Protestant Knights of Malta
Whilst most people are familiar with the existence of the Royal Black Institution, few know anything about its two sister Black-orders (1) the Protestant Knights of Malta, and (2) the Royal Britannic Association (which is now extinct). The Protestant Knights of Malta seems to have arisen in Scotland in the mid-1830s where its influence was mainly contained, although it did make some slight in-roads into Ulster and the North of England in the 1840s. It then took upon itself the ostentatious title of Ancient and Illustrious Order of Knights of Malta or Knight Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem. Even though its influence has always been small in Ireland it was given a breath of life in the early 20th century with the formation of the Independent Orange. It was taken under the wing of the Independents and became the senior order of the institution in much the same way the Black relates to the Orange Order.
The now obsolete Royal Britannic Association was also known by several differing terms including the Grand Britannic Association and the more elegant Royal Britannic Association of Knights of Israel. This sister organisation was greatly debilitated by the fact that it was very small from its beginning and its influence was largely restricted to just a few areas in England.
Like every other secret movement through the decades, there have been various wheels within wheels inside these Black associations, with many schisms and offshoots, most of which mushroomed up and then disappeared as quickly as they arose.
The Protestant Knights of Malta and the Royal Britannic Association had ruling Grand Chapters. The Knights of Malta governing authority described itself as ‘The Imperial Parent Grand Encampment of the Universe’. Its subordinate national Grand Chapters are known as Grand Priories. Its national authorities employ varying indigenous, and certainly imperious, terms like ‘Supreme Grand Encampment of Ireland’ and ‘Supreme Grand Commandery of the Continent of America’. The Knights of Malta refer to its leader as the ‘Imperial Grand Master of the Imperial Parent Grand Encampment of the Universe’. The now defunct Royal Britannic Association had a Grand Black Chapter and entitled its head simply as ‘Grand Master’.
With the Royal Britannic Association long dead, the Knights of Malta are now heading down a similar path, with only a small number of Independent Orangemen joining its senior order. Indeed, it is doubtful if it has a hundred active members in the whole of Ireland. A break-away from the “Protestant” Knights of Malta does exist in Scotland today – although it is small and has no direct link with the Orange Order or the Independent Orange Order.
The Protestant Knights of Malta actually labels its local gatherings “Encampments” rather than Preceptories. The name “Encampment,” like so much within the Black family, has been acquired from the Masonic Knights Templar.
The Knights of Malta refer to their members as “Companions.” And any old documents relating to the Royal Britannic Association entitled its members to the designation ‘Sir’. These names normally prefix the members’ name in an official setting.
The Irish Knights of Malta is the next step of advancement from the Independent Orange Institution. In fact, in Ireland one can only progress to the Knights of Malta via this organisation. This so-called Protestant Order developed from the Roman Catholic Scottish Knights of Malta, which in turn has its origins in the papal inspired crusades of the dark ages as the Knights of St.John of Jerusalem. Today it shares many of the same heathenish practises as Templarism worldwide.
Independent Loyal Orange Institution (3 degrees)
The teaching of this strange “Black” theology is not restricted to the confines of the Black Institution, but is shared with its sister Templar order – the Knights of Malta. It is in this order that we find the same mystical teaching on Joseph, the Knights of Malta novice are taught:
“Why do you wear that Black Robe?
Because I am in mourning.
For whom are you in mourning?
I perceive by this you are a Companion of the Black Degree?”
Recognised as the most comprehensive history written by the Knights of Malta institution, historian Thomas Henry Gilmore traces this Black teaching back to the Knights Hospitallers of St. John (which was the Crusader name for the Knights of Malta), when they originally quartered in Jerusalem (before they were driven to Malta). He said, they “assumed as their dress a black mantle with a white cross on the breast. Hence the name ‘Black Knights’, and also the name Hospitallers’ degree is now known as, ‘The Black’. There was, of course, a reason for their assuming black as their distinctive colour, but we need not mention here. All Black Knights may know it, by joining our Order, providing they be found worthy to do so” (Knights of Malta Ancient and Modern p. 12).
Gilmore directs his reader to the Knights of Malta lecture which connects the wearing of black to the ongoing mourning for Joseph by the institution. In doing so, he admits that the whole meaning and custom surrounding this ideology is ancient, originating in the mystical rites of the Roman Catholic Knights of Malta. Evidently this is not a modern innovation that the Royal Black Institution or the modern-day Knights of Malta have themselves conceived, but an archaic belief within the knightly family. Like their contemporary counterparts, these ancient Roman Catholic Knights were obsessed with the things of death and therefore with the colour black.
