28, 29 et 30 mai 2010
– Vendredi 28 mai à 21h00 : Veillée d’Armes (réservée aux familles), présidée par le Cardinal André VINGT-TROIS, Archevêque de Paris.
– Samedi 29 mai à 15h00 : Cérémonie d’Adoubement des nouveaux Chevaliers et d’Investiture des nouvelles Dames du Saint-Sépulcre.
– Dimanche 30 mai à 10h00 : Messe d’action de grâce.
The equestrian order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem
The order is the oldest of the Papal orders. He is international and has for grand master, at the Holy See of Rome, a cardinal appointed by the Pope (currently Cardinal John Patrick FOLEY). The order has 22,000 members worldwide, including 800 in France. Its essential mission is to support the Christians of the Holy Land, both a spiritual and a charitable task. Within the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (diocese covering Israel, Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza and Cyprus), the order supports:
– the formation of the future priests (Catholic seminary of Beit Jala),
– 70 parishes (more than 100 priests),
– 54 schools, colleges and universities, i.e. 25 000 pupils,
– reception centres for handicapped or elderly people,
– care facilities...
The members of the order are mostly lay people, fully integrated into family and professional life. At the ceremony of their admission, they take the commitment, for their whole life, to devote themselves to the service of the Catholic Church and the Christian populations of the Holy land. It is in this country, in the Middle East, that 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
of hope that enliven all Christians. The order has more than 22 000 members organized in 52 Lieutenancies or delegation in 29 countries of the world. In France, there are 830, of which 135 ladies and 52 ecclesiastical in 11 regions and 31 commanderies. The Knights of the Holy Sepulchre commit to life but do not pronounce vows.
To learn more about the equestrian order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, its history, its goals, Click here.
The softening of Chateaubriand in Jerusalem in 1806
I had seen everything in Jerusalem, I knew now the inside and outside of this city, and even much better than I know the inside and outside of Paris. So I started thinking about my departure. The fathers of the Holy Land wanted to give me an honour that I had neither asked nor deserved. In the light of the low services that, according to them, I had returned to religion, they begged me to accept the order of the Holy Sepulchre. This order, very ancient in Christendom, without even retracing its origin to Saint Helena, was once quite widespread in Europe. It is not found much more today than in Poland and Spain: the guardian of the Holy Sepulchre has
only the right to confer it. We departed at an hour from the convent, and went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We entered the chapel which belongs to the
Latin fathers: the doors were carefully closed for fear that the Turks could perceive the weapons, which would cost the religious life. The guardian clothed himself with his papal garments; lamps and candles were lit; all the brothers present formed a circle around me, the arms crossed on the chest. As they sang in a low voice the Veni creator, the keeper ascended to the altar, and I kneeled to his feet. We drew from the treasure of the Holy Sepulchre the Spurs and the sword of Godefroy of Bouillon two standing religious, by my side, held the venerable spoils. The officiant recited the habituated prayers, and made me the questions of use. Then he put the spurs on me, hit me three times with the sword, and give me the hug. The religious began to Te Deum, while the guardian utted this prayer on my head: "Lord, Almighty God, pour out thy grace and blessings upon this thine servant... All this is only the memory of morals
that no longer exist. But, let us think that I was in Jerusalem, in the Church of Calvary, twelve steps from the tomb of Jesus Christ, at thirty of the tomb of Godfrey of Bouillon; that I had just put up the eperon of the deliverer of the Holy Sepulchre, to touch
This long and broad sword of iron which had Wied a hand so noble and so loyal; that we remember these circumstances, my adventurous life, my errands on the land and the sea, and we will believe without difficulty that I should be moved. This ceremony, on the other
could be completely futile: I was French: Godefroy de bouillon was French: his old arms, touching me, had communicated to me a new love for the glory and honour of my homeland. I was not doubtless without reproach; but all French
can say without fear. I was granted my patent, covered with the signature of the keeper and the seal of the convent. With this brilliant diploma of Knight, they gave me my humble
Pilgrim's patent. I keep them, as a monument of my passage in the land of the old traveler Jacob.
François - René de CHATEAUBRIAND
Paris to Jerusalem itinerary