Orders connected to the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

© The Reverend Michael Foster 1999

THE ORDER OF ST. ANTHONY 1095 - 1777  

Symbol of Order; Red Greek Cross, with degraded (fluted) arms.

The Order of the Poor Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon (Order of the Knights Templar) was founded in 1118 by the French knight, Hugo de Payns, who became the first Grand Master of the Order. It received its name because it was stationed near the place in Jerusalem where Solomon's temple had stood; the Knights Templar called themselves Christi Milites, the Knights of Christ. The Order, which was confirmed by Pope Honorius II in 1123, was organised according to the Benedictine Rule. The members wore a white Habit was white, to which, in the time of Eugenius III they added the Red Cross, on the left shoulder. The main object of the Order was the fight against the Infidel. This was later supplemented by hostel and hospital services. Its members were divided into three categories: brother servants, priests and knights, the latter being required to be of noble birth. The Knights Templar participated with great bravery in all Crusades and battles against the Muslims until the Holy Land was lost in 1291. The Order then moved its headquarters to Cyprus, and later to France. From here it spread over the greater part of Western Europe except Scandinavia. At its height it enjoyed 16,000 Lordships in Europe and possessed 40,000 Commanderies. In virtue of its possession and manpower, the Order welded enormous political, military and financial influence. Its banking system was second to none, and provided credit to the various Crown head's of Europe. At the instigation of King Philip le Bel of France, eager to gain the Templar's wealth and with the consent of his puppet, Pope Clement V, the members of the Order were imprisoned, accused of heresy and subjected to torture. Many of them died at the stake, including the Grand Master, Jacques de Molay. The Order was then abolished in 1312 by the Pope and the properties of the dissolved Order were given to the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. According to the Author Roger Peyrefitte, in his book "The Knights of Malta" Secker & Warburg, London, 1960, the last Grand Master of the Temple, Jaques de Molay, appointed the Hospitallers heir to the Templars, the documentary evidence of which had been maintained a secret within the Order.

The Order of Christ 1317-.
In Portugal, however, King Denis allowed the Order to be re-established in 1317 under its original name, "The Knights of Christ" - or the Order of Christ - and allowed them to have the property there of the former Knights Templar. This was confirmed in 1319 by Pope John XXII on condition that the Pope also received the right to award the Order, in what amounted to a duplicate papal Order.

The Order of the Knights Templar.
Chevalier Andrew Ramsey, a Jacobite Catholic Scotsman of humble origins, was at one time secretary to the French writer and Churchman, Fenelon, and a Knight in an Order connected to the Order of St. Lazarus. In a speech to a group of French Freemasons, in 1736, Ramsey provided an medieval antecedent to the Masons with the Knights Templar, as part of Freemasonry heritage. This idea gave rise to claims that the Templars had survived via Freemasonry. Other theories surround the claim that certain Knights escaped and continued the Order. Allowing this possibility is the certain fact that not every Templar Knight was executed. Some will have been absorbed by the Order of St. John, others into other Orders.
Whilst under Roman Catholic Canon Law, the Order was suppressed, that fact will be academic to those who may have sought to continue the Order, singularly betrayed by the Roman Church, and its Pope. What is also a fact, is that the Templar tradition continues to this day, with various groups claiming to continue the Order.


Symbol of Order; Red Jerusalem or Crusader's Cross (form of Cross Cantonée).

The Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem owes its origins to Godfrey de Bouillon of the first Crusade, who gathered around him a group of Knights who were entrusted with the protection of the religious Chapter of Canons at the Holy Sepulchre of Christ in 1100. Godfrey had been elected leader of the victorious Crusaders, but refused the title of King. Instead he took on the title "Advocatus Sancti Sepulchri" - "Defender of the Holy Sepulchre". During the period of the Christian Kingdom, in Jerusalem, the Knights appointed by Godfrey, and those who came to join their number, protected the Christian presence at the Holy Sepulchre, taking as their banner the red Jerusalem Cross popularised by the crusading knights. In 1112, they were officially recognised by Pope Paschal II. In 1122 Pope Callistus II issued a Bull establishing the Knights as a lay religious community with the responsibility of guarding the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre and the city of Jerusalem against Muslim attack.
After the Muslim regained Jerusalem in 1187 the Knights assisted in the re-capture of the city of Acre. They remained there until the great fortress fell to the Muslims in 1291, ending the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. A diaspora then took place among the Christians in Palestine. Many of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre remained in the Mediterranean basin; others fled as far as France and Spain. The works of the Order continued as far away as Poland, where Knights had settled and later their descendants continued in the spirit of the defence of Christianity.
The activity of the Order and its identity, in Palestine shifted from the Knights, who returned to their own countries, to the religious Order of St. Francis, which had custody of the monastery of Mount Zion. 1330, Pope John XXII appointed the Prior of the Franciscan house Custodian of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. The Custodian served as vicar to the Pope, who was the governing authority of the Order. The Custodian was responsible for all aspects of the Order's growth and governance, including the dubbing of new Knights.
In 1489, Pope Innocent VIII, took a review of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre and the Order of Lazarus, both founded in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem following the first Crusade. The Pope suppressed both Orders and amalgamated them with the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. However the name of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre was allowed to continue as an appendage to the name of St. John; "Holy Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem and of the Sepulchre of Christ".

