have been received by Pope John Paul II in private audience when His Holiness thanked them for the extensive Polish relief operations. It has several times been claimed on their behalf that His Holiness was preparing to recognize their institution as an Order, but to this date such acknowledgment has not materialized.

The supporters of Saint Lazarus include the heads of a handful of great noble families and, over the years, several leading Churchmen and Cardinals, despite the fact that the Order's pretensions have been strongly condemned by the Holy See as aiming to replace "the legitimate forms of chivalric awards". [53] The modern foundation has abandoned the exclusively Catholic nature of the original Order and has become an "ecumenical" body, embracing members of all Christian denominations. Non-Christians cannot be admitted as members but may be received in the category of “merit”. Both branches are open to men and women, while the "Seville", or "Malta obedience" was divided into ranks mimicking those in British Orders of knighthood by a 1960's reform. [54] The Seville includes most of the Spanish and Latin American knights, some of the Austrian and British, and a smattering of Italians and others, while some of the North American knights have preferred to give it their allegiance. It has a "Protector" in the person of Cardinal Oddi and the patron of the Spanish Priory was the former Cardinal Primate of Spain, Archbishop González Martín of Toledo, but neither of these positions are acknowledged by the Vatican.

Some critics consider that the selection of members, uneven at best, has been particularly poorly managed by the Seville branch. There is little regulation of the supposedly nobiliary grades which are virtually meaningless, and the rolls include an assortment of ladies and gentlemen sporting titles and particules whose rights to such are highly questionable. [55] At the same time the Roll of the two branches has included the names of representatives of some great European noble families such as the Dukes of Luynes, Maillé, Bauffremont, Audiffret-Pasquier, and Polignac, the titular Duc (Marquis) de (Montesquiou-) Fezensac, the Scottish Marquess of Huntly and English Lord Mowbray, members of the Austrian, Russian, Romanian and Mecklemburg Royal Houses and the Princes of Radziwill and Schwarzenberg among others. Illustrating the undemanding standard of proofs required for membership in the noble grades, however, was the inclusion in the same 1938 Saint Lazarus publication as these great nobles of the name of "S. Exc. le prince Georges Komiattovicz, Grand Maitre héréditaire de l'Ordre de la Croix des Iathwègues....." the announcement of whose nomination as Grand Cross with Grand Collar includes a host of other ephemeral decorations. This is just one example of fantastic titles assumed by some Saint Lazarus knights.

The larger and more effective “obedience” is the French, today headed by François, Duke of Brissac (eldest son and heir of the late Duke of Brissac, longtime Grand Master, whom he succeeded in 1995), whose "Protector" is Maximos V, Patriarch of Antioch. The French based branch has now dropped the style "Order" (at the request of the Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honor) and calls itself "Hospitallers of Saint Lazarus - Knightly Militia of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem", with the subsidiary title "Organization of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem" or OSLJ (the same abbreviation as was used when it called itself an "Order"). The Duke of Brissac has also dropped the title Grand Master, preferring that of "Grand Head". While the crosses and medals remain the same design, they are no longer hung from a ribbon but a cord. In recent years the French group has been more careful in its scrutiny of the nobiliary claims of its members.

In addition to the French membership there is a strong British contingent, as well as members in countries with British links, notably Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the United States. The Grand Prior of England [56] was until very recently the present Lord Mowbray, Segrave and Stourton who, although he is a knight of Honor and Devotion in the S.M.O.M (which has condemned Saint Lazarus), [57] played an active role in its affairs. He has been succeeded by the Duke of Westminster as Grand Prior of England while the Grand Bailiwick of the Seville “obedience” is headed by a Mr Arthur Craddock. [58] Apparently the Duke of Westminster's name has been a sufficient lure to entice others and even convince the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster and the Archbishop of Canterbury to accept one of Saint Lazarus's highest ranks. There is also a German Priory, presently headed by Princess von Metternich-Winneburg, who succeeded her late husband as Grand Prior, which has been the most active in the humanitarian field. Most of the American and Canadian knights have given their allegiance to the Brissac side but, while they are certainly supportive, their generosity does not come close to matching the kind of sums raised by the American members of the Order of Malta, nor are there any significant hospitaller activities in the community. The Grand Prior of America is Mr Hans von Leden (a Doctor of Medicine); a recent publication of this Grand Priory names Their Eminences Ernesto Cardinal Corripio Ahumada and Luis Cardinal Aponte Martínez as "Spiritual Councilors". [59] There is a Collar given to prominent individuals and also to senior members of the Order in both branches while the knights also have a splendid uniform for major occasions and a mantle that can be worn by knights or dames.

