Knighthood and Chivalry
These two terms are often confused and require to be distinguished. The term knighthood comes from the English word knight (from Old English cniht, boy, servant, cf. German Knecht) while chivalry comes from the French chevalerie, from chevalier or knight (Low Latin caballus for horse). In modern English, chivalry means the ideals, virtues, or characteristics of knights. The phrases "orders of chivalry" and "orders of knighthood" have become essentially synonymous. However, Knighthood dates back to the Roman Empire while Chivalry arose in the middle ages.

Diplomacy (from Latin diploma, meaning an official document, which in turn derives from the Greek δίπλωμα, meaning a folded paper/document) is the art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of groups or states. It usually refers to international diplomacy, the conduct of international relations through the intercession of professional diplomats with regard to issues of peace-making, trade, war, economics, culture, environment and human rights. International treaties are usually negotiated by diplomats prior to endorsement by national politicians. In an informal or social sense, diplomacy is the employment of tact to gain strategic advantage or to find mutually acceptable solutions to a common challenge, one set of tools being the phrasing of statements in a non-confrontational, or polite manner.

The scholarly discipline of diplomatics, dealing with the study of old documents, derives its name from the same source, but its modern meaning is quite distinct from the activity of diplomacy.
The sovereignty of God refers to the fact that all things are ultimately under one rule and control, and that nothing happens in this Universe without perfect direction. For the mind of man, anything more is simply incomprehensible.
The sovereignty of the Church was set out in early history and put into international law by the Dutch. Sphere sovereignty (Dutch: souvereiniteit in eigen kring), also known as differentiated responsibility, is the concept that each sphere (or sector) of life has its own distinct responsibilities and authority or competence, and stands equal to other spheres of life. Sphere sovereignty involves the idea of an all encompassing created order, designed and governed by God. This created order includes societal communities (such as those for purposes of education, worship, civil justice, agriculture, economy and labor, marriage and family, artistic expression, etc.), their historical development, and their abiding norms. The principle of sphere sovereignty seeks to affirm and respect creational boundaries, and historical differentiation.

Sphere sovereignty implies that no one area of life or societal community is sovereign over another. Each sphere has its own created integrity. Neo-Calvinists hold that since God created everything “after its own kind,” diversity must be acknowledged and appreciated. For instance, the different God-given norms for family life and economic life should be recognized, such that a family does not properly function like a business. Similarly, neither faith-institutions (e.g. churches) nor an institution of civil justice (i.e. the state) should seek totalitarian control, or any regulation of human activity outside their limited competence, respectively.

Chivalry is part of Western, Christian culture found in literature of medieval times as a comprehensive code of etiquitte. While this code was never officially defined into law, a vast amount of literature and poetry described it for posterity. The Broad-Stone of Honour, Kenelm Henry Digby offered the following definition:
"Chivalry is only a name for that general spirit or state of mind which disposes men to heroic actions, and keeps them conversant with all that is beautiful and sublime in the intellectual and moral world."
This is truly one of the most significant moral questions we face now at the outset of the 21st century and one of the least considered, reflecting an increasingly dysfunctional culture and a chivalrous void in our mainstream corporate world. As Knights of Hope, we firmly believe that a large part of our social, political and domestic problems flow directly from man’s inability to fill the void of the few chivalrous. Its influence effects us all, shaping international business, local business, how we relate to one another and how we treat and regard the world around us.

A fraternal order is generally defined as an organization wherein a group of men, women or men and women are bound together for the purposes of advancing their educational, social or other benefits. Some of the well-known fraternal orders include the Knights of Columbus, the Freemasons and the Protective Order of Elks. Surprisingly, late nineteenth century statistics illustrate the massive proliferation of membership in America fraternal orders. In 1897, W.S. Hardwood, writing at the peak of the "Golden Age of Fraternity," observed that "a total adult male population of 19 million provided five and half million members to fraternal groups such as the Oddfellows (810,000 members), Freemasons (750,000), Knights of Pythias (475,000) Improved Order of Red Men (165,000), and hundreds of smaller orders." 

To account for what drove Americans to join these societies, one must analyze the practical as well as symbolic opportunities they offered. As a study of the incorporation of fraternal orders, this course will deal with fraternal orders as a means to acquire social benefits in a rapidly expanding industrialized society--which in time lead to its downfall.

Fraternal Orders can be traced back to the legacy and traditions of the Christian Military Orders. Effectively, we could say they were born due to:
1. The abrupt dissolution of the Knights Templar, and
2. the birth of the 'lodges' which started in the halls of the Knights of St. John and other clandestine locations prior to the infamous and tragic French revolution.

Surprisingly, it was the lodges which were in part responsible for the renaissance and the migration to the Americas, as it was places and forums where free thinkers could meet and have open discussions. Many founders of the United States were open freemasons, effectively the granddaddy of the Lodges. But in the America's, many new fraternities started, including the Knights of Pythias, recognized by Congress and Abraham Lincoln, and some that would become today's largest insurance companies and unions. Thus, the fraternities continue, albeit under different names and structures; and a few, that remain secret.

Survey of the Christian Military Orders that arose with the Crusades.

An audio course on the Hospitallers, Knights of St. John, the first order to receive the Crusade of 1099 and grow another one thousand years.  Also a new mini-series "The Crusades."