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Baltimore Archbishop to Head Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre

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Pope Benedict XVI has named Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien of Baltimore as pro–grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre. The appointment was announced at the apostolic nunciature in Washington 29 Aug. The order is a chivalric organization dedicated to supporting the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the needs of Catholics in the Holy Land. The grand master is based in Rome. Archbishop O'Brien is pictured during his installation ceremony in Baltimore in 2007. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)  

30 Aug 2011 – By Christopher Gunty

BALTIMORE (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien of Baltimore as pro-grand master of the Equestrian Order (Knights) of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, based in Rome.

The appointment was announced simultaneously in Rome and in Washington Aug. 29.

The order is a chivalric organization dedicated to promoting and defending Christianity in the Holy Land, supporting the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and responding to the needs of Catholics in the region. Its origins date back to the First Crusade, when its leader, Godfrey de Bouillon, liberated Jerusalem.

He succeeds U.S. Cardinal John P. Foley, who resigned and retired in February as head of the international order for health reasons. Cardinal Foley returned to Philadelphia to live permanently earlier this year after having served in Vatican posts since 1984.

It is not known when Archbishop O'Brien will take up his new post in Rome. Though he ceases to be archbishop of Baltimore effective with the appointment, the pope named him as apostolic administrator of the archdiocese until his successor is named.

“It has been a singular privilege to serve as archbishop of Baltimore,” Archbishop O’Brien said. “It is with a heavy heart that I will be departing. ... I pray that I will carry out the will of God and that of (the pope) in preserving the faith in the Holy Land.”

In a statement released Aug. 29, Cardinal Foley said, “I could not be happier that he is my successor,” citing Archbishop O’Brien’s “experience and splendid dedication as priest and archbishop.”

Archbishop O’Brien was appointed July 12, 2007, by Pope Benedict as the 15th archbishop of Baltimore to succeed Cardinal William H. Keeler, who had served as archbishop of the nation's oldest diocese from 1989 to 2007.

For the 10 years prior to his Baltimore appointment, he was archbishop of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services, which serves 1.5 million Catholics, including all U.S. armed forces and their families, as well as 170 Veterans Affairs hospitals and U.S. government employees overseas.





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Tags: Middle East Christians Pope Benedict XVI United States Holy Sepulchre