Sovereign Military Order of Malta

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This article is about the modern Catholic military order. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_0

For its medieval predecessor, see Knights Hospitaller. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_1

For the period of actual rule in Malta, see History of Malta under the Order of Saint John. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_2

"Knight of Malta" redirects here. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_3

For other uses, see Knight of Malta (disambiguation). Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_4

Sovereign Military Order of Malta_table_infobox_0

Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta

Sovrano Militare Ordine Ospedaliero di San Giovanni di Gerusalemme di Rodi e di Malta  (Italian) Supremus Militaris Ordo Hospitalarius Sancti Ioannis Hierosolymitani Rhodiensis et Melitensis  (Latin)Sovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_0_0

CapitalSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_1_0 Rome (Palazzo Malta and Villa del Priorato di Malta )Sovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_0_1_1
Official languagesSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_2_0 ItalianSovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_0_2_1
ReligionSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_3_0 CatholicismSovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_0_3_1
GovernmentSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_4_0
Lieutenant of the Grand MasterSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_5_0 Fra' Marco LuzzagoSovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_0_5_1
Grand CommanderSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_6_0 Ruy Gonçalo do Valle Peixoto de Villas BoasSovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_0_6_1
Grand ChancellorSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_7_0 Albrecht von BoeselagerSovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_0_7_1
Grand HospitallerSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_8_0 Dominique de La Rochefoucauld-MontbelSovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_0_8_1
Receiver of the Common TreasureSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_9_0 János Count Esterházy de GalánthaSovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_0_9_1
Sovereign subject of international lawSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_10_0
Establishment of the Knights HospitallerSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_11_0 c. 1099Sovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_0_11_1
Papal recognitionSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_12_0 1113Sovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_0_12_1
CyprusSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_13_0 1291–1310Sovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_0_13_1
RhodesSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_14_0 1310–1523Sovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_0_14_1
MaltaSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_15_0 1530–1798Sovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_0_15_1
Sovereignty declaredSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_16_0 1753Sovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_0_16_1
DivisionSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_17_0 1805–12Sovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_0_17_1
Seat in RomeSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_18_0 1834–presentSovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_0_18_1
PopulationSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_19_0
EstimateSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_20_0 3 citizens

13,500 members 80,000 volunteers 42,000 employeesSovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_0_20_1

CurrencySovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_0_21_0 Maltese scudoSovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_0_21_1

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), officially the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta (Italian: Sovrano Militare Ordine Ospedaliero di San Giovanni di Gerusalemme di Rodi e di Malta; Latin: Supremus Militaris Ordo Hospitalarius Sancti Ioannis Hierosolymitani Rhodiensis et Melitensis), commonly known as the Order of Malta, Malta Order or Knights of Malta, is a Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalric and noble nature. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_5

Though it possesses no territory, the order is a sovereign entity of international law and maintains diplomatic relations with many countries. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_6

SMOM claims continuity with the Knights Hospitaller, a chivalric order that was founded c. 1099 by the Blessed Gerard in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_7

The order is led by an elected Prince and Grand Master. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_8

Its motto is Tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperum ('defence of the faith and assistance to the poor'). Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_9

The order venerates the Virgin Mary as its patroness, under the title of Our Lady of Philermos. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_10

Its modern-day role is largely focused on providing humanitarian assistance and assisting with international humanitarian relations, for which purpose it has had permanent observer status at the United Nations General Assembly since 1994. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_11

Name and insignia Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_0

The order has a large number of local priories and associations around the world, but there also exist a number of organizations with similar-sounding names that are unrelated, including numerous fraudulent (self-styled) orders seeking to capitalize on the name. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_12

In the ecclesiastical heraldry of the Catholic Church, the Order of Malta is one of only two orders (along with the Order of the Holy Sepulchre) whose insignia may be displayed in a clerical coat of arms. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_13

(Laypersons have no such restriction.) Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_14

The shield is surrounded with a silver rosary for professed knights, or for others the ribbon of their rank. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_15

Some members may also display the Maltese cross behind their shield instead of the ribbon. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_16

In order to protect its heritage against fraud, the order has legally registered 16 versions of its names and emblems in some 100 countries. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_17

History of the Order of Saint John Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_1

Main article: Knights Hospitaller Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_18

Summary Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_2

The headquarters of the Order of Saint John or the Knights Hospitaller was located in Malta from 1530 until 1798. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_19

It was technically a vassal of the Kingdom of Sicily, holding Malta in exchange for a nominal fee, but declared independence in 1753. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_20

The Order of Saint John was expelled from Malta under the French occupation in 1798 and, from 1805 to 1812, many of its possessions in Protestant Europe were confiscated, resulting in the fragmentation of the order into a number of Protestant branches, since 1961 united under the umbrella of the Alliance of the Orders of Saint John of Jerusalem. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_21

The Congress of Vienna of 1815 confirmed the loss of Malta. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_22

The seat of the order was moved to Ferrara in 1826 and to Rome in 1834, the interior of Palazzo Malta being considered extraterritorial sovereign territory of the order. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_23

The grand priories of Lombardy-Venetia and of Sicily were restored from 1839 to 1841. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_24

The office of Grand Master was restored by Pope Leo XIII in 1879, after a vacancy of 75 years, confirming Giovanni Battista Ceschi a Santa Croce as the first Grand Master of the restored Order of Malta. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_25

The Holy See was established as a subject of international law in the Lateran Treaty of 1929. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_26

In the following decades, the connection between the Holy See and the Order of Malta was seen as so close as to call into question the actual sovereignty of the order as a separate entity. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_27

This has prompted constitutional changes on the part of the Order, which were implemented in 1997. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_28

Since then, the Order has been widely recognized as a sovereign subject of international law in its own right. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_29

It maintains diplomatic relations with 110 states, enters into treaties and issues its own passports, coins and postage stamps. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_30

Its two headquarters buildings in Rome enjoy extraterritoriality , similar to embassies, and it maintains embassies in other countries. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_31

The ANZA news agency has called it "the smallest sovereign state in the world". Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_32

The three principal officers are counted as citizens. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_33

Although SMOM has been a United Nations General Assembly observer since 1994, this was granted in view of its "long-standing dedication [...] in providing humanitarian assistance and its special role in international humanitarian relations"; the same category is held by other non-state entities such as the International Olympic Committee and International Committee of the Red Cross. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_34

The Order has 13,500 Knights, Dames and auxiliary members. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_35

A few dozen of these are professed religious. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_36

Until the 1990s, the highest classes of membership, including officers, required proof of noble lineage. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_37

More recently, a path was created for Knights and Dames of the lowest class (of whom proof of aristocratic lineage is not required) to be specially elevated to the highest class, making them eligible for office in the order. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_38

The order employs about 42,000 doctors, nurses, auxiliaries and paramedics assisted by 80,000 volunteers in more than 120 countries, assisting children, homeless, handicapped, elderly, and terminally ill people, refugees, and lepers around the world without distinction of ethnicity or religion. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_39

Through its worldwide relief corps, Malteser International, the order aids victims of natural disasters, epidemics and war. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_40

In several countries, including France, Germany and Ireland, local associations of the order are important providers of medical emergency services and training. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_41

Its annual budget is on the order of 1.5 billion euros, largely funded by European governments, the United Nations and the European Union, foundations and public donors. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_42

Founding Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_3

The birth of the Knights Hospitaller dates back to around 1048. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_43

Merchants from the ancient Marine Republic of Amalfi obtained from the Caliph of Egypt the authorisation to build a church, convent, and hospital in Jerusalem, to care for pilgrims of any religious faith or race. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_44

The Order of St. John of Jerusalem – the monastic community that ran the hospital for the pilgrims in the Holy Land – became independent under the guidance of its founder, the religious brother Gerard. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_45

With the Papal bull Pie postulatio voluntatis dated 15 February 1113, Pope Paschal II approved the foundation of the Hospital and placed it under the aegis of the Holy See, granting it the right to freely elect its superiors without interference from other secular or religious authorities. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_46

By virtue of the Papal Bull, the hospital became an order exempt from the control of the local church. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_47

All the Knights were religious, bound by the three monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_48

The constitution of the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem during the Crusades obliged the order to take on the military defence of the sick, the pilgrims, and the captured territories. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_49

The order thus added the task of defending the faith to that of its hospitaller mission. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_50

As time went on, the order adopted the white, eight-pointed Cross that is still its symbol today. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_51

The eight points represent the eight beatitudes that Jesus pronounced in his Sermon on the Mount. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_52

Cyprus Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_4

When the last Christian stronghold in the Holy Land fell after the Siege of Acre in 1291, the order settled first in Cyprus. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_53

Rhodes Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_5

In 1310, led by Grand Master Fra' Foulques de Villaret, the knights regrouped on the island of Rhodes. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_54

From there, the defense of the Christian world required the organization of a naval force; so the Order built a powerful fleet and sailed the eastern Mediterranean, fighting battles for the sake of Christendom, including Crusades in Syria and Egypt. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_55

In the early 14th century, the institutions of the Order and the knights who came to Rhodes from every corner of Europe were grouped according to the languages they spoke. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_56

The first seven such groups, or Langues (Tongues) – from Provence, Auvergne, France, Italy, Aragon (Navarre), England (with Scotland and Ireland), and Germany – became eight in 1492, when Castile and Portugal were separated from the Langue of Aragon. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_57

Each Langue included Priories or Grand Priories, Bailiwicks, and Commanderies. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_58

The Order was governed by its Grand Master, the Prince of Rhodes, and its Council. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_59

From its beginning, independence from other nations granted by pontifical charter and the universally recognised right to maintain and deploy armed forces constituted grounds for the international sovereignty of the Order, which minted its own coins and maintained diplomatic relations with other states. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_60

The senior positions of the Order were given to representatives of different Langues. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_61

In 1523, after six months of siege and fierce combat against the fleet and army of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, the Knights were forced to surrender, and left Rhodes with military honours. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_62

Malta Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_6

Main article: History of Malta under the Order of Saint John Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_63

The order remained without a territory of its own until 1530, when Grand Master Fra' Philippe de Villiers de l'Isle Adam took possession of the island of Malta, granted to the order by Emperor Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and his mother Queen Joanna of Castile as monarchs of Sicily, with the approval of Pope Clement VII, for which the order had to honour the conditions of the Tribute of the Maltese Falcon. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_64

Protestant Reformation Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_7

The Reformation which split Western Europe into Protestant and Catholic states affected the knights as well. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_65

In several countries, including England, Scotland and Sweden, the order was dissolved. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_66

In others, including the Netherlands and Germany, entire bailiwicks or commanderies (administrative divisions of the order) experienced religious conversions; these "Johanniter orders" survive in Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden and many other countries, including the United States and South Africa. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_67

It was established that the order should remain neutral in any war between Christian nations. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_68

Colonies in the Caribbean Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_8

Main article: Hospitaller colonization of the Americas Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_69

From 1651 to 1665, the Order of Saint John ruled four islands in the Caribbean. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_70

On 21 May 1651 it acquired the islands of Saint Barthélemy, Saint Christopher, Saint Croix and Saint Martin. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_71

These were purchased from the French Compagnie des Îles de l'Amérique which had just been dissolved. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_72

In 1665, the four islands were sold to the French West India Company. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_73

Great siege of Malta Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_9

Main article: Great Siege of Malta Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_74

In 1565, the Knights, led by Grand Master Fra' Jean de Vallette (after whom the capital of Malta, Valletta, was named), defended the island for more than three months during the Great Siege by the Turks. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_75

Battle of Lepanto Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_10

Main article: Battle of Lepanto Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_76

The fleet of the order contributed to the ultimate destruction of the Ottoman naval power in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, led by John of Austria, half brother of King Philip II of Spain. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_77

French occupation of Malta Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_11

Main article: French occupation of Malta Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_78

Their Mediterranean stronghold of Malta was captured by the French First Republic under Napoleon in 1798 during his expedition to Egypt, following the French Revolution and the subsequent French Revolutionary Wars. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_79

Napoleon demanded from Grand Master Ferdinand von Hompesch zu Bolheim that his ships be allowed to enter the port and to take on water and supplies. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_80

The Grand Master replied that only two foreign ships could be allowed to enter the port at a time. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_81

Bonaparte, aware that such a procedure would take a very long time and would leave his forces vulnerable to British Admiral Horatio Nelson, immediately ordered a cannon fusillade against Malta. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_82

The French soldiers disembarked in Malta at seven points on the morning of 11 June and attacked. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_83

After several hours of fierce fighting, the Maltese in the west were forced to surrender. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_84

Napoleon opened negotiations with the fortress capital of Valletta. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_85

Faced with vastly superior French forces and the loss of western Malta, the Grand Master negotiated a surrender to the invasion. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_86

Hompesch left Malta for Trieste on 18 June. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_87

He resigned as Grand Master on 6 July 1799. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_88

The knights were dispersed, though the order continued to exist in a diminished form and negotiated with European governments for a return to power as part of the agreement between France and Holy Roman Empire during the German mediatisation. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_89

The Russian Emperor, Paul I, gave the largest number of knights shelter in Saint Petersburg, an action which gave rise to the Russian tradition of the Knights Hospitaller and the Order's recognition among the Russian Imperial Orders. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_90

The refugee knights in Saint Petersburg proceeded to elect Tsar Paul as their Grand Master – a rival to Grand Master von Hompesch until the latter's abdication left Paul as the sole Grand Master. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_91

Grand Master Paul I created, in addition to the Roman Catholic Grand Priory, a "Russian Grand Priory" of no fewer than 118 Commanderies, dwarfing the rest of the Order and open to all Christians. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_92

Paul's election as Grand Master was, however, never ratified under Roman Catholic canon law, and he was the de facto rather than de jure Grand Master of the Order. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_93

By the early 19th century, the order had been severely weakened by the loss of its priories throughout Europe. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_94

Only 10% of the order's income came from traditional sources in Europe, with the remaining 90% being generated by the Russian Grand Priory until 1810. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_95

This was partly reflected in the government of the Order being under Lieutenants, rather than Grand Masters, in the period 1805 to 1879, when Pope Leo XIII restored a Grand Master to the order. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_96

This signaled the renewal of the order's fortunes as a humanitarian and religious organization. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_97

On 19 September 1806, the Swedish government offered the sovereignty of the island of Gotland to the Order. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_98

The offer was rejected since it would have meant the Order renouncing their claim to Malta. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_99

Exile Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_12

The French forces occupying Malta expelled the Knights Hospitaller from their country. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_100

During the seventeen years that separated the seizure of Malta and the General Peace, "the formality of electing a brother Chief to discharge the office of Grand Master, and thus to preserve the vitality of the Sovereign Institute, was duty attended to". Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_101

The office of Lieutenant of the Magistery and ad interim of Grand Master was held by the Grand Baillies Field Marshal Counto Soltikoff, Giovanni Tommasi, De Gaevera, Giovanni y Centelles, De Candida and the Count Colloredo. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_102

Their mandates complexively covered the period until the death of the Emperor Paul in 1801. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_103

The Treaty of Amiens (1802) obliged the United Kingdom to evacuate Malta which was to be restored to a recreated Order of St. John, whose sovereignty was to be guaranteed by all of the major European powers, to be determined at the final peace. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_104

However, this was not to be because objections to the treaty quickly grew in the UK. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_105

Bonaparte's rejection of a British offer involving a ten-year lease of Malta prompted the reactivation of the British blockade of the French coast; Britain declared war on France on 18 May. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_106

The 1802 treaty was never implemented. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_107

The UK gave its official reasons for resuming hostilities as France's imperialist policies in the West Indies, Italy, and Switzerland. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_108

History of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_13

After having temporarily resided in Messina, Catania, and Ferrara, in 1834 the precursor of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta settled definitively in Rome, where it owns, with extraterritorial status, the Magistral Palace in Via Condotti 68 and the Magistral Villa on the Aventine Hill. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_109

The original hospitaller mission became the main activity of the order, growing ever stronger during the 20th century, most especially because of the contribution of the activities carried out by the Grand Priories and National Associations in many countries around the world. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_110

Large-scale hospitaller and charitable activities were carried out during World Wars I and II under Grand Master Fra' Ludovico Chigi Albani della Rovere (1931–1951). Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_111

Under the Grand Masters Fra' Angelo de Mojana di Cologna (1962–88) and Fra' Andrew Bertie (1988–2008), the projects expanded. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_112

Relations with the Republic of Malta Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_14

Two bilateral treaties were concluded with the Republic of Malta. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_113

The first treaty is dated 21 June 1991 and is now no longer in force. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_114

The second treaty was signed on 5 December 1998 and ratified on 1 November 2001. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_115

This agreement grants the Order the use with limited extraterritoriality of the upper portion of Fort St. Angelo in the city of Birgu. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_116

Its stated purpose is "to give the Order the opportunity to be better enabled to carry out its humanitarian activities as Knights Hospitallers from Saint Angelo, as well as to better define the legal status of Saint Angelo subject to the sovereignty of Malta over it". Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_117

