Frequently asked questions
How does one join the Order?
Membership is by invitation, and is considered an honour. It has a Christian commitment to the care and support of the elderly, the sick and the poor, regardless of colour or creed.
What does the Order do?
We continue the Order’s 900 year history with our Christian commitment, aiding in support of care for the elderly, the sick and others in need, and to promote social equality. The order of Saint John of Jerusalem (OSJ) follows a chivalric structure and traditional ceremonies. The result is an organisation that serves others, provides an opportunity to meet socially and share in corporate worship and a true sense of camaraderie.
I can’t give large donations. Is membership right for me?
Yes. Membership is about people of accomplishment and integrity. This does not necessarily mean great wealth. Clergy, social entrepreneurs and staff from the non-profit sector may not be able to donate money but still may make great contributions to aiding the elderly, the sick and others in need through their experience, contacts, and efforts. The Order is made up of people willing to contribute time, talent, and knowledge. Not many can do all three.
What am I committing to?
Membership is in a Christian, chivalric, ecumenical and international community that provides support to lesser-known charitable organisations within its communities. The OSJ will have roles that are more common in a non-profit organisation such as fund-raising, volunteer activities, events, finance etc. There are also roles that are unusual but are aligned to the origins of this historical organisation, such as the Marshal who is responsible for ceremonies or the Hospitaller who is responsible for the allocation of funds to the charitable organisations supported in the Priory or Commandery communities. Opportunity exists for Members to participate according to their interests and abilities, but the scope of one's contribution is up to each Member.
What is involved in the Investiture?
It is a religious, formal and moving service that is nearly
always carried out in a church. The Investiture process is
structured, preceded by a Vigil, where the Aspirants are
joined by other Order Members, to affirm their personal
commitment to the role of being a Knight or Dame.
A rehearsal takes place prior to the actual Investiture to
prepare each Aspirant for the historical formality involved
and process followed in the actual event.
Does the Order have any barriers to women or
different ethnic groups?
Constitutional barriers that put women at a disadvantage for
promotion were completely eliminated in 1998 with the result
that women have filled many of the top positions in the Order.
There are no constitutional barriers to anyone since that day
except the requirement to be Christian.
Does the Order belong to a particular branch of Christianity?
The Order does not demand adherence to any particular faith provided the prospective Aspirant commits to being Christian. We are ecumenical within that. However, we have 900 years of history as a Christian Order, 780 of which were as a militant Order co-existing with the section of the Order that built and ran hospices. The commitment to Christianity is not going to go away. Only the formal Investiture is a church service and that is traditional. Note that helping the sick and the poor is for all people regardless of their religious beliefs.
When are robes worn?
The robes retain a chivalric link to over 900 years of history with the appearance of those worn by the Order during its time in Jerusalem in the 12th century. The robes are worn for specific Order events and the Investiture Service. They can sometimes be worn at other church-based events like funerals. The robes are traditional in design, modern in their simplicity and stunning in their impact.