Order of St. John

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The order flag
The order flag
Basic data
legal form Old law association
Seat Potsdam
Administrative headquarters Berlin ( -Lichterfelde )
management Master
Oskar Prince of Prussia
Knight approx. 4000
Denomination evangelical
Religious works Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe (JUH)
Johanniter-Hilfsgemeinschaften (JHG)
Johanniter-Sisterhood (JoSch)
Johanniter GmbH with 14 hospitals
and 56 elderly care facilities.
Foundation, endowment Foundation Order of St. John,
and St. John Foundation called
close to order Youth work in the Order (JiO)
website www.johanniterorden.de

Under Order of St. John (Balley Brandenburg of the Knightly Order of St. John from the hospital in Jerusalem) is today understood the evangelical congregation in the whole Order, the 1538 from the Bailiwick of Brandenburg of the Equestrian Order of St. John of Jerusalem or Hospitaller emerged that an already several decades before the First Crusade Hospital of St. John donated by Italian merchants in Jerusalem .

In Germany, the Balley Brandenburg (originally based in Sonnenburg ) had a largely autonomous status since the Treaty of Heimbach (1382). After Elector Joachim II of Brandenburg converted to Lutheran doctrine in 1538, this branch, in contrast to the overall order , which remained Catholic , is Protestant. In 1811 this branch of the Order of St. John was initially dissolved in its form as a knightly order and continued as the Prussian Order of Merit. In 1852 it was continued in continuity with the Balley by the knights still alive as a Protestant branch of the order of knights. Since then, it has had the legal form of an association under the old law .

The Order of Malta also recognizes the Evangelical Order of St. John in an alliance of 1961 with mutual recognition in Germany, the Netherlands (Order of St. John in Nederland), Sweden (Order of St. John i Sverige) and in Great Britain (Venerable Order of Saint John) as the Knightly Order of St. John "Common history and common mission", although they are canonically separated from him.


Half-length portrait of a Johanniter by Girolamo da Carpi (1526/27)

Balley refers to both the former Brandenburg Ballei of the medieval order and today the sub-unit (cooperative or commander ) of the Protestant order, which unites those knights who live abroad, especially in Australia , Belgium , Denmark , Italy , Canada , Colombia , Namibia , South Africa , the USA and Venezuela , where the Order maintains subcomers . In Germany , the Order of St. John (seat in Potsdam ) comprises 17 cooperatives or commendants; one each in Finland , France , Austria , Switzerland and Hungary .

The approximately 4,000 knights around the world are either knights of honor, legal knights or (as the highest level and usually with management powers) commendators . Oskar Prince of Prussia has led the Order of St. John as Lord Master since 1999.

The Order of St. John is the sponsor of the internationally operating Johanniter Accident Aid (1.4 million members in Germany), the Johanniter aid communities, the Johanniter Sisterhood as well as hospitals and other care facilities. The Johanniter Foundation supports the voluntary work of the Johanniter.

The Order of St. John and its German cooperatives are part of the Evangelical Churches in Germany on the basis of the letter of protection of the then Chairman of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Bishop Wurm , from May 2, 1947.

The cooperatives of the Netherlands and Sweden became independent from the German Order of St. John in 1946 after the Second World War . Under the Dutch and Swedish crowns, the local cooperatives developed into their own national orders. In 1961, however, the German Order of St. John joined the Evangelical Order of St. John in the Netherlands (St. John the Order in Nederland) , Sweden (Order of St. John i Sverige) and Great Britain ( Venerable Order of Saint John ) to form an alliance of the Order of St. John, with mutual recognition together. Together with the Order of Malta , they represent the recognized legacy of the medieval order of Knights of St. John. A joint commission of these five sister orders (the Committee on the Orders of Saint John [ False Orders Committee ]) takes legal action against false orders.

Carrier of charitable institutions

Badge of the JUH

The Order of St. John is the sole bearer of the

In order to best meet today's requirements for the care of patients and residents in inpatient facilities, the Order of St. John, together with the Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe, founded the Johanniter GmbH as the supporting company for the Johanniter hospitals and Johanniter geriatric care facilities.

An umbrella foundation was also set up under the name of the St Johns Order Foundation , which sees itself as a community of people who help those in need on a long-term basis and serves to directly promote health and welfare.

These facilities, 15 hospitals and 56 nursing homes for the elderly , day clinics and assisted living apartments are mostly owned by Johanniter GmbH and the respective cooperatives.

The Johanniter are also becoming increasingly active in youth work . In 2010 they ran more than 200 kindergartens and over 30 youth and school groups nationwide . In 2007 they were instrumental in founding the Ev. Johanniter-Gymnasium, 2015 at the foundation of the Ev. Johanniter primary school in Wriezen involved.


The branches of the Order of St. John in Europe around 1300
The branches of the Order of St. John in Central Europe before the Treaty of Kremmen

The Order of St. John is the Protestant branch of the "St. John" or " Hospitalite " community, founded in Jerusalem in the 11th century and transformed into an order of knights after the First Crusade .

A ballei (from Middle Latin ballivus: overseer ), also balley , was the term used since the 13th century to denote a province of an order of knights , which usually comprised several settlements ( coming ). The Ballei was superordinated to a priory or grand priory (in Germany the grand priory Germany with its seat in Heitersheim). The priories were assigned to the so-called "tongues".


The Order of St. John generally acquired its property through donations that were given to it by rich pilgrims, knights of the order or sovereigns in order to be able to carry out its order in the Holy Land. The first possessions of the order in the eastern part of Germany were rather sparsely available as individual donations and were regionally scattered.

The oldest foundation on the soil of the later Ballei Brandenburg was in the city of Werben . After a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1158 and 1159 , Margrave Albrecht the Bear gave the order the church of St. Johannis and all its accessories including six hooves of land. He stipulated that the income resulting from the donation "would be sent to the poor who are in the hospital in Jerusalem every year." A commandery was subsequently established next to the church . The Lamberti Chapel is the oldest evidence of the order's building activities. The Commandery was initially responsible for Saxony , the Mark Brandenburg , Pomerania and the Wendland . Later it was the administrative center for the Ballei Brandenburg.

Such a coming was led by a member of the order, who had to give part of the income from the coming to the order's headquarters as "Responsoria". The responsories were used to fulfill the religious duties.

Treaty of Kremmen

By papal decree , the land of the Knights Templar, which was dissolved in 1312, was transferred to the Order of St. John. This was not only a question of property in France, but also in the rest of Europe, and not insignificant property in Germany. However, the Johannites did not succeed everywhere without taking possession of the former Templar property without major disputes with secular princes. The Johanniter in Brandenburg received only 1/3 of the Templar property in the Treaty of Kremmen in 1318 . The remaining two thirds were taken over by the church and the margrave, who at the same time granted himself a position as "patron" of the later ballei. Nevertheless, it was enough for the Johanniter to set up a ballot with the increase in property. The Ballei Brandenburg has only existed since then. In 1323 the areas of Saxony, Brandenburg, Wendland and Pomerania were placed under the office of a “Praeceptor Generalis”, who was supposed to promote the appropriation and integration of the former Templar property in particular. In 1360 "Herrmann von Wereberge" was mentioned as the first "master and master in the Sachsenland, the Mark zu Brandenburg, Wendland and Pommern". However, the economic and personal power of the Order of St. John in these regions was always too low to achieve independence from the sovereigns.

Ballei Brandenburg

Adam Graf von Schwarzenberg, engraving by Peter Rollos after a painting by Matthias Czwiczek (around 1635)

In 1426, the master master Balthazar von Schlieben acquired the aristocratic rule of Sonnenburg from Margrave Friedrich I of Brandenburg, "by a hundred shockingly good groschen". Sonnenburg developed into the seat of the master master of the Ballei and has been continuously expanded since then.

In 1460, Elector Friedrich II contractually secured the right of nomination for the election of the master master and thereby actually gained control of the Ballei.

In 1538 Joachim II , Elector of Brandenburg, converted to Lutheran teachings, with the Ballei under the master master Veit von Thümen (1527–1544) (Martin Graf von Hohenstein zu Vierraden-Schwedt). The members of the order felt thereby released from their vows of poverty and celibacy. In 1545 a provincial chapter in Speyer decided that Lutheran and married commanders should also keep their offices. The Ballei Brandenburg became the "core cell" of today's Protestant branches of the order (in addition to Germany, also in Sweden, Finland, Hungary and France).