In a letter dated August 1993, Chev John E. Goggin, Chancellor of the American Priory, [60] gave guidelines for prospective candidates. Those admitted as Knights, Dames, or Senior Chaplain were to be "General or Admiral, Ambassador or US Cabinet Member, State Governor, Head of National Professional organization such as the American Bar Association, CEO of a Forbes (Fortune?) 500 company, President of a major University, a Bishop, or a creative artist of international renown". Commanders or Chaplain were to be General or Flag officers and senior, College Presidents or Monsignors, among others. Officers or Assistant Chaplains were to have demonstrated interest in hospitaller work and demonstrate civil, religious or social achievements. It is emphasized in this letter that ranks are not based on a candidates rank in another Order, although knights of Malta, the Venerable Order of Saint John and the Holy Sepulcher are singled out as generally being eligible for the rank of commander, irrespective of the fact that these Orders consider membership in Saint Lazarus to be incompatible with their own membership. It is evident that some care is taken in the recruiting of members and an elaborate religious ceremony has been devised for investitures.

Recent Events (1997)

It appears that an attempt a reuniting the "Maltese" and "French" Obediences as they have now chosen to be known is presently in the works. Mr Roger Carlton Sherman "Baron of Castelmore", "Grand Bailiff" of the United States of America of the "Maltese Obedience" circulated a letter dated July 30, 1997 which read as follows:

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We are in a very important period in the life of the Order. there currently exists the opportunity for us to become one again, after so many years of schism. While there exist a number of items to discuss, we enter this period with a true sense of brotherhood and openness to compromise. We pray that our equals in the Paris Obedience are likewise inclined."

He names Thomas P. Westgaard "Baron of Kileughterco" as "Chancellor of the Grand Bailiwick",

The Order of Saint Lazarus, although it is to be complimented for its considerable charitable efforts (notably in Germany), need not pretend to an historical continuity to which its claims, at the very least, are unsubstantiated. Were it to assume the character of a private association, founded in 1910, to emulate the traditions of the ancient crusader Order, it could deflect much of the hostility it has attracted from those bodies which can be more properly characterized as Orders of Knighthood, founded by Papal Bull or Sovereign act or charter. Without such authority behind it, it is difficult to find any justification for this body's claim to be considered an Order of Chivalry. Private individuals do not have the authority to form Orders, at least none that will be generally recognized. Saint Lazarus has attracted some positive notices for its recent charitable efforts and has managed to persuade one recent author (who, this writer has been informed, has received a high distinction), to include it in a compendium of genuine Orders. [61] It would be much more successful and be more readily welcomed into the wider community of international humanitarian bodies, however, if it was to permit an honest appraisal of its origins.


[1] The best critical histories of the purported survival of this Order were by Count Charles Zeininger de Borja, L'Ordre de Saint Lazare, and the Marquès de Villarreal de Alava, Las falsas Ordenes de Caballeria ... sobre la ilegitimidad de la actual "Orden de San Lazaro", published in Hidalguia, 1953, no. 3, pp. 501-620. See also Baron Hervé Pinoteau in Comte Garden de Saint-Ange, Code des Ordres de Chevalerie, Reprint edition,

[2]Received as a knight of Saint John in the Langue of Auvergne, 1532.

[3]Received in the Langue of France, 1539.

[4] Although just four years ago the Pope had confirmed the suppression of the Order by the Bull Circumspecta Romani Pontificis of July 1, 1560.

[5]Received in the Langue of France, 1544.

