The Recognized Orders of St. John
The Original Catholic Order
- The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta (Commonly referred to as the “SMOM” or “Order of Malta”). The supreme head of the Order is the Prince and Grand Master, who is elected for life by the Council Complete of State, and holds the precedence of a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. Official Site
There are four recognized protestant Orders of St. John that is a federation of the European Chivalric Orders and share inheritance of the St. John tradition. They are organized under the Alliance of the Orders of St. John of Jerusalem. These four along with the Sovereign Military Order of Malta represent the Authentic Orders of St John.
The Four Protestant Orders
- The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (“Order of St. John”). A Royal Order of Chivalry under HM Queen Elizabeth II who is the Sovereign Head of the Order. First constituted in 1888 by a royal charter from HM Queen Victoria. Official Site | Further historical information available here.
- Die Balley Brandenburg des Ritterlichen Ordens St. Johannis vom Spital zu Jerusalem (The Johanniter Order) Under the patronage of Dr. Oskar Prinz von Preußen. The Johanniter Order was reinstituted on October 15th, 1852 as the Protestant branch of the old Johanniter Order by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, based on his sovereignty as the political ruler acknowledged since the Peace of Westphalia. Official Site | Further historical information available here.
- Johanniter Nederland (Dutch Order of St John) In its present form it was founded in 1946 by Queen Wilhelmina , as the successor of the Commenderij Nederland of the Balije Brandenburg der Johanniter Order founded in 1909. Official Site
- Johanniterorden I Sverige (Swedish Order of St John) The head of the order being HM King Carl XVI Gustav as the High Patron. Official Site | Further historical information available here.
The proliferation of false “orders” and “associations” which use symbols (maltese cross) and names not unlike those of the recognized Orders of St. John, and are trying to represent themselves as legitimate and recognized orders of Saint John. Besides creating misunderstanding and confusion, they hurt the good will the Order has established and are more than likely some sort of scam.
These organizations have no connection whatsoever with the recognized Orders of St. John. It is strongly recommended to exercise extreme caution when considering proposals or appeals from organizations that claim to be an Order of St. John. The easiest way to know if they are a true Order of St. John, is to have their authenticity confirmed by one of the Grand Priories (See links above). One cannot simply apply online and pay a fee to become a member or Knight. Membership in any of the authentic orders is a lengthy process and will include the requirements of having several recommendations from current members, a record of service and the attendance of an Investiture service.