The ceremonial investiture of the Knighthood of Honour took place on April 27th, 2013 in the Austrian Military History Museum-Hall of Fame.

  A report by Erich Kadlec
Translated by Col.CSLI Dipl.Ing. Herbert Paulis
Pictures by: 
(c); (c) HOCHMUTH; (c) PERC IMAGES und

As a prelude the Lazarus Union Music Corps gave an open air concert with a performance of Austrian Traditional Marches, directed by musical director Fritz Lentner. The guests were thus put into the right mood for the upcoming celebration which was also framed by our Music Corps in an excellent fashion.

The ceremony itself was commenced by a formal marching in into the hall of fame of the museum, accompanied by the sounds of the CSLI fanfare and march. The Colours detachment was commanded by CSLI Cpt. Gregor Holubek.

When all participants had taken their seats, the protocol officer LtCol. Rudolf Murth took over to guide the audience through the various steps of the celebration and provide some additional information. It was a joy to listen to his most professional commentaries.

A video documenting the 6th CSLI Air Day gave some insight into the work of the Lazarus Union. Then the Grand Master of the Knighthood of Honour President Senator h.c. Wolfgang Steinhardt welcomed the guests and gave some explanations regarding the initiation ceremony.

Many guests participated, of course a lot of Knights of Honour and CSLI comrades – among them several guests from Germany, not shunning the long journey.

Also members and high ranking officers of the Austrian Army participated, as well as detachments from friendly organisations like the Radetzky Order, the Order of St. Michael, the Austria Humanitas Corps, and the Naval Comradeship Archduke Ferdinand Max. Also representatives of the diplomatic corps and the Austrian Comradeship Union were present.

Our special thanks go to the “knights“ from Prima Nocte and Milites Sancti Imperii. They carried our banners and flags and provided with their historic clothes a link to the beginning of the former Order of St.Lazarus which recruited its members among the lepers in Outremer, forming the “army of the living dead.“

Our Grand Maser as well as most participants was most impressed by the atmosphere of the Imperial War Museum. A background where the “knightly spirit“ definitely could be felt.

Grand Master Steinhardt pointed out that the Lazarus Union is a world-wide accredited charitable organisation with lots of activities on charity, humane, and peace-keeping fields, listed as NGO with the United Nations, having more than 15.000 members in 62 countries worldwide on all continents.

He further pointed out that the Lazarus Union is neither a secular nor a religious knight‘s order, adhering to no specific religious group and having no obligations toward some. The Lazarus Union never claimed clerical recognition in any form so nor will it do so in the future.

The Lazarus Union wants to cooperate respectfully in peace with all religions, groups, and persons, segregating nobody. We have anchored tolerance, humbleness, charity, and mercy in our mission statement.

The crusader‘s fanfare led over to the presentation of the banners. Every Knight of Honour is entitled to his own coat of arms and also to present this coat of arms on a banner at official events. At the command: “Banner bearers – step forward!“ the designated banner bearers step forward and assume the assigned positions. The Grand Master after calling the name hands the banner over to the knight being honoured with the banner. The knight turns towards the audience and greets by lowering the banner. Then the knight returns the banner to the banner bearer.

Friendship banners to selected friendly organisations present are handed over by the Grand Marshal.

It is tradition in the course of a great investiture that the Lazarus Union officer‘s promise is renewed by all officers present. After the trumpet signal: “Attention“ designated officers step forward and put their left hand on the flagpole of the Union flag. The Deputy Federal Commander Wolfgang Leithner states the formal promise and all the Officers present reply. “I promise on my honour …“ Personal honour is the most precious thing a Lazarus Union offer possesses. If he breaks this promise he puts disgrace upon himself.

After a speech by the Grand Master the actual initiation ceremony takes place. It is a continuation of the old tradition of the accolade. The intention accompanying the ceremony is more important to us than the actual ceremony itself. It claims no authenticity and shall not be compared to other initiation ceremonies.

The postulants also do not bend their knee before the Grand Master. In our opinion one bends the knee only in front of God, and never in front of a human being like you or me.

