| As de-facto Grand Master, Paul I of 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.
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.
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 USA. by a Charles
Pichel in the mid 1950s. These can be found via the
"Self-Styled Order" Web Page.