Saturday, 25 December 2010

Unto us a child is born

Deus, qui nos redemptiónis nostræ ánnua exspectatióne lætíficas: præsta; ut Unigenitum tuum, quem Redemptórem læti suscípimus, veniéntem quoque júdicem secúri videámus, Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum: Qui tecum.
O God, who makest us glad with the yearly expectation of our redemption, grant that we who now joyfully receive Thine only-begotten Son as our Redeemer, may also without fear behold Him coming as our Judge, the same our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son: Who with Thee and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.
May the coming of the Christ-Child
bring true peace and joy to our troubled world.

May God grant you a happy and holy Christmas!


Thursday, 23 December 2010

Advent "O" Antiphon December 23rd

Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and salvation thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God!

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster, exspectatio gentium, et Salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos Domine Deus noster.

Isaias 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son and his name shall be called Emmanuel.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Advent "O" Antiphon December 22nd

King of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof! O Corner-stone, that makest of two one, come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth!

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.

Isaias 9:7
His empire shall be multiplied, and there shall be no end of peace: he shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom; to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and for ever: the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Isaias 2:4
And he shall judge the Gentiles, and rebuke many people: and they shall turn their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into sickles: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they be exercised any more to war.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Advent "O" Antiphons

In the Church's Liturgy of the Hours, Evening Prayer, also know as Vespers, always includes the great prayer of Our Blessed Lady known as the Magnificat. Each day, the Magnificat is preceded by a short verse or "antiphon" that links the prayer to the feast of the day or the season of the year. In the last seven days of Advent (December 17-24), the antiphons before the Magnificat are very special. Each begins with the exclamation "O" and ends with a plea for the Messiah to come. As Christmas approaches the cry becomes increasingly urgent.

These moving "O Antiphons" were apparently composed in the seventh or eighth century when monks put together texts from the Old Testament, particularly from the prophet Isaiah, which looked forward to the coming of our salvation. They form a rich, interlocking mosaic of scriptural images. The great "O Antiphons" became very popular in the Middle Ages when it became traditional to ring the great bells of the church each evening as they were being sung.

Each of the O Antiphons highlights a different title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah. A particularly fascinating feature of the O Antiphons is that the first letter of each invocation, when read backwards, forms an acrostic in Latin: the first letters of Sapientia, Adonai, Radix, Clavis, Oriens, Rex, and Emmanuel in reverse form the Latin words: ERO CRAS. These can be understood as the words of Christ, responding to his people's plea, saying "Tomorrow I will be there."

The Antiphon for today, December 21st, is:
O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae: veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
O Oriens (Is. 9:1): O Rising Sun, you are the splendor of eternal light and the sun of justice. O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.
Just as the natural sun gives light and life to all upon whom its rays fall, so Christ, the Rising Dawn, dispels darkness and brings eternal life and light.

Saying the O Antiphons as a family, whether during grace at meals, in front of the Crib, or even in front of the Christmas tree, is a wonderful Advent devotion and a fitting way to prepare for the great events of Christmas.

Fr. Mark Lawler, SChLJ

Thursday, 9 December 2010

The Grand Master's Advent Message

To my friends in the name of Saint Lazarus,
The end of 2010 is now approaching and we can all sigh with relief, "What a year!"

With Christmas close at hand it is significant to note that, with the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem is moving forward into a brighter future. Yes, our faith in our Almighty Lord will spur us on in our mission to help the sick, the needy, and the poor. In this, we will not be wavered in the defence of the Christian values so close to our hearts.

Let us be guided by that bright star that leads us towards Bethlehem and pay homage to our creator with humility and joy. Our motivation is intense and the mission presented in Orléans will be fulfilled. No, there are no dark clouds over the horizon. Our dignity is intact and we will continue to conduct ourselves as charitable and chivalrous Christians.

And for this advent season, let us pray for our fellow brothers and sisters throughout the world. Take up our tendered hand and let us join together as one great family.

For you my dear friends, for your families and loved ones, I wish you all a very happy and holy Christmas.

Yours in the name of Saint Lazarus,

Jan Count Dobrzenský z Dobrzenicz
50th Grand Master

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Chapter General

The Italian Grand Priory has created an excellent YouTube video of photographs from the recent Chapter General.

