Membership in the order is divided into several classes: knights of justice, or profess knights, who take religious vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and form what amounts to a religious order (until the 1990s membership in this class was restricted to members of families with noble lineages); knights of obedience (similarly restricted until recently, these knights make a promise, rather than a vow, of obedience); knights of honour and devotion, knights of grace and devotion, and knights of magistral grace, all classes made up of members who take no vows and who had to show a decreasingly extensive history of nobility (knights of magistral grace need not prove any noble lineage and are the commonest class of knights in the United States). Within each class of knights are ranks ranging from bailiff grand cross (the highest) through knight grand cross, knight commander, knight officers, and knight — thus one could be a "knight commander of grace and devotion," or a "bailiff grand cross of justice." A final rank of donat is offered to some who join the order in the class of "justice" but who are not knights. Bishops and priests are generally honorary members, or knights, of the Order of Malta. However, there are some priests who are full members of the Order, and this is usually because they were conferred knighthood prior to ordination. The priests of the Order of Malta are ranked as Honorary Canons, as in the Order of the Holy Sepulchre; and they are entitled to wear the black mozetta with purple piping and purple fascia.
Prior to the 1990s, all officers of the Order had to be of noble birth (i.e., armigerous for at least a hundred years), as they were all knights of justice or of obedience. However, Knights of Magistral Grace (i.e., those without noble proofs) now may make the Promise of Obedience and, at the discretion of the Grand Master and Sovereign Council, may enter the novitiate to become professed Knights of Justice.
Worldwide, there are over 13,000 knights and dames, a small minority of whom are professed religious. Membership of the Order is by invitation only and solicitations are not entertained.
The Order's finances are audited by a Board of Auditors, which includes a President and four Councillors, all elected by the Chapter General. The Order's judicial powers are exercised by a group of Magistral Courts, whose judges are appointed by the Grand Master and Sovereign Council.
Read more about this topic: Sovereign Military Order Of Malta
Other articles related to "membership":
... He was granted honorary associate membership in the UKB ... distinguish tribal enrollment from honorary associate membership ... stated in 2005 that he is not eligible for official membership in the tribe because he cannot satisfy the blood quantum requirement ...
... In April 2004 they voted to accept membership from students in Northern Ireland and, as of 21 May 2005, the Union of Secondary Students has a registered membership of 47,000 students in the ... To provide a service to the membership of the union on the basis that control lies within the membership ...
... Section Ages Controlled by Activities Introduced 2008 Membership 2009 Membership 2010 Membership 2011 Membership Beaver Scouts 6–8 Group Emphasis on having fun ...
Famous quotes containing the word membership:
“The two real political parties in America are the Winners and the Losers. The people dont acknowledge this. They claim membership in two imaginary parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, instead.”
—Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (b. 1922)