The agreement has a duration of 99 years, but the document allows the Maltese Government to terminate it at any time after 50 years. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_118

Under the terms of the agreement, the flag of Malta is to be flown together with the flag of the Order in a prominent position over Saint Angelo. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_119

No asylum may be granted by the Order and generally the Maltese courts have full jurisdiction and Maltese law shall apply. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_120

The second bilateral treaty mentions a number of immunities and privileges, none of which appeared in the earlier treaty. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_121

2010s Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_15

In February 2013, the order celebrated the 900th anniversary of its papal recognition with a general audience with Pope Benedict XVI and a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone in Saint Peter's Basilica. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_122

Crisis and constitutional reform Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_16

The Order experienced a leadership crisis beginning in December 2016, when Albrecht von Boeselager protested his removal as Grand Chancellor by Grand Master Matthew Festing. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_123

In January 2017 Pope Francis ordered von Boeselager reinstated and required Festing's resignation. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_124

Francis also named Archbishop Giovanni Becciu as his personal representative to the Order – sidelining the Order's Cardinal Patron Raymond Burke – until the election of a new Grand Master. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_125

The Pope effectively taking control over the order was seen by some as a break with tradition and the independence of the order. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_126

In May 2017, the Order named Mauro Bertero Gutiérrez, a Bolivian member of the Government Council, to lead its constitutional reform process. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_127

And in May 2018 when a new Grand Master was elected, Francis extended Becciu's mandate indefinitely. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_128

In June 2017, in a departure from tradition, the leadership of the Order wore informal attire rather than formal wear full dress uniforms to their annual papal audience. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_129

When the Order's General Chapter met in May 2019, as it does every five years, the participants included women for the first time, three of the 62 participants. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_130

On 1 November 2020, Pope Francis named Silvano Tomasi to replace Becciu as his Special Delegate to the Order, reiterating the responsibilities of that office as his sole representative. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_131

Organisation Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_17

Sovereign Military Order of Malta_table_infobox_1

Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of MaltaSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_1_0_0
Awarded by Prince and Grand Master Giacomo dalla Torre del Tempio di SanguinettoSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_1_1_0
TypeSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_1_2_0 Sovereign order of chivalrySovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_1_2_1
EstablishedSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_1_3_0 1099Sovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_1_3_1
CountrySovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_1_4_0 Sovereign Military Order of MaltaSovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_1_4_1
Religious affiliationSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_1_5_0 Catholic ChurchSovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_1_5_1
RibbonSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_1_6_0 BlackSovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_1_6_1
MottoSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_1_7_0 Tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperumSovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_1_7_1
Prince and Grand MasterSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_1_8_0 Giacomo dalla Torre del Tempio di SanguinettoSovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_1_8_1
ClassesSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_1_9_0 ThreeSovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_1_9_1
Post-nominalsSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_1_10_0 SMOMSovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_1_10_1
StatisticsSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_1_11_0
Total inducteesSovereign Military Order of Malta_header_cell_1_12_0 Circa 13,500Sovereign Military Order of Malta_cell_1_12_1

Governance Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_18

Further information: List of Princes and Grand Masters of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_132

The proceedings of the Order are governed by its Constitutional Charter and the Order's Code. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_133

It is divided internationally into six territorial Grand Priories, six Sub-Priories and 47 national associations. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_134

The six Grand Priories are: Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_135

Sovereign Military Order of Malta_unordered_list_0

  • Grand Priory of RomeSovereign Military Order of Malta_item_0_0
  • Grand Priory of Lombardy and VeniceSovereign Military Order of Malta_item_0_1
  • Grand Priory of Naples and SicilySovereign Military Order of Malta_item_0_2
  • Grand Priory of BohemiaSovereign Military Order of Malta_item_0_3
  • Grand Priory of AustriaSovereign Military Order of Malta_item_0_4
  • Grand Priory of EnglandSovereign Military Order of Malta_item_0_5

The supreme head of the Order is the Prince and Grand Master, who is elected for life by the Council Complete of State, holds the precedence of a cardinal of the Church since 1630 and received the rank of Prince of the Holy Roman Empire in 1607. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_136

Fra' Giacomo dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto was elected 80th Grand Master on 2 May 2018, a year after Fra' Matthew Festing resigned as Grand Master at the insistence of Pope Francis. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_137

