COURAGE THAT CHANGED THE WORLD
Joyner, Rick. Courage that
change History, in The Morning Star Journal, Vol 3, No. 2, pages 59-73,
MorningStar Publications, Charlotte, New Carolina USA 1993.
Joyner, Rick. Courage that changed the World; The Extraordinary
History of the Knights of St. John, Morningstar Publications, New Carolina
The above Article and Book have been written by Rick Joyner, a leading
member of a fundamentalist Christian organisation. The Book (more accurately
a booklet) has been expanded from the Article published in the Morning Star
Journal. The Book refers to Fred Cumbo's Canadian based "Order",
which is essentially an offshoot of an "Order" which began in 1953 founded
by a Charles Pichel but claimimg its origin in 1908 in the USA. More
recently Cumbo's Order has acquired the patronage of King Michael of
This Web Page does not challenge the right for Cumbo's
organisation to exist. It does not belittle any humanitarian work the "Order"
does. More humanitarian work is needed in this world not less! However historical
claims which have been made are rightly challenged!
In the late 1950s an organisation emerged led by a Charles Louis Thourot-Pichel;
"The American Grand Priory of The Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem,
Knights of Malta". Pichel had a reputation of allegedly selling false
titles, and other criminal activities.
Earlier in the 20th Century semi-masonic organisations of "Knights"
emerging out of the Orange Lodges (The Black Association) had set
up in North America. Arthur T. Lamson led such a group called
"The Knights of Malta", which allegedly had registered itself as a
Corporation in the State of Jersey in 1911. However by 1912 the group had
become defunct, with the members reconciling with another group
which they had left previously.
The incorporation of 1911, which had been gained by the "Knights of Malta"
as led by Arthur T. Lamson had lain dormant, even though the group had ceased
to exist. The archivist of the "Knights of Malta" Order, had been a Dr. Bullock
who was consulted by Pichel. Dr. Bullock died, with the records held by Pichel.
Armed with these records, Pichel developed a whole prehistory for a new group
he founded or with which he was connected. Adding to the claim to have been
founded in America in 1908, he improved on the Orange Order background by
mimicking the foundation of the Paris group, complete with its
Russian Hereditary Commanders. The names of the alleged founding fathers
of Pichel's group had died long before the claims were made. Pichel had the
additional benefit of being acquainted with the history of the genuine group
of Russian Hereditary Commanders in Paris, written by Professor
Baron Michael de Taube, a Russian exile in Paris.
The whole story of Pichel's inventiveness was recorded by Pichel's closest
associate for many years, Crolian Edelen de Burgh. In a letter addressed
to Harrison Smith, the Historian to the King Peter Order in Malta, Mr Edelen,
wrote on January 22, 1980;
"My problem with the history is that all seems to be false from 1908
to 1932 as published by Pichel. I know his Minutes are false. Dr Bulloch
was never Grand Chancellor of the Order. He was the Archivist of the old
Scottish-American Order of St John and kept these records at Lancaster,
Pennsylvania. When he was old and blind, in the early 1950's, Pichel went
to him with a story that he was writing a history of the Knights of Malta
and needed some records from the Archives. Dr Bulloch let him borrow whatever
he fancied and then obligingly died while Pichel had the most important records.
We took the material, twisted it around, took names of noblemen from the
Times Index and created an Order stemming from the Grand Priory of Russia,
all a hoax.... The Scottish-American Order went out of business in New York
about 1909 following a suicide of the Grand Chancellor, as well as a scandal
involving payment (or non-payment) of life insurance policies on the lives
of members. Some members in New Jersey tried to save the situation by securing
a charter as the "Knights of Malta" in Trenton in 1911. Their effort failed
and by 1912 was abandoned. Then Pichel came along in the 1950's and claimed
to be the duly elected officer of that Corporation to give his Order some
evidence of antiquity and to substantiate the false Minutes".
- Archives OSJ World Headquarters, St Pauls Street Valetta.
The same confession was given by Edelen to a Sovereign Council meeting
of one of the many King Peter Orders.
- "Combined Minutes Meetings of Sovereign and Little Councils April
10-14, 1981 New York Athletic Club."
Edelen's confession is given from page 18 onwards, and was brought
about by a well researched account provided by Robert Formhalls, who had
access to records of the Knights of St. John and Malta and the Royal Black
Association of the Ancient, Exalted, Illustrious Religious and Military Order
of the Knights of Malta, and who had published an account of Pichel's myths
- Formhals, Robert W. Y. White Cross : story of the Knights of
Saint John of Jerusalem, with particular emphasis on the Hospitaller Order
of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller since 1964 under Royal Charter
of Peter II, King of Yugoslavia. Sanghals Publishers, Camarillo, California,
CASSAGNAC & KING PETER ORDERS.
In 1962, Pichel's "Order" split into two, with a Frenchman, Colonel Paul
de Granier de Cassagnac, who had been the Lieutenant Grand Master of the
Pichel group, leading his own "Order" as Grand Master. The exiled Yugoslavian
King, Peter II became "Protector" to Cassagnac's Order 1962 - 1965,
when he formed his own Order as Grand Master.
PATERNO & CUMBO ORDERS.
In the 1970s "Prince" Roberto Paterno Castello who had been the Grand Master
of the Pichel Order (1979 - 1992) left to become Grand Master of his own
Order. The Canadian Grand Priory of the Paterno Order had for its Grand Prior,
Frendo Cumbo, who in the mid-late 1990s formed his own Order of St John,
of which he occupies the elevated position as Grand Master.
RICK JOYNER'S BOOK.
The book consist of 57 small pages of text (pages 7 - 64). The
first 52 pages are concerned only with a general history of the Order. The
last parts of the Magazine Article, concerning the present day tradition
of St. John, is also unexceptional. However it is in the remaining
portion of the book that factual history and the apologetics of Joyner
on behalf of the Cumbo "Order" part company.
"A treaty was signed between the Order and Russian Emperor Paul I. The Czar
was recognized as the Protector of the Order. Eventually, he was elected
Grand Master, and the Order's insignia was officially added to the Imperial
Coat-of Arms. The statutes of the Order were then reconstructed to
meet the requirements of the times,
Emperor Paul's Declaration in 1798.
Boisgelin, Louis De, Knight of Malta, ANCIENT AND MODERN
MALTA, G & J Robinson, London, 1804, Volume 3, Book 3, Appendix No
"we accept the title of grand-master of this order; and renew on this occasion
the solemn promises we have already made, in quality of protector, not only
to preserve all the institutions and privileges of this illustrious
order for ever unchanged in regard to the free exercise of its religion,
with every thing relating to the knights of the Roman-catholic faith" - Thus
the Emperor Paul did not change the Statutes (under his commitment
allowing those who were worthy from other denominational backgrounds
to be invested as knights. This was done so that Russian noblemen, who were
generally of the Russian Orthodox tradition, could be included.
Paul I did not modify the Order to accept non Catholics, such
an arrangement was restricted to the Russian Grand Priory created
by the Russian Emperor, to allow membership of Orthodox and other
Christians. This had already been agreed before he became Grand Master,
and before Napoleon had invaded Malta. Thus the Order itself had not
become Ecumenical, only the Russian Grand Priory!
At the same time, hereditary knighthood was conferred upon the sons of
The so-called hereditary knighthood consisted of Family
Commanderies, and the last of these was granted in 1805, and the number fixed
at 23. Those entitle to the Family Commanderies, had to join the Order
in the normal way first - to be admitted to the Commanderies.
"Pope Pius VI sent a letter to the Czar expressing his appreciation that
the Czar had become the Sovereign Protector of the Order, apparently also
giving his approval for the inclusion of those from other Christian
denominations. Historians have interpreted this as the Pope's acknowledgment
of the legitimacy of the Order's new ecumenical direction.
Joyner omits to tell his Readers, that during the time Emperor Paul I of
Russia was made Grand Master, that Pope Pius VI was a prisoner of Napoleon
and in exile in Siena - he was also very ill. The Pope was pleased to
see the involvement of Paul I, as he entertained hopes of the absorption
of the Russian Orthodox Church into the Catholic Church.
When Pope Pius VI learned that Paul I had become Grand Master, he wrote to
Russia on the 16th March 1798 to say he could not accept as an Orthodox Monarch
as a Grand Master of a Roman Catholic Order (Vella,
Andrew P, Malta and the Czars 1697-1802, Royal University of Malta 1962,
page 38.). As noted above, the Ecumenical direction was restricted
within a single Priory.
In 1879 an exclusively Roman Catholic Order was commissioned by Pope Pope
Leo XIII, and then
claimed to be the only legitimate Order of St. John. Of course this was
disputed by the ecumenical Order, which still included many Roman
In 1801 Emperor Paul was murdered and his Son Alexander I arranged with the
Pope to see the election of a new Grand Master. The new Grand Master was
a Roman Catholic, but after he died in 1805 the Pope would only allow a
Lieutenant to be leader of the Order. The Grandmastership was restored in
In 1810 the Russian Grand Priory had formally separated from the Order,
and could not object, as it was by then a separate Order,
and consisted nearly wholly of Orthodox Christians, who were
"A number of the hereditary knights came to the new world, and in 1908
founded an American Grand Priory which received Legal Charter in 1911.
Hereditary Commanders did not set up an American Priory. There
is no evidence to back up such a suggestion for the early 1900s in the USA.
