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Grand Master in audience with Pope Francis

Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre describes the Order’s most important current projects and aims in the medical, social and diplomatic fields

Vatican City, 28 June 2019

The Grand Master confers with Pope Francis

The Grand Master described examples of the Order’s help – a testimony to the continuing commitment to assist society’s vulnerable: interventions to help displaced persons (IDPs) due to war, drought, or poverty, which this year affected 70 million people around the world – which are centred on support programmes, and include mobile clinics which travel into hostile and remote regions. Other activities bring aid to the elderly, the disabled, the homeless, and minorities such as the Roma in eastern Europe and the Yazidi in Iraq.

Pope Francis encouraged the Order to continue along the path of mercy and the commitment to society’s marginalised. He mentioned in particular the crisis in Venezuela, the help for refugees and for the local population in Colombia. Discussions also covered the Order of Malta’s actions in the Middle East, especially along the borders with Syria.

United Nations Migration Compact

The Grand Master outlined the work of the Order of Malta in international diplomacy and its active participation in the drafting of the United Nations Migration Compact, signed last December at the UN summit in Morocco. He drew attention, too, to a growing awareness and participation in the fight against human trafficking. 

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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.