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


Fifth centenary of the Emperor Charles V

Fifth centenary of the Emperor Charles V

A historic-academic assembly in homage of the Emperor Charles V is being planned. This extraordinary commemorative meeting and exhibition is promoted by the Grand Chancellor, Amb. Count Don Carlo Marullo di Condojanni, Rector of the International Academy, and will be held in the Sant’Angelo Fort from 9 to 11 June in the presence of H.M.E.H. the Prince and Grand Master, Fra’ Andrew Bertie.

The event is organised by the Order of Malta to commemorate the donation of the islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino and of Tripoli by the Emperor Charles V, King of Spain, to the Knights of St. John after the loss of Rhodes. Ambassadors accredited to the Order, personalities of the cultural world and civil and religious authorities will be participating.

The embassies of the countries historically linked to the figure of Charles V, such as Italy, Austria, Spain and Malta, have supported the initiatives and experts and historians will talking on this subject during the conference. A parallel event will be devoted to the Programmatic Meeting of Representatives of the “Centri Studi Melitensi” organised by the Accademia Internazionale Melitense.

For the occasion, the Order’s Magistral Post Office will issue a stamp commemorating the fifth Centenary of Charles Carlo V.

The first session of the International Congress held in Fort St. Angel started, in the presence of 18 Ambassadors accredited to the Holy See and to the Order of Malta, with the exhibition of the original document with which the Emperor Charles V granted the archipelago of Malta and Tripoli to the Knights of St. John, and with the speech of welcome by the Grand Master, Fra’ Andrew Bertie, who underlined that the activities of the International Academy strengthen the cultural ties between the Sovereign Order and the island of Malta.

The President of the Republic, Guido De Marco, replied expressing his appreciation for the humanitarian action carried out by the Order in the world and in Malta, where the Order is present through the Blood Bank Foundation, civil protection, the assistance to disabled people.

While the flag of the Order was flying high on the mighty ramparts of Fort St. Angel, as it flies in more than one hundred countries in the world, bearing witness to the Order’s humanitarian and peacekeeping commitment, the Grand Chancellor and Rector of the Academy, Ambassador Carlo Marullo di Condojanni, opened the works of the congress decidedly casting into the future the prestige and the historical heritage of the Order, its hospitaller and charitable activities, and announced the opening of three departments of the International Academy which, with their precious multidisciplinary character, will enrich and enhance the global action of the Order: the Historical and Cultural Department, the Medical Department for Rehabilitation, the Department for Diplomatic Studies.

The creation of the Department for Diplomatic Studies were already discussed at the Meeting of the Order’s Diplomacy held on 29 and 30 May in Milan, where the Grand Chancellor underlined the importance of creating the basis for training and refresher courses for the future managers of the Order’s Diplomacy, and the creation and reconstruction of an archive on the activities of Diplomatic Relations and works of the Order existing in the territories where the Order is present.

The works continued with the intervention of the Ministry of Education, Hon. Louis Galea, who underlined the importance of the presence, not only in Malta, of the historical and cultural heritage of the Order for the development and training of executives and to improve and strengthen the fundamental values of society. The speech of welcome of the Rector of the Malta University, Prof. Roger Ellul-Micallef, focused on this continuity and development lines. After the Presentation of the Meeting held by the President of the Academy, Prof. Paolo Caucci von Saucken, Prof. Victor Mallia Milanes, from the Malta University, gave a detailed speech on the document donating Malta to the Order, explaining with in-depth data, some of which never heard before, the historical scenario of this event which was particularly important for the defence of the Mediterranean countries, through the military and diplomatic action of the Knights of St. John. The lecture given by Prof. Luis del Llera on “The Culture and Ideology Underlying the Empire of Charles V” was equally broad and interesting. Prof. del Llera explained with historical rigour the philosophical and cultural profile of the western civilization as compared to the eastern expansionism.

“An intensification of international dialogue with the indispensable contribution of the cultural world, that enables experts and intellectuals, even in distant countries, to receive and promote the initiatives that the Order, through its International Academy, wants to bring to Malta and the territories in which it is present, in the service of the local community, the international community and civil society as a whole.”

