THE EQUESTRIAN ORDER OF THE HOLY SEPULCHER OF JERUSALEM
© Guy Stair Sainty
The origins of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher have been disputed for centuries. In this examination of the history of what is today a major Catholic Order of Knighthood, under the direct protection of the Holy See, it has been my intention to separate fact from fantasy and outline the historical development of this great institution. It now has a world-wide mission to support the Holy Places, particularly in Jerusalem, and has approximately eighteen thousand members across the globe. 
Some sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth century historians claimed that the Order was founded a few years after the death of Christ, a statement unsupported by any documentary evidence and which may be dismissed as mythology. Fantastic theories, such as the Order's foundation by the Apostle Saint James, or Saint Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, should be given no more credence than the Japanese tradition that their Emperor is descended from the Sun God. A set of Statutes, the Statuta et leges ordinis equ. SSmi Sepulchri Dominici., apparently dated 1 January 1099 but containing references to French Kings not born until two hundred years later, were copied and published by Jacques de Villamont in 1613, but these were invented to add greater luster to its history.  The authenticity of these statutes was challenged soon after Villamont's work was published and there is no surviving Papal Bull confirming or approving them; there is little doubt that they were of much later date and designed to support the legitimacy of the Order's claim to an independent foundation.
Several historians of the Order have attributed the actual foundation of the Order to Godefroy, Duke of Bouillon, first Christian King of Jerusalem, after the liberation of Jerusalem in 1099. It may indeed have been possible and appropriate that some kind of "honor guard" for the Holy Sepulcher could have been established at that time, but there is no contemporary evidence of any kind to support this claim. Certainly a religious Order of Canons of the Holy Sepulcher under the Rule of Saint Augustine was founded early in the twelfth century, and this Order soon established itself across Europe and acquired great wealth. There are no contemporary documentary sources, however, which demonstrate that these Canons assumed a military function or that a group of military brothers dedicated specifically to the protection of the Holy Sepulcher was associated with them.
The Order of Canons was an important institution and, in 1155, when Pope Adrian IV wrote to Raymond, Count of Barcelona he coupled the Holy Sepulcher brothers with the Hospitallers and Templars, who were of course military monks, but did not imply that the Canons were fulfilling a similar role. The common name and Pope Adrian's letter have been used by proponents of the crusader foundation of a military Order of the Holy Sepulcher as evidence that it was a similar foundation to the other two Orders. It seems much more likely, however, that the connection was simply that all three Orders had a presence and function in the Holy Land, particularly since there is no documentary evidence of any kind to suggest the Canons ever had a military mission.
The Canons of the Holy Sepulcher, along with the Order of Canonesses founded soon afterwards, established priories, convents and churches in Catalonia, Aragon, Perugia, Sicily, Germany, Poland, England and Flanders. Following the fall of Jerusalem the Order was fragmented; the Superior of the convent at Miechow near Cracow took the title of "General" of the Order, later claiming the style of "Grand Prior", although neither style was recognized in Spain, Germany or France. Likewise the non-Italian brothers and sisters also refused to acknowledge the claims of the Superior of the Convent at Perugia, who assumed the same rank. By the mid-fifteenth century the use of the title of "Master" of the Holy Sepulcher by the Superior at Perugia was generally recognized in Italy, but not in France, Spain or Germany. In 1459 the Order of Canons, along with several other Orders which had had responsibilities in the Holy Land that were now impossible to fulfill, was combined into a new Order, that of Our Lady of Bethlehem, but the influence of the Canons was sufficient to prevent this being widely enforced.
Thirty years later, by the Bull Cum solerti meditatione pensamus of 1489, Pope Innocent VIII declared that the Perugia Superior's title of "Master" should be accorded in perpetuity to the Grand Master of the Order of the Hospital of Saint John, depriving the Order of Canons of the Holy Sepulcher of its autonomous status.  The Perugia "Master" was himself granted the rank of Grand Cross of Saint John and received as such on 4 October 1491. The Hospitallers were delighted to have been granted the properties of the Canons even if, in practice, they were unable to enforce the Bull outside Italy. Although the union between these two Orders was maintained there, Alexander VI dissolved it in Germany by a further Bull of 4 November 1497, at the request of Maximilian, King of the Romans and Eberhard, Duke of Wurtemberg. In Poland the Priory of Miechow was never effectively amalgamated into Saint John and Leo X re-established the independence of the Priories in Spain in a Bull of 13 March 1510 and a further Bull of 1513. 
The Order of Canons, both before and after the period 1489-1497, had no connection with the knights of the same name, even though in later times the prior at Miechow and the prior at Calayatud claimed the right to dub "knights of the Holy Sepulcher". The Bull of 1489 ordering the amalgamation of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Our Lord and of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem into that of Saint John described Saint Lazarus as "Militiae", but no reference of any kind was made to suggest the Holy Sepulcher Order of Brothers or Canons enjoyed any military functions or responsibilities. There is not one single document dating from the period between 1099 and 1291 when the Christian Crusaders ruled in the Holy Land which mentions military knights of the Holy Sepulcher or any Order of knights of that name.  There were Crusader knights, for the most part handicapped by age or battle wounds to be of any real military use, who in the first eighty years of the Christian Kingdom retired to a life of prayer and contemplation at the Tomb of Our Lord. They did not form any kind of corporate body, however, although they depended as lay members from the Canons and, from 1114, made a promise of obedience to the Prior of the Church. 
