In February 2013 and during the entire year, the Sovereign Order of Malta is celebrating a significant anniversary. Exactly 900 years have elapsed since Pope Paschal II promulgated the Solemn Privilege in 1113 that officially recognised the monastic community of the Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem.
This document, identified with the initial words of its text, Pie Postulatio Voluntatis, set the legal base for the sovereignty and independence of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, known today as the Sovereign Order of Malta, and was a fundamental element for its development. Founded in the Holy Land over half a century earlier as a monastic community looking after poor pilgrims in a hospital in Jerusalem, it is thanks to this solemn privilege that the Hospitallers of St. John became a lay and religious order. This document had also a great institutional significance; with the bull the Pope recognised that the Order had the absolute right to ensure the continuation of its work by electing, in due time, a successor to its founder, brother Gerard.