The Constitution of the Grand Priory of America dated May 17th 1912
Source: copy held in the British Priory Archives,
supplied by The Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller, Canadian HQ.

Note: Although dated to 1912, there is no evidence to support this date. The Constitution is alleged to have been typed on a 1942 typewriter in Schickshinny circa mid-late 1950s.


and By-Laws



Adopted May 17, 1912


American Grand Priory

of the


-Knights of Malta-

including the






While the associates of this Order may be known under the short title "Knights of Malta," the legal name of the Order shall be known as the "Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem," either alone, or in combination with the short title "Knights of Malta," and as such, shall be defended before the courts and tribunals of all nations.

The complete, definitive and explanatory title of the assembly shall be known as the "American Grand Priory of the Sovereign Order of  Saint John of Jerusalem, -Knights of Malta-, including the Grand Priory of Russia.

Further identification is made by referring to the work of the merchants of Amalfi and their Founder, the Venerable Founder Peter Gerard. To be more precise, reference is made to that illustrious Order that began in Jerusalem 1050 until 1291, Cyprus 1292-1310, Rhodes 1311-1523, Malta 1530-1798, Russia 1798-1815 and continued in the United States of America since 1908, namely, the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem.


Synonymous Terms

Constitution, By-Laws, statutes, rules of the Order, laws.

Hospitallers, Order, Knight Order, corporation, assembly, members, knights, membership, associates, affiliates, organisation, chapter, grand priory.

Meeting, conclave, assembly, chapter general.

Hospitallers, knight Hospitallers, Hospitallers of Jerusalem, Order of the Hospital of Saint John, Hospitallers of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Jerusalem, Knights of Cyprus, Knights of Rhodes, Order of Malta, Knights of Malta, Hospitallers of Malta, Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, American Grand Priory, Russian Grand Priory.

Board of trustees, board of directors, officers of the corporation, sovereign assembly, sovereign council.

Grand-Master, Sovereign Prince, Administrator, President.

Grand Chancellor, secretary-treasurer.

Convent, headquarters, sovereign territory.

Prior, bailli; grand prior, grand prior, grand bailli.

Attorney-General, general counsel.



Purposes Religious and Charitable

The existence of the Order is to be perpetual and based upon the apostolic Christian religion, the main purpose being religious, that is, to teach the doctrines and practice of the apostles and to defend and protect the Christian religion and help to promote Christian morals.

To exercise Christian charity and Hospitality to all persons and groups without regard to class, color, race or religion. The Order is also military, its government being based upon military rules of order and discipline for its members and officers.

To select, instruct, educate and confirm chaplains, priests, serving Brothers and serving Sisters of the Order, Excepting Roman Catholics who may be accepted for ecclesiastical posts, in which case it is manditory, other members of the Order are encouraged, but not compelled to take the solemn vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Those who take the three vows will be designated as professed Knights of the Order.

To build churches for the apostolic denominations recognized by the Order during the past

To preach the denominations of the apostolic Christian religion.

To defend and protect the person and rights of all Christians of whatever denomination.

In connection with the religious pursuits of the corporation, the following historical works of charity for which the Order has been famous, are to be performed;

To build and conduct hospitals, and furnish ambulances.

To aid the needy, sick. lame, blind and afflicted, with help and hospitality in the form of advice, medical attention, nursing service, medicines, therapeutic aids, food, clothing, shelter, stipends, alms.

In dispensing Christian charity, no questions will be asked and no receipt or acknowledgment will be asked of the recipient, and no records will be made except in cased where a medical case history is required. The Order is only required to record the total amount given to charity each month and the number of persons thus served.

Each month, depending upon the balance in the Treasury of the Order, the grand-master, lieutenant grand-master or the grand chancellor shall set aside a certain amount from the treasury, which in their judgment may be safely and fairly dispensed as charity.



Support of the Order

The several purposes of the order are to be supported by the voluntary contributions, gifts, bequests and devises of its members and from the membership fees of the same members.


Ecclesiastical Tribunal

All questions of apostolic doctrine, practice, faith, morals, ecclesiastical rules, customs or laws within the Order, shall be presented to a committee of the various denominations of ecclesiastic members of the Order, appointed and presided over by the grand-master, and by a majority vote, their decision shall be final.

