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Official visit to Romania by the Order’s Grand Master

Official visit to Romania by the Order’s Grand Master

The Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta, Fra’ Andrew Bertie, will go to Romania on Sunday, March 10, for an official five-day visit, which will culminate in a meeting with Romanian President Ion Iliescu, on March 11th.

The Order’s delegation consists of Count Jacques De Liedekerke, Grand Chancellor; Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, Grand Hospitaller; Prince Paolo Francesco Boncompagni-Ludovisi, Master of Ceremonies; Ambassador Franz Alfred Reichsgraf von Hartig, the Order’s ambassador in Romania; and Ambassador Alessandro Quaroni, Secretary General for Foreign Affairs.

The schedule for Monday, March 11, includes meetings between the Grand Master, Fra’ Andrew Bertie, and Romania’s Culture Minister, Prof. Rãzvan Theodorescu, and later with the Health and Family Minister, Mrs. Daniela Bartos, after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Late in the morning the Order’s Grand Hospitaller, Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, will sign an agreement with Health and Family Minister, Mrs. Daniela Bartos, for cooperation in health care between the Order of Malta and Romania.

In the afternoon, the Grand Master is scheduled to meet with the Foreign Affairs Minister, Mircea Dan Geoana, after which he will go to Cotroceni Palace where he will meet with Romania’s President, Ion Iliescu. After a private meeting, the two heads of state will continue their discussions with both official delegations.

In the evening, the Romanian president will host an official reception in the Brancovenilor hall of the presidential palace.

On Tuesday, March 12, the Grand Master, after meeting the vice presidents of the Romanian Academy, will visit the Bucarest Subsidiary, run by the Malteser Hilfsdienst, the Aid Service of the German Association of the Order of Malta, which has been active in Romania for many years. The centre runs a programme for unemployed youth which, in addition to assistance, provides help in seeking jobs. In the afternoon, the Grand Master will meet with the Apostolic Nuncio, Mons. J. C. Perisset. Holy Mass will be celebrated after this meeting.

Wednesday, March 13, and Thursday, March 14, will be devoted to visiting the humanitarian aid projects carried out in Romania by the Aid Service of the German Association (MHD) and by the Hospitaller Service of the Order’s Romanian Association (S.A.M.R.), whose president is a senator in the Romanian parliament, Valentin Zoltan Puskas. Active for the last 10 years, the Hospitaller Service represents one of the most important aid organisations in Romania. It is made up of 26 centres and operates with the help of about 1,000 volunteers, some of whom are of the Orthodox faith. Some activities receive funding from the state and from individual municipalities.

The Grand Master will visit Tirgoviste, where the Romanian Association collaborates with PHARE, a European Union project to assist the elderly and handicapped, and Sfintu Gheorghe, where the Order provides aid to children and the elderly.

The trip’s final event will be the Grand Master’s meeting with the mayor of the city of Pitesti, where the Romanian Hospitaller Service carries out activities to support poor children in the schools and runs a project for aid to the handicapped and the elderly in collaboration with the U.S. Peace Corps.

The delegation returns to Rome on March 14.