Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus
The Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus is an order of chivalry awarded by the House of Savoy
House of Savoy
The House of Savoy was formed in the early 11th century in the historical Savoy region. Through gradual expansion, it grew from ruling a small county in that region to eventually rule the Kingdom of Italy from 1861 until the end of World War II, king of Croatia and King of Armenia...

, the heads of which were formerly Kings of Italy
King of Italy
King of Italy is a title adopted by many rulers of the Italian peninsula after the fall of the Roman Empire...

. The order was formed by a union of the original Order of St Lazarus and the Order of Saint Maurice in 1572 and has around 2,000 members.

History of the order

The Order of Saint Lazarus was established as a military and religious community at the time of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....

, probably some years before 1090. Presuming a foundation date of 1099 for the Order of the Hospital (now the Sovereign Military Order of Malta), the Order of Saint Lazarus is arguably the oldest surviving of the medieval military-religious knightly orders. From its inception, the order was concerned with the relief of leprosy
Leprosy or Hansen's disease is a chronic disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Named after physician Gerhard Armauer Hansen, leprosy is primarily a granulomatous disease of the peripheral nerves and mucosa of the upper respiratory tract; skin lesions...

, and many of its members were lepers who had been knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

s in other orders. It became very rich, its practices dubious, and its funds much abused. With the fall of Acre
Siege of Acre (1291)
The Siege of Acre took place in 1291 and resulted in the loss of the Crusader-controlled city of Acre to the Muslims. It is considered one of the most important battles of the time period. Although the crusading movement continued for several more centuries, the capture of the city marked the end...

 in 1291 the knights of St Lazarus fled the Holy Land
Holy Land
The Holy Land is a term which in Judaism refers to the Kingdom of Israel as defined in the Tanakh. For Jews, the Land's identifiction of being Holy is defined in Judaism by its differentiation from other lands by virtue of the practice of Judaism often possible only in the Land of Israel...

 and Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and settled in France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and, in 1311, in Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

. In the sixteenth century, the order declined in credibility and wealth. With papal support, Duke of Savoy became Grand Master in 1572.

The Order of St Maurice was founded in 1434 by Amadeus VIII, Duke of Savoy, who became Antipope Felix V. The order declined, but in 1572 was reestablished by Pope Pius V
Pope Pius V
Pope Saint Pius V , born Antonio Ghislieri , was Pope from 1566 to 1572 and is a saint of the Catholic Church. He is chiefly notable for his role in the Council of Trent, the Counter-Reformation, and the standardization of the Roman liturgy within the Latin Church...

 at the instigation on the then Duke of Savoy.

Before its transfer to the House of Savoy, the Order of Saint Lazarus maintained a number of leper hospitals, prominent among these an institution in the Italian city of Capua. French knights were reluctant to accept the Savoy grand mastership with effect in their country and the French kings maintained protectorate over Order of Saint Lazarus
Order of Saint Lazarus
This article concerns the order of knighthood named after Saint Lazarus. For other uses of the name Lazarus, see Lazarus .The Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem is an order of chivalry which originated in a leper hospital founded by the Knights Hospitaller in 1098 by the...

In 1572 Pope Gregory XIII
Pope Gregory XIII
Pope Gregory XIII , born Ugo Boncompagni, was Pope from 1572 to 1585. He is best known for commissioning and being the namesake for the Gregorian calendar, which remains the internationally-accepted civil calendar to this date.-Youth:He was born the son of Cristoforo Boncompagni and wife Angela...

 merged the Italian foundation of the Order of Saint Lazarus with the Order of St Maurice. The new order was charged to defend the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 as well as continue to assist lepers. The war galleys of the order fought against the Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and the Barbary pirates. When leprosy again broke out the order founded, in 1773, a hospital in Aosta
Aosta is the principal city of the bilingual Aosta Valley in the Italian Alps, north-northwest of Turin. It is situated near the Italian entrance of the Mont Blanc Tunnel, at the confluence of the Buthier and the Dora Baltea, and at the junction of the Great and Little St. Bernard routes...


With the Italian unification
Italian unification
Italian unification was the political and social movement that agglomerated different states of the Italian peninsula into the single state of Italy in the 19th century...

 (1860-1871), the order became a de facto Italian state award for civilian and military merit, consisting of five classes: Knight Grand Cross, Knight Grand Officer, Knight Commander, Knight Officer and Knight.

After Italy became a republic in 1946 the order was effectively replaced by the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
The Order of Merit of the Italian Republic was founded as the senior order of knighthood by the second President of the Italian Republic, Luigi Einaudi in 1951...