The Grand Master opens the investiture ceremony. The candidates are called by the Grand Marshal and step forward as soon as called. Initiated into the Knighthood of Honour were: Hannes Hochmuth, Dipl.Ing. Herbert Paulis, Dr. Oswin Hochstöger and Sergeant Major Werner Winkelhofer. Four more Knights of Honour were initiated by calling their name, their initiation will be made public in the course of the next investiture.

The Grand Marshal annouces: “Dear … …. (the candidate’s first name is used!) You have come before the Chapter of the CSLI Knighthood of Honour and by SECRET ballot you were UNANIMOUSLY deemed worthy to belong to our community as a … … …. (here the rank and position to which the candidate is to be commissioned is used). Come before us!”

The Grand Master asks the candidate whether he wants to belong to the community of The CSLI Knighthood of Honour with the following words:

“I ask you therefore, before the assembled congregation: Do you of your own free will as … … .. (here the rank and position to which the candidate is to be commissioned is used) want to belong to our community and accept our mission?

The candidate answers:

“I want it with all my heart!”

The Grand Master asks the candidate:

“Are you aware what it means to be a member of this community?”

The candidate answers:

“Yes, I am!”

The Grand Master then says:

“Into our Knighthood of Honour we wholeheartedly welcome you. Receive the insignia of your new dignity: the sword, mantle, and the insignia of the LAZARUS UNION Knighthood of Honour.”

After the symbolic accolade the new Knight of Honour is welcomed into the society with the triple kiss of brotherhood. After this the new Knight faces the audience while the Grand Master presents the new knight with the words:

“Dear attendees, friends, comrades: here is our new Knight of Honour, we applaud him.”

After the applause the CSLI Fanfare and the Colours honour the new knight.

After some music various promotions and honours are awarded.

Knights of Honour Dipl.Kfm. Harry Tomek and Josef-Maria Gebel are promoted to Knight Commander of Honour.

Awards are presented to merited comrades, friends, and members of friendly organisations.

Once all investitures and promotions are finished, the Grand Master speaks the following prayer:


Lord, make us an instrument of your peace,
that we practice love, where there is hatred,
that we forgive, where there is injury,
that we connect, where there is strife,
that we tell the truth, where there is misconception
that we bring faith where doubts are expressed,
that we awaken hope where despair torments,
that we kindle a light where there is darkness,
that we bring joy, where there is sadness.

Lord, seek to make it:
not that we are comforted, but that we comfort;
not that we are understood, but that we understand;
not that we are loved, but that we love.

Because there is in giving, receiving.
Anyone who forgets himself, finds himself;
Anyone who forgives is forgiven;
And who dies, awakens to eternal life!


This ends the investiture ceremony.

An important part of the celebration is the remembrance for dead comrades. The Federal Commander takes the Corps Banner which is presented to him and when the music begins, he lowers the flag.

Music: The Good Comrade

Flags are all lowered, the audience is standing.

This is followed by one minute of silence. All take their place.

Command: “Flags and banners – up!“

This provides a worthy conclusion of the celebrations which were a premiere as they were for the first time being held without any clerical services. This is in line with our statutes as it underlines our ecumenical position and no religious group will be preferred any more. Members of the Lazarus Union belong to almost all religions of the world.

As a self-confident international organisation the Lazarus Union has no needs to court any religion‘s favours. Representatives of any religious organisation will always be welcomed as guests of honour. The Lazarus Union is open to all religions of the world with respect and dignity, with no exception, and we will continue this way in the future.

The Marshal directs the participants for the leaving procession. They take their places and prepare to leave the hall of fame to the sounds of Beethoven‘s Symphony No. 9, Fourth Movement (“Ode to Joy“).

Of course posing for a group photograph was obligatory.

In this place we want also to express our thanks to the photographers and camera men.

A small cocktail reception allowed for some small talk and chats with old friends and comrades.

The reactions to the celebration were positive from all sides. Our thanks to all those who helped in various ways to make this a success. The main work was (as always) on our Grand Master.

An impressive day ended with great dignity.

Further picture impressions from the investiture: