Article 1. The Sovereign Knightly Order of the Jerusalem Cross (The Order of Crusaders), that gathers under its leadership persons intending to instruct those seeking knowledge, to console the afflicted with benefaction and charity action, and above all to disseminate the teaching of the Holy Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Order serves to consolidate the adoration of the Holy Cross in all places. The Order sees itself as an independent state.
Article 2. Every man, irrespective of his rank, nationality and whereabouts, wishing to serve the Order in its sacred course, will be accepted into Our Family, upon taking a solemn oath of loyalty to the Order.
Article 3. Any entrant to the Order shall demonstrate high morals and devotion to the institutions of Our Family.
Article 4. May 3 — the Holy Resuscitating Cross Finding Day shall be the main Order holiday. This day upon completion of the Divine Liturgy all Order members will walk to the grand meeting, where at the fraternal meal they review the outcomes of their annual activities.
Article 5. The General Chapter of the Order consists of three members. The Chapter members appointed by the Vicar shall take the respective positions: Chancellor is in charge of the Chapter chancellery, preparation of paperwork for the Chapter meetings, and publishing activities. Quaestor shall administer the Order treasury and run all and any economic and commercial projects of the Order. Consul shall be responsible for the operations of the Order international department and relationship with the religious, government and community organizations. The General Chapter shall make suggestions in relation to modifications and addenda to the present Statutes to the Vicar. Such modifications and addenda to the Statutes shall be deemed accepted after their duly approval by the Vicar.
Article 6. The symbolic head of the Order is Gaius Cassius Longinus — roman centurion who pierced Jesus the Holy Lance during the Crucifixion. The Supreme Power in the Order belongs to the Prince-Vicar (Great Logothete) for term of life. Vicar is a Fount of honour (latin: fons honorum) for the Knights of the Order. The Vicar has the exclusive authority admission to the Order and to make decisions on creation of the Knights. The Vicar shall appoint and remove the members of the General Chapter, and the Directors of the territorial representations (centuries and legions) of the Order — Legates and Centurions, convene and preside at the Chapter meetings and fraternal meetings. At the introduction into the rights the Vicar shall take a public Cross, Gospel and the Order Statute oath. In case of death or resignation of a Vicar, the new Vicar shall be elected by the Great Council of the Order (to be convened within 30 days after the Vicar’s death) with a quorum of no less than 2/3 of the total number of members. Until the new Vicar takes office, his duties and functions are to be fulfilled by the General Chapter (save for the approval of any new editions of the Statutes). During such period no new members can be admitted to the Order.
Article 7. All entrants to the Order after taking an oath shall become the Knights of Jerusalem Cross. The military designations shall symbolize the Order participation in the continuous spiritual battle against human vices and the evil as such. The Knights have a right to be in meeting of the General Chapter with a deliberative vote. The number of the high rank knights – Knights of the Grand Cross – is limited to 12.
Article 8. The Order Centuries functioning within the regions determined by the General Chapter, form all together the Legion. The Legion is headed by a Legate. The Legate may have one or two alternates — Tribunes. The appointment and dismissal of the Tribunes shall be the Legate’s prerogative. The brothers who together with their Centuries from the Legion shall report to the Legate and the Tribunes and perform their instructions in full obedience.
Article 9. In case of any deep-rooted and deliberate breach of the Order Statutes, audacious self-will and non-performance of the commission given by the leaders, conducting immoral lifestyle and deliberate infliction to the Order and its mission, any Order member shall be subject to the forum of the General Chapter. The sentence of such forum shall be final, and the Vicar is exclusively entitled to forgive the convict.
Article 10. Meetings shall be conducted on the days identified by the General Chapter, so that the Order members could meet their newly admitted brothers, discuss any current issues and receive information of the Chapter work. The Order members on service with the Order territorial representations shall hold fraternal meetings separately in their respective cities and realities.
Article 11. Any political views practiced by the Order members, shall not be used for kindling of passions and division purposes. Involvement of any Order members in any political party or organization shall be considered as their private affair. However the Fraternity may require the termination of any such involvement in case the latter may discredit the Order.
