Religion


Vatican: Pope expresses sympathy for Knights of Malta chief




Vatican City, 12 Feb. (AKI) - Pope Benedict XVI has sent a telegram of condolences praising the lifetime achievements of the Order of the Knights of Malta's late Grand Master, Fra Andrew Bertie, who died last week at the age of 79.

In the telegram, addressed to Fra Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto, acting head of the Knights of Malta until the election of a new Grand Master, the Pope expressed his condolences to all members of the order.

The telegram highlights "the achievements of this respected man of culture, and the generous commitment he showed in carrying out his exalted role, especially in support of the most needy, as well as his love for the Church and his shining witness to evangelical principles".

British-born Bertie, who was the 78th grand master of the 900-year-old charitable order, died in a Rome clinic last Thursday, the Knights of Malta said in a statement.

No cause of death was given.

Bertie is currently lying in the chapel of Santa Maria del Priorato in the Order of Malta's villa on the Aventine Hill in Rome. His funeral will take place on Saturday.

The Rome-based Roman Catholic Order of Malta nowadays largely runs hospitals. It takes its origins from the Knights Hospitaller, an organisation founded in Jerusalem in 1080, to care for poor and sick pilgrims to the Holy Land.

After the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 during the First Crusade, the order became a Catholic military one under its own charter and gained sovereignty over the Greek island of Rhodes. It later operated from Malta until it was removed by Napoleon.

The Order of Malta retains its claim of sovereignty under international law and has been granted permanent observer status at the United Nations.

It issues its own passports, stamps and coins and has formal diplomatic relations with 100 states.




 

print          send

Features

highlights

info
Contact us

Medfilmfestival