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The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (Latin: Ordo Equestris Sancti Sepulcri Hierosolymitani, OESSH), also called the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, is a Roman Catholic order of knighthood under the protection of the Holy See. The Pope is sovereign of the Order.  It is an internationally recognized order of knighthood. Today, the order is estimated to have some 30,000 knights and dames in 60 lieutenancies around the world. There are several grades of knighthood. These are open to both men and women. While laity may be promoted to any rank, the ranks of the clergy are as follows: cardinals are knights grand cross, bishops are commanders with star, and priests and transitional deacons start with the rank of knight but may be promoted to commander. Permanent deacons are not eligible to be promoted. Female members may wear chest ribbons rather than neck crosses, and the military trophies in insignia and heraldic additaments are replaced by bows.


This specific Order is a Dame Commander example, being suspended from a bow rather than a military style suspension. It comes with a miniature medal and original presentation case. Suspended for wear on a generous length of original ribbon with snaps attached at the ends. This is a fairly modern example of the order, with a maximum age of around 40 years. However, it is a nice set for the somewhat uncommon Dame Commander rank, and it is in excellent condition. If the original wearer of this award was not a lay person, their position in the church would be a female priest or transitional deacon. As an indication of rarity, the Catholic church reports a total of only 204 female priests worldwide. 

Order of the Holy Sepulchre, Cased (Dame Commander)


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