President Sergio Mattarella receives new Government of Sovereign Order of Malta on official visit

Appreciation expressed for the Order of Malta’s role in favour of peace and humanitarian diplomacy
President Sergio Mattarella receives new Government of Sovereign Order of Malta on official visit

The delegation of the Sovereign Order of Malta, led by Grand Master Fra’ John T. Dunlap, was received today on an official visit to the Quirinal Palace by the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella.

The meeting highlighted the deep and mutual support that has always bound the Order of Malta and the Italian Republic. After stressing the “excellent and solid ties” that unite Italy and the Order of Malta, President Mattarella expressed his great appreciation for the Order’s role as an actor in humanitarian diplomacy and interreligious dialogue: “Italy is alongside the Order and intends to continue to support your action in favour of peace and humanitarian aid,” said the President, taking as an example the “great and important reality of the Bethlehem Hospital” in the Holy Land. Numerous matters were discussed during the talks – from historical and cultural ties, to the Italian language as a common element among the Order’s various realities, diplomatic relations, protection of refugees, Ukraine and the Holy Land, and the Italian Relief Corps’ bilateral agreement. The meeting also offered the opportunity to highlight the many healthcare and aid activities for the most disadvantaged. In Italy alone, the Order is active daily in over 1.5 million health services a year.

The Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the one involving the Holy Land and the main international scenarios were the focus of the talks, where the importance of humanitarian activities in crisis zones was stressed, ensuring security and support for the most fragile.

The Order of Malta is active in the areas of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where it manages the Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem and where – in addition to offering a high level of medical assistance – over 100,000 babies have been born since 1990. “It is precisely this presence in the area,” said President Mattarella, “that gives the Order of Malta its particular vision and authority”. The Order’s commitment in Ukraine, where it has been on the front line since the start of the conflict, is equally relevant. It has assisted some 300,000 people at the borders, distributed 6,700 tons of humanitarian aid in 71 different towns nationwide and guaranteed psychological assistance and first-aid training.

During the visit, the Order of Malta’s commitment in Italy was appreciated, in particular regarding its 15 years carrying out rescue operations for migrants in the Mediterranean Sea and in civil protection interventions.

From 2008 to date, the Order of Malta has given medical assistance and relief to 250,000 migrants and refugees, providing medical personnel 24/7. It is operating on both the mainland, such as Lampedusa, as well as at sea on the Coast Guard’s vessels.

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