As a result, however, the cohesion between the Ballei and the Grand Priory of Germany loosened. In 1581, Grand Master Jean de la Cassière formally appointed the then master master Martin Graf von Hohenstein before the Chapter to Malta. When he did not appear, he declared the members of the Brandenburg Order to be excluded. This exclusion was communicated to the Grand Priory including the corresponding document, but was not passed on to the Ballei by the Grand Prior of the Order in Heitersheim - Philipp Flach von Schwarzenberg . The Grand Prior for his part appointed a Catholic counter-Bailli for Brandenburg until the fall of the Grossballei in 1811 (especially since the Lord Master also stayed away from the chapter meetings of the Grossballei). However, this appointment violated the Heimbacher settlement, by which the knights had the right to choose the ballerier or master master. The Catholic counter-Bailli was thus ignored. The Ballei Brandenburg itself fulfilled its obligations from the Heimbach settlement (in particular its payments) and thus did not offer the Grand Priory any reason to clarify the status quo .

After all, Adam von Schwarzenberg was still able to officiate as Catholic master master from 1625 to 1641 ; he had to undertake, however, before his confirmation by the convention, not to change the confession of the Ballei.

With the Westphalian peace treaty in 1648 the order lost almost all of its possessions in the Protestant part of Germany. Likewise, comers (especially Mirow and Nemerow ) of the Brandenburg Ballei were lost to the corresponding sovereigns (Mecklenburg). This made the Ballei's economic situation difficult. At the beginning of Johann Moritz von Nassau's term of office, the income from ball holdings could not even cover the 324 gold guilders of the annual recognition money to the German Grand Priory. The sum of the arrears in 1653 amounted to 7452 gold guilders, of which Johann Moritz was able to pay 1000 guilders in December of the same year. This shows that the Ballei and the master masters took their obligations to the Grand Priory seriously even after the Thirty Years' War .

A large number of knights were appointed in the Brandenburg Ballei: An insight into the structures of the order and an overview of the knights appointed in the Protestant tongue in the 2nd half of the 17th century is given by Johann Christoph Beckmann in “Description of the Knightly Order of St. John” “From 1726.

Coming in the Ballei Brandenburg

Contemporary portrait of Prince Johann Moritz

The following comers were among others in the area of ​​the Ballei Brandenburg:

Today's Berlin

Today's Brandenburg:

Today's Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania:

Today's Lower Saxony:

Today's North Rhine-Westphalia:

Today's Saxony-Anhalt:

Today's Poland:

Attempt at union

In 1763, King Frederick the Great began negotiations with the Order of Malta, as there were some comrades on the soil of the conquered Silesia . The Knights of Malta were allowed to wear their decorations on Prussian soil, in return the King was allowed to insert the Prussian crown as a sign of his protectorate in the decorations of the Knights of the Law (see also illustration of the Cross of the Knights of the Right). The king, as well as his counterpart, Grand Master Pinto de Fonseca, agreed to resume the responsory payments in the (mutual) hope that the ball and its members could again become an integral part of the overall order. The mediator between the two was Ferdinand von Hompesch, Catholic counter-Bailli von Brandenburg and later Grand Master. The Pope, however, insisted that the Ballei, as a heretical organization, could not be part of the Order. Nevertheless, the responsories continued to be paid until 1810; The Ballei and the Order of Malta have maintained their good relations in an ecumenical sense to this day. The Ballei sent observers to the General Chapter of the Order of Malta as early as 1776 .

Secularization and the Prussian Order of Merit

In the Peace of Tilsit , Prussia undertook to make high payments to Napoleon. By edict of October 30, 1810 and document of January 23, 1811, the Ballei Brandenburg and the associated commander were by King Friedrich Wilhelm III. repealed, their possessions were confiscated in the course of secularization . The order itself did not cease to exist as a result, but it was lost of its property and it was forbidden to accept new members or candidates. Consequently, the order would have been extinguished in the medium term through the death of its last knight.

On May 23, 1812, King Friedrich Wilhelm III. the Royal Prussian Order of St. John as an award for honorable service, as proof of royal grace and in memory of the disbanded Brandenburg Ballot . The new "Order of St. John" was thus a Prussian order of merit. In contrast to most of the other Prussian orders, however, it had a “corporate” (membership) character, as it took over numerous elements of the “old” order.

The Grand Master of the Order of Merit was the previous master master. The knights of the disbanded Ballei automatically belonged to this new order, but still wore their old insignia.

Restoration of the Order of St. John

Prince Carl of Prussia

By cabinet order of October 15, 1852, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia formally restored the ballei (in the form “Balley”, which differs from the previous spelling), but without replacing it in its previous property. The continuity was maintained because eight members knighted before 1810, including Otto Ludwig Christoph von Dewitz and Otto Ernst von Dewitz , were still alive and they, appointed commendators, could elect a new master.

The bearers of the Order of Merit automatically became members of the restored Balley, but they were only recognized as "Knights of Honor" and were restricted in their rights in the order. Only the knights from before 1810 and those who were newly added by accolades to "right knights" (later "legal knights") had full rights and obligations (the sometimes considerable financial obligations during the reconstruction were only borne by the legal knights). In the course of time, this division of the order into two parts, owed only to a specific reason, was permanently adopted as an ascending form of full membership.

On May 17, 1853, Prince Carl of Prussia was solemnly appointed Lord Master of the Order and reported his election and the resurgence of the Balley directly to the governor of the Grand Magisterium of the Order of Malta in Rome (the Grand Priory of Germany had expired in 1811 and the entire order was in possession between 1805 and in 1879 no grand master, but only a governor who ruled in his place). This was noted in a polite letter to the “Ballei Brandenburg of the Sovereign Order of St. John in Jerusalem” by the governor of the Order of Malta, Fra ' Philipp von Colloredo-Mels , but any determination of the legal status of the Balley was avoided.

The first chapter of the order met on July 23, 1853 and drafted the statutes, which were approved by the king as protector of the order by a document dated August 8. Similar to the eight Prussian church provinces, eight cooperatives were founded: the provincial cooperatives of Prussia, Brandenburg, Pomerania, Posen-West Prussia, Silesia, Saxony, Westphalia and the Rhineland. As a result, the comers and cooperatives began very quickly to set up their plants. Among the first hospitals are: 1854 the Johanniter Hospital in Jüterbog (is today (again) in the possession of the Order) and in 1855 the "infirmary" in Mansfeld. In 1864 and 1866 the knights of the order took part in the development of the medical service during the war. Knights of the Provincial Saxon Cooperative and their wives, for example, donated 50,000 thalers for the medical service. Knights of St. John were also actively involved in establishing the German Red Cross. It was the Knight of St. John, Joachim von Winterfeldt-Menkin , who founded the German Red Cross during the Weimar Republic and became its first president. In 1885, the Johanniter Sisterhood was founded as the first still existing work of the general order. Under the master master Prince Albrecht of Prussia (1886–1906), the Johanniter hospital system grew from 34 facilities with 1,400 beds to 52 facilities with 2937 beds.

Since then, the Order of St. John has existed in the legal form of an association under the old law . The order resided in Berlin until the end of World War II , then in Bonn , and today again in Berlin and Potsdam (see below).

National Socialism

Accolade in 1923

The nobility took an ambivalent attitude towards the emergence of National Socialism. Since 1927, Oskar Prince of Prussia was the master master of this period. Among other things, he enjoyed the protection of Reich President Paul von Hindenburg . The Order of St. John as an institution was a "thorn in the side" of the National Socialists due to its close ties to the Protestant Church and the membership of the nobility. Occasionally, in the run-up to the seizure of power, there were resignations from the order, for example on September 20, 1928 by Friedrich Graf von der Schulenburg . However, numerous officers of the Wehrmacht and other influential personalities were members of the order, which is why no open action was taken against the order until it had come to power.

On November 29, 1935, by decree of the Reich and Prussian Ministers of the Interior, the further award of Knights of Honor and Knights of Law was forbidden. On July 2, 1938, by decree (78/38) of Adolf Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess, the incompatibility of membership in the NSDAP and the Order was established and simultaneous membership of the Order and the NSDAP was forbidden. The order was not dissolved or banned, but could not accept new members. The cohesion of the members remained, they now wore a finger ring with a cross. About 10 percent of the members switched to the National Socialists at that time.

Johanniter excelled in the resistance against the regime, many Knights of St. John and Maltese were executed in connection with the assassination attempt of July 20, 1944 , including:

Friedrich von Rabenau in a general's uniform with a right knight's cross, April 1937

Other members of the Order of St. John were involved in the resistance against the Nazi regime, but survived the period up to the fall of the regime:

Other members of the Order of St. John were closely connected to persons of the resistance.

