The East–West Schism, also the Great Schism of 1054.
On July 16, 1054, Patriarch of Constantinople Michael Cerularius was excommunicated by Pope Leo IX, starting the “Great Schism” that created the two largest denominations in Christianity – the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox faiths.
Forty one years later, well into the Great Schism, in 1095, Pope Urban II proclaimed the First Crusade at the Council of Clermont. He encouraged cleverly thought out military support for Byzantine Emperor Alexios I against the Seljuk Turks and an armed pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Volunteers across western, central Europe, and the Middle East join the crusade for various reasons, which included the prospect of mass ascension into Heaven at Jerusalem, satisfying feudal obligations, opportunities for renown, and economic and political advantage. Initial successes established four Crusader states in the Near East: the County of Edessa; the Principality of Antioch; the Kingdom of Jerusalem; and the County of Tripoli.
The Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, also known as the Leper Brothers of Jerusalem or simply as Lazarists, was founded during or maybe even before 1060-1119 by christian monastic brothers of Byzantine, Syrian, Georgian and Armenian faith at a leper hospital in Jerusalem, Kingdom of Jerusalem, whose care became its original purpose, named after their patron saint, Lazarus. The Order was recognized by King Fulk of Jerusalem in 1142, but it wasn’t until 1255 that the Order received canonical recognition under the rule of Saint Augustine in the Papal bull Cum a Nobis Petitur from Pope Alexander IV. Although the work of the Order center mostly around caring for those afflicted with leprosy, the knights of the Order of Saint Lazarus notably fought in the Battle of La Forbie in 1244 and in the Defense of Acre in 1291. The titular seat was successively situated at Jerusalem, Saint-Jean-d’Acre.
In 1489, Pope Innocent VIII attempted to merge the order and its land holdings with the Chatholic Order of Saint John. This was resisted by the larger part of the jurisdictions of the Order of Saint Lazarus including those in France, Southern Italy, Hungary, Switzerland, and England. The Catholic Order of Saint John only managed to appropriate the Lazarus holdings in Germany. From this point on many Priories, Commanderies and Preceptories operated independently, especially those outside the Catholic Church Jurisdiction.
In 1572, the Order of Saint Lazarus in Italy was merged with the Order of Saint Maurice under the Royal House of Savoy to form the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, which still exists until today, widely recognised as a dynastic successor of the Italian branch. This merger however excluded the holding in the southern part of Italy, then forming part of the Spanish realm. These were transformed into ecclesiastical benefices. The Duke of Savoy only managed to gain control of those benefices sited in the duchy of Savoy.
In 1608, King Henry IV of France, with the approval of the Holy See, linked the French section administratively to the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel to form the Royal Military and Hospitaller Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem united. This branch became closely linked to the Royal Crown during the 18th century with the serving grand masters then being members of the Royal family. It suffered the consequences of the French Revolution, and went into exile along with its grand master Louis-Stanislas-Xavier, Comte (count) de Provence, king-in-exile Louis XVIII. It formally lost its Royal protection in 1830 and then ceased to remain listed as of royal protection in the French Royal Almanac.
After 1830, the French foundation of the Order of Saint Lazarus continued under the governance of a Council of Officers.
In 1841, the council of officers invited the Patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church Maximos III Mazloum (1779–1855) to become spiritual protector of the order, thence re-establishing a tangible connection with the order’s early roots in Jerusalem in the Holy Land.
In the years that followed, according to the order’s own accounts, new knights were admitted. These included admirals Ferdinand-Alphonse Hamelin and Louis Édouard Bouët-Willaumez (1853), comtes Louis François du Mesnil de Maricourt and Paul de Poudenx (1863), comte Jules Marie d’Anselme de Puisaye (1865), vicomte de Boisbaudry (1875), comte Jules Marie d’Anselme de Puisaye (1880 as a hospitaller while living in Tunisia), baron Yves de Constancin (1896), who was later to become commander of the Hospitaller Nobles of Saint Lazarus. The latter was also a knight of the Order of Isabella the Catholic and of Order of Saint Anna of Russia.
An attempt to transform the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel to form the Royal Military and Hospitaller Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem united into the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem.
