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Saint John's Order in Brittany (France)

Ordre de Saint-Jean en Bretagne

Last modified: 2010-11-13 by ivan sache
Keywords: saint john's order in brittany | ordre de saint-jean en bretagne | brittany | cross (black) | cross: maltese (white) |
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[Flag of the St. John's Order]

Flag of the Saint-John's Order in Brittany - Image by Ivan Sache, 13 November 2004

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Presentation of the Order

The official name of the Order in France is Association des œuvres sociales et hospitalières de l'ordre régulier de Saint-Jean de Terre Sainte en Bretagne, registered on 24 May 2004. The former name of the Order was Oeuvres sociales et hospitalières de l'ordre de Saint-Jean de Jérusalem en Bretagne.
This Order is one of the orders that succeeded the Order of Malta after its expelling from Malta by Bonaparte on 12 June 1798. In November 1798, Tsar of Russia Paul I was elected Grand Master of the Order and founded the Grand Orthodox Priory of Russia for the Orthodox and Protestant knights. In 1805, Pope Pius VII, influenced by Napoléon I, took the control of the Italian priories and founded the Papal Order of Malta, strictly Roman Catholic. This Order was allowed to elect its Grand Master by Pope Leon XIII in 1879. The links between the Papal Order of Malta, which did not exist in Russia, and the oecumenical Russian branch of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem were completely suppressed.
In 1917, the Russian Revolution suppressed the Russian Order, which was relocated in the USA and later in France. The Order is organized in Priories; the French Priory was founded in 1959, whereas the Breton Priory was founded in 1967, along with the Danish Priory.
In 1999, the Order of Malta sued the Order of St. John, which changed its name to Regular Order of St. John in Holy Land - of the Russian tradition of the Christian Oecumenical Hospitalers Knights, and adopted a specific emblem, a white eight-pointed Greek cross, formerly used by the Order in Holy Land and Rhodes.

Source: Order website (website no longer online)

Ivan Sache, 13 November 2004

Flag of the Order

The Tro Breizh (lit., Tour of Brittany) was the famous Breton pilgrimage, which linked the seven cathedrals showing the relics of the seven founding saints of Brittany: St. Samson in Dol-de-Bretagne, St. Patern in Vannes, St. Corentin in Quimper, St. Pol-Aurélien in St. Pol-de-Léon, St. Tugdual in Tréguier, St. Brieuc in St. Brieuc and St. Malo in St. Malo. It took the pilgrims more than a month to complete the Tour, whose length was about 600 km.
In 1994, the Breton association Les Chemins du Tro Breizh decided to recreate the pilgrimage and has organized one one-week stage per year, so that the Tour could be completed in seven years. The first complete Tour ended in Quimper in 2000.
The pilgrimage is organized by Les Chemins du Tro Breizh with the help of various scouts' organization, the Red Cross, and the Knights of the St. John's Order in Brittany (Ordre de Saint-Jean en Bretagne) freely provide the pilgrims with water all along the Tour.

A photography on the association's website (page no longer online) shows such a water resupply under a tree to which a flag hangs, most probably the flag of the Order.
The flag is vertical, white with a black off-centred cross (for Brittany) and a white Maltese cross placed in the middle of the black cross.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 13 November 2004