Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu - both of whom were awarded Bailiff Grand Cross rank of the Most Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem.
Queen Elizabeth II is the Sovereign Head of the Order of St John.
The modern day Order of St. John, formally the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem and also known as St John International at the global headquarters in London, is a royal Order of Chivalry. It was first constituted in 1888 by royal charter from Queen Victoria.
The Order evolved from a faction of the Order of Malta that emerged in France in the 1820s and moved to Britain in the early 1830s, where, after operating under a succession of Grand Priors and different names, it became associated with the founding in 1882 of the St John Ophthalmic Hospital near the old city of Jerusalem and the St John Ambulance Brigade in 1887.
The Order is active as a humanitarian charity in over 40 countries worldwide, with the mission "to prevent and relieve sickness and injury, and to act to enhance the health and well-being of people anywhere in the world.”
The Order's approximately 25,000 members, known as confrères, are mostly of the Protestant faith, though those of other Christian denominations or other religions are accepted into the Order. Membership is generally by invitation only and individuals may not petition for admission. The final decision on membership is made by HM Queen Elizabeth II (pictured above), who is the Order’s Sovereign Head. It is considered an honor to be granted admission to the Order.
The Order of St John is perhaps best known through its service organizations, including St John Ambulance and St John Eye Hospital Group, the memberships and work of which are not constricted by denomination or religion. The organization is a constituent member of the Alliance of the Orders of St John of Jerusalem and it is a registered charity under English law and a 501c3 charity in the United States.