Clement VI had appointed the Franciscans as the Guardians of the Holy Sepulcher in 1312, although it was until twenty years later that they were able to establish their religious house at the Tomb. In 1336 we find the first record of a knight, Wilhelm von Boldensel, who traveled to Jerusalem and there received the honor of knighthood at the Tomb. He described himself in a later document as "Miles in Coelesti Hierusalem"  and reported how he himself dubbed two other "miles" by conferring the sword and observing "the other formalities that are by custom used for receptions" into the "militaris ordinis".  By assembling together later reports of parts of the dubbing ceremony it is possible to describe a typical investiture. The evening before the candidate would make his confession; the dubbing ritual normally followed celebration of a Mass of Saint George (the patron Saint of Knighthood). The knight carrying out the investiture - usually the highest ranking person present - would place the gold belt and sword around the new knight's waist, whereupon the latter would swear an oath to take up the sword in honor and devotion to God or the Virgin and Saint George, to guard and defend the Holy Church against the enemies of the Faith and aid with all his power the reconquest of the Holy Land, to guard and defend God's people and render justice, to keep faithfully his marriage vows, not to engage in treason against his rightful lord, and to defend and protect widows and orphans.  Taking the sword from its scabbard, the candidate would then return it to the investing knight who gave one (or more) touches on the shoulder or nape of the neck, following which the new knight would replace the sword in its scabbard. He then put first his right foot on the tomb for another knight to attach a spur, and then followed the same procedure with the left foot.  The gold sword and belt would be unbuckled to be reused for the next investiture and was retained at the Tomb. We cannot be certain that these rituals were adhered to rigidly or that the promises required of the knights were always identical. The ceremonial was probably maintained in a similar fashion as candidates learning of the ritual from returning knights would expect a similar ceremony for their own investitures. While the honor of knighthood could generally be conferred only by another knight, a later privilege given by the Holy See permitted the Custos himself to carry out investitures. 
The nobility of the candidate was considered important. Circumstances in the Holy Land, however, meant that this had to be attested by witnesses rather than proved by documents. Hence not all the knights invested at the Holy Sepulcher were actually noble. One pilgrim, Jean von Eptingen, a German Swiss who traveled to the Holy Land in 1460, described how he had to affirm his noble standing to the Burgundian Artur de Wadere who was carrying out the investiture.  Eptingen records how he was kissed on each cheek "in the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit and Saint George" and then dubbed with the same words and the command to be "a faithful knight, and above all to be both pious and just". Wadere placed a spur on his right foot and a knight of Saint John placed the other on his left, both embracing him afterwards when he returned to them the sword and spurs used in the ceremony. 
Gennes (Op. cit.) records eighty-four documents listing at least one but often several knights invested as "knights of the Holy Sepulcher" at the Tomb between 1336 and 1498. Analyzing the number he lists twenty nominations in the fourteenth century, of whom four were German, four French and five from the Netherlands; by the first half of the fifteenth century of the one hundred and thirty nominations of which there are surviving records, ninety-seven were German and of the five hundred and three of the second half of the century, three hundred and eighty-five were German. While this may indicates that knighthood of the Holy Sepulcher was most sought after by German knights, the figures may have been distorted because more German documentary records have survived. In some German families several members made pilgrimages and were accorded knighthood at the Tomb not least because it eliminated the obligation to seek this honor from the candidate's own feudal superior.  One family produced no less than eight knights, beginning with Heinrich von Ketzel (died 1433) who was invested in 1389 and ending with Michel von Ketzel in 1503.  A painting of the arms of the Ketzel knights now in the German National Museum in Nuremberg illustrates a figure of each knight kneeling by his Arms with an illustration of the Jerusalem Cross, among their other achievements, above. Heinrich's stone tombstone,  like the painting, not only includes the Jerusalem Cross, but also the Wheel of Saint Catherine, indicating that he had received that knighthood as well.
Most of the early investitures were carried out by knights who were themselves visitors to the Tomb. In the latter years of the fifteenth century responsibility for investing pilgrim knights at the Tomb seems to have been consigned permanently to a certain Brother Johann von Preussen, (from Prussia, rather than a member of the ruling family), who was resident in Jerusalem and a Franciscan tertiary, as is attested by several of those who recorded investitures. In 1482 he is described as having invested Paul Walther von Guglingen along with a greater proportion of the thirty five gentlemen who accompanied him in the suites of Frederick the Elder, Margrave of Brandenburg and Duke Ludwig of Bavaria-Palatinate. From a report the following year of a dubbing ceremony by Brother Johann on July 17, 1483, we learn that each would-be knight had to affirm the nobility of his four grandparents and that he had sufficient means to maintain himself in the appropriate style.  Each of the knights made a donation of between five and ten ducats, according to his means, for the support and maintenance of the Holy Sepulcher. The next day Brother Johann was informed that some among the knights invested were not, in fact, noble and so he commanded all those invested previously to attend him in the Church and declared all those improperly received to have lost their knighthood. Fortunately, after interrogating each new knight he was reassured that none, in fact, had been admitted improperly.  The prerequisite of presenting some kind of proof of nobility dated back to the first receptions in the early fourteenth century.  It was not formally confirmed, however, until an instruction of Urban VIII dated 22 December 1642 and cited by many writers (without giving the source of this document),  in which it was recommended that the cross of knight should only be conceded to those proving noble birth. 
