The Order of Saint John of Jerusalem can be traced all the way back to the Middle Ages and is anchored in the Medieval tradition of the Christian Chivalrous Knights. Nowadays it’s one of the numerous descendants of the historical Order of Saint John.
Around 1048, Italian merchants from Amalfi founded an hospital in Jeruzalem in order to host and potentially protect pelgrims visiting the Holy Land. Throughout time, this Order expanded through Europe and with that different priories, commaderies and hospitals emerged. The Geopolitical Evolution caused the headquarters to be subsequently moved to the islands of Cyprus, Rhodes and Malta.
Both an Orthodox and a Protestant branch was created in the political turmoil of the 16th century. The Order was dismantled by Napoleon in 1798. Some knights then went on to Russia and reorganised the Russian community. Tsar Paul I became the grandmaster of this Oecumenical, i.e. Roman and Orthodox, Order. In 1803 Pope Pius VII established a Roman Order, now known as the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, the SMOM.
The Russian Revolution of 1917 constrained the knights to flee. Some of them went to France others to the United States. In Europe, contacts were made with King Peter II of Yougoslavia, who granted the Order a new constitution in 1964. Thanks to this royal foundation, the Order is permitted to grant and wear decorations and honourary titles.