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

Ordre souverain militaire hospitalier de Saint-Jean de Jérusalem, de Rhodes et de Malte
Sovrano Militare Ordine Ospedaliero di San Giovanni di Gerusalemme, di Rodi e di Malta (SMOM)

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at an unknown date before 1099, Jerusalem (Israel), when the Crusaders took that city, as a monastic confraternity administering a hospital for pilgrims which had been set up in 1048. Received recognition from the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem prior to 1099. On 15 Feb 1113, by Papal Bull of Pope Paschal II, formally recognized by the Holy See as a religious order with the title Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem -- Hospitaliers de Saint Jean de Jérusalem. Headquarters were located in the Holy Land until 1291, when the last Christian stronghold in the Holy land was lost, then for a time in Cyprus, then on Rhodes, occupation being completed in 1310. After repeated attacks from Turkey, the Knights of Rhodes -- Chevaliers de Rhodes were forced to abandon Rhodes on 10 Jan 1523, and had no territory until they were given the island of Malta in 1530, where they remained until the end of the 18th century. Malta was lost by military occupation in the Napoleonic Wars, although the Order has never de jure recognized such occupation. Since 1834, headquarters have been located in Rome (Italy). The Order now has a legal position similar to that of the Pontifical States in 1870, before the creation of the Vatican State in 1929. The Order's life and activities are currently regulated by: a Constitutional Charter adopted in 1961, which contains a precise definition of both the religious and the sovereign status of the Order and has been approved by the Holy See; a Code issued in 1966. The Charter and Code were revised by Extraordinary Chapter General, 28-30 Apr 1997, Rome. The Order is frequently referred to by abbreviated title: Sovereign Military Order of Malta -- Ordre souverain et militaire de Malte -- Orden Soberana y Militar de Malta -- Sovrano Militare Ordine di Malta.


Render assistance to the underprivileged throughout the world in order to make them contributors, rather than a burden to society. Major concerns: spirituality; humanitarian aid; emergency relief; hospitals, health care and rehabilitation for the sick and the disabled.

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Under the provisions of international law, the Order theoretically has equivalent status to that of the Holy See, although not its effective political and diplomatic weight. Through accredited representatives, it maintains diplomatic relations with the Holy See, on which it depends as a religious order but of which, as a sovereign order of knighthood, it is independent. It also exchanges diplomatic representatives at the level of embassy or legation with a further 81 sovereign states which officially recognize the Order's attributes of sovereignty and independence; and it has a special mission at the level of Ambassador with Russia and official representation/delegations in Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg (Luxembourg), Monaco (Monaco) and Switzerland and with several intergovernmental organizations. It makes treaties with these states and intergovernmental organizations and carries out activities in accordance with its own laws, within the framework of the various domestic legal systems.

The Order organizes pilgrimages, carries out humanitarian and relief activities, in particular in cooperation with UN bodies, and operates hospitals, clinics, dispensaries, hospices, homes, workshops, first aid centres and other facilities. As of 2006, it is present in over 120 countries, managing over 100 hospitals and health centres worldwide; about 40 relief services (with over 80,000 permanent volunteers) are active in various crisis areas. In particular, it works to combat leprosy and assist terminally ill patients. Assistance during wars and natural disasters includes setting up refugee centres and field hospitals. It currently lobbies for: abolition of land mines; alternative policies to economic sanctions which have adverse affects on the most vulnerable while hardly affecting the powerful élite they are directed against. Study Commissions (6): Spirituality - Hospital Service and Welfare Activities; Civil Defence and First Aid; International Aid; International Fund Raising; Communications; Emblems - Sponsorship. Auxiliary service, of whom members are not necessarily members of the Order, comprises over 30 auxiliary corps formed under the auspices of Grand Priories, in countries where these exist, or the Order's ambassador or another body linked to their setting up. Forte Sant'Angelo project trains future leadership through religious and spiritual preparation of members and also includes training and updating of the diplomatic corps, with new embassies and missions being opened in supranational organizations. Communications Board maintains professional contact with the mass media, including through the Internet. Other projects are planned and completed through meetings, seminars, commissions and sub-commissions and other organizations; Liaison Committee; Committee on False Orders; International Committee of the Order of Malta (CIOMAL); Action International of the Order of Malta (AIOM); International Emergency Corps; Holy Land Foundation of the Order of Malta (HOLAFOM), Paris (France); Foundation for Vaccinology, Paris; Coordination Center for America, Coral Gables FL (USA); Centre for Diagnosis and Clinical Therapy, Rome (Italy); First Aid Post, Vatican; Pilgrimages to Lourdes; Council on the use of the Italian language for pilgrimages. Museum of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem is housed in the Grand Master's Palace, Rhodes.


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Relations with Inter-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 14 inter-governmental organizations.
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Relations with Non-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 12 non-governmental organizations.
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Members in 144 countries
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Type I Classification

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UN Sustainable Development Goals **

GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal



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* Subject classification is derived from the organization names and aims.
** UN SDGs are linked to the subject classification.

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