Shickshinny Knights of Malta

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Shickshinny Knights of Malta
Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem
Shickshinny Knights of Malta.png
Existence 1956—present
Type quasi-chivalric order
Purpose Imposter of the Knights of Malta
Location United States
Headquarters Somerset, New Jersey
Shickshinny, Pennsylvania
Founder Charles Pichel

The Shickshinny Knights of Malta is a religious quasi-chivalric order founded in the United States in 1956 by Charles Pichel. At the time the actual Vatican-approved Knights of Malta (historically known as the Knights Hospitaller) in the United States had a quite high passage fee of $50,000, so Pichel created his own group, spuriously claiming to descend from the Russian Tradition of the Knights Hospitaller. Some European nobles and people descended from White Russians bought Pichel's story and actually joined the organisation, giving it credibility. Throughout it's history many different sects have broke away and set up their own groups, the last known Grand Master of this organisation was Leonard Messineo in the 1990s.

During it's height in the 1960s, it was the focus for an unusual array of lost causes and radical conservative politics. It included amongst it's ranks, disinherited or obscure nobility (Peter II Karađorđević, King of Yugoslavia being the most high profile coup), vainglorious eccentrics, John Birch Society-style anti-communists and others. Religiously, the organisation had involvement from Arnoldite Old Roman Catholics and Catholics, as well as to a smaller degree Orthodox and High Church Anglicans; it supported what it claimed to be a deeply conservative ecumenism. An early player in traditionalist Catholic circles, Fr. Gommar De Pauw, was even a member.

Chancellors & Grand Masters


Pichel was not only an adherent of the Old Catholic Church but a fanatical anti-Communist who apparently actually came to believe that the SMHOM was a nineteenth century Papal foundation and that his organization alone represented the true continuation of the ancient crusader Order. He became increasingly eccentric (forming the Galactic Powers Task Force described above) and, in 1969, announced that he was forming the "Maltese Cross Legionaries" to combat a secret alliance between the Holy See and the government of Malta to hand the island over to the Soviets. In 1967 Pichel became allied with a group of Catholic traditionalists who denied the authority of the US bishops and, in 1969, accused the Jesuits of manipulating the Papacy for their own ends. He also became associated with the "alternative medicine" movement, sponsoring nature cures and promoting what he described as "Cosmic Energy". After the numerous divisions and quarrels among his adherents, his group ultimately fragmented and he died in very distressing circumstances in 1982 aged ninety-two.

—Tony Buttigieg, So-Called Orders of St John, Part One.[1]

See also


  1. So-Called Orders of St John, Part One. A Site about Maltese Fakes. Retrieved on 14 March 2012.

External links