The Sovereign Order of Malta
More than 900 years of service to the poor and the sick
The Sovereign Military and Hospitaler Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilization. The lay Catholic Order has 13,500 members who have committed to the exercise of Christian virtue and charity. The Order of Malta remains true to its founding principles, summarized in the motto “Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum”: nurturing, witnessing, and protecting the faith; and serving the poor and the sick. The Dames and Knights bring these principles to life by engaging in voluntary work, humanitarian assistance and medical and social activities. Today, the Order carries out charitable and humanitarian activities in over 120 countries.
The Order is based in Rome and has full diplomatic relations with 106 countries, as well as to European and international organizations. It has permanent obsever status at the United Nations. Thanks to this diplomatic network, the Order can react quickly and flexibly to crises and disasters. Its embassies also have the mission of supporting the medical and humanitarian activities of the national associations of the Order and Malteser International. As a neutral and non-political party, the Order is able to act as mediator in civil and armed conflicts and to intervene as a protective force.
At the head of the Order is the 79th Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing, who was elected for life in March 2008.
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