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Becoming a Knight or Dame


Promotion to the next rank is recognition of the merits earned by those members who, during their time in the Order, have shown particular evidence of active participation, commitment, and generous charitable action, and who can be held up as an example to others in the Lieutenancy. As laid down by the Constitution, in principle no proposal for promotion can be made unless the member has spent at least three years at the lower rank. Obviously, because promotion is a way of recognizing the merits earned, it cannot be considered solely on the basis of length of membership, nor can it be requested by the member in question. Promotion to higher ranks such as Knight Commander with Star and, in particular, Knight Grand Cross must be evaluated according to the specific provisions of Enclosure A, Article 2, of the Constitution. [see above]. That is to say, it must take into account not only the merits earned, but also the qualities of the person being considered, who will, through his/her promotion, be set on a level with the relevant positions in the ecclesiastical hierarchy with which said ranks are associated. (The rank of Knight Commander with Star is conferred on Bishops, whilst that of Knight Grand Cross is conferred on Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church and the highest civil and military dignitaries who have acquired special, important merits in respect of the Order and the works in the Holy Land.) Article 7 of the Constitution defines only a time frame for eligibility for the proposal for promotion. Promotion cannot be granted by seniority, but only and exclusively by merits. Regular participation in the events of the Order and fulfillment of the annual charitable contribution is not sufficient merit to justify promotion. Any proposed promotion has to be accompanied by the “evidence of subsequent good services performed after admission and the last promotion (Encl. A art.1 paragraph 3/b in furtherance of the projects and works of the Order). Without this evidence the promotion cannot be granted.” (Prot.550/2006). The following criteria and the recommendations of the Section President and Chancellor are used to prepare an annual list for consideration for promotion (10 % of the number of new members invested in the current year is considered normative):
  • It has been at least five years from the date of investiture or from the date of their last promotion
  • The member has attended the last five Investiture meetings or has been excused for grave reason
  • The member has attended the majority of section events over the last five years
  • The member has made annual charitable contributions to the Order each of the last five years
  • The member is an active and contributing member of the Catholic Church, supportive of his parish and diocese
  • The member has been actively involved in the work of the Order either in the Lieutenancy or the Section and has contributed time, talent, and treasure above the simple time in grade. Promotees will be required to submit a form attesting to their “Evidence of Subsequent Good Services.” If this is returned by the proposed promotee with little information, the promotion may be declined.
  • The member has not previously declined a promotion
  • To be eligible for promotion to Grand Cross, a member must have made an eligible (see below) Pilgrimage to the Holy Land (members who have received the Pilgrim Shell should notify the Lieutenancy office).
A certified currently dated Church marriage certificate will be required if the promotee has married since his investiture or last promotion.
  • Priests are eligible to be promoted only if they become a Monsignor, Bishop, or Archbishop
  • Section Presidents are eligible for promotion every four years for as long as they are Section Presidents

Promotion in Rank

KHS/LHS Knight/Lady Rank after Investiture
KCHS/LCHS Knight/Lady Commander First Promotion
KC*HS/LC*HS Knight/Lady Commander with Star Second Promotion
KGCHS/LGCHS Knight/Lady Grand Cross Third Promotion

Promotion in Rank for Clergy

KHS Knight Priest
KCHS Knight Commander Monsignor
KC*HS Knight Commander with Star Archbishop/Bishop
KGCHS Knight Grand Cross Cardinals

Knight or Lady of the Collar

The Collar is conferred on the most eminent persons, ecclesiastic or lay, of the highest dignity, in most exceptional cases.  This rank is rarely conferred.  It is due by right to the Cardinal Grand Master and the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. 

Regarding the Rank and Promotion of Permanent Deacons within the Order

The introduction of Permanent Deacons to the ranks of the Order is a relatively new occurrence and is not explicitly addressed in the Order’s Foundational Documents; however, on the advice of the Vice Governor General, the Lieutenancy follows what is implicit in the documents regarding the rank and promotion of ecclesiastics. Permanent Deacons are invested in the rank of knight and there is no provision for promotion beyond that rank; however, instead of promotion, particular merits earned by members of the Order can be recognized by granting them the special distinction of the Palm of Jerusalem, in one of the three classes provided under the Constitution.


This provision applies only to the Permanent Deacon and not to the deacon’s wife who, if she is a member of the Order, is promoted according to the provisions for lay promotions.



EOHSJ Constitution 1978




Article 7 – Procedure for Admissions and Promotions


3 – Admissions into the Order have for their initial rank that of Knight or Lady.






Article 2 – Conferment of the Knightly Ranks


2 – Class of Knights


a – Knights:


These are selected from among persons of deep and practical Catholic Faith and of unblemished moral reputation who have acquired particular merits on behalf of the Works and the Catholic institutions of the Holy Land and the Order. Ecclesiastics as well who fulfill spiritual and religious duties within the Order or who have acquired particular merits on behalf of the Order and the Catholic Works in the Holy Land can be appointed Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.


b – Commanders:


The rank of Commander is regularly conferred – other than to the Canons of the Patriarchal Chapter of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem – on Apostolic Protonotaries and other prelates of high ecclesiastic dignity, and other civilian and military personages who have rendered good service to the Order and the Works of the Holy Land. It is also regularly conferred on Knights of the Holy Sepulchre who have achieved additional good services on behalf of the Order and the aforementioned Works.


c – Commanders with Star or Grand Officers:


The rank regularly conferred upon Archbishops and Bishops, either in residence or titular, and to the members of the Order, usually already decorated as Commanders and who have become further deserving.


d – Knights of Grand Cross:


A rank conferred on the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, on the highest civilian and military personages who have acquired special and important merit on behalf of the Order and the Works of the Holy Land and on members of the Order who usually are already decorated as Commander with Star and who have achieved further merit.


EOHSJ Administrative Operating Procedures March 2012 pages 13-14