The author of this text, the Swiss pilgrim monk Felix Fabri (Faber) asserts that the knights became members of a select élite, the "superior of all other knights of the world". For many lay knights, as opposed to the professed knights of Saint John and the Teutonic Order, this was considered the apogee of Christian Knighthood.  Certainly the knights who had earned their spurs after their arduous pilgrimage sincerely believed the honor to be of greater worth than knighthoods conferred on their contemporaries by local sovereigns. The temporal authorities, however, did not give any such special recognition to knights invested at the Tomb and there is no evidence to suggest that the Holy Father was willing to accept that Knights of the Holy Sepulcher were, for example, the superior of members of his own Golden Militia.
The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries represent the last great flowering of European chivalry and for many nobles, both great and modest, their knighthood was incomplete without receipt of the accolade at the Tomb. Albert the Fair von Hohenzollern, circa 1340, considered it "crowned his knightly rank"; other knights journeyed there because they felt that it was "good and true knighthood" rather than merely knighthood by cast or rank, or that thereby "sins would be pardoned" and he could "return home to live a virtuous life".  To be on their knees before the Tomb of Christ, to be invested there with knighthood in honor of Christ and under the patronage of Saint George was the most holy and sacred privilege, conferring a very special dignity. The exact description of what this honor meant was less precise than that conceded to knights of the great military religious Orders. The Knights invested at the tomb were sometimes called "knights of the Holy Sepulcher", but also "in celestial Jerusalem", or "of Jerusalem" and "in Jerusalem". As insignia of their rank it seems the knights would wear a chain from which a medallion bearing the Jerusalem Cross would be hung. The earliest portrait of a knight, of Willem de Jauche who died in 1374, is a sixteenth century drawing after a lost original showing him wearing a chain made entirely of medallions bearing the Jerusalem cross. Some also wore the cross embroidered on their clothes, generally on a shoulder, but it is not certain that the privilege of wearing this cross was a sign of knighthood - it may also have been a badge of having made a pilgrimage, and not necessarily of having received the dignity of knighthood.
When Brother Johann died in 1498 he had to be replaced by a suitably qualified knight resident at the Tomb, since pilgrim knights expected to find a knight permanently charged with the privilege of dubbing. Receipt of this honor was seen, at least in part, as an incentive to attract noblemen to the Holy Places and a source of revenue for their maintenance. Hence the Holy See encouraged the continuation of the practice of investing Knights at the Tomb. In 1485 a Papal ordo had introduced the rite of investiture into the Roman Pontifical, authorizing Bishops to carry out knightly investitures. When it proved impossible, therefore, to find a suitable knight permanently based at the Tomb to carry out the dubbing ceremony, that authority was logically assumed by the Custos (Guardian) of the Holy Sepulcher. 
The assertion by André Favin that the Popes became "Grand Masters" of the knights is not supported by any Papal act or document either contemporaneous or subsequent. In actuality, the Custos merely continued the established tradition of investing knights at the Tomb, but in a slightly different form. While it is often claimed that Alexander VI conferred this authority, viva voce, between 1496 and 1498, a history of the Holy Land by an early seventeenth century Custos gives the date 1516, stating that the privilege was conferred by Pope Leo X. 
It is certain that the Custos exercised this responsibility before 1516, however, and so we may assume that Pope Leo's act merely confirmed an existing prerogative. It seems to have been difficult to obtain such confirmation in writing, since on October 1st, 1525 two senior Franciscans were received in audience by Clement VII to again seek validation of the eight principal privileges of the Custos, among which was that of creating knights. Fortunately this request was granted with the proviso that the knights they admitted should continue to do credit to the standing of the institution of knighthood of the Holy Sepulcher. The privileges were confirmed in general terms for the first time in writing in the Bull Divina disponenta clementia of July 23, 1561 but they were not detailed specifically until Benedict XIV, in the Bull "In supremo militantis Ecclesiae" of 7 February 1746, regulated the taxes and other formalities for the admission of knights by the "Minister-General" of the Order of Brothers of Saint Francis.  Most significant in this last act was the Pope's decision to lift the requirement to fight the Turks, recognition that the era of crusading had ended.
That the history and development of what came to be defined as an Order of Chivalry is so uncertain in the early years is hardly surprising. Unlike the Templars, Hospitallers and Teutonic Knights, the Holy See did not constitute the Holy Sepulcher knights as members of a Religious Order of the Church. Those who received this honor did not make religious profession and the honor did not originally include any continuing obligation but promises which no-one had the authority to enforce. There is little doubt that the recipients of the Cross in Jerusalem were men of honorable, if not always noble, birth and their religious devotion was evidenced by their pilgrimage. A pilgrim to the Holy Places from the Middle Ages until the nineteenth century underwent an extremely testing ordeal and such a journey would not have been entered into lightly. One may consider that the honor of knighthood, conferred on suitable and generous worshippers at the tomb of Our Lord, was an appropriate reward for such dedication.
France and The Holy Sepulcher Knights
In France resistance to Papal authority enabled institutions such as knights of Saint Lazarus and the Holy Sepulcher Canons, who properly owed total obedience to the Holy See, to refuse Papal ordinances and maintain unregulated organizations.  The Order of Saint John did manage to absorb several of the Canons' properties there but, by the early sixteenth century, there were a number of knights of the Holy Sepulcher who claimed to be part of an Order of Chivalry purportedly founded by Godefroy of Bouillon and associated with that of the Canons. The French Crown was eventually persuaded to support the claims of the Hospitallers, and Henri III confirmed the absorption of the Canons at the request of the Grand Master of Saint John, by Letter Patent of November 1574. With the King of France given the special privilege in 1511, negotiated with the Ottoman Sultan, of protecting the Holy Places, the proportion of knights of French birth grew in relation to other nationalities. Between 1500 and 1560 the French composed nineteen per cent of the total, but between 1597 and 1739 they made up fifty per cent rising to fifty-one in years between 1815 and 1848. Meanwhile the legend that Godfrey de Bouillon had founded the institution continued to be fostered and the sword used in investitures came to be identified as Godfrey's. A Paris based confrèrie of the Holy Sepulcher had appeared by the early sixteenth century and increasingly the new knights appeared to be of bourgeois rather than noble birth.  It even became possible if payment was sufficient, for knighthood to be obtained by proxy - when Jean Boisselly, from a prominent Marseille merchant family, was invested on Good Friday, April 3, 1643, he was also given the accolade by proxy for his friend François Sercy, who never traveled to the Holy Land!
In 1615, Charles Gonzaga, Duke of Nevers and Rethelois (and future Sovereign Duke of Mantua after his father's death in 1627), was elected Grand Master by a group of predominately French knights led by Marc, baron de Montmorency, Louis Gilles de Mesnil, Pierre de Bellefontaine and Nicholas de Hault de Chaumont. Anxious for a prestigious but independent chief, these gentlemen seemed willing to overlook the fact that Nevers was not himself a knight of the Holy Sepulcher. As a former French Ambassador in Rome he was well-placed to obtain Papal approval and duly petitioned the Holy See for a bull of recognition. He designed a new Collar and splendid robe for himself and proceeded to induct new members. Following the protests of the Order of Saint John, however, whose government had itself confused the Order of Canons with the knights,  he was forced to resign this charge by the French Regent. Later there were numerous protests by the knights of Malta at the use of the black ribbon by knights of the Holy Sepulcher, but this complaint did not succeed in obtaining royal support for Malta as the right to the black ribbon was accorded by the Crown to knights of Saint Michel, whose Grand Master was the King himself.
With the dissolution of the Order of Canons, two other religious bodies still survived in France which used the name "Holy Sepulcher" in some form. The properties of the Confraternity of the Holy Sepulcher of the Rue Saint-Denis, founded in 1317 by Louis I de Bourbon, Count of Clermont, were granted in 1672 to the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  Another such institution, the "Confraternity of the Holy Sepulcher of the Cordeliers", managed to survive by claiming to be independent of the brothers at the Rue Saint Denis, obtaining exemption from the 1672 decree in Letters Patent of 28 May 1700, giving their institution royal protection. In 1721 the Crown renewed its royal protection and new statutes were granted by Benedict XIII in 1726. Cadet members of the House of France were chosen as governor, or "superior-General", beginning with Louis-Armand de Bourbon, Prince de Conti, who died in 1727 when he was succeeded by Louis-Henri, Prince de Condé (died 1740) and finally Louis-François, Prince de Conti (d. 1776).
Describing it as the Royal Archconfraternity of Knights and Pilgrims of the Religious Military Hospitaller Order of the Holy Sepulcher, Louis XV in 1731 authorized the wearing of the Order's badge but without the red ribbon, to which it was attached by knights of the Holy Sepulcher in Spain and Poland (and which might have caused confusion with the French Royal Order of Saint Louis). In 1769 its name was changed again to the "Royal Order and Archconfraternity of Knights, Palmiers, Travelers and Confrères of devotion of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem", leading to the publication of the regulations in 1771 and, four years later, the "ancient" statutes, who origin was falsely given to 1149 with the claim that they had originally been granted by Louis VII. The statutes put forward the preposterous claim that the "Order" had been founded by Godfrey of Bouillon and that the Kings of France were "Grand Masters". The nomination of "great officers" now proceeded with the appointment of a "Grand Administrator", "Grand Visitor" and "Grand Almoner". On 31 January 1775 Louis XVI had confirmed royal protection of the Archconfraternity and permitted the wearing of the badge; but, one year later, apprised of the history of this institution and informed that the right to confer knighthoods of the Holy Sepulcher was the prerogative of the Guardian of the Holy Places, the King forbade the wearing of the cross of this "pretended Order". The worst abuse was the practice of receiving "knights" of the Holy Sepulcher at the Cordeliers Church; seldom even noble, these would-be knights had never even attempted a pilgrimage. By 1780 they had reverted to their old name of "Archconfraternity" and a handful of the so-called knights even traveled to Jerusalem to regulate their position. The last General Assembly was held on August 1, 1791 when the Archconfraternity dissolved and abandoned the Cordeliers Church. 
With the Restoration a former Cordeliers priest, Fr Lacombe de Crouzet, and a notorious Freemason, the Vice-Admiral Allemand, were persuaded to revive the "Order". An unsuccessful attempt to gain recognition from the French government was then made, the title of Grand Master being offered to the Count of Artois (future King Charles X of France and Navarre), who sensibly declined, although diplomas of knights were issued in the name of the King but without his consent. In 1818 Louis XVIII was persuaded to confirm a possibly apocryphal medieval privilege of bestowing the holy water used to anoint the bodies of kings and princes of the Blood Royal, that was claimed by the knights. It has been claimed that within a year there were between three hundred and four hundred and fifty French members of the Order, excluding members of the Royal Family, of whose acceptance of membership no evidence has been provided; new knights were required to pay a passage fee of three thousand livres on joining.  It was not difficult to find recruits at this time as there was considerable interest in ancient chivalric institutions, inspired by the writings of romantic authors such as Sir Walter Scott.
