Lazarus Knights Of Honour serve as throne attendants for the Papal Nuncio

Lazarus Knights Of Honour served as throne attendants for the Papal Nuncio to Austria, HE Archbishop Dr. Peter Stephan Zurbriggen, at the Albanian community’s Confirmation ceremony in the parish church of Rudolfsheim, Vienna, on 06/03/2012.

This was a great honour and distinction bestowed on The Knighthood of Honour of the Lazarus Union of the Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem. His Excellency the Papal Nuncio was received and welcomed by Father Don Pren Kola in front of the church. The Knights of Honour then ceremonially escorted His Excellency into the church, which was filled to the last seat.

The Commander of the CSLI Guard of Honour and Prior of the Brotherhood of St. Archangel Michael, Colonel CSLI Patrick Poppel, served as master of ceremonies for the Confirmations and the Pontifical Mass. The solemn organ music was played by First Lieutenant CSLI Mag. Lusine Poppel.

The Grand Master and The Grand Chancellor of the Knighthood of Honour, Senator h.c. Wolfgang Steinhardt and Lieutenant General CLSI Christoph Ptak, assisted His Excellency during the Confirmation ceremony and hand washing as ‘Noble Lords’. The tasks of the Noble Lords are, liturgically, the following:

Tasks of the secular throne attendant (‘Noble Lord’) in the Pontifical Mass

In the Pontifical Mass the Bishop can, in addition to the ministri sacri, also employ secular throne attendants. These may, in accordance with their status, appear in ceremonial dress. In general, these attendants are constituted from Members of the Nobility, Knights of a Religious Order, Officials or Officers. They are known as ‘Noble Lords’.

They help the Bishop put on the liturgical vestments and carry the hand basin to the Offertory for the washing of hands before the throne.

From the Bishop’s arrival until the end of the liturgy, they remain near him. Because of their part in the hand-washing, it is recommended that these attendants be placed near the gift table because the water and towel are there.

There used to be rules for how many Noble Lords different church dignitaries could have. Bishops could have one while Cardinals, Nuncios and Apostolic Legates usually at least two.

The Nuncio’s bestowing of The Pope’s Apostolic Blessing on the congregation was the impressive climax and conclusion of this wonderful ceremony.

Twenty-eight young people had been granted Confirmation and the Papal Nuncio was touched by the eager participation of the Albanian youth in Vienna. He called them “the young Knights of Christ”, an allusion to the Knighthood of Honour of the Lazarus Union, who had formed the ‘Guard’ for His Excellency.

After the confirmation the Nuncio stayed and, clearly feeling comfortable, celebrated with us for another two hours with Albanian specialties in a large parish hall. A great, kind and lovable man with charisma!


Apostolic Nuncio to Austria


Dr. Peter Stephan Zurbriggen, is the Apostolic Nuncio (‘Papal Ambassador’) to Austria. A Nuncio is the permanent representative of the Holy See with the Government of a State. In addition, he also sees to the interests of the Vatican City State and represents the Pope as Head of the Church for the local Churches of the country.

Dr. Peter Stephan Zurbriggen is Titular Archbishop of Glastonia (Glastonbury, England)

Peter Stephan Zurbriggen was born on 27 August 1943 in Brig in the Swiss Canton of Valais. After studying philosophy, theology and canon law in Rome (Dr.Iur.Can.), he was ordained a Priest on 10 October 1969 in Rome. On 5 March 1975 he entered the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See and on 13 November 1993 was appointed Titular Archbishop of Glastonia (Glastonbury, England) and Apostolic Delegate to Mozambique. On 6 January 1994 he was consecrated Bishop by Pope John Paul II at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and appointed the First Apostolic Nuncio to Mozambique. From 1998 to 2001 he was Apostolic Nuncio to Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, then, from 2001 to 2008, Apostolic Nuncio to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. From November 2001 to April 2005 he held the appointment as Apostolic Administrator ‘ad nutum Sanctae Sedis’ of Estonia. Since 17 April 2009 he has been Apostolic Nuncio to Austria.

The Nuncio

Since the end of the Thirty Years War, Apostolic Nuncios have held the rank of Titular Archbishop usually with the title Reverend Excellency. Although the Latin title Nuncio literally means ‘Minister’, Apostolic Nuncios have, since the Vienna Congress in 1815, had the rank of Ambassador. They also represent the Pope at the respective Episcopal Conferences. A Nuncio must, like any diplomat, be accredited to the receiving State.

Representatives of the Pope who are not accredited by the Head of State or Government of the host State, but who maintain contact with the country’s religious institutions and individuals, are called Apostolic Delegates.

In many states (such as in Austria), on the basis of a concordat, the Nuncio is  Dean (Fr.: = doyen) of the Diplomatic Corps, and as ‘primus inter pares’ has some honorary rights. This is the result of a long-lasting dispute between the States as to whose Ambassador should be given the first place. They solved this by the Vienna Convention, in which all agreed to give the Representative of the Pope this privilege. The Dean speaks at official functions as the Representative of the entire Diplomatic Corps and represents the interests of smaller States in particular.

Now some pictures are following:



It was an impressive and wonderful experience!