The Knights and members of The Equestrian, Secular and Chapterial Order of Saint Joachim raise funds in order to contribute to worthy causes around the world. The Order prefers to make contributions directly to small, grassroots charities that are otherwise overlooked and where The Order’s donation will have the greatest impact on people’s lives. These traditionally include charities that support the homeless, ex-servicemen, hospitals and children’s charities. Recently The Order of Saint Joachim has been particularly interested in supporting organizations that provide micro-loans in the developing world.
In Canada, The Order has established The Noble Hearts Foundation, a Canadian Regsitered Charity under Charitable Registration Number 83471 3000 RR0001. The Order of Saint Joachim is also a fully registered UK Charity (registered charity No. 1047873) to carry out its charitable work there.
The Order was originally established for charitable and chivalric purposes. In 1821 Perrot described the mission of The Equestrian, Secular and Chapterial Order of Saint Joachim as follows:
“The Knights solemnly vow to worship the Supreme Being, show tolerance towards all religions, loyalty towards their princes, support the needs of their military, the poor, widows and orphans.”
Perrot further stated that The Order of Saint Joachim also at that time existed to assist in the welfare of its own members.
“This charitable foundation had as its purpose through its Commanderies easing the burden on its less fortunate members in their old age, and providing the means for its more well off members to continue to prosper.”
The Order also recognizes and encourages charitable work and good deeds through the granting of its awards and distinctions to deserving members of the public.
St. Joachim is regarded as the father of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus. Tradition has it that Saint Joachim was a retired priest or holy man.
St. Joachim and his wife St. Anne were in the decline of life when Mary was born. Tradition says that while Joachim was away from home he had a vision that Anne was to be blessed with a child, and that on his return home, his wife ran forth to tell of the visitation of an angel who had revealed to her the same good tidings. There was ancient belief that a child born of an elderly mother who had given up hope of having offspring was destined for some high purpose and would be blessed by all the world. He is believed to have given Mary to the service of the Temple when the girl was three years old.
St. Joachim is mentioned in neither historical or canonical writings, but is still widely revered and is the namesake of many church institutions. The only source of information about St. Joachim is the non-biblical Gospel of James, an apocryphal book that was nonetheless widely read. In the 1500s and 1600s, St. Joachim’s image appeared on many European coins including the famous Joachim’s Taler, a silver coin made for the Counts of Schlick in Bohemia in about 1520.
In the Catholic tradition, St. Joachim is the Patron Saint of fathers, grandfathers, grandparents, married couples, cabinet makers and linen traders. He is shown in old art forms always as an old man often in the company of his wife Anne, and, it is thought, sometimes with the Virgin Mary and Jesus. The traditional tomb of St. Anne and St. Joachim was rediscovered in Jerusalem in 1889. The saints day for St. Joachim is July 26th, as recorded from the 2nd Vaticanum.
Images of Saint Joachim are often identified by the presence of some of his associated symbols, such as a book or scroll representing linen makers and doves representing peace. On the Order’s insignia he is shown with a shepherd’s staff, a symbol for the Christian word and an emblem of the good shepherd. His robes are of green, a symbol of hope.
The Order took its name from St. Joachim. Although The Order of St. Joachim was founded as a secular order, and Dukes of Saxe-Coburg Saalfeld were protestant rulers, it was not uncommon in the 18th century to name undertakings after saints who embodied the ideals to be emulated.
The name Joachim in Hebrew means “God Prepares“, or “God Will Establish“.