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Maltese Association

Order of Malta

1048 TO THE PRESENT DAY
960 years of history

The founding of the religious community of the Hospitallers of St. John in the Holy Land dates back to 1048. Some merchants from the maritime republic of Amalfi obtained an authorization from the Caliph of Egypt to build in Jerusalem a church, convent and hospital named after St. John Baptist to assist pilgrims.
It was under the leadership of Blessed Fra’ Gerard, founder and first Master, that the religious community became a lay religious order. Thanks to the bull of 15 February 1113, Pope Paschal II recognised the Order of St. John, placing it under the protection of the Church and granting it the right to freely elect its superiors, without interference from other lay or religious authorities.

Blessed Fra’ Gerard’s successor as Master was Blessed Fra’ Raymond du Puy who between 1145 and 1153 wrote the first rule for the Order’s members. All the confreres were religious, bound by the three monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and dedicated to assisting the poor and the sick.

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Jerusalem obliged the Order to assume the military defence of the sick and pilgrims and to protect its medical centres and main roads. Defence of the faith was then added to the hospitaller mission and the Order adopted the eight-pointed cross, still today its symbol.

NAMES OF THE ORDER
Many names have been used to identify the Order
ANCIENT LANGUAGES OF THE ORDER
The ancient languages of the Order
THE GRAND MASTERS

First Grand Master

The founder and first Grand Master of the Order was born around 1040 in Scala, a village a few kilometers from Amalfi in southern Italy.

ORDERS OF ST JOHN

Bailiwick of Brandenburg of St John and Jerusalem

The Order of St. John had settled in Germany during the 12th and 13th centuries, founding a Grand Priory.

1113 PAPAL RECOGNITION

Nine Hundred years since the recognition by Pope Paschal II

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