Origination as a religious and charitable knight Order in 1050 A.D., Papal sanction was obtained in 1098 for its elevation to the status of a monastic Order.

Beginning the year 1113, the Popes have established, maintained, decreed and confirmed the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem to be free of all ecclesiastical jurisdiction by the Roman Church, while at the same time maintaining friendly and diplomatic relations between the Roman Church and the Order until the year 1802, at which time the Roman Church established an exclusive papal Order of an analogous nature, but separate and independent of the original Order.

Therefore, the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem is, ever has been, and shall forever remain to be defined as an independent apostolical religious body with an independent ecclesiastical tribunal, originating in antiquity, and the civil courts shall accept as final the decisions of its highest ecclesiastical tribunal to which any religious dispute has been carried within or pertaining to the Order, on all questions of Christian apostolic doctrine, practice, discipline, faith, ecclesiastical rules, morals, customs, or laws, and that the civil courts will not inquire into the justice or injustice of its (the Order's) decrees as between the parties before it.

That whatever the officers, prelates, chaplains, vicars, knights, or the religious tribunal which the highest judiciary of the said body recognizes, the civil courts will recognize.

That whomsoever this ecclesiastical tribunal expels or cuts off, the civil courts will hold to be no longer members of the said religious Order.

Be It Known, that the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, -Knights of Malta-, in upholding, promoting and defending the apostolic Christian religion under the direction of its ecclesiastical tribunal, the ancient dignities of the Order hold precedent over episcopal dignities.



Chaplains and Priests of the Order

Chaplains of the Order of Saint John are received without any of those restrictions which are placed on the admission of the first class or Knights of Justice. It is sufficient that they be of respectable origin, and that their parents were duly united in lawful wedlock.
They may be admitted at the age of sixteen years as clerks, and may be ordained as sub-deacons two years later. They cannot attain to the rank of deacon until they have reached the age of twenty-two, nor to that of chaplain earlier than twenty-five.
They are then available for all religious offices of the convent; they may perform divine service in the conventual church; become attached either to the household of the Grand-Master, the inns of their respective languages, or the hospital.
It is from this class that the prior of the church and the bishop are selected; the former by the Grand-Master and council, and the latter by the Pope.
With regard to the election of the prior of the church, the ancient statutes have thus expressed themselves:-

"The more closely a dignity approaches to spiritual matters, the more careful and considerate ought to be the selection of its holder. Bearing in mind, we degree that whenever the priory of our church becomes vacant, the Grand-Master and the council shall assemble, and proceed to a new election with calm and serious deliberation, Having, for this purpose, carefully examined into matters, life, doctrine, and qualifications of our chaplains in every language, they shall elect and nominate as prior a chaplain of upright life and of approved conduct, learned, and well versed in the practice of things divine. It is essential that, after his election, he should reside perpetually at the convent, and if, upon any urgent necessity, he should ever be sent therefrom, the Grand-Master and council shall fix a definite period for his return."

In addition to the conventual chaplains thus created, the Order received into the second division of their fraternity another class, termed priests of obedience, who were not called upon to reside at the convent, but performed the duties of their offices in the various continental priories and commanderies.

These priests received the emoluments of their various benefices like the other clergy, and where such revenues are two small for their due and honorable maintenance, they draw a further provision from the local funds of the Order. They are, however, ineligible for either of the great offices which are appropriated to the conventual chaplains, nor are they appointed to hold commanderies, as the latter are.




Courts of Justice

All disputes, charges or complaints, both civil and criminal, arising between members of the Order and the officers thereof, may be brought to trail or arbitration.

Any members of the Order accused of any civil or criminal offense by non-members, shall be given a hearing, and if necessary, a trail under the jurisdiction of the courts of the Order.

The writ of Habeas Corpus originated by the order, shall continue in force and effect. It being illegal for the grand-master to detain a knight in custody for more than twenty-four hours without bringing him to trail, the vow of obedience notwithstanding.

Courts of competent jurisdiction shall be installed as follows:

The grand-master, with the advice of the attorney-general, may formulate and institute any or all charges against any member or members.

The defendant and his counsel will select and nominate one member of the Order learned in the law from each language, not to exceed five, to act as a board of judges, over whom a president judge will be placed, nominated by the grand-master. The decisions of these judges will be decided by a majority vote and will constitute the first hearing in a court of justice.

