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The Russian Grand Priory.


In 1798 following Napoleon's taking of Malta, the Order of Malta (Order of St John of Jerusalem) was dispersed, but with a large number of refugee Knights sheltering in St Petersburg, where they elected the Russian Emperor, Paul I as their Grand Master - a rival Grand Master to Ferdinand Hompesch then held in disgrace. Hompesch abdicated in 1799 leaving Paul as the only Grand Master.

As de-facto Grand Master, Paul Iof Russia created a Russian tradition within the Hospitaller Order - the "Russian Grand Priory" open to all Christians - which whilst it could not be accepted as a canonical part of the Roman Catholic Order, it was never-the-less a de-facto part of the ancient Order.

Following Imperial Decrees of Alexander I of Russia in 1810/1811, a fiscal and legal separation of the Russian tradition of St John from the main Roman Catholic HQ was created. The Russian Order was now akin to the German JohanniterOrder, a Johannine tradition, but legally separate.

This Russian Hospitaller tradition of St John continued within the Russian Empire, and then into Exile following the Revolution in 1917. The exilic Headquarters of the exiled Grand Priory began in Paris in 1928 under the leadership of Grand Duke Alexander Romanoff. The Paris Group was Incorporated in 1955.

Paul I had created under Russian Laws Family Commanders of the Russian Grand Priory with Hereditary Rights. It is the descendants of these Commanders who have, with the support of members of the Imperial family, continued that Russian tradition in exile.
Information on the Russian Grand Priory at a glance.

There are many "Orders" who have sought to claim that they are part of this Russian tradition, but these claims are based on mythical histories with their origins in a self-styled "Order" created in the U.S.A. by a Charles Pichel in the mid 1950s. These can be found via the "Self-Styled Order" Web Page.

Web Sites

Russian Grand Priory Home Page  
British Association Home Page
The Priory of Dacia (Information)
The Autonomous Priory of Dacia


Information on the Russian Grand Priory at a glance  
The History of the Russian Grand Priory  
Russian Grand Priory - Time Line  
Hereditary Commanders of the Russian Grand Priory  
The Union of the Hereditary Commanders and Knights  
The Grand Priors of the Russian Grand Priory in Exile 
A Genealogy Table of Protectors of the Russian Grand Priory  
Tribute to Dr. Count Christian Orssich de Slavetich OOSJ 

Historic Portraits and Photographs

Portraits of members of the Russian Grand Priory  

Password Protected Pages

Officers only pages  

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: All the information contained on this Web Site (http://www.orderstjohn.org/osj/ & http://www.knights-of-st-john.co.uk) seeks to be truthful and accurate. The Webmaster of this Site will happily receive corrections to any claims made in relation to the information and apologises beforehand for any incorrect information. Where hyperlinks are provided to other Sites, these will be removed if those responsible for the Sites object. If any of the material is owned in copyright by others, please accept the apologies of the Webmaster, indicating which material is in breach and this will be rectified.

Updated 4th December 2004.
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