The Grand Priory of Italy under it's Grand Prior, H.E. Chev. Giovanni Ferrara, does wonderful work in the service of the needy. Their website is:

Sunday, 28 November 2010

William Hackett - Member of Merit

The Grand Priory of Great Britain is very proud of Confrere William Hackett BLJ who has received a Medal of Merit from the Grand Master in recognition of his tireless fundraising for the Order's charities.

William added both colour and sound to the Installation Mass at Orléans last weekend by playing his pipes during Communion.

Although William has only recently become a member of the Order he has been actively supporting the charitable work of the Order for some time.

The Grand Master declared that: "we shall embark upon a comprehensive programme of growth of membership. This growth of membership will bear the slogan of ‘Quality Christians’". As the newest member of our Priory William epitomises what the Grand Master meant and we all wish him our heartiest congratulations on this well-deserved award.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Grand Officers appointed

Grand Treasurer, Chev. Nigel Sterland, GRAND MASTER, H.E.Chev. Martin Thacker,
Vice President of the Governing Council, and Acting Secretary General, Confrère Matthew Jackson.

As prescribed by the Constitutional Charter the newly elected Grand Master established the three juridical governing bodies of the Order; the Grand Magistral Council, the Constitutional Council and the Governing Council.
These governing bodies were given the mandate to work together for the good of the whole Order.

The Grand Officers appointed were:

CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL (Which oversees the legal responsibilities of the Order)
Chev. Rolf Leenhoust, Spain
Chev. Jan Anema, The Netherlands
Chev. Count Paolo Vandelli-Bulgarelli, Italy
Confrère Zdenek Kucera, Bohemia

GOVERNING COUNCIL (Which represents the views of each jurisdiction to the Grand Master)
H.R.H Prince Charles-Philippe d Orléans, Duc d Anjou, Grand Prior of France.
The Much Hon. Baron of Fetternear, H.E.Chev. Martin Thacker, Grand Prior of G.B.

H.E. Chev. Charles Beke, Grand Prior of the Netherlands.
H.E. Chev. Giovanni Ferrara, Grand Prior of Italy.
Chev. Bailliff Ondrej Vanke, Acting Head of Jurisdiction of Bohemia.
Chev. Rolf Leenhoust, Commander and Head of Jurisdiction of Spain.
Chev. Bailliff M.A. Huot, Acting Head of Jurisdiction of France.
Chev. Thierry Pauquet de Villejust, Commander and Head of Jurisdiction of USA.

Grand Prior Spiritual H.E. Mons. Pierre Boz, France
Grand Capitular, H.E. Chev. Lt. Col. Philippe Jourdain, France
Grand Hospitaller, H.E. Chev. Giovanni Ferrara, Italy
Acting as Grand Treasurer, Chev. Nigel Sterland, Great Britain
Acting as Grand Secretary, Confrère Matthew Jackson, Great Britain
Communications, Chev. Petr Rehor, Bohemia
Special Envoy, Chev. Bruce Sebree, USA


The members of the Grand Priory of Great Britain are delighted that three of our number have been asked to serve the Order at the highest level and are extremely pleased with the direction that the new Grand Master is taking in insisting that all members must involve themselves in communication and decision making. Indeed he assured us in his opening address that "I, and my officers, will never forget that we are elected by the membership." These new appointments and new structures should ensure that there will be no return to the "greed, personal ambition and the conflict of interest so devastating to our reputation in the past". The future looks very bright indeed.

Address of the Grand Master

Immediately after his election last weekend as the 50th Grand Master of the Military and Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem Count Jan Dobrzenský z Dobrzenicz addressed the whole Order:

Your Excellencies and Dear Confrères,
My Friends,

From the bottom of my heart I thank you for entrusting me with your confidence and loyalty. It is an honour to serve you as the 50th Grand Master of our beloved Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem.

Who would have imagined that after almost 1000 years of its history, a young Czech boy would accede to supreme command of our Order and become the successor to so many brilliant and prominent personalities? I draw my roots from the Czech lands and, therefore, dedicate this election to our great and proud Czech Nation.

After 35 years of service to our great Order I will never forget my oath of loyalty to the fundamental principles of tradition and Christian values so dear to all our hearts. I will uphold these principles throughout my entire tenure as Grand Master.

Thanks to the legitimacy provided by the protection of H.R.H Prince Henri d'Orléans, Head of the Royal House of France, I am able to legally assume my office in respect of our Constitutional Charter.

