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Bible Encyclopedias
Order of St

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

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A religious and military order founded in Jerusalem about the middle of the 12th century. Its primary object was the tending of the sick, especially lepers, of whom Lazarus (see Lazar) was regarded as the patron. From the 13th century, the order made its way into various countries of Europe - Sicily, Lower Italy and Germany (Thuringia); but its chief centre of activity was France, where Louis IX. (1253) gave the members the lands of Boigny near Orleans and a building at the gates of Paris, which they turned into a lazar-house for the use of the lepers of the city. A papal confirmation was obtained from Alexander IV. in 1255. The knights were one hundred in number, and possessed the right of marrying and receiving pensions charged on ecclesiastical benefices. An eight-pointed cross was the insignia of both the French and Italian orders. The gradual disappearance of leprosy combined with other causes to secularize the order more and more. In Savoy in 1572 it was merged by Gregory (at the instance of Emanuel Philibert, duke of Savoy) in the order of St Maurice (see Knighthood And Chivalry: Orders of Knighthood, Italy). The chief task of this branch was the defence of the Catholic faith, especially against the Protestantism of Geneva. It continued to exist till the second half of the 19th century. In 1608 it was in France united by Henry IV. with the order of Notre-Dame du Mont-Carmel. It was treated with especial favour by Louis XIV., and the most brilliant period of its existence was from 1673 to 1691, under the marquis de Louvois. From that time it began to decay. It was abolished at the Revolution, reintroduced during the Restoration, and formall y abolished by a state decree of 1830.

See L. Mainbourg, Hist. des croisades (1682; Eng. trans. by Nalson, 1686); P. Helyot, Hist. des ordres monastiques (1714), pp. 2 57, 386; J. G. Uhlhorn, Die christliche Liebesthiitigkeit im Mittelalter (Stuttgart, 1884); articles in Herzog-Hauck's Realencyklopddie fiir protestantische Theologie, xi. (1902) and Wetzer and Welte's (Catholic) Kirchenlexikon, vii. (1891).

Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Order of St'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​bri/​o/order-of-st.html. 1910.
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