On nomination by the local Commander, suitable individuals may be invited to join the Order. Sponsored by two existing Knights, Dames or Senior Chaplains, they must be practising Christians, of good character and standing in the community, with a desire to help the needy. Before the Admissions Commission can make its recommendation to the Grand Master, the candidate will have supplied proof of their Christian standing in the form of a certificate of Baptism or Confirmation, (or, if there are good reasons why neither of these documents is available, a Solemn Declaration in the form of an oath sworn before, and witnesed by, a Solicitor, Commissioner for Oaths or JP), also a signed declaration from their priest or minister to confirm they are a regular attender at public worship, together with a brief CV, two passport-size photographs of themselves and the completed application forms. Subject to Grand Magistral approval, and payment of the appropriate fee, the candidate will then be registered in the Grand Chancery as a member of the Order. As soon as possible after registration they will be formally invested with the mantle and insignia of the Order at a national church ceremony.
Membership requires an ongoing commitment to sustain and promote the Order's aims through prayer, annual oblations, regular charitable giving and, as far as possible, by helping to organise, and participating in, its charitable events. As in all chivalric orders membership is an honour, and promotion is never solicited. It is awarded to reflect experience, service and commitment to charitable work. Whilst all members should aspire to the rank of Knight or Dame, they will be profoundly aware that service is its own reward, and cherish always the prayer of St Ignatius Loyola:
Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve:
To give, and not to count the cost;
To fight, and not to heed the wounds;
To toil, and not to seek for rest;
To labour, and not to ask for any reward,
Save that of knowing that we do your will.
In common with other Orders of chivalry founded during the Crusades, such as the Hospitaller Knights of St John and the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, the Order of St Lazarus still aims to defend Christianity while expecting its members to practise the Christian tenets of protecting the weak, helping the sick, and promoting justice. A solemn undertaking to maintain this code of conduct is made before God and the assembled congregation on formal admission to the Order.
Members of St Lazarus form a spiritual fraternity. The ceremonies of the Vigil and Investiture, the wearing of the mantle and the green Maltese cross are more than ritualistic maintenance of an ancient tradition; they are outward symbols of fraternity and dedication to Christianity. The pursuit of unity is shown by respecting the other Christian confessions represented in the Order, each member living as faithfully as possible in their own tradition, whilst working and praying together for true unity.
All are asked to participate actively, according to their ability and means, in the charitable work of the Order by the regular but unostentatious giving of services and funds, and perhaps by participation in committee work or ceremonial duties. The financial obligations are not onerous. It is, however, expected that every member will endeavour, where possible, to support their National Jurisdiction and encourage one another by attendance at nationally organised events. The Commanderies arrange a variety of local functions each year which members are also expected to support, in particular the annual church service of their Commandery. All these are open to guests, and provide a tangible witness of the Order's charitable work and confraternal character which, it is hoped, may impress some with a desire to join us in our Christian mission.