Fourteen new members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem – which supports, in prayer and works, the Christian communities in the Holy Land – were invested in Liverpool.
The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem has origins dating back to the first crusade and the establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1099. It was reconstituted in 1847 to provide regular support to Christians in the Holy Land. The Order in England and Wales now numbers 600 knights, dames and clergy members, having been established in 1954. It meets twice a year, usually in St George’s Catholic Cathedral in Southwark.
On Saturday 22 June the Order ventured out of London and met in Liverpool when 14 new members were invested. The occasion was particularly notable due to the attendance of His Eminence Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, Cardinal Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre – for the Cardinal Grand Master to be present is special, and this is the second time Liverpool has hosted such a visit.
The investiture weekend began on the Friday evening when knights and dames held a vigil in the Cathedral Crypt, praying for those to be invested. This ancient practice started when new knights spent a whole night guarding the empty tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem. These days they are not required to travel to Jerusalem but are still expected to spend at least one hour in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
On Saturday morning hundreds of knights and dames from across the country, and from around the world, gathered in the Metropolitan Cathedral to witness Cardinal O’Brien invest the new members. The congregation called down the Holy Spirit on the investees before they made solemn promises to be good witnesses to the ‘Kingdom of Christ and to further the mission of the Church, working for charity with the same profound spirit of faith and love’.
One by one they knelt in front of the Cardinal to be invested with their insignia and robes of the Order which bear the Jerusalem Cross above their hearts as a reminder of the promises they have made. Among those invested was Father Godric Timney OSB, parish priest of St Anne’s, Ormskirk.
Following the ceremony, the guests left Liverpool with wonderful memories. Cardinal O’Brien returned to Rome grateful that he had finally got to visit, as he said, ‘the great and beautiful city of Liverpool’.