Talk:Sovereign Military Order of Malta

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The article states that new Knights of Malta are "expected" to become armigerous. Please document or cite this expectation; expected by whom? What rule? They are certainly allowed to become armigerous, and the order provides for armorial addiaments--but there are many knights, particularly in the category of magistral grace, who are not armigerous.

I would anticipate the "are expected" being changed to "may" if a source is not cited. 17:22, 9 May 2007 (UTC)chevalier3

Surely most people don't know what that word means anyway- I certainly don't.

IceDragon64 (talk) 22:00, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

Archive discussion[edit]

  • /Archive 1 (was an independent talk page when we had two versions of the same article)


Are not they also known as 'Johanites'. Harry Potter

No. The Johanniters (not correct spelling) are members of a different chivalric order, the Brandenburg Bailiwick of the Knights' Order of the Hospital of St John in Jerusalem aka Knights of St. John in Germany. Please see Johanniter. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 17:19, 9 May 2007 (UTC).

Regarding external links see Talk:Sovereign Military Order of Malta. There might also be a case to merge Sovereign Military Order of Malta into this one. -- Mic 10:04, Oct 6, 2003 (UTC)

Clearly these should be merged, perhaps with additional remarks concerning all that fuss about the Nine Declatory Resolutions what with the death of de St croix and all. Just as the French Capitular Commission vanishes from history, the English Capitular Commission appears with eventual re-establishment of "The Order of St. John of Jerusalem in England".Harry Potter 00:07, 7 Oct 2003 (UTC)

As the Knights Hospitaller tradition is somewhat wider than the more recent Sovereign Military Order of Malta the page should remain separate. For example there is the JohanniterOrder of Prussia which emerged as a separate organisation following the Reformation, and the creation of another non-Roman tradition in the British Order supported by Queen Victoria. Following a Decree from Emperor Alexander I of Russia, a distinct Russian tradition was created. - The Rev'd Dr Michael Foster

Taken from Talk:Sovereign Military Order of Malta[edit]

I'll put it here since I merged that page to this one.Przepla 23:56, 22 Feb 2004 (UTC)

The official link was pointing to one, out of the four local chapters in the United states. Replaced it with the link to the official site of the order.

Hmm, oughtn't this page be merged with Knights Hospitaller? john 23:09, 6 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Merge summary[edit]

I merged this article with Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Since more pages linked here than Sovereign Military Order of Malta, I decided that this page is to stay. I also changed some sections into subsections. I wrote new paragraph about government of the Order basing on their WebPage FAQ. I tried to changed what needed as to not constitute copyvio, but I might miss something. I fixed all links to point here (almost, as Micronation is protected).Przepla 23:53, 22 Feb 2004 (UTC)

International status[edit]

I cannot see what is "nebulous" there. That an area of land is extraterritorial does not mean that it is not a constituent part of the territory of Italy (in this case), it just means that Italy cannot exercise its jurisdiction there, because it is hindered to do so by international law.

This is the same status that an embassy has.

If I hear no objections here, I will rewrite that paragraph.

P.S.: What is interesting about the order is that it once _was_ a state but stopped to do so when it lost its territory (but did not stop to be a subject of international law).

JensMueller 09:58, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The part about the coins and stamps is outdated; there are 2004 coins on the Order's web site.

The word "Langue"[edit]

The individual nation branches of the order were called Langues from the French "tongue". This is what I have read in one or two articles, but there is, I believe, another meaning of the French word, namely "strip of land". I think the Order term may derive from this being some reference to the holding of land by the Knights.

Robert Hill

No, it was based on the geographic/cultureal/linguistic origin of the knights. Cosal 23:29, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

Order of Knights of the Hospital of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem[edit]

Any information about the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem?

Maltese Falcon[edit]

Should "Maltese falcon" in the article really link to the movie? Is there another meaning of the word "falcon" I'm not aware of, e.g. it's the name of a coin in Malta? Or did the Knights really tithe one falcon a year?