A summary timeline of the order, with the relationships of the current rival obediences.
Patriarch Cyril VIII Jaha of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, spiritual protector of the order (1910–1916).
Francisco de Borbón y de la Torre, Duke of Seville, 44th Grand Master (1935–1952).
In 1910, a statute was promulgated by a Council of Officers composed of Catholics, subsequently including Paul Watrin, Anselme de la Puisaye, Alexandre Gallery de la Tremblaye, Charles Otzenberger-Detaille, as well as Polish Catholic priest John Tansky, among others. This statute explicitly placed the governance in the hands of the magistracy, whose decisions were sovereign and irrevocable, thus manifested as a laicised order, albeit with Patriarch Cyril VIII Jaha of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church as confirmed protector.
The order continually attracted members from the French nobility. By the early 20th century, it was attracting knights from further afield, notably Spain, Poland and Hungary.
In 1935, Don Francisco de Borbón y de la Torre, Duke of Seville, Grand Bailiff of the order in Spain and Lieutenant-General of the Grand Magistracy since 1930, was appointed as Grand Master (allegedly authorized so by his cousin, King Alfonso XIII of Spain) – thus, according to the order’s account, re-establishing the office, vacant since 1814 following the French Revolution. Francisco de Borbón y de la Torre remained Grand Master of the order from 1935 to 1952.
Since then, Grand Masters from the House of Bourbon have continued at the helm of the order, except for a short interregnum, when the Grand Master belonged to the French Cossé-Brissac family. That occurred in 1969 with the election of the 12th Duke of Brissac as Grand Master, with the approval of the Count of Paris, head of the Royal House of France, solicited by the Patriarch Maximos V Hakim.
The Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus has been recognized by the Hungarian Republic as an order of knighthood on 28 August 1993 (confirmed on 9 September 2008 and again on 5 July 2011.
In Croatia the Order of Saint Lazarus is “as an Order of Knighthood legitimately active in the sovereign territory of Croatia”.
The King Juan Carlos I of Spain allowed his kinsmen Francisco de Borbón y Escasany, 5th Duke of Seville and Carlos Gereda y de Borbón to accept the position of Grand Master of the order. King Felipe VI of Spain has allowed his kinsman Francisco de Borbón y Hardenberg to succeed Carlos Gereda y de Borbón.
The Orléans obedience claims the protection of Henri d’Orléans, Count of Paris. In 2004, the count of Paris allowed his nephew Prince Charles Philippe, Duke of Anjou to take the position of 49th Grand Master of the order in the Orléans obedience. Following the schism within the Paris obedience in 2004 that led to the establishment of the Orléans obedience under Prince Charles Philippe, Duke of Anjou, Henri d’Orléans, Count of Paris, head of the Orléanist branch of the House of Bourbon, re-established his temporal protection. In 2010, the Prince resigned and since, the Grand Master of the Orléans obedience is Count Jan Dobrzenský z Dobrzenicz.
Interestingly, some claim that the “legitimacy of the entire Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem” is based only on the existence of two branches of the Order: the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus under the Royal House of Savoy and the united Royal Military and Hospitaller Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem under Crown of France. Such claim can’t be further from the truth. One of many good examples in demonstrating Order’s jurisdictional diversity is the 1489 attempt by Pope Innocent VIII to merge the Order and its land holdings with the Order of Saint John. Unfortunately, these same “history experts and influence peddlers” would like us to belie that Europe begins at eastern shores of the Atlantic Ocean and ends at the eastern gates of Vienna.
The Constitutional Grand Priory of Carpathia of The Order of Saint Lazarus is “not” a separate entity from The Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus Jerusalem, but rather it is our answer to the 2004 Schism. A Schism that was supposed to unite two (2) branches of the Order. Instead it created havoc, confusion, further splintering of the Order and caused irreparable damage to at-least two elaborate international programs.