Article 12. Every Order member shall voluntarily bear the burden of charity providing, from his or her personal funds in accordance with his or her abilities, support to hospitals, schools, hospices, and all those being under the Gospel Testament in need of help. In such action of mercy, the pivotal shall be assistance to Church in construction and reconstruction of the demolished sacred places, and good decoration of God’s temples.
ENTRANT TO THE SOVEREIGN KNIGHTLY ORDER OF JERUSALEM CROSS LOYALTY OATH
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!
I, (so-and-so), hereby join the Sacred Army of the Jerusalem Cross and taking this oath do promise and swear to abide by these pledges of voluntary and strict obedience, fraternity and hospitality. By this vow I hereby demonstrate my steady and doubtless purpose to devote my efforts and life to our Order of the Jerusalem Cross, safeguard and honor thereof, and the supreme instruction and the return of the Temple and the Grave of our Lord Jesus Christ, the christian relics of Palestine and the East under the true authority of One Holy Catholic, Orthodox and Apostolic Church. I further on accept the obligations to continually and fully obey to the Vicar and any other Order members in charge. To which, before the Knights present in this meeting, I hereby pledge my oath and faith. Amen.
Initiate, with his arms folded across and his eyes droop, he will reflect on and bethink of the decedent heroes, praying the Creator to be honored with similar selfless life and death. The Vicar (or his designated Knight) will start the devotion:
«Mercy on us! God bless your servant, as You are the source of power, and without Your support a titan shall fall under a shepherd’s sling, while a weak by You inspirited shall become unshakable as a stronghold against the mortals` helpless rage.
God Almighty! In Your hand are victorious arrows and the thunders of Heavenly wreath; look from the height of Your glory at the one called by his duty to Your temple, and bless him to serve, not to the falsehood and tyranny, and not for the ruin and devastation, but to the protection of law, for the liberation of the afflicted and the oppressed; and give him God, for the sake of this sacred duty, the wisdom of Solomon and the stronghold of Maccabees».
Further, the Vicar (or his designated Knight) will instruct the initiate to the chivalry laws:
«The Knights shall sincerely fear, worship and love God; fight with all their might for Faith and in defense of Truth, and die but never renounce the Christianity.
They shall serve their Fraternity and protect the same and their homeland. Their shield shall become the shelter for the weak and the oppressed; and their courage shall support in all places and at any time the rightful cause of those who address them.
They shall never offend any person, and fear most of all to offend with slander, friendship, chastity, the missing ones, the mourners and the poor.
Their actions shall never be governed by lust for profit or gratitude, love of laurels, pride and vengeance; and they shall in all places and at any time be inspirited by truth and honor.
They shall obey their given superiors; live in fraternal relationship with their equals, and their pride and power should never prevail to the prejudice of the rights of their fellowmen. They shall never engage into a loosing battle, several on to one, and avoid all deception and lie.
Honest keepers of this word, they shall never disgrace themselves by cowardice; and shall keep unswervingly loyal to their confreres, preserving the reputation and the assets thereof in their absence».
After reading this, the initiate will bend the knee before the Vicar (or his designated Knight), who will pronounce the following:
«In praise of God Almighty, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, I hereby entitle you Knight of Jerusalem Cross. Remember that you duty is to be faithful to God, the Fraternity and your partner; be slow in revenge and punishment, and prompt in your mercy and assistance to the widows and the orphaned; go to Church and give alms; honor women and hate malignant gossip about them».
After that, the Vicar shall put the holy rood onto the elect shoulders, kiss him and entrust him with the Knighthood Cross and the mantle.
Rules of brothers of Jerusalem Cross
1. We, who renounce our own wills, and those others fighting to the last hand in hand with us, for the salvation of your souls with the Heavenly Lord, shall continually strive everywhere to listen to divine service with clear and devout feelings, according to canonical law. Therefore brothers, we should despise the splendor of the earthly life and scorn the temptations of the flesh, disdaining for ever the worries of this stormy world in perpetual love of God; and none should fear at the end of the divine office to go into battle, but be ready for the crown, after joining the divine table and sated with it, upon learning the rules and strengthening therein.