. Since 1951 it has not been recognised officially by the Italian state. The House of Savoy in exile continued to bestow the order. Today it is granted to persons eminent in the public service, science, art, letters, trade, and charitable works. While the continued use of those decorations conferred prior to 1951 is permitted in Italy, the crowns on the ribbons issued before 1946 must be substituted for as many five pointed stars on military uniforms.

The generally-accepted Grand Master of the Order is Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples
Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples
Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples, formerly Crown Prince of Italy is the only son of the Umberto II, the last King of Italy. He is commonly known in Italy as Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia...

, the current head of the House of Savoy. Some of Vittorio Emanule's policies as Grand Master have generated controversy. All three of his sisters have resigned from their positions as dames of the order. Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy
Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy
Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy is a Savoyard princess and noted historian of Italy...

 has criticised her brother for instituting "the payment of membership fees [and] activities such as the sale of objects with the Savoy coat of arms and credit cards of the order" In 2006, Vittorio Emanuele's cousin, Amedeo of Aosta, declared himself Head of the Savoy dynasty and thus Grand Master de jure. For this reason the grand magistry is now contested.


The Order currently has six classes for gentlemen:
  • Knight Grand Cross, which wears the badge on a sash on the right shoulder, plus the star on the left chest;
  • Grand Officer, which wears the badge on a necklet, plus the star on the left chest;
  • Commander "jus patronato", which wears the badge on a necklet, plus the breast cross on the left chest;
  • Commander, which wears the badge on a necklet;
  • Officer, which wears the badge on a ribbon on the left chest;
  • Knight, which wears the badge without crown on a ribbon on the left chest;

as well as three classes for ladies:
  • Dame Grand Cross, which wears the badge on a bow with golden embroidery on the left shoulder;
  • Dame Commander, which wears the badge on a bow on the left shoulder;
  • Dame, which wears the badge without crown on a bow on the left shoulder.

Eventually, it became a requirement for a person to have already received the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus before receiving the Order of the Most Holy Annunciation
Order of the Most Holy Annunciation
The Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation is an order of chivalry, or knighthood, originating in mediæval Italy. It eventually was the pinnacle of the honours system in the Kingdom of Italy, which ceased to be a national order when the kingdom became a republic in 1946...



  • The badge of the Order is in gilt
    The term gilding covers a number of decorative techniques for applying fine gold leaf or powder to solid surfaces such as wood, stone, or metal to give a thin coating of gold. A gilded object is described as "gilt"...

    , consists of a white-enameled cross botonny (the Cross of St. Maurice), with a green-enameled Maltese Cross
    Maltese cross
    The Maltese cross, also known as the Amalfi cross, is identified as the symbol of an order of Christian warriors known as the Knights Hospitaller or Knights of Malta and through them came to be identified with the Mediterranean island of Malta and is one of the National symbols of Malta...

     (the Cross of St. Lazarus) placed in saltire
    A saltire, or Saint Andrew's Cross, is a heraldic symbol in the form of a diagonal cross or letter ex . Saint Andrew is said to have been martyred on such a cross....

     between the arms of the cross botonny. The badge of each class except that of Knight and Dame is topped by a gilt crown.

  • The star of the Order is a silver faceted star, with eight points for Grand Cross and four points for Grand Officer, and with the badge (minus the crown) superimposed upon it.

  • The breast cross for the Commander "jus patronato" class is identical to the badge, minus the crown.

  • The ribbon of the Order is apple green, with slight variations for the several classes:
    Ribbon Class (English) Full title in Italian
    1st Class / Knight Grand Cross Cavaliere di Gran Croce dell'Ordine dei Santi Maurizio e Lazzaro
    2nd Class / Commander First Class (from 1865 Grand Officer) Commendatore di prima classe (dal 1865 Grande Ufficiale) dell'Ordine dei Santi Maurizio e Lazzaro
    3rd Class / Commander Commendatore dell'Ordine dei Santi Maurizio e Lazzaro
    4th Class / Officer Ufficiale dell'Ordine dei Santi Maurizio e Lazzaro
    5th Class / Knight Cavaliere dell'Ordine dei Santi Maurizio e Lazzaro
    Maurizian Medal (not members of the order) Medaglia Mauriziana pel Merito Militare di dieci lustri

The formerly related Maurizian Medal for Military Merit of fifty years, established in 1839, was one of the few medals not suppressed by the Republic, becoming the Maurizian Medal of Merit for fifty years military career in 1954.