With the help of our Lord Jesus Christ, I will preside over the destiny of The Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem and take the full moral responsibility of my office as Grand Master. In turn, I salute the great courage of many of my fellow brothers and sisters who came here to Orléans under difficult circumstances.

Let it be known that I will never forget this expression of loyalty which proves that we continue to act as one great family. As a family, we will continue to proceed together with humility, modesty and with the greatest of dignity. Now, it is time for me to give you an insight on my vision of the future of The Order of Saint Lazarus and how my mission is to be carried out.

First and foremost, we are a brotherhood of Christian faiths and we all profess our commitment to Our Lord Jesus Christ. This means that we will reinforce our communion as an oecumenical Order; praying together, working together and communicating within this Christian spirit.

Our fundamental raison d’être is to help the poor, the sick, the needy and all those who are unable to help themselves. This will be our priority and everything will be done to refocus the entire Order for this objective.

We shall reach out to all our brothers and sisters throughout the world. I shall embark on a personal crusade with a Reunification strategy for the best interests of the entire Order of Saint Lazarus. This does not mean that we shall be practising an open door policy, but there will be no prerequisites attached to Reunification.

Since we are living in the year 2010 and in a world of rapid communications, I have every intention of putting together an organization based on broad communication amongst our officers and members as well as to the general public. We must be creative in enhancing our message to the entire world.

There are many professional and dedicated people who have volunteered to serve the Order and we owe it to them to provide them with an efficient and modern tool to work with.

Regarding communication, our organization will create a matrix of communication and decision making from the bottom to the top. We must listen to what our membership is telling us and cater our efforts to their requirements. All our members should know that I, and my officers, will never forget that we are elected by the membership. Living in a bubble is now part of the past.

There will be a great effort undertaken to put into place a legal international structure best adapted to our activities, in line with the principles of tradition and aligned with the Constitutional Charter. This legal structure will be necessary to reinforce our global strength and international credibility.

Last but not least, we shall enhance our promotion of Growth. Our system of communication will contribute to the increase and enhancement of awareness of The Order of Saint Lazarus and its activities. Furthermore, we shall embark upon a comprehensive programme of growth of membership. This growth of membership will bear the slogan of ‘Quality Christians’.

Today I take as my solemn charge the defence of all the moral and Christian values, so dear to our hearts. I urge you all to follow me and to:
- Reach out with compassion in your hearts to our neighbours, our brothers and sisters, and those who really need our help.
- Open our minds to the reality of the world around us.
- Behave at all times as true and humble Christians.
- Act at all times as model citizens of the country and society we live in.
- Do away with greed, personal ambition and the conflict of interest so devastating to our reputation in the past.
Today we profess together our faith in the future because WE are the Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem. By showing the example of Christian morality we will pay homage to the legitimacy of our actions and respect for the Constitutional Charter.

Let us move forward in the name of our Almighty Lord, the Virgin Mary, and Saint Lazarus.

I take this solemn charge, avec l’aide de Dieu. So help me God.

Jan Count Dobrzensky y Dobrzenicz, 50th Grand Master

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Grand Priory of Great Britain

H.E.Chev. Martin Thacker, the Much Hon. Baron of Fetternear,
Grand Prior of Great Britain
The Grand Master Emeritus, Prince Charles-Philippe d' Orléans, Duc d’Anjou,
Grand Prior of France

One of the first official acts of the new Grand Master, His Excellency Count Jan Dobrzensky z Dobrzenicks, was to raise the Commandery of Great Britain to the status of a Grand Priory with the Much Honoured Baron of Fetternear duly installed as Grand Prior and promoted to the rank of Knight Grand Cross. The Grand Master stated that this was done "In recognition of Great Britain's fidelity and growing strength" within the Order.

This was wonderful news for the members in these lands, who have remained steadfast in their fidelity to the aims of the Order under the inspiring leadership of the Baron of Fetternear. We are delighted that he will now lead our Grand Priory.

Due to the personal ambitions of some within the former Grand Magistery many former members of the Commandery of Great Britain broke away from the Temporal Protection of the Royal House of France to form their own Green Cross Organisation, leaving our numbers diminished. Our new status is all the more welcome since it may help those who have left us to reconsider and return to the Order. The new Grand Master has made such reconciliation a priority as do we in the Grand Priory of Great Britain.

