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How to be a Knight of Chivalry
 The Companions of 2017
 The Rule of Chivalry
 The Original Orders
 The Caravan of a Thousand Hours
 The Knightly Accolade
 The Title of Knighthood
 The Rights and Responsibilities
 The Recognition
 The Decoration


The School

Today, the Order of the School of Joseph is the world’s newest order of chivalry. The members of the School’s highest grades – Knights and Dames of Justice – must still produce heraldic evidence of their ‘right to bear arms’. Others who can produce sufficient evidence of meritorious conduct, chivalric training or service to others, may be created Knights and Dames of Honour and Merit.

The Hospital

The oldest order of chivalry is the Order of the Hospital of Saint John – the Knights Hospitaller – dating back to 1099. At that time, members of the Hospital divided themselves into three classes – knights and their esquires, chaplains, and serving brothers and sisters. The knights and esquires (trainee knights) were all Christian soldiers who were usually nobles from the greatest European families. The chaplains were clergy who were assigned to religious duties. The brothers and sisters were volunteers of honourable origin and could either be soldiers or nurses in the hospitals of the Order. Candidates for knighthood had to produce ‘proof of nobility’. That is, to be of noble name and lineage.

Although the Order of the Hospital was one of the world’s oldest arbiters of nobility it maintained that to be noble implied not merely a demeanour of hauteur but rather the style of noblesse oblige.

The meme of the Hospital was known as the Rule of the Order: ‘To Serve, as Our Lords, the Sick and Poor’. It was this meme, a spirit of service and humility, that suffused the Order and was the quintessential contribution that its aristocratic members passed on down through the ages.

It is 220 years since the 71st Prince Grand Master of the Hospital dissolved the original order on Malta. Leaving Malta, the knights scattered first to Amalfi, then to their various homelands across Europe some starting local branches of the Order. In 1798, the government of the Order went to Russia and put itself under the protection of Czar Paul I who became the 72nd Grand Master.

Over the last 220 years replicant orders have flourished around the world. In addition to the Russian Order, there is the British Order, with Queen Elizabeth II as Sovereign of the Order, and well known for its St. John Ambulance Brigade. There is also the Papal Order in Rome (also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, SMOM) under Prince Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing, an English nobleman, with its hospitals in several countries and its fund-raising activities.

There are replicant branches of the Order in Europe – in Spain, in the Netherlands, in Germany, in Sweden and elsewhere, usually with their current reigning sovereign as head of each country’s branch of the Order. These replicant Orders do much to foster leadership development and voluntary charitable works in their activities.

From Warrior to Gentleman

Over the past 400 years we have seen the gradual transformation of chivalry evolve from the aristocratic warrior to the philanthropic gentleman—from Deus vult! to noblesse oblige.

We have seen that the changing educational habits and social conditions, the requirements of state and the conduct of war have left many of the original chivalric impulses redundant. Just as the full plate of armour became increasingly extinct so did the paraphernalia of crusading. Popes today do not summon crusades against Islam.

So what do we have left from this remarkable period of our cultural evolution that is still of value? What we have left is the meme of chivalry; a tradition of service to others and, in the case of the Hospitallers, the 900-year tradition of service to the sick and poor.

Knights of the School

Today, and following in the ancient footsteps of The Hospital and The Temple, is also The School—the newest of the replicant orders to adopt this chivalric ideal–and called the Order of the School of Joseph of Nazareth. Why? Because, in exercising his paternal care, Jesus first and most influential teacher was Joseph. So we choose to honour and recognise, as the Patron of the Order of the School, one of history’s most important and revered teachers, Joseph of Nazareth.

Like all children, Jesus learnt through imitation and mostly from his parents. Because Joseph happily dedicated himself to his upbringing, Jesus learnt not only how to talk and read and write but as his apprentice Joseph also taught Jesus how to think and solve problems and design and innovate with the use of tools. Also how to maintain and grow a small business. How to behave and work and play at the side of his father and mentor, Joseph, for the first twenty years of his life.

There are many throughout Western history who were also inspired by the story of Joseph of Nazareth. After the conclave that elected him John XXIII seriously considered taking ‘Joseph’ as his pontifical name and was thereafter known by many as the Josephine Pope. Good Pope John once spoke of his own personal devotion to Joseph saying:

All the saints in glory merit and honor a particular respect, but it is evident that St. Joseph has a special place in our hearts, a place which belongs to him alone, fragrant, more intimate, and penetrating… Add to all this the experience of life and the knowledge of Christian doctrine . . . and we can measure more fully the grandeur of St. Joseph, not only by reason of the fact that he was close to Jesus and Mary, but also by the shining example which he has given us of all the virtues.

The School of Joseph

Thus, established as a traditional order of chivalry but with the New Rule, the School follows in the 900-year tradition of their ancient brothers and sisters. Knights Scholar is a supra-national teaching, training and charitable order of chivalry with no exclusive religious or political connections whatsoever. Knights and Dames of the School are men and women of all religions, races and creeds who live by the Rule. There are no fees. Membership is a gift of the Order and is by invitation only.

Today’s Knights and Dames Scholar contribute their personal time and energy to replicate the New Rule of the Order of the School which is: To Teach, As Our Lords, The Sick And The Poor.




School of Chivalry

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