Order of Saint Lazarus and Notre Dame of Mount Carmel, Breast Star (1608-1778)
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The Order of Notre Dame of Mount Carmel was founded by Henry IV in 1607 and was recognized by Pope Paul V in February 1608. Later in the same year Henry IV combined the new Order with the ancient Order of Saint Lazarus to create the Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem and Notre Dame of Mount Carmel.
The Order was created by Henry IV with motivation to demonstrate his sincerity in conversion to the Catholic faith. It was also used to recognize those Lords who had been loyal to him.
The Order was originally a military order conferred upon those who were of four quarters nobility and who had made a career of military service. Under the Reign of Louis XIV the Order was superseded by the Order of Saint Louis, and its status as the preeminent military order was diminished. During this period it continued to be awarded, but to individuals of lesser noble status, and to members of the bourgeoisie, as well as for meritorious diplomatic service.
The Order was suppressed on July 30, 1791. It was not re-established during the Restoration Period and was officially discontinued in 1830. The last members of the Order were named in 1788.
The motto of the Order is “Atavis & Armis,” which translates to “By Ancestors and Arms.”
The Order of Saint Lazarus and Notre Dame of Mount Carmel is translated from the French "Ordre royal militaire et hospitalier de Notre-Dame du Mont-Carmel et de Saint-Lazare de Jérusalem réuni".
The Breast Star was worn by all members of the Order. Prior to 1778, it was made of gold paillettes, silk, and silver or gold wire with an image of the Virgin and Child in the centre medallion. After 1778, the Breast Star worn by Knights had a small silver cross at its centre and was embroidered with green silk and paillettes. The Breast Star worn by high-ranking Knights was similar, but was embroidered with gold paillettes. There is a great deal of variation of size within each of these versions. During the Restoration period some entirely metallic Breast Stars were created in imitation of the post-1778 embroidered versions, but these are unofficial.
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