Every nation, every age, and every people call out for the “true knight”—a servant of Christ and the needy; an apostle of good deeds. Theirs is a life of duty and ideals to uphold, now and for centuries to come. Their demeanor is one of uncompromising chivalry and culture. Their voice speaks out for fairness and justice for all. They are living examples of strength of character and personal courage. Blessed is the nation that can boast of having even one such person!
The Order of St. John unites its members in centuries-old fellowship that began eleven centuries ago and, today, continues to promote and encourage the memory of the achievements of its founder, the Blessed Gerard, and the knights and dames who are well-known for their acts of charity and service to humanity.
The Order believes that remembering the service and sacrifice of the men and women who defended the Christian faith and who selflessly served others—regardless of their beliefs—is vital to the preservation of humankind. To achieve this purpose, the founders of the Order originally made membership hereditary, with the expectation that their descendants would feel a special obligation to keep these memories and the institution alive.
In today’s world, proving one’s aristocracy to ten or twelve generations is no longer required for membership and genealogy has been supplanted by one’s humanitarian action and performance. To this end, successive royal and non-royal leaders of the OSJ have provided for a far more ecumenical and democratic organization as well as forward-thinking policies for admission of members who support the Order’s aims:
- The Order is defined as a Christian, Knightly, chivalric, ecumenical, international organization;
- The principal objectives are charity and the defense of the Christian faith;
- True also to its traditions, the Order upholds the ideal of a free world and the rights of men and women as defined in the Universal Declaration of the United Nations;
- It aspires to make a contribution, strictly Christian, to the formation of human and spiritual leadership. The community is made up of persons who are distinguished by their origin, education, upbringing, capacities and worthy deeds; and
- While taking an established and indispensable hierarchy into account, the Order adopts the principle of social equality of all its members.