Black is the universal identifying colour of the Templar movement worldwide. Anywhere its influence is found, this colour is very much to the fore. The Masonic Encyclopaedia outlines the significance of the use of black within the Knights Templar and also shows its true roots, when it says, “There are Grades of Christian Chivalry which connect with black, and in particular the Order of the Temple, though it is now confined to the sash – a memorial of the extermination which befell the original Templars and sorrow for the murder of Molay” (p. 114).
The Protestant Knights of Malta released a remarkable report to its members on 11th April 1850, the conclusion of this document is very revealing, containing some extraordinarily statements. It sums up, in a nutshell, what we have discovered in our research and confirms the thinking that lies behind the outward “Protestant” veneer of the different Black associations.
It boasted: “Let us prize this inestimable Order, for it stands alone in the universe as a point within a circle. Every institution which is solely human is either satellite to each or centre to something else; a defined place in some system is appointed to each in obedience to the universal law which causes earth to gravitate to earth; but this Order descended amid signs and wonders which made nature and man tremble. Above other Orders it sits enthroned – kingly, solitary, mystical – an emanation from the Infinite Mind, which aspiring mortals seek to comprehend.”
The Knights of Malta here laud their religious credentials to a superior place far above every other religious institution, including the Church of Jesus Christ. The Order presents itself as a clear rival to the true Church with such overweening descriptions and extravagant boasts. This is something that is common to these Black societies – the attempt to put the divine stamp upon their heretical beliefs and occultic practices.
The document continues: “It [the Protestant Black Knights of Malta] communicates knowledge which unlocks the arcane of the elder world, and unveils the secrets of thousands of years. Its hand points from eternity to eternity, and, by its light, the primeval ages appear as if in an enchanted sleep; but the Master’s knock unbars knowledge, which raises the shadowy forms from the mists of antiquity. It brings a Pythagoras, a Plato, and a Socrates, into brotherhood with a Moses, a Daniel, and a John, each professing his peculiar belief in the doctrines of the adorable Trinity, the resurrection of the dead, and rewards and punishments. Thus our Order holds in its tenacious grasp events of great importance, and knowledge, that is calculated to make the wise wiser; it clothes them with vitality, and demonstrates itself to be the very incarnation of history and religion.”
Read a detailed exposure of the Royal Black Institution:
No wonder the Black Orders hide such documents from the outside world. This is utterly incredible. It is astonishing that an Institution professing the Protestant faith should attempt to unite the great men of Scripture like Moses, Daniel and John with the Greek heathen philosophers Pythagoras, Plato, and Socrates. To associate these men of God with such infidels is shocking, but to attempt to unify them and their beliefs powerfully exposes the true nature and thinking that secretly exists within the Black family. This is exactly what Christian Mysticism is. It is the gelling together of Scripture with the heathen philosophies of man, all resulting in a mongrel religion that is half-heathen and half-Christian.
In the light of the information before us it is difficult to see how the Black Knights of both the Royal Black Institution and the Independent Orange’s Knights of Malta could seriously argue that their respective bodies are truly Protestant let alone biblical. They are clearly neither. Their very nature, activities and ideology runs contrary to all the main principles of the Reformed Faith. Their whole ethos and source of beliefs emanates from paganism rather than the purity of the Word of God. By locating itself within the Protestant camp, these Black bodies have (1) given themselves a credibility they should not have, (2) provided themselves with an important target group, and (3) acquired themselves a respectable cloak to hide behind.
We have graphically seen how the Black is an elaborate religious counterfeit which has more in common with the secret Occult associations throughout the world (and through the centuries) than with the people of God since the beginning of time. Their practices are an anathema to God and bring shame upon the Protestant name and its principles. Unquestionably, it should be opposed and exposed by the true Church, who must warn the uninformed Protestant to shun its baleful influence.
Paul aptly exposed the schemes of the arch-enemy Satan when he charged the devil’s agent Elymas the sorcerer in Acts 13:10: “O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?” This is an indictment that could equally be applied to the subject in hand. Satan has not changed. Whilst he wraps modern idolatry with different packaging the same innate evil exists behind the exterior.
The devil always seeks to operate in the darkness. This is true to his nature and these are his ways. It is in the secret place that he performs some of the vilest acts that this earth has ever witnessed. It is in the dark, where evil is protected from the eyes of the non-initiated, that he operates in a protected environment. Most outsiders are ignorant of the abominations performed within the Black and are taken in by its outward image. The exposure of the forms and traditions of the Black allows men to see the depth of the deception involved in this Jesuitical institution.
The Lord rebukes such hidden practices in Jeremiah 23:24 saying, “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.”
The “Protestant” Knights of Malta in essence are a product of a mystical form of Roman Catholicism and occult practice.
Christians should therefore separate themselves from the Independent Orange Order that – that have this Order as their senior body.
