Once a Knight is a member of the KT Order he is eligible to join the Masonic Order of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta, and thereby become a member of the United Orders. Prior to receiving ‘the Malta degree’, a short introductory degree of Knight of St Paul is conferred, based on the history of St Paul and his journey to the island of Malta. Candidates for the Knights of Malta are then given ‘the Mediterranean pass’ so that pilgrims might distinguish one another from those who tried to bar their passage to the Holy Land. The main Malta ceremony takes place in a Chapter House of the Order, and during the ceremony, the history of the Order is explained, including the merger with the Order of the Knights Templar and their arrival at Malta in 1530.
The Order of the Knights of St John was originally founded in Jerusalem during the first Crusade by the association of Knights with St John’s Hospital, an establishment founded in 1048 for the relief of Pilgrims visiting the Holy Lands. They later founded what is perhaps their most well known memorial, The Hospital of St John at Valetta in Malta, which is still able to be visited and viewed today.
Each KT Preceptory has a Knights of Malta Priory attached to it, but not all Priories carry out the full Malta ceremony themselves. All Knights are eligible to take their Malta degree at the annual Provincial Priory meeting held in September. There are separate meetings of Great Priory each year, currently held in Birmingham, for the Knights Templar and the Malta Orders in May and November respectively.
Information from the Provincial Priory of Sussex website