2. Any brother shall be solid for the Christian faith; observe justice at all times; support the offended; protect and liberate the oppressed; scorn the pagans and heretics; be diligent in all Christian virtues; have at heart the widows and orphans.
3. As our Lord told in his Gospel: «Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them, and «will live forever,» it is established that all brothers (having no diaconal or ecclesiastic ordainment) shall take the Sacrament of the Table at least once a year.
4. On the day of the Holy Resuscitating Cross Finding shall these rules be read in all brothers’ presence.
5. Any person burdened with debt or bound by the right to serve to any third party, shall not be received into our Fraternity. Although given encouragement by the brothers, such person however should be formerly asked, if he or she has joined any other Order, or is bound by any civic duty. Wherefore, in case any of these is found true, such person cannot be received into our Fraternity.
6. Should any brother recede for the performance of any fraternal affairs, and does not attend to the divine service, he shall say the Lord’s Prayer 12 times. As indeed he was sent for the saving action, and could not arrive at the appointed time for the divine service. However if only possible, he should not overlook the appointed hour.
7. When any brother passes (inevitably) from life to death, a thing from which no one is exempt, the clergymen shall perform with love the divine service to the Archipresbyter, and solemnly with a pure heart sing for the soul of the dead. And brothers shall hold vigil in prayers for the salvation of the dead until the fortieth day after such brother’s decease.
8. When taking meal together, if one is in need of anything, he should avoiding any rude signs ask for what he needs quietly, without attracting everybody’s attention. Thus, every time something is needed at meals, this should be asked for with all humility and submission, for the apostle said: Eat your bread in silence, and the psalmist encouraged by saying: I held my tongue, i.e. I thought my tongue would fail me and held my tongue so that I should speak no ill. At breakfast and lunch let the Holy Scripture be read. If we love God and all His holy words and His holy commandments, we should desire to listen attentively.
9. If any brother by virtue of his office or out of a feeling of pride or arrogance, wishes to have as his due anything better or finer, let him for certain be given the worst for such desire.
10. Any brother set forth to sail on the sea or fly in the air, shall prior to such journey make his confession to the clergyman and thus cleansing his conscience of all terrestrial issues, say farewell, leaving a testament or other instruction.
11. The brothers should never bind themselves with a vow; in case of war between two Christian sovereigns, they shall not stick to any of the parties, and by all means should endeavor to cease the discord and establish peace and accord between them.
12. Any one shall obey to his superior as his Father; and even greater to the presbyters, who are taking care of all of us. The presbyters shall not be knighted, as their ecclesiastic initiation is above any other secular admission.
13. It is fitting that all brothers consider there is nothing more precious than Christ, and keep up implicit obedience to their senior brothers (mentors and superiors), as they professed, for the sake of chief happiness. They should abide by their oath, for as soon as something is commanded by their senior brothers, it should be done without delay. We hereby confirm that in this Fraternity no brother shall work or rest according to his own will, but according to the orders of the Vicar. And every one at all times should act to take example by God, who said: I came not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
14. The Ark of the Covenant contained the rod and the manna, that is to say the judges should apply both of these: the one gently calling for mercy, and the other fairly calling for severity. This is why the Vicar who is positioned above all of us, should show his own good example to all brothers, admonishing the disobedient and receiving the sick, and encouraging those down-hearted, and being merciful and patient with everybody, and hold in his hand the rod and the staff, according to the prophet; the rod of vigilance with the aid of which day and night he shall watch over the flock entrusted to his care, mercifully releasing the idle from their deadly sleep and disregard of the holy service, heartily and rightly suppressing all disobedience; the staff to represent his paternal care and compassion by which he should support those lacking moral fiber and edify those fainthearted and grieving, so that they should not give way to despair with no encouragement.
15. Although all idle words are generally known to be sinful, what will be spoken by those sinners who take pride in their own sin before the strict judge? Which is demonstrated by what the prophet said that one should refrain from speaking even good, and observe silence, even more so one should guard against speaking evil, in order to escape the penalty of sin. We prohibit any brother to dare recount to another brother nor to anyone else those, which should rather be called follies, that he used to pronounce excessively, and the pleasures of the flesh that he has had with the most pitiful women; and if it happens he hears them told by someone else, he should immediately silence him, and fast as he can take his dutiful feet from there, without giving the precious balm of his heart to any such traitor.
