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Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus
Grand Cross insignia of the Order
Awarded by Italy House of Savoy
TypeDynastic order of chivalry
Established16 September 1572
(Order of Saint Maurice: 1434)
(Order of Saint Lazarus: 1119)
Royal houseHouse of Savoy
Religious affiliationCatholic
EligibilityMilitary, civilian
Awarded forDistinguished merits
StatusCurrently constituted
Grand Master(Disputed)
Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples
Prince Aimone, Duke of Aosta
Chairman of the CouncilPrince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, Prince of Venice (according to the Victorian side of the dynastical dispute)
GradesGrand Cordon, Special Class
Grand Cordon
Grand Officer
Total inducteesCirca 2,000
Next (higher)Royal Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation
Next (lower)Royal Order of the Crown

Ribbon bar

The Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (Italian: Ordine dei Santi Maurizio e Lazzaro) (abbreviated OSSML) is a Roman Catholic dynastic order of knighthood bestowed by the royal House of Savoy. It is the second-oldest order of knighthood in the world, tracing its lineage to AD 1098, and it is one of the rare orders of knighthood recognized by papal bull, in this case by Pope Gregory XIII.[1] In that bull, Pope Gregory XIII bestowed upon Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy and his Savoy successors, the right to confer this knighthood in perpetuity. The Grand Master is, Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples, also known as the Duke of Savoy, the eldest son of the last King of Italy, Umberto II of Italy. However, Vittorio Emanuele's cousin once removed Prince Aimone, Duke of Aosta claims to be grand master as his father claimed to be head of the house of Savoy.

The order was formerly awarded by the Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946) with the heads of the House of Savoy as the Kings of Italy. Originally a chivalric order of noble nature, it was restricted to subjects of noble families with proofs of at least eight noble great-grandparents. The order's military and noble nature was and is still combined with a Roman Catholic character.

After the abolition of the monarchy and the foundation of the Italian Republic in 1946, the legacy of the order is maintained by the pretenders of the House of Savoy and the Italian throne in exile.

The order is estimated to include about 2,000 members around the world, with about 200 in the United States. The Order also has roster consultative status with the United Nations, as part of the U.N.'s ECOSOC.[2]

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Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy (1528–1580), founder and first Grand Master of the combined Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus in recognition by Pope Gregory XIII

The undisputed continuation of the Order of St. Lazarus is in the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, which continues under the pretenders to the Italian Crown.

— Michael Foster[3]

Both crosses from its two forerunners still exist in the insignia of their subsequent successor, today's Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, founded by amalgamation in 1572.

Order of Saint Lazarus (1119)

The Order of Saint Lazarus, founded c. 1119, can be traced to the establishment around 1100, of a hospital for leprosy in Jerusalem, Kingdom of Jerusalem, by a group of crusaders who called themselves "Brothers of Saint Lazarus".[4] Those knights protected Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land. From its inception, the order was concerned with the relief of leprosy and other illnesses, and many of its members were lepers who had been knights in other orders. It became rich, its practices dubious, and its funds eventually abused. With the fall of Acre in 1291, the Knights of Saint Lazarus emigrated from the Holy Land and Egypt and settled in France and, in 1311, in Naples. In the 16th century, the order declined in credibility and wealth. With papal support, the Duke of Savoy became Grand Master in 1572. During medieval times, the Order of Saint Lazarus maintained a number of hospitals, including an institution in the Italian city of Capua.

Order of Saint Maurice (1434)

The Order of Saint Maurice was established in 1434 by Amedeo VIII of Savoy, during his stay in the Ripaglia hermitage near Thonon, named after Saint Maurice of the Theban Legion. From its beginning, it was a military order.[4] The order declined, but in 1572 was reestablished by Pope Pius V at the instigation of the then-Duke of Savoy.

Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (1572)

King and Grand Master Charles Felix of Sardinia in ceremonial robe of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus
King Charles Albert of Sardinia in ceremonial robe

In 1572, Pope Gregory XIII united the Order of Saint Lazarus in perpetuity with the Crown of Savoy. Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, merged it with the Savoyan Order of Saint Maurice, and thenceforth the title of Grand Master of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus was hereditary in that house. The pope gave him authority over the vacant commanderies everywhere, except in the states of the King of Spain, which included the greater part of Italy. In England and Germany, these commanderies were suppressed by the Protestant reformation.