Selected recipients

See also :Category:Recipients of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus
  • Abbas I of Egypt
    Abbas I of Egypt
    Abbas I , , also known as Abbas Hilmi I Pasha Wāli of Egypt and Sudan, was a son of Tusun Pasha and grandson of Muhammad Ali, founder of the reigning dynasty of Egypt and Sudan at the time...

  • Tasker H. Bliss
    Tasker H. Bliss
    Tasker Howard Bliss GCMG was Chief of Staff of the United States Army from September 22, 1917 until May 18, 1918.-Biography:...

  • Ernesto Burzagli
    Ernesto Burzagli
    Ernesto Burzagli CB was a prominent figure in the Kingdom of Italy during the early 20th century. During a lifetime career in the Italian Royal Navy , he rose to the rank of Admiral and Chief of Staff...

  • Luigi, Count Cibrario
    Luigi, Count Cibrario
    Luigi, Count Cibrario was an Italian statesman and historian.-Biography:Born in Usseglio, in what is now the province of Turin, Cibrario was descended from a noble but impoverished Piedmontese family. He won a scholarship at the age of sixteen, and was teaching literature at eighteen...

  • Mark W. Clark
  • Charles Combes
    Charles Combes
    Charles-Pierre-Mathieu Combes was a French engineer. He was Inspector-General of Mines and the Director of the School of Mines in Paris. His name is on the Eiffel Tower.-Biography:...

  • Mozaffar al-Din Shah
  • Porfirio Díaz
    Porfirio Díaz
    José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori was a Mexican-American War volunteer and French intervention hero, an accomplished general and the President of Mexico continuously from 1876 to 1911, with the exception of a brief term in 1876 when he left Juan N...

  • Ira Clarence Eaker
    Ira Clarence Eaker
    General Ira Clarence Eaker was a general of the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. Eaker, as second-in-command of the prospective Eighth Air Force, was sent to England to form and organize its bomber command...

  • Haile Selassie of Ethiopia
    Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

  • Ulysses S. Grant III
    Ulysses S. Grant III
    Ulysses Simpson Grant III was the son of Frederick Dent Grant, and the grandson of General of the Army and President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant. He was an American soldier and planner...

  • Hunter Liggett
    Hunter Liggett
    Hunter Liggett was a lieutenant general of the United States Army. His forty-two years of service spanned the period from the Indian campaigns to trench warfare.-Biography:...

  • John P. Lucas
    John P. Lucas
    John Porter Lucas was an American Major General and one of the commanders of VI Corps during the Italian Campaign of the Mediterranean Theater of World War II.-Early career:...

  • Peyton C. March
    Peyton C. March
    Peyton Conway March was an American soldier and Army Chief of Staff.March was the son of Francis Andrew March, considered the principal founder of modern comparative linguistics in Anglo-Saxon and one of the first professors to advocate and teach English in colleges and universities...

  • George Marshall
    George Marshall
    George Catlett Marshall was an American military leader, Chief of Staff of the Army, Secretary of State, and the third Secretary of Defense...

  • J.P. Morgan
  • Cristiana Muscardini
    Cristiana Muscardini
    Cristiana Muscardini is an Italian politician andMember of the European Parliamentfor North-Westwith People of Freedom ,...

  • John Pershing
  • Giuseppe Peano
    Giuseppe Peano
    Giuseppe Peano was an Italian mathematician, whose work was of philosophical value. The author of over 200 books and papers, he was a founder of mathematical logic and set theory, to which he contributed much notation. The standard axiomatization of the natural numbers is named the Peano axioms in...

  • Carlo Rainaldi
    Carlo Rainaldi
    Carlo Rainaldi was an Italian architect of the Baroque period.Born in Rome, Rainaldi was one of the leading architects of 17th century Rome, known for a certain grandeur in his designs. He worked at first with his father, Girolamo Rainaldi, a late Mannerist architect in Rome. After his father's...

  • Tacchi Venturi
    Tacchi Venturi
    Pietro Tacchi Venturi was a Jesuit priest and historian who served as the unofficial liaison between Benito Mussolini and popes Pius XI and Pius XII. He was also one of the architects of the 1929 Lateran Treaty, wherein Italy recognized the sovereignty of Vatican City, ending the "Roman Question"...

  • Walther von Brauchitsch
    Walther von Brauchitsch
    Heinrich Alfred Hermann Walther von Brauchitsch was a German field marshal and the Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres in the early years of World War II.-Biography:...

  • Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala


Guy Stair Sainty and Rafal Heydel-Mankoo (eds), World Orders of Knighthood & Merit, Burke's Peerage & Gentry 2006, ISBN: 0971196672

External links

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