New members vow to uphold and help the land of Jesus's birth, death, and resurrection
By Nathan Rumohr
The B.C. Catholic
A knight and two ladies have vowed to uphold the saving truth of the cross in the Holy Land. The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem welcomed Sir Hubert John Van Der Made, Lady Bonnie Ellen Mills, and Lady Angela De Silva to their order Oct. 13 at Holy Rosary Cathedral.
The order serves Christians in the Holy Land through works of charity and by promoting the Catholic faith.
"We chose to belong to an order that witnesses to the saving truth that the cross of Christ can alone heal the world," Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, said during his homily. He noted the knights and ladies proudly display the cross on their capes.
The archbishop, grand prior for the Vancouver lieutenancy, celebrated the Mass along with fellow knights Bishop David J. Monroe of Kamloops and Vancouver priests Msgr. Pedro Lopez-Gallo, Msgr. Stephen Jensen, and Father Glenn Dion.
Archbishop Miller said as Canadians become more detached from Christianity they see the cross as a sign of torture, suffering, defeat, and failure. Instead, he said, the cross is God's triumph over the evil of the world.
"That is why the cross is our most eloquent symbol of hope," Archbishop Miller said. "It speaks to all who suffer, especially our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land."
The Order of the Holy Sepulchre is named after the tomb in which Jesus was buried after His crucifixion. The order originated during the First Crusade after Godfrey de Bouillon led a force to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims.
He founded the Order of Canons of the Holy Sepulchre in 1099. Baldwin I, the first king of Jerusalem, took leadership of the order of knights in 1103.
The knights in the order (which also includes regular and secular canons) take a vow to obey the Augustinian rule of poverty and obedience. They also vow to defend the Holy Sepulchre and the other holy places.
The order spread around Europe after the First Crusade ended and knights returned home. Priories were created under the jurisdiction of noble knights or prelates.
The order started to fail as a military force when the Muslim hero Saladin re-conquered Jerusalem in 1182. The order lingered until its defeat in Acre in 1291. However the order continued in European priories under the protection of princes, bishops, and the Holy See.
Pope Pius IX modernized the order in 1847, redefining its role to uphold the works of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Today the order serves the Holy Land by maintaining and developing Church institutions with a keen eye to institutions in the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
Archbishop Miller said the Church in the Holy Land has throughout history, and today, experienced darkness. He said it was up to the Order of the Holy Sepulchre and the Church to help the Holy Land "fulfill its mission of being a sign of hope to the world."
"The Gospel reassures us that God can make all things new, that history may not be repeated, that memories can be healed, that bitter fruits of hostility can be overcome," he said. "A future of justice, peace, and cooperation can indeed arise in the land of our Saviour's birth, death, and resurrection."
"This is what we, the knights and ladies of the Holy Sepulchre, seek to bring about in prayer, acts of solidarity, and our pilgrimage to the holy places."
"I believe the order gives me a defined purpose," said Van Der Made after his investiture. "If you're a proud Catholic and respect and honour our instructions, then the Holy Land should be protected; it's the beginning."
To become a knight or lady in the order one must be nominated by another member and be a Catholic in good standing.
Georg J.E. Adam, lieutenant of the order's lieutenancy in Vancouver, said the knights and ladies of the order feel a deep connection with the Holy Land. "We don't just support the Holy Land financially, but we also support them spiritually," he said. "We think about them and pray for them."
"Christians are leaving the land because the opportunities are not there for them. We have to make sure that they stay there."