THE EQUESTRIAN ORDER OF THE
HOLY SEPULCHRE OF JERUSALEM

Canada – Vancouver

WHAT IS THE EOHSJ?

The Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem is, together with the sovereign Order of Malta, the oldest Order of Chivalry. The Order has been in existence for over 900 years. These two Orders served as models for the creation of the other great Orders of Chivalry in the western world and are today the only ones recognized by the Holy See as independent Catholic Orders of Knighthood.


HISTORY:

When Godfrey de Bouillon and hisknights of the First Crusade captured Jerusalem from the Moslems in the year1099 he found the Holy Sepulchre and Mount Calvary in the keeping of a handfulof Canons Regular of the Order of St. Augustine, governed by their Patriarch,the Bishop of Jerusalem. He at once installed, in the remains ofthe original Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, a selected number of his knightsto assist the Canons in guardianship of the Holy Places. These werethe first Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. The Foundation of theOrder received the approval of Pope Paschal ll in 1113 and Pope Callistusll in 1122.

After the destruction of theLatin Kingdom of Jerusalem and the expulsion of the Knights from the Holy Landat the end of the 13th century, the Order of the Holy Sepulchre was kept inbeing in a number of countries in Europe as a religious militaryOrder. When the Latin Patriarchate was abolished, it was given tothe Franciscan Custodian of the Holy Land to choose new Knights, to be createdfrom among the fervent Christians devoutly going to the Holy Sepulchre toreceive Investiture according to the ancient ceremony of Christian Knighthoodstill in use within the Order. The religious and charitable work ofthe Order throughout the centuries brought repeated and fervent praises fromPopes, Kings, Bishops and Princes, after being specially commended and favouredby the Supreme Pontiffs, Alexander V1, Julius 11, Leo X and Clement X11,Benedict X1V gave the Order a new Constitution in 1746.

In 1847 a further stage in theOrder’s history was marked by the restoration of the Latin Patriarchate by Pius1X. He bestowed on the Patriarch the responsibility of ruling andadministering the Order. At this time the knights were given thespecific task of the support of the Patriarch’s work for the maintenance andadvancement of Christianity in the Holy Land. In 1888 PopeLeo X111 approved the entry of women into the Order as Ladies of the HolySepulchre. In 1907 St. Pius X assumed the title of Grand Master,Pius X1 reappointed the Latin Patriarch as Regent of the Order.Pope Pius X11 transferred the direction of the Order from Jerusalem to Rome andin a new constitution decreed that the Order should be governed by a Cardinalappointed by the Holy Father to be Grand Master, and that the Latin Patriarchshould be Grand Prior of the Order. The Cardinal Grand Master issupported by a governing body known as The Grand Magisterium and by NationalLieutenancy’s of the Order.

The Motto of the Order “DEUS LO VULT” - GODWILLS IT.

CHRISTIANS IN THE HOLYLAND.

The majority of Christians in theHoly Land are Arab people. The Arab Christians have always beenChristian. They are not converts from Islam.Christianity lost many through the ages due to conversion to Islam.The Christians were a majority of the population from the 4th to the7th Century until Islam conquered Palestine. Since then the process of Islamization and de-Christianiazition started and continues until the present time. Today the local Arab Christians areidentified with the Western culture and power resulting in discrimination against them by their Moslem neighbours.

At the beginning of the 20thcentury Palestinian Christians were 13% of the population in Palestine and werea majority in many cities like Bethlehem, the Old City of Jerusalem, Rammalahand Nazareth. Today the Chrisitans living in Palestine and Israelare less than 2% (170,000 approx.) of the total population.

PURPOSE OF THE ORDER:

The purpose of the Order isstrictly religious and charitable. Members are committed to sustainand aid the charitable, cultural and social works of the Catholic Church in theHoly Land, particularly in the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem - (which includes all of the Holy Land and parts of neighbouring countries). “TheOrder is the first and most fundamental source of the support that enables Dioceses of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem to liveand fulfill its Pastoral obligations” (Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah2003)

WHAT DOES THE ORDER DO?

Today, as in the days of the Apostles,the Church in the Holy Land is poor, even underdeveloped. The lackof security of the native Christian population primarily composed of Arabs, issuch, that it is severely menaced by emigration. This emigration affects mostly the elite who should be at the heart of social and spiritualdevelopments.