The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem 1496-.
The following Pope Alexander VI tolerated a partial continuation of the Order of St. Lazarus, but in 1496, more actively created the "Sacred and Military Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem" to continue the traditions of the suppressed Order. The Franciscan Custodian was authorised to continue the previous practice of dubbing new Knights, with the Pope reserving to himself the title of "Grand Master". The practice of the Franciscan Custodian dubbing Knights was confirmed in 1516 by Pope Leo X.
In 1553, Pope Julius III, gave the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem powers; 1. to legitimize bastards; 2.to change a name given in baptism; 3.to pardon prisoners they might meet on the way to the scaffold; 4.to possess goods belonging to the Church even though they were laymen; 5.to be exempt from all taxes; 6.to cut down a man found hanging on a gallows and order him to be given a Christian burial; 7.to wear brocaded silk garments reserved for knights and doctors; 8.to enter a church on horseback; 9.to fight against the Infidel. These privileges were approved by successive Popes, with the last privilege omitted by Pope Benedict XIV.
Claiming to be the oldest Order in Christendom, the Order of the Holy Sepulchre held a high esteem. It is alleged that in 1746, Pope Benedict XIV sold diplomas of Knight of the Holy Sepulchre (for about $2,000, a considerable sum in the mid-18th century).

In 1847, Pope Pius IX restored the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and with it, the Order of the Holy Sepulchre was revitalised. The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem was appointed ecclesiastical superior of the Order as Grand Master. For twenty years, form 1847 to 1867, Pius IX fostered the growth of the Order throughout Europe. He removed the requirement that a knight be invested in Jerusalem.

In 1907, Pope St. Pius X, reserved for the Pontiff, the Office of Grand Master, and Protector, but in 1928 Pope Pius XI restored these to the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.
In 1931, the membership of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre petitioned Pope Pius XI to nullify the terms identifying the order as military and sacred, seeking a conferred sovereign status. This was not possible as the Order did not enjoy, and had never enjoyed, diplomatic sovereign status. Agreeing that the appellation "sacred and military" was commonly used by chivalric societies not closely linked to the Holy See, Plus XI changed the name of the Order to "The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem".
In 1940, the Protectorship was given to a Cardinal, followed by the Office of Grand Master in 1949, the Patriarch becoming a Grand Prior. In the same reforms, the Order was given its headquarters in Rome.


Symbol of the Order: Prior to 1489; a Green Greek Cross. 16th Century onwards; Green Maltese Cross.

The Military Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem originated in a leper hospital founded in the twelfth century by the Crusaders of the Latin Kingdom. There had been other Christian institutions caring for lepers of which the Order of St. Lazarus claimed to be the continuation, thus providing for a claim to be the oldest of all Orders. However the earlier Eastern leper hospitals followed the Rule of St. Basil, while the hospital of Jerusalem adopted the Rule of St. Augustine.
The Order of St. Lazarus was, like that of St. John, in its first years of existence a caring Order, and not a military Order.
There are some suggestion that, the institution was an extension of the work of the Hospital of St. John. Those cared for by the Order of St. John were transient, and changed constantly, but the lepers of St. Lazarus were, due to the need of isolation, in permanent seclusion. In return they were regarded as brothers or sisters of the hospital which sheltered them, and they obeyed the common rule which united them with their religious guardians.
From the time of the Crusades, with the spread of leprosy, leper hospitals became very numerous throughout Europe, so that at the death of the French King Louis IX (St. Louis) in 1270, there were eight hundred in France alone. However, these houses did not form a congregation and each was autonomous, supported to a great extent by the lepers themselves, who were obliged when entering to bring with them their implements, and who at their death willed their goods to the institution if they had no children. Many of these houses bore the name of St. Lazarus, a common practice, and does not indicate any dependence on, or connection to, the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem.

The house at Jerusalem owed to the general interest devoted to the holy places in the Middle Ages a rapid and substantial growth in goods and privileges of every kind. It was endowed not only by the sovereigns of the Latin realm, but by all the states of Europe. King Louis VII, on his return from the Second Crusade, in 1154, gave to the Order, the Chateau of Broigny, near Orleans. This example was followed by Henry II of England, and by Emperor Frederick II. This was the origin of the military commanderies whose contributions, called responsions, flowed into Jerusalem, added to by the collections which the hospital was authorised to make in Europe.

