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Mission of the Order
An International Order
Diplomatic Activities
Hospitaller Mission

Mission of the Order

Upholding human dignity and caring for people in need

The Order of Malta is one of the oldest continually existing organizations of Western civilization. A sovereign subject of international law, the Order of Malta maintains diplomatic relations with over 100 states and the European Union, and has permanent observer status at the United Nations. It is neutral, impartial and apolitical.

Founded in Jerusalem in the second half of the 11th century, the Order of Malta has a long and complex history of service to the vulnerable and the sick throughout the Mediterranean, as reflected by the past headquarter cities contained in its full name: Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta. Since 1834, the Order of Malta’s government seat has been in Rome, where it was granted extraterritorial rights by the Italian Republic.

The Order of Malta remains true to its inspiring principles, summarized in the motto…

Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum: (Witnessing the Faith and Serving the Needy)

These principles inspire Knights, Dames, and volunteers to provide humanitarian assistance and medical and social care to the neediest.

Today, the Order of Malta is active in 120 countries caring for people through its medical, social and humanitarian works. Its humanitarian projects support millions of forgotten or excluded members of society each year.

Active in 120 countries

The members of the Order help 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 race or religion.

An International Order

The Order of Malta operates through:

Priories, Subpriories, 49 national Associations, 133 diplomatic missions, 33 national volunteer corps, and one international relief agency, Order of Malta Worldwide Relief (Malteser International).

The Order also operates numerous hospitals, medical centers and charitable foundations.

It does not pursue any political goal for itself.

The Order has diplomatic relations with over 100 countries on six continents.

The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law, with its own Constitution and Code, passports, stamps, and public institutions.

The Order conducts missions to major European countries, as well as to European and international organizations.

The Order of Malta is neutral, impartial and apolitical, and offers mediation services to other sovereign states that have unresolved disputes.

The Order and the Republic of Malta

The Order ruled the island of Malta for nearly 300 years until Napoleon and the French navy sent the knights into exile in 1798. The Republic of Malta gained its independence from Great Britain in 1964. Today, the Order of Malta and the Republic of Malta enjoy cordial bilateral relations and cooperate in the restoration of the Order’s historical sites. In 1999, the two governments signed an agreement granting the Order exclusive use of Fort St. Angelo for a term of 99 years.

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Diplomatic Activities

The Order of Malta maintains diplomatic relations with over 100 countries and the European Union, has permanent observer status at the United Nations, and has Cooperation Agreements with over 50 states. These diplomatic initiatives foster efficient and rapid response for humanitarian and disaster relief in crisis regions.

The Order has a permanent observer status at the United Nations.

Linking Diplomacy with Aid

The Order’s diplomatic network strengthens its relationships with the governments of the countries in which it operates. This network allows its medical programs to be integrated into national and regional healthcare systems, and to facilitate the importing of healthcare equipment to reach the needy as quickly as possible.

Due to its status as a neutral, apolitical and independent institution, and its humanitarian role and ongoing activities in 120 countries, the Order of Malta is able to serve as a mediator in disputes between other independent states.

An Example of Our Service

Order of Malta Worldwide Relief (Malteser International), has been allowed to operate in Myanmar since 2001. Malteser International was one of the first relief organizations able to start operations after cyclone Nargis devastated Myanmar in 2008, saving many thousands of lives.

Hospitaller Mission

The Order of Malta is permanently present with medical, social and humanitarian projects in most countries in the world.

The oldest Christian medical mission in the world.

Global Impact

The Order of Malta is composed of 13,500 members, 80,000 permanent volunteers, and a staff of 42,000 qualified professionals, most of whom are medical personnel and paramedics. They form an efficient network that includes emergency relief for refugees and the displaced living through war and conflict, aid for areas hit by natural disasters, hospital services, medical care and social services. Its programs, run independently or within a framework of partnerships with governments and international agencies, are now active in 120 countries.

Natural Catastrophes

Aid for the victims of natural catastrophes and armed conflicts has intensified in recent decades. Through its National Associations, Volunteer Corps, and Order of Malta Worldwide Relief, the Order provides emergency medical and humanitarian aid and works with the needy and destitute to recover, renew, and reconstruct what was lost.

Refugees

The Order assists refugees across the world in countries of origin, countries of transit and countries of arrival. With a goal of long-term development, the Order of Malta stays after the crisis has passed to help reduce poverty and sickness.

Social Care

The Order of Malta’s social care programs reach out to thousands of people in need of dedicated care. These daily acts of support and kindness demonstrate the ongoing commitment of care by the Order’s members and volunteers.

Dementia patients, the severely disabled and people requiring palliative care receive constant attention in specialist centers. Sponsored soup kitchens and food banks care for the homeless.

Medical Impact

The Order of Malta both supports and directly manages several hundred medical centers, 20 hospitals and 110 homes for the elderly, as well as first-aid and ambulance crews in European countries.

To learn more about worldwide humanitarian support by the Order of Malta, please visit, https://www.malteser-international.org

Medical Impact

The Order of Malta both supports and directly manages several hundred medical centers, 20 hospitals and 110 homes for the elderly, as well as first-aid and ambulance crews in European countries.

To learn more about the worldwide support efforts of the Order of Malta is involved in, visit https://www.malteser-international.org

Order of Malta Worldwide Relief (Malteser International) has more than 50 years of experience in humanitarian relief, and currently implements around 100 projects in over 20 countries.

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History of the Order

Want to learn more about the Order of Malta’s incredible 900 year legacy of faith and charity? We have a lot to share!

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