November 06, 2015
What is the Order of Malta?
The Order of Malta has a long, rich history – one that we’d have a difficult time squeezing into one blog post. Nonetheless, as a primary work of the Order, we felt it was important to at least introduce you to its 900 years of dedicated service to the poor and sick throughout the world.
The Sovereign Order of Malta is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilization. It’s mission is to upholding human dignity and care for people in need.
Founded in Jerusalem around the year 1050, the Order of Malta is known as the world’s oldest charitable lay order of the Roman Catholic church. Ten centuries ago, it opened a hospital in Jerusalem that welcomed pilgrims of any faith tradition and ethnicity.
That hospital was considered to be one of the best of its time, providing patients with a bed of their own, linens that were regularly changed, and a separate maternity ward for expectant mothers.
Today, the Order has over 13,500 members worldwide that still practice its 900-year-old humanitarian mission. The Order operates hospitals, medical centers, and outpatient clinics in over 120 countries around the world, providing care to the elderly, the homeless, children, the disabled, and refugees.
Like its founder, Blessed Fra Gerard, members of the Order of Malta seek always to serve “our Lords, the sick and the poor.”
Since 1985, the Order of Malta has been responsible for all operations at Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem, located only 6 miles from the Order’s original hospital in Jerusalem. As the premier maternity hospital and neonatal critical care center in a region that knows great poverty and strife, it fully embodies the Order’s mission to serve the poor and the sick representing the Lord.
As such, the Grand Master has encouraged all Knights and Dames to support the Hospital’s life-affirming ministry in the Holy Land.