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Malta – Fact Check

Malta's good Knights are still on call

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Malta – Fact Check Malta's good Knights are still on call

The Knights of St. John, who defended Malta during the Great Siege of 1565, were eventually driven from Malta by Napoleon in 1798 – but the order stills exists.

Kieran Meeke
Kieran Meeke Travel Writer

The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta – known for obvious reasons as merely the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) – is now based in Rome. It is recognized by more than 100 countries and the United Nations, allowing it to continue its humanitarian work around the world.

Behind a modest doorway in Valletta near the prime minister’s lavish house, built for the Langue of Castille, is the office of SMOM’s president in Malta, Dr Philip Randon. He is a “Knight of Magistral Grace in Obedience”, as well as a poet and businessman.

“A lot of people mix us up with the Templars, who ended in the 1300s,” says Philip. “In 2013, we celebrated our 900th anniversary. We started as hospitaliers and I am proud to say we still are. It is mainly a Christian call to help people, no matter their creed, color or nationality. Even though the fighting arm has finished, we are always faithful to that first calling and still refer to the sick as ‘My Lord’. They are the lords and we are the serfs. We operate in over 100 countries and have more than 13,000 knights and dames, and 80,000 volunteers. I always say our future is our past and our calling is to help the sick and the poor.

“The Maltese love the Order because the island is swimming in its history and as the source of so much beautiful art, but it was not Maltese. It was an occupying power. Many are very much unaware of what the Order does nowadays. But how much should you publicise your good deeds?”

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