Ordo Sancti Joannis Hospitalis Hierososlymitani .


For the References see tables below.

The Ordo Sancti Joannis Hospitalis Hierosolymitami is led by a "Prince Alfred von Habsburg-Hohenberg".
This Web page examines some of the claims of the "Prince" in relation to his "Order".

The claims of Alfred Kupferberg*.

*Kupferberg (a guess has been made on the original surname) describes himself today as "Prince Alfred von Habsburg-Hohenberg". He holds to a fuller title "His Highness, Alfred Prince von Habsburg-Hohenberg, Margrave von Burgau, Baron von Kupferberg, Landgrave zu Nellenburg, Burgrave von Tirol" [REF 3].
He claims that "H.M. King Peter II, as the Grandmaster of the Ordo Sancti Joannis Hospitalis Hierosolymitami decreed on January 20, 1964 that " ... his "title should be Hereditary Grand Prior, Knights Hospitaller" [REF 2].
Via his "Diploma" allegedly given to him by King Peter January 20th 1965 (a year later from the grant of his "Hereditary title" ) directed and empowered "the grand prior of the Order of St. John Prince Alfred von Habsburg-Hohenberg To grant, enregister and matriculate coat of arms To grant, recognise and matriculate titles of nobility And generally to have, possess and exercise All the heraldic, chivalric and nobleese rights, Privileges, powers and authorities inherent to his rank !" [REF 3].

A person who had authored the Web Pages and who is/was a Knight of Justice of Ordo Sancti Joannis Hospitalis Hierosolymitani stated on 22nd March 2001;  

"My interest in this ancient Order follows a recent trip to the USA where I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Prince Alfred von Habsburg-Hohenberg, who is the Hereditary Grand Prior of the Ordo Sancti Joannis Hospitalis Hierosolymitani (The Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem). According to my notes and research, in 1965, together with King Peter II and Count Felix von Luckner, Prince Alfred re-established the ancient military and religious order of Saint John (The Knights of Malta)." [REF 1]

On the Web Site of the Order, the claims to the foundation of the Order are different;

"In 1799 Czar Paul I, Emperor of Russia, was elected the 70th Grandmaster, which caused a breakup of the original Order into a Catholic branch under the Pope in Rome, a British branch as the Venerable Order of Saint John under Sir Robert Peat as the Grand Prior, and a Protestant branch in Germany under the name of Johanniterorden.
In 1913 Grand Duke Alexander of Russia was elected the 71st Grandmaster followed by Col. Paul de Granier de Cassagnac as the 72nd Grandmaster.
In 1965 His Majesty, King Peter II of Yugoslavia (1923-1970) was elected the 73rd Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller, Ordo Sancti Joannis." [knightshospitaller.html Defunct see REF 3].

Essentially Alfred Kupferberg, a.k.a "Prince Alfred von Habsburg-Hohenberg" is running an "Order" claiming to be 'The Order of St John' (the history on the web page identifies the Order to which he is Hereditary Grand Prior as being non-other than a continuation of that founded in 1048 see "A Brief History of Ordo Sancti Joannis Hospitalis" knightshospitaller.html  Defunct). An Order in which he claims to have been given a privileged position, and that via the Diploma allegedly signed by the King, he now possesses a "fons honorum" in himself (a fountain of honour) - that as a fount of honour, he can bestow honours! Not all the information is consistent, and contradictory information is found on the web site, hence perhaps the difference between information given to a person joining or learning about the Order, and the finer details on the Web Site.

How true are these claims.

A. The rank and title of Alfred Kupferberg:
Alfred has "form" in terms of the King Peter Order;
(a) He appears in the records of the Count Christian Orssich who was confidant of King Peter, and who kept records on behalf of the King. The supporters of King Peter were anxious that, the King should issue a new constitution to the Cassagnac Order, to which King Peter was the "High Protector". Further than this they wished to see King Peter replace Colonel Paul de Granier de Cassagnac as Grandmaster. Various members and leaders were asked to vote for the King, and those who could not attend to provide their proxy to the King. "Alfred Paul Baron Kugler von Kupferberg Hollenberg - Hereditary Commander of Justice, acting Prior of Middle Northwest of the United States of America" sent in a proxy signed by him on the 12th May 1964, and Notarised 18th May 1964. In this proxy he has no rank of "Prince", and it is unclear whether the "Baron" is simply a name or title!
Although calling himself in 1964 an "Hereditary Commander of Justice", it must be remembered that the Pichel/Shickshinny Order and following the schism that the Cassagnac Order gave out so-called Hereditary titles! The proxy vote concerned the Cassagnac Order, of which Alfred von Habsburg-Hohenberg was a member, and most probably will have been a member of the Pichel/Shickshinny Order from which the Cassagnac Order broke!
(b) He is listed by Robert Formhals as being in the King Peter Order in 1975 as "Baron Alfred Kugler V. Kupferberg of Chicago, Ill as Prior of Mid-America " [REF 5]. In that list we can note that he is a "Baron" (but without any evidence to prove the claim), but he is not an "Hereditary Grand Prior". In the proxy vote he calls himself an "Hereditary Commander of Justice".
(c) Of relevance is a letter from General Theodore K. Militchevitch, who was in charge of the Chancellery of King Peter II. In writing to Kupferberg on May 20th 1965, General Militchevitch begins the letter "Dear Mr. von Kupferberg" - not "Baron" - nor "Prince". General Militchevitch on behalf of the King would always seek to follow the correct protocols, and certainly does not provide the title of "Prince" to Kupferberg [See REF 6].

