The Order at funerals of members shall have three principles in mind:

  • Honour the member who has died.
  • Be a support and comfort to the bereaved family.
  • Comply with family wishes.

After hearing of the death of a member the Lieutenant or member of Council close to the deceased Knight or Dame will make contact with the family and offer our attendance at the funeral formally or informally.

If the family requests the formal attendance of the Order then they should be advised that the Lay Master of Ceremonies/ Substitute Lay Master will be in contact to go over the Order’s involvement.

The following is the proposed ceremonial if formal attendance is requested.

Priest of the parish contacted and advised of, and agreement sought on, our participation. Priests receiving the remains and saying the funeral Mass should be given a very short account of the member’s involvement in the Order and on the Order itself. Suggested text, to be amended as appropriate, see Appendix A.


Members of the Order attending will form a Guard of Honour at the door of the Church. After the prayers at the door have been said we move after the Cross and ahead of clergy and the coffin towards the Sanctuary. (This will leave the family totally in control of their place following the coffin). Families at funerals usually use one side of the Church and if so then the Order will sit on the other. This will follow a discussion between the Lay Master and the family. If the family is using both then we will sit elsewhere as decided by the Lay Master.

At the end of the Church ceremonies after the priests have conveyed their condolences to the family we will do so and proceed to disrobe in an area not in public view (if practicable).


We will take our places as in the previous section. When the priest comes to the coffin to say the final commendations we will put on our berets and gloves.  After the priest has finished we take up our places after the Cross ahead of clergy and coffin and proceed when instructed by Lay Master at a very slow pace to outside the Church where we form a Guard of Honour. A short time after the coffin has been blessed and placed in the hearse we can disperse taking our signal from Lay Master when he has removed his beret.

If the family wishes that Order cloak and /or insignia be placed on the coffin then the cloak should be folded with the Cross showing and carried by a member ahead of coffin and placed on or at the foot of the coffin after the family has been seated. Same with insignia.

These instructions are a guideline only and individual wishes of families will determine the participation of the Order. The above is where there is a reception and funeral taking place over two occasions but are very easily adapted for when both ceremonies are in the one. The only change being where we leave our seats to offer condolences to the family.

 Appendix A. 

________was a member of The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem since _____   at the  rank of _______

The Order which traces its roots back to 1099 when the Church of The Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem was returned to Christian control and the Order of Canons of the Holy Sepulchre was set up. It was given a new constitution by Pope Pius IX in 1847 and is one of only two lay Orders of Knighthood under the direct protection of the Holy See.

Its purpose today is to strengthen in its members the practice of the Christian life and to support the Christians in the Holy Land.

_________ has visited the Holy Land on numerous occasions with the Order, He/She has visited the schools, university, seminary and parishes that receive support from the Order in Ireland. The Order raises its funds from an annual donation from its members.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the Church which covers the area of Calvary where Christ died and the tomb or Sepulchre where He was laid after His death and from where He rose from the dead.

On the cloak which has been placed on ______coffin is the Jerusalem Cross (The Cross is made up of five crosses in honour of the five wounds on Christ’s body). WHERE APPROPRIATE In the centre of the cross is a shell which signifies that __________formally entered this Holy Sepulchre (tomb) as a member of the Order. Our faith and hope for ___________and ourselves is based on the fact that this is an empty sepulchre and that on the last day our sepulchres will empty and we will all enjoy the New Jerusalem.