In 1255, Pope recognised its existence under the Rule of St. Augustine. In 1262, Pope Urban IV assured it the same immunities as were granted to the monastic Orders. In 1265, Pope Clement IV ordered that the secular clergy to confine all lepers whatsoever, men or women, clerics or laymen, religious or secular, in the houses of the Order.
After Jerusalem had fallen again into the hands of the Muslims. St. Lazarus, although still called "of Jerusalem", had been transferred to Acre, where it had been ceded territory by the Templars, and where in 1264, it received the confirmation of its privileges by Pope Urban IV. Two forces would have led to the militarisation of the Order, first that there would have been received into membership Knights of the Military Orders, and the critical need for armed defenders for the remaining possessions of the Christians in the Holy Land. After the fall of Acre in 1291, the leper hospital of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem disappeared. However, its commanderies in Europe, together with their revenues, continued to exist, but hospitality was no longer practised. The Order ceased to be an Order of Hospitallers and became purely an Order of Knighthood, without any real purpose.
In 1489, by Papal edict of Innocent VIII, along with the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, the Order of St. Lazarus was absorbed into the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

The Order of St. Lazarus 1489-1572.
The Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Lazarus of Jerusalem 1609-1824.
The Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus 1572-.

Two groups of Knights resisted the Papal Bull of suppression. The Commandery of Boigny in France, having support form the King of France, and the Priory of Capua, in Italy supported by the Duke of Savoy, which continued as independent units. In the pontificates of Alexander VI (1492-1503) and Pius III (1503), matters were left unresolved, but in 1505 Pope Julius II confirmed the Bull of 1489, but to no avail.
In 1517, Pope Leo X re-established the Order in Italy based on the Priory of Capua, to which were attached the leper hospitallers of Sicily. From 1489 onwards, the Commanders of Boigny had counted themselves as Grand Masters of the remaining Order, but Leo X, whilst accepting the de-facto state of affairs in France, would only confirm to the King of France in 1519, the leader of the Commandery of Boigny, as a Commander, to a Commandery which the Order of St. John claimed as part of their Order. The continual appointment of Knights of St. John as Commander of the St. Lazarus Commandery at Boigny, went some way in holding the claims in tension.
In 1565, Pope Pius IV partially annulled the Bulls of his predecessors and restored its possessions to the Order  in Italy, that he might give the Grand Mastership to a favourite, Giovanni de Castiglione, and to resolve the situation, sought to place the Commandery of Boigny under Castiglione. This move failed to gain any support from the French Crown, or the Commandery itself.
In 1572 with the death of Castiglione, Pope Gregory XIII united the Order of St. Lazarus in perpetuity with the Crown of Savoy. The reigning Duke, Philibert III, then united it with his recently founded Order of St. Maurice, creating the Order Saints Maurice and Lazarus, with an hereditary Grand Mastership. The reaction of King  Henri IV of France was to appoint a Knight to the office of "Grand Master", providing for conflicting claims.

In 1608, the Pope determined not to allow, two Orders of Lazarus to continue, founded by Papal Bull the Order of our Lady of Mount Carmel, which was to absorb the French Order of St. Lazarus. The French answer was akin to the move of the Duke, with the creation of a united Order, "The Royal and Military Orders of our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem united". A small number of Hereditary Commanderships were created in the united Order, but the Order was abolished in 1791 during the Revolution. Although the monarchy was restored in 1814, by Royal edict in 1824 the Order was allowed to become extinct.

The Modern Order of St. Lazarus.
Claims of a continuation have been made, via the Hereditary Commanderships, and other Knights which continued the Order, which is the basis for the present day Order of St. Lazarus. The undisputed continuation of the Order of St. Lazarus is in the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, which continues under the pretenders to the Italian Crown.



The Order of the Maison Dieu de Montmorillon began around 1080, when Robert Du Puy, returned from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and went to live in the "Maison-Dieu" (literally ‘the House of God’) with his family, devoting himself to the service of sick poor people. He dedicated his fortune to rebuild from it's ruins a great hospital. The Maison-Dieu had been previously constructed by three pious Montmorillions but had fallen into ruin through various wars. The great hall from which the Hospital got its name was a true church where Mass was said on a specially erected altar. The poor were truly received in the "House of God". In the full process of time, this name became extended to the whole institution: the Hospital and the Priory. The charitable work of Robert Du Puy was supported by Ranou, Baron of Montmorillon, and the inhabitants of the town.

In 1107, Pope Pascal II consecrated the establishment and granted indulgences to those there who devoted themselves to the services of the sick. The Bishop of Poitiers, St. Peter II, created a Brotherhood of clerics and priests to help Robert and to continue his work. From around the middle of the twelfth century, these clerics and priests formed themselves more narrowly into a proper religious community under the rule of the Order of St Augustine, governed by an elective Prior. The people of Montmorillon bestowed the name of "Picot" on the Brothers, after the "cock's beak" with which they used to cap their pilgrim's staff.

