Alliance of the Orders of Saint John of Jerusalem
The Alliance of the Orders of Saint John of Jerusalem is a federation of European (mostly Protestant) chivalric orders that share inheritance of the tradition of the mediaeval military Knights Hospitaller (Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem).
Formed in 1961 to encourage closer collaboration between its member orders in matters of common concern, the Alliance Orders of Saint John comprise:
- The Johanniterorden (Balley Brandenburg des Ritterlichen Ordens Sankt Johannis vom Spital zu Jerusalem, or the "Bailiwick of Brandenburg of the Chivalric Order of Saint John of the Hospital of Jerusalem"), based in Germany, as well as the non-German commanderies affiliated with the Bailiwick of Brandenburg, of which four have an autonomous status:
- The Johanniter Orde in Nederland, based in The Netherlands.
- The Johanniterorden i Sverige, based in Stockholm, Sweden.
- The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, based in the United Kingdom.
The Johanniter Orde in Nederland and the Johanniterorden i Sverige were formerly commanderies of the Bailiwick of Brandenburg. They became independent orders under the respective monarchs in 1946.
As John Brooke-Little (when Norroy and Ulster King of Arms) later put into writing, the principal impetus for the concordat of 1961 was not ecumenism or brotherhood: it was signed because none of the few remaining legitimate orders of Saint John could effectively shield themselves from the claims of the self-styled orders while the legitimate orders continuously debated among themselves which of them was legitimate. This concordat led to the establishment of the Alliance of the Orders of St. John.
The presidency of the Alliance rotates between the four Orders of Saint John.
The mutually-recognised Orders of Saint John
The four non-Catholic constituent orders of the Alliance, together with the Roman Catholic Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), form the "Mutually Recognised Orders of Saint John": SMOM is acknowledged as being the senior order, with the other Alliance members stemming from the same root.
This alliance has evolved over time to the point where co-operation between the respective Orders is now ever closer: a representative of the Johanniterorden, for instance, sits on the board of the St John Eye Hospital Group.
The Committee on the Orders of Saint John
None of the five mutually-recognised orders accept the claims of any other so-called Order of Saint John (which SMOM, the Alliance Orders and others describe as "self-styled"), nor their claims to be successors of the mediaeval Order of Saint John, nor any right to use the name and symbols of that order.
In 1975 the Alliance Orders' together with the Sovereign Military Order of Malta established what is today known as the Committee on the Orders of Saint John, as a collaborative body focused on protecting their shared heritage, including names and symbols. For many years the president of the Committee was Friedrich Wilhelm, Prince of Hohenzollern (1924-2010), and more recently Lt. Col. Peregrine Bertie, brother of the former Grand Master of SMOM, fra' Andrew Bertie (1929-2008).
- Johanniter International, a network of charities affiliated with the Alliance Orders
- Convention signed in Niederweisel, Germany, on the 13th of June, 1961.
- The Orders of Saint John Joint Declaration dated 14 October 1987.
- The Orders of St John: a Shared Tradition : Joint Declaration of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Alliance Orders of Saint John of Jerusalem, 22 October 2004.
- Committee on The Orders of St. John.
- Hoegen Dijkhof, Hans J. (2006). The Legitimacy of Orders of St. John: a historical and legal analysis and case study of a para-religious phenomenon. Doctoral thesis. Leiden: University of Leiden. ISBN 9065509542.