The Ambassador of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Prince Augusto Russo di Calabria, has stated that the Knights of St John are still very relevant, mainly because of the humanitarian mission they carry out in war zones. In an exclusive interview with TVM, the Ambassador spoke about how the Order evolved in its works in the 21st century.
Ambassador Ruffo di Calabria said the Order of Malta, as it is known, enjoys credibility through diplomatic representation in over 100 countries.
Interviewed at the Holy Infirmary at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, the Prince stated that the Order’s main mission is to assist in humanitarian missions.
”We are a hundred and twenty thousand knights all over the world and we are present in every country… in the continent, in Europe, America, Australia, everywhere … in the old days, the rule of the knights was different from today, in the old times, they were trying to defend the faith and the Catholic Church, today we are defending the weakest and the poor….”
Prince di Calabria acknowledged the existence of disagreement with Pope Francis, which led to the resignation of Grandmaster Matthew Festing two years ago. More than divergences, the Prince added, the issues were about principles which have been resolved through the appointment of a new Grandmaster, Fra Giacomo Dalla Torre.
”We had a delicate moment because there were different points of view, the positions of the Holy See and the Grandmaster; of course, we are in a position of obedience of the Vatican so we accept what the Pope said and a new grandmaster was elected…”
The Military Order of Malta is a sovereign entity with its roots in the religious order of the Knights of St John,which had been set up in 1048. The Order had been set up to assist, through its mission, pilgrims in the Holy Land.
Their arrival in Malta in 1530 left a big heritage and patrimony in the building of Valetta, and a cultural patrimony which is carved into the Maltese identity.
In order to renew this heritage, next month the Prince will host a concert at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, consisting of string instruments and with the participation of a pianist from the orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala of Milan to celebrate the feast of St John the Baptist.