The establishment suffered from the fighting in the 100 years war (1336/7-1453), during which it became a veritable fortress with moat and drawbridge. South West France was occupied by the English in September 1336. The Black Prince gave Montmorillon to one of his Knights - Adam Chel. Montmorillon was recaptured from the English in 1372.

In 1489, Pope Innocent VIII, in the same review of Orders he had undertaken with the Holy Sepulchre and Lazarus, also gave the Order of St. John of Jerusalem and Rhodes, title to the Maison-Dieu, which differed from the other two, in that it was a purely nursing Order and not a military-nursing Order. The Augustianians of the Maison-Dieu appear to have continued as an independent institution, with no real absorption into the Order of St. John.

The fortifications erected in the fourteenth century did not stop the plunder of the "Maison-Dieu" by the Protestants during the Religious war (1562-1598) and local people on 8 October 1562. By 1584 the establishment was almost totally in ruins. No beds remained nor carers to tend the sick. The situation gradually improved until the hospital recovered. In 1606 a few sick people were taken in. But the Monastery buildings were still in ruins. When the Prior, Louis De Manes, died in July 1611 there were no members of the community resident in the "Maison". Those living outside had no intention of returning. The community, which arose from the Brotherhood in 1107 was practically extinct; it had lasted 450 years.

At the request of King Louis XIII, Pope Paul V declared a amalgamation of the "Maison-Dieu" and the congregation of the Reformed Augustinians of Bourges. The Augustinians took possession on 21st April 1615. They immediately began to rebuild the ruined buildings. By the beginning of 1639 they had repaired several of them. Whilst the rehabilitation of the Maison-Dieu by the Augustinians of Bourges was welcomed by many, the Order of St. John, of which it was technically a part, sought to enforce their own claims.

Despite the proceedings which were brought against them by the Order of St. John of Malta, to evict them, the Augustinians continued to occupy the "Maison-Dieu" until the French Revolution put an end to the legal process. They were chased out of their convent in January 1791, and the hospital was secularised. It became the hospital-hospice of Montmorillon and was moved to it's present location (the old Girls' Convent of St Francis). The buildings of the Priory then became a military barracks for a while.


Symbol of Order; Blue Tau Cross, known as St. Anthony's Cross.

The Order of St. Anthony, known as "Hospital Brothers of St. Anthony", or the "Antonians", was a monastic nursing Order, founded by Gaston de Dauphiné, in 1095. In that year a terrible and mysterious disease called St. Anthony's fire was causing great mortality in the valley of the Rhône. In 1040 Jocelyn, a Pilgrim, had brought relics of St. Anthony to the Church of St. Didier la Mothe, near Vienna. Praying before these relics in 1095, Gaston, his son being then dangerously ill, vowed to give his goods to found a hospital if his son got well. The son recovered, and eagerly joined his father in the fulfillment of his vow. They took the monastic habit, and established a hospital which became a pilgrimage centre for persons suffering from St. Anthony's fire. The Order flourished greatly and spread through France, Spain and Italy. Boniface VIII in 1297 ordained that the Antonines should live as canons-regular under the rule of St. Austin. Through the Order, Anthony's popularity as a saint reached its height. The black-robed Hospitallers, ringing small bells as they collected alms, were a common sight in many parts of western Europe. The bells of the Hospitallers, as well as their pigs--allowed by special privilege to run free in medieval streets--became part of the later iconography associated with St. Anthony. The Order subsisted till the Revolution, at which time there were sixty-six Antonines in France: of this number only three became assermentés; the rest preferred persecution, exile, and death. In 1777, Although the Order had been canonically united to the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, the possessions of the Order had in fact been given to several military Orders. The Neapolitan possessions were given to the Constantinian Order, the Tuscan to Santo Stefano, and the French to Saint Lazarus and St. John.

1) St. Anthony also spelled Antony, or Antonios. Born circa 251, Koma, near al-Minya, Heptanomis [Middle Egypt], Egypt died. Jan. 17, 356, Dayr Mari Antonios hermitage, near the Red Sea. Feast day January 17th. Anthony was a religious hermit and one of the earliest monks, considered the founder and father of organised Christian monasticism. His rule represented one of the first attempts to codify guidelines for monastic living.
2) St. Anthony's Fire, is a name given to two afflictions;
i) Erysipelas. A streptococcal bacteria, which if it enters a wound causes red patches on the face spreading across the cheeks and nose. Causes pimple which burst then crust over; and
ii) Ergotism, caused by Ergot a toxin created by fungal infection of rye. When the contaminated rye enters the human food chain, it can cause infections that lead to gangrene, and even death.

Amended 3rd March 1999

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