The official visit of the Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre to Germany continues with a crowded agenda. Yesterday, after a meeting with the Apostolic Nuncio to Berlin, Nikola Eterović, the Grand Master was received in Bellevue Castle by the President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
This is the first official visit of a Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta to Germany after diplomatic relations were established in October 2017. “You represent a small state, but a great empire of charity. It is a very ancient state, but maintained by an eternally young and vital idea,” said President Steinmeier, who then recalled the Order of Malta’s commitment in Germany with its multiple aid programmes for the disadvantaged: “Our country is extremely grateful to the Order of Malta for its efforts, for the operational support it provides in Germany for accompanying and treating the disabled and the sick, for assisting the elderly, for hospital work, for the welfare of young people and for first-aid training in cooperation with civil defence”.
“I am very pleased to be making the Sovereign Order of Malta’s first official visit to Germany on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. This is also a very significant date for relations between Germany and the Order: during those days in 1989 it received in Budapest the first refugees from East Germany waiting to be admitted to Austria,” asserted Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre.
The day then continued with a visit to the Bundestag, the lower house of the Berlin parliament, where the Grand Master, accompanied by Grand Chancellor Albrecht Boeselager and Grand Hospitaller Dominique de La Rochefoucauld-Montbel, was received by President Wolfgang Schäuble. Discussed during the meeting were matters of international importance such as migrations and the role of faith-based organizations in promoting peace. The Grand Master also illustrated some of the Order of Malta’s most significant activities in the Middle East – in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine.