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.