B. The diploma allegedly given to Alfred Kupferberg by King Peter:
(a) The Diploma itself:
The diploma on Kupferberg's Web Site lacks both being Notarised and the Royal Yugoslavian Seal and any counter signatures which just might add credibility, that is, if all other evidence which provides the truth could be buried or forgotten!
Kupferberg acknowledges the King was elected as Grandmaster, and had given his proxy toward this. However the King was not elected until the 30th January 1965. Thus the King could not have signed Kupferberg's Diploma as Grandmaster. Kupferberg might just argue that it was on the 30th January King Peter was elected to another Order, and that the one which he now leads as Hereditary Grand Prior was the one on which the King became Grandmaster on the 20th - or before. However his own history rules this out, as it identifies the Order he leads with that of Cassagnac's and then King Peter [REF 3 & above].
Why are the 'facts' as claimed by Alfred von Habsburg-Hohenberg not independently verifiable from King Peter's own records? (more importantly contradicted by the historical record) The fact is simply this; there is no evidence contemporary to 1964 and up until 30th January 1965, that King Peter was a Grandmaster of any Order of St John, including one with a Latin Title! It was only on the 30th January 1965, that he was elected as a Grand Master to any Order of St John!
(b) The powers of Alfred Kupferberg as allegedly given by King Peter:
The Diploma allegedly given by the King 20th January 1964, states this; "grant & etc.... and generally to have, possess and exercise all the Heraldic, Chivalric and Noblesse rights, privileges, powers and authorities inherent to his rank !"
(i) What rank? That of a so-called "Hereditary Grand Prior"? No such rank has ever existed in the historic St John Order! Also no rank of Grand Prior (Hereditary or otherwise) possesses a "fons honorum" equating to a head of state, head of a ruling house or monarch. Yes a Prior can make knights on behalf of a person who is a "fons honorum", but the document does not suggest that. Due to the fact that the diplomas which were issued to new knights when the King was alive, were signed by the King, there was no need to give each Prior or Grand Prior a diploma to allow investitures to go forward. Thus there are no powers inherent in the rank of Grand Prior, other than acting on behalf of the fountain of honour.
Also once the King had died in 1970, and with his son refusing to support the numerous so-called King Peter Orders, there is no fountain of honour!
(ii) What rank? that of a Prince or Baron - only if such a Prince is the head of a ruling house - and then such a person does not need to be granted privileges, powers and authorities,  etc, etc, inherent to his rank ! Inherent means he already possesses such!

There is an additional problem, via the history of the Order, and via the diploma. Kupferberg credits King Peter as being Grandmaster, but in the By-Laws of the Order only credit him with being the Royal Patron of the Order [REF 3] . The By-Laws appeared to be current in 2003, (when they were displayed on the web site). No amendment that makes sense can now be made, as the King is no longer alive! However it can be noted that the By-Laws no longer appear on the Web Site. Most pertinent is that a genuine document issued by the King's Chancellery only credits Kupferberg with being a plain "Mr" [See REF 6].

C. The history of the Order.
The history of the Order traces itself through the Russian episode of the Order under Paul I, and only credits the Roman Catholic Order (the main organisation and acknowledged as such by Paul's son Emperor Alexander I) as being a branch along with the German and British revivals. The Order is then traced through the Pichel and Cassagnac Orders, which were self-styled and had no connection with the historic Order except via Pichel's mythical pre-history.
As to whatever Kupferberg told anyone else such as "together with King Peter II and Count Felix von Luckner, Prince Alfred re-established the ancient military and religious order of Saint John (The Knights of Malta)." cannot find any verification in the historical documents of the Order that King Peter led, and in any case contradicts the accepted fact in the history of Kupferberg's Order, that King Peter was elected Grandmaster [REF 3]- which presumes a pre-existing Order, to which to be elected!