As so often happens with false Orders, there was a schism in 1817, caused in part by a difference between Allemand and the "Grand Administrator" the Count de Caumont with Fr Lacombe de Crouzet. Reconciled in 1821, Caumont was able to persuade the editor of the Almanach Royal to include the Archconfraternity as an "Order" in the 1821 and 1822 editions. This finally provoked the Guardian of the Holy Sepulcher to intervene. After writing to the Vicomte de Chateaubriand, the French Foreign Minister who had himself been installed as a knight by the Guardian in 1806, the Crown was apprised of the situation. It was decided that the unregulated wearing of Orders of Chivalry, whether false or genuine, should be controlled and by a decree of 5 May 1824, the Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honour, the Marshal Duke of Taranto, declared that "all other pretended orders which are qualified as French, such as those of Saint Georges of Franche-Comté; Saint Hubert of the Ardennes, of Lorraine and of the Barrois; of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, and all others under whatever title or denomination .... are declared abolished, consequently null, illegal, abusive; and those who do not abandon them immediately are liable to the penalties demanded by article 259 of the penal Code.  The members of the Archconfraternity held their last assembly in 1827 and dissolved soon afterwards.
The Knights of the Holy Sepulcher in Spain and the Netherlands
According to Pasini Frassoni, several Bulls confirmed the knights' privileges in Spain during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, but these can have related only to the Order of Canons and no mention was made of "military knights."  Although both Spanish  and Flemish  knights were dubbed at the Tomb, their own Sovereign did not acknowledge the enjoyment of any particular status. With the accession of Philip II, an interest developed for a pilgrimage-crusade and the King confirmed his willingness to transform the existing Archconfraternity (associated with the Canons) into an Order or Chivalric Militia. Discouraged in this endeavor by the Pope, Philip nonetheless welcomed his election on March 26, 1558, by a group of thirty predominately Flemish knights gathered in the Church of Saint Catherine at Hoochstraaten, as Grand Master of the hitherto non-existent "Order of the Holy Sepulcher". These knights were keen that their status should be acknowledged by membership of a body with a central organization, but this had never been the purpose of according knighthoods at the Tomb. Two weeks later, on April 10th, the King announced at his Palace in Brussels that he was pleased to accept the honor, that his son and heir would be "Prince" of the Order and he would initiate a new crusade to liberate the Holy Places. An Ambassador was sent to Rome to request papal approval but word quickly reached the Grand Master of Malta. Confronted with the opposition of La Vallette, the King addressed letters to the Pope and others explaining his purpose. The death of the Pope, however, stalled the proceedings and his successor was too immersed with greater issues to give this any priority. In 1563 Philip tried again to obtain Papal support, writing not only Pius IV but to eighteen Cardinals. Once again unsuccessful Philip dropped the plan and his brief Grand Magistery came to an end.
There is no record of any further attempt to maintain a military Order of the Holy Sepulcher in Spain after this date, although the Cross was certainly conceded to Spaniards by the Guardian of the Holy Places and continued to be worn. It was not until 1892 that the "Noble Chapters of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Madrid and Barcelona" were constituted and, in 1905, King Alfonso XIII accepted the title of "Grand Bailiff of Honour and Protector of the Order". Both the King and his brother-in-law, Prince and Infant Don Carlos of Bourbon-Sicily, were given the Collar of the Order with the special badge that is worn only by the Spanish knights. Today the two Spanish Lieutenancies alone in the Order have maintained a "noble" character, requiring proof of paternal nobility for all its members. King Juan Carlos of Spain has been awarded the Collar of the Order, as was his late father, the Count of Barcelona, and both the Prince of the Asturias and the next senior male of the Royal House of Spain, the Infant Carlos of Bourbon-Sicily, Duke of Calabria have received the Grand Cross.
Numerous historic privileges have been claimed for knights of the Holy Sepulcher; the right to the title of Count Palatine (in any case abrogated by the nineteenth century reforms of the Roman nobility), precedence before the members of all other Orders except that of the Golden Fleece, the right to legitimize bastards, change baptismal names, grant arms, create notaries and hold religious benefices while married (similar extravagant privileges were granted at various times to the members of the Constantinian Order and several other Orders but all have been effectively abrogated and are unrecognized today). Such privileges were certainly never recognized as being the prerogatives of the knights appointed by the two French institutions, and there is little evidence that any European ruler recognized these privileges even for those dubbed at the Tomb of Our Lord. Appealing though it is to the modern knights and dames to imagine the privileges once enjoyed by their predecessors, we may safely assume that they were the inventions of knights compiling statutes and lists of privileges. The only real privilege was that of wearing the Cross of Jerusalem, attested to by a certificate which, over time, became an elaborate illuminated diploma reciting the journey undertaken by the pilgrim and affirming the enjoyment of the title, honor and privileges of knighthood of the Holy Sepulcher. In addition the knights could use the Cross in connections with Armorial devices and qualify himself in all public documents as a knight.
