Sovereign Military Hospitaller
Order of St John of Jerusalem of
Rhodes and of Malta


30th International Hospitaller Conference kicks off in Krakow

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Cardinal Pizzaballa sends letter for coordinated action to provide aid in Gaza
30th International Hospitaller Conference kicks off in Krakow

Ukraine, Gaza and safeguarding policies. These are the three key threads inspiring the works of the 30th International Hospitaller Conference, taking place in Krakow, Poland. Over 35 heads of humanitarian projects of the worldwide network of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta have gathered to discuss the most pressing issues concerning their work. Countries represented also include South Africa, Hong Kong, Australia and the Holy Land.

“The purpose of this International Hospitaller Meeting is clear: to strengthen the Order’s hospitaller function to better serve our Lords: the poor and the sick around the world” said the Grand Master, Fra’ John Dunlap, in opening the conference this morning.

The humanitarian drama unfolding in Gaza was at the centre of the first session with a letter presented to the Grand Master by Father Davide Meli, Chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, on behalf of Latin Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, praising the work of the Order of Malta and calling for a coordinated action to provide aid to the Gaza population.

“The primacy of charity, the primacy of love: this is the only possible answer to the banality of evil” said the Grand Hospitaller Fra’ Alessandro de Franciscis – quoting the 1963 book by philosopher Hannah Arendt – and in urging his colleagues to “roll up their sleeves and work with competence to do better and better to serve the poor and the sick”, following the unwavering motto of the Order – serving the poor, witnessing the faith.

“The challenge today is the war spreading to all countries” added the Grand Hospitaller recalling Pope Francis’ words about the third world war being fought in bits and pieces. “We must concentrate on the butchery taking place in the Holy Land and in Ukraine” he said.
A volunteer from the Ukrainian Relief Service in Mariupol took the floor and gave a heartfelt account of her experience as a rescuer recalling her sense of helplessness in the wake of starving and dying people. The work of the Order of Malta in Ukraine was recalled in what is the most prominent engagement undertaken by the Order since World War II. The lives of seven volunteers of the Order of Malta killed in Ukraine were then honored in a somber moment with a prayer for peace.
Safeguarding policies for volunteers, as well members and employees, were discussed with the aim of strengthening codes of conducts and guidelines to protect the most vulnerable individuals, starting from minors.

The conference will continue right through tomorrow with workshops focusing on how to reinforce collaboration among the different entities of the Order, the spirituality of the Order’s action and the international and national camps for disabled which are organized each year.

The 31st Hospitaller’s Conference will take place in Vienna in 2025.