The Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem
The Grand Bailiwick of South Africa
A Modern Order of Knighthood surviving from the First Crusade
The Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus is one of the orders of chivalry to survive the downfall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the attempts by the Crusader knights to win control of the Holy Land.
Today, it is both a Military Order of Mercy and a Hospitaller Order dedicated to the care and assistance of the poor and the sick. Its aim is to preserve and defend the Christian faith, to guard, assist and help the poor, the sick and dying, to promote and maintain the principles of Christian chivalry and to follow the teachings of Christ and His Holy Church in all its works.
The Order was established in South Africa in 1963 and has Commanderies and Delegations in the major centres. We have among our members eminent businessmen, military officers, civil servants, churchmen, doctors, lawyers and other professional men and women. The ranks of the Order have always been open to Christians in our society, who believe in the value of chivalry and tradition, who support the Hospitaller and charitable activities of the jurisdiction and who subscribe to the aims and objectives of our Order.
It is the Order of Saint Lazarus because he is its Patron Saint. All the Orders, cloistered and Military, are dedicated to the protection of particular patrons. Through the work of the Order of Saint Lazarus the word ‘lazarette’ has come to mean ‘field hospital’ in some languages. In English, ‘lazar house’ used to be the common name for a leprosarium.
The Order is Hospitaller because it has always concerned itself with the care of people in need. The travellers to the holy places were housed and fed by the Orders; those ill or wounded were cared for. The Orders developed great expertise in pharmacology and surgery; from the earliest days the Order of Saint Lazarus concerned itself with the care of victims of leprosy. The Orders till maintains this historic mission, supporting research and care in leprosaria around the world. It also continues with its mission to care for the ill and injured in general, providing ambulances and emergency care where government agencies are unable to act. A Saint Lazarus Ambulance Corps has provided care for all factions during the civil strife in Northern Ireland.
The Order is Military because it was adopted by those who fought for the freedom of the Holy Land, guarded the caravans of pilgrims and protected the weak and helpless. It still maintains the organisation of the military monastic order it once was.
Wednesday of this week, 29 June, was the feast day of Ss Peter and Paul. While each is also celebrated individually in January, the Church had tended to highlight this joint celebration of the two great apostles…