Order of the Holy Sepulchre


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The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem goes back to the first Knights that were established by Godfrey de Bouillon around the Sepulchre of Our Lord as a guard of honour immediately after the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099. They were approved as an Order in a Bull of Approbation by Pope Pascal II in February 1113.

The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem lasted a little less than a hundred years during which time the crusaders built many great churches, forts, castles, and cities. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre which they built covers both the sites of the crucifixion and the tomb of Christ, and it still stands today.

After the fall of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem the great Orders of Knighthood were dispersed and modified in various ways, some becoming monastic, some becoming hospitallers, with many groups remaining for centuries in the Mediterranean area doing charitable works and others returning to Europe. Throughout the centuries the Order of the Holy Sepulchre managed to retain its identity, establishing houses in France, Spain, Poland, Belgium, and Italy.

The modern history of the Order began with the restoration of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem in 1847. The reigning Pontiff, Pius IX established the Order's four classes of Knighthood. The four classes are: Knight, Knight Commander, Knight Commander with star, and Knight Grand Cross. It is interesting to note with our present societies greater appreciation of the uniqueness and greatness of women, that many years ago Pope Leo XIII authorized the conferring of the honours of the Order with equivalent ranks and dignity to women, who were then styled Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre.

The Order's principal objectives are to revive in modern form the spirit and ideas of the Crusades, undertake and assist religious, charitable, cultural, and social projects in their own diocese and country, and to preserve the rights of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land.

The Order has 39 Lieutenancies and 2 Magistral Delegations throughout the world.


Sir Leonard Miedzianowski, KHS, of the Lieutenancy Canada - Montreal (left) and Shaun Redmond, KM, KCHS, of the Lieutenancy Canada - Toronto (right) share a few moments with His Excellency Msgr. Kamal-Hanna Bathish, Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem



The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, already "a Juridical Person under Canon Law", since 1st February 1996, also become "a Juridical Person in the Vatican" with its legal seat in the Vatican City State.



The Order began in Canada in 1926 when His Beatitude, Patriarch Louis Barlassina came personally from Jerusalem to Canada to establish the first official Lieutenancy of the Order at Montreal. The first English Leiutenancy was established at Toronto in September 1956.


The Cardinal Grand Master and Governor General visit Montreal on the occassion of the annual Investiture and promotion ceremony.

At present the Order in Canada consists of :

Lieutenance Canada - Montreal

Lieutenance Canada - Quebec

Lieutenancy of Canada - Toronto

Lieutenancy of Canada - Vancouver

Magistral Delegation - Atlantic Canada

The Lieutenancy of Canada - Toronto is further divided up with a Section in Eastern Ontario.



St. Ninian Cathedral, Antigonish, Nova Scotia


The Lieutenancy of Canada - Vancouver was established on 1 October 1996 by decree of the Grand Master Cardinal Carlo Furno. On 26 October, at the Holy Name Church in Vancouver, Carinal Furno celebrated the first investiture of the new Lieutenancy. Investees were six bishops of the dioceses within the territory of the Lieutenancy, nine knights, eight ladies and two other ecclesiastics.



1. To observe and promote the objectives of the Order; which relives in a modern manner the spitit and ideas of the Crusades, with the Arms of the Faith, of the Apostolate and of Christian charity, more specifically:

(a) Practice the virtue of charity supporting and aiding the Church and the Catholic Religion in the Holy Land

(b) Promote the preservation and the propagation of the Faith in the Holy Land, and to aid the Catholic Missions in their activities and in their religious, charitable, cultural and social institutions, particulary those of and in the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, with which the Order miantains traditional ties.

(c) Intensify the practice of the Christian life and to deepen evermore their own faith in absolute loyalty to the Roman Pontiffs.

(d) Bring together the Catholics from all over the world, in love and service to the Holy Land, uniting them in charity by the symbol of the Order, and (e) Foster in all Catholics and non-Catholics of every nation, interest in the Holy Places.

2. To keep in mind in carrying out their own professional and social duties, Catholic ethical principles.

3. To strive to set an example as a Catholic gentleman or lady in word and deeds, in adhereence to moral and religious principles and evangelical spirit.

4. To actively and generously support the Parish and Diocese to which they belong.

5. To give generously and freely to the Order for the sustenance and development of the Catholic works in the Holy Land and to endeavor to make at least one pilgrimage there.

6. To attend annual meetings of their Lieutenancy to renew their promises to the Order given at their investiture.

7. To participate at ceremonies of the Order and the Lieutenancy whenever possible.

8. Endeavor to attend daily Mass, but in any event to attend Mass not only on Holy Days, but on following times when a Plenary Indulgence is granted under the usual conditions -

(a) The Feast in honour of Holy Mary Queen of Palestine (Sunday within the Octave of the Assumption)

(b) The Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross (September 14)

(c) The Feast of St. Pius X (August 21)

(d) The Feast of St. Helena (August 18)

9. To attend funeral of a departed member whenever possible and called upon to do so.

10. To never risk suspension, expulsion or disciplinary measures by an unethical act of any nature.

11. To assemble in each Diocese annually honouring the Ordinary at a dinner.


Article 3 of the Constitution

The Order, through its nature and its strictly religious and charitable purposes, does not participate in any movement or demonstration whatsoever of political character. The members of the Order cannot take part in activities or enterprises, organizations and associations whose character, purpose and programs contradict the doctrine and teachings of the Catholic Church, or partake in presumed Orders and Institutions of asserted knighthood character which are not recognized by the Holy See or not allowed by Sovereign States.


The Middle Atlantic Lieutenancy (United States of America) is making the Order's history known, having organized a permanent historical and icongraphical exhibition illustrating the nature, aims and insignia of the Order at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. A similar dispay has also been placed in the historic Virginia House in Richmond. The Virginia House, when it stood in Warwick England, and before it became a museum, was the first Priory of the Holy Sepulchre in England (16th Century). Following the First World War it was transported to Richmond, Virginia, and has since become one of the cultural attractions of the United States.

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