Igor Pletikosa has become one of the world’s youngest knights in one of the Church’s oldest orders.
The twenty-five year-old said he feels “honoured and privileged” to have been made a Knight in an Order dating back to the Crusades in the 11th century.
The Religious Education teacher at Mount Carmel College in Varroville, says being a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem is a great way to witness to his Catholic faith.
“It’s all about witness to me because it’s apparent that in the secular society we live in, we need to act, not just talk about acting,” he told The Catholic Weekly. “It’s about being a model for my students and showing what it means to be a young Catholic male. I’m strong in my faith and I want to stand up for that.”
Igor was invested as a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre at St Mary’s Cathedral on 11 September by the Grand Master of the Order, Cardinal Edwin O’Brien from the USA.
He is one of the youngest among the 30,000 Knights worldwide.
The Knights are a Roman Catholic order under the protection of the Holy See, with the Pope as sovereign of the Order. It began in the 11th century with members dedicated to defending the site of the Holy Sepulchre—the tomb of Christ—in Jerusalem. Today, members contribute financially to the preservation of the holy sites.
“The Knights are authentic witnesses to the values of our Gospel, the values Christ left us,” Igor said. “They work on the preservation of the holy sites as they are the remnants of our history, where Our Lord Jesus Christ walked.”
The Order also contributes to the upkeep of Catholic schools and hospitals in Jerusalem.
Igor says he wasn’t always firm in his Catholic faith but several experiences led to a conversion of heart. One such experience was praying before the Blessed Sacrament at Medjugorje.
“I did a retreat there and I just had one of those moments when I was in the middle of Eucharistic adoration and things just fell into place for me. That was probably my moment of realising what I wanted to do.”
It was following that moment that the parishioner of St Nikola Tavelic Croatian Catholic Church in St John’s Park decided to follow his desire to become a teacher, even though he had began studying law.
“It’s a gift that as a teacher, you impact people’s lives for eternity.”
“I love the fact that I can challenge the students in their faith and I love that I can be a witness to what it means to be a Catholic through my own life. And of course, I love that I can discuss current issues that are occurring.”
The Knights also vow to support persecuted Christians, another cause close to Igor’s heart. He imparts to his students the need to stand up against persecution, not just of those Christians in the Middle East, but any Christians being persecuted for their faith.
“I want to show my students that it’s ok to be Catholic, to be proud of your faith. Jesus himself was persecuted.”
“We need to stand in solidarity together and not be afraid. We need to stand up for our faith because the secular world does want to take that away from us.”
“We’re all on this journey together and we always pray that the Holy Spirit will lead us in the right direction.”