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Hospitaller Activities

The mission to help the sick and those in need

Following its historic mission to help the sick, the needy and the most disadvantaged in society, the Order of Malta continues its work today, operating in more than 120 countries. Its programmes include medical and social assistance, disaster relief in the case of armed conflicts and natural catastrophes, emergency services and first aid corps, help for the elderly, the handicapped and children in need and the provision of first aid training, and support for refugees and internally displaced persons regardless of race, origin or religion. The Order of Malta has been operating with this impartial perspective for over 900 years, caring for people of all beliefs – muslim, orthodox, catholic, protestant, jewish. 

The Order relies on the involvement of its 13,500 members, as well as approximately 80,000 trained volunteers and over 25,000 employees, the majority of whom are medical personnel. The Order’s organisations worldwide (Grand Priories, National Associations, relief organisations and foundations) are responsible for carrying out its activities, both in its the permanent institutions – such as hospitals, outpatient medical centres and old peoples’ homes – and with its socio-medical and humanitarian programmes. The Order’s work in Britain upholds the tradition to care for those in most need with its projects around the country.


Visiting the Shrine of Our Lady in England’s Nazareth is a firm favourite in the Order’s calendar; a weekend in the countryside with friends both old and new, in the docile village of Walsingham. Pilgrims travel from all over the country to join with volunteers and guests from all the branches of the Order. Traditional fish and chips start the pilgrimage off, followed by a candle light procession and the weekend promises prayer, recollections and Mass, with chances for Confession and Vespers, interspersed with a picnic in the Abbey, and a pilgrimage party. Sunday ends by processing with prayers and hymns along the Holy Mile, Mass at the Shrine, and of course a wonderfully sumptuous lunch. Transport to and from London is available and both volunteers and pilgrims stay within Elmham House in the village, giving everyone the opportunity to socialise and care for one another.


Malteser International

Malteser International is the Order of Malta’s international relief organisation for medical and humanitarian aid. Its worldwide operations include emergency medical interventions, long term reconstruction and development programmes. Since 2005, Malteser International has replaced ECOM (Emergency Corps of the Order of Malta). A new structure, but with more than 50 years experience in humanitarian operations. 

There are 20 Order of Malta Associations belonging to Malteser International: Austria, Belgium, France, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, Mexico, Australia, Singapore and the three Associations in the United States of America. 
Malteser International – which currently runs missions in 30 countries – has its headquarters in Cologne, Germany.

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CIOMAL, International Committee Of The Order Of Malta

CIOMAL, the International Committee of the Order of Malta, was created in 1958 and for 50 years has been fighting leprosy and helping those marginalised by society as a result of having the disease. CIOMAL’s two major current projects are in South East Asia and South America. CIOMAL finances and manages the care centres where prevention, medical assistance, social rehabilitation and medical staff training are organised in collaboration with the government of the hosting country. Today, due to the availability of new medical treatments, important results have been achieved in the battle against the disease. Leprosy will eventually disappear as a life-threatening illness, but in the meantime, CIOMAL continues to offer medical care to sufferers in the countries at risk. To date, 17,000 leprosy patients have been cured. CIOMAL, which has headquarters in Geneva, is affiliated to the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations and collaborates with the World Health Organisation; its programmes are carried out in accordance with their directives.

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International Association Of Catholic Bioethicists

IACB was launched in Toronto in August 2003, during the 1st International colloquium on ‘Globalization and the Culture of Life’ organised by the Canadian Association of the Order of Malta and the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute in Toronto. In 2004 the secretariat was set up in Toronto with the support of several national Associations of the Order of Malta. Since then, International Colloquia have been held in a number of different countries. 

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The mission of the Order of Malta is inspired by its tradition of ‘Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum', to assist the poor and the sick, and bear witness to the Christian faith.


The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law. The Order - which is based in Rome, in via Condotti - has its own Government, an independent magistracy, and bilateral diplomatic relations with 110 countries.


The Order of St John of Jerusalem is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilisation. Present in Palestine in around 1048, it is a lay religious Order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature.