The Order of Malta, which has a very long and florid name - the Sovereign Military Order of the Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta, the Sovereign Military Hospitable Order of St. John, Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta is a knightly religious order of the Roman Catholic Church, moreover it is the oldest knightly order in the world.
The Order of Malta has observer status at the UN and diplomatic relations with 104 states, supported by a large number of ambassadors. According to international law, the Order of Malta is a state-like entity, while the order itself positions itself as a state. The sovereignty of the Order of Malta is considered at the level of diplomatic missions, but not as the sovereignty of the state. Sometimes viewed as a dwarf state.
The order issues its own passports, prints its own currency, stamps and even issues car numbers. The Grand Master of the Order serves as the Pope's Viceroy, providing Vatican diplomats with procedural support in filing petitions, proposing amendments, and making decisions in international diplomacy. The Order's claims to sovereignty are disputed by some scholars.
The forerunner of the order was the Amalfi Hospital, founded in Jerusalem in 1080, a Christian organization whose purpose was to care for the poor, sick, or wounded pilgrims in the Holy Land. After the Christian conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 during the First Crusade, a religious-military order with its own charter. The order was entrusted with the care and protection of the Holy Land.
Following the seizure of the Holy Land by the Muslims, the order continued its activities in Rhodes, of which it was the ruler, and after the fall of Rhodes in 1522, it operated from Malta, which was in vassal subordination to the Spanish Viceroy of Sicily. After Napoleon's capture of Malta in 1798, the Russian emperor Paul I granted the knights refuge in St. Petersburg (see Maltese crown, Maltese chapel, Order of St. John of Jerusalem).
In 1834, the order established a new headquarters in Rome. For a long time, the Order owned only a complex of mansions in Rome, but in 1998, the Government of Malta transferred the Castle of Saint Angel to the knights for exclusive use for a period of 99 years, while the building was granted the status of extraterritoriality and a governor was appointed.
At the moment, the Italian Republic recognizes the existence of the Order of Malta on its territory as a sovereign state, as well as the extraterritoriality of its residence in Rome (the Palace of Malta, or the Main Palace in Via Condotti, 68, residence, and the Main Villa on the Aventina). Since 1998, the Order also owns Fort Sant'Angelo, which also has an extraterritorial status for 99 years from the date of the agreement with the government of the Republic of Malta.
With an area of only 0, 012 km², the Order of Malta is the most populous country in the world, as the density of people living there ATTENTION 1, 583, 333.33 people / km²
An interesting fact, in Rome, in the gates of the residence of the Knights of Malta on Aventina, a special hole was made by Piranesi's project. Many believe that three states are visible from there: the Order of Malta (which owns the residence of the Order), the Vatican (St. Peter's Cathedral) and Italy (which includes everything in between). It is very easy to distinguish a hole with views from a simple keyhole: a pair of carabinieri are always on duty near it.
The order has about 13 thousand subjects, it is interesting that the passport of the Order of Malta is recognized by many countries, its owner has the right to visa-free entry to 32 countries. However, several states do not recognize the Maltese passport and do not have diplomatic relations with it: the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Iceland and Greece.
The order has its own constitution, legislation and code. It should be noted that throughout their existence, the documents, like all sources, were based on the Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church. Its principles formed the basis of all legal acts of the Order.
According to the Constitution, members of the Order are divided into three classes. All members are expected to lead exemplary lives in accordance with the teachings and commandments of the Church and be committed to the Order's humanitarian work.
The members of the First Class are the Knights of Justice, or Recognized Knights, and the Recognized Monastic Chaplains, who took vows of "poverty, chastity, and obedience leading to perfection in the gospel." They are considered monks by canon law, but are not required to live in monastic communities.
Members of the Second Class who have taken a vow of obedience are to live according to Christian principles and the lofty moral principles of the Order. They fall into three categories:
Knights and Ladies of Honor and Devotion in Obedience
Knights and Ladies of the Lord's Grace and Devotion in Obedience
Knights and Ladies of Master's Grace and Devotion in Obedience
The third class consists of secular members who did not take religious vows or oaths, but who live according to the principles of the Church and the Order. They fall into six categories:
Knights and Ladies of Honor and Devotion
Knights and Ladies of the Magister's Grace
Donates (men and women) Devotion
The requirements for admission to the various classes and categories are determined by the Code.
The Government of the Order of Malta is the Sovereign Council. It consists of the Grand Master, who heads the Council, four persons occupying the highest positions (Grand Commander, Grand Chancellor, Grand Hospitaller and Guardian of the General Treasury) and six other members. With the exception of the Grand Master, they are all elected by the General Assembly for a five-year term.
The order has a non-profit planned economy. The sources of income are primarily donations, as well as the sale of postage stamps and commemorative coins.
The order has its own currency - the Maltese scudo. The rate to the euro is set: 1 scudo = 0, 24 euros
The relationship of the Order of Malta with Russia has changed several times. Emperor Paul I established close cooperation with him, accepting the status of the Grand Master and Protector of the Order. However, after the assassination of Paul I, relations with the Order were severed rather quickly and restored only in 1992 by the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation B. N. Yeltsin.