With this message the Grand Chancellor, Carlo Marullo di Condojanni, gave a specific direction to the concluding session of the International Conference on the afternoon of Sunday 10 June. His hope was that this meeting of authorities from the academic world and the diplomatic service of and to the Order will bring about a global, cultural reawakening that will help human needs to be met promptly and effectively, in defence of the dignity of the person. A dignity today more than ever crushed by economic determinism and humiliated by the pressing need for basic justice and freedom, with its primary values of spirituality and solidarity to be redeemed.

A new enlightenment? A new renaissance? Perhaps. It could happen, even in the long term, in the dawn of this millennium and in the wake of the Great Jubilee of the Church, in a joint effort with the leaders of the international organisations, of all the religious confessions, of all people on earth. And as in the past, it will come from the cradle of the Mediterranean.

For the Order of Malta there is an impulse towards a new, enlightening approach to its values and by now millenary fidelity to its institutional aims, placed at the service of humanity. The Order which, over the last millennium, has given its determinant contribution to society, to the history of humanity and to these turning points, with its knights, with its diplomacy, with its culture and with its art, but above all with its obsequium pauperum.

At the end of the session, Amb. Marullo gave a reckoning of the International Academy and meeting, also announcing the publication of the proceedings and their presentation to the Order’s Study Centre in Perugia on 8 September next. This publication will contain not only the papers given by the experts but also the constructive interventions and results of the ambassadors’ meeting which took place during the conference.

The two papers of the second session were of particular interest. Prof. Gabriele Morelli focussed attention on the “European Vision of Mercurino di Gattinara, Minister of Charles V”, in perfect symmetry with the introductory address of Grand Chancellor Carlo Marullo, and fully consistent with the great historical figure of that Grand Chancellor. Prof. Don Hugo O’Donnell illustrated “The Assignment of Malta to the Knights of Saint John through the Cedula of 4 March 1530” with historical-juridical clarity, taking into due account its diplomatic aspects and that of international treaty.

Finally, a long applause greeted the words of His Most Eminent Highness the Prince and Grand Master, Fra’ Andrew Bertie, who had attended all the sessions with interest and participation, encountering the highest government and religious authorities present and conversing with speakers and members of the government delegations and diplomatic missions. His concluding address and his thanks to the assembly, with the notes of the Order’s national anthem, ended these two intense days of study organised by the Order’s International Academy in the historic Sant’Angelo Fort. In the silence of the night the standard of the Order’s Grand Master continued to fly above the fort, illuminated by a spotlight, while in the small Magistral Chapel of St. Anna the knights were gathered in prayer at evening mass.


Within the framework of the Order of Malta’s International Conference organised on Malta by its International Academy on the occasion of the fifth centenary of the death of Emperor Charles V, the Grand Chancellor Amb. Carlo Marullo di Condojanni was received this morning by the President of the Republic of Malta Guido De Marco. He presented to the President the members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Order, coming from all continents to participate in the conference which concluded today.

In his address, the Grand Chancellor recalled how Charles V’s assignment of the island of Malta to the knights launched a new destiny for Malta, which from that moment on started to become a people and nation by separating itself from the Kingdom of Sicily, following Charles V’s own idea of Europe.

Malta, to complete its political experience, will soon enter the European Community, and the presence today of ambassadors from numerous European countries is certainly a good omen for its integration into Europe in the near future. The Order, added Amb. Marullo, and the government of Malta can work together for the respect of human rights and peace for populations in their awareness that in Europe one is formed and to Europe one must refer.

With this hope, the Order’s Grand Chancellor ended his address to President De Marco who in turn stressed the close ties of tradition and action that link the Republic of Malta with the Order of Knights of Malta. The people of Malta, he said, owe much to the assignment of the island to the knights, because their current independence is due precisely to the presence of the same knights, which led it to develop a different political entity from that of the other islands of the Kingdom of Sicily. In conclusion, the President hoped for an increasing presence of the knights on Malta following the forms of cooperation for which negotiations are underway.

A particularly warm climate was fostered by the encounter with the ambassadors accredited to the Order, enabling talks at the highest level that will certainly bear fruit.

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