March 16

The Origins of the Order

The Holy Cross originated in Jerusalem.

It was on the Cross and by the Cross that the Lord Jesus redeemed mankind, and since that time Christians all over the world have venerated the Holy Cross. Rediscovered on the year 320 by Helen (12), the mother of Emperor Constantine, the Cross was carefully preserved and placed on the site of the Holly Sepulchre in the Basilica of the Resurrection built by the Saint in Jerusalem.
The Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East, of Alexandria and Jerusalem, within whose jurisdiction the Holy places lie, customarily conferred an honorary decoration, known as the « Cross of Jerusalem » upon all those who through their piety and devotion to the Holy Land distinguished themselves and placed themselves at the service of the Patriarchate.

H.B. Maximos V, in order to give renewed vigor to an ancient heraldic tradition, and update it to modern requirements, and to give the Greek – Catholic – Melkite Patriarchate an institution which would be concerned with the Christians of the Holy Land and of the entire East, has resolved to give the ancient Patriarchal order of the Holy cross of Jerusalem a new form.

After making the necessary legal consultations he has now promulgated the new Statutes.
The Patriarchal Order of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem is exclusively under the collation and ecclesiastical patronage of the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, of Alexandria and Jerusalem and represents an authentic, oriental and Christian sign of distinction. In confirmation of the international legal status of the Patriarchate, the Governments of two countries within its jurisdiction, represented by the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Lebanon (13) and the Prime Minister of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (14) have officially recognized the Patriarchal Order of Knights of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem, as an autonomous Order under Patriarchal collation and patronage.

The Knights of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem constitute a holy militia whose chivalrous and humanitarian objectives are as prescribed in the Statutes of the Order, namely to propagate the Christian way of life in contemporary society, and to promote and support religious, cultural, charitable and social works of particular concern to the Greek-Melkite-Catholic Church (15), to offer their moral, intellectual and economic support to all peoples, in accordance with the Christian aims incorporated in the order and, in particular, to bring, in the greatest measure possible, brotherly help to peoples living in the Holy Land and to the entire Christian East.