Patriarchal Order
of the
Holy Cross of Jerusalem

Province of the United States

HISTORY of the Order


he 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 in the year 320 by Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine, the Cross was carefully preserved and placed on the site of the Holy 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 of happy memory, in order to give renewed vigor to an ancient heraldic tradition, and update it to modern requirements, and to give the Greek Catholic Melchite Patriarchate an institution which would become 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 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.

he 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 Melchite Catholic Church, 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. The sole purpose of this Order is to devote our energy to helping the Patriarch in whatever way we can in His many endeavors for the Holy Land peoples. Legal representation of the Order is effected "de jure" by His Beatitude Gregory Laham lll Patriarchal Grand Master and By the Governor, His Excellency Sir Ernest F. Russo in the Province of The United States of America. As the Order falls exclusively under the collation and ecclesiastical patronage of the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East of Alexandria and Jerusalem, it is highly preferable that all religious functions be performed within a Melkite Church or, failing that, a church ascribing to the Byzantine Rite, and that ceremonies be conducted within the Liturgy of the Byzantine Rite wherever held.  With express permission of the Governor General ceremonies of the Order may be conducted in a church of the Latin Rite or another rite and a Latin Rite Liturgy, or the Liturgy of another rite, may be used.