Desmond Teo Yen Koon – Knight of The Sovereign Order

teo yen koon desmond Knight at KMFAP

H.E. Sir Dr. Desmond Teo Yen Koon is a Knight of The Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, Federation of the Autonomous Priories (KMFAP). Dr Desmond Teo Yen Koon holds the position of:

1. Singapore Prior
2. Special Envoy-at-Large

The KMFAP is one of the oldest institutions around dating back over 1,000 years and has evolved through the timelines of history. It is considered that it was initially formed around 1020 within Saracen occupied Jerusalem where a monastic brotherhood of Hospitallers was created for the purpose of managing the “Domus Hospitalis”, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, which gave hospitality to men, and the Hospital of Saint Madeleine, which gave hospitality to women.

In the year 1090, that “Sacra Domus”, was administered by Benedictines, their master was Fra Gerardo de Sasso, born in La Provence, according to some accounts, or on Amalfi, according to others, who miraculously had escaped death. He is recognized as the first historical figure and the first Grand Master of the Order, and was elevated to the honor of the altars among the Blessed Hospitallers.

Shortly after its foundation, the “Domus Hospitalis” became the focal point not only for the traders of Amalfi, but also and especially for the anonymous and destitute mass of people in pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the holiest place of Christianity. In 1099, at the end of the first Crusade (1095-1099), Godfrey of Bouillon reconquered Jerusalem, and Baldwin became its first King.

In the year 1100, the Brotherhood received donations from Godfrey of Bouillon himself, from Roger of Sicily, and from many other Christian princes. Those donations could be considered lawful titles of that sovereignty that eventually became the main characteristic of the Order, and made of it a Nation without frontiers, a Kingdom without dynasty.

By virtue of the pontifical bull of 15th February, 1113, and following acts, the Pope Pascal II approved the institution of the Hospitallers of Saint John of Jerusalem, free from any civil or ecclesiastic authority. The little Brotherhood stretched beyond the borders of Palestine, and extended all over the Christian dominions, where authorized by the Pope, was allowed to receive donations and to found houses.
The presence of the Order in Jerusalem was especially significant when, upon the death of Fra Gerardo, a nobleman from Provence, Fra Raymond Du Puy, was called to guide the Hospitallers in 1120. He radically changed the plans, the strategy and the purposes of the institution.

The defense of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, and the blooming of the spirit of chivalry were the determinant causes that induced the “frates” to become “equites et servientes armigeri”. By the will of Innocent III, the initial hospitaller tasks were supplemented with military functions. It was an original fusion: military forces defending the Christian dominions, and hospitaller charity defending life.
For further details of the history of the KMFAP please click here.