The Investiture of the Grand Priory of the United States - Benedict Castle: September 2013
As the Officers and Flag Bearers prepared to enter the Chapel of the stately Benedict Castle, the sun shared a gentle kiss and a cool breeze with the echo of Bagpipes in the distance. 21st September 2013 was indeed a red letter day for the US Grand Priory. This Investiture of the Grand Priory of the United States was indeed the biggest investiture ever in the States and also encompassed our allies and guests from the Imperial and Charitable Order of Constantine the Great and Saint Helen. More than 200 members and guests of the Order were in attendance, thus leaving standing room only at the spacious hall used for the Investiture in Benedict Castle.
The Order was well represented with its member and officers flying in from fourteen different states within the US. The ceremony commenced with an impressive procession with the banners and flags, officers and members of the Order and their esteemed guests processing into the chapel followed by the representatives of the Supreme Grand Priory of the Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus, properly assisted by the Officers of the US Grand Priory. The procession of flags of the Order were brought to the Alter and posted in international protocol arrayed behind the flag of the country in which the investiture was being executed and the banner of the United Nations, of which the Order is a proud member of.
The ceremony itself was solemn and energetic at the same time. Nearly 30 new postulants joined the US Grand Priory and a number of promotions were awarded, together with accolades of the Order's prestigious Companionate of Merit for hard-working and deserving members of the community who now form part of our Lazarite confraternity. Additionally, the investiture was graced with postulants joining the Delegation of Canada of the Order. A number of new American States are now represented by their own Commanderies (see list of Grand Priories and their respective jurisdictions), making the US Grand Priory the third biggest Grand Priory of the Order but also the Grand Priory with the largest amount of Commanderies properly constituted. And all this in the space of a mere three years.
The black tie dinner following the Investiture Service was fabulous. A feast was prepared by a 5 star chef, music from The Indigenous Commandery and a Scottish bagpiper along with celebrity attendance made this service one of the grandest events of the year. Media coverage included local, state as well as international newspapers. We were so pleased to have our recipients of donations that we made in attendance. During the investiture dinner, a record breaking auction was held which greatly enhanced the Hospitaller targets of the US Grand Priory for the next months.
As has now become the custom within the US Grand Priory, all the postulants of the Order who were admitted into the US Grand Priory also received their certificate from US President Obama for their contribution to the community. Indeed, this investiture was one of the finest organised by our Grand Priories. Congrats to all.