General Chapter - Orléans

Members from France, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, the USA, Spain, Italy and Great Britain gathered for the Chapter General of the Order at the Château de la Ferté Saint-Aubin, near Orléans, last weekend for the election and Installation of the 50th Grand Master of the Military and Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem.

The duly elected Grand Master is Count Jan Dobrzenský z Dobrzenicz, Grand Prior of Bohemia, and cousin of HRH Henri, Comte de Paris, Duc de France, the Temporal Protector of the Order.

The Grand Master Emeritus, Prince Charles-Philippe de Orléans, Duc d’Anjou, Grand Prior of France, was present representing the Royal House of France, under whose protection, as the royal fons honorum, the Order exists. Our own Chaplain General, Fr Simon Henry, had the honour of proclaiming the Comte de Paris' declaration of his continuing protection of the Order under its new Grand Master and confirming the legality of his election.

The Installation Mass took place in the medieval splendour of Orléans Cathedral. After the impressive procession into the Cathedral Holy Mass was presided over by the newly appointed Grand Prior Spiritual of the Order Mgr Pierre Boz, Patriarchal Exarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church for Western Europe, and we were warmly welcomed by the ebullient Rector of the Cathedral, Fr Claude Girault, the newly appointed Chaplain General of the Grand Priory of France.

It was a wonderful occasion for all present and we have now definitively moved on from the difficult situation of the last few months. We now have a new Grand Master and a new Grand Council legitimated by the Constitutions and confirmed by the Temporal Protector. We can leave behind the events and personalities of the recent past and give witness to the world of our adherence to Christian values and the service of the poor.

Here are a few photos of the Investiture Mass. More will be posted when possible.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Chapter General

Le Château de la Ferté Saint-Aubin

T he Commandery of Great Britain will be well represented at the Château de la Ferté Saint-Aubin, near Orléans, next weekend as members of the Order gather for the Chapter General which will see the appointment and installation of our 50th Grand Master.
The Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem has been truly blessed by the leadership of the 49th Grand Master, now Grand Master Emeritus, HRH Charles-Philippe d'Orléans, Duke of Anjou, and is is a special joy to meet in 'his city'.

The programme of events begins with a Welcome Dinner on Friday evening. Providentially, Friday is the liturgical Feast Day of Blessed Raymond du Puy de Provence, 7th Grand Master of the Order.

Blessed Raymond de Puy

Blessed Raymond was head of the Order of St John of Jerusalem and became Grand Master of the Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem when he contracted leprosy. He led the Order from 1157-1159.

It is indeed providential that we begin our Chapter General in France on the feast of this holy French Knight of our Order. Let us ask the prayerful intercession of Blessed Raymond, 7th Grand Master, as we elect his successor.
Atavis et Armis

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The Faithful Departed

Rev Mark Lawler, SChLJ, offering Holy Mass yesterday

November is the month of the Holy Souls, when we remember before the Lord all those of our family, friends and benefactors who have gone before us to their eternal reward.
The holy sacrifice of the Mass was offered yesterday, the Feast of the Holy Souls, for all deceased members of the Order, their families and friends, and all those countless benefactors who have supported the Order over the centuries. May the Lord grant them eternal rest in His heavenly Kingdom.

Pie Iesu Domine, dona eis requiem. Amen.

Animae omnium fidelium defunctorum per Dei misericordiam requiescant in pace. Amen.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

St Damien of Molokai - Apostle of the lepers

Fr Damien De Veuster (1840-1889)
photographed three months before his death,
at the age of 49, after 16 years serving the lepers of Molokai

Since its foundation the Military and Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem has cared for those suffering from leprosy. Indeed it began by welcoming knights from other Orders who had been stricken by this disease. Those suffering from leprosy, or Hanson's Disease as it is now known, have always been at the heart of the mission and prayers of the Order.

Just over a year ago,on Sunday 11th October 2009, Pope Benedict XVI during Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica gave the entire Church a new Hero of Faith, when he canonised Father Damien De Veuster, the Leper Priest.

Father Damien, also known as the apostle of the lepers, was born in Belgium in 1840. At 33 he went to the island of Molokai, Hawaii, where lepers were sent and lived in isolation.

Depriving himself of everything, the priest stayed there serving, catechizing and administering the sacraments to those who had contracted this disease. He himself contracted it and died in 1899. He once said:
“Without the constant presence of our Divine Master upon the altar in my poor chapels, I never could have persevered casting my lot with the lepers of Molokai.”