16. Above all, let the sick brothers be given continuing consideration and care and be served according to the saying of the evangelist and Jesus Christ: I was sick and you visited Me, and let this not be forgotten. The sick should be treated with love and patience, for which service doubtless, will be given the highest retribution by our Lord Jesus Christ.
17. All brothersshould be careful and refrain fromdealing in any way with any excommunicated sinner, privately or publicly, or allowing any such person into their affairs, in order that they are not maledict (anathema maranathа) like him. And only in case commanded to enter into relationship with any such person and highly participate in the affairs of the same, may such brother
action be justified.
18. If any person wishes to choose our company and communal life, such request of his shall not be met immediately, but according to the Apostle Paul: Test the soul to see if it comes from God, and let his admission proceed this way. Let the Rule be read to him; and if he wishes to readily obey the commandments of the present Rule, let him reveal his wish and desire with a pure heart before all brothers. And guided by wisdom the brothers will take their decision.
19. Brothers who are sent throughout diverse regionsshould endeavor to keep the commandments of the Rule with regard to fast and wine, etc. according to their ability and live without reproach, so that they may receive a good report from outsiders, and not sully by deed or word the holy service, so that they set an example of wisdom and good works and become consolation for all those with whom they associate.
20. We also consider it reasonable and rightful to establish that donations should be distributed among all brothers equally upon availability. For private property is no good, there is a need for reflection on its perishable nature.
21. If any brother in speaking or soldiering or in any other way may commit a slight sin, he himself should willingly make known the fault to his brothers to make amends. And for such slight sin if he does not usually fail in this way let him be given a light penitence. But if he keeps silent and his fault is revealed through someone else, he should submit to a more severe penalty and chastening. But if the fault is very serious, let him go apart from the company of his brothers, so that he does not eat and drink at any table with them, but all alone.
22. Above all things, we should ensure that no brother who wishes to promote himself gradually and become proud, remain unpunished; but if he does not wish to atone for it, let him be given a harsher sentence. And if by pious counsel prayers are said to God for him, and he does not wish to make amends, but wishes to boast more and more of it, let him be uprooted from the pious flock, according to the apostle who says: Remove the wicked from among you. It is necessary to remove the wicked sheep from the company of faithful brothers.
23. No quarrel shall occur among the brothers; if it happens, all efforts should be taken to put an end thereto as soon as possible, so that anger does not turn into hate and of a mote make a beam, killing in our heart. For it is said: Anyone who hates his brother is a manslayer. Thus if anyone insults his brother with defamation, slander or accusation of sin, he shall forget to repair his wrong by immediate apology, and the injured brother shall forgive the wrongdoer without reservation. If two brothers insult one another, let them forgive one another their mutual debts as we say in our prayers.
24. We command you by divine counselto avoid a plague: rivalry, envy, spite, clamor, rumor and slander. Should each one zealously guard against accusing or blaming any brother, and take note of what the Apostle said: Do not accuse or malign the people of God. But when a brother knows for certain that his fellow brother has sinned, quietly and with fraternal mercy let him by God` will be chastised privately between the two of them. And if he does not wish to listen, another brother should be called. And if he scorns them both, he should be exposed openly before the whole chapter.
25. This is what we in general hereby outline in relation to our Fraternity Rule. We have now written the aforesaid to inform by these present those interested in the Rule of our life, and our followers, if by God’s will we have any on this path. For we have experienced this path presents a lot of considerable difficulties, we found it also appropriate to establish, that the Order should receive those who prove themselves wise in Christ, distinguish themselves for learning or military valor, or the purity of their Christian life. Let the favor of our Lord extend to our humble undertakings, in the glory of God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
By undertaking the burden of Vicar’s service I give this oath before my brothers of the Order that I will always be guided by and act in good faith in the best interests of our knightly brotherhood, and will never derogate the goodwill of our Order, and that I will devote my life to the Holy Cross.