If either side of a controversy is dissatisfied with the verdict of the first court, a second and third court of appeal may be nominated and arranged on the same basis. The third court will constitute the highest legal tribunal of the Order and the court of final appeal.  

Sentences of punishment will be meted out by the courts in accordance with the tradition and historical precedents of the Order.


Sovereign Assembly

Qualified national and international geographical divisions or linguistic groups of the Order may be designated priories, presided over by baillis or priors. Subdivisions of priories designated as commanderies, presided over by a commander.

Groups of priories will be called grand priories and will be presided over by a grand prior or grand bailli, responsible to the grand-master.

The sovereign assembly, supreme council, or chapter general of the corporation shall consist of the board of trustees or board of directors, together with any of the qualified priors, grand priors, baillis or grand baillis.



In the absence of any qualified priors, grand priors, baillis or grand baillis, the board of trustees or board of directors, may function alone, with all the force and effect of a sovereign assembly, supreme council or chapter general.

The board of trustees or board of directors are the executive officers and they may appoint or elect from time to time, such persons as they may designate. Such trustees or directors shall be entitled to cast one vote each upon all matters placed before any meetings of the corporation.


Qualifications and Rank of Members

Membership in the corporation is governed by the established rules of the Order as follows:-

(a) Inactive membership is discouraged. Only those who are in complete sympathy with the aims, plans and program of the Order and are willing to contribute toward that objective will be considered.

(b) All prospective members must submit to the grand chancellor, certified copies of documents showing personal, genealogical, heraldic and/or nobiliary qualifications.

(c) All lineal descendants or designees of hereditary knights or commanders appointed before, during or after the regime of Emperor Paul 1., the 70th grand-master of the Order, if otherwise qualified, may be accepted into the American Grand Priory.

(d) At any regular meeting of the Order and upon a motion duly seconded, any lineal descendant of a knight of Malta, properly qualified, may be nominated and elected as a member of the Order in absentia. Any person elected in this manner should be notified if possible giving him the privilege of accepting or rejecting the honor.

(e) All lineal descendants or designees of knights, commanders, honorary commanders or honorary knights appointed before, during or after the regimes of Emperor Paul I. or Alexander I., may be considered for the acceptance into the Order.

(f) Only such prospective members as profess and practice a recognized Christian religion may be considered for acceptance into the Order.

(g) Persons accepted as noblemen may be designated as Knights of Justice. They wear the crown with trophy and plague on the left side.



(h) Persons of distinction or others not fully qualified as noblemen may be accepted into the Order as Knights of Grace, wearing the cross on right side without the trophy, crown or plague.

(i) Knights may be promoted to Knight Commanders after five years of faithful service and devotion to the Order.

(j) Knight Commanders may be promoted to Knight Grand Cross after ten years of faithful service and devotion to the Order and wear the large insignia of the Order suspended from the neck and a plaque on the left side.

(k) Promotions may be made in less than the specified time by the grand-master, for just cause.

(l) The grand-master, in deserving cases, may grant hereditary knighthood.

(m) Any knight or member may be expelled from the Order for conduct unbecoming a knight, by a majority vote of the trustees or directors.

(n) Donats: Ladies and Gentlemen not qualified for the above listed ranks may be granted "Donat Crosses of the Order." These crosses, are enamelled on three of the four arms of the cross, the fourth or upright arm may be gold or other metal.

(o) Ecclesiastics, instead of receiving knightly military rank, are admitted into the Order and designated as prelates, vicars and chaplains.

(p) Ranks of military knighthood conferred are: knight, knight commander, honorary knight commander, knight grand cross and knight grand cross Bailli. All in the degree of either knight of grace or knight of justice. (KG) or (KJ).

(q) Under the direction of the grand chancellor, all membership applications and sponsorships are brought to the attention of any meeting and then referred to a membership or credentials committee for consideration and recommendations which are then reported to the grand chancellor for action at the next meeting.

(r) Qualified male and female aides or assistants to the knights who perform special services for the Order may be designated as lay members (Brothers and Sisters) and will wear the cloth cross upon a surcoat or cloak.

(s) Female patronesses: Emperor Paul I. the 70th Grand-Master, established a Maltese honor and insignia to be awarded to ladies of distinction who served the Order. This honor is divided into two classes:

(t) Ladies of the first class are qualified as Ladies of Honor and Devotion, to the Order, are of the nobility, and wear the cross attached to a black ribbon across the shoulder.