Actually, I do not find real informations about any Maltese falcon (the statue)... except in Hammet book ! Are you really sure it is not a book plot, rather than a true fact ??? I think we should remove :
"Their annual fee for the island was a single Maltese falcon, which they had to give annually on All Souls Day to the Viceroy, who acted as the King's representative."
--WithNuts 17:37, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Timeline issue[edit]

I'm not an expert at all on the subject of knights, but a friend of mine (not a Wikipedian) pointed out that there seems to be an issue with the "loss of Malta" section. Specifically (emphasis mine):

... rather than Grand Masters in the period 1805 to 1879, when Pope Leo XIII restored a Grand Master to the Order. This signalled the revival of the Order's fortunes as a humanitarian and ceremonial organization.

followed immediately by:

In 1834, the revived Order ...

Now, there may be a perfectly logical reason for this, but I thought I'd just point this out so someone who knows up from down on this subject can fix it or tell me to shut my proverbial hole. --Jemiller226 04:37, 10 August 2005 (UTC)


The conflation of the historical Knights of Malta and the present day organisation is confusing, even deliberately misleading. See Fort St Angelo where both the historical organisation and the present incarnation are both referred to, but resolve to the same page since I cannot refer into the presently too long article.

I would prefer that the original seperation be restored, or better an evan a smaller division created with an overall article to link them togeather, since the organisation that fell to Napolion was substantially different to that which was kicked out of Rhodes, or which fought off the Turks. And the section on the Grand Masters of the order would be better as a seperate article, so that it can be referred to directly, rather than being a footnote on a rambling article that tries to be all things to all men. I'm working on a series of articles on the fortifications of Malta, and will probably want to expand the entries on the Grand Masters of the order as a consiquence. The list of Grand Masters is a reasonable start on this. --Shoka 23:30, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

I fixed it with a section link. It's still ugly though. --Shoka 00:05, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

"Catholic states"[edit]

SMOM has formal diplomatic relations with 93 states (many of which are non-Catholic)

The preceding phrase is found in the article, in the section describing the Order's international status. However, the terminology used is not accurate, as there exists no such thing as a "Catholic state," definitely not since Vatican II in the 1960s (even if some Catholic theologians had once held that there ought to be [1]). I suspect the writer was trying to express the notion of a traditionally Catholic country, but this must be clarified (See Roman Catholic Church#Worldwide distribution). --Dpr 05:41, 11 September 2005 (UTC)

The above phrase is quoted from the SMOM's official website [2]. I think the SMOM is trying to describe those states with majority Catholic population as "Catholic states" instead of using the term to refer to those with Catholic as state religion. DD Ting 10:41, 11 September 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for the info. Do you think it should be clarified, however? Thanks. --Dpr 02:50, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
It depends on how you define "Catholic states". For me, I'd prefer maintaining status quo. DD Ting 11:55, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
"Catholic states", I propose, is an undefined term. They do not exist. The term is not widely used and should not be used here--it would be an idiosyncracy. Nonetheless, it's worthwhile to examine the following: State religion#Roman Catholic...there are 11 or so states which do hold Catholicism to be the state religion. Nonetheless "Catholic state" is still an irregular term. --Dpr 02:48, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

Why don't we say "many of which are not predominantly Catholic"? john k 03:22, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

Proposed Merger[edit]

The two new articles should not be merged with this one. They are written by representatives of Don Grady, and put forward fraudulent text from a blatantly self styled order. These two articles should be deleted rather than merged into this one.

Anglicising Latin name[edit]

The Latin name is the official name of the order, while the 'anglicised' version is the name of one of the protestant orders related to the original order. The normal English name is the one used in the title of the article - hence I reversed here. Refdoc 09:15, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

Order of St John of Jerusalem[edit]

Hello Refdoc, I noticed your revert of my anglicization of the latin in Knights hospitaller. The reason I anglicized "ordo militae etc" is because there is a bogus order run by a fake german prince that uses the latin name. SMOM uses the latin translation of "SMOM" and this isn't it. Since nobody officially uses this version of the latin name besides the bogus order, I thought I should anglicize it to the more common usage which also includes the legitimate "Johannitter" orders in Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands. I will be changing the latin back to english shortly. Ordrestjean 21:22, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

Additionally, the name of the British order is "Most Venerable Order of St John of the Hospital of Jerusalem, of the British Realm".