The Holy Father began the homily at the Canonisation Mass by asking the question posed to Christ by a rich young man in the Gospel: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“The Divine Master looks at him with love,” the Holy Father continues, “and proposes the qualitative leap, he calls him to the heroism of sanctity, he asks him to abandon everything and follow him: ‘Sell what you own and give the money to the poor…then come, follow me!’”

“This is the Christian vocation that flows from a proposal of love by the Lord, and that can be realized only thanks to our loving reply,” he said. “Jesus invites his disciples to the total giving of their lives, without calculation or personal gain, with unfailing trust in God.

“The saints welcome this demanding invitation and set about following the crucified and risen Christ with humble docility. Their perfection, in the logic of a faith that is humanly incomprehensible at times, consists in no longer placing themselves at the centre, but choosing to go against the flow and live according to the Gospel.”

Fr Damien “left his home in Flanders to proclaim the Gospel on the other side of the world, the Hawaiian Islands,” the Pontiff recounted. “His missionary activity, which gave him so much joy, reaches its summit in charity.

“Not without fear and repugnance, he chose to go to the Island of Molokai to serve the lepers who were there, abandoned by all; thus he exposed himself to the disease they suffered from. He felt at home with them. The Servant of the Word thus became a suffering servant, a leper with lepers, during the last four years of his life.”

"Let us remember before this noble figure that it is charity which makes unity, brings it forth and makes it desirable. Following in St Paul's footsteps, St Damien prompts us to choose the good battle, not the kind that brings division but the kind that gathers people together. He invites us to open our eyes to the forms of leprosy that disfigure the humanity of our brethren and still today call for the charity of our presence as servants, beyond that of our generosity."

Following the Mass of Canonisation, the Holy Father went out into Saint Peter's Square to greet some forty thousand additional faithful who could not fit inside the basilica. He urged them to pray and help those involved in the battle against leprosy and "other forms of leprosy that are due to lack of love because of ignorance and cowardice".

St Damien's dedication to the outcasts of Molokai, his efforts to introduce new medical techniques, showed that he deeply valued the material side of life and bodily health. Yet he was more than a social worker. He shared his very life with those pariahs on the margins of the world, treating them with his own hands, not hesitating to touch them with love, until finally he became a leper himself and died from the disease.

With his life, and the celebrity that came his way, he put leprosy on the map. His contribution has been important in generating the energy needed to conquer the disease and eradicate it—a battle that still has not been entirely won. Above all, it showed something universal, something essential in Christianity: namely, that in love for the poorest, lived as self-giving until death, lies a road to salvation. Neither Islam nor Buddhism produces this kind of saint.

As we prepare to elect our 50th Grand Master next month, let us remember the origins of our noble Order and ask the intercession of the Apostle of the Lepers.

St Damien of Molokai pray for us and for the Order of St Lazarus.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

The Order and the battle of Lepanto

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, formerly the Feast of Our Lady of Victory.

In 1571 Pope St. Pius V instituted "Our Lady of Victory" as an annual feast to commemorate the victory of Lepanto. The victory was attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as a rosary procession had been offered on that day in St. Peter's Square in Rome for the success of the battle.

The Battle of Lepanto took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of Spain (including its territories of Naples, Sicily and Sardinia), the Republic of Venice, the Papacy, the Republic of Genoa, the Duchy of Savoy, the Knights Hospitaller and others, decisively defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire.

The five-hour battle was fought at the northern edge of the Gulf of Patras, off western Greece, where the Ottoman forces sailing westwards from their naval station in Lepanto met the Holy League forces, which had come from Messina. Victory gave the Holy League temporary control over the Mediterranean, protected Rome from invasion, and prevented the Ottomans from advancing further into Europe. Lepanto was the last major naval battle fought almost entirely between oar-powered galleys, and has been assigned great symbolic importance since then.

This is of interest to us because among the armada of the Holy League was a squadron of galley ships of the Military and Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem. The picture below shows a Galley ship (in the middle) flying the standard of the Order of St. Lazarus at the Battle of Lepanto in a detail from a painting “Madonna della Flotta” by A. Riccio which is in the Malta Maritime Museum.

As an Order of Christian chivalry we can be proud of the defence of Christendom which has been, and remains the aim of our noble Order.It was around this time that the Order adopted the motto ATAVIS ET ARMIS, still in use by the Order today.

