The Grand Master receives the accredited diplomatic corps in a solemn audience.
In the church designed by Giovan Battista Piranesi di Villa Malta in Aventino, the Prince and Grand Master Fra’ Andrew Bertie received the Diplomatic Corps accredited with the order of Malta, in a solemn audience to wish them a happy New Year.
150 diplomats from 46 countries, the dignitaries of the Order and the newly appointed Chancellor of the Order, Conte Jacques de Liedekerke, were present at the ceremony.
The ceremony was introduced with a greeting by the doyen of the Diplomatic Corps, the ambassador of Honduras, Alejandro Emilio Valladares Lanza, which underlined the excellent diplomatic relations held by the Order with 90 countries all over the world. Thinking back to the tragic events such as the terrorist attacks which distinguished last year, the ambassador mentioned the efficiency of the humanitarian actions that the Order has carried out in the world through the organisations for assistance in countries struck by hunger, drought and war, which provide immediate help in emergencies and where there is need.
Whilst wishing the Heads of Missions a happy New Year, the Grand Master underlined the process of international globalisation which cannot ignore developing countries where the population still lives in conditions of poverty. The commitment of the order of Malta over the centuries has always been and continues to be that of medical aid and humanitarian activities, in keeping with the rule of Obsequium pauperum and TuitioFidei (defence of the faith and service to the suffering).
The impartial way in which the Order carries out its humanitarian mission can be seen in the numerous diplomatic delegations present in many countries around the world and in the recent agreements for collaboration established with Senegal, Ecuador, Georgia and in the health agreement signed with the Italian Republic.
The Grand Master remembered the numerous activities of the Order hospitals working in Europe, Africa, South America and the Middle East, of the Comité dell’Ordre de Malt pilot project (International Committee of the Order of Malta), and the fight against AIDS in Mexico and Senegal. The Grand Master then proceeded to mention the activities of ECOM (Corpi d’emergenza dell’Ordine di Malta – Order of Malta’s Emergency Corps), during the earthquakes in Salvador and India, in Belize after hurricane Iris and in Afghanistan, caring for refugees. His Highness also remembered the activities of the Hospital in Bethlehem, managed by the Association for French work of the Order of Malta, which despite the recent bombings, has continued to help Palestinian and Israeli mothers and children. This was considered an encouraging and important sign for peace between those involved in the conflict .
Referring to the appeal by the Pope, the Grand Master reiterated the importance of working together, in particular Christians and Muslims, without letting religion become a reason for hate and conflict, and the need to obtain peace and solidarity in the world.