The foundation of the Order as an Order of Chivalry of the Holy Roman Church is of more recent date. By a Brief dated 23 July 1847, Pius IX put the Guardian of the Holy Places under the authority of the newly re-established Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and, in December of the same year, conceded the right to make knights to the Patriarch. This document reads, in article VIII, "all the regulations concerning the knights of the Holy Sepulcher and established earlier remain valid.. it is decreed that the conferral of this Order pertains to the Patriarch ... who may use this power in favor of those people distinguished by the integrity of their life, who have rendered remarkable services to the church and demonstrate all the other conditions required for this honor..... the sums given by the knights as dues must be employed to assist the needs of the Holy Land". At the same time the existing knights were organized into a single group, under the Patriarchal authority. Twenty-one years later, by the Brief Cum multa supienter of 24 January 1868, the same Pope reformed the Order, placing it under direct Papal control with the Patriarch as "Administrator" and "Rector" acting in the name of the Holy See. These privileges were confirmed again in 1880, with the provision that the Patriarch had to inform the Secretary of Apostolic Briefs of the names of those who had been admitted every six months.
By the Brief Venerabilis frater of August 3rd, 1888, Pope Leo XIII authorized the concession of the cross in three classes to ladies who have served the church with particular merit - this became the first Order under direct Papal supervision which could be conceded to ladies. In a communication published in the Osservatore Romano on March 14, 1906, the Holy Sepulcher was included as the fifth Papal Order after Saint Sylvester with the provision that the Pope reserved to himself and the Cardinal Grand Chancellor of Equestrian Orders (a post now merged with that of Secretary of State) supreme authority, while according the Latin Patriarch the title of Grand Master and the right to award the Order. By a further reform the following year in the brief Quam multa (May 3, 1907), Saint Pius X took the title of Sovereign Head and Grand Master of the Sacred Military Order himself, appointing the Patriarch pro tempore Lieutenant of the Grand Magistery with the right to nominate knights. King Alfonso XIII of Spain was appointed Grand Bailiff and Protector of the Order in Spain at the same time. The grades of Grand Cross, Commander and Knight had been instituted in 1868, while a Grand Cordon in the form of a Collar was granted to the heads and members of several Royal Houses, including the German Emperor William II, the Archdukes Eugene (himself Grand Master of the Teutonic Order) and Josef-August of Austria, King Leopold II and the future King Albert of the Belgians, Ferdinand Pius Duke of Calabria and his wife, the King of Portugal and the Emperor of Ethiopia. The Order was divided into eleven national Lieutenancies, three Spanish and eight Italian; today there are Lieutenancies in most Catholic and many non-Catholic countries (including Great Britain) with ten in the United States (having more than seven thousand members).
By an Apostolic Letter of January 6, 1928, the Pope relinquished the title of Grand Master while the Patriarch became "Perpetual Chief and Administrator" with the Order was now converted from being a Papal Order to an Order under Papal protection. . A decision of July 27, 1931 followed by a decree of the Congregation of Ceremonial of August 5, 1931, substituted the title of "Equestrian" for that of "Sacred Military" which pertained to the Constantinian Order and the rank of Bailiff, which was used in the Order of Malta and the Constantinian Order, was also abolished. The Patriarch was now restored to his earlier title of Rector and Administrator and four classes were instituted (in the statutes of March 2, 1932), Grand Cross, Commander with star or Grand Officer, Commander and Knight (or Dame). The representatives of the Patriarch in the various countries were given the title of Lieutenant and the style of Excellency. Finally, so that the Order could be recognized by governments, as an Order under a foreign head of State, the diplomas of knight must receive the visa and seal of the Chancellor of Briefs (a post abolished in more recent Vatican reforms). On July 16, 1940 Cardinal Nicola Canali was appointed Protector of the Order, and thanks to his influence the Order was given new statutes by the brief Quam Romani Pontifices of September 14, 1949, with the title of Grand Master being restored for a Cardinal to be nominated by the Pope. Not surprisingly the first nominee to this post was Cardinal Canali himself, appointed on December 26, 1949, with the Patriarch becoming Grand Prior. The Order was constituted as a "Legal Entity in International Law" with its seat fixed in Rome (at the Monastery of San Onofrio). Cardinal Canali died on August 3, 1961 and was succeeded by Cardinal Eugène Tisserant, who died in 1972. He was succeeded by Cardinal Maximilian (baron) de Furstenberg who died in 1988.
HH POPE JOHN PAUL II ADDRESSING MEMBERS OF THE HOLY SEPULCHER
The Order was reformed most recently in 1976, the new Statutes receiving Papal approval on 8 July 1977. Its character is now primarily honorific, with few specific but several general obligations imposed upon its members, who are not members of a Religious confraternity as are those of the first and second class of the Order of Malta. Its principal mission is to reinforce the practice of Christian life by its members, in absolute fidelity to the Popes; to sustain and assist the religious, spiritual, charitable and social works of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land; and to conserve and propagate the faith in the Holy Land and the rights of the Catholic Church there. Aspirant members must be practicing Catholics of good character, recommended by their local Ordinary with the support of several members of the Order, and are required to make a generous donation as "passage money" as well as an annual oblation. There is a provision for the Grand Master to admit members by motu proprio in exceptional circumstances and also for the officers of the Grand Magistery to occasionally recommend candidates to the Grand Master.
