Copyright © The Malta Historical Society, 2005.

Source: Melita Historica. [Published by the Malta Historical Society]. 6(1973)2(201-213)

E. SAMMUT, L'Ordine di San Giovanni e l'Europa [Comunicazione letta al Congresso della “Association Européenne des Enseignants”], Malta, 1970.

In recent years there have been many specialized books on the Order of St. John of Malta, but this pamphlet is somewhat unique, for it gives us a bird’s eye view not only of the origins and development of the Order but also of its achievements in the defence of Christendom, in the arts of war, architecture, medicine, etc.

In a few pages, Dr. Sammut deals succinctly with the organisation of the Order, explaining how in a way it preceded the present day Council of Europe or NATO, since it was composed of representatives from the major Langues of Europe. Witness to their various diplomatic activities are some of the registers and documents preserved at the Valletta Public Library such as the section of Corrispondenza, Tribunalia di Nobiltà e Processi delle Prove di Nobiltà, Cabrei, etc.

On pp. 10-11, without entering into the problem which the Order had to face after its expulsion from Malta by Napoleon Bonaparte, or the various vicissitudes and finally its rehabilitation after the Congress of Vienna, the author mentions the fact that the sovereignty of the Order is presently recognized by the Holy See and no less than thirty four other states. Besides, the author concludes, the Order is accredited with [p.213] permanent delegations in Geneva and takes an active part in various international organisations such as the Red Cross, The Committee for European Emigration, and the World Health Organisation.

A. Vella