The Chancery returns to France
At the turn of the 19th century during the reign of the Melkite Patriarch Cyril VIII Geha, a series of administrative reforms were initiated whereby the Order’s Chancery was re-established in its historic seat in France. The statute of the Order, now named the Chevaliers Hospitaliers de Saint Lazare de Jerusalem et de Notre Dame de la Merci, was reviewed. The governance was explicitly placed in the hands of the Magistracy whose decision were sovereign and irrevocable, thus completely laicizing the Order. The Melkite Patriarch was identified as the Supreme Pontiff. The members of the Order were to provide resources that were to be transmitted without delay to the Patriarchate. These resources were then to be used among the hospices, missions and works in Palestine and the East for the greater glory of the Holy Church, evangelization of the infidel, and the solace of the poor and sick.
These newly initiated administrative reforms received a significant setback with the eruption of the First World War in 1914 which required Patriarch Cyril VIII to go into exile. Following the end of the First World War in 1918 and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, a new Patriarch in the person of Demetrios I Cadi was elected in March 1919. Under this Patriarchy and that of his successor Cyril IX Moghabghab [1925-1947], the Order strengthened its organization and increased its recruitment.
In conformity to the 1901 French legislation regulating non-governmental bodies, the Order in 1927 organised itself as the Association Francaise des Hospitaliers de Saint-Lazare de Jérusalem under the presidency of the Marquis de l’Eglise de Ferrier de Felix. Mgr. Attié, the Melkite Patriarch's archimandrite and rector of the Church of Saint Julian the Poor in Paris, was installed as Chaplain of the Order. In 1929, the Order published an edition of its Rules and Statutes, which recapitulated the Order's ancient customs whilst adapting them to modern times and relying upon the basis of the Fundamental Statute of the Knights and Hospitallers which had been drawn up in 1841 at the time of the resumption of the links between the Knights and Hospitallers and the Melkite Patriarchate. The subsequent years saw the expansion of the Order beyond the French borders, notably in Spain and Poland but also the Americas.