The Alliance of Orders of St John of Jerusalem

On the occasion of the meeting of the Alliance of the Order of St.John of Jerusalem, we gladly host a contribution of James Wilson that briefly describe the history of the Alliance. As in a few countries some organizations use our symbols and history to confuse public opinion, we consider this contribution helpful to clarify the associations recognized by the Sovereign Order of Malta which enjoys diplomatic accreditation in Romania since 1932
The Alliance of Orders of St John of Jerusalem

In 1961, the Sovereign Order of Malta and the four recognised non-Catholic orders of the St John formed the  Alliance of Orders of St John of Jerusalem. Together, these five Orders are the only bodies legally allowed to use the Order of St John name and symbols.  

 The Alliance is constituted by: 


The Alliance of Orders of St John 

The Sovereign Order of Malta is recognised the senior, original Order, and as such is an order of the Roman Catholic church. The four other Orders in the Alliance, stemming from the same root, are orders of chivalry as well as being Christian confraternities. Today, the Bailiwick of Brandenburg, the Dutch Order, and the Swedish Order are Protestant. The Most Venerable Order, under the British Crown, today is also predominately Protestant, but has members drawn from numerous Christian denominations. 

Nevertheless, the Sovereign Order of Malta and the four other Orders in the Alliance share a commitment to the traditions established in the Middle Ages, and in all five Orders there is the obligation to uphold and exemplify Christian principles.  

With a tradition going back to the Middle Ages, when the care of sick was carried out by the Order of St John of Jerusalem, the five Orders of St John today continue to look after the sick and the poor under their emblem of the eight-pointed white cross. They share a Christian commitment, a mission for carrying out good works and for donating money to such works, and strict membership criteria. Through these shared aims and values, the Alliance has evolved to the point where cooperation between the respective Orders is now ever closer. 


Mimic and self-styled orders 

The Sovereign Order of Malta wishes to point out the proliferation all over the world of bodies and associations which, using symbols and names not unlike those of the Order, are trying to represent themselves as legitimate and recognised orders of Saint John. Besides creating misunderstanding and confusion, they hurt the good will the Order has established over many years.  

 Other than the five orders of the Alliance, these other mimic/self-styled organisations have no connection whatsoever with the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, whose headquarters is located in Rome, at Via Condotti 68, and which maintains formal diplomatic relations with over 100 States and International Organisations. To protect the Order’s over 900 years heritage, it has legally registered 16 versions of its names and emblems in 100+ countries. 

 In 1975, the Alliance established what is today known as the Committee on the Orders of Saint John, a collaborative body focused on protecting our shared heritage, including names and symbols. As such, the Order of Malta and the four other orders in the Alliance are the “Mutually Recognised Orders of Saint John”, and therefore are the only groups entitled to use the Order of St John names and symbols. As such, none of the five mutually-recognised orders accept the claims of any self-styled ‘order’ of St John, nor their claims to be successors of the medieval Order, nor any right to use the name and symbols of that Order.   


For more information on the Alliance and the constituent Orders please visit: 

 Caution is strongly recommended when considering proposals or appeals from organisations claiming to be the ‘Order of Malta’ or the ‘Order of Saint John’. Please have their authenticity confirmed by one of our Grand Priories, National Associations, or Diplomatic Missions. For a complete list of the Order’s official entities, please visit: