Saturday, August 4, 2018

My 40-Year Anniversary as a Knight of the SOSJ, 1978-2018 By Grand Master Serge Jurasunas

My 40-Year Anniversary as a Knight of the SOSJ, 1978-2018

By Grand Master Serge Jurasunas

These photos were taken during a private induction ceremony, arranged by

Professor Peter Platzer and officiated over by Grand Master Serge Jurasunas, of an important group of initiates traveling to the Chapel of Szidona Castle in Hungary, from as far away as Russia. Right Photo: Professor Nebel inducted as Knight Grand Cross in the Order.

In 1978 I entered the Order and became a Knight of Grace because I was searching for something different in my life, something that portrayed the highest values, that I believed in. I was searching for ways to serve God and to help humanity. This was something that I needed greatly, which served me immensely during the course of my profession. I had realized that disease was not only physical but it also involved the patient who needed both to be educated and to trust himself/herself. In order to cure himself, he needed to have faith and to believe in God. In my opinion, this is especially true for the cancer patient who like most other patients needs something to believe in and fight for, otherwise, their only other option would be to face death.

Now If I remember correctly because 40 years ago is a long time, we met with H.E. Baron Vella Haber who was then the International Grand Prior of the Order, in an old 15th-century tavern in a small town called Horn, located in Holland. It was there I celebrated my Solemn Investiture Ceremony together with two more postulants.

From that day onwards, I became increasingly involved with the Order and built a very good relationship with H.E. Vella Haber. Over the years I progressed one step at a time, first as Knight Commander, then as a Knight Grand Cross, and then as Baliff. I was also nominated Ambassador at Large, Grand Hospitaller and finally my good and respected friend H.E. Vella Haber sent me a letter asking me if I would accept the position of Grand Master among other nominees who would be voted in by the International sovereign Council. When I had accepted this responsibility, my main aim was to become even more devoted to the Order and to really assume the role of Spiritual Protector. For me it was not, and has never been, just to have this position for its prestige.

In the beginning, I was honored with the concession of running my own clinic under the auspices of the SOSJ, in this respect feeling very privileged to have received a decree sent to me by H.E. Vella Haber. It made a big difference because now I was practicing under the Oath of the Order and helping patients in need, just the same as when back at the beginning of the eleventh century, Fra. Gerardo opened a small hospital to help the injured, the sick and the poor.  This really fulfilled my spirit and it showed me what path in life would be like in the future.  If before I felt committed to my patients, I now felt even more committed to both God and to the Order, having taken the Vows of a Knight. From here on I would be practicing in their names to whom I now became accountable.

I thus felt I that was not alone performing my daily duty since   God and the Order were both by my side. Thereupon I thusly decided to exhibit a large framed portrait of Christ in my consulting office. Indeed this inspired so many patients to ask me for a copy, which I was more than pleased to offer especially during the Christmas season. This was the same figure of Christ that was published in the Observer along with a small article that I wrote some years ago.  Two other beautiful framed figures of Christ were also displayed in other parts of the clinic including the waiting room alongside the decree showing that my clinic was being run under the protection of the SOSJ. What an honor indeed it was for me to display such a decree!

Can I say that the Order changed something in my life? Most definitely, since I no longer felt alone as I was now experiencing a spiritual support which provided me with an even greater motivation to help those of my patients who felt totally lost. Whenever I quoted them some of the words that Christ had uttered I was also teaching them about the real values of life. Personally, I felt a greater strength inside of me as I became more involved with the lives of my patients. I realized that for many of them, their disease, their illness was mainly associated with psychological and/or family problems. Over the years I became the confidant for many of my patients, having been able to personally advise them how they should handle these problems. Today it seems very easy for me to advise a patient but of course with a half-century of experience behind me. I feel this service enabled me to acquire greater skills. Unfortunately, in recent years, human beings have become like machines with no roots in the past, no education, and no sacred beliefs. This is tragic since our society leans toward permanent violence and crime even within the family nucleus. Juvenile violence has become a world-wide problem. Many of us are no longer able to tell the difference between what is good and what is bad. We have become indifferent and immune to malice, to violence and to betrayal. We are losing many of our values and we badly need to review and learn once again those which are the real principles of life.

Over the years, I subsequently became a very great friend of H.E. Vella Haber. I had the highest respect for him especially for how he dedicated his own life to the Order. Needless to say, he was well aware of my devotion to the Order and my love for humanity along with all my accomplishments in the medical field over the ensuing years. This was probably the reason he wanted me to become the new Grand Master of the Order after H.E. Baron Kenneth Bertram Benfield de Palmanova, of Coventry (U.K.), passed away to a better life.

Since I became Grand Master, I have often tried and hoped to inspire the Observer’s readership via my articles addressing the spiritual nature of our being. This is not always easy when one currently works in the field of science, but I guess because of the very nature I was able to combine both spirituality and science.  That permitted me to really offer considerable spiritual support, strength to fight by means of my faith in God, especially in Christ, whilst I was ministering to many of my patients. What is so exceptionally fulfilling is that after 50 years I still have the same patients as well as the same families that still come to me for consultation.

           Left: Anna Ruska (Russia), Inducted as Knight & Dame.        
           Right: Professor Nebel, Inducted to the Rank of  Knight 
                      Grand Cross.

So I may say that I have had a very rich life during my 50 years of practice, where several patients owe me their lives, having been healed if not cured of their ‘incurable diseases’. I remember one patient, a 36-year-old man, who after having been under complete remission from a bad multiple myeloma cancer, organized a mass in his village church inviting all his friends, neighbors, family myself and my wife, to thank them for their support. He also offered to thank God for letting him live,  since he was the father of two children. A few months earlier we had gone to Rome with the staff of my clinic where upon arrival, we all went to St. Peter’s Cathedral to pray for this patient. So after all, not only is God always very kind, he listens to our prayers.

Is it He who guides me through my role as Grand Master of the Order? I am sure that his hands lead me through the decisions I have to make and through His help, I have been able to always live up to the Vows I took during my Investiture Ceremony.  Yes, perhaps that is what I am most proud of: of never having fallen short of this promise to defend the Order at all times and to loyal to it forever.

Yours in Saint John,

H. E. the Grand Master of the S.O.S.J.

Bailiff Grand Cross Serge Jurasunas

For More Information please visit: ;