[6]Armorial of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, by James J. Algrant and Jean de Beaugourdon, 1983, page 378.

[7]January 14, 1574 "........Sur la requeste et instance faicte ..... de la part de Monseigneur le Duc de Savoye son oncle, esteu et crée par Notre Saint Père le Pape, grand maistre de l'ancien Ordre et Milice de Saint Lazare uny a celluy de Saint Maurice, fondé par le dict seigneur duc, à ce qu'il puisse en ce royaume joyr des droits, privilèges, prééminences, auctorités et debvoirs qu'ont eu parcydevant les grands maistres dudict Ordre de Saint-Lazare. Et qu'en icelluy Ordre seront reçus les chevaliers et frères qu'auront dévotion d'y entrer suivant la Règle d'icelluy. Sa Majesté ayant toujours désiré gratifier mon dict seigneur le Duc en tout ce qu'il a coyneu estre son contentement non seulement pour la proximité du sang dont il lui attouche, mais encore pour la spéciale amitié qu'il lui a toujours portée en contemplation de ces vertuz et de l'affection qu'il a au bien de ceste Couronne. A déclaré veult comme grand maistre dudict Ordre de Saint Lazare joysse de tous les droicts, privilèges, prééminences, auctoritez et immunitez dont ont joy pour le passé au dedans ce royaume, pays, terres et seigneuries de l'obéissance de Sa Majesté, les grands maistres dudict Ordre de Saint Lazare......". The second Warrant, of March 30, 1575, confirmed these same privileges.

[8]Received in the Langue of Auvergne, 1566.

[9] This family was of relatively minor status, although noble since the eleventh century. Philibert, however, was a brilliant general who had distinguished himself in the Wars of Religion and who Henri had appointed captain of the first company of his guard, the Scottish Company.

[10] Commanderies of the united Orders were held for life; the tenant had to pay one eighth of the revenues of the Commandery to the Order, the balance providing a useful pension.

[11]". éteint et supprimé, éteignons et supprimons pas ces Présentes l'état de Grand Maître de Saint Lazare, qui a eu cy-devant lieu en notre Royaume, et en ce faisant avant toutes et chacunes les Commanderies, Prieurez, et Benefices .. et autres dispositions du Grand Maître, uniés et annexées, et attribuées, unissons, annexons et attribuons audit Ordre et Milice de Nostre-Dame du Mont-Carmel". Quoted by Helyot and other writers hostile to the idea that Saint Lazarus continued legitimately in any form in France after 1489.

[12]That the Grand Magistery of Saint Lazarus was not suppressed by the Crown but simply united with that of Mount Carmel is demonstrated by letters patent of 29 May 1609, in which the King made certain provisions regarding the improper use of revenues from Saint Lazarus Commanderies in Normandy which still belonged to the Order. See Garden de Sainr Ange, Code des Ordres de Chevaleries, pp.390-392.

[13]The King's cousin, being descended in the illegitimate line from Henri IV. This Bull is quoted in full in Garden de Saint Ange, Op. cit., pp. 396-400.

[14] This form, with the name Mount Carmel given first, was always used in pre-1789 acts concerning the united Orders. See Garden de Saint Ange, Op. cit.., pp. 401-407.

[15] See Garden de Saint Ange, Op. cit.., pp. 408-411.

[16] These were the Holy Spirit of Montpellier, the Holy Sepulcher in France, Saint Catherine of Somport, the Teutonic Order (French commanderies only), Saint Louis of Boucheraumont and Saint James of the Sword (Santiago) in France.

[17] These Commanderies were of the united Orders of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Lazarus and not, as has been asserted by some writers, of just the Order of Saint Lazarus, even if this was how they were popularly termed.

[18]Commandeur fondateur.

[19] The first was that of the des Courtils family, the Commandery of La Motte (1701), then that of Saint François, of the Bailleul family (1710), that of Saint Charles, of the Bory family (1711), the fourth that of Saint Michel de Bruxelles (1712), and the fifth that of Saint Anthony of Castille, founded in 1712 by a Spanish nobleman. That of Saint Eulalie of Barcelona, founded in 1709, converted to "gradual and perpetual" in 1711, ceased to be such when the Commander, Don Juan Graëls, renounced the right to nominate a successor in 1714.

[20] One of the more astonishing claims of the supporters of the modern Order is that as the Grand Master, the Duke of Berry, was only three years old and this act had been initiated by the Administrator, it was somehow defective. But, the act was a royal act, an Arret du Grand Conseil, signed by the King who was Protector of the Order with the Canonical right to nominate the Grand Master and had all the force of French law. See Garden de Saint Ange, Op. cit. , pp. 412-423.

[21]A degree was one generation, and therefore much more liberal than the stricter proofs of eight quarterings required for membership in the Order of Malta. Since the latter was so much more difficult to enter, there were many more applicants to Saint Lazarus whose requirements did not include lengthy service on the galleys or a period living on a distant Island.

[22] This article required that no Knight could be received who had not attained thirty years unless, in special circumstances and for the advantage of religion and service to His Majesty, an exception was made, in which case the absolute minimum was twenty-five.

[23] The founder of the Bailleul Commandery was a priest, François de Bailleul, who became Prior Commander, and had been admitted in 1702. His successor in the commandery was his nephew, Adrien de Bailleul, admitted in 1711 at the age of seven as a Knight of minority. He died in 1749 and no successor to the Commandery was appointed and no further members of this family were admitted into Mount Carmel and Saint Lazarus (despite claims to the contrary by historians of the modern foundation). The first Courtils member of the united Orders was Jean-Baptiste-Joseph des Courtils de Bessy, Seigneur de la Motte (1646-1730), admitted in 1682. In 1697 he was promoted to Commander and, on Aug 30, 1701 founded the Courtils Commandery of La Motte (Mothe) by donating the fiefs of la Mothe des Murs and Heraux in Champagne (dept de la Marne). This became a "gradual and perpetual" Commandery on Nov 14, 1702. His son, Jean-Baptiste-François des Courtils, Seigneur de Bessy (1704-1767), was admitted as a Knight of minority at the age of seven in 1711 and became the seciond Commander. Charles-Christian des Courtils, Seigneur de Maisonrouge, was admitted in 1726 and was later a Prior Commander. Antoine-Jean-Baptiste des Courtils, Seigneur de Bessy, son of J-B-F, 2nd commander (1731-1795), was admitted as a Knight of minority in 1744. His father resigned to him the Commandery of La Motte, of which was the last holder. No further members of the Courtils family were admitted or received as Knights of Our Lady of Mount Carmel or Saint Lazarus. A publication by M. Guy Coutant of 1963 entitled Les Commanderies Graduelles, Masculines et Perpétuelles et La Commanderie Héréditaire de la Motte des Courtils gives the purported succession to the Courtils Commandery after the death of the third Commander in 1795. According to this author, the titular 8th Commander was M. Robert des Courtils de Bessy, born in 1915, whose heir is Jacques des Courtils de Bessy, born in 1949.

[24] It is irrelevant whether or not the families were actually compensated since the King provided that they be returned to the donor families. The Courtils family had wanted the Order to purchase the Commandery from them which it was never willing to do. These Orders having been united together under French law were unquestionably subject to it, the Commanderies ceasing to exist with the death of the last holder appointed before 1757.

[25] The relationship between the united Orders and the École Royale Militaire had been initiated in the royal edict creating the school on January 1st, 1751, permitting every graduate to wear the cross as a distinction with priority for receipt of the Cross of Saint Louis. In 1760 this was amended so that the Cross was only given to the seniors, reduced to the four best cadets by an ordinance of 28 March 1777 and to the three best by the ordinance of 21 January 1779.

[26]Quod summopere exoptamus, of 30 Dec 1760, Nihil est quod, of 30 December 1760, and Sane condoluimus, of 14 February 1761. A fourth and fifth Bull, addressed to the Archbishop of Vienne, Literas Fraternitas tuae, of 13 July 1763 and Pactiones de extinguuendo of 22 August 1764 followed, and a sixth, De Tollendo Ordine of 13 July 1763 addressed to the Bishop of Valence. These Bulls may be found in Volume II of the Bullarii Romanii continens Pontificatus Clementis XII annum tertirum ad sextum, Rome 1837. See Villarreal de Alava, in Hidalguia, 1954, Op. cit. supra.

[27] Neither this Bull, nor Militarium Ordinum institutio are included in the Bullarium of Clement XIV, although copies of both and their registration may be found in the French Archives Nationales.

[28] His full title was, in French, "Grand Maître Général tant au Spirituel qu'au Temporel des Ordres Royaux, Militaires et Hospitaliers de Notre Dame du Mont Carmel et de Saint Lazare de Jérusalem, Bethléem et de Nazareth tant deça que delà les mers".

[29] Garden de Saint Ange, Op. cit., pp.432-439.

[30] By a royal edict of 21 January 1779, elaborated in a Grand Magistral edict of the same date. See Garden de Saint Ange, Op. cit., pp. 440-447.

[31] This act was not accepted by the Grand Master, the Count of Provence (future Louis XVIII), as the formation of the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel had been by Papal Bull and its suppression would have had to have been approved by the Pope. A further act of 17/28 March 1792 alienated all the properties of the Orders; these were never recovered.

[32] "Baron" Christian de Rendinger, Mémoire sur l'Ordre de Saint Lazare, 1982. This author also claims that a Swedish "hereditary Commandery" was instituted for a certain Olof Nilson, whose heirs still maintain it. Unfortunately, no evidence has been published of Louis XVIII's participation in this purported act neither has any evidence been published of the donation of any property to this Commandery. The present claimant to the title of this Commandery is a senior member of the modern Order.

[33] A private and not a government publication, although officialy authorized.

[34] See Bertrand, 1960, Op. cit., p.79, and note 22.

[35] Including, notably, Count Camille-Henri-Melchior de Polignac (Maréchal de Camp and Governor of Fontainebleau, 1781-1855), Count Maurice-Gabriel-Joseph Riquet de Caraman (Maréchal de Camp, Inspector-General of Cavalry, Peer of France, Commander of Saint-Louis, 1765-1835), the Marquis de Bizemont (indicated as a member in the 1820 edition), the Marquis de Dubois-Descours (1820 and 1823 edition), and M. Huzart, Agent-General of the Royal Society of Agriculture (1820 edition). It is interesting to note that M. Huzart is listed among the officers of the Royal Society of Agriculture (1820) immediately after the same M. Silvestre who was Herald of the united Orders; it would seem that in this case the editors had erroneously put the ML symbol by his name, instead of the name above.

[36] For an accurate roll of the seventeenth and eighteenth century members of the united Orders, of novices and knights of Mount Carmel, see Henry Melchior de Langle and Jean-Louis de Treourret de Kerstrat, Les Ordres de Saint Lazare de Jérusalem et de Notre Dame du Mont Carmel aux XVII et XVIII siècles, p. 357, no. 18. It would seem from this work that the name Steiguer was misspelt in the 1788 rolls and that he could instead be identified with the M. de Steyner listed in the 1827 Almanach. Proponents of the survival dispute this, stating that the knight received in 1827 would only have been ten years old in 1788 and could not therefore have been the same individual. That is assuming they have correctly identified the Maréchal de Camp listed in 1827. In challenging this author's text, this is the only statement of fact regarding the events of this time that is disputed.

[37] For example, Les Chevaliers et Hospitaliers de Saint Lazare de Jérusalem de 1789 à 1930, by Guy Coutant, lists members of the united Orders in several categories - Knights who had served in the Army of Emigration, the Vendée and Chouannerie, Knights who had served under the Tricolor, and Knights living at the Restoration. The majority of the names given do not appear, however, in any other source, including the list of members published by Langle and Kerstrat, Op.cit., so the basis for M. Coutant's identifying them as members of Saint Lazarus must be open to question. Of the 125 names given in the last group, 84 are listed as having been nominated before 1789, but only 30 appear on the Rolls published in the Almanach Royal, in Langle and Kerstrat, or Algrant and Beaugourdon.