Recent history

After 1945 the order lost all possessions in the eastern territories as well as in the area of ​​the Soviet occupation zone of the former German Reich. Many members of the order had died in the war, were expropriated and displaced. The western allies also had to be convinced that the Order of St. John was approved as an organization despite numerous influential members. In 1947, the reconstruction of the Balley Brandenburg began with its cooperatives in the western occupation zones under the 35th master master Oskar Prince of Prussia († 1958). In 1948, for the first time since the Middle Ages, non- nobles were allowed access to the order again through a reinterpretation of the term “knightly disposition” ; This regulation was predominantly applied to civil spouses of nobles and close relatives. In 1951 the Johanniter Aid Communities (JHG) were founded. In 1952 the Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe (JUH) was founded in Germany, and in the autumn of 1952 the headquarters of the order was moved from Bad Pyrmont to Rolandseck near Bonn , the provisional federal German seat of government, where it was based in the Sölling house . In the spring of 1962 the headquarters of the order was relocated to Bonn. In 1974 the Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe was founded in Austria .

From 1990 the Johanniter aid communities and the Johanniter accident help also started to operate in East Germany. The order was able to achieve the transfer back of the religious houses located in the new federal states; these passed into the ownership of the cooperatives.

In 1999, the 900th anniversary of the Order of St. Johns and Maltese was celebrated and the 37th master master Oskar Prince of Prussia (* 1959) received his investiture .

In 2001 the seat of the order was relocated to Berlin , where the order has real estate and a modern Johanniterheim on the grounds of its infirmary , which was largely destroyed in the Second World War , in the district of Lichterfelde, which is historically heavily influenced by the military and the Prussian nobility . Since 2004 the formal seat of the order has been Potsdam ; the administrative headquarters and meeting place of the coming remained in Lichterfelde.

General structure and structure

Organization chart of the Order of St. John, as of 2005

The Order of St. John has the legal form of an " old law association "; it was granted corporation rights in 1852. It has its seat in Potsdam , the administrative seat is Berlin . The Order of St. John is part of the Evangelical Church in Germany through the letter of protection of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany from May 2, 1947.

The Order of St. John itself is regionally divided into cooperatives , also called Coming ones. The governing bodies of the order are, besides the master master, the chapter and the order government. Coming ones are directed by elected commendators (governing commendators).

The Order of St. John is the initiator and sponsor of the orders. These are the Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe eV, the Johanniter-Schwesternschaft eV and about 70 Johanniter-aid communities. Over 1.4 million active and supporting members are active in the religious organizations.

Chapter and Order Government

The Lord Master heads the order. The Chapter is at his side. The master master himself is chosen through the "extended chapter".

List of masters of the Balley Brandenburg

Knight uniform at the end of the 19th century

The first masters

The lordship at the Sonnenburg

  • 1426–1437: Balthasar von Schlieben
  • 1437–1459: Nicolaus von Thierbach
  • 1459–1460: Heinrich von Redern
  • 1460–1471: Liborius von Schlieben
  • 1471–1474: Kaspar von Güntersberg
  • 1474–1491: Richard von der Schulenburg
  • 1491–1526: Georg von Schlabrendorff
from the Reformation to secularization

The Lord Masters after the Restoration of the Order (1852)


The chapter is formed from the master master, the order government and the "governing" (the incumbent) commendators . It represents the central operative decision-making body of the order. The extended chapter also includes the former commendators and the honorary commendators of the cooperatives. The extended chapter decides, among other things, on the election of the master master, the procedure in the event of a possible dissolution of the order as well as on matters that are presented to him as particularly important by the master master.


The cooperatives (also coming ones) are headed by a commendator who also represents the cooperatives vis-à-vis the government of the order. The commendators lead the convention, the governing body of the cooperatives. As an association of male knight brothers of a place or a region, the commendators form subcomers and assign them to a subcomer leader. In order to deepen the theological knowledge of the members, Christian and current social issues are dealt with at various regular meetings. The "Johanniter Working Group for Contemporary Issues" regularly organizes in-depth seminars. (See also Category: Commendator (Order of St. John) .)

The following cooperatives and members of the Order of St. John currently exist:

Knight of the Mecklenburg Cooperative before moving into the parish church of St. Marien (Plau am See) (2018)
  • Coming of the balley
  • Baden-Württemberg commander
  • Bavarian cooperative
  • Brandenburg Provincial Cooperative
  • Coming from Hamburg
  • Hanover Cooperative
  • Hessian cooperative
  • Mecklenburg cooperative
  • Pomeranian Cooperative
  • Poznan-West Prussian Cooperative
  • Prussian cooperative
  • Provincial Saxon Cooperative
  • Rhenish cooperative
  • Rhineland-Palatinate-Saar cooperative
  • Saxon cooperative
  • Silesian cooperative
  • Schleswig-Holstein Cooperative
  • Westphalian cooperative

The non-German cooperatives are also affiliated with the Balley Brandenburg:

  • Johanniter Ridderskapet i Finland (Johanniter Knighthood in Finland)
  • Association des Chevaliers de St. Jean, Langue de France (Knights of St. John with French tongue)
  • Coming of the Knights of St. John in Switzerland
  • Johannitarend Magyar Tagozata (Hungary)
  • Austrian comedians


Right Knight's Cross

The Order of St. John and its members see themselves as part of the Protestant Church in Germany and were recognized in this legal status by the EKD's letter of protection from 1947. The order sees itself as a religious community in the tradition of a knightly order; therefore women cannot become members of the Protestant part of the order (outside of honorary membership). Female members are just as naturally represented in the religious organizations as in other social organizations.

Upon admission to the order, the members undertake to respect and implement the tasks of the order and the rules of the order. The prerequisite for admission to the order, which takes place through the appointment of the master master, is membership in a Protestant church as well as the approval of admission by two legal knights as guarantors. There is no entitlement to admission.

Since the order of knights was not opened to non-noble members until 1948, nobles are represented much more frequently than in the average population. According to an “overall list” in April 1991 the total number of members was around 3,000, of which around 2,000 members were aristocratic and around 1,000 were non-aristocratic, many of whom come from families with marital or close family ties to the nobility or who have a higher income as freelancers . Despite this easing of access, the Order of St. John continues to represent an institute through its restrictive admission practice, which allows the "social class of chivalry, the lower nobility, [...] to maintain social status".

"Membership levels" of the order are:

  • Honorary members
  • Governing commendators
  • Honorary Commendators
  • Right knight
  • Knight of Honor

The order awards the master's cross, the cross of honorary members, the commander's cross, the right knight cross and the honor knight cross as a badge of honor. These insignia are protected by the state. The Order of St. John “confers” these awards in the literal sense; they do not become the property of the bearer and are demanded back after the bearer's death. The religious organizations award further decorations.

The obligation of the members of the order to a Christian way of life leads in individual cases to problematic considerations in the question of whether an obligation has been violated and whether and how to react to it. Such individual cases and their occasionally different treatments regularly give rise to criticism of the Order of St. John and of the people involved.

The foregoing is particularly true when it comes to divorce. The Order of St. John understands church weddings as an “individual commission” of Christ for marriage. Divorce, regardless of the question of individual guilt, is always viewed as a negligence of both spouses. After the divorce, it is only possible to remain in the Order of St. John (as well as the admission of a divorced candidate) with a special permit. This affected and still affects high-ranking members of the Order. The master master Eitel Friedrich von Prussia resigned from his position as master master in 1926 after the failure of his marriage. On the other hand, Otto Graf Lambsdorff, for example, remained in the order despite divorce due to great merits ; the nature of his merits is not mentioned.

Spiritual alignment

The first known head of the hospital in Jerusalem, Brother Gerhard (lat. Gerardus), wrote around 1120: “Our brotherhood will be immortal because the soil on which this plant is rooted is the misery of the world and because, God willing , there will always be people who want to work to make this suffering less, this misery more bearable. "

The rule of the order

The self-image of the Order of St. John is laid down in the order rule. The basis of this is the “double mandate” of the order as a commitment to Jesus Christ and the Evangelical Church as well as service to one's neighbor. The rules of the Order of St. John oblige all members. It does not give individual instructions for the way of life, but is understood as a guideline for the attitude and action of the members. The most important duties in the order are to strive for the Christian faith, to strengthen the brotherhood and to bring one's own strengths and abilities into today's society.

Order cross

Johanniter and Maltese carry the identical order cross , it is worn on the left. The shape of the cross recalls the sacrificial death of Christ. The eight points indicate the eight Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 3–10). Each of the four bars of the cross represents a cardinal virtue (justice, valor, wisdom and moderation).

