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Rome Reports

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The Order of Malta: Thousand year old institution, with global impact

The Order of Malta is one of the oldest institutions in the West. It was founded when Fray Gerardo Tum and some merchants from Amalfi opened a hospital in Jerusalem to care for Christian pilgrims around the year 1048.

Originally they were dedicated to helping the pilgrims of Jerusalem and, over time, began to meet the health needs of the entire city. It's a mission that still persists today.

Knight of the Order of Malta
“It's an institution dedicated to giving testimony of the faith and doing its best to meet the needs of the sick and the most needy.”

The Order of Malta has 13,500 men and women, 80,000 volunteers and 20,000 employees distributed across all continents.

In charge of the Order of Malta's archives
“Everyone has a vocation they need to share and develop: a religious vocation, because this is a Catholic Christian order; the vocation of the mission is to be volunteers, at different levels.”

The Order of Malta is a sovereign entity, equivalent to a state. It can issue license plates to vehicles and have their own postal system.

It's organized by territories and its supreme authority is the Grand Master, who has the rank of head of state and is the religious superior of the Order.

The Order of Malta maintains diplomatic relations with 107 countries, but does not defend the interests of a single region, so it's able to work in many areas.

Knight of the Order of Malta
“We do this through 2,000 humanitarian projects in 120 countries, on five continents. “We do not defend a national state, we only defend our patients, who are in all parts of the world.”

The Order has a nobility and chivalry tradition, which is passed on from father to son. There are three types of members: the religious with vows of poverty, chastity and obedience; those who commit themselves to live with the Promise of Obedience; and the lay members who live according to the principles of the Church and the Order.

To be a member today you need a solid theological formation and a noble heart. For one to enter, they must participate in one of their projects and be invited by a knight.