From 'Mementoes of the Martyrs' : "...which provoked a Frenchman who was there to comment on the strange ways of the English, "those who are for the pope are hanged, those who are against him are burned:"                                               Saint John-Paul II wrote: "The fact that one can die for the faith shows that other demands of the faith can also be met."                                                 Cardinal Müller says, “For the real danger to today’s humanity is the greenhouse gases of sin and the global warming of unbelief and the decay of morality when no one knows and teaches the difference between good and evil.”                                                  St Catherine of Siena said, “We've had enough exhortations to be silent. Cry out with a thousand tongues - I see the world is rotten because of silence.”                                                  Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”                                                Brethren, Wake up!


The renowned choir, MUSICA CONTEXTA, will give a concert of sacred music in the Church on Wednesday 7th October at 7.30 pm.

For more information visit their site.

The concert is open to all, and you are warmly encouraged to attend.


October is traditionally the Month of the Holy Rosary. The feast, which falls on Wednesday 7th, has a great significance for the Order of Malta, as it is the commemoration of the victory of the Battle of Lepanto against the Turk in 1571, in which Our Lady's holy assistance is attributed to the prayer of the Rosary. In more recent time victories, including the fall of the Siege of Vienna, have been attributed to Our Lady's intercession through the prayer of the Rosary.

In our own age we ask Our Lady to pray for peace in the world, and for strength against the powers of darkness which surround us in all walks of life. Especially in the Hospital and Hospice we ask her intercession for the conversion of those in our country who would wage war on the sick, the elderly and the unborn.



On Thursday 18th June 2009, in the presence of the Grand Prior, the President of the British Association, Mr Charles Weld, invested Colonel Tommy Pace, RAMC, who has been sacristan of the Conventual Church for over thirty years, as a Knight of Malta.


On Sunday 14th June, the transferred Feast of Corpus Christi, a solemn Mass and procession around the Hospital was celebrated by members of the Order, Companions and their families, and the Sunday congregation, with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at altars set up in the grounds and in the Hospice Reception. The procession was followed by a picnic lunch for families in the garden of the Order Chancellery, to which parishioners and members of the Order and their children came, and who enjoyed the sunny weather.


A Requiem Mass was celebrated, in the presence of the Grand Prior, for the repose of the soul David Lumsden of Cushnie, Knight of Honour and Devotion, Director of Ceremonies of the Scottish Delegation, on Saturday 6th December 2008.

Requiescat in Pace


Following the election of the Grand Prior of England Fra' Matthew Festing as 79th Grand Master of the Order on 11th March 2008, Fra' Fredrik Crichton-Stuart was installed by His Most Eminent Highness the Prince and Grand Master as Grand Prior of England on 21st April, in the Conventual Church.

Click here for more photographs.


Since 2003 the Holy Easter Triduum has been celebrated each year by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in the Conventual Church, as part of a spiritual retreat. These ceremonies are open to all.

The office of Tenebræ is celebrated each morning, and the Liturgies celebrated solemnly. Spiritual conferences are given each day by one of the chaplains to deepen our understanding of these Sacred Mysteries.

Below are some photographs of the ceremonies in 2007 and 2008, the first showing the procession of the Blessed Sacrament leaving the church at night on its way to the Altar of Repose.

The Good Friday veneration of the Cross is emphasised by the gaunt character of the denuded church.

The Easter Fire is blessed in the Hospital courtyard, as the Paschal Candle is prepared.

The glories of the Resurrection are celebrated at the Mass of the Easter Vigil, as all the majesty returns to the Church's Rites.

Surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia.


Frequent are the occasions upon which Requiem Masses, both funerals and memorials, are celebrated in the Church, for patients of the Hospital and Hospice, and members of the Order of Malta and their families.

Rarely however are such grand occasions seen as that celebrated on 22nd September 2007, the 200th Anniversary Requiem of Henry Benedict Stuart, Cardinal Duke of York.

His Excellency Bishop Bernard Longley celebrated Pontifical Mass of Requiem for the repose of the soul of the man who might have been King of England.

Requiescat in Pace.


Fra' Andrew Bertie, the first English Grand Master of the Order, was born on the 15th May 1929 elected on 11th April 1988, and died on 7th February 2008. His funeral took place in Rome, in the church of Santa Sabina on the Aventine.

