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Order of Malta celebrates 900th 'birthday'

2013-02-07

ALBRECHT BOESELAGER
Grand Hospitaller of the Order of Malta

"We are celebrating 900 years of the recognition of the Order of Malta by Pope Pascal II who issued a so called Bula document.”

That document opened a new chapter for the Order. Now, 900 years later, it carries out humanitarian work in about 120 countries. Even though the Order is Catholic, it also provides aid in Muslim and Communist countries.

ALBRECHT BOESELAGER
Grand Hospitaller of the Order of Malta

 "We have been active in Cuba since the 60's during all the time of the communist regime mainly dealing with caring for lepers first, and then we entered into a corporation agreement with the government of Cuba.”

MAURO CASINGHINI
National Director of Italian Relief Corps

 "Our challenge is making sure that the Christian values the Order was founded on, are transmitted in the contemporary world. That way we combine our aid with our professional capacity.”


Even though the  Order of Malta doesn't rule over a specific territory, it does have diplomatic relations with 104 countries and it has an observer status with the U.N.

Its roots date back to the Crusades and membership was traditionally for Christian noble families. Now,  it has about 13,000 members and that criteria has changed.

ALBRECHT BOESELAGER
Grand Hospitaller of the Order of Malta

 "To become a member of the Order of Malta you have to be a faithful Catholic, you have to be proposed by two or three sponsors and we expect the candidate, to have shown before he becomes a member that he engages in the works of the Order.”

To mark its 900th anniversary, about 4,000 members and volunteers from every corner of the world, will come to Rome on February 9th. The Pope will hold an audience and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone will celebrate Mass with these attendees, in St. Peter's Basilica.


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