Order of Malta
The Sovereign Order of Malta is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilization. A lay religious order of the Catholic Church since 1113 and a subject of international law, the Sovereign Order of Malta has diplomatic relations with over 100 states and the European Union, and permanent observer status at the United Nations. It is neutral, impartial and apolitical. Today, the Order of Malta is active in 120 countries caring for people in need through its medical, social and humanitarian works. Day-to-day, its broad spectrum of social projects provides a constant support for forgotten or excluded members of society. It is especially involved in helping people living in the midst of armed conflicts and natural disasters by providing medical assistance, caring for refugees, and distributing medicines and basic equipment for survival. Across the world, the Order of Malta is dedicated to the preservation of human dignity and the care of all those in need, regardless of their race or religion. Founded in Jerusalem in the 11th century, the Order of Malta has a long history of service to the vulnerable and the sick. This 900-year history is reflected in its full name: Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta. Since 1834 the Order of Malta’s government seat has been in Rome, where it is guaranteed extraterritorial rights. The Order of Malta operates through 12 Priories, 47 national Associations, 133 diplomatic missions, 1 worldwide relief agency and 33 national volunteer corps, as well as numerous hospitals, medical centers and specialist foundations. It does not pursue any economic or political goal and does not depend on any other state or government.
The diversity of the Order of Malta’s projects ensures that there are opportunities for all. The Order of Malta counts on 80,000 dedicated volunteers for the successful running of many of its projects across the world. Year-on-year they care for the homeless living in isolation in cities, assist refugees arriving on European shores, provide first-aid and organize medical and social campaigns, respond to victims of natural disasters, accompany disabled guests on pilgrimages and summer camps, support the elderly housebound and prepare nourishing food for people living in poverty in bitter winters. Two of the biggest events of the year are the Lourdes pilgrimage, where over 7,000 participants travel to the Marian shrine, and the International Summer Camp for Young Disabled, running for over 30 years in different European countries. Volunteers from across the world join forces to care for their disabled guests and to meet friends old and new. Many national camps are also run across Europe and Lebanon. Local activities take place year-round with projects expanding and new ideas and collaborations emerging.
Spirit of volunteering
These 80,000 permanent volunteers include people of all ages, nationalities and faiths, inspired by the principles of the Order of Malta to serve the needy and the forgotten. The Order of Malta runs first-aid and ambulance corps in 33 countries that rely largely on the dedication of volunteers. The diversity of these worldwide projects ensures that there are opportunities for everyone. In addition to our permanent volunteers, there are those who are involved on a temporary basis on special projects.