Centuries of Service to Christians in the Holy Land
Welcome to the website of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in Ireland. Ours is an ancient Catholic chivalric order of Knighthood with the Pope as sovereign who appoints the Grand Master, currently His Eminence Edwin Cardinal O'Brien. It has its headquarters in Vatican City and is under the unique protection of the Holy See. The 30,000 members of the Order worldwide are organized either within Lieutenancies or Magistral Delegations.
Recently published by our Lay Master is “An Irish Armorial - Heraldry in the Lieutenancy of Ireland” which indicates the coat of Arms of various members – living and dead.
Pope Francis, when he met members in Rome in 2013 spoke on three basic elements of Christian life: journeying, building, professing. “Your journey,” said the Holy Father to members of the Order “is in history - in a world where the boundaries are ever-expanding, many barriers fall, and our paths are tied ever more closely to that of others.” He encouraged the dames and knights to be true to their tradition of faithful, compassionate and loving service, as they work to build a brighter future for and with the struggling Christians of the Holy Land.
“Believe in the redemptive power of the Cross and the Resurrection,” said Pope Francis, “in order to offer hope and peace. In a particular way, the Land of Jesus has so much need of it! "
I hope you will take the opportunity to browse this site, which is in the course of re-construction, and familiarise yourself with our work, spiritual commitment and ceremonial. In 2019, over 50 members and friends will travel to the Holy Land on pilgrimage to meet "the living stones".
In this Lieutenancy our 200 members meet regularly in Knock, Belfast and other locations, to participate in the Eucharist, to update themselves with developments in the Holy Land and to witness to the Faith. Last year, August 2018, in which Ireland hosted the World Meeting of Families, the Lieutenancy sponsored the attendance of a group of Holy Land pilgrims to participate in the various events in the Dublin area.
In July eight Irish men and women were admitted to membership in a colourful ceremony in St Patrick’s College Maynooth. You will see some of these photographs of that event on the site. During the course of the annual Chapter meeting, Director of Caritas Jerusalem Sr Bridget Tighe spoke to us on the reality of living the Christian life in the Holy Land with its various joys and tribulations.
If you have any suggestions for changes in the content, appearance or structure of the site which you think would make it more attractive and/or more useful to you or to the browsing public, please contact us and we shall see what changes we can affect.
"Deus lo Vult - Mar is toil le Dia - God Wills It"
- Newsletter - October 2019
Read the full newsletter here
Extract from the Homily, Maynooth Admission Ceremony – 20 July 2019
Archbishop Jude Okolo, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland
“And you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord would give”. (Isaiah 62:2)
What is in a name? What is in a title? Does it make a difference to be a knight? Is there a difference between a knight and a non-knight?
A new name marks the end of an epoch and is an indicator of a real change which may have started already. When God changes a name, it indicates that something new has happened or is already happening to the individual — a new relationship is forged, a new character quality is created, or a new phase of life begins. We pray for this renewal amongst all the baptised.”
Open doors at the Beit Jala seminary, one of the important Latin Patriarchate institutions supported by the Order
To keep up to date with developments in the Holy Land, please access the following websites:
Purposes of the Order
- To strengthen in its members the practice of Christian life, in absolute fidelity to the Supreme Pontiff and according to the teachings of the Church, observing as its foundation the principle of charity of which the Order is a fundamental means for assistance to the Holy Land.
- To sustain and aid the charitable, cultural and social works and institutions of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land, particularly those of and in the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, with which the Order maintains traditional ties.
- To support the preservation and propagation of the Faith in those lands, interesting in this work the Catholics scattered throughout the world, united in charity by the symbol of the Order, and also all Christian brothers.
- To sustain the rights of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land.
Aqaba on the shores of the Red Sea, Southern Jordan, see Mission in the Holy Land
Preamble to the Constitution
"You are to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1.8.)
Knighthood is defined as self-discipline, generosity and courage. Whosoever does not have the firm willingness to develop and deepen these traits in his life will never be able to become a True Knight. The zeal for self-renunciation, in the midst of this society of abundance, generous aid to the weak and those without protection, courageous struggle for justice and peace are the characteristic virtues of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.
The tie with Jerusalem which is manifested in the Order and exacts responsibility for the Holy Places orients our desires toward the heavenly Jerusalem (Gal. 4.26)
The Holy Sepulchre is the symbol of the Passion shared with Jesus and also our hope in the Resurrection (Phil. 3.10.)
The Cross which we wear is not just jewellery but a testimony of our submission to the Cross of Christ. The form of the Cross which is the symbol of the Order brings to our minds the five wounds of our Lord as well as the suffering in the Holy Land with the loss of its own blood.
"The Pilgrim Shell" reminds us of the reality that we are all pilgrims on this earth, and recalls also our pledge to aid the needy.
Exemplary moral conduct and true Christian feeling are the prime requisites for admission to the Order. The practice of Christian faith must be shown in the heart of one's family, at work, in obedience to the Holy Father, and in involvement in Christian activities both in one's own parish and in one's Diocese.
This distinction of the affiliation with the Order requires of its members:
- Religious devotion.
- Participation in the activities of the Church.
- A lay apostolate, placed at the service of the Church.
- Diligence of the ecumenical spirit, above all by means of active interest in the well-recognized problems in Palestine.
The characteristic feature of the Order consists of its pledge to the Holy Places of Jerusalem and its obligations toward the Church in Palestine. It is not possible to stress sufficiently that the charitable work of the Order must have its roots in the spirituality of its members.
Does the mission of the Order, and concomitant obligations, appeal to you?