(u) Ladies of the second class not fully qualified as noblewomen may be designated as Ladies of Grace, and wear the cross attached to a black ribbon bow-knot.

(v) Children: The 70th grand-master was the first to openly declare the admittance of children to the Order, while previously it was a unwritten rule with the grand-masters to provisionally admit children of knights to the Order, at any age, but withholding the rank of knighthood until qualified at the age of maturity. In other words, knighthood in the Order was always considered hereditary in a sense.

(w) Nobility: Any diploma of the Order using the words "of justice," recognizes, qualifies and confers the status of nobility upon the holder thereof, with the same force and effect as a patent of nobility.



Meetings of the trustees or directors and members of the corporation shall be held at such places and at such times as the grand-master and grand chancellor may determine.

While the board of trustees or directors may call a meeting to transact a particular business for the trustees or the directors only, all meetings of members shall include the presents and official function of at least three (3) members of the board of trustees or directors, or by an appeal of the grand- chancellor.

Meetings shall be held at any time or location which is most convenient for the majority of those anticipated to attend.

Notices of meetings of members and/or trustees or directors (as the case may be) specifying the place, day and hour of the meeting and stating the general particulars of the business to be considered at such meetings shall be served by any literate person upon members and/or trustees or directors of the corporation personally, or such notices may be delivered via post by post-paid postcard or circular letter enclosed in a sealed envelope, addressed to the last known address of the members of the corporation.

Notices of meetings of members and/or trustees or directors must be served or mailed at a time well calculated to reach each destination at least five (5) days before the date fixed for the meetings. Overseas members must be notified at least twenty  (20) clear days before the date fixed for meetings.

The non-receipt or non-acknowledgement of any notice of meeting by any member, trustee or director, shall not invalidate


the proceedings of any meeting of the corporation.

Waiver of notice: Any officer, trustee or director may waive, in writing, any notice required to be given under these By-laws, whether before or after the times stated therein.

President Pro Tem: In the absence or disability of both the president and the vice-president, the board may appoint a president pro tem.

Duties of Officers may be Delegated: In case of the absence or disability of any officer of the corporation or for any other reason deemed sufficient by a majority of the board of trustees or directors, the board may delegate his powers to any other officer or to any director for the time being.

All the meetings will be conducted under the Roberts Rules of Order.



For in the convenience, and in fairness to, members far removed or overseas, votes may be given and counted at any meeting either personally or by prearranged proxy, but a proxy may not vote thereunder on a show of hands.

As the Order is international in scope and with members separated from the American headquarters by great distances, it becomes impossible for all members to attend meetings. Since the Order deplores the loss of this concerted wisdom,  worldly and spiritual experience at its meeting, all voting members are permitted to make proxy motions and seconds through the office of the grand chancellor and to cast their proxy votes on any motion brought before meetings of the Order.


Powers of the Trustees or Directors

The board of trustees or board of directors of the corporation by whom the business and affairs of the corporation shall be managed shall consist of not more than six (6) members and not less than three (3) members, who shall hold office for at least three years or until their successors are elected, and its members shall be selected from the vote qualifying members of the corporation at any meeting of the corporation. Any such meeting shall include the grand master, and grand chancellor, or their lieutenants.

Any vacancy occuring on the board may be filled for the remainder of the expired term by any of the remaining members of the board.

Any member of the board may withdraw or resign by a notice in writing delivered to any of the remaining board members.



Regular, annual or special meetings of the board may be held at such time and at such place as may be determined of the board.

The trustees or directors of the corporation may administer the affairs of the corporation in all things and make or cause to be made for the corporation any description of contract which the corporation may by law enter into and generally exercise all and any rights or powers which the corporation itself may exercise under its charter and the laws governing it. The board may also select and appoint branches of the corporation or order to function in other parts of the United States, its territories and possessions, and foreign countries, and to issue appropriate charters for same.