CONCLUSIONS.
Irrespective of any good charitable work the Order, or Orders may do, the historical facts presented by "Prince Alfred von Habsburg-Hohenberg" cannot be verified from the historic records of King Peter's Order. Not touched upon is the two other Orders, which now appear on the Web Site, that of St George and the Knights Templar, all run by the good "Prince"!

Remember the dictum "caveat emptor" - buyer beware!


REFERENCES USED

REFERENCE 1.

18:13 22/03/01 -0000;

Dear Sirs,

I noticed with great interest your very comprehensive website today. My interest in this ancient Order follows a recent trip to the USA where I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Prince Alfred von Habsburg-Hohenberg, who is the Hereditary Grand Prior of the Ordo Sancti Joannis Hospitalis Hierosolymitani (The Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem).

According to my notes and research, in 1965, together with King Peter II and Count Felix von Luckner, Prince Alfred re-established the ancient military and religious order of Saint John (The Knights of Malta).

I can see that over the course of time, the Order appears to have fragmented with different "branches" (if that is the correct term) springing up. To help with my continuing - and fascinating - research I wonder how you are connected to the Order that Prince Alfred is Hereditary Grand Prior of.

I am very grateful for your assistance and thank you in advance for your reply, and for any additional information you can give me of your work in the United Kingdom.

Yours sincerely,

[Name supplied but omitted upon request]


REFERENCE 2.

From: <AVonHabsburg@aol.com>
To: <JSachs@webpages.free-online.co.uk>
Cc:
Sent: Sunday, July 07, 2002 3:24 PM
Subject: King Peter Order

M E M O R A N D U M

July 7, 2002

To: John Sachs

From: Alfred von Habsburg-Hohenberg

Dear Mr. Sachs,

Thank you for your e-mail of July 6th. Regarding your inquiry, the facts are as follows:

1. When you mentioned the "King Peter Order," this represents The Order of Saint Sava, which was founded by the Karageorgevich family (King Peter's family name) in 1883.
2. H.M. King Peter II was an elected official of The Ordo Sancti Joannis Hospitalis Hierosolymitami and The Ordo Sancti Georgii.
3. Major Robert W. Formhals and Prince Troubetzkoy established their branch in California as The Priory of the Pacific. It should be mentioned that Crolian Edelen of California, Charles Thourot Pichel (from Pennsylvania) and Dr. James A. Jacobs (Washington, D.C.) established their own branches (i.e. The Priory of the Potomac).
4. In the "Bulletin of The Order of St. John, Priory of the Pacific", Vol. I, No. 2, Nov. 10, 1965, it was reported that in California alone, seven branches of The Order of St. John existed!
5. George Wilson of the Illinois Priory was quoted in a local newspaper, "We gave King Peter the royal boot", which to say the least, was not kindly, not Christian, and not knightly.
6. All of the above branches use the name St. John, but no one is legally allowed to use the original name, which is in Latin, "Ordo Sancti Joannis Hospitalis Hierosolymitami, for which we have the copy right.
7. In order to prevent further splits, H.M. King Peter II, as the Grandmaster of the Ordo Sancti Joannis Hospitalis Hierosolymitami decreed on January 20, 1964 that my title should be Hereditary Grand Prior, Knights Hospitaller.
8. We have no connection with any of the other branches.

Your interest is genuinely appreciated. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Best personal regards,
Alfred von Habsburg-Hohenberg


REFERENCE 3.

http://www.knightshospitaller.org/

WEB SITE YEAR 2000
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http://www.knightshospitaller.org/  [as of: 2000/10/18]
Each prospective member at the time he/she becomes a Knight/Lady shall contribute the following passage fee:

  • Knight of Grace     $1,500

  • Lady of Grace       $1,500

  • Knight of Justice    $2,500

  • Lady of Justice      $2,500

  • Knight of Honor    No Fee

  • Lady of Honor      No Fee

WEB SITE YEAR 2001/2
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Web Site underwent a change and details of the fees were removed, but a much fuller site evolved in 2001.

http://www.knightshospitaller.org/source/  [updated: 2001/05/01]
http://www.knightshospitaller.org/source/2/  [updated: 2001/03/03]

1799 anno domini
Czar Paul 1. Emperor of Russia was elected 70th Grandmaster, which caused a breakup of the original Order into a Catholic branch under the Pope in Rome; a British branch as the Venerable Order of Saint John under Sir Robert Peat as the Grand Prior, and a Protestant branch in Germany under the name of Johanniterorden.

