Monday, December 12, 2011

The Holy Sepulchre Ordre

Recently I saw the coverage that Vatican Cardinal John Patrick Foley (American) passed away just yesterday. The Cardinal was President of the Pontifical Council on Social Communications and, I am told, for many years provided the English language commentary for the papal Midnight Mass on Christmas every year. He was also the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. This order is, I think, not usually considered one of the "papal honors" but it is under the protection of the Popes and has a significant connection to the Kingdom of Belgium. It traces its history back to the Belgian leader of the First Crusade, Godfrey de Bouillon who was the first "Advocate of the Holy Sepulchre".
On October 19, 1955 King Albert II and Queen Paola were both given membership in the order. The King is "Knight of the Collar" and the Queen is "Dame of the Collar". It is the only Vatican order of which the Queen is a member. The King also is "Bailiff and Knight Grand Cross of Honor and Devotion" of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Prince Philippe is also a "Knight Grand Cross" of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, he was given that honor also in 1995. He is also a "Knight of Honor and Devotion" of the Order of Malta as well. Prince Laurent is not a member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre but he is a "Knight of Honor and Devotion" of the Knights of Malta since 1998 (so take that everyone who thinks he is a bad person!). I don't think I have ever heard of Cardinal Foley before but he sounds like he was a very good, devout priest from what I have read about him since his passing away, defending even those positions of the Church which have become unpopular to many people today. The new Grand Master of the Holy Sepulchre Order is another American, Cardinal Edwin Frederick O'Brien, and I hope he has great success in that post. If any of you reading want to be a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre also, all I can say is to make some important friends. Membership is given only by invitation of local bishops with endorsement by active members.

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