The new organization was charged to defend the Holy See and Italian shores, as well as continue to assist the sick. The war galleys of the order fought against the Ottoman Empire and the Barbary pirates with the United States Marine Corps. When leprosy again broke out, the order founded a hospital in Aosta in 1773.

Kingdom Italy (1861–1946)

Future King and Grand Master Umberto II of Italy, then Prince of Piedmont, visiting Cairo, Egypt

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

The formerly related Maurician medal for Military Merit of fifty years, established in 1839, was one of the few medals not suppressed by the Italian Republic, becoming the Maurician medal of Merit for 50 years military career in 1954.[5]

Brought back in favour by King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, the order was sparingly conferred for distinguished service in military and civilian affairs as an exclusive award compared with the more common Order of the Crown of Italy.[4]

Dynastic chivalric order bestowed in exile (1946-)

After Italy became a republic in 1946, the order was effectively replaced by the government's Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. Since 1951 it has not been officially recognized by the Italian Republic, but remains recognized by most other jurisdictions, particularly those with extant royal houses.


Great coat of arms of the royal family of Italy, including the insignia of the order
Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples (right), and his third cousin Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta (b. 1943) (left)
Insignia of the grades
Insignia of the order
Insignia of a Commander of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus
Basilica Mauriziana in Turin, Italy, associated with the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus

The House of Savoy in exile continues to bestow the order on recipients 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.[6] Eventually, it became a requirement for a person to have already received the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus before receiving the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation.

The generally accepted Grand Master of the order is Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples, the current head of the House of Savoy. However, some of Vittorio Emanule's policies as Grand Master have generated controversy.

In 2006, Vittorio Emanuele's third cousin, Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta (b. 1943), declared himself head of the Savoy dynasty and thus Sovereign de jure, but no one has recognized that claim.


According to the Statutes, the Order is divided into five classes for the Knights (male members):[7]

  • Knight Grand Cordon, who wear a sash on the right shoulder to the left hip and the badge as well as star are worn on the left side;
  • Grand Officer, who wear a necklet plus the star on the left chest;
  • Commander, who wear a necklet;
  • Officer, who wear a medal in Gold on the left side of the chest;
  • Knight, who wear a smaller Medal in Silver on the left side of the chest.

For female members the Order is divided into in three classes:

  • Dame Grand Cordon, wearing a sash similar to that of their male counterparts
  • Dame Commander, who wear on a necklet. During daydress: wear a bow-formed necklet worn on the left side of the chest. During evening wear: bow formed necklet worn on the left side of the chest)
  • Dame, who wear a smaller necklet; During daydress and evening wear: bow formed medal worn on the left side of the chest

Special Class of the Order:

  • Knight Grand Cordon, Special Class, For the Grand Master of the Order; who wear a sash on the right shoulder to the left hip, the badge as well as star which is worn on the left side of the stomach are in Brilliants


  • The badge of the order is in gilt, consists of a white-enameled cross bottony of the Order of Saint Maurice, with a green-enameled Maltese Cross, the Cross of the Order of Saint Lazarus, placed in saltire 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

List of Grand Masters

  1. Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy (1572-1580)
  2. Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy (1580-1630)
  3. Victor Amadeus I, Duke of Savoy (1630-1637)
  4. Francis Hyacinth, Duke of Savoy (1637-1638)
  5. Charles Emmanuel II, Duke of Savoy (1638-1675)
  6. Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia (1675-1731)
  7. Charles Emmanuel III of Sardinia (1732-1773)
  8. Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia (1773-1796)
  9. Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia (1796-1802)
  10. Victor Emmanuel I of Sardinia (1802-1824)
  11. Charles Felix of Sardinia (1824-1831)
  12. Charles Albert of Sardinia (1831-1849)
  13. Victor Emmanuel II of Italy (1849-1878)
  14. Umberto I of Italy (1878-1900)
  15. Victor Emmanuel III of Italy (1900-1946)
  16. Umberto II of Italy (1946-1983)
  17. Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples (1983-) (contested by Prince Aimone, Duke of Aosta 2021-)

The council[8]

The council is responsible for running the order, the order focuses mainly on charitable acts.

The Junta[8]

The Junta is responsible for voting in new Knight or Dame to the dynastic order on behalf of the grand master, Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples. There are always five members of the Junta to ensure that there is never an equal count in votes for and against a new possible new Knight or Dame.

  • HSH Don Alessandro Jacopo Boncompagni Ludovisi Altemps – President
  • Marquess Paolo Thaon di Revel Vandini – Secretary
  • Baron Enrico Sanjust dei Baroni di Teulada
  • Gualtiero Ventura
  • Federico Pizzi

Recipients in selection

Portrait d'un gonfalonier (1622) painted by Artemisia Gentileschi, carrying the cross on the breast and the ribbon around the chest
General Giovanni Battista Cacherano di Bricherasio, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus
Edmond de Sélys Longchamps








Recipients (amongst others)

See also


  • Miller, Michael (2015). Leaders Of The Storm Troops Volume 1. England: Helion & Company. ISBN 978-1-909982-87-1.


  1. ^ "Order of Saint Lazarus: Primary sources" (PDF). Retrieved 22 August 2023.
  2. ^ "About Savoy Foundation". SAVOYFOUNDATION-USA.ORG. Retrieved 22 August 2023.
  3. ^ "Orders connected to the Order of St. John of Jerusalem".
  4. ^ a b c "ITALY".
  5. ^ Established by Royal Magistral Patent dated 19 July 1839, approved by Royal Decree of 21 December 1924 and renewed by Law No. 203(1) of 7 March 1954 Medaglia Mauriziana al Merito di dieci lustri di carriera militare, published in Gazzetta Ufficiale, No. 116, 21 May 1954, as amended by Law No. 1327 of 8 November 1956
  6. ^ Ordini Cavallereschi del Regno d'Italia Archived 2006-05-07 at the Wayback Machine Corpo della Nobiltà Italiana (retrieved 10 September 2009)
  7. ^ Ordine dei Santi Maurizio e Lazzaro Statuto - website of the Grand Magisterium of the Dynastic Orders of the House of Savoy
  8. ^ a b Cavicchioli, Silvia (1 November 2002). "Strategie nobiliari di sopravvivenza tra Napoleone e Casa Savoia. I Ferrero della Marmora, 1798-1815". Italies (6): 117–143. doi:10.4000/italies.1563. ISSN 1275-7519.
  9. ^ Senato della Repubblica: biographical summary
  10. ^ Head, William Pace (1995). Every Inch a Soldier: Augustine Warner Robins and the Building of U.S. Airpower Volume 37 of Texas A & M University military history series. Texas A&M University Press, 1995: Issue 37, p. 75 ISBN 0890965900, 9780890965900 Retrieved November 2, 2012.
  11. ^ "Gen. Evan M. Johnson". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia, PA. 14 October 1923. p. B25 – via
  12. ^ Davis, Henry Blaine Jr. (1998). Generals in Khaki. Raleigh, NC: Pentland Press. p. 250. ISBN 978-1-57197-088-6.
  13. ^ "Wins Medal While Serving in Adriatic Sea". The Honolulu Advertiser. 11 April 1938. p. 15. Retrieved 21 August 2022 – via access
  14. ^ Miller 2015, p. 452.
  15. ^ Collezione delle Leggi e de'Decreti Reali del Regno delle Due Sicilie, Stamperia reale, 1846, p.85
  16. ^ "Papel Periódico Ilustrado Volúmen 1 año I Número 1 al 14". Archived from the original on 3 December 2013.
  17. ^ "Latest intelligence - The King of Italy in Berlin". The Times. No. 36859. London. 29 August 1902. p. 3.
  18. ^ Lab, Missouri Historical Society. "Missouri Historical Society - Find Yourself Here". The Missouri Historical Society is ... Missouri Historical Society and was founded in 1866.
  19. ^ "Events: 2001". House of Savoy. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  20. ^ "Tricolore 10 Febbraio, 2006" (PDF). Tricolore of Italy reporting on the Ballo di Savoia. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  21. ^ Ruffy, G., ed. (1924). Qui êtes-vous? Annuaire des contemporains: notices biographiques. 1908-1908/10, 1924. Paris: Librairie Delagrave. p. 741.

External links

This page was last edited on 31 October 2023, at 09:18
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