Venerable Order of Saint John

The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John ( Knights Hospitaller ) is a which originate from the " Order of the Hospital of Saint (St. ) John of Jerusalem " British orders of chivalry, comparable to the German Order. He is across the Commonwealth, the USA and Hong Kong. Although the members of the Order are mostly Protestants, he is also open to members of other Christian confessions. Member can be by invitation only.

The Order is especially known for its largest service organization, " St. John Ambulance " (equivalent to the German St. John 's Ambulance ).


The Order was created in 1826 from an attempt of the French Order of Malta, money for the establishment of a homeland for the Order of Malta together.

After a number of years and longer internal disputes Sir Henry Dymoke was established in April 1837 finally elected Grand Prior, and under his leadership the contact with the Order of St. John in France and Germany was taken. Try to get the official recognition by the leadership of the Order of Malta, failed, and the English priory declared himself sovereign Order in England under the name "The Sovereign and Illustrious Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Anglia ".

The history of the Order as a merciful order of knights began when he established an ambulance corps in the 60s of the 19th century. 1871 the Order was renamed in "Order of St. John of Jerusalem in England ".

The biggest step forward brought the Order of the Royal charter ( Royal Charter ), with whom he was officially recognized by Queen Victoria. He was followed by other charters, the youngest in 1955 with an addition in 1974 by the global framework of the Order was committed.

The British Order of St John is indeed ecumenical in its membership and has always included Catholics, but he's joined by his royal head with the Reformed tradition, since the monarch is the head of the Church of England at the same time. 1963, the Order of the Sovereign Order of Malta was recognized by the Concordat.


The Venerable Order of Saint John is connected to the German Order of St. John the Orde in Nederland and the Order of St. John i Sverige Alliance of Order of St. John. These work together, the Order of St John with the Sovereign Order of Malta in the committee. They recognize each other reciprocally, and deny the right of other mergers, in imitation of the original Knights Hospitaller " Knights Hospitaller " who see themselves to use names and symbols.

Order outline


The Order is divided into six classes:

The monarch of the Commonwealth realms, so currently Queen Elizabeth II, is the Head of the Order. The office of Grand Prior of the Order since 1974, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, held.


The Order has at least five officers:

Other officers such as the genealogist may be appointed by the Grand Prior on the recommendation of the Grand Council if necessary. Furthermore, a secretary may be appointed, whose term ends at the latest, when the Grand Prior resigns.

Ceremonial clothing and insignia

The members of the Order wear on important occasions own ceremonial dress, which depends on the class:

  • The cloak of the sovereign as head of the Order is made ​​of velvet and silk and has a train. The Grand Prior wears an identical cloak, but without train. All other orders classes wearing a cape made of black merino wool, which is edged with silk.
  • As a Breast Star, an eight -pointed Maltese cross is used. The star of the sovereign has a diameter of 12 inches and is crowned by an Imperial Crown, the Grand Prior missing the crown. The equal-sized breast star of Bailiffs and Dames Grand Cross is made of white linen, which is interwoven with gold-colored silk. In Knights or Dames of Justice or Grace white silk is used for the breast star. The commanders of the breast star is only 9 inches tall, with officers only 6 inches.
  • The religious character of members of the first two classes is located on a sash that is worn over the right shoulder to the left hip. Male Commander wear the badge as a neck order. All other male members of the Order wear it on ribbon on the left chest. All female awardees - with the exception of Dames Grand Cross and Dames of Justice or Grace - on the other hand wear the badge on a ribbon on the left shoulder. The religious character itself is a Maltese cross.