Who We Are
The Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem was founded during the Crusades and currently operates in 42 jurisdictions in 36 countries worldwide. The work of the Order internationally is overseen by the Grand Magistral Council, chaired by the Grand Master, and specialist committees.
The Order in Canada, often referred to as Saint Lazarus Canada, is a component of the International Body and operates with a Memorandum of Understanding between the International body and the Canadian Grand Priory. We adhere to the international standards and protocols, except where a direct conflict with Canadian Law exists.
The Grand Priory in Canada was created upon invitation by the International body in 1962 and operates as a charitable public foundation.
The worldwide Order defines itself as an ecumenical, Christian Order of Chivalry. Membership is by invitation and/or by application.
Saint Lazarus Canada provides charitable support for:
Caring for Canadians through the advancement of palliative and hospice care, and the training and education of caregivers
The alleviation of suffering by caring for persons with leprosy
Support of Ecumenism to foster Christian unity at pastoral, cultural, and social levels
Promoting and preserving the time-tested ideals of chivalry
The Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem (MHOSLJ), or simply the Order, is one of the most ancient European orders of chivalry. At the very least, it dates back to the time of the Crusader knights.
Since its foundation in the 12th century, the Order dedicated itself to two ideals: aid to those suffering from the dreadful disease of leprosy and the defence of the Christian faith.
Today, the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem is an international self-governing and independent body, having its own Constitution; it may be compared with a kind of electoral kingdom.
1962: The Order is Established in Canada
The Order entered Canada in 1962, the same year that the Honourable J. Keiller Mackay, then Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, arranged for an investiture ceremony to take place in Toronto for twenty knights, dames and commanders.
At that ceremony, His Honour was installed as the first Canadian Grand Bailiff of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem.
1970: The Order Receives Magisterial Decree
Canada's importance within the Order grew and this was recognized by its elevation to that of a Grand Priory by magisterial decree in 1970, the Honourable Keiller Mackay being confirmed as the first Grand Prior.
The growth in members of the Grand Priory during the early 1970's caused a greater degree of de-centralization in the organization of the Order in Canada. Thus, local Commanderies were established.
1974: The Order Expands Across Canada
By 1974, there were six Commanderies in Canada : one in Atlantic Canada (Acadia), two in Quebec (Quebec and Montreal), two in Ontario (Toronto and Ottawa) and one in Western Canada (Western). The Grand Priory was the 2nd largest Order in the world.
Later on, four more Commanderies were founded in Edmonton, Calgary, British Columbia, and Western Ontario.
OSLC in the 21st Century
More recently, the Thunder Bay Commandery and the Provisional Delegation for Newfoundland and Labrador were founded. Newfoundland became a commandery in its own right in 2006.
In 2010 the Arctic Delegation was proudly established to serve the vast northern regions including the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.
With its representation from coast to coast to coast the Grand Priory of Canada, is a significant and integral part of the ancient historical and ecumenical Order of Saint Lazarus.
We are dedicated to transparency and accountability and our Annual Reports give a high-level snapshot of what Saint Lazarus Canada has been up to over the recent years. We invite you to be a part of our mission and join us in making a lasting impact on the lives of those in need.