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Pope Francis appoints Raymond Leo Burke Cardinalis Patronus of the Sovereign Order of Malta

Rome, 8 November 2014

Cardinal Patronus Burke

Cardinal Patronus Burke

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke has been appointed today Cardinalis Patronus of the Sovereign Order of Malta by His Holiness Pope Francis. Previously Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, he succeeds Cardinal Paolo Sardi, who was appointed Patron of the Sovereign Order of Malta in 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI.

“I extend a warm welcome to Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, who
is from today the new Cardinalis Patronus of the Order of Malta, and I sincerely thank Pope Francis for his appointment,” the Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Fra’ Matthew Festing, announced. “This role has hitherto been very capably held by Cardinal Paolo Sardi and I express my deepest gratitude, and that of all the Order’s members, for his great commitment and devotion over the past five years. He will remain one of our most eminent and esteemed confreres.”

Cardinal Burke has been a member of the Order of Malta since
June 2011.

The Cardinalis Patronus of the Order of Malta is the Pontiff’s representative to the Sovereign Order of Malta and has the task of promoting its spiritual interests and that of its 13,500 members, as well as being responsible for relations with the Holy See. The Cardinalis Patronus is a distinctive element of the strong centuries-old links between the Vatican and the Order of Malta.

In 2013 the Sovereign Order of Malta celebrated the 900th anniversary of its official recognition by the Holy See as a lay religious order.

The Sovereign Order of Malta’s mission is embodied in the motto Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum, or witness to the faith and assistance to the poor and the suffering. Through its social work and healthcare activities in 120 countries the Order assists the poor, the sick and victims of war and social exclusion without distinction as to race or religion.

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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.