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
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
"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
"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."
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"
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
(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
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 &
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
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
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!
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!
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
WEB SITE YEAR 2000
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
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
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
Ordo Sancti Georgii see
Pauperum Commilitonum Christi see
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;
Knights Hospitaller Osj
Sovereign Order of St John of Jerusalem
Knights of Malta
Chevalier de Malte Malteser
TO ALL AND SUNDRY WHOM THESE PRESENTS DO OR MAY CONCERN
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
King Peter of Yugoslavia