The religious prayer

Bless, bless, Lord, the Order!
He wants to be of service to you in honor.
Be gracious to him, always helpful,
stand by him in the struggle for salvation.
Strengthen your faith in the Savior
who brought the cross in honor,
fight back the evil, help the good,
d em weak, help to be faithful
help the weak!
Lord hear us!

See also


  • Johann Christoph Beckmann: Description of the Knightly Order of St. John. Frankfurt / Oder 1726.
  • Joachim von Schwarzkopf : About the lordship of the St. Johanniterordens of the Balley Brandenburg, especially about the last coadjutor election and accolades. 1795.
  • Wilhelm v. Obernitz: The Brandenburg Balley of the Knightly Order of St. Johannis from the Hospital in Jerusalem. Essence and work, then and now . Rhenania, Düsseldorf 1929.
  • Ernst Opgenoorth : The Brandenburg Ballei of the Order of St. John in the Age of Reformation and Counter-Reformation (= yearbook of the Albertus University of Königsberg, Prussia . Supplement 24). Holzner, Würzburg 1963.
  • RL Wolff, HW Hazard (Ed.): The later Crusades, 1189-1311 . A History of the Crusades, volume II. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisconsin 1969 ( online ).
  • Gerhard Tonque Lagleder : The order rule of the Johanniter / Maltese. The spiritual foundations of the Order of St. John / Maltese with an edition and translation of the three oldest rule manuscripts . EOS, St. Ottilien 1983.
  • Stanislaus J. Klimek: In the sign of the cross. The recognized religious orders of knights . Stuttgart 1986.
  • Yehuda Karmon : The Johanniter and Maltese. Knights and Samaritans. The Changes of the Order of Saint John . Munich 1987.
  • Adam Wienand (ed.): The Order of St. John, the Order of Malta. The knightly order of St. John from the hospital in Jerusalem. Its history, its tasks . 3. Edition. Cologne 1988.
  • Walter G. Rödel: The knightly order of St. Johannis from the hospital in Jerusalem. An outline of its history . 2nd Edition. Nieder-Weisel 1989.
  • Robert L. Dauber: The navy of the Johanniter-Malteser-Ritter-Order. 500 years of naval warfare in defense of Europe . Weishaupt, Graz 1989.
  • Hans Wolfram Kessler, Konrad Kessler: Knights in the Holy Land - Crusader sites in Israel. Verlag Philipp von Zabern, Darmstadt / Mainz 2013, ISBN 978-3-8053-4552-1 , licensed edition for the Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft WBG, Darmstadt, ISBN 978-3-534-26179-6 .
  • Adolf Wilhelm Ernst von Winterfeld : History of the Brandenburg Ballei or the Lords Mastery of Sonnenburg of the Knightly Order of St. Johannis from the Hospital in Jerusalem . Osnabrück 1993 (partial reprint of the Berlin 1859 edition, full text ).
  • Ernst Staehle: Johanniter and Templar . Weishaupt, Gnas 1998, ISBN 3-7059-0060-9 .
  • Ernst Staehle: History of the Johanniter and Maltese (4 volumes). Weishaupt, Gnas 2002.
    • Volume 1: The Hospitallers in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Your Cultural Revolution and Heritage Defense in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. ISBN 3-7059-0154-0 .
    • Volume 2: The Johanniter of Rhodes. ISBN 3-7059-0155-9 .
    • Volume 3: The Knights of Malta. Shield of Christianity in the Mediterranean. ISBN 3-7059-0156-7 .
    • Volume 4: The Johanniter and Maltese of the German and Bavarian tongue. International and national. ISBN 3-7059-0157-5 .
  • Henning Floto: The legal status of the Order of St. John, a legal historical and legal dogmatic investigation into the legal status of the Balley Brandenburg of the knightly order of St. John from the Hospital in Jerusalem . Berliner Wissenschaftsverlag, Berlin 2003.
  • Bernhard Maurer: Protecting the Faith and Helping the Weak - The Rule of the Balley Brandenburg of the Knightly Order of St. Johannis from the Hospital in Jerusalem . Hentrich, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-89468-279-5 .
  • Rodney Stark : God's Warriors, The Crusades in a New Light . Haffmans Tolkemitt GmbH, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-942989-85-5 .
  • Thomas Pratsch (Ed.): Conflict and Coping. The destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem in 1009 . Millennium Studies, Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co.KG, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-11-025351-1 and e- ISBN 978-3-11-025352-8 .
  • Gerhart Ellert : The Johanniter. It started in Jerusalem . Universitas Verlag in the FA Herbig Verlagsbuchhandlung GmbH, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-8004-1385-X .
  • Jürgen Sarnowsky : The Johanniter. A religious order of knights in the Middle Ages and modern times . Verlag CH Beck oHG, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-406-62239-7 .
  • Ernle Bradford : The Shield of Europe. The Battle of the Knights of St. John against the Turks. Malta 1565 . Rainer Wunderlich Verlag Hermann Leins , Tübingen 1961.
  • Thomas Freller: The Johanniter. From crusader to samaritan . Casimir Katz Verlag, Gernsbach 2012, ISBN 978-3-938047-60-6 .
  • Eduard Ludwig Wedekind : The history of the Johanniter order . Boheimer Verlag, Leipzig 2008, ISBN 978-3-89094-567-5 . Revision and summary of the book by Adolf von Winterfeld: History of the Knightly Order of St. Johannis from the Hospital in Jerusalem. With special consideration of the Brandenburg Balli or the Sonnenburg Lordship . Publisher of Decker's Secret Ober-Hofbuchdruckerei, Berlin 1853 and Martin Berendt, Berlin 1859 ( e-copy ).
  • Walther Threde, Torah v. Bonin: Johanniter in the area of ​​tension between the Vistula and the Warta . ars una Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Neuried 1998, ISBN 3-89391-610-5 (the checkered history of the Posen-West Prussian Cooperative of the Order of St. John).
  • Christian Gahlbeck, Heinz-Dieter Heimann , Dirk Schumann: Regionality and transfer history. Coming from the Knights' Order of the Templars and St. Johns in northeast Germany and Poland. Lukas Verlag, Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-86732-140-2 (650 pages. The history of the Brandenburg Ballei of the Order of St. John is illuminated; German and Polish scientists present the latest research results on the orders of knights in 26 articles, e.g. artistic furnishings, architectural history of the religious order, development after the Reformation).
  • Volker Reichert, Andrea Denke: Konrad Grünemberg - from Constance to Jerusalem. A pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulcher in 1486. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft WBG, Lambert Schneider Verlag, Darmstadt 2015, ISBN 978-3-650-40063-5 and ISBN 978-3-650-40064-2 .