Electors in the Council Complete of State include the members of the Sovereign Council, other office-holders and representatives of the members of the Order. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_138

The Grand Master is aided by the Sovereign Council (the government of the Order), which is elected by the Chapter General, the legislative body of the Order. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_139

The Chapter General meets every five years; at each meeting, all seats of the Sovereign Council are up for election. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_140

The Sovereign Council includes six members and four High Officers: the Grand Commander, the Grand Chancellor, the Grand Hospitaller and the Receiver of the Common Treasure. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_141

The Grand Commander is the chief religious officer of the Order and serves as Lieutenant "ad interim" during a vacancy in the office of Grand Master. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_142

The Grand Chancellor, whose office includes those of the Ministry of the Interior and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is the head of the executive branch; he is responsible for the Diplomatic Missions of the Order and relations with the national Associations. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_143

The Grand Hospitaller's responsibilities include the offices of Minister for Humanitarian Action and Minister for International Cooperation; he coordinates the Order's humanitarian and charitable activities. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_144

Finally, the Receiver of the Common Treasure is the Minister of Finance and Budget; he directs the administration of the finances and property of the Order. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_145

Patrons of the order since 1961 Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_19

The patron, who is either a cardinal when appointed by the pope or soon raised to that rank, promotes the spiritual interests of the Order and its members, and its relations with the Holy See. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_146

Sovereign Military Order of Malta_ordered_list_1

  1. Paolo Giobbe (8 August 1961 – 3 July 1969)Sovereign Military Order of Malta_item_1_6
  2. Giacomo Violardo (3 July 1969 – 17 March 1978)Sovereign Military Order of Malta_item_1_7
  3. Paul-Pierre Philippe, O.P. (10 November 1978 – 9 April 1984)Sovereign Military Order of Malta_item_1_8
  4. Sebastiano Baggio (26 May 1984 – 21 March 1993)Sovereign Military Order of Malta_item_1_9
  5. Pio Laghi (8 May 1993 – 11 January 2009)Sovereign Military Order of Malta_item_1_10
  6. Paolo Sardi (6 June 2009 – 8 November 2014)Sovereign Military Order of Malta_item_1_11
  7. Raymond Burke (8 November 2014 – present; sidelined since 2017)Sovereign Military Order of Malta_item_1_12

Prelate of the order Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_20

The pope appoints the prelate of the order to supervise the clergy of the order, choosing from among three candidates proposed by the Grand Master. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_147

On 4 July 2015 Pope Francis named as prelate Bishop Jean Laffitte, who had held various offices in the Roman Curia for more than a decade. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_148

Laffitte succeeded Archbishop , who had held the office since 2001. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_149

Laffitte's appointment followed the traditional meeting between the pope and the Grand Master, and an audience with the Grand Chancellor and others as well, held on 24 June, the feast of St. John the Baptist. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_150

Membership Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_21

Membership in the order is divided into three classes each of which is subdivided into several categories: Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_151

Sovereign Military Order of Malta_unordered_list_2

  • First Class, containing only one category: Knights of Justice or Professed Knights, and the Professed Conventual Chaplains, who take religious vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and form what amounts to a religious order. Until the 1990s membership in this class was restricted to members of families with noble lineages. There are also three surviving enclosed monasteries of nuns of the Order, two in Spain that date from the 11/12th centuries and one in Malta, whose members hold the same rank in the Order as chaplains.Sovereign Military Order of Malta_item_2_13
  • Second Class: Knight and Dames in Obedience, similarly restricted until recently, these knights and dames make a promise, rather than a vow, of obedience. This class is subdivided into three categories, namely that of Knight and Dames of Honour and Devotion in Obedience, Knight and Dames of Grace and Devotion in Obedience, and Knight and Dames of Magistral Grace in Obedience.Sovereign Military Order of Malta_item_2_14
  • Third Class, which is subdivided into six categories: Knights and Dames of Honour and Devotion, Conventual Chaplains ad honorem, Knights and Dames of Grace and Devotion, Magistral Chaplains, Knights and Dames of Magistral Grace, and Donats (male and female) of Devotion. All categories of this class are made up of members who take no vows and who grew to show a decreasingly extensive history of nobility. Knights and Dames of magistral grace need not prove any noble lineage and are the most common class of knights in the United States.Sovereign Military Order of Malta_item_2_15