In addition to all powers hereby expressly conferred upon the trustees or directors and without limiting the generality of their powers under the by-laws of the corporation, the board shall have the following powers, in order to properly manage, conduct or dispose of any business, industry, land, estate, properties, stocks or bonds that may be bequesthed to the Order, namely :-

(a) To acquire in the name of the corporation or in the name of the board, any land, and build upon, pull down, rebuild, add to, alter, repair, improve, sell or dispose of, or otherwise deal in and with land, buildings, premises, properties, and assets for the use and welfare of the corporation.

(b) To make, and from time to time repeal, or alter regulations, by-laws, etc., as to form and management of the corporation and the affairs thereof, and as to the duties of any officers or servants of the corporation, provided that the same shall not be inconsistent with the historical charter or by-laws of the corporation.

(c) To acquire, take, own, held, deal in, mortgage or otherwise lien, and to lease, sell, exchange, transfer, or in any manner whatever dispose of real property, wherever situated.

(d) To manufacture, purchase or acquire in any lawful manner and to hold, own, mortgage, pledge, sell, transfer, or in any manner dispose of, and to deal and trade in goods, wares, merchandise, and property of any and every class and description, and in any part of the world, the profits, if any, to be devoted to religious and charitable purposes.

(e) To acquire the good will, rights and property, and to undertake the whole or any part of the assets or liabilities of any person, firm, association or corporation ; to pay for the same in cash, or any part of the property so purchased or acquired by bequest; to conduct in any lawful manner the whole or any part of any business so acquired, and to exercise all the powers necessary or convenient in and about the conduct and management of such business. The profits, if any, to be devoted to religious and charitable pursuits.

(f) To apply for, or acquire by bequest, purchase or in any manner dispose of, and to grant license or other rights in respect of, and in any manner deal with, any and all rights, inventions, improvements


and processes used in connection with or secured under letters patent or copyrights of the United States or other countries, or otherwise, and to work, operate or develop the same and carry on any business, manufacturing or otherwise, which may directly or indirectly effectuate these objects or any of them. The profits, if any, to be devoted to religious and charitable purposes.

(g) To guarantee, purchase, hold, sell, assign, transfer, mortgage, pledge, or otherwise dispose of the shares of the capital stock of , or any bonds, securities or evidences of indebtedness created by any other corporation or corporations of this or any other state, country, nation or government, and while owner of said stock may exercise all the rights, powers and privileges of ownership, including the right to vote thereon, to the same extent as natural persons might or could do. And in so doing, all profits are to be devoted to religious and charitable pursuits.

(h) To enter into, make and perform contracts of every kind with any person, firm, association or corporation, municipality, body politic, county, territory, state, government or colony or dependency thereof, and without limit as to amount to draw, make, accept, endorse, discount, execute and issue promissory notes, drafts, bills of exchange, warrants, bonds, debentures and other negotiable or transferable instruments and evidences of indebtedness whether secured by mortgage or otherwise, as well as to secure the same by mortgage or otherwise, so far as may be permitted by the laws of the states where this Order is chartered. any profits, to be devoted to religious and charitable purposes.

(i) To have officers, conduct its business and promote its objects within or without the states where charters are held, in other states, the District of Columbia, the territories and colonies of the United States, and in foreign countries, without restriction as to place or amount.

(j) To do any or all of the things herein set forth to the same extent as natural persons might or could do and in any part of the world, as principals, agents, contractors, trustees, directors, or otherwise, and either alone or in company with others.

(k) In general to carry on any other pursuit in connection therewith, whether manufacturing or otherwise, not forbidden by the laws of the states where this Order is chartered, and with all the powers conferred upon corporations by the laws of the said states. The profits if any, to be devoted to religious and charitable purposes.

(l) The trustees and/or directors of the corporation are bound to maintain the Order as a non-profit corporation without authority to issue capital stock and all funds and profits shall be used to acquire suitable lands, to erect and maintain suitable buildings and the expenses and welfare of the Order, for religious and charitable purposes only without profit to any officer or member thereof.



(m) The private property of the members of the corporation shall not be subject to the payment of corporate debts to any extent whatever.

(n) The trustees or directors shall have the power to fix the amount to be reserved as working capital for religious and charitable purposes, and to authorize and cause to be executed, mortgages and liens without limit as to the amount, upon the property and franchise of this corporation.

(o) With the consent in writing, and pursuant to a vote of a majority of  the voting members, the trustees or directors shall have authority to dispose, in any manor, of the whole property of this corporation, provided, in such an event, the entire property and assets are transferred to selected religious and charitable pursuits.

