The Orthodox Knights Hospitaller
ABOUT THE ORTHODOX ORDER
When Malta fell to Napoleon in 1798, the only European ruler willing to take in the exiled Knights of St. John was Paul I, Emperor of Russia. Even before this, Paul was an enthusiastic supporter of the Hospitallers; because of him, the traditionally Roman Catholic order admitted numerous Eastern Orthodox knights and created a new Priory of Russia. Eventually, Paul was even elected Grand Master of the whole Order, although the validity of the election was disputed.
Paul's assassination and the refusal of Britain to return Malta to the Order marked the end of the Knights' influence on the world political stage. The Order fissioned along religious and national lines into numerous smaller groups connected with various churches and royal families. The Orthodox Grand Priory, although ignored by Hospitaller-descended groups in the West, continued to exist in Russia until the imposition of the Bolshevik tyranny.
Today several rival groups claim to be descended from the Russian Priory. The one recognized by survivors of the House of Romanoff as genuine is currently based in the United States and headed by Grand Bailiff Count Nicholas Bobrinskoy, a descendant of Empress Catherine the Great. The Orthodox Order knights men and women from all Christian denominations; however, it is closely affiliated with the Eastern Orthodox Church, and is under the spiritual protection of Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow. The Order conducts charitable work primarily in North America and the former Soviet Union.
The chaplain of the Order may be contacted by e-mail; he is Fr. Christopher Calin, email@example.com rector of Holy Protection Cathedral in New York City.
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