The Order of Saint Lazarus is a lesser known Crusader Order that saw its development in the wake of the First Crusade in the 12th century together with the more popularly known Crusader Orders – the Order of Saint John [Hospitallers] and the Order of the Temple [Templars]. Its original brief in the Kingdom of Jerusalem was to succour the victims of leprosy but eventually assumed a military role. Supported by various European Royal houses, the Order expanded its range of influence to Europe. Following political machinations, it saw itself divided into two main branches: 1. A Savoyan branch – the Order of Sts. Lazarus and Maurice; and 2. A French branch – the Order of Saint Lazarus and Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Both Orders are still active today.
The book reviews in detail the history of the Order of Saint Lazarus from its conception to the modern period using whenever possible access to original documentation and contemporary texts. Unfortunately, much of what has been written about the Order in the past has been based on biased secondary sources which have had a specific agenda either to denigrate or to support the Order. By reviewing the history using primary sources, whenever possible, one would hope that the reader would be able to identify fact from fiction throughout the historical timeline. The Order’s raison d’etre has changed over the centuries from a specific hospitaller Order caring for victims of leprosy adding on a military role in later years, to a Chivalric Order enjoying Papal and French Royal protection, to a philanthropic Order enjoying the fons honorum of the Melkite Patriarch and eventually becoming increasing secular in an organization with a primary philanthropic role on an international scale.
The book targets a varied audience ranging from individuals interested in Medieval, Crusader and Military history, and is suitable for the non-academic readers such as current members of the present Orders of Saint Lazarus to undergraduate and postgraduate academic researchers. (Imprint: Nova)