knightly order of the Royal House of Savoy founded in Lierna, Lake Como
The Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (Italian: Ordine dei Santi Maurizio e Lazzaro) is a Roman Catholic dynastic order of knighthood bestowed by the House of Savoy, founded in 1572 by Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, through amalgamation approved by Pope Gregory XIII of the Order of Saint Maurice, founded in 1434, with the medieval Order of Saint Lazarus, founded circa 1119, considered its sole legitimate successor. The Grand Master is Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples, since 1983.
The order was formerly awarded by the Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946) with the heads of the House of Savoy as the Kings of Italy. Originally a chivalric order of noble nature, it was restricted to subjects of noble families with proofs of at least eight noble great-grandparents. The order's military and noble nature was and is still combined with a Roman Catholic character.
After the abolition of the monarchy and the foundation of the Italian Republic in 1946, the legacy of the order is maintained by the pretenders of the House of Savoy and the Italian throne in exile.
The order is estimated to include about 2,000 members around the world.
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