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Leader’s honour for service in the charitable field

Grand Master invested by the League of Mercy

London, 19 July 2016

The President of the League of Mercy , Lord Lingfield, invested the Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Fra’ Matthew Festing, with the Grand Cross of the League of Mercy at the House of Lords, London, on 12 July. Trustees and members of the Order of Malta were in attendance.

award of the Grand Cross of the League of Mercyto the Grand Master of the Order of Malta

Lord Lingfield, President, League of Mercy with Fra’ Matthew Festing, Grand Master of the Order of Malta

Lord Lingfield praised the work of the Grand Master and the Order in carrying out its mission to serve the poor and the sick in 120 countries. Over 100,000 members, medical and social care personnel and volunteers worldwide work to help those in need. In thanking Lord Lingfield, the Grand Master spoke in particular of the traumatic situation in the Middle East and its impact on Europe, and the Order’s work to help refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). The Sovereign Military Order of Malta was founded in Jerusalem in the 11th century and is the oldest Christian charity.

The League of Mercy was established by Royal Charter on 30th March 1899. It rewards distinguished voluntary service in the charitable field.

Other distinguished recipients of the Grand Cross include HRH Princess Michael of Kent, HRH Prince David of Georgia, the Rt Hon the Baroness Boothroyd OM and Dame Norma Major DBE.

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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.