"Courage that changed the World"; Author: Rick Joyner
Notes on the book.


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 USA 1998

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 Rumania.

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!

The advertising info on the book states this;

"The exploits of the Knights of St. John during the Middle Ages are some of the greatest stories of courage, endurance and steadfast devotion to a vision since biblical times. Three times, a small band of a few hundred knights took their stand against the most powerful armies of Islam. Outnumbered by as many as a hundred to one, they vowed not to retreat before the enemies of the cross, and they held their ground. Although they endured some of the most terrible sieges and human wave assaults in the history of warfare, when the smoke cleared, their flag would still be flying. They simply could not be dislodged from the ground that they claimed…

Though the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual, there are great and timely lessons for us to learn from the amazing history of the Order of St. John. Epic battles such as they fought must be waged today in the spiritual realm. Great knights of the Spirit are gathering again, vowing to never retreat before the enemies of the cross."


The book is available from Amazon.com please click the logo:-


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 in 1978.
- 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, USA, 1978.

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.

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.

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.



Page 59.
"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 XVIII
"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 above)

Page 59.
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!

Page 59.
At the same time, hereditary knighthood was conferred upon the sons of noblemen."

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.

Page 59.
"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.

Page 59.
In 1879 an exclusively Roman Catholic Order was commissioned by Pope Pope Leo XIII, and then

Page 60.
claimed to be the only legitimate Order of St. John. Of course this was disputed by the ecumenical Order, which still included many Roman Catholics.

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 1879.

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 Russian Nobles.

Page 60.
"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.

Page 60.
A Grand Priory of Canada was also established in the ecumenical and nonpolitical tradition.

Not as part of the Russian Grand Priory in Exile, as run by genuine Russian Nobles, but as part of the Pichel/Paterno "Order".

Page 60.
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.

Page 60.
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.

Page 60.

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"

Page 65.
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!

Page 65.
Deputy for the Commonwealth

Deputy for the Commonwealth, does not mean Deputy of the Commonwealth, and has no meaning, except within his own "Order".

Page 65.
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 adventurers."
The list of Commanders of family by original name are as follows;
1. Narychkine
2. Ct Chéréméteff
3. Pr. Youssoupoff
4. Stroganov
5. Ct Samoiloif
6. Pr. Belosselsky
 7. Pr. Dolgoroukov
 8. Davydov
9. Pr. Barytinsky
10. Démidoff   
11. Pr. Troubetzkoy
12. Ct Worontzoff
13. Maruzzi
14. Beklechev
15. Pr. Tioufiakine
16. Ct Olsoufieff
17. Gerebtzoff
18. Ct Strogonoff
 19. Boutourline
20. Potemkine
21. Tchirikoff
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.


April 17th, 2000

Mr Rick Joyner
Morningstar Publications
627 Pressley Road,
N.C. 28217

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 Cumbo’s ‘Order’) at http://www.chivalricorders.org/orders/index1.htm 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 claimant’s 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.

I remain,

Yours sincerely

Guy Stair Sainty

Created 16th April 2001.

This way to the Resaerch Web Site
This way to the Self-Styled Orders Page

This way to the KPOSJ Page

Order of St John, Knights Hospitaller.