Grand Magistry

His Excellency Don Carlos Gereda de Borbón, Marquis de Almazàn
49th Grand Master

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His Excellency Don Carlos Gereda de Borbón, Marquis de Almazàn
49th Grand Master

Carlos Gereda was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, where his parents were living after the Spanish Civil War and were overlooking a country estate they had inherited. At a very early age Carlos came back to Spain until he went to school in England, first to a preparatory school, Ladycross, Seaford, Sussex, and later entered the Benedictine public school Downside, near Bath, England. In these school days, apart from passing his “O” and “A” level exams, he practiced practically every sport that exists, with more enthusiasm than outstanding performance. Nowadays, his participation in active sports is more reserved.

After schooling in England, Carlos returned to Madrid where he went to university and studied Industrial Engineering and an M.B.A. In 1975 he married his wife Blanche and developed his professional life more as a commercial development entrepreneur than as a practicing engineer. It has been this way now for most of his career, traveling all over the world, negotiating all sorts of business with many different cultures, from the Far East to South America passing through Central Europe. First he was in the design of Oil Refining and Petrochemical Plants with Foster Wheeler International, then in Civil Engineering with Eptisa group, and for the last 20 years in the Telecom Sector in Alcatel. He, is must be said, has been very successful in these activities. After all these years Carlos decided to decompress his professional life and have no contract that ties him to any specific work, although he collaborates with some companies and institutions with his international experience. The most important project with which he is currently involved with is the establishment of a Museum or centre of Science and leisure in Malaga. With more than 20,000 sq. m. it will be the most important of its sort in the Mediterranean.

Don Carlos and his wife Donna Blanche lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina for 7 years, from 1979 to 1986, where, apart from the activities above, they established a small Oil Services Company which is still operating today. As to his hobbies, after being interested in many activities, which have now become his main leisure activities are: astronomy, motorcar mechanics (classic cars) – currently involved in the design and production of a series of Bentley specials – and music, classical if possible. In these fields they organise at home concerts with young Spanish talents of piano and chamber music.

Don Carlos’ family consists of, apart from his wife, his mother now in her 90’s, and two brothers. They have no children. As for background, Almazan is a title awarded in 1575 by Philip II of Spain to Francisco Hurtado de Mendoza, Lord of Almazan and 3rd Count of Monteagudo de Mendoza. Don Carlos’s position in the Bourbon family is that he comes from the line of the Duke of Santa Elena, his grand father, second to the Duke of Seville, currently his cousin. Both are descend from Charles IV of Spain, and Prince Henry, Duke of Seville. Donna Blanche descends from a sister of Prince Henry, Princess Maria Theresa, and sister of King Francis, husband of Queen Elizabeth II of Spain. Their branch is considered second to the Spanish Royal Family. As for Don Carlos’s Austrian descent, the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria links to almost all the European Royal families.

As to the Grand Master’s involvement with the Order, it must be said that it has always been very close to him since his grandfather and great-grandfather were both members. It was with great pride when Don Carlos was received as a member of the Order in the Grand Priory of Spain. Don Carlos and his wife are both practicing Roman Catholics and fully encourage the spirit of Christian ecumenism which is unique to the Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem.

On becoming the 49th Grand Master of the Order, Don Carlos set about having a more profound encounter in knowing who is who, what is being done, and what is the situation of the Order in each country. The immediate goals of the Grand Master are first of all, to try to attract more young people to the Order, to deepen the individual spirituality of members, to enhance international projects with co-financing, focus on international leprosy as well local actions, and to widen our Christian duties to those in need.

The Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem is known throughout the world as the oldest Order caring for the sick, the handicapped, the marginalised and those who are in need, dating back to and serving mankind since AD 1098.

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Spiritual Protector of the Order
His Beatitude Gregory III Laham

Patriarch Gregory was born Lutfy Laham in Darayya, Syria in 1933. He entered the Seminary of the Holy Savior of the Basilian Salvatorian Order near Saida, Lebanon in 1943. He took his simple religious vows in 1949 and his solemn religious vows in 1954. He received his religious and philosophical education at the Holy Savior Seminary, Joun, Lebanon. He continued his theological studies in Rome where he was ordained priest on February 15, 1959 in the Church of the Abbey of Grottaferrata.

The future patriarch received a doctoral degree in Oriental Theology from the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome following his ordination He was appointed administrator of the Patriarchal Vicariate of Jerusalem in 1974. In 1967 he founded at the Patriarchate the Oriental Library to promulgate the knowledge of Eastern traditions. He initiated a variety of social projects such as repairing churches, opening clinics and building public housing, including a guest house for pilgrims at the Patriarchal Center in Jerusalem.

On August 30, 1981 he was named archbishop by Patriarch Maximos V Hakim and continued his work as Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem as successor to Archbishop Hilarion Capucci. On November 27, 1981 he was enthroned as the titular archbishop of Tarsus and consecrated bishop by patriarch Maximos V Hakim.
Patriarch Maximos resigned in 2000 at age 92 due to failing health. The episcopal synod of the Melkite Church, met at the patriarchal residence in Raboueh on November 22, 2000 to elect a new patriarch. On November 29 the synod elected Archbishop Laham Patriarch. He chose the name Gregory after the Patriarch Gregory II Youssef, the last member of the Basilian Salvatorian Order to serve as head of the Melkite Church.

Following an old tradition of the more than 900-years old Order of Knighthood, founded in Jerusalem to take care of lepers in the Hospital of St. Lazarus, Patriarch Gregory III Laham is the Spiritual Protector of the international ecumenical Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem as were his predecessors Maximos IV and Maximos V.


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