Knighthood Ceremony of the KMFAP Sovereign Order of Cyprus on 26 February 2024 in Florida, USA

Miami Continues to Hold a Special Place in the Heart of KMFAP

The Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, Federation of the Autonomous Priories (KMFAP) continues to flourish in the United States and in Miami, Florida, and continues to hold a special place in our great history, which includes a glorious chapter as well in the USA. 

Official events, friendly gatherings and investiture ceremonies are invaluable opportunities for our members to connect with leaders and each other, fostering the exchange of information, opinions and experiences. One such occasion took place on the 26th February 2024, during the customary annual visit of His Grace George Popper, Lieutenant General of the Grand Master and Prime Minister of the State of Knights, to Miami, Florida

At the behest of the Grand Prior of Florida, Sir James Angleton, a personal meeting was called, attended by several Florida-based knights. They were joined by the newly appointed Grand Prior of the USA, Sir Karl De La Guerra, a Knight of Cyprus hailing from Charlotte, where he has served as Grand Prior of North Carolina since 2010. Three postulants accompanied him to be knighted in the Sunshine State.
This gathering provided a platform for camaraderie and collaboration, strengthening bonds within the Order and reaffirming its commitment to its noble mission.

The venue chosen for the event, the Miami Police Benevolent Association Museum, proved to be a fitting and special setting, thanks to the proactive assistance of Sir Hector Mirabile and the CEO of the Law Enforcement and Technology Federal Credit Union. The museum’s curator, a retired Miami PD officer, welcomed our gathering and offered a guided tour showcasing the rich collection on the history of the local security sector and profession.


After the enlightening tour, the group convened in the main hall of the museum, which had been meticulously prepared and adorned with the symbols of our prestigious Order. As the knights arrived, resplendent in their solemn attire, distinguished by the eight-pointed white Cross of the Knights of Malta (red cape) and the Knights of Cyprus (blue cape), they warmly greeted H.G. George Popper and other esteemed members from Europe, who had travelled specially for this significant occasion.

The initial segment of the event was dedicated to the mutual introduction and comprehensive updates pertaining to the Order of Malta and the Order of Cyprus. First, as host, Sir James reported on the activities and achievements of the Florida Grand Priory and then awarded Sir Hector Mirabile for his valuable work in furthering the goals of the Order.

Then, H.G. George Popper took the floor and provided comprehensive information on various aspects of life within the Order, including our current relations with Malta Islands, where the Grand Master resides. Discussions encompassed current affairs and events, upcoming ceremonies and the KMFAP’s primary activities, with a special focus on its humanitarian endeavours and diplomatic missions in several nations, including Africa. 

Following this, American Grand Prior Sir Karl De la Guerra gave a detailed presentation on the history of KMFAP, highlighting in particular the history of the successful modern American chapter of the Order of Cyprus and the Order of Malta. 

During the proceedings, the Lieutenant General presented the Knights with the new edition of the Order’s silver coin, known as the Tari, featuring the portraits of the Grand Master and the Lieutenant General. As a gesture of honour and recognition, a gold-plated silver Tari with a numbered certificate was presented to Sir James Angleton, Grand Prior of Florida for his accomplishments, and to Sir Karl De la Guerra, American Grand Prior. In addition, Sir Péter Polyák, Knight of Malta and designer of the medal, was recognised for his outstanding artistic work.

 Investiture - A moment of Honour and Brotherhood 

The agenda continued: Sir Karl De la Guerra, in his role as Grand Prior of North Carolina and Godfather of the three postulants (as he recommended them to the Order), introduced them, being prepared for investiture as knights of the Sovereign Order of Cyprus – Knights of Sword and Silence:
 Mr. Andrell (AJ) Johnson, a certified personal trainer and fitness centre owner in North Carolina, also serves as an executive protection agent, private investigator, and holds the position of Chief of Staff for KDI Protective Services.
Mr. Michael Kikes, a distinguished career law enforcement officer and seasoned criminal investigator, is the proprietor of Professional Protection Services International in Phoenix, Arizona. 
Mr. Stephen Vaughan, a certified fraud examiner and CPA, performs a variety of duties as an executive protection agent, private investigator, and Chief Financial Officer for KDI Protective Services in South Carolina. 

