Another Order of St John: “Vast Majority” Disassociate from Leadership of Ally of Gen. “Jerry” Boykin

From the website of the Sovereign Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta (SHOSJ):

Past Grand Masters

…Blessed Peter Gerard-Abbott: Master-French,1087-1120

…Joseph Frendo Cumbo: Grand Master-Maltese, 1997-2006

Nicholas Papanicolaou: Grand Master-Greek,2006-2011-*Disassociated

Adrian Busietta: Grand Master-Maltese, 2011-

* The Order and its Members in vast Majority have dissociated themselves from the leadership / grand master-ship of Chev. Nicholas Papanicolaou for grave reasons already explained in detail to him by correspondence, after due warnings and requests for his resignation

The “grave reasons” for the split with Papanicolaou are not explained. However, as I’ve previously noted, Papanicolaou has links with controversial figures on the US Christian Right; none other than Gen “Jerry” Boykin was installed as the Order’s Grand Chancellor, and in 2010 the two men sent out an aggressively anti-Muslim fundraising letter in the Order’s name:

The Obama Administration’s Department of Homeland Security recently swore in two devout Muslims in senior posts…. Was it not “Devout Muslim men” that flew planes into U.S. buildings 9 years ago? Was it not a Devout Muslim who killed 14 at Fort Hood?

…Read Sura 18:21 and you will know WHY Muslims insist on building a mosque over Ground Zero…

Your DONATION to the KNIGHTS will directly go to our global effort to inform, put pressure on legislators, media ads, communication with leaders, and much more to heighten the awareness of the grave danger that is confronting us and the United States Constitution…against Sharia Law.

Last October, the two men held an inauguration ceremony for the Order on Rhodes, at which “friend of the English Defence League” Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff was made a “Dame”.

Boykin is absent from the new SHOSJ website (which was created in February), as is Rick Joyner, who was previously made “Deputy Member of the Supreme Council” (Joyner  claims that his books are in part responsible for a “spiritual renewal” in the Order). However, all three men continue in their roles on an older website, where the Order is referred to as the “Knights Hospitallers of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, the Ecumenical Order” (OSJ). As with the SHOSJ website, the OSJ website also carries a list of Grand Masters; until recently, Busietta was included as having been in charge “pro tem” during 2006, which was before Papanicolaou took over, although his name no longer appears anywhere.

A blog post about the split appeared in Swedish a few months ago, but is no longer available; the author suggested that some European members had become unhappy about the direction which the Order was taking. It certainly seemed to me strange that an organisation which exists to promote charitable activities would want to become embroiled in extreme anti-Islam polemics and identified with Joyner’s Christian Right form of neo-Pentecostalism. However, the OSJ has retained its original European “Royal Protector”, Enrique de Borbon y Garcia-Lobez, while the SHOSJ’s Royal Protectors are “HIRH Sandor Habsburg Lothringen, Archduke of Austria, Prince of Tuscany and HIRH Herta Margarete Habsburg Lothringen, Archduchess of Austria, Princess of Tuscany”.

Some details about Busietta have appeared in the Malta Independent:

Chevalier Adrian Busietta has been one of Malta’s leading businessmen and entrepreneurs for the last five decades, a span of time in which he experienced the tenure of no less than six Prime Ministers.

…In later years he has concentrated more on his very active role within the Knights of St John of Jerusalem Ecumenical Order, again a role that has brought him into contact with a great number of international personalities including international pop stars Sir Cliff Richard and Mike Reed, as well as a number of kings and princes who are members of the Order.

A picture of Cliff in his gown can be seen here.

It should be borne in mind that both Busietta’s SHOSJ and Papanicolaou’s OSJ are both separate from the exclusively Roman Catholic Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), which is the organisation that most people think of when the name of the “Knights of Malta” is mentioned. Another report in the Malta Independent concludes with the notice that

…it was again reiterated that the Embassy of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, known also as The Order of Malta, wishes to inform the general public that it has no connection with the organisation which calls itself the “Knights Hospitallers of the Sovereign Order of St John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta – The Ecumenical Order”.

This organisation has recently been given coverage in connection with the fact that the renowned singer Cliff Richard has been made a member of this organisation.

It is pertinent to note that the organisation in question is not recognised by the Republic of Malta or by the Holy See.

I discussed competing claims about the historical background here. Last year, SMOM lost a trademark case against the OSJ in Florida. Despite SMOM’s objection to “ecumenical” rivals, and its exclusive recognition by the Vatican, SHOSJ has as its Spiritual Protector a Roman Catholic Cardinal, Sergio Sebastiani.