Knights of St. John

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Erie, Pennsylvania

The Knights of St. John, named for their patron saint, St. John the Baptist, is a fraternal organization for Catholic men founded May 6, 1886, in New York State.  The organization is the amalgamation of many organizations, such as, the Knights of St. George, the Knights of St. Paul, the Knights of St. Louis, the Knights of St. John, all of which were formed “to improve their moral, mental and social condition; to aid, assist and support members and their families in case of want, sickness and death; and to promote the welfare of the Roman Catholic Religion.” 

According to the Buffalo Commandery the Order took as its mission: “a filial, devotion to and respect for the authority of the Roman Catholic Church, a sense of honor, love of truth, courage, respect for womanhood and a indiscriminating charity motivated by love of GOD”.  The Order the Knights of St. John, now international, encompasses 17 countries numbering over 12,000 Knights.  (The units or posts of the Knights of St. John are formed into Commanderies.)

Above is a metal marker marking the grave of a member of the Knights of St. John.  The marker is in the shape of the Maltese Cross, the emblem of the order. It has eight tips. Each tip reminds the viewer of the eight Beatitudes found in the Gospel of St. Matthew (5:3-10):

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land.
  • Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted.
  • Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.
  • Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
  • Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
  • Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
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