Black historian Edward Rodgers contends, speaking of the Knights of Malta, illustriously known as the Parent G.B. Lodge of the Universe, “For the existence of this or any similar Society in Scotland previous to the year 1835 we have looked in vain.” Whilst Rogers is partially correct in that this is the first we hear anything of the Knights of Malta, he overlooks sound evidence indicating the existence of a Black organisation in Scotland prior to 1835 under a previous designation. The creation of the Knights of Malta would become a major development in the history of the Black story. The next 10 years would see them come to the centre of the Black stage.
The online Phoenix Masonry Masonic Museum tells us: “By the 1830’s, these different so-called Black degrees were being coordinated by bodies such as the ‘Royal Black Association of Ireland’, the ‘Grand Black Order of Orangemen’ and the ‘Magnanimous and Invincible Order of Blackmen’. There was also a Scottish order variously called the ‘Loyal Black Association of Scotland’, the ‘Imperial Grand Lodge of Knights of Malta and Parent Black Lodge of the Universe’, and the ‘Imperial Grand Encampment of the Universe and Grand Black Lodge of Scotland and the most Ancient Illustrious and Military Order of the Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem’. This group began to issue Irish warrants in 1834 and in 1844 it formed a Grand Priory of Ireland. As their names suggest these ‘Black’ organizations were modelled upon the older chivalric orders, and more directly upon the chivalric orders found within the Freemasons.”
It is therefore clear, that as had been the case from its inception, the Black movement was totally disjointed and could boast of no individual central cohesive body during the 1830s. This was probably the main reason why it struggled to grow in popularity. Whilst these different names may sound impressive they certainly did not allude to large, influential orders. Quite the opposite was true, for they were small insignificant groupings vying for pre-eminence. Even the strongest Black associations did not seem to carry influence over more than a handful of Black Lodges. The different Black bodies simply represented the division that existed within the movement. The overall Black family did not seem to realize its potential for growth or influence during this dysfunctional period. In fact, the Black sway did not seem to hold or expand in any significant way. Through most of its early life the Black Institution failed to gain an accepted place within the Orange family.
Edward Rodgers suggests that the Scottish Black (the Knights of Malta) had expanded its influence to England by 1845. He describes the existence of a warrant dated 24th March 1845 under the authority of the “Grand General Counsel of the Most Noble Order of the Knights of Malta.” This Black order was based in Bradford. This is interesting as the Grand Britannic Institution continued to operate at this time at its headquarters in Manchester – although it was also quite small in size. Rodgers testifies that both of these Black organisations were working the “Popish degrees” of ‘Apron’, ‘Sword and Star’, ‘Star & Garter’, Link & Chain’, ‘Knights Templar’, and ‘Mediterranean pass’. Notwithstanding, the Knights of Malta Order had now spread its influence into both Ireland and England, albeit in a minor way.
On 1st March 1847, the Grand Black Chapter was able to announce that it had brought together the three main elements of the Black movement in Ireland and England – (1) the Royal Black, (2) the Britannic and (3) the Knights of Malta. The Scottish Blackmen, with their independent Knights of Malta Grand Chapter, remained more or less outside of the fold at this time. Notwithstanding, the vast majority of the Irish Black lodges that had given their allegiance to the Scottish Black swiftly transferred it to the newly formed Grand body. Whilst there were some exceptions that would not submit to this new authority – particularly some Knights of Malta elements in Dublin and Britannic elements in Manchester and Liverpool – the new authority succeeded in bringing a significant degree of unity to the Black family throughout the British Isles. Edward Rogers tells us, “The motto Tria Juncta in uno descriptive of the Union was adopted” – meaning three joined in one.
It took about 15 years to tie up some of the loose ends and bring some hesitant elements under the larger Black umbrella. On 17th September 1851 two more Britannic warrants were replaced in Liverpool by Black warrants. On 18th April 1856 No 1 Black Knights of Malta in Dublin surrendered their warrants and accepted warrants and authority from the newly formed Grand Black Chapter. On 27th May 1859 the Grand Black Chapter received a letter from Sir John Acheson of Glasgow recommending the union of the Lanarkshire Knights of Malta membership and the Grand Black Chapter. After ironing out some difficulties, a new Provincial Grand Black was set up in Scotland on 3rd December 1860.
Scottish Black author David Bryce says: “By 75 the Knights of Malta in North America (Canada and the USA) had grown to such an extent that they were given autonomy … but that quarter sowed a seed that brought disaster to the parent body. Their qualification for membership dropped the requirement of belonging to the Orange Institution. It was not long before some in Scotland forgot their roots too” (A History of the Royal Black in Scotland p. 3). The Scottish Knights of Malta in Scotland also eventually amended their rules in regards to Orange membership, so that you did not need to be in one to be in the other.