1913 anno domini
Grand Duke Alexander of Russia was elected 71st Grandmaster followed by Col. Paul de Granier de Cassagnac as the 72nd Grandmaster.

1965 anno domini
His Majesty King Peter II of Yugoslavia (1923-1970) was elected as the 73rd Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller Ordo Sancti Joannis or O.S.J.

http://www.knightshospitaller.org/membership/14/ [updated: 2001/03/11]

Article One: Organization
1. The name of this organization shall be Ordo Sancti Joannis Hospitalis Hierosolymitani, Inc.
2. The organization shall have a seal which shall be in the form shown below.
3. His majesty, Peter II, King of Yugoslavia, shall be the Royal Patron of the Order; His Excellency, Felix Count von Luckner, shall be the Honorary Grand Prior, and his Highness, Alfred Prince von Habsburg-Hohenberg, Margrave von Burgau, Baron von Kupferberg, Landgrave zu Nellenburg, Burgrave von Tirol shall be the Hereditary Grand Prior of the Order.
4. Headquarters of the Order shall be the seat of the Order.

WEB SITE YEAR 2003
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sometime around June 2003 the Web Site underwent a further change.

The details about the "Ordo Sancti Joannis Hospitalis Hierosolymitani, Inc" were much reduced. Replacing the detail on his King Peter Order, Membership can be offered now in any of the three Orders:
Ordo Sancti Joannis Hospitalis see http://www.knightshospitaller.org/knightshospitaller.html
Ordo Sancti Georgii see http://www.knightshospitaller.org/knightsgeorge.html
Pauperum Commilitonum Christi see http://www.knightshospitaller.org/knightstemplar.html

The alleged authority given to "Prince Alfred von Habsburg-Hohenberg" is justified by a diploma which has a copy of King Peter's signature (easily done via computer graphics). This "Diploma" can be seen at;
http://www.knightshospitaller.org/images/kingpeterltrlg.jpg

Text of http://www.knightshospitaller.org/images/kingpeterltrlg.jpg Defunct

Knights Hospitaller Osj
Sovereign Order of St John of Jerusalem

Knights of Malta

Chevalier de Malte             Malteser Ritter-Orden

TO ALL AND SUNDRY WHOM THESE PRESENTS DO OR MAY CONCERN
GREETINGS
WE, PETER II
BY THE GRACE OF GOD, KING OF YUGOSLAVIA
DIRECT AND EMPOWER THE GRAND PRIOR OF THE ORDER OF ST. JOHN
PRINCE ALFRED VON HABSBURG-HOHENBERG
to grant, enregister and matriculate Coat of Arms
to grant, recognise and matriculate Titles of Nobility
and generally to have, possess and exercise
all the Heraldic, Chivalric and Noblesse rights,
privileges, powers and authorities inherent to his rank !

Given under our hand and seal at our
Royal Residence in Exile this 20th day
of January in the year of our Lord
One Thousand Nine Hundred and Sixty-Five
and the 21st year of our reign.

Peter II R
His Majesty
King Peter of Yugoslavia
Grandmaster.


REFERENCE 4.

Text of Proxy given to King Peter II. Original held in the British Grand Priory Archives,
donated from the Estate of Count Christian Orssich a confidant of the King.

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS, that I Alfred Paul Baron Kugler von Kupferberg-Hohenberg, Hereditary Commander of Justice
acting Prior of Middle Northwest of the United States of America,
do hereby constitute and appoint the Hereditary Grand-Protector of our Order,

His Majesty Ring Peter II

attorney and agent for me and in my name, place and stead, to vote as my proxy at any election of the Supreme Council, the Grand Chapter or any meeting of the Officers of our Order, according to the number of votes I should be entitled to cast if then personally present.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my signature and seal this l2th day of May,
one thousand nine hundred and sixty-four.

Signed: V. Kupferberg

157 Prairie Avenue,
WILMETTE, Illinois

As witness,

Subscribed and Sworn to
before me this l8th day of
May; 1964.

Signed: Jeanette E Tolbert
Notary, Public


REFERENCE 5.

Formhals, Robert Willard Yates. White Cross : Story of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, with particular emphasis on the Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller since 1964 under Royal Charter of Peter II, King of Yugoslavia. Sanghals Publishers, Camarillo, California, USA, 1979.

From page 182. Listed under the King Peter Order.

"Baron Alfred Kugler V. Kupferberg of Chicago, Ill as Prior of Mid-America 1965"


REFERENCE 6.

Letter from General Theodore K. Militchevitch Chancellry of H.M. King Peter II, 267 Promenade des Anglaise Nice France, Nice, May 20th 1965.


Updated 6th June 2004
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