UNOFFICIAL and with it independently Webpage on the subject Order of Saint Lazarus - OSLJ

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provided by Mikulas Krejcik z Radimovic, former OLJ

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Origins of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem

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Santa Maria Latina as well as Saint John stood under the management of Latin monks (probably to Benedictines). The "ensemble" of these three institutes formed what one understood by the „hospital of Jerusalem".


Jerusalem about 1150

During the siege of Jerusalem by the cross knights in 1098 Gérard Tenque, also Tunc, Doing gymnastics, Thon or was called similarly, the head of the „hospital by Jerusalem"; he was called later „master of the Spittler" („Maitre of the Hospitaliers"). In him the Maltese Knights see her founder (as a governor of Santa Maria Latina), and the Armorial de l 'Ordre de Saint Lazare describes him in the list of his Grand Masters as „Gérard de Thoms, provengal, né dans l 'Isle de Martegas". Eugene Vignat writes in his standard work "Les lepreux et les chevaliers de Saint-Lazare": „When Gottfried de Bouillon seized the city of Jerusalem in 1098, the French Gérard de Martigue was already a master of the brotherhood Saint Lazarus and governor of the hospital of our dear woman in Jerusalem..." The community which showed the „hospital of Jerusalem” was not long-lasting. Each of the hospitals soon found (one feels tempted to think of European specialisation) of the Latin kingdom his own duties. In 1112 the Hospitaler of Saint Johannes founded own brotherhood whose rule from Gérard Tenque came which pope Pascalis II, originally a Benedictine from Cluny confirmed on the 15th of February, 1113.

Already in 1121 there formed from it a military order which came under the illustren name of the Maltese Knights, late Rhodesie or Maltese, into the history.

The Hospitaller of Saint Lazarus, so that oriental basilianic community of the "military hospital", devoted itself furthermore particularly to the leper. In the same measure, because this awful illness reached under the Christian armies around itself and struck more and more knights, also rose the meaning of the order of Saint Lazarus which took up the lepers of all orders in his rows.


The kingdom of Jerusalem an the other
Crusader staats in the context
of the Near East in 1135

In 1118 the first purely military order of knights of the Templars had been founded. Already three years later, in 1121, the Maltese Knights follow under Raimund von Puy. The "Militarysation" of the order of Saint Lazarus proceeds more slowly and step by step, and also not western dekretistisch, but oriental synodal (by the influx are marked by more and more leprous knights from other orders), how generally history and character of the Lazarusordens less by orders, but rather by admission readiness, adaptability and tolerance. Thus all Templars appeared in the house of the order of Saint Lazarus to Jerusalem who had been struck by leprosy about which there was a regulation even in the order rule of the Templars. There they probably received the order dress of the Lazarians, but naturally they hung to her own order rule furthermore in; similarly it went out to the Lazarians probably also with the lepers who came from other orders; from the other sick people who belonged to no order and were often also married to talk not at all. We may state, in any case that the "power relations" were stored in the Lazarusorden even then as well as today: The power lay on the one hand with the general chapter (finally, everybody had to get a chance to speak in this brightly together to thrown ones community of lepers, invalids and healthy), other-partly with the order head whom, once elective, also the necessary authority about this had to own indeed most unusual of all orders of knights.

The variety in the origin of the members of the order of Saint Lazarus also caused long time a certain insecurity about the character of the order: was he Latin now or oriental, religious or worldly?

After the death of king Amaury on the 11th of July, 1174 came 13-year-old Balduin - falls ill even then with leprosy - to the government. During 24 years the king suffered from this gruesome illness. He was always surrounded by knights of Saint Lazarus. Under this king the most valiant battles were hit in the history of Frankish Syria. In the battle of Montgisard the leper with 500 knights, 80 Templars and in 2500 man foot troops fought Balduin IV against 3000 Mameluks Saladins and gained on the 27th of November, 1177 the nicest victory of the crusaders. The death king Balduins IV to whom the knights of Saint Lazarus as well as king Ludwig IX to the saint preserve the most honourary memory already led two years later to the loss of the holy town. On the 2nd of October of 1187 Jerusalem fell in the hands Saladins. The conqueror appeared from really oriental generosity: He released not only all sick people and arms free of charge, but made a donation from his own treasure to the widows and orphans of the fallen knights. However, he put away for the hospital order a term of a full year to be able to withdraw into rest and order from Jerusalem.

It seems, the deduction from the holy town has particularly been difficult for the order of Saint Lazarus; in any case, he remained for good with his name as an „order of the Saint Lazarus von Jerusalem".

Spring: Extract from the work "Memento", author: † Erich Feigl, published by the chancellor's office of the great piorates of Austria of the Ordre Militaire et Hospitalier de Saint-Lazare de Jerusalem, Vienna, in 1978, pages 17 to 20

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Last updated 14.12.2017

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