World Orders of Knighthood and Merit (January 2007)
It is an unquestionable fact that Burke’s Peerage and Debrett’s are Britain’s foremost authorities in the world of chivalric orders and organizations. These august institutions do not need any introduction and their comments on the chivalric happenings around the world are highly noted and cherished by the real movers in the world of twenty first century chivalry.
During the closing months of the year 2006, Burke’s Peerage and Gentry published a monumental and, indeed, mammoth work in two huge volumes entitled “World Orders of Knighthood and Merit”. In this publication, Burke’s Peerage analyzed and commented on each and every chivalric institution in existence throughout the world and, naturally, commented extensively on the Order of Saint Lazarus.
The book was generally critical of other self-styled ‘Military and Hospitaller’ Orders of Saint Lazarus throughout the world, with their historical interpolations and inaccuracies and their unfortunate schisms and coups. It unequivocally states that they:
“…need not pretend to an historical continuity to which the claims are, at the very least, unsubstantiated. They would be more readily welcomed into the wider community of international humanitarian bodies, however, if their leaders permitted an honest appraisal of the origins of this divided institution.”
In the book’s 12 page dissection of the Order of Saint Lazarus, the publishers mentioned at length our United Grand Priories of the Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus. Their final verdict was unequivocal:
“This (our Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus) is the most honest portrayal of the history of the modern Order. The Confraternity has modeled itself upon the traditions and ideals of the ancient, chivalric and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem. It, however, makes no claims, nor has it any pretensions, to be an order of chivalry descended directly from the original Order of Saint Lazarus.”
The above statement should be noted by each and every member of our Grand Priory. Seldom does one register such an unequivocal statement from Britain’s leading chivalric institution!