The Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem

What is “The Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem”? A local hospice is run by persons of this order and when I looked up its history, it seems to be a very old Catholic organization. However, I asked if this hospice was Catholic and was told that it is not. Also, I inquired of a priest if it was legit and was told that it was not. May a Catholic join the order – that is, take vows – and still remain a practicing Catholic?

contact your diocese for an authoritative answer about the order and the facility

A question comes to mind here: in which country is this hospital? AFAIK, the real Knights of Malta do not operate in the US. I realize this is from wikipedia, but it does give a decent overview. Of particular note is the section on “mimic orders.” (A listing of recognized priories can be found here).

“The real Knight of Malta do not operate in the US”??? REALLY. That will come as a shock to me and my fellow thousands of U.S. Knights.

errrr, yes we do.

There are three U.S. Associations of the Soverign Military Hospitaller Order of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and Malta, (Malta or SMOM for short) in the United States. Memebers of all three Associations are validly invested Knights of the Catholic Church. The Associations are the American, Federal and Western.

Annie’s response is the best. Contact the Bishop’s office about this particular facility.

The Order is in fact a valid Catholic Religious Order. A link to its international website is here:

However there are several “knock-offs”, some which claim lineage back to Fra. Gerard and others with are just modern copy cats. Only the SMOM is an officially recognized order of the Church and maintains diplomatic relations with Rome and as an official “observer” at the United Nations. It is headquartered in Rome but soon will be relocating back to Malta after an over 200 year abscence.

Yes, it is consistent to be a Knight or Dame of Malta and a practicing Catholic. In fact it is required.

Perhaps it wasn’t intended as such, but for some reason that strikes me as testy. Notice I said AFAIK. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Sorry for any misunderstanding. :o

Thanks, everyone. I had written a long response indicating how my question arose, but I decided against posting it, as I will gladly rely on the information that there is a legit organization and that I should check into the hospice. It just gives me the creeps that there are copycat organizations.

I am sorry if I offended. It was my intention to try to be a little witty, not testy. Guess I failed. It just seemed “odd” to me that with several thousand Knights and Dames in the United States, we are so reletively unknown that some aren’t aware of us. I suppose that is a testament to our “quiet charity”.

I really didn’t know what the “AFAIK” meant, although in retrospect I surmise it means “as far as I know”?

Again, sorry if I offended.

Thank you. :slight_smile: No harm, no foul.

And BTW, yes, you’re correct: AFAIK = as far as I know. :slight_smile:


I know I said I was satisfied, but this bothered me overnight and I called the local OSJ and now I am even more confused. I hate to bother the local diocesan offices, as they are booked solid.

The OSJ chaplain told me he was Catholic, but the group is Orthodox and is ecumenical in its members. It has lay members who take vows. The priests are Opus Dei. I just don’t see how all of this fits together. How can a Roman Catholic take any kind of vows in an Orthodox “ecumenical” organization? (The founder was Fr. von Lobkowitz and it was connected with Pichel – from what I read online, this is not one of the real OSJ organizations, whose websites I visited and who have such different credentials.) Would a Catholic be excommunicated by taking vows in this rogue organization?

I don’t know enough about this particular organization to say much other than it clearly is not part of the Order of Malta. It sounds like an ecumenical charitable organization that may very well do much good work.

It may well be an approved ecumenical organization in your diocese. Although I understand your concern with respect to “bothering” your diocese officals, I would nonetheless encourage you to do so before making any judgments, positive or negative, regarding this Hospice and any lay “vows” it may be involved with. I don’t know that this is a “rogue” organization or simply one that has invoked the history of Hospice started by the Order of Malta over 1000 years ago as its model.

SMOM’s HQ are still located in Rome, however the Russian Grand Priory of Malta’s HQ are in Valletta. More here:

Can someone provide - further to this article:

an insight on the situation in his/her country?

This thread was resurrected nearly four years after the original discussion. The parties have moved on to other things now.

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