Within each class and category of knights are ranks ranging from bailiff grand cross (the highest) through knight grand cross, and knight – thus one could be a "knight of grace and devotion," or a "bailiff grand cross of justice." Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_152

The final rank of donat is offered to some who join the order in the class of "justice" but who are not knights. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_153

Bishops and priests are generally honorary members, or knights, of the Order of Malta. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_154

However, there are some priests who are full members of the Order, and this is usually because they were conferred knighthood prior to ordination. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_155

The priests of the Order of Malta are ranked as Honorary Canons, as in the Order of the Holy Sepulchre; and they are entitled to wear the black mozetta with purple piping and purple fascia. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_156

Prior to the 1990s, all officers of the Order had to be of noble birth (i.e., armigerous for at least a hundred years), as they were all knights of justice or of obedience. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_157

However, Knights of Magistral Grace (i.e., those without noble proofs) now may make the Promise of Obedience and, at the discretion of the Grand Master and Sovereign Council, may enter the novitiate to become professed Knights of Justice. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_158

Worldwide, there are over 13,000 knights and dames, of whom approximately 55 are professed religious. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_159

Membership in the Order is by invitation only and solicitations are not entertained. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_160

The Order's finances are audited by a Board of Auditors, which includes a President and four Councillors, all elected by the Chapter General. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_161

The Order's judicial powers are exercised by a group of Magistral Courts, whose judges are appointed by the Grand Master and Sovereign Council. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_162

Relationship with other mutually-recognised Orders of Saint John Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_22

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta has collaborated with other mutually-recognized Orders of Saint John; for example, the SMOM is a major donor of the St John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem, which is primarily operated by the Venerable Order of Saint John. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_163

International status Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_23

Main article: Foreign relations of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_164

Further information: List of Permanent Observers of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta to the United Nations and List of diplomatic missions of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_165

SMOM has formal diplomatic relations with 110 states and has official relations with another five states and with the European Union. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_166

Additionally it has relations with the International Committee of the Red Cross and a number of international organizations, including observer status at the UN and some of the specialized agencies. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_167

Its international nature is useful in enabling it to pursue its humanitarian activities without being seen as an operative of any particular nation. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_168

Its sovereignty is also expressed in the issuance of passports, licence plates, stamps, and coins. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_169

With its unique history and unusual present circumstances, the exact status of the Order in international law has been the subject of debate. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_170

It describes itself as a "sovereign subject of international law." Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_171

Its two headquarters in Rome – the Palazzo Malta in Via dei Condotti 68, where the Grand Master resides and Government Bodies meet, and the Villa del Priorato di Malta on the Aventine, which hosts the Grand Priory of Rome – Fort St. Angelo on the island of Malta, the Embassy of the Order to Holy See, and the Embassy of the Order to Italy have all been granted extraterritoriality by Italy and Malta. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_172

Unlike the Holy See, however, which is sovereign over Vatican City and thus has clear territorial separation of its sovereign area and that of Italy, SMOM has had no territory since the loss of the island of Malta in 1798, other than only those current properties with extraterritoriality listed above. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_173

Italy recognizes, in addition to extraterritoriality, the exercise by SMOM of all the prerogatives of sovereignty in its headquarters. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_174

Therefore, Italian sovereignty and SMOM sovereignty uniquely coexist without overlapping. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_175

The United Nations does not classify it as a "non-member state" or "intergovernmental organization" but as one of the "other entities having received a standing invitation to participate as observers." Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_176

For instance, while the International Telecommunication Union has granted radio identification prefixes to such quasi-sovereign jurisdictions as the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority, SMOM has never received one. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_177

For awards purposes, amateur radio operators consider SMOM to be a separate "entity", but stations transmitting from there use an entirely unofficial callsign, starting with the prefix "1A". Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_178

The SMOM has neither sought nor been granted a top-level domain or international dialling code. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_179

There are differing opinions as to whether a claim to sovereign status has been recognized. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_180

Ian Brownlie, Helmut Steinberger, and are among experts who say that the claim has not been recognized. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_181

Even taking into account the Order's ambassadorial diplomatic status among many nations, a claim to sovereign status is sometimes rejected. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_182

The Order maintains diplomatic missions around the world and many of the states reciprocate by accrediting ambassadors to the Order (usually their ambassador to the Holy See). Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_183

