The order is the oldest of the Papal orders. It is international and Grand-Master, at the Holy See of Rome, a cardinal appointed by the Pope (currently Bishop Edwin O'Brien). The order has 22,000 members worldwide, including 830 in France. Its essential mission is support for the Christians of the Holy Land, task both spiritual and charitable. Within the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (diocese covering Israel, the Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza and Cyprus), the order supports:
-the formation of future priests (Catholic seminary of Beit Jala),
-70 parishes (more than 100 priests),
-54 schools and high schools, or 25,000 students.
-shelters for disabled or elderly,
Members of the order are mostly of lay people, fully inserted in family and professional life. At the ceremony of their admission, they undertake, for their entire lives, to dedicate himself to the service of the Catholic Church and the Christian population in the Holy land. It is in this country, in the Middle East, was born, lived, died and resurrected Jesus Christ, son of God, made man, died for the salvation of all men. The place of his Resurrection, in Jerusalem (the Holy Sepulchre) is the universal symbol of faith and
hope that animate all Christians. The order has more than 22,000 members organized in 52 Lieutenancies or delegation in 29 countries worldwide. In France, there are 830, including 135 women and 52 clerics on 11 regions and 31 commanderies. The Knights of the Holy Sepulchre are committed to life but do not wish decision.
According to their status, the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem are officers of the chapter of the Cathedral to keep the Holy relics, and the precious Crown of thorns, in particular when they are presented to the veneration of the faithful.
They participate in the ceremonies of the assumption and processions on August 14 and 15 as a sign of loyalty to Mary, Queen of the Holy land.
In line of Vatican II and the Constitution Lumen Gentium which specify the vocation of the baptized and the mission of the lay Associations governed by the Canon law, the order of the Holy Sepulchre is available to the Rector of the Cathedral to participate at his request to various ceremonies.
To learn more about the equestrian order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, its history, its goals, Click here.
The Capitular Chapel of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre
On Friday, March 6, 2009, during his stay in France, Monsignor Fouad TWAL, latin Patriarch of Jerusalemwent to the Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris. He chaired the veneration the Holy Crown of thorns and inaugurated the new chapter house chapel of the equestrian order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
The brought Chapel of the Cathedral, located in the axis of the nave and the choir, formerly Our Lady of the seven sorrowswas long the chapel of the Holy Sacrament.
Since the arrival of the Holy Father at Notre Dame de Paris in September 2008, she welcomes the new reliquary of the Crown of thorns and the wood of the cross. That's why it was granted as Chapel Chapter of the Knights of the equestrian order of the Saint Sepulchre of Jerusalem, statutory guardians of the Holy Crown of thorn and the relics of the Passion in Notre Dame de Paris.
Dear brothers and sisters,
When in the spring of 2005, I became Archbishop of Paris, my late predecessor cardinal Lustiger, made me part of a project he had imagined with master Damien, then lieutenant of the order of the Holy Sepulchre. As you know, it was to the axis of the Cathedral Notre-Dame Chapel, the Chapel Chapter of the order of the Holy Sepulchre, and realize a modern reliquary for the Crown of thorns.
Following the displacement of the chapel of the Holy Sacrament in the South ambulatory, thanks to the work and determination of master Damien, finally thanks to the financial support of the order, I am happy and proud that this project was possible, and that the Holy Father last September was able to venerate the Crown of thorns here.
In addition, I am pleased that by a happy competition of Providence, the inauguration of the beautiful reliquary and the chapel in its new configuration can be chaired by S.B. Monsignor Fouad Twal, latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, in the presence of Monsignor Patrick Jacquin, Rector, and the personalities of the members of the equestrian order of Jerusalem and the Holy Sepulchre and the faithful gathered for this occasion.
In this time of lent we are reaching out to the celebration of the Passion and the Resurrection of the Lord, I assure you of my prayers and my abiding memory.
TWENTY-THREE cardinal André †
Archbishop of Paris
March 6, 2009