A Requiem was celebrated in the Conventual Church in London on 14th February 2008.

Requiescat in Pace.


The 19th century was the period of the great revival of Catholicism in Britain and symptomatic of this movement was the reintroduction of the Order of Malta into this country. The Order, so powerful in Europe in the Middle Ages, was suppressed in England along with the other Religious Orders by Henry VIII.

The wish to reintroduce the Order to Britain coincided with the return from the Crimea of the Sisters of Mercy to Bermondsey where they had been established in 1839. These nuns had nursed wounded British soldiers at Scutari and Florence Nightingale had written to them "… you were valued here as you deserve… the gratitude of the Army is yours".

Cardinal Wiseman was determined to establish a hospital for the poor of London, particularly the incurably sick and for children, and he saw in the Sisters of Mercy and in the Knights nursing and administrative ability to enable him to achieve his aim. In 1856 the nuns moved into 47 Great Ormond Street. The hospital opened on the Feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary (17th November) 1856, following the purchase of the property by a group of leading Catholic laymen including the Duke of Norfolk and Sir George Bowyer.

Sir George Bowyer constructed the present magnificent church both for the knights of Malta and for the nuns and their patients. It was opened on the Feast of St. John 1864 by Cardinal Wiseman, the architect being George Goldie, a leading Catholic architect of the day, and was built "in the Italian baroque style particularly favoured by Anglican converts to Rome".

In the early l890's the Hospital moved to St John’s Wood, a former property of the Order before the Reformation, with the Children’s Hospital remaining in Great Ormond Street. The church was carefully dismantled and re-erected as the centrepiece of the new Hospital designed by Edward Goldie, the son of the original architect. The foundation stone of the reconstruction was laid by Cardinal Vaughan on 7th June l899 and it may be seen at the back of the church.

When Sir George Bowyer died in 1883 he left his heart to the church and it still lies beneath the slab marking it in front of the High Altar.

The Italianate façade of the church immediately informs the visitor that this is a Church of the Order of Malta - Maltese crosses abound.
The design, by George Goldie, is in fact a fairly close copy of the church of S Nicholas des Lorrains in Rome. Much of the contents of the church were installed in 1864, including the marble High Altar under its baldacchino; this was the gift of the Lieutenant Grand Master of the Order to the British Knights. The altar to the right, in Siena marble with a Spanish tortoiseshell reredos and crucifix, was the gift of Cardinal Wiseman, but had formerly belonged to the Throckmorton family, many of whose descendants are members of the Order today.

The church also contains two 17th century statues of saints over the west door facing the altar. These are reputed to have once been part of the stern decoration on one of the Order's galleys.

To the left to the sanctuary sits the large red and gilt throne occupied by the Grand Master of the Order when in England and by the Grand Prior of England at other times. The large black rock is from Mount Phileremos on Rhodes (the seat of the Order from l310 to l523) and is surmounted by a reproduction of the Icon of Our Lady of Philermo to whom the Order has a special devotion.

Visitors to the church will be struck by the large number of Maltese Crosses included in the decoration. The eight pointed cross has been used for 900 years by the Order and although its origins go back into the mists of time, it is probable that it was first used by merchants from Amalfi in Italy. The Order took it with them to Malta and that island adopted it as its own. Down the years it has been used as an illustration of the four cardinal virtues and the eight beatitudes by spiritual writers. Today it continues to be the principal badge of the Order.

For reports from the Tablet of June and July 1864 on the occasion of the opening of the Conventual Church, click here.

For a short biography and report of Sir George Bowyer's funeral, click here.


Welcome to the new blog for the Conventual Church of Saint John of Jerusalem.

As a first post, we include below some photographs from the Mass for the re-establishment of the Grand Priory of England on St John's Day, 23rd June 1993, and the Installation of Fra' Matthew Festing as 55th Grand Prior, in the presence of the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Luigi Barbarito, members of the hierarchy of England, and much of English Catholic society.

As many will know, Fra' Matthew is now Grand Master of the Order.

Please pray for the humanitarian and spiritual works of the Order of Malta.

Sancta Maria de Phileremo, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Joannes Baptista, ora pro nobis.