Charter of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, given by King Peter II of Yugoslavia on the 1st October 1963.
1. October 1963
We, Peter II, by the grace of God, King of Yugoslavia, Grand Protector of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem.
Following the example of our illustrious Protectors of the Religion;
Godfrey of Bouillon stipulating the territorial donations to the Order, Pope Pascall II confirming the total independence of the Order in 1113, in perpetuity the Popes Callixtus II, Celestine II, Lucius II, Eugenius II, Innocent II, and Anasthasius IV, the latter issuing a decree in 1154 — that on the death of the Master of the Order no-one is to be named by deceit, cunning or violence, but only he who is elected by the Brothers according to the will of God, then again the Bulls of Alexander IV, Boniface VII, Urban VIII, Clement IX, and finally Pius VI who, in 1779, put forward the Pastoralium Nobis confirming once again the absolute independence of the Order; recalling the August gesture of Emperor Charles V who gave the island of Malta to the Order in 1530 in free and unencumbered fief; referring to the illustrious example of the Czar Paul the First of Russia who reinstated the Order in all its splendour at St. Petersburg and confirmed it in all its full and complete sovereignty; then the Protection of which King Louis XVIII of France assured the Commission des Langues Francaises; then the Protection assured the Order in Russia from Czar Alexander the First to Nicolas the Second; remembering that Our Crown is the legitimate proprietor of the Holy Relic of the Arm of St. John the Baptist, Patron Saint of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem.
We recognise and confirm the sovereignty of the O.S.J. which, although for the time being without a territorial base, is none the less sovereign in it dealings with other States, and independent in its internal organisation, in the election of its leader, and in the promulgation of its Constitution.
We assure the present Grand Master (72nd of the Order), His Most Eminent Highness Colonel Paul Granier de Cassagnac, the testimony of our support and of our affection.
We shall watch the Chapter of the Brothers of the Order elect after him a worthy successor capable of maintaining his work.
We invite all the Brothers of the Order to respect the sacred principle of the Obedience due to the Grand Master, following the illustrious example of the Popes who repeatedly recalled to the Brothers the obedience owing to the Grand Master, to the Government and to his Council. We rejoice at the Hospitaller program of the Order based on moral, spiritual and material assistance and help in rehabilitating old prisoners.
We shall watch over the future promulgation of the new Constitution of the Order by the Grand Master and his Council.
We keenly wish to see the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem join with the Orders of St. John in its Hospitaller activities, or at least, to work in the same spirit of ecumenism and charity.
We invite The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem so ably governed by Our August Cousin, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of England, the Johanniter Order of the Grand Bailiwick of Brandenberg, and the Roman Order of Malta, to unite with us in our cause.
FOR THE FAITH AND SERVICE TO HUMANITY.
Signed: PETER II R
October 1st One Thousand Nine Hundred and Sixty Three. Paris
Source: copy of translation held in the British Grand Priory Archives