The Grand Master of the Order, Fra’ Andrew Bertie, led a pilgrimage to the icon of the Madonna of Philermo, now preserved in the National Museum of the historic capital of Montenegro, Cetinje. The icon, once in Rhodes and subsequently in Malta, Russia and Yugoslavia, disappeared during World War II and was discovered in Montenegro just a few years ago.
The pilgrimage included a visit to the relics of the Holy Cross and the hand of St. John the Baptist, both preserved in the Orthodox Monastery of the Nativity. The Order’s delegation, made up of Sovereign Council representatives, members of the clergy and professed knights, paid homage before the relics, which are of great significance in the history of the Order.
The Grand Master enjoyed a series of cordial meetings with the country’s representatives – with the President, Dr.Filip Vujanovic, the Speaker, Dr.Krivokapic, the Prime Minister, M.Milo Dukanovic and the Minister for Culture, Mrs Kilibarda, as well as with many of Montenegro’s civic leaders. Fra’ Andrew was accompanied in these meetings by his Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Amb.Alessandro Quaroni, and by the Order’s Ambassador to Serbia-Montenegro, Amb.Stefan Falez. His hosts expressed their hope that knights and dames of the Order would continue to visit the relics.
The delegation were guests at a luncheon offered on behalf of the Government by the Foreign Minister, M. Dragisa Burzan.