Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem

I would like some information about this order, especially if there are any members here. They look like an amazing order dedicated to Christ and the Holy Land, and I am just fascinated by them.


Thank you for the reply! There was definately some good info there! Would you happen to personally know a member?

No, sorry, I don’t. I just googled your question.

rfournier103, a good place to learn about the history and the work of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem is at the website of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. I am a member of the EOHSJ and can try to answer what questions you have.

Thank you, very much. I spent a whole day last week perusing the internet on the topic of the EOHSJ and visited the many websites. In particular, I found some of the videos extrordinarily fascinating. I also found the Holy Land and it’s treasures (physical and spiritual) to be quite beautiful.

In a nutshell, I was in awe of the mission of charity, the Holy Land, the Patriarch, and the majesty of it all.

We live in an age where Catholicism is derided by so many, and honor is a rarity. As practicing Catholics, we are already part of something far bigger than ourselves. The EOHSJ has gone FURTHER and given even more to God and His children in need. I have more, but I will PM you.

I thank you for responding! You made my day.

I’m a member, just joined last October.

To the OP, if you’re interested in joining, there’s a procedure that’s followed. Two members of the Order nominate you, and the regional head decides whether to invite you. It’s all done confidentially and you’re not actually supposed to even be aware that you’re under consideration.

The people who nominate you are supposed to know you in person and have known you for a while. They are expected to actually state how long they’ve known you and in what capacity. They’re expected to know enough about you to give information about why you should be admitted. They also need to get your pastor to sign off on it and state how long you’ve been a parishioner. You need to have been a Catholic for at least five years. If you’re married, they’ll often admit and promote you and your spouse at the same time, and you’d need to provide your certificate of Religious Marriage.

If the Order accepts the proposed nomination, and if you accept when they invite you, you do a few obligatory things before they induct you. It should take about a year. It is a high honour and a state decoration, so it has procedures and regulations that are followed. Certain things are worn at certain times and you can only wear the vestments or the decorations when you’re specifically invited to. They do enforce the rules carefully to avoid disarray, though currently the rules which were written in the 70s are undergoing a revision and haven’t been updated to accommodate the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

There are different rules for different regions (mostly called Lieutenancies). Each Lieutenancy is headed by a Lieutenant who’s chosen by the Cardinal Grand Master. Each Lieutenancy has a different procedure for what it requires of its members. The United States has nine Lieutenancies because the country is so big, and the majority of the Order’s over 20,000 members are Americans. By comparison, Belgium has less than 400 and the Philippines has around 30, even though the Philippines is a big Catholic country.

Each Lieutenancy is also co-headed by a Grand Prior, who is a senior Bishop from the Lieutenancy, often a Cardinal. Cardinals Mahony, O’Malley and Dolan hold those posts in their Lieutenancies. The Grand Prior is typically the one who inducts the new members and performs spiritual tasks but not administrative ones (because they have their own dioceses to run).

The Order is committed today to helping the Christians in the Holy Land who face poverty and discrimination because of their faith. The Order helps fund churches, schools, hospitals and seminaries. Its importance grows every day as we hear of Christians being driven out of the Middle East, slaughtered at a level greater than any other time in the history of the Church.

Nice to see another member here. You’d be a part of the Southern Lieutenancy?

I’m aware of how new members are selected (I have researched this quite a bit, actually). The way that the EOHSJ selects new members is actually a good one. It’s a good vetting process and complete strangers don’t get in. They know what they’re getting right from the get-go.

The problem for guys like myself who had interest in the EOHSJ is that I’m not known personally by my Archbishop (Cadinal O’Malley), and honestly don’t know anyone who’s ever HEARD of the EOHSJ.

If I were to become far more active in the Church at the diocesan level, I would become known and MAYBE invited someday. However, as a man who lives pretty far from Boston and doesn’t have the money to support more than my parish and my own family, I figure I’m not what the Order is really looking for anyway. My charitable donations can’t really go beyond my tithing - and therefore can’t financially support anyone in the Holy Land. I would if I could.

Congratulations on your membership. It is quite an honor.

I’m a member of the Southwestern Lieutenancy (Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas). Cardinal DiNardo of Galveston-Houston is our Grand Prior.

By coincidence, there is a good article in Today’s Catholic News (Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend) that was published today: todayscatholicnews.org/2014/12/equestrian-order-of-the-holy-sepulchre-of-jerusalem-supports-the-life-of-the-church-in-holy-land/

Was the Grand Master at your annual meeting this year? He was at ours, I’m wondering if he did it for all American Lieutenancies this year.

They set up an adoration chapel in a conference room and when I went in, I saw an older man in a purple golf shirt with his breviary sitting there by himself. I couldn’t believe it, it was actually Cardinal O’Brien himself. I was in there alone with him for nearly ten minutes. After that, a friend who’s also a member walked in and sat next to him, didn’t realise who it was until I told him afterward. I got to have a picture with him afterward, though it was at the dinner and he was in his cassock.

It was an amazing weekend. Three Cardinals, a bunch of bishops and even an abbot were there. Fun fact: Cardinal Mahony likes using the Filipino barong. In fact, I don’t think I saw him in a clerical shirt the whole weekend. He even had a red barong, a colour I’ve never seen those in. Cardinal Levada was there too dressed indistinguishably from the other priests. If they hadn’t announced this name, I wouldn’t have known it was him.

It’s fascinating to see these guys at the times when they’re just relaxed. Usually when you see them, it’s at an important function where they’re guest speakers or something VIP-ish. When they’re just talking with people, or praying the breviary like any other priest, or playing with some of the small kids who came with their parents, it’s surreal to see they’re pretty much just parish priests at heart.

Here’s a thought. Ask your pastor. There might be members at your parish and he’d know, if he was there long enough. It might help.

And you could join when you’re older and your kids aren’t dependent on you anymore. At 29, I was one of the few with non-grey hair. I met one new member who’s 81.

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