Order of Malta Order of Malta - Permanent Observer Mission

Order of Malta

Mission of the Order

The Order of St John of Jerusalem is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilization. Present in Palestine in around 1050, it is a lay religious Order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. Its 13,000 members include Professed Friars and others who have made vows of obedience. The other Knights and Dames are lay members, devoted to the exercise of Christian virtue and charity. What distinguishes the Knights of Malta is their commitment to reaching their spiritual perfection within the Church and to expending their energies serving the poor and the sick.
The Order of Malta remains true to its inspiring principles, summarised in the motto “Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum”, defence of the Faith and assistance to the poor and the suffering, which become reality through the voluntary work carried out by Dames and Knights in humanitarian assistance and medical and social activities. Today the Order carries out these activities in over 120 countries.

Characteristics of the Order

The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law, with its own constitution, passports, stamps, and public institutions. The Order has diplomatic relations with 107 countries – many of which non-Catholic – and missions to major European countries, as well as to European and international organizations. The Order of Malta is neutral, impartial and non-political, which is why it can successfully act as a mediator between States.