The Sovereign Order of Malta is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilisation. A lay religious order of the Catholic Church since 1113 and a subject of international law, the Sovereign Order of Malta has diplomatic relations with over 100 states and the European Union, and permanent observer status at the United Nations. It is neutral, impartial and apolitical.
Today, the Order of Malta is active in 120 countries caring for people in need through its medical, social and humanitarian works. Day-to-day, its broad spectrum of social projects provides a constant support for forgotten or excluded members of society. It is especially involved in helping people living in the midst of armed conflicts and natural disasters by providing medical assistance, caring for refugees, and distributing medicines and basic equipment for survival. Across the world, the Order of Malta is dedicated to the preservation of human dignity and the care of all those in need, regardless of their origin or religion.
Founded in Jerusalem in the 11th century, the Order of Malta has a long history of service to the vulnerable and the sick. This 900-year history is reflected in its full name: Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta. Since 1834 the Order of Malta’s government seat has been in Rome, where it is guaranteed extraterritorial rights.
The Order of Malta operates through 12 Priories, 48 national Associations, 133 diplomatic missions, 1 worldwide relief agency and 33 national volunteer corps, as well as numerous hospitals, medical centres and specialist foundations. It does not pursue any economic or political goal and does not depend on any other state or government.
In the 900 year tradition of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto is the 80th Grand Master in the succession from the Founder and first Grand Master Blessed Gerard in 1099 formalized by a Papal Bull of Pope Pascal II in 1113. The 78th Grand Master HMEH Fra Andrew Bertie confirmed in the 2007 Annual Report of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, “We are Hospitallers first before anything else”, as we have been for nine hundred years since the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem joined the Hospital of our Founder Grand Master Blessed Gerard as Knights Hospitallers and Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, who have continued to serve in the hospitals of the Sovereign Order of Malta and in the care of the sick and the poor to the present time.
With permanent presence in 55 countries, through the intermediary of 6 Grand Priories, 6 Sub-Priories and 48 National Associations, the Sovereign Order of Malta is dedicated to the care of the sick and the poor, by 13,000 Knights and Dames of Malta, 80,000 volunteers, and 42,000 doctors, nurses and health care professionals, in more than 200 hospitals, medical centers, emergency relief and ambulance corps.
The Sovereign Order of Malta, as it is known in the United Nations, is sovereign, having diplomatic relations with more than 100 countries in the world, and is a Permanent Observer in the United Nations, and is a member of its Special Agencies UNESCO, UNHCR, UNHCHR, UNIDO, IAEA, WHO and WFP, and it has delegations or representations to international organizations including the European Union, the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington, the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in Geneva, the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) in Rome, the International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM) in Bruxelles, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Geneva, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva, the International Organization for Migration (ICM) in Geneva, and the Union Latina in Santo Domingo and Paris.
With the encouragement of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, over 1,800 Knights of Malta and Maltese sailors enlisted in the French Navy with the specific purpose of assisting the American Independence from the British. In 1783, Benjamin Franklin in his capacity as United States Ambassador to France, designed and had minted the first medal of the United States, entitled “Libertas Americana”. This medal was presented to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta by Benjamin Franklin in recognition of its assistance to the United States in its war of independence.
Contributions to the charitable humanitarian services of the Order of Malta will be gratefully received. Contributions are exempt from federal and provincial taxation as charitable contributions.
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