One of the first crusaders, Godfrey of Bouillon, founded the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem more than 900 hundred years ago to protect the Holy places. When its knights were expelled, they dedicated themselves to rescue captive Christians in Muslims countries. Today the Order stands as one of the most modern institutions thathelps Christians in the Holy Land and its changing its statutes to serve even more people.
CARD. EDWIN F. O'BRIEN
Grand Master, Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem
"We have described the responsabilities of the Order, the concerns of the Order. And that is to help the people in the Holy Land. And that is our hope, that whatever we do will contribute to the peace in that part of the world”.
The Order provides economic support to the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. It also grants microcredits, scholarships and medical aid to improve the living standards of Christians to avoid having them leave.
ARCH. ANTONIO FRANCO
Former Nuncio to Israel and Palestine
"All inhabitants, Christians too, suffer the lack of security, the absence of freedom of movement, the economic trouble, the typical difficulties of a situation where fear reigns and there is no peace. In such an unpredictable situation, most choose to emigrate.”
Governor General, Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem
"Among other things, the Order pays for all the institutional bills of the Latin Patriarch. Also the salaries of its staff and office equipment. What's more, it finances the parish schools of its territory, Cyprus, Israel, the Palestine Territories and Jordan. Most of the students cannot afford them. We take care of the costs.”
The new statute's main goal is to extend this support to Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Also, to improve the relationships with the local churches and give impulse to the spiritual life of the members of the Order.
Nowadays, there are 23.000 knights and dames of the Holy Sepulchre. They are volunteers and must pay an anual amount to help the Holy Land. Three thousand of them will travel to Rome to celebrate the Year of Faith and meet Pope Francis.