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What is the Order of St John?



Pro Fide - for the Faith

Pro Utilitate Hominum - for the service of humanity

The parent Order of the St John Gateway is The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem commonly known as the Order of St John or the Order. The Order is a Royal Order of Chivalry of the British Crown. It has Christian foundations and beliefs but welcomes membership from those of any faith and those of none. It is a major international charity, with over 300,000 volunteers and staff in more than 40 countries


The Order has the highest ideals and aspirational objectives under its two founding and key principles as contained in our Royal Charter:

  • The encouragement of all that makes for the spiritual and moral strengthening of mankind in accordance with our first motto ‘Pro Fide’ (For the Faith); and

  • The encouragement and promotion of all work of humanity and charity for the relief of persons in sickness, distress, suffering or danger, without consideration of race, class or creed in accordance with our second motto ‘Pro Utilitate Hominum’ (For the Service of Humanity).

Her Majesty The Queen, is The Sovereign Head of the Order and honours individuals with admission to, or promotion within, the Order in recognition of their outstanding achievement, the successful discharge of responsibility or their notable and selfless service in furthering the objects of the Order, and to encourage endeavours in this regard.

What distinguishes St John from so many other worthy charities is our global humanitarian history. Few charities can match our near thousand-year history, our global links throughout the Commonwealth and beyond, our historic buildings in Clerkenwell and our status as an Order of Chivalry. 

The Order is very well connected; Her Majesty The Queen is The Sovereign Head of the Order, HRH The Duke of Gloucester is the Grand Prior; HRH The Princess Royal is the Commandant-in-Chief (Youth) of St John Ambulance; and HRH the Countess of Wessex is the Grand President of St John Ambulance.  There are many thousands of volunteers and supporters form all backgrounds across the country who support the Orders work in numerous ways. 

The most public face of the Order’s work in the UK is St John Ambulance.  Every year thousands of members are trained in first aid and associated subjects, and spend millions of hours volunteering at local and national events, providing first aid to keep the public safe. 

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