Order of Malta commemorates the 450th Anniversary of the Great Siege of Malta
Article: Anthony Gerada
Four hundred and fifty years have passed since the momentous historic event, when Jean de Valette led his troops and the Maltese militia and populace in the defence of the islands of Malta and, indeed, Europe’s southern borders, against an armed invasion.
To commemorate the occasion, Knights and Dames of the Order of Malta worldwide were invited to attend the programme of events held over three days in early September 2015.
On 6 September, Malta Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Imam Mohamed El Sadi led a procession from Couvre Porte in Vittoriosa to the city’s parish church of St Lawrence. There, an interfaith service was held with the two religious leaders praying for peace.
In the evening, the President of Malta hosted the Knights and Dames of the Order of Malta to a gala dinner at Verdala Palace. The palace was built in 1586 by Grand Master de Valette and used by the Knights as a hunting lodge. Today it serves as the official summer residence of the President of Malta.
The next day members of the Order of Malta were hosted by the Prime Minister of Malta for a lunch at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta in the evening the members of the Order were hosted at the village of Mellieha on the north-west of the island to partake in the village’s “Festa” of Our Lady of Victories.
On Sunday, the third and final day of the events, members of the Order attended a Pontifical High Mass at St Johns Co-Cathedral, the conventual church of the Order of Malta.
Archbishop Charles Scicluna spoke about the importance of peace and how the Order and Malta as well as small communities have much to give to the world. He described the Order as the first European Union. Knights from the Order of the Holy Sepulchre and the Venerable Order of St John also attended the service.