2012 Bullet Point of Major Highlights of the Order (January 2013)
In the past year, the Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem has indeed reached its zenith of presence worldwide since its humble beginnings in 1995. During last year, the Order formally applied with the United Nations Organisation and with other international and European associations so as to be at the front of all international fora for the furthering of our international Lazarite and Hospitaller vocation. Membership within the Order reached and surpassed the 14,000 mark, making the United Grand Priories the biggest Lazarite chivalric organisation world-wide. By December 2012, the Order operated in 6 continents, with 42 different regions and 50 different jurisdictions; all part of this notable Lazarite family.
This does not mean that this year will be an anti-climax. Already, the office of the Grand Chancellor is embarking on the consecration of yet more Grand Priories of the Order worldwide and various investitures in the different continents have already been scheduled for the year 2013. The United Grand Priories will be continuing its alliances with various international chivalric organisations who are enquiring to join the UGP, as did a number of international organisations during 2012, namely the Sacred Medical Order of the Knights of Hope, the Union Corps San Lazare International and the Saint Lazarus Corps - Special Rescue Group.
2012 also so the successful gathering of the First International Lazarite Symposium in Malta in April. It was indeed the biggest Lazaraite gathering world-wide for these last decades. Our Hospitaller and philanthropic commitment was further underlined during the course of the various seminars during the Symposium and also during the magnificent solemn Investiture held in the vast Knights' Hall of the Sacra Infermeria of the Capital, Valletta.
During 2012, the Supreme Grand Priory of the Order delegated a number of deputations led by the Grand Chancellor to conduct various high level meetings within the Vatican City with the Church's highest ecclesiastical leaders. To this effect, various visits to the Vatican City were effected during the year and high level meetings with top Cardinals and indeed the Vatican Secretariat of State were conducted. During the course of 2013, the fruits of such meetings will be properly and duly announced by both parties.
During 2012, a further number of international dignitaries joined the Order within their various jurisdictions. On the political front, the list of Honorable members of parliament, Senators, Mayors and other seasoned politicians continued joining the Order worldwide, whilst a number of our Confreres and Consoeurs also were elected into office. A special mention should be registered here for our Confrere Raul Ruiz CMLJ, who was elected as Congressman in California during the recent US elections in November 2012. Congratulations to all.
Exensive work was done by various Grand Priories in order to ensure that books related to the history of the Order in various languages would be available to our growing worldwide pool of postulants. During 2012, the Grand Priory of Malta published a further book in English related to the Order's work in the region, the Grand Priory of Austria published a book in the German language related to the history of the Order and the Grand Priory of Russia also published a new book in the Russian language related to the history of the Order whilst also translating and publishing the Order's history which was written by our Grand Chancellor. The Grand Priory of Brazil also established an educational academy to further project works related to the Order in their native tongue. To date, books related to the Order's history can now be found in various languages, including English, German, Russian, Greek and Portughese.
The same can be said regarding the internet presence of the Order in 2012. Various Grand Priories have now instituted their own, stand alone and dedicated web pages buttressing the international web page of the Order on www.saintlazarus.org One can thus mentioned the Grand Priories of Austria, Brazil, England, Gozo, Hungary, Malta, Russia, Slovakia and the United States who all have, during 2012, established their own web page. Additionally, dedicated web pages of the Sacred Medical Order of the Knights of Hope, the Union Corps San Lazare International and the Saint Lazarus Corps are also available on the world wide web. Various of our jursdictions have also made extensive use of social networks, including Twitter and Facebook and various other social media in order to project the Order and its Hospitaller work worldwide. An astounding 20,000 people worldwide are, for example, linked to the Order's various Facebook pages as per December 2012.
During 2012, the worldwide Hospitaller work of the United Grand Priories has been indeed phenomenal. From the running of hospitals in Equador and orphanages in the Congo, to disaster relief services in the US in the wake of Hurricane Sandy to donations from all the various jurisdictions worldwide, an amazing amount of more than Euros 600,000 were distributed by means of various Hospitaller work worldwide during last year. All these Hospitaller initiatives were duly registered and promoted by the jurisdictions within the Order who actually executed such services and which, as per our constitution, all need to be duly and properly registered as Foundations within the countries they operate. 2012 was yet again a year which proved that the Supreme Grand Priory decision of leaving the monies within the jurisdictions themselves paid off handsomely since the list of Hospitaller work worldwide is ever-growing.