Your article explains very well the background to the pathetic attempts by the members of this so-called Order to pretend to be "knights" and "dames". If these worthies really want to do good charitable work why not just contribute to existing charities? The genuine Order of Malta is not just an organisation that contributes to charity but it is a religious confraternity composed of people committed for life to an ideal and tradition of service that really does go back 900 years. This translates into a commitment not just of treasure but of genuine service to the Poor and Sick.
The so-called "Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller" is a modern foundation and, as your correspondent points out, falsely claims both in its ceremonies and web site that it originated in the Crusades and the Holy Land. That the leaders are aware this claim is false is manifestly demonstrated by the statement by the group's leader on St Croix that their claim to be lined to the genuine Order which once owned St Croix was an "error of reporting." Why then have they adopted a name and cross which imitate those used by the genuine Order of Malta and the Most Venerable Order of St John (of which Queen Elizabeth II is Sovereign Head)? These people know perfectly well that their historical claims are bogus so why do they perpetuate them? One can only feel compassion for men and women such as Joyce Piersanti, who have given time and money to what they believed was an ancient historic organisation known for centuries for its good works, only to find they have joined a body led by people often using pseudo titles of nobility and knowingly making false claims to an imagined history. By carrying out their ceremonies in churches they put a Christian gloss on their activities; but do the leaders of this body really believe that their continued adherence to an invented history is compatible with their claim to a Christian ethos?
Knighthood is an ancient institution and cannot be conferred legitimately by private individuals waving swords and pronouncing solemn words; this may add colour to the "B" movie atmosphere the organisers hope to create but no-one participating in this farce should delude themselves that they are now truly "knights" and "dames".
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