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T.H. Gilmour is very frank about the cost of this internal change in his history of the “Protestant” Knights of Malta, admitting, “In plain English our members went by hundreds to the Black Chapter (which with all its faults still maintains its connection with the Orange Institution), hundreds more simply allowed their membership to lapse and have never since entered a Black Encampment.”
The unified Grand Black Chapter was now beginning to take the pre-eminent position in Scotland after it had been held by the Knights of Malta for several decades. Bryce adds, “In three years the Imperial Black Encampment [speaking of the Scottish Knights of Malta] lost over fifty percent of its Preceptories. The Grand Black Chapter of Ireland was the beneficiary. Its foothold in Scotland was soon transformed from 11 warrants it held prior to the Knights of Malta loosening of the Orange connection”
Not surprisingly the Scottish Knights of Malta were not enamoured with the creation of the newly constituted Irish Grand Black Chapter. In 1850 it forcefully slated it, charging it with altering and adding to the original Black degrees. In stylish language it dismissed the new structure as being bogus. It said, “The hand upraised in defence has descended to stab the dagger under the fifth rib. Every virtuous man will cry ‘shame’, when such discreditable artifices are used to prop up a tottering edifice … The epithet ‘spurious’ has been applied to us, but anon we shall see that it is vice versa and how successfully the battery can be turned. Does this haste to stigmatize us proceed from a consciousness of internal error? … The rod which Solomon the Wise instructs to be applied to the ‘fool’s back’ is to effect reform.”
The Scots lamented: “New lecturers have been promulgated: surely the initiated will observe the glaring departure from the original and immutable landmarks of the Order. If it be permitted to lengthen and shorten it, as a tailor would a garment, soon will the ‘Chapter’s’ Order be ‘Like the chameleon, who is known to have no colour of his own, borrows from his neighbour’s hue, his white or black, his green or blue’ … We mourn for it, because that, like a planet receding more and more from the centre, it only emits that flickering, gloomy light, which abounds more with froward phantoms than Egyptian darkness.”
On 24th June 1856 the Knights of Malta met under the grand name of the Knights of the Exalted Royal Grand Black Order of Malta. It reaffirmed its ancient heritage back to the Crusades and claimed direct lineage to the Roman Catholic Knights of Malta. It cautioned: “We the Sir Knights Companions of the above-mentioned Grand Black Lodge of Scotland warn and apprize all those whom this may concern, to recognise no Assembly or Association of Men in the British Realm calling themselves the Grand Black Chapter or the Grand Black Lodge of Knights of Malta.” This statement must have appeared quite brazen to the newly constituted Grand Black Chapter. After all, it had a more established heritage than the Scottish Blackmen, who, it seems, only became structured in the mid 1830s.
The Knights of Malta lodges in Ireland which refused to acknowledge the new Grand Black Chapter consisted of only a few Dublin lodges. The influence they carried seemed quite minimal. In 1905 the Irish Knights of Malta joined itself to the Independent Loyal Orange Institution and in the same way that the Royal Black Institution sits in relation to the Orange Order. Today, it remains the senior order of the Independents, albeit, it contains only a handful of impressionable members. The mainly Free Presbyterian membership of the Independent Orange finds joining the Romish Knights of Malta a bridge too far. It is therefore teetering on the verge of extinction.
We recommend a sound compelling book written by the great revivalist Charles Finney who was a former Freemason (The Character, Claims And Practical Workings Of Freemasonry):
Further Black info
Secrets of Royal Black Institution revealed (Irish News report on Inside the Royal Black Institution – 17th September 2009)
Macabre rituals detailed in book (Banbridge Chronicle story on Inside the Royal Black Institution, 16th Sept 2009)
Black Response to this story by prominent County Down Blackman Drew Nelson (who is also Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland)
Evangelical response to Mr. Nelson from Paul Malcomson
Roy Garland (Irish News) response to book – “Fundamentalists, not Jesuits, infiltrated the loyal orders”
John Coulter (Irish Daily Star) claims this book is “the best piece of anti-Protestant propaganda since the notorious Proclamation of the 1916 Easter Rising” ( 1st December 2009)
Testimonies from former leading Royal Blackmen Rev. Canon Brian T. Blacoe (former Deputy Grand Chaplain of the Royal Black Institution), Malcolm McClughan (former Royal Black Lecturer) and David Carson (Chairman of the United Protestant Council).
A book for Blackmen to seriously consider by Cecil Andrew of Take Heed Ministries.
Purchase direct: Inside the Royal Black Institution
We would recommend a very compelling book written by Masonic authority E. M. Storms called Should a Christian be a Mason?: