The Sovereign Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta is under the Spiritual Guidance and Protection of His Eminence Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani. The Order constantly works in the fields of charity and social welfare.
Today the members of the Sovereign Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem dedicate their time and resources for the benefit of others, irrespective of their race, religion or origin. Every year the Sovereign Hospitaller Order of Saint John effects considerable donations in med icines, medical equipment and humanitarian aid. Beneficiaries include the Republic of Honduras, the Missionaries of the Poor, Sisters in the Philippines, the Municipal Children Hospital in Ukraine, the KIKA Foundation, the Estella Foundation, the Francisusoord Children’s Rehabilitation Centre and Ronald McDonald House.
The Great Siege of 1565 made the Order famous for its chivalry and courage. Today the Knights Hospitallers, as in the past, still dedicate their time, effort and generosity to help the sick and poor.
"Ut omnes unum sint, sicut tu Pater in me, et ego in te, ut et ipsi in nobis unum sint"
Meaning: "That they may all be one, just as you Father are in me and I am in you, that they too may be one in us."
Born in Montemonaco, Italy, on the 11th of April 1930, his eminence is a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and president emeritus of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See. He served as secretary of nunciature in Peru and Brazil and as auditor in nunciature in Chile. He was recalled to the Vatican as secretary of Cardinal Cicognani and subsequently of Cardinal Villot during their terms as secretaries of State. Later he was head of the secretariat of the Sostituto, Counselor of nunciature in France with special charge before the Council of Europe and Prelate of honour. In 1976, Pope Paul VI appointed him Tituar Archbishop of Caesarea in Mauretania and at the same time Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Madagascar and Mauritius. Sebastiani became Apostolic Nuncio (ambassador of the Holy See), to Turkey in 1985. In 1994, he was appointed General Secretary of the Central Committee for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. In 1997, Sebastiani was made President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, part of the Roman Curia, responsible for auditing the temporal possessions of the Holy See. He served in this position until 2008. Cardinal Sebastiani was created and proclaimed Cardinal-Deacon of S. Eustachio on 21 February 2001, and was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI. On 21 February 2011, he opted for the order of Cardinal Priest, with his former diaconal church elevated to the level of cardinalitial title.
The Grand Master of the Sovereign Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem, carrys on a rich tradition implemented and carried out by their predecessors; an unbroken line that reaches back to Blessed Brother Gerard in 1087. Throughout the ages, the Grand Master's role has been to guide, lead and strengthen The Order, such that it can continue to protect itself and others in it's hospitaller tradition. Modern times call for a modern approach, and the role now seeks to guide The Order through a very different world into which it was conceived. Modernising as appropriate, but sticking to the core values, principles and traditions that underpin its activities and membership, The Order continues to thrive in its mission to bring care and compassion to those around the world who need it most, under the un-waivering dedication and guidance of the Prince Grand Master, Sandor Habsburg-Lothringen.
The original Knights and Dames of the UK Grand Priory were invested in Malta and, as they were scattered all over the UK, carried out their own fund raising and projects in the name of the Order in the area where they lived, meeting up for the Chapter Meeting and Investitures of a new Knights or Dames.
The Berkshire Commandary was set up at the end of the 1970s and this enabled Members to be recruited and invested locally within the Counties of Berkshire and Oxfordshire. The Berkshire Commandary invested its first Dames three or four years later, and as membership increased the Commandary was upgraded to Priory Status.
By the mid 1990’s there were sufficient members of the Order within the counties of Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Hampshire that the Berkshire Priory became the Priories of St. George (covering Hampshire and some of Berkshire) and of St. Frideswide, covering Oxfordshire and a small part of Berkshire).
The Priories of St. Boniface (London) and St Martins (Kent & Surrey) were also established, and the United Kingdom also had a number of international expat members who were formed into the Priory of St Augustine. A further Priory (St John's) was formed in Belgravia.
In the late 1990’s it was decided to amalgamate the priories to allow for easier administration and the UK Grand Priory now consists of:
Berkshire , Hampshire and Oxfordshire
London , Essex / Kent
In addition, the UK Grand Priory also provides oversight and governance of the Commandery of St Vincent de Paul, USA.
The United Kingdom Grand Priory has been proud to support a number of local and international initiatives over many years. In general this support has been given by the way of equipment provisions or service rather than monetary donations. The UK Grand Priory membership also supports numerous good causes through personal donations, fundraising and service within their local community.
Continuing our Hospitaller tradition, The Sovereign Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem is committed to continued humanitarian and charitable work. The Knights and Dames of the Order, along with many volunteers work hard to raise and distribute aid around the world, to ease the suffering of the sick, the poor, and the disenfranchised. By organising many and varied charity events, the Order raises significant funds which it donates to worthy causes and campaigns in the UK and worldwide through financial donation and the purchase of much needed medicines, medical supplies and other items that make a significant difference to the lives of those in need. An example of some of the donations made in recent years from the Grand Priory of the United Kingdom are: