We don't know exactly in what circumstances the Order of the Holy Sepulchre started its activities in Canada, but we know that, near the end of the 1800s, four prestigious figures of that time, two French-speaking and two English-speaking, have formed the very first team created by the bishop of Jerusalem to put together the Lieutenancy of Montreal. They were Maître Louis Adolphe Huguet-Latour, notary and first librarian of the Montreal Historical Society, Mister Urgel-Eugène Archambault, founder of the Montreal Polytechnic School, Senator Edward Murphy, president of the City and District Savings Bank of Montreal, and Mister Paul Ernest Smith, court clerk of the Legislative Assembly. They are made Knights of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in 1882. Since its debut in Montreal, the Order has proudly included the two linguistic communities of the diocese.
The files of the Latin Patriarchate reveal that several other nominations have been made subsequently, but there is no trace of an official investiture. It is so true that, on the official list of representatives of the Order in the world, the name “Canada” is listed between 1883 and 1903; but it simply disappears in 1915. The period from 1926 to 1974 is divided in two eras. In the first, we admire the devotion of three Lieutenants:
The English newspaper The Gazette of April 6th 1936 reports that Mister Émile Grothé, Thomas Guérin, Arthur Gaboury and Gaétan Valois have been invested the day before as Knights of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in the Sacred Heart Chapel of the Notre Dame Basilica, in Montreal. Among those attending were Maître Victor Morin, Lieutenant of the Lieutenancy of Montreal, and the Reverend Olivier Moreau, Chaplain of the Lieutenancy of Montreal. The ceremony was presided by His Excellency Monsigneur Emmanuel Alphonse Deschamps, Auxiliary Bishop and Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Montreal.
The English newspaper The Ensign of December 11th 1948 (page 16) announced that His Excellency Archbishop Joseph Charbonneau was named Knight Grand Officer of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in the church of Saint Germain of Outremont.
The second era started in 1954, with the appointment of a new Lieutenant: His Excellency Dr. Eugène Thibault, m.d., K.G.C.H.S. Under his skilled and wise leadership, the Lieutenancy experienced a considerable growth and, thanks to a competent team, the membership increased in number and in quality. For his outstanding work, His Excellency Dr. Eugène Thibault earned the decoration of Knight Crand Cross and the Golden Palm of Jerusalem.
His Excellency Mister J. Antoine Charlebois, K.G.C.H.S., was appointed Lieutenant in 1967. Captain in the Canadian Army during the second World War (1939-1945), he became a competent businessman and a conscientious administrator after the war ended. He put his vast experience to the service of the Order and gave the Lieutenancy his communicative energy. In recognition for exceptional services rendered, he received the Silver Palms of Jerusalem, the Gold Medal of Merit and the Gold Cross of Merit.
His Eminency Cardinal Paul-Émile Léger p.s.s., K.G.C.H.S., Archbishop of Montreal, had always refused the admission of women in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. At his departure for Africa in 1968, his successor, His Eminency Cardinal Paul Grégoire, p.s.s., K.G.C.H.S., agreed to their admission as Dames of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. The 24th of May 1970, four of them were invested under the honorary presidency of the Grand Master of the Order, His Eminency Cardinal Eugène Tisserant. Over the years, many other devoted Dames were invested, and they rendered important services to the Lieutenancy.
On October 29th 1974, a decree signed by His Eminency Cardinal Grand Master Maximilien de Fürstenberg appointed Mister J. Albert Bissonnette as the new Lieutenant. In appreciation for his remarkable devotion for the Holy Land that he loved so much, His Excellency Mister J. Albert Bissonnette received the Golden Cross of Merit and was presented with the Golden Palms of Jerusalem.
Finally, he had the privilege to receive the decoration of Knight of the Collar from His Eminency Cardinal Grand Master Giuseppe Caprio. He has been the first and only dignitary of that rank in Canada. Shortly before his death, he finalized the establishment of a personal initiative he was dreaming about for long time: the Albert and Monique Bissonnette Foundation for the Holy Land, which gives all its revenues by patent letters to the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
On April 5th 1990, His Eminency Cardinal Grand Master Carlo Furno appointed His Excellency Mister Jean-Pierre Laferrière to succeed His Excellency Mister J. Albert Bissonnette, who resigned because of health problems. In recognition for his loyal engagement, His Eminency Cardinal Grand Master Carlo Furno, through the intermediary of His Excellency Monsignor Kamal-Hanna Bathish, Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem, bestowed him the very high distinction of the Gold Cross of Merit of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, in September 1996.
At the end of year 2000, due to important health problems, Mr. Laferrière retired and leaved the seat to his successor.
While serving as Lieutenant on the first of January 2001, Mr. Jean-Marc Allard is officially invested the following 7th of May during a ceremony held at the Mary Queen of the World Cathedral, presided by His Eminency Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, assisted by the Grand Prior of the Lieutenancy, His Excellency Monsignor Charles Valois K.G.O.H.S., and of His Excellency Monsignor Anthony Mancini, K.G.O.H.S., Auxiliary Bishop of Montreal.
Wednesday, April 19th 2006, the members of the Lieutenancy of Montreal are assembled in the Mary Queen of the World Cathedral, for the solemn investiture of our new Grand Prior, His Excellency Monsignor Jude Saint-Antoine, K.G.O.H.S., the solemn investiture of our new Lieutenant, His Excellency the Count Gerardo D’Argenio K.G.O.H.S., and the official nomination of His Excellency Mister Jean-Marc Allard K.G.C.H.S. to the Grand Magisterium in Rome. On the 17th of September 2006, the Count Gerardo D’Argenio was promoted Knight Grand Cross at the Notre Dame Basilica, in Montreal.
Sunday, February 13th 2011, a new Lieutenant was invested at the Mary Queen of the World Cathedral, in Montreal. His Excellency Dr. Giuseppe Maiolo, m.d., K.G.C.H.S., received the certificate of his appointment from the hands of His Excellency Monsignor Jude Saint-Antoine, Grand Prior. At this occasion, His Excellency Monsignor Louis Dicaire, K.G.O.H.S., Auxiliary Bishop of Saint-Jean - Longueuil, was installed as the new Grand Prior of the Lieutenancy of Montreal, succeeding to Mister Saint-Antoine.
On Sunday September 23rd, 2018, His Excellency Luc Harvey K.M., C.S.S., Retired Attorney, was installed as a new Lieutenant, at Marie Reine-du-Monde Cathedral by our Grand Prior, His Excellency Monsignor Christian Lépine, C.G.O.S.S., Archbishop of Montreal,. He was assisted by His Excellency Monsignor Émilius Goulet p.s.s. C.G.O.S.S., Archbishop Emeritus of Saint-Boniface. He received from our Grand Prior, the nomination decree which was signed on July 24th, 2018 by the Cardinal Grand Master of the Order, His Eminence Edwin Frederick Cardinal O’Brien.