(p) The trustees or directors shall determine whether and to what extent the accounts and books of this corporation, or any of them, shall be open to the inspection of the members and no member as conferred by the law, or by resolution of the members.

(q) To appoint agents, clerks, assistants, factors, servants, laborers and trustees, and to dismiss them from time to time and to require security as it may deem proper.

(r) To confer on any officer of the corporation the power of selecting, discharging or suspending such employees.

(s) To determine by whom and in what manner the corporation's bills, notes, receipts, acceptances, endorsements, checks, releases, contracts or other documents shall be signed.

(t) To provide that one person may hold the offices of secretary and treasurer.

(u) That the fiscal year of the corporation shall begin on the first day of January in each year.

(v) That the books, records and accounts of the corporation may be kept within or without the state in which the Order is incorporated, and at such place or places as may from time to time be designated by the trustees or directors.



Complete documentation of the records of each member shall be maintained by the grand chancellor and given a separate number for each member.

Appropriate diplomas of knighthood will be issued to each member setting forth the authority of the order and a notation "Documentation symbol" indicating if the diploma has been an original or a re-issue (R-I) of a previous diploma. Also the letters (KG) indicating the qualifications of a knight of grace, or the letters (KJ)


indicating the qualifications of a knight of justice.

Promotions in the rank of knights is also indicated on the diploma by the letters (R-I). If the letters R-I do not appear on a  diploma, it is to be considered the first or original diploma.

All diplomas remain the property of the order and are to carry the signatures of the grand-master or lieutenant grand master, and the grand chancellor.


Officers of the Corporation

 The officers of the corporation shall be:-

1st trustee or director: Grand-Master, President, Chairman.

2nd trustee or director: Lieutenant Grand-Master, Vice-President.

3rd trustee or director: Grand Chancellor, Secretary/Treasurer.

4th trustee or director: Attorney-General.

5th trustee or director: Chancellor, Chief Security Officer.

6th trustee or director: optional.

Lack of occupancy of any  of the above offices shall not invalidate the acts of the others, and any trustee or director may hold two offices in order to fill a vacancy pro tem.

XV Grand-Master

The grand-master shall act as the sovereign of the Order or corporation and as such he shall officially represent the Order on all formal or state occasions. He may be designated as "Prince Grand-Master," and sovereign prince of his domain.

As grand-master, he is required to wear the insignia, cloak, crown, sword, and an extra large cross of the order upon all formal occasions and at all meetings of the Order. He will be selected by a special committee, proposed and elected by a majority vote of all voting members, and he shall be assisted and guided in his duties by the recommendations of the grand chancellor.

When elected, the grand-master shall be a member of the


board of trustees or board of directors and preside over same. Upon occasion he may exercise his historical prerogative of casting two (2) votes upon any motion, question or election, and he shall also act as the president judge of all courts of justice of the Order.

The grand-master may at his pleasure or discretion, suspend, omit or remit any or all financial obligations of any kind for any Knight or prospective knight of the Order.

The grand-master may cancel the election and registration of any member upon evidence that such election and registration was secured by misrepresentation and/or, in the event that a member is expelled for cause by the board of trustees or board of directors. In the event of such cancellation or expulsion, the member or knight whose election and registration has been cancelled shall forfeit to the corporation all fees he has paid and return to the Order all diplomas, credentials and insignia.

The grand-master may also exercise his historical prerogative of appointing hereditary knights of the order in his capacity as Administrator of the corporation.

All commanderies designated as hereditary commanderies of the corporation shall not cease to exist upon the death of the holder or holders, if the deceased had previously designated as his successor any properly qualified next of kin or other person to the grand-master as administrator. In the event no successor has been designated by the deceased hereditary commander, the grand-master acting as administrator shall have the power and authority to designate a qualified successor from the members of the corporation to succeed to the vacant office. All other members of the corporation shall ipso facto cease to be members thereof upon their death, resignation, incapacity to act, etc. Persons ceasing to be members, or their heirs or agents, shall forfeit and surrender all rights, privileges, fees, diplomas and insignia to the Order.

The grand-master may exercise the power and authority to promote and appoint to the rank of knight of justice, one worthy member of the Order from the category of  " knight of grace, " every five (5) years.

The grand-master may select, appoint and send diplomatic representatives of the Order to foreign nations and courts.

The grand-master proprio motu or upon suitable recommendation may confer upon worthy civilians or military, such badges, parchments, or diplomas of  honor and distinction as may be held to be commensurate with the deeds, qualifications or merit appropriate for such distinctions.


Lieutenant Grand-Master

In the event of an absence or the inability of the grand-master to officiate and serve the Order, a lieutenant grand-master


(also a trustee or director) will assume the duties thereof. This officer may be elected by a majority vote of the hereditary knight commanders of the Order. The lieutenant grand-master may also serve as president of the corporation when required to do so.

During the absence of the grand-master, the lieutenant grand-master shall enjoy all the rights and privileges of the grand-master. He may also act as a grand prior or grand bailli.

In the event of the absence of both the grand-master and lieutenant grand-master, the grand chancellor shall fill the office pro tem.


Grand Chancellor

The grand chancellor shall be the chief executive officer of the corporation, a member of the board of trustees or board of directors, and secretary-treasurer of the Order or corporation. He shall receive and disburse all funds, submit for approval or disapproval all applications for knighthood, promotions in the knightly ranks, honors,etc. He is the custodian of the great seal, corporate seal, books, reports, and archives of the Order.

The grand chancellor shall provide active officers of the Order with suitable means of transportation, expenses and a modest monthly salary commensurate with their actual duties and service to the Order. No such salary  shall exceed two hundred and fifty dollars per month.

The grand chancellor may appoint a committee on finance and/or an accountant to keep records of the finances of the Order and provide suitable compensation for such accountant service. In his office as grand chancellor, which in modern is the equal of secretary-treasurer, he shall not be required to furnish bond to insure his faithful performance of the office.

The grand chancellor may propose for membership and registration, prospective knights, who in the opinion of the grand chancellor are desired and qualified for such election and registration, without the payment of the customary fees.

The grand chancellor may appoint chancellors and vice-chancellors and assign special duties for such officers, and under his supervision.

The grand chancellor is selected  and elected by a majority vote of the board of trustees or board of directors.







The board of trustees or board of directors may select and elect any member of the Order, learned in the law, to the office of attorney-general. This officer shall be a member of the board and at all times prepared to defend the rights and privileges of the Order before all the courts of the nation and any foreign country. He will be paid suitable and modest fees for any case as well as actual expenses involved.

When in the opinion of the grand-master, the lieutenant grand master or the grand chancellor, it appears necessary, the attorney-general may secure the aid of competent associates, who will be granted a modest fee and expenses, commensurate with the gravity of the case.



The Order may issue passports of the standard style to its members for identification and for use in visiting those countries in which the Order has obtained diplomatic recognition.


Voting Rights

Voting rights at all meetings are restricted to members holding the rank of knights grand cross of justice, hereditary knight commanders of justice, knight commanders of justice, and all professed knights of the Order.


Laws and Amendments

As a sovereign body deriving its power and authority from the ancient Order of the same name, and laws, rules and regulations as may be promulgated, must be consistent with the historical record and tradition of the Order and not otherwise.

Any part of the constitution or by-laws of the corporation may be repealed, amended or annulled at any meeting of the corporation by a majority of votes cast, provided that written notice as heretofore defined has been sent to each qualified voter stating specifically the nature of the proposed repeal, amendment or nullification.





The coat-of-arms or great seal of the Order or corporation shall be the historically correct reproduction of the Imperial Russian coat-of-arms as depicted by the 70th Grand-master of the Order, Emperor Paul I, as showing the crown of the Grand-master and Maltese Cross. This assembly of arms should resemble the combined designs of the Sovereign Order of saint john of Jerusalem with those of the 70th Grand-Master.

In addition, there shall also be an appropriate corporate seal for use on all legal documents. Both seals shall remain in the custody of the grand chancellor.

The great seal shall be displayed on all diplomas, passports and diplomatic credentials of the Order.


This is to certify that the foregoing
is a true copy of the Constitution
and By-laws of the Order,
submitted to the membership for
acceptance and officially adopted
at a regular meeting of the Order,
May 17, 1912.

(signed) Wm. Sohier Bryant.

(signed) Wm. B. Stites,

Amended 8th April 1998.
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Order of St John, Knights Hospitaller.