Service Medal of the Most Venerable Order of St. John of Jerusalem

The official description, eligibility, criteria, and history of the Service Medal of the Most Venerable Order of St. John of Jerusalem.


This Honour is administered by the Order of St. John. The Department of National Defence is providing this basic information until the Order of St. John has the official details available on the Order's own site.

Eligibility and criteria

Effective 1 January 2020, the medal is awarded for 10 years of service to the St. John Ambulance organization at a minimum rate of 60 hours of volunteer work a year.


A nickel-plated brass (silver in colour) circular medal of 38 mm in diameter bearing:

  • on the obverse a veiled effigy of Queen Victoria facing right in a circular field bordered by a beaded edge. Between the beaded edge and the edge of the medal itself appears the legend “VICTORIA + D + BRITT + REG + F + D + IND + IMP”; and
  • on the reverse, the Royal Arms within the Garter bearing the legend “HONI - SOIT - QUI - MAL - Y – PENSE”. Above this is the Imperial Crown and below it, the Prince of Wales feathers. On either side is the badge of the Order, each bearing a shield, the one of the left charged with the arms of the Order and that on the right, the arms of the Prince of Wales. The whole rests upon a sprig of St. John Wort. The central motif is surrounded by a border bearing the words “VENERABILISSIMUS ∙ ORDO ∙ HOSPITALIS ∙ SANCTI ∙ JOHANNIS ∙ HIEROSOLYMITANI ∙ PRO ∙ OFFICIO”.

A claw at the top of the medal is attached to a straight, slotted bar.

The ribbon is 38 mm wide and consists of 5 equal stripes of black, white, black, white, and black.

The bars are laurelled with a Maltese cross in the center and exist in gilt or silver colour.


A silver bar is awarded for each additional five years of service (minimum of 60 hours per year). After three silver bars have been awarded, a gilt bar is worn instead of many silver ones and a gilt bar is added for each additional 5 year period of service, to a maximum of four gilt bars representing 45 years of service.


The Service Medal of the Order of St. John shall be worn in sequence prescribed in the Canadian Orders, Decorations and Medals Directive, and in the following manner: on the left breast, suspended from the ribbon described above, between the King's Medal for Champion Shot and the Commissionaires Long Service Medal.

The bar is worn centred on the ribbon; if multiple bars have been awarded, they shall be evenly spaced on the ribbon.

The award of bars to the Medal is denoted by the wearing of small Maltese crosses on the undress ribbon. The crosses are silver to represent silver bars and gilt to represent gilt bars.


The use of a post-nominal is not authorized for this medal.

Historical notes

The Medal is issued in England since 1898 and in Canada since 1951. Until 1970, the name of the recipient was engraved on the rim. Until 1 January 2020, the criteria was 12 years of service and the Canadian Medal was identical to its British counterpart, with the reverse inscription being: “MAGNUS ∙ PRIORATUS ∙ HOSPITALIS ∙ SANCTI ∙ JOHANNIS ∙ JERUSALEM ∙ IN ∙ ANGLIA”. From 1 January 2020, the criteria was amended to 10 years and the inscription on the reverse was changed for the rest of the Order to “THE MOST VENERABLE ORDER OF THE HOSPITAL OF ST JOHN OF JERUSALEM ∙ FOR SERVICE”. Given the bilingual nature of the country, Canada was authorized to have its own version with the Latin inscription described above. At the same time, a gilt version of the Medal was introduced to recognize 50 years of volunteer service, with gilt bars for additional periods of five years of eligible service. Recipients of this gilt version of the Medal wear it instead (and not in addition to) their original silver Medal with its bars.

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