The Noble Brotherhood of the Holy Blood was founded shortly after 1400. Its purpose is to safeguard the relic and to further its veneration. Its 31 members must be resident in Bruges and, as an old document puts it, be “honorable people”.
The Provost can be recognized by his rich neckchain. On ceremonial occasions the Brothers wear a black silken tabard on which the pelican with her young is embroidered.