Encouraged by the results of the 1st Congress on Historic Studies of the Order of St. Lazarus, which took place 24-25th October 2002 in Madrid, the then serving Grand Master of the Military & Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem - H.R.H. Don Francisco de Borbon y Escasany, Duke of Seville and Grandee of Spain - founded by Grand Magisterial Decree dated 30th November 2002 the International Academy of Our Lady of Mount Carmel with a permanent seat at Castello Lanzun in Malta. The main purpose of this new established academy is to study and to discover the history of the Order of Saint Lazarus and of Western Chivalry in general. During the International Meeting held in Malta in November 2014, a decision was made to re-organize the Academy which resulted in a change in name to Sancti Lazari Ordinis Academia Internationalis. The new statute was approved during the International Meeting held in Palermo in June 2017. A Memorandum of Understanding with the International Foundation of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem was signed in November 2019.
A significant number of authors have written about the history of the Order of Saint Lazarus, often with the specific role of either glorifying the Order and its history or denigrating the Order, and its importance in the sphere of Chivalry. Many of these sources have either perpetuated myths and preconceptions, or relied on secondary sources for the information, or even worse have misquoted primary sources to serve their particular agenda. Modern methods in historical research requires in-depth analysis of primary sources preferably in the original language there were written in. Secondary sources must always be viewed with suspicion unless these are truly well referenced and presumably reliable.
The scope of this project is to make available to all researchers an extensive bibliography and on-line access to original documents for their scholarly use. The bibliography is far from a exhaustive one. The project is an on-going one and any suggestions for additions to the various bibliographic lists are welcome.
Castello Lanzun in Malta serves as a center for the archival material pertaining to the Order of Saint Lazarus. Torri ta’ Lanzun, originally a 15th century farmhouse, obtained its name by virtue of one of its 17th century residents - Wenzu Lanzun from Birgu (Città Vittoriosa) who occupied the habitation during the 1676 plague epidemic. Structural modifications made during 1713 enlarged and strengthened the edifice transforming it into a fortified building allowing it to serve as a haven for local inhabitants during pirate attacks. It also occasionally served as a hunting station for the Grand Master of the Order of St John. During World War II, it was used as an observation post for advancing enemy planes. It was formally bought by Lt.Col. Robert Gayre of Gayre and Nigg in 1972 who handed it to the Military and Hospitaler Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem. It subsequently served as the Grand Chancery of the Order. The archives of the Order were eventually brought under its roof. These archives include the electronic library, hard copies of past publications, administrative records, and artifacts. It continues to seek the augmentation of its resources.
Chev. Prof. Charles Savona-Ventura
MD, DScMed, FRCOG, FRCPI, FRCPEd, AccrCOG, GCLJ, KMLJ, SCLJ, PSLJ
Grand Archivist & Historian and Grand Prior of the Maltese Islands - MHOSLJ