The Latin Patriarchal Seminary congratulates the Jerusalemite Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulcher.
Priests, nuns, deacons and seminarians of the Latin Patriarchste Seminary present their warmest congratulations and best wishes to the newly installed Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, Rev. Fr. Emil Salaitah, Mr. Samir Zumot and his wife and Mr. Tawfik Habash and his wife.
We also celebrate the elevation of three members of the order to the rank of Commander, Rev. Fr. Emile Salaitah, Mr. Issa Habash and his wife. This celebration took place on Sunday, Dec. 19th at the Co-Cathedral of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem during the novena of Christmas.
Patriarch Fouad Twal was the celebrant and homilist for this occasion, as he spoke directly to the newly installed knights and ladies. In his homily, he expressed his great appreciation to the generous service of the Equestiran Order of the Holyu Sepulchre. He continued by saying that the work of the Order at the service of Holy Land and its people is much needed today in the spirit of justice and peace. Currently, the inhabitants of the Holy Land suffer from political, social and economic difficulties. He urged the new cavaliers to work in this direction, asking the Lord to make them “ambassadors of peace and love between brothers.”
He then emphasized the importance of their faith in the light of this service, in that they are called to live a true and deep faith, and to be witnesses to the “Word”, who once walked this Holy Land. He continued by saying that the human family which is a testament to life in the midst of a culture of death is built on the foundations of evangelical virtues, the virtues of Justice, love and peace.
His Beatitude then continued the rite of investiture by blessing the vestments of the new knights after they declared their allegiance to the Order and its precepts. The Patriarch then handed the sword to the new Knights and vested them with the Jerusalem cross which they will wear as a testament to their dedication to the service of the Holy Land and to the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. The sword which they are handed represents the just and true cause which they will work for in their service to the Order.
The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem is rooted in the service of Duke Godfrey de Bouillon (1060-1100) who participated in the first Crusade and became the first King of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Although the duke did not take the title of King, was rather satisfied with the title protector of the Holy Sepulcher. After the end of the first crusade, he formed an organization with the same purpose. The order was then formally recognized by the Pope in 1113. In 1496 Pope Alexander VI, moved the central body of the Order from Jerusalem to Rome where he took the title of Grand Master of the Order. In 1949, the Pope no longer retained his title as Grand Master of the Order but rather delegated the title to a member of the Vatican Curia under the supervision of the Holy Father and in conjunction with the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
As we prepare to receive the Divine Child of the manger, our attention is moved towards the children of Bethlehem. As the Word was born in a poor and humble cave, we ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Palestine, and patroness of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem to strengthen the efforts of the new Knights and Ladies who are committed to building a better world.