The Sovereign Orthodox Order of St. John of Jerusalem, known as Malta, was established in the year 1118 by Raimondo de Podio “Governor of Saint John of Acre (current City of the State of Israel)” former General of Goffredo di Buglione. He organized the Militia of San Giovanni, becoming the 1st Master. The Order of St. John, today, Knights of Malta, was established for the defense of pilgrims of the Holy Land and of Christian civilization in the East. Since the year of our Lord 138, in the midst of many oppression and misery, some Greek and Syrian Christians lived in Jerusalem, near the Sepulcher of Christ, practicing in their Church the Greek rite. The Order was immediately Sovereign, later, in the islands of Rhodes and then Malta. The Order is of a religious secular, nature, traditionally military, chivalrous and noble.
The Order has two Institutes, Hospitality and Militia, a constant tradition of six centuries assures us that Hospitality was established in the first foundation by Rector Gerardo Sasso, the other was solemnly adopted in 1118 by the General Chapter held in Jerusalem under the First Master Raimondo of Podio. The Institute of Hospitality was held by the Order by keeping a large hospital in its convent of Malta open to all kinds of sick people from all the nations that presented themselves. That of the militia has used ships, galleys and troops in continuous action to maintain the trade of all nations in the Mediterranean.
The observance of the two Institutes of Hospitality and Militia, of which the Order is constituted, obliged them to put the life of each Knight in permanent danger. The solemn vow of obedience required a blind execution of the orders of the Government, it constituted the superior master complete of all the substances and properties of each individual. According to this model of society, it would be possible to agree on a governmental structure in which each member of the Order would be protected from any abuse of his life and property. None of the three species of government was chosen:
The monarchist, because subject to frequent changes – The aristocrat, because in a short time you could reduce it – The Democrat because in all nations, at the time, he became vicious.
The wise legislators of the Order chose a government that closed the three models, considering it more firm and stable, because: one looks at the other, being in the same city, the Principality, the Nobles and the People. The Licurgo system, to which we owe the long term of eight hundred years of the Republic of Sparta, according to the unanimous opinion of the wise partisans of the Order.
The Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, known as the Order of Malta, has developed over the centuries an ecumenical aspiration to respect for all religious practices of Christian and non-Christian inspiration. The concept of ecumenism derives from the conception of the Order which, in way of the profound meaning of the universal message, men of good will must direct their actions towards the promotion of the unity of peoples throughout the world.
Napoleon Bonaparte expelled the Knights of the island of Malta. The Order has reorganized and adapted to the new territories. The 95% of the Knights went to Russia, keeping the government of the Order stable. Russia recognized it in this case as a sovereign state without territory, under bilateral agreements and arrangements. The Order is a State, under general international law, the loss of a territory as a result of occupation does not affect the identity and continuity of a State. A state does not automatically cease to exist when it is temporarily deprived of its territory or an effective government. Later, the Order was reconfirmed as a sovereign state without territory by the Treaty of Amiens 1801 – 1802.
The Grand Prieurè Melitense: the exact definition of this acronym is “Last Dominion of the Knights on the island of Malta” in ancient times was called Melita, is the origin of, the acronym “Grand Prieurè Melitense”