Feast of Our Lady of Palestine
However, unfortunately not many people in our parish knows about this incredible and powerful order, which we are proud to be members. The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (Latin: Ordo Equestris Sancti Sepulcri Hierosolymitani, OESSH), also called Order of the Holy Sepulchre or Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, is a Roman Catholic order of knighthood under the protection of the Holy See. The Pope is sovereign of the Order. Founded as Milites Sancti Sepulcri attached to the Augustinian Canons Regular of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, recognized in 1113 by Papal bull of Pope Paschal II and of Pope Calistus II in 1122. It traces its roots to circa 1099 under the Frankish Duke Godfrey of Bouillon, Advocatus Sancti Sepulchri, "Defender of the Holy Sepulcher", one of the leaders of the First Crusade and first ruler of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. It is an internationally recognized order of knighthood.
The order today is estimated to have some 30,000 knights and dames/ladies in 60 lieutenancies around the world, including monarchs, heads of state, and their consorts. The current Cardinal Grand Master is Edwin Frederick O'Brien since 2011, and the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem is Grand Prior. Its headquarters are situated at Palazzo Della Rovere and its official church in Sant'Onofrio al Gianicolo, both in Rome, close to the Vatican City.
Frederic Fagot, an abbot who explored the Holy Land extensively said that a thunderstorm becomes thus a love story for him. He says “I had joined the Order before my decision to become a priest. In love with history and with the Middle East since my tender years, I discovered chivalry through historical figures such as Godfroy de Bouillon, Baudouin IV of Jerusalem, reading books by Jacques Heers, Jean Richard and Regine Pernoud. Every Christian is born in Jerusalem. Knights of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre defend the Church and more particularly Christians of the East through prayer and different actions. Fr. Fagot has today as one of his many tasks to run through the Association of Peace Watchers, set up in 2012 on a twofold axis: first to increase the school exchanges between Breton establishments (the abbot is diocesan delegate of Catholic Schooling in Morbihan in France) and the institutions of the Holy Land; another aspect is scheduled in summer, by sending young adults on pilgrimage and benevolent work with Christian communities of the Holy land.
Fr. Fagot also said that “A Knight is the Lord’s arm; his duty in the past consisted to protect, defend and support the Holy Church. Therefore, being a Knight or a Dame/Lady today represents an important investment and reflects essential love for the Holy land and living stones of Mother Church of Jerusalem. In wearing the mantle in which he will be buried, as in a shroud, a Knight of the Holy Sepulcher confirms his belonging to God and his commitment to serve the Church and its bodies through a support to the works and different institutions – cultural, charitable, social – of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land, more particularly those which belong to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.