The Order of St. Dumas was a subdivision of the Knights Templar, a Catholic Military Order renowned for participating in the Crusades for the Holy Land. The Order had a falling-out with the Templars and left the Templars before King Philip the Fair came and suppressed the Templars.
The Order devoted itself to the teachings of "Saint" Dumas (who, according to Oracle, "no one else ever accused of being a saint.") training an Asian man named Stephen Forrest Lee to be their champion under the name "Dumas", who fought Manhunter under that name. The failure of their champion splintered the Order, allowing one extremist faction to train Azrael. Later, Mark Shaw took the Dumas identity, at the request of the main branch of the order.
Brother Rollo's Splinter Group
A splinter group of the Order created a new champion called Azrael, a hereditary title given to the splinter order's near-superhuman enforcer and assassin. Members of the splinter order enlarged the organization's power by killing their enemies, hoarding knowledge and kidnapping some of the greatest thinkers in the world. The order also spread disinformation to ensure that the theories of the kidnapped geniuses would look so silly that nobody would miss them or examine their research. The most recent Azrael, Jean-Paul Valley, eventually destroyed the splinter group, which at the time was being led by one Brother Rollo, assisted by Sister Lilhy. Lilhy, however, left the order to help Azrael.
Some time later, Lilhy stumbled upon another faction of the Order of St. Dumas based in the orient, which had a lot of money to its name. Lilhy, corrupted by her new found power, devoted herself fully to re-founding the order. In doing this, she recruited an Asian man who had been born, raised, and trained in the same manner as Jean-Paul, to be her new "Azrael."
Lilhy continued to rebuild the Order while being opposed by Jean-Paul Valley as Azrael.
The Order of Purity
Another spliter group, the Order of Purity, was formed, but it did not have access to the main branch of the Order's financial assets or its political clout. Out of a desire to see their religion protected, the Order of Purity and its parishioners constructed the Suit of Sorrows: a chainmail tabard made from the armor of one hundred violent Crusaders, worn by the champion of the Order. Whether from the blood debt of its original owners, or the psychological weight it represents, most of its wearers have gone mad. The suit was stolen by Ra's al Ghul, who bequeathed it to his daughter Talia, who gave it to Batman.
In the wake of the Black Glove's assault on Batman, the Order of Purity stole the Suit of Sorrows from the Batcave, intending to equip a new "Azrael" to be their champion. Their intended subject, Michael Lane, has since take on the the role, and is currently active.
- 55 Appearances of Order of St. Dumas
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- Organization Gallery: Order of St. Dumas