However in that period in the USA there were "Orders of St. John/Malta" with
their historical pedigree in the Black Association of the Orange Lodges (set
up to defend the ascendancy of the Protestants in Ireland). A Charter in
1911 was obtained by such a group.
A Grand Priory of Canada was also established in the ecumenical and
Not as part of the Russian Grand Priory in Exile, as run by genuine Russian
Nobles, but as part of the Pichel/Paterno "Order".
Today the Grand Priory of Canada operates under a charter granted by the
Government of Canada as 'The Sovereign Order of St. John, of Jerusalem,
Rhodes and Malta'.
Charters are granted in North America to numerous organisations. This however
does not verify historical claims of those organisations.
The Sovereign Order is now recognized as the world's oldest, continuing
Order of Chivalry, and its headquarters have been reestablished in Malta."
The Order in its genuine historic guise (The Roman Catholic Order) is the
world's oldest, continuing Order of Chivalry. Historically connected to this
Order are the German, British and Russian branches. The Cumbo "Order of
St. John" historically is not part of this Order. Yes there are a number
of so-called Orders, with HQs or branches in Malta.
"The motto of the Order is: 'AS WE ARE UNITED IN CHRIST, WE ARE UNITED
WITH ONE ANOTHER.' "
The Motto of the genuine Order is, and has been for centuries;
"Pro Fide, Pro Utilitate Hominum"
"For the Faith, For the good of Mankind"
H.E. The Grand Master of the Sovereign
Order of St. John
Grand Master of the "Order" of which he is leader! - However which is
not part of the historic Order as existing in Malta before
1798 and as founded by Brother Gerard in the 11th Century!
Deputy for the Commonwealth
Deputy for the Commonwealth, does not mean Deputy of the
Commonwealth, and has no meaning, except within his own "Order".
Hereditary Knight, OSJ
Cumbo calls himself an hereditary Knight, OSJ.
Baron Michael de Taube, the Professor of Law from St
Petersburg University (in pre-Revolutionary Russia) wrote in 1955; "The
persons which claim this dignity without belonging to one of families mentioned
below thus run the risk of being treated as impostors and
The list of Commanders of family by original name are as follows;
2. Ct Chéréméteff
3. Pr. Youssoupoff
5. Ct Samoiloif
6. Pr. Belosselsky
7. Pr. Dolgoroukov
9. Pr. Barytinsky
11. Pr. Troubetzkoy
12. Ct Worontzoff
15. Pr. Tioufiakine
16. Ct Olsoufieff
18. Ct Strogonoff
22. Pr. Khîlkoff
23. Pr. Odoevsky
Sadly for Cumbo his name does not appear on the list!
The Roman Catholic Order will state similarly that Cumbo was
never a Commander of family for their Order.
GUY SAINTY'S LETTER TO THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOK.
April 17th, 2000
Mr Rick Joyner
627 Pressley Road,
Dear Mr Joyner
Your publication Courage that Changed the World, in which you
promote the self-styled Order of Saint John headed by
Marquess/Count Cumbo, has been brought to my attention.
I am sure you are unaware that this so-called Order is a modern
invention, with no connections whatsoever, other than its assumed name, with
the genuine Hospitaller Order founded in the Holy Land, whose only legitimate
successor is the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (full name, the Sovereign
Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta).
Enclosed with this letter you will find a copy of my book, The Orders of
Saint John, published by the Most Venerable Order of Saint John of Jerusalem,
of which HM Queen Elizabeth II is Sovereign Head. I should inform you that
the claims made by the Cumbo organization to have been recognized
by the Most Venerable Order are untrue the fact that he or other members
of his Order have received letters addressing him by the name
and titles they claim does not in any sense imply recognition,
but is merely a mistaken courtesy. The appendix (IV) on self-styled Orders
has been updated on the Internet, and can be found (along with a discussion
of Mr Cumbos Order) at
and then to self-styled (index at left).
As a leading member of a Christian organization, I am sure you will deprecate
as strongly as I any organization that falsely claims an ancient history
and to be the successor to an ancient Christian Order of Chivalry, when it
is nothing of the kind.
You should also be aware that the self-styled Prince Paternò (pretended
head of the Royal House of Aragon), with whom Mr Cumbo is associated,
is a junior member of an ancient Sicilian noble family that has frequently
disavowed his fantasy claim to represent the ancient Crown of Aragon. This
claimants late father was condemned by the Italian courts (and served
a prison sentence) for his activities as well as by the head of his own family.
You will find more about Paternò in my book and on my site. There
is a vast web of deceit woven around the so-called histories
of these fantasy claimants and their self-styled Orders that
have brought many gullible individuals into their circle.
I hope you will receive this letter as friendly advice to a fellow Christian
who has been grievously deceived, and is thus unwittingly misleading many
people who look to him for guidance.
Guy Stair Sainty