Wengler – a German professor of international law – addresses this point in his book Völkerrecht (1964), and rejects the notion that recognition of the Order by some states can make it a subject of international law. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_184

Conversely, professor Rebecca Wallace – writing more recently in her book International Law (1986) – explains that a sovereign entity does not have to be a country, and that SMOM is an example of this. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_185

This position appears to be supported by the number of nations extending diplomatic relations to the Order, which more than doubled from 49 to 100 in the 20-year period to 2008. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_186

In 1953, the Holy See decreed that the Order of Malta's quality as a sovereign institution is functional, to ensure the achievement of its purposes in the world, and that as a subject of international law, it enjoys certain powers, but not the entire set of powers of sovereignty "in the full sense of the word." Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_187

On 24 June 1961, Pope John XXIII approved the Constitutional Charter, which contains the most solemn reaffirmations of the sovereignty of the Order. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_188

Article 1 affirms that "the Order is a legal entity formally approved by the Holy See. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_189

It has the quality of a subject of international law." Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_190

Article 3 states that "the intimate connection existing between the two qualities of a religious order and a sovereign order do not oppose the autonomy of the order in the exercise of its sovereignty and prerogatives inherent to it as a subject of international law in relation to States." Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_191

Currency and postage stamps Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_24

See also: Postage stamps and postal history of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_192

The SMOM coins are appreciated more for their subject matter than for their use as currency; SMOM postage stamps, however, have been gaining acceptance among Universal Postal Union member nations. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_193

The SMOM began issuing euro-denominated postage stamps in 2005, although the scudo remains the official currency of the SMOM. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_194

Also in 2005, the Italian post agreed with the SMOM to deliver internationally most classes of mail other than registered, insured, and special-delivery mail; additionally 56 countries recognize SMOM stamps for franking purposes, including those such as Canada and Mongolia that lack diplomatic relations with the Order. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_195

Military Corps Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_25

The Order states that it was the hospitaller role that enabled the Order to survive the end of the crusading era; nonetheless, it retains its military title and traditions. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_196

On 26 March 1876, the Association of the Italian Knights of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (Associazione dei cavalieri italiani del sovrano militare ordine di Malta, ACISMOM) reformed the Order's military to a modern military unit of the era. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_197

This unit provided medical support to the Italian Army and on 9 April 1909 the military corps officially became a special auxiliary volunteer corps of the Italian Army under the name Corpo Militare dell'Esercito dell'ACISMOM (Army Military Corps of the ACISMOM), wearing Italian uniforms. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_198

Since then the Military Corps have operated with the Italian Army both in wartime and peacetime in medical or paramedical military functions, and in ceremonial functions for the Order, such as standing guard around the coffins of high officers of the Order before and during funeral rites. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_199

Air force Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_26

In 1947, after the post-World War II peace treaty forbade Italy to own or operate bomber aircraft and only operate a limited number of transport aircraft, the Italian Air Force opted to transfer some of its Savoia-Marchetti SM.82 aircraft to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, pending the definition of their exact status (the SM.82 were properly long range transport aircraft that could be adapted for bombing missions). Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_200

These aircraft were operated by Italian Air Force personnel temporarily flying for the Order, carried the Order's roundels on the fuselage and Italian ones on the wings, and were used mainly for standard Italian Air Force training and transport missions but also for some humanitarian tasks proper of the Order of Malta (like the transport of sick pilgrims to the Lourdes sanctuary). Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_201

In the early '50s, when the strictures of the peace treaty had been much relaxed by the Allied authorities, the aircraft returned under full control of the Italian Air Force. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_202

One of the aircraft transferred to the Order of Malta, still with the Order's fuselage roundels, is preserved in the Italian Air Force Museum. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_203

Logistics Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_27

The Military Corps has become known in mainland Europe for its operation of hospital trains, a service which was carried out intensively during both World Wars. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_204

The Military Corps still operates a modern 28-car hospital train with 192 hospital beds, serviced by a medical staff of 38 medics and paramedics provided by the Order and a technical staff provided by the Italian Army's Railway Engineer Regiment. Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_205

Orders, decorations, and medals Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_28

Main article: Orders, decorations, and medals of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta Sovereign Military Order of Malta_sentence_206

Sovereign Military Order of Malta_unordered_list_3

See also Sovereign Military Order of Malta_section_29

Sovereign Military Order of Malta_unordered_list_4


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign Military Order of Malta.