The highest class of the Order is that of Knight of the Collar, of whom there may be a maximum of twelve; the second class, for knights, is divided into the grades of Grand Cross, Grand Officer (or Commander with Star), Commander and Knight; the third class is divided into the grades of Dame Grand Cross, Dame Commander with Star, Dame Commander and Dame.  The previous Grand Master, Cardinal Caprio, was appointed in succession to Cardinal de Furstenberg on December 4, 1989, he resigned at the end of 1995. His successor, nominated by the Holy Father in January 1996 is H.Em. Carlo, Cardinal Furno. The headquarters of the Order remain in the Palazzo San Onofrio near Saint Peter's Basilica. Today there are close to eighteen thousand members of the Order and the membership represents a loyal and devoted Catholic élite, generous in their support of the Holy See and its institutions, particularly in the Holy Land where it gives substantial aid to the humanitarian and religious projects of the Patriarch. By the Constitution of 1977 the members of the Order must promise to "revive in modern form the spirit and ideals of the Crusaders with the weapons of faith, the Apostolate and Christian charity". The Grand Master may also confer the Order of Merit of the Holy Sepulcher (in three classes) on both Catholics and non-Catholics who have been of particular service to the Order and its works; this is granted in three grades to both gentlemen and ladies: first, second and third class.
COMMANDER & COMMANDER WITH STAR
The Order is governed by the Grand Master with the officers of the Grand Magistery, which is composed of the Governor-General, who is nominated by the Grand Master from among the lay knights. The other members are the Vice-Governor-Generals, also chosen from the lay knights; the Chancellor who may be chosen from either the lay or ecclesiastical members,; and the Master of Ceremonies, who must be chosen from the ecclesiastical members. There is also a Council, composed of the Grand Prior, always the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the highest ranking member of the Order after the Grand Master, the Assessor, the members of the Grand Magistery, National Lieutenants and Magistral Delegates.
The badge is the Cross of Jerusalem with a smaller Cross between the arms, all in red enamel, suspended from a black ribbon. The second and third grades are entitled to a breast Star of two different sizes while all knights may wear the magnificent uniform of the Order in white and gold and the white (black for ladies) Church robes. The badge of the Order of Merit is a plain Jerusalem Cross with a gold wreath instead of the small crosses between the arms, suspended from a red and white striped ribbon.
The Grand Master is H.Em. Carlo Cardinal Furno, the Grand Prior is H.E. the Most Rev. Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Governor-General (lay Head of the Order) is presently Ambassador of Italy Count Ludovico Carducci Artenisio in succession to Prince Dr Don Paolo-Enrico Massimo Lancellotti, the Vice-Governor-Generals are General Ferruccio Ferrari, ............... the Assessor is Monsignor Luigi del Gallo di Roccagiovine.
 The best survey of the Order, which examines the Order's origins in detail, is Les Chevaliers du Saint-Sepulcre de Jérusalem, by Jean-Pierre de Gennes, Paris, 1995 (Herault), with an introductory letter from the Cardinal Grand Master, Cardinal Caprio.
In Les voyages du seigneur de Villamont français, chevalier de l'Ordre de Jérusalem, Gentilhomme ordinaire de la Chambre du Roy, etc, published at Lyon by Pierre Bernard 1613.
 The Grand Master of the Order of Malta includes the title of Master of the Holy Sepulcher in his full titularity.
 A detailed history of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher, in which the independence and crusader foundation of the Order is argued passionately, is Count F. Pasini Frassoni's Histoire de l'Ordre Militaire du Saint Sepulchre de Jérusalem, published in Rome by the Collegio Araldica (undated, circa 1910). The author was guilty, however, of perpetuating many of the myths surrounding the Order's foundation.
 See Gennes, Op. cit., pp.30-31, 95-100, 119-141, 188-210, 218-261.
 Gennes, Op. cit., p.p. 30-31.
 This text, addressed to the Cistercian Abbot of Aulae Regiae, Prague, was first published by H. Canisius, in Antiquae lectiones, 6 vols, Ingoldstadt, 1601-1604, vol V, pp. 95-142. See Gennes, Op. cit., p.270, and note 27.
 Canisius, Op. cit., vol. V, p.126.
 Voyage d'oultremer en Jherusalem par le seigneur de Caumon en l'an MCCCCXVIII, (first) published by the Marquis de la Grange, Paris, 1858. the original manuscript is in the British Library, Egerton gift, no. 890. See Gennes, Op. cit., pp. 289-290, notes 75-77.
 Chronici...., by Joannis zu Leyden, published by Fr. Sweerts, in Rerum Belgicarum Annales, Chronici et Historici ...... tomus primus, Frankfurt, 1620, pp. 346-347. See Gennes, Op. cit., pp.290-291, notes 78-81. Leyden was a Carmelite monk named prior of Haarlem in 1497, where he died in 1504. His chronicle was written in 1495 and tells the history of the Wittelsbach (the Ducal House of Bavaria) Counts of Holland. A bastard son of Duke Albrecht of Bavaria, Count of Holland, Wilhelm van Schagen (died 1473), made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in about 1420 and must have recited this story to the Monk Leyden.
 Nicolai Uptoni de Studio Militari, libri quatuor, published by Ed. Bissaeus, London 1654. Upton was a member of the chapter of Salisbury Cathedral who published a dissertation on knighthood.
 Die Pilgerfahrt Hans Bernhards von Eptingen, published by A. Bernoulli, in Beiträge für Vaterländ Geschicht, Basel, 1885, Neue Folge II, Heft 1, pp.1-75. The original mansurcipt is in the Lucerne Library. See Gennes, Op. cit., p. 303.
 Der Ritterden Vom Hl. Grab von den Kreuzzugen bis zur gagenwarth, by V. Cramer, Köln, 1952. See Gennes, Op. cit., p. 304, and note 134.
 Maurice Keen, Chivalry, London 1984, p.78.
 See Gennes, Op. cit., pp.277-278.
 Now in the Chapel of Jerusalem, attached to the Hospital of the Holy Spririt in the Church of Saint Sebald in Nuremberg. See Gennes, Op. cit., p. 278, note 59.
 Among the knights invested on this occasion were Graf Johann Wernher von Zimmern, Reichsgraf Heirnich von Stöffel, Johann Truchsess von Waldburg and Baron Urusus von Rechburg zu Hohenrechberg were representatives of some of Germany's most eminent noble families.
 For a detailed account of the investiture and subsequent proceedings, see Felicis Fabri or Faber (1441-1502), Dissertatio historica sistans vita et scripta, edited by F. D. Haeberlin,Gottingen, 1742. Cited by Gennes, Op. cit., p. 313, note 169.
According to Helyot, op.cit., vol. II, p. 135.
 Gennes, Op. cit., points out on p.381 that there is no reason to doubt this and that it may probably be found in the Vatican Archives.
However, a survey of the Roll provided by Pasini Frassoni includes relatively few names from well-known noble families and many names which were certainly "bourgeois" in origin.
 For some of these pilgrim knights a second ceremony carried out at the Monastery of Saint Catherine in Sinai gave them the added privilege of becoming a knight of Saint Catherine. They did not become members of a "confraternity", however, and it is unclear what actual privileges they enjoyed.
 See Gennes, Op. cit., p. 333.
 In 1620 André Favin wrote that the Pope "declare himself chief and sovereign Grand Master of the knights, empowering his Vicar-General Guardian of the Holy S[eulcher to confer this order on pilgrims and travelers to the Holy Land". In La Théatre d'Honneur e de Chevalerie. A decree of the Congregation for the Propaganda of the Faith promulgated in 1708, article 85 stated that in 1496 Aexander VI wishing to attach the power of investing knights to the Holy See declared himself and his successors "supreme moderators of the Order" and delegated the power to invest knights to his Vicar-General Guardian of the Holy Sepulcher. This is based on Favin's text rather than anything in the Vatican archives and cannot be considered evidence of an assumption by the Pope of control of the knights. It should be noted that the Congregation does not use the word Master, but Moderator, which has a different meaning, but the words "Equites Ordiniis SS. Sepulchri" do appear in Papal document for the first time See Gennes, Op. cit., for a discussion of these issues, pp. 377-382.
 See Historica theologica et moralis Terrae Sanctae, by Fr Francis Quaresmius (Custos from 1618), 1639. See Gennes, Op. cit., p. 379.
 Article 20 prescribed that every knight must pay 100 Venetian sequins to the Almoner. Each candidate must also be examined by the Franciscan fathers and their acceptance had to be unanimous.
After the Order of Saint Lazarus's incorporation into that of Saint John in 1489, the French knights refused to submit for one hundred and twenty years to Papal authority. In 1608 this resistance paid off when Henri IV united the commander at Boigny of this Order with his newly founded "Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel". Although the Holy See recognised the latter, the Popes never acknowledged the de facto continuation of the Order of Saint Lazarus, now "united" by royal authority with the more recent Order.
 Nicolas Bénard, Pierre Augier, Jean Boisselly, Gabriel Brémond, Jean Thévenot, for example, received between 1617 and 1645.
 From the end of the 16th century the Grand Masters of Malta described themselves additonally as Masters of "the Military Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Our Lord". Their confusions seems to have stemmed from the text of a contemporary historian who had himself confused the Orders of Canons with a supposed Order of Knights.
See Hervé, Baron Pinoteau, Les Ordres de Chevalerie du Royaume de France, in Comte Garden de Saint-Ange, Code des Ordres de Chevalerie, reprint edition 1976, pp.46-49, for a discussion of the French rump of the "Order of the Holy Sepulcher".
 See Gennes, Op. cit., pp.445-446.
By Pasini Frassoni, Op.cit..
For the full text of this decree, see Code des Ordres de Chevalerie, by Count Garden de Saint Ange, reprint edition with preface by Baron Pinoteau.
 Op.cit. p.47. The Hospitallers of Saint John attempt to absorb the Canons benefices was resisted by the Spanish Crown and, on 4 November 1513, Leo X separated the church of the Priory of the Canons of the Holy Sepulcher at Calatuyud from the Spanish Priory of Saint John.
 The Spanish and Portuguese knights composed 11.5 % of those dubbed between 1500 and 1560, falling to 8% of those dubbed between 1597 and 1739 and a mere 4% of those dubbed between 1815 and 1848.
 The Flemish composed 26% of those dubbed between 1500 and 1560 but, thanks to the disasters wrought by the Reformation, only 3% of those dubbed between 1597 and 1739, and less than 2% of those dubbed between 1815 and 1848.
 In Great Britain this meant that the Cross of the Order was now considered to be a badge of Religion and permission would no longer be given for it to be worn as a foreign decoration.
 See 1977 Statutes, Title II, article 5.