Membership Types

In the 11th century Blessed Fra’ Gerard established a religious Order of brother monks to serve the poor and sick pilgrims in the Holy Land.

Over the centuries, the Order of St. John of Jerusalem has retained its form but, especially in the past century, it has adapted to changing needs, expanded geographically, and greatly increased its membership.

Please find below a description of various roles within the Order.


Most of the members of the Order of Malta are Knights and Dames in the Third Class. These men and women are faithful Roman Catholics who feel a special calling to serve the needy and sick in their communities through a religious order. Members of the Third Class are not “third order” members as in some religious orders but fully participate in the life and governance of the Order. They make a commitment for life to support the mission of the Order of Malta and offer a Christian example in their private and public lives. Membership in the Third Class is by invitation and normally is made after a distinguished record of Catholic service and professional accomplishments.

For more information on membership in the Third Class, send an email with your contact information and a short statement of interest in serving the poor and sick and sharing the Catholic faith to

Members in Obedience

Knights and Dames in Obedience were once members of the Third Class but have discerned a calling to live out the faith and serve the needy and sick more fully and completely. They pray the Liturgy of the Hours, take part in additional spiritual retreats, and study the Order’s history and the faith of the Church so as to serve the Order better.

Knights of Justice

The solemnly professed brothers of the Order, known as the Knights of Justice, are the canonically lay religious members of the Order of Malta. These men profess vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and have made the most radical commitment to defend the Roman Catholic faith and to serve the poor and the sick. Their prayer life is similar to the Knights and Dames in Obedience, but they undergo years of additional formation and conduct their own special retreats and conferences. The religious brothers are the heart of the Order that gives life to all of its members.


The Order has always needed chaplains to provide spiritual and sacramental support for its members who are engaged in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. They play a key role in the spiritual life of the members by leading retreats, helping members continue their education in the faith, and providing them with spiritual direction. Chaplains have no role in governance of the Order.

Auxiliary Members

The Auxiliary members are Roman Catholic men and women who support and participate in the works of the Order by making annual and renewable commitments to practice charity towards the poor and the sick. They are eligible to take part in exercises of faith formation and social activities along with their service to the poor and sick with Knights and Dames. For more information on becoming an Auxiliary Member, send an email with your contact information and a short statement of intent to


Volunteers of any faith or no faith who are attracted to the Order’s charism of humbly serving the poor and the sick are welcome to join the Knights and Dames at the Order’s clinics and other venues of service. For more information on becoming a volunteer, send an email with your contact information and a short statement of interest to