[38] First Gentleman of the Chamber of the King.

[39] Bertrand, Op. cit., 1960, p.79, note 22.

[40] Bertrand, Op.cit., 1960, pp.79-80, note 23.

[41] Bertrand, Op.cit., 1960, p.74.

[42] Bertrand, Op. cit., 1960, p.83.

[43]Bertrand, Op. cit., 1960, p. 83.

[44] Made by Bertrand and Coutant in several publications as well as by other proponents of the modern survival.

[45] One writer has stated that since the "united Orders" were listed after the Foreign Orders in the Almanach Royal, this was evidence that Mount Carmel and Saint Lazarus was no longer regarded as a French Order. This is surely preposterous since the King is named as "Protector". The position of the Orders had changed over the years as its status became less important, as in 1814-15 it was placed after Saint Louis and before the Legion of Honor, and by the 1820's was put between the Legion of Honor and Foreign Orders. Once the decision to let it become extinct was made, it was put after the list of French members of Foreign Orders. This is certainly not evidence that the "Order of Saint Lazarus" had now survived independently of Mount Carmel and was no longer considered to be French!

[46] Bertrand, Op. cit., 1960, p.85.

[47]Some proponents of the modern survival have claimed that since the Saint Lazarus knights admiited several to their number between 1489 and 1608, they had a legal right to do so after 1815 when the King ceased to make further nominations. The nominations made by Grand Master de Lévis, appointed by the King in 1557, and later Grand Masters appointed by the King, were made by delegated royal authority and although in conflict with canon law were nonetheless lawful in France. Those de facto nominations made before 1557 are not evidence that the knights could lawfully assume such a right for themselves since no such privilege was conferred in any of Statutes, Papal Bulls or Royal Acts.

[48] Canons 78 #3, 83#1, 142.

[49]Several of the oriental Patriarchs have founded awards of Merit that they call Church Orders, but these may be considered only as religious awards are not comparable, for example, to the Papal Orders, given by his Holiness as Head of a Sovereign State.

[50]First noted by Count Zeininger de Borja, Hidalguia, 1953.

[51] The proponents of the modern Order state that the Chancery was founded in 1910 “within the framework of a reorganization” by His Beatitude Cyrill VIII Ghea, Latin Patriarch. This has apparently been confirmed by the present Patriarch, Maximos V Hakim.

[52] Several of the founders of Saint Lazarus were associated with the self-styled Order of the Militia of Jesus Christ, an institution later condemned by the Holy See. The Order of Our Lady of Mercy, whose illegitimate award by the head of the religious Order of that name was discontinued by the Vatican, was also popular with the leading officers of Saint Lazarus in the 1930s.

[53] The first official Vatican statement condemning the refounded Order was published in the Osservatore Romano of 15-16 April 1935, ".... the old Orders have nothing in common except their name (if it has been preserved) with the modern knightly decorations ......everyone knows that the false Order of Saint Lazarus, the object of this communication, has built its house on shifting sands and how much deprived in reality are the titles of chevalier, commander, etc .... that are attributed to those who receive them". In a later statement in the Osservatore Romano of 22 March 1953 in which the Secretariat of State roundly condemned the "Order of Saint Lazarus" as a "private initiative .... qualified by an appellation which had reason to exist in the past and which belong exclusively to authentic Orders duly approved by the Holy See ....... among these private initiatives, which in no way are approved of or recognized by the Holy See, one can find alleged Orders such as ..... Saint Lazarus....". Similar condemnations were issued by the Auxiliary Bishop of Barcelona on May 15, 1942, and the Apostolic Nuncio in Spain on April 18, 1949. See Villarreal de Alava, in Hidalguia, 1953, Op.cit., supra. Also Bander van Duren, 1985.

[54] In this branch members may join as "Members", be promoted to "Officer", "Commander" then to "Knight", "Knight Commander" and "Grand Cross". There is a higher proportion of Grand Crosses than in the Brissac branch. The French branch continued to maintain the earlier divisions, with members joining as knights or dames of Justice or Devotion.