Web links

Commons : Order of St. John  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Michael Tiedje: Primary school starts in the 2015-2016 school year. In: Evangelisches Johannitergymnasium Wriezen. Johanniter Gymnasium Wriezen, accessed on September 19, 2018 .
  2. ^ Georg Galland: The Great Elector and Moritz von Nassau the Brazilians . In: Studies on Brandenburg and Dutch art history . Keller, Frankfurt am Main 1893, p. 93.
  3. a b Galland, p. 97.
  4. ^ Johann Christoph Beckman: Description of the Knightly Order of St. John. Frankfurt / Oder 1726.
  5. The Knights of Saint John in Germany ( Memento from December 12, 2000 in the Internet Archive )
  6. Axel Freiherr von Campenhausen, Joachim E. Christoph (Ed.): Collected writings . Series Jus Ius ecclesiasticum . Volume 50, 1995, p. 246 ff.
  7. Alfred Reumont: The last times of the Order of St. John. In: Friedrich v. Raumer (Ed.): Historical paperback. New episode. 5th year. Brockhaus, Leipzig 1844, pp. 247-390 ( Google books ).
  8. ^ Order of St. John , No. 3, September 2006, p. 20 ( online ).
  9. Stephan Malinowski: From King to Leader - Social decline and political radicalization in the German nobility between the German Empire and the Nazi state . Akademie Verlag, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-05-003554-4 .
  10. The history of the order in the service of the mediation of faith (evangelization) - by Christian-Erdmann Schott, Mainz
  11. ^ Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels , Volume 19; 1990.
  12. The Order of St. John , ordensmuseum.de.
  13. ^ Balley Brandenburg - Middle of the Order ( Memento from October 16, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  14. Cf. Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Gerhard Bott, Udo Arnold (ed.): 800 Years of the German Order: Exhibition of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nürnberg in cooperation with the International Historical Commission for Research on the Teutonic Order. Munich 1990, p. 247.