New Members

Last weekend we had the joyful, and gracefilled, opportunity to welcome two new confreres into the Order. It was an honour for all the members to have the Grand Master Emeritus, HRH Charles-Philippe d'Orléans, Duc d'Anjou, preside over the service of Investiture.

Confrere Matthew Jackson BLJ

Matthew has been an esquire of the Order for several years. Among his many services for the Commandery, Matthew has been acting as the Secretary to the Commandery Council since 2008. He has also in the past helped to strengthen our International relations within the Order by representing the Great British Commandery on the OSLJ Pilgrimage to Lourdes in 2009 - in partnership with French Esquires and Demoiselles from the Commandery of Orléans. Having now "come of age" he has adopted the mantle as a Brother of the Order.

Confrere William Hackett BLJ

For some time now William has been actively suporting the charitable work of the Order by his tireless fundraising in Scotland. As a respected companion of the Commandery we are now delighted to welcome him to our ranks.

Both Confreres will be a great asset to the Order as we move forward in the coming years.


Tuesday, 5 October 2010

October Investiture 2010

This has been a difficult year for the Order of St Lazarus. Internal tensions within the former Grand Magistery have resulted in many good members breaking away from the Temporal Protection of the Royal House of France to form their own Green Cross Organisation. This has been a cause of great sadness to us all and we must continue to pray that this rift can be healed and our noble Order made whole again.

In the light of recent events, many members of the Commandery of Great Britain arrived in Oxford last weekend for the investiture of postulants unsure of the way forward for the Order in the UK.

However, the weekend was wonderfully productive and helped to solidify the direction in which the Commandery wishes to go. We are hugely grateful for the continuing support of the Grand Master Emeritus HRH Charles-Philippe d'Orléans, Duke of Anjou, who came to Oxford to perform the Investiture ceremonies. His inspiration and his genuine friendship have greatly enlivened our Commandery and were a timely reminder of the true values of the Order.

The Grand Master Emeritus reminded us that the Order of St Lazarus is not a social grouping, or an excuse to dress-up and wear medals, but is rather a noble Order of Christian Chivalry – we seek to build up the Kingdom of God through our charitable work. We seek to support one another in our efforts to live the Beatitudes. We seek to bring Christ to the world. As always, these values were expressed in our prayerful liturgies. The Vigil took place in the Church of St. Thomas the Martyr and the Investiture was held in the Oxford Oratory Church of St. Aloyosius. These occasions are a powerful reminder to all members of the duty “to embrace the values of chivalry and to participate in corporal works of mercy” which are the foundation of the Order. In our recent troubles this duty has often been overlooked. This weekend members have resolved to move beyond the unpleasantness of the past few months and the whole Commandery recommitted itself to the Order and it’s aims.

The presence of Prince Charles-Philippe was also a physical reminder of our strong relationship with the Royal House of France. It is of vital importance that the Order remains under the Temporal Protection of the Royal House of France. This historical link with our past is necessary to preserve the unity of the Order. Indeed, it is this Protection, first granted in 1308 by King Philippe IV, lost in 1830, and graciously restored in 2004 by HRH the Count of Paris: “guaranteeing as we do, in terms both of the law and of tradition, the authentic and unique character of this ancient Institution.” Without this Protection we would be but one among many groups styling themselves ‘the Order of St. Lazarus’. The Commandery of Great Britain has no wish to separate itself from “the authentic” and “unique” “ancient Institution.”

Following our Investiture weekend the Commandery of Great Britain could not be in better spirits. We are truly united under the inspiring leadership of the Baron of Fetternear. We are steadfast in our commitment to remain under the Temporal Protection of the Royal House of France, and are immensely proud of our deep friendship with the Grand Master Emeritus HRH Charles-Philippe d'Orléans, Duke of Anjou.

Most members of the Commandery will be travelling to the Chapter General, to be held in Orléans on 19-21 November 2010 when the 50th Grand Master will be appointed and installed. As with all international gatherings, it will be a time to strengthen the bonds of unity within the Order. Truly, the future looks very bright indeed for the Commandery of Great Britain and the whole Order as we enter a new chapter in the glorious history of the Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem.

