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Inauguration of the Order of Malta’s international conference

Rome 7 February 2013

International working conference

The International Conference of the Order of Malta opened today in Rome, the first of two days of meetings around themes central to the Order – spirituality, communications, diplomacy. The Order’s heads of government attended, together with many of the Ambassadors, national leaders and representatives of international organisations.

Fra’ Matthew Festing, Grand Master, in opening the conference, declared that ‘We seize this opportunity to share experiences and to learn from each other.’

The objectives of the Conference, organised on the occasion of the 900 year anniversary of the granting of the Bull by Pope Paschal II to the Order of Malta, were to mark the many works and projects carried out by the Order in 120 countries where the Order has a presence, and to define the next steps in its humanitarian and spiritual development.

The Conference also created the possibility of valuable exchanges of information on experiences in the field, which the Grand Master noted: ‘Singapore, Sydney, North and South America are a long way from Rome. So we seize this opportunity to exchange information and ideas. An important aim for the future is to achieve a unity between objectives and actions, and a spiritual unity too, and to encourage and build the Order’s leaders of tomorrow.’

On Saturday 9 February 4,500 members, volunteers, and patients from the Order’s hospital in Rome, S.Giovanni Battista, will gather in St Peter’s Basilica to celebrate the special anniversary with a solemn Mass, where they will be addressed by Pope Benedict.

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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.