In accordance with our tradition, each postulant was bestowed with their Postulant Diplomas, a Tari coin with certificate, and a stamp collection as tokens of honour. 

Following a brief interlude, the ceremony commenced in the grand hall, enveloped by the presence of fellow knights, who surrounded the three individuals whose faces reflected eager anticipation and excitement as they were formally initiated into the Sovereign Order of Cyprus Knights of Sword and Silence, which is the military branch of our ancient order, the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem (KMFAP), dating back to its establishment in the Holy Land in 1048.
The atmosphere was charged with emotion as the knights present gathered in a semi-circle around the postulant-turning-knight. Amidst the solemnity, His Grace George Popper conducted the ceremony, evoking the ancient tradition of bestowing knighthood. With reverence he imparted the three touches to the shoulders and head of the kneeling postulants, a ritual steeped in tradition dating back to the inception of our Order 976 years ago. This sacred moment had a deep resonance and honoured the enduring legacy of our esteemed brotherhood.

It is a pleasure to announce that all three of our new knights of the Sovereign Order of Cyprus have also became members of the KMFAP Magisterial State Guard – American Unit.

In an inspiring ceremony attended by numerous local knights, His Grace George Popper presided over the knighthood ceremony according to the mandate and authorisation of the Grand Master for all three new members of our Order. During the ceremony Lady Anna Popper, Sir András Niklós and other members of the Order from Europe assisted in significant roles. They played a key role, aiding the Grand Investing Officer with the presentation of the neck cross, the Blue cape, the spur and the Grand diploma of knighthood, as documented in the photos and video.

The official ceremony ended with a convivial cocktail reception, providing a congenial setting for the new knights to receive heartfelt congratulations from their fellow brothers. And toasts were raised, the camaraderie and spirit of unity permeated the room, marking a new chapter in the journey of our honoured knights.

Sir Stephen commented after the ceremony: “I am truly appreciative to be recognised with this great honour alongside my brothers.” 
Sir Michael said: “Let me thank Sir George Popper and Lady Anna for bestowing this honour on me and coming to the United States for this ceremony. I am truly humbled and blessed by this. I would also like to thank Sir Karl for recognizing my efforts and commitment to the security and safety of all persons. I will continue to uphold this integrity and honour in the years to come.” 
Sir Andrell commented: “What an incredible honour this is and I’m eternally grateful to Sir Karl, Sir George and Lady Anna for making this possible. I’m humbled to be in such esteemed company! My goal is to represent KFMAP and the Sovereign Order of Cyprus with honour and dignity.” 

Like all knighthood ceremonies, this momentous occasion will forever be etched in the memories of our new knights and serve as a cherished milestone in their lives. 

- We take this opportunity to express our gratitude and appreciation to our host Sir James Angleton and Sir Hector Mirabile for their dedication, continued efforts and support in organising this event in Miami and ensuring all necessary arrangements.
- Thanks are rendered to Sir Karl de la Guerra for his invaluable support, as well as to all knights for their attendance. Appreciation is also expressed to everyone who contributed to the success of this significant event.
- A special acknowledgment is reserved for the Miami Police Benevolent Association Museum and Sir Hector Mirabile, CEO of the Law Enforcement and Technology Federal Credit Union, for graciously hosting our event.
- Alongside designing the new Tari medal, we offer our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to Sir Péter Polyák for creating an outstanding video capturing the event. Sir Péter, renowned for his high-quality, artistic video work in Florida, has been honoured with prestigious awards and professional recognition, for which we proudly congratulate him.
- We would like to convey our thanks to Mr. Attila Kutas, IBSSA diving instructor in Florida, for capturing photographs throughout the entire event. 

On behalf of the leaders and international members of KMFAP, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to Sir Stephen, Sir Michael and Sir Andrell.
Dear brothers, welcome to the esteemed ranks of the Sovereign Order of Cyprus. We rely on you in the future, particularly in the Order’s paramount endeavour of humanitarian work, which is critically needed worldwide, especially in these times. We have full confidence that you will continue to uphold our mission with distinction. We know that you will make us proud!

 Lady Anna Popper 
President of the International Organising Committee of the Magisterial House 

20 March 2024