The Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus belongs in the category of hereditary dynastic orders bestowed by a legitimate successor of a Royal House, recognized as such by the Holy See, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and reigning European Royal Houses. The choice of Saint Maurice and Saint Lazarus as patrons of the Order coincides with its principal historical roles: military, hospitaller and religious. After he became Grand Master, Prince Victor Emmanuel of Savoy recast and revitalized the Order to the status of an Order of Chivalry of the Royal House of Savoy, to reflect the changes that had taken place in Italy during the preceding half century. Among other notable changes, he introduced three ranks for dames in 1985.
The Order is now divided into 8 classes:
Cavaliere di Gran Croce (Knight Grand Cross with Grand Cordon)
Dama di Gran Croce (Dame Grand Cross)
Grande Ufficiale (Grand Officer)
Dama di Commenda (Dame Commander)
The insignia of the Order consists of a white enamel cross of the Order of Saint Maurice superimposed on the emerald green cross of the Order of Saint Lazarus.
For worthy recipients, the Grand Master may confer an honorary hereditary commandery of Jus Patronatus with corresponding title of Commander of Honor Jus Patronatus.
To emphasize and facilitate the personal commitment of its members to the spirit and objectives of the Order, the Statutes provide that a limited number of Knights or Dames of Devotion may be appointed among members of the Order. Such members will have already demonstrated particular dedication to the Order and shall undertake a solemn vow, renewable on an annual basis, to serve the Order with special commitment, and consistent with the Order’s original Christian purposes, to perform works of a humanitarian nature in the social, medical or charitable spheres. Knights and Dames of Devotion will wear a golden knot of Savoy next to the insignia of their grade. Any such commitment to the Order must be specific and not merely general, in accordance with requirements set forth in published rules and regulations for Knights and Dames of Devotion.
For those who have demonstrated their support of the work of the Savoy Orders, but who are too young to qualify for admission to the Orders, the honor of being named a Devotee of Merit is sometimes conferred by the Grand Master. A Devotee of Merit is neither a member of an order of knighthood, nor a member of an order of merit. Recipients usually aspire to eventual admission to the Savoy Orders as they continue to demonstrate their devotion to the charitable and humanitarian works of the Orders and reach the appropriate age for admission. The bronze medal bears the cross in relief, without enamel. On the reverse side, the words “Bene Merenti” (Good Works) are inscribed.