|Royal Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus|
Insignia of a Commander of the order
|Awarded by House of Savoy|
|Type||Dynastic order of chivalry|
|Established||16 September 1572|
(Order of Saint Maurice: 1434)
(Order of Saint Lazarus: 1119)
|Royal house||House of Savoy|
|Awarded for||Distinguished merits|
Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples
Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta
|Chairman of the Council||Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, Prince of Venice|
|Grades||Grand Cordon, Special Class|
|Total inductees||Circa 2,000|
|Next (higher)||Royal Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation|
|Next (lower)||Royal Order of the Crown|
The Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (Italian: Ordine dei Santi Maurizio e Lazzaro) is a Roman Catholic dynastic order of knighthood bestowed by the House of Savoy, founded in 1572 by Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, through amalgamation approved by Pope Gregory XIII of the Order of Saint Maurice, founded in 1434, with the medieval Order of Saint Lazarus, founded circa 1119, considered its sole legitimate successor. The Grand Master is Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples, since 1983.
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.
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
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 amalgation in 1572.
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". From its inception, the order was concerned with the relief of leprosy, 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. Before its transfer to the House of Savoy, the Order of Saint Lazarus maintained a number of leper hospitals, including an institution in the Italian city of Capua.
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. The order declined, but in 1572 was reestablished by Pope Pius V at the instigation of the then-Duke of Savoy.
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 organisation was charged to defend the Holy See as well as continue to assist lepers. The war galleys of the order fought against the Ottoman Empire and the Barbary pirates. When leprosy again broke out, the order founded a hospital in Aosta in 1773.
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.
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.
After Italy became a republic in 1946, the order was effectively replaced by the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. Since 1951 it has not been officially recognised by the Italian state.
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. 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. For this reason, the grand magistry is now contested.
|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|