Eighty per cent of theexpenditure of the Patriarchate is funded by the Order of the HolySepulchre. Approximately US $8 million was subscribed by the Orderin 2002. The restoration of the Dome of the Basilica of the HolySepulchre was funded by an American couple, Knight Grand Cross, George Doty and his wife, who personally donated US$5million.

EDUCATION:

The educational role ofChristians in the Holy Land is important as the Christian more than otherfaiths in the area, believes in forgiveness – that to achieve peace, justice isnecessary; to achieve justice forgiveness is necessary. Reconciliationand love is an essential part of forgiveness. Christian education in thecontext of the Gospels helps form leaders with vision and compassion.

There is the need for aconsiderable improvement in education. The Church has entrusted the Orderof The Holy Sepulchre with the maintenance and development of Catholic schoolsin the Holy Land.

The Order contributes substantially to the maintenance of 44 parish schools of the LatinPatriarchate, which are attended by 15 thousand children, both Christian,(Latin and Catholics of the Oriental Rite, Orthodox and Protestants) andMoslems. It also contributes to the maintenance of thePatriarchal Seminary (80 students) and the Diocesan clergy. It looks after dozens of dispensaries in the Holy Land, supports relief andwelfare institutions, orphanages, homes for the elderly and many houses for thehandicapped and less privileged.

In addition to these ongoingcommitments, the Lieutenancy’s undertake specific action agreed upon with theGrand Magisterium on the recommendation of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. The Order has played a significant role in the creation and development of the University of Bethlehem.

From 1971 through 1990, thanks tothe Order’s support, new churches and chapels rose at Zabadeh, Bir-Zeit, Jaff-Nazareth,Jenin, Burqin, Gaza, Tilaa-el-Ali, Marj-et-Hanan, Eremine, Fouheis-Centre, Mainrabba and Gifhah.

New residences for the RosarySisters were built up at Jaffa-Nazareth, Rafidia, Ajloun, Rameh, Jenin, Gifnah,Taybeh, Gaza, Eremine, Salt, Foureis-Centre, Naour, Madaba, Khirbeh.

Also new presbyteries at Rameh, Zabadeh,Nablus, Gilnah, Sweifeieh, Rousaifa, Ermemine, Foureis-Alali were provided,as well as the home for retired Priests in Betania and the home for the aged people at Nablus.

WHAT IS THE STRUCTURE TODAY?

The Grand Master, His Eminence John Cardinal Foley, appointed by the Pope Benedict XVI in 2008, is in charge of the Order. His coadjutors are the Governor General, His Excellency Pier Luigi Parola and the Grand Magisterium The latter consists of 18 Confreres chosen among members of various countries. The Vice-Governor General for North America is His Excellency James Miscoll.

The Order is made up of 52 representative bodies called Lieutenancies or Magisterial delegations, which are generally divided into Sections.

Twenty-three such bodies operate in Europe, 15 in North and Central America, five in South America and five in the Far East. There are about 22,000 Knights and Ladies all over the world.

The Grand Prior of the Order is His Beatitude, Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, who is an Arab Palestinian.

The Order has its legal seat in the Vatican City State and the seat of its spiritual activities at the Convent, located near the Church of San Onofrio on the Janiculum, as set out in the Moto Proprio of His Holiness Pope Pius X11 - (1945). The Headquarters of the Order, until recently was housed in the ancient 15th century palace of Guilliano Cardinal della Rovere, later, Pope Julius 11, known as Palazzo Dei Penitenzieri.A part of this building is set aside an hotel - Hotel Columbus, to earn income for the Order. The offices, Chancellery and Residence of the Grand Master were located there. It is situated on the Via Della Concilliazione, directly on the left as one prepares to enter St. Peter’s Square. The administrative offices of the Grand Magisterium are now located at……..

VANCOUVER LIEUTENANCY
established in 1996.

The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem started in Vancouver as a section of the Canadian Lieutenancy of Toronto with the Investiture of nine Knights and five Ladies on October 9th 1993. On October 1st 1996 Vancouver was named The Lieutenancy of Canada-Vancouver with responsibilities for British Columbia, Alberta and the YukonTerritories. At the subsequent Investiture, presided over by The Grand Master of the Order, Carlo Cardinal Furno and the Grand Prior of the Lieutenancy, Most Reverend Adam Exner, Archbishop of Vancouver, 10 Knights and 9 Ladies were invested. His Excellency William P. Whelan KC*HS was the Lieutenant of the Vancouver Lieutenancy.

In 2007, after eight years as this Lieutenancy’s Chancellor, and a further four year term as our second Lieutenant, Dr. Sir Declan Lawlor retired from service on the Council for Canada – Vancouver.
With Sir Declan’s retirement, the Lieutenancy entered a new era, on a solid foundation built upon the leadership and vision of Monsignor Lopez-Gallo, our first two Lieutenants, H.E. William Whelan and H.E. Dr. Declan Lawlor, together with the charter members of Canada – Vancouver.
Since 2007, the Lieutenant of Canada-Vancouver has been Sir William McCarthy, KC*HS. The current Lieutenant is His Excellency William McCarthy KC*HS. Our Grand Prior is Most Reverend Raymond Roussin, Archbishop of Vancouver.

The Alberta Outreach Project was initiated in 2004 with the enthusiastic endorsement of Archbishop Thomas Collins and Bishop Luc Bouchard, resulting in the expansion of the Order into Edmonton and Calgary, the two major cities of the Province of Alberta.

There are 135 members at the end of the year 2005 with approximately equal number of Knights andLadies. The Lieutenancy is privileged to include three Archbishops, two Bishops, one being the Bishop of the Ukrainian Eparchy and thirteen Priests in its membership. The year 2006 is the 10th anniversary of the formation of this Lieutenancy.

Women are welcomed on an equal basis in the Order and are addressed by the title Lady. The first female member was Contessa Francesca di Tomas, who received the rank of Grand Cross in 1871, predating the official welcome of lady members by 17 years (1888).

The former Lieutenant in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was Lady Teresa Antonia Veiga Frering.

SPIRITUAL PRIVILEGES:

The spiritual privileges accordedKnights and Ladies are: -

Plenary Indulgence, under the usual conditions, on the day of Investiture and on the four feast days especially assigned to the Order-----


  • The Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Palestine: October 26th
  • The Triumph of the Holy Cross:September 14th
  • Pope St.Pius X (former Grand Master): August 21st.
  • St.Helen: August 18th

WHAT ARE THE DUTIES ANDRESPONSIBILITES OF A MEMBER OF THE ORDER?

1)To devote their lives to strong Catholic Christian principles in the practice of their religion.

2)To contribute each year to the support and sustenance of charitable andcultural works and institutions of the Holy Land particularly those of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

3)To make known to people the needs of the Church in the Holy Land and to promote support for the Church there.

4)To participate in the annual Investiture Ceremony, and to attend the annual meeting.

5)To propose qualified candidates for the Order.

6)To make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land at least once in their lifetime.

Subscription and fees areessentially voluntary – a minimum suggested Annual Contribution (AC) is requested of each member. Some members contribute substantially more as their circumstances allow.

Personal contributions AC’s are confidential.

HOW IS ADMISSION TO THE ORDER FACILITATED?

Membership is by invitation only, on recommendation of the Lieutenant and the Council of the Lieutenancy and the final approval must come from Rome.

1)In the highest interest of the institution, members of the Order must be preselected from those who, endowed with experience and seriousness of intent, have already given proof of an exemplary life, and maturity in other sectors of activity. To be admitted into the Order, a candidate must be at least 25 years of age.

2)Requests for admission must be accompanied by the following documents:

BAPTISMAL CERTIFICATE.

MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE OF RELIGIOUS MARRIAGE.

CURRICULUM VITAE (Resume) - with specific date concerning residence, Church and community related activities.

LETTER FROM CANDIDATES’S PARISH PRIEST.

LETTER OF ENDORSEMENT from their Ordinary, for those living outside Vancouver Archdiocese.

It is extremely important that a person being proposed for admission to the Order by a member, be well known to that member, in order to avoid any embarrassment or ill will that might ensue, if the candidate upon subsequent investigation did not meet all the criteria, and did not qualify for membership.

A FINALWORD

All Christian Churches, almost 2 Billion Christians worldwide derive their heritage from the Holy Land, but still our Christian faithful are threatened and in need of support at home in Jerusalem. This generation of Catholic leaders both lay and ecclesiastical cannot standby and do nothing. The plight of the Christian Community in the Holy Land is a crisis so severe, that it needs to be addressed by the whole Church.

Jerusalem is our Spiritual Hometown.

Compiled by The MembershipCommittee 1997. Updated 2006.