[55] The Order of Saint Lazarus has attracted many individuals sporting fantastic titles, particularly in its early days through the 1950's. Among these were Frederick Hahn, alias Count Guige de Champvans and Marquis de Farémont, Gabriel Inellas, alias S.A.S. Prince de Calzomene and Rodosto (also Grand Master of an "Order of St Sebastian and William"), who was sometime Grand Prior of Brazil of Saint Lazarus, Mr Edmuind Walker, alias H.E. Monsignor Francis John Edmund de Barwell-Walker, Archimandrite and Prince-Abbot of Saint Louis (also Grand Master of an "Order of the Crown of Thorns" and another of the "Black Lion") who had the "grand collar" of Saint Lazarus, Louis Cirscuolo, alias H.H. the Duke of Antivari, who was an "extraordinary delegate and plenipotentiary and minister of Saint Lazarus", and Émile Isaac, alias baron de Saint-Louis and representative of "H.I.H. Prince Om Cherenzig Lind de Chan, Count of Toulouse" to name a few. Many later associated with self-styled Saint John Orders such as Charle Pichel were also associated with Saint Lazarus in the 1940's. A diligent search of the Dictionnaire de la Noblesse Française by Serreville & Saint Simon (2 vols, 1977), of the Grand Armorial de France, by Jougla de Morenas and Raoul de Warren and André-Pierre Frantzen (7 vols, 1934-1952), of the Dictionnaire de la Noblesse de la France by La Chenaye-Desbois & Badier (19 vols, 3rd edition, 1868), of the Armorial Général de France, by Hozier (12 vols, 1738), and of the Histoire de la Maison Royale de la France, by Père Anselme (10 vols, 1726) and the continuation of the last, Suite de l'histoire de la Maison de France, by Potier de Courcy (2 vols, 1879) has not turned up any reference to the families of Coutant "de Saisseval" or Bertrand "de la Grassière". The names of both "Chevalier Coutant de Saisseval" and "Chevalier Bertrand de la Grassière" appear in the Encyclopédie de la Fausse Noblesse et de la Noblesse d'Apparence, by Pierre-Marie Dioudonnat, Paris 1982.

[56] Recent information suggests that a Danish Baron living in England has set up a schismatic rival "Order" under his own direction in England and Wales.

[57] On May 5, 1950, the Sovereign Council of the S.M.O.M. issued a direction that no member of the S.M.O.M. should join the "Order of Saint Lazarus".

[58] Bailiff: Arthur Craddock; Deputy Bailiff: Keith Jackson; Chancellor: Gordon Gentry Referendary: Maj. David James; Almoner: Dr. Ian Reid-Entwistle; Hospitaller: Col. R Michael Burton Chaplain-General: Rev. Alan C J Rogers; Secretary-General: Ms Mervyn Redding; Receiver-General: Michael Challis.

[59] The officers of the Grand Priory include the Bailiff (Mr John E. Goggin), Prelate (Very Rev Ambrose McInnes, OP, PhD), Inquisitor (Ronald W. Teague, PhD), Hospitaller (Brig-Gen USAFR [Ret] William J. Reals, MD), Almoner (Lcdr USN [Ret] Richard C. Everett) and several Vice-Chancellors, an Archivist and Herald, Custodians, Crucifer, Scrivener), Sword Bearer etc, as well as Grand Commanders of the South, the Southwest, the Atlantic, the West, the Midwest, and the Southeast, and delegations of the Northwest, and Mexico.

[60] 1246 Lathrop, River Forest, IL 60305; tel: 708-366-5381

[61] See Bander van Duren, Op. cit.., 1995, p. 509, in which he states that the Republic of Croatia, has issued a statement of recognition and that this has been followed with similar statements by the Republics of South Africa and Hungary. Dr Bander has apparently received the Grand Cross of Merit of Saint Lazarus. It has been imputed that Dr Bander included Saint Lazarus at the direct bequest of Pope John Paul II, but no document has been produced to support this assertion and the Vatican has not issued any statement to reverse its previous dicta on the status of the Order of Saint Lazarus.