Monday, 19 July 2010

The Way Forward

I am pleased to inform you that on Saturday 17 July the Council of the Commandery of Great Britain met to discuss, in the light of recent events, the way forward for the Order in the UK. This was a very productive meeting which helped to solidify the direction that the Commandery wishes to go. From it we made the final preparations for the October investiture - to take place in Oxford. These also included discussion about our continuing support for the Grand Master Emeritus HRH Charles-Philippe d'Orléans, Duke of Anjou . At the request of the council, he has agreed to travel to Oxford in October to perform the Investiture ceremonies.

With this in mind the council also considered new projects for the Commandery to undertake in the comming year, namely supporting charities in the UK and adopting an international charity to support. further information will be forthcoming.

All members are invited also to the Chapter General, which will be held in Orléans on 19-21 November 2010. Here the 50th Grand Master will be appointed and installed. Again, as with all international gatherings, it will be a time to mix business and pleasure.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Chapter Meeting and Charity Dinner 2010

The Chancellor and the Council of the Commandery of Great Britain ask all Members to attend the annual Chapter Meeting on the 5 June 2010 at 4.00 p.m. in the Church of St. Margaret Lothbury, City of London. It is important that you (individually and collectively) contribute to the life of the Commandery. After which the Commandery will be holding a Charity Dinner at 8 pm, in the President's Room at the Royal Air Force Club.

The dinner will be in aid of the Burkina Faso Project, one of the Order's most important charities. All confrères and consoeurs are bidden to attend and are encouraged to bring guests. This enables the Commandery to not only increase its charitable donation but it also brings the Order to the notice of a wider audience, which could lead to increasing our membership.

If you are unable to attend the Dinner, you are urged to make a donation to the Burkina Faso Project. Please download and complete the dinner application and reply proforma, which can be found by following the link.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Burkina Faso Project

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world and suffers from an ineffective governmental infra structure. It is a landlocked West African country, north of Ghana and formerly known as the Republic of Upper Volta. There are no valuable and natural resources to be exploited in the country and 90% of the population work in some form of agriculture and cattle raising. But agricultural activity is constantly threatened by drought. This is exacerbated by the scarcity of agricultural land, (18% of the total territory), which is situated mainly in the south of the country, creating an increasing burden of poverty. Closely linked with these problems is a progressive degradation of the climate, growing desertification of the scarce productive land. Frequent droughts and the increasing population migration from the country to the cities further complicate these difficulties.

Moreover, there is a continuing severe epidemic of measles in the country, mainly amongst children under 5 years old, and malaria is endemic. These major economic, climatic and health problems are made worse by a lack of basic sanitation, poor environmental and personal hygiene, dysfunctional management systems, illiteracy, ignorance and a lack of community participation in managing health problems.

The Order of St Lazarus’s involvement in providing positive and sustainable aid to Burkina Faso was inspired by Cavalieri Giovanni Ferrara GCLJ, Grand Prior of Italy, after seeing a TV documentary on the country. An aid project was subsequently developed by the Italian Grand Priory’s National Hospitaller Dr Nella Bucciero, as a joint Italian and French venture

The aims of the Order of St Lazarus Burkina Faso Project are the construction of a health centre with diagnostic equipment, a dispensary, a section for general surgery, in-patient care and first aid, together with a school of nursing. It is hoped to complete the project by 2012. At the same time, the project also identifies a need to educate the population into a healthy culture of hygiene.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Northwest members

Members of the Order from the Northwest met again this week to discuss fundraising events for the future. A good deal of enthusiasm came from the direction of our younger members with proposals both to raise funds in innovative ways and to raise the profile of the good work the Order does for those in need. We want to draw on the wealth of different talents and areas of expertise that we have between us to put into action the task of reaching out to help those Our Lord singled out as blessed in the Beatitudes. We asked that God's grace give fruit to our endeavours and look forward to enjoying the companionship of all the members at the General Chapter on 5 June 2010.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Local Meetings

After Stations of the Cross on the first Thursday in Lent there was an informal gathering at the parish of St Catherine Labouré in Leyland, Lancashire of members from the Northwest of England and with the presence of the Grand Secretary. After a light supper there was enthusiastic discussion of how we might together and individually raise some extra funds for the many good causes that the Order supports, most especially Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice and our international project of providing the basic resource of water for those who suffer so much from its lack in so many places in the world. The suggestions of how we might get together and raise the profile of what we do were many and varied, to say the least, and we agreed to some definite projects that we hope wil bear fruit in due course. May God bless those endevours with fruitfulness.

Rev. S. Henry SChLJ