The ambassadors of 85 States joined the Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Fra’ Andrew Bertie, for the traditional New Year’s greetings in the Magistral Villa on the Aventine Hill in Rome. The Grand Master, as customary, summed up the main events in the Order’s life over the last year, indicating its specific plans for the Holy Year celebrations where the Order’s welfare and voluntary structures will be daily assisting pilgrims visiting the four Roman basilicas.
In 1999 the Order of Malta, recalled Fra’ Andrew Bertie, celebrated its Ninth Centenary by returning to its most significant historical locations with gatherings and pilgrimages, from Malta to Rhodes and Rome, where it now has its headquarters. HMEH expressed his gratitude to the numerous heads of state who participated in its celebrations, from the King of Spain to the President of the Italian Republic, and to all those countries officially represented by heads of government or accredited heads of mission.
To prepare ourselves even better in the future, the Grand Master stressed, we have reorganised our main structures with a reform of the Constitutional Charter and Code, also renewing our government organ, the Sovereign Council, and establishing a consultative body, the Government Council.
“The international community is now striving together for those goals of peace and freedom from need and suffering of which the conscience of human society is becoming increasingly aware”. In this process, the Order of Malta wants to be present and active in the tradition of its charismata, “Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum” that are also its institutional aims.