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Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and Sovereign Order of Malta deliver humanitarian aid in Gaza

His Beatitude, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem today travelled into Gaza and reached the parish of the Holy Family for a pastoral visit, accompanied by Fra’ Alessandro de Franciscis, Grand Hospitaller of the Sovereign Order of Malta. The delegation included Fr. Gabriele Romanelli, parish priest of Gaza. They brought a message of hope, solidarity and support to encourage the suffering population and assure them of their prayers.  Cardinal Pizzaballa presided over the Mass in the parish church with the local community and visited the St. Porphyrius Orthodox church, meeting with Bishop Alexios and his community.

The visit is the first stage of a joint humanitarian mission of the Latin Patriarchate and the Sovereign Order of Malta to deliver life-saving food and medical help to the population in Gaza.

A Memorandum of Understanding establishing the joint mission was signed between the Parties on May 14th and will be carried out by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Sovereign Order of Malta and its worldwide relief agency, Malteser International, and other partners.

The Order of Malta’s long-time presence in the Holy Land
The Order of Malta has a rooted presence in the Holy Land. Founded in Jerusalem in the 11th century with a mission of care for pilgrims of any faith and origin, ethnicity or political belief.  The motto ‘Tuitio Fidei, Obsequium Pauperum’ (Witness to the faith and assistance to the poor) has guided its work for over nine centuries. Today, the Order is present in 120 countries worldwide and remains apolitical, neutral and impartial.

The Order of Malta continues to serve the Holy Land and operates a maternity hospital in Bethlehem where over 4,500 babies are born each year. It is the only hospital in the region with an intensive neonatology ward which treats premature babies or those born with serious genetic disorders. The hospital has seen over 100,000 babies born since 1990, when it took over the care, some at less than 32 weeks’ gestation. The Holy Family Hospital serves a catchment area of one million people and is an important reference hospital for women and children’s health in the region. The staff is made up of both Christian and Muslim doctors and nurses.
The Order of Malta’s presence in the Holy Land is further demonstrated by the extensive assistance projects carried out in Lebanon. Over 10 medical clinics are in operation, providing relief to those in great need in different areas of the country. Many of the projects are carried out in close collaboration with the Sunni, Shia and Druze communities.
The Order of Malta also has a special  expertise in providing aid and relief to refugees and internally displaced people in war-torn areas.

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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.