Before the summer of 2004, two branches of The Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, under two different Grand Masters, administered various jurisdictions of the Order around the world. The Malta Obedience – under the patronage of Don Francisco de Borbón y Escasany, 5th Duke of Seville, and the Paris Obedience – under the patronage of François de Cossé-Brissac,13th Duke of Brissac. Unfortunately, instead of unification, the 2004 Schism presented the opportunity to form several new Saint Lazarus organizations. Today, we have an additional seven (7) new groups parading under the name of the Saint Lazarus Order with no legal connection to the original two branches or the historical Order. This created confusion and mistrust not only inside the Order, but also with the churches and the public. At one point, things got so embarrassing that the hierarchy of various Christian churches began to shy away from the Order, especially when certain high ranking members of the Order openly propagated the absurd claim that the Order of Saint Lazarus was responsible for the reintroduction of Christianity into the post-communist countries of Central Europe. With all of that, and more, as one could have expected the 2004 Schism provided a very fertile ground to the opponents of the Order, especially to their Internet Trolls.
How could this happen?
For the past several decades a number of events undermined the ability of the membership to set things straight. Even today, many honorable members of the Order see this phenomena as confusing and as an uphill battle. However, after 2004, several jurisdictions of the Order, within the Central Europe – Carpathia Basin – and several adjacent countries, took the position that until the healing process is completed, and the self-serving “chivalry historians” get tired of debating the “time-line” of the Order, we will continue to fulfill the Order’s historical objectives: – To serve in the war against the Leprosy in an effort to alleviate human suffering. And, that is our noble tradition.
Traditionally, the Order of Saint Lazarus was, and we believe that it should continue to be, a Nobiliary Order of Christian chivalry – a knightly service Order. Unfortunately, for decades, this process has been challenged by various interest groups and unscrupulous opportunists within and outside of the Order, in effort to control the Order. However, what we experienced during the 2004 Schism has roots with many local and international Order of Saint Lazarus administrators, who for their own reasons “believed”, and unfortunately continue to believe, that the strength of each Jurisdiction and the Order itself, lies in the “membership numbers” and not in the quality of its its members. By doing so, these “jurisdictional creations” became a quagmire of platforms for medal seekers and social climbers. In short, what we are experiencing and seeing today, is that the associates in the category of “Magistral Grace” – ”the honorary members” of the Order, have become the new policy makers with their own dubious schemes hiding their true objectives behind political correctness.
A “nasty business” or just a “nifty trick”? Was anyone deceived? A “staged financial audit”, “finger pointing”, “feel good projects”, “promise to generate higher revenue for the Order”, and finally the “schism” were used to attain personal aspirations of the few. Unfortunately, even today, many of these same people continue to play an influential role in each obedience of the Order.
The Order of Saint Lazarus objectives, especially those carried out by the Grand Priory of Carpathia, are not about distributing used clothing, or acting as “a promotional agency” for various commercial medical products to Third World countries under the heading of “charity”, but to act responsible and in line with our initial objectives. Since our 11th century conception in Jerusalem, apart from military service, we provide medical services in War Against Leprosy, and together with other remaining crusading Orders, such as The Order of St. John are the only Christian chivalric service organizations that remain true to their original objectives.
NOTE: The term Third World was originally coined in times of the Cold War to distinguish those nations that are neither aligned with the West (NATO) nor with the East, the Communist bloc. Today the term is often used to describe the developing countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania.
Regardless of the above statement, pertaining to the Order’s main objectives, we also believe that there is nothing wrong with any individual Jurisdiction of being involved with various local charitable work and social community programs, such us youth crime prevention, first aid training, search and rescue, ambulance services, elderly care, or any other meaningful programs, however, all of these activities should be secondary to Saint Lazarus’ main objective. The Order was, and it always should be about individual member’s commitment to support the War Against Leprosy.
We would like to express our most sincere gratitude to the Grand Prior & NGOs Honorary Executive President.
H.E. Chev. Professor Charles Savona-Ventura, GCLJ, MD, DScMed for his great research and many publications on the history of the Order of Saint Lazarus. This booklet is proof of His Excellency’s dedication to details and ability to present a sensitive issue in a most diplomatic manner.
We would like to suggest that you support his work, and work of the Grand Priory of Maltese Islands.
Torri ta’ Lanzum, Mesija, San Gwann, Malta.