Order of Malta[edit]

Why is this entry not named after the shortened name that the organization uses itself: the Order of Malta. Shortened from the proper name (in English) Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta. [[3]]. Why would we disregard Wiki policiy here?. DocendoDiscimus 22:43, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Because this order covers all the periods of history, not just the years on Malta (which were the minority). Ordrestjean 02:06, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

Caliph chasm[edit]

There is something wrong with the following sentance from the article:

In 1023, merchants from Amalfi and Salerno in Italy were given permission by the Caliph Haroun el Raschid of Egypt to rebuild the hospice in Jerusalem.

Fatimid dynasty, the egyptian caliphs of the time, has no such fellow and Harun al-Rashid was much earlier. Anyone know the actual details? MeltBanana 16:30, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

Early History[edit]

Where the article read, "The hospice ... took in Christian pilgrims traveling to visit the birthplace of Jesus," I substituted "traveling to visit the site of the crucifixion of Jesus." I suppose many Christian pilgrims might have traveled on to Bethlehem as well, but Golgatha was the chief reason for traveling to the Holy Land, and certainly the reason for going to Jerusalem. Please correct me if I'm mistaken. Joel Bastedo 06:00, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

Actually Christian pilgrims usually took in a 'grand tour' of as many holy sites as they could visit. It was a very difficult and expensive trip, so they tended to make the most of it. Ordrestjean 02:08, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

Knights of Malta[edit]

Spain did not even exist in the year 1565. The relief arrived from the Ancient Reign of Aragon--Paco 07:55, 4 December 2005 (UTC)


"Most of the cities were destroyed... "This statement is unclear to me as firstly there were no cities to speak of as such, and as far as I can remember the only villages/towns of any significance/size at that time were Mdina which was left untouched and Birgu which was admittedly bombarded very heavily. Senglea was only a recently fortified peninsula with practically no inhabitants, and Valletta ofcourse didn' exist yet. All other places with the possible excpetion of Rabat were small villages at the time. 14:26, 16 December 2005 (UTC)


An organization is either sovereign or not. There's no dispute there! You cannot just claim sovereignity, other organizations/nations must recognize that sovereignity. You have to prove it's PoV (how about reading the relevant WP:POV article for starts?) not just decide that it's PoV. Please provide a source to your claim (as I asked to do in the edit summary) instead of simply starting an edit war like some who's right kid's game. VodkaJazz/talk 18:50, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

The SMOM claims sovereignty (but not national sovereignty!). This sovereignty is recognized by many nations. Others do not recognize the SMOM. But that doesn't mean that they dispute the SMOM's sovereignty, they simply don't diplomatically recognize it. Sources would need to be provided, as you say, to show that someone actively disputes the SMOM's claims to sovereignty. john k 02:42, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Too many different sects[edit]

This page is a mess.

The contributers have confused the Order of Malta ([4]), the Knights Hospitallers ([5]) and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta ([6]), to name only those I immediately noticed. They are all _very_ different organizations with, unfortunately for Wikipedia, very similar roots. They schismed a few times, long ago, much like Anglicans, Protestants, etc. did from Christianity, and for many of the same belief-founded reasons. You'll even note that the Grand Masters are different on some places, and this can be used, actually, to trace the aforementioned splits in the different Orders, for example.

This will be very difficult to resolve, and there is nothing offendingly wrong with the "overview" currently available under the "Knights Hospitallers" article name. Just know that, for one, the Grand Masters list is incorrect (the current Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers is actually Count Joseph Frendo-Cumbo of Malta, whereas Willoughby Ninian Bertie is of the Sovereign Order). There are other factual differences as well, most of which might be sorted out eventually by someone more wiki-proficient than I. But know this: it's gonna be quite confusing if you're striving for complete accuracy and precision.

For those so inclined, the "Self-Styled Orders" section of the Sovereign Order's website (English, [7]) may help a little. This only helps for those calling themselves the Sovereign Order, however: when it asserts that many "fake" organizations have cropped up around the world, it is specifying those organizations that attest to being the True Sovereign Order of Malta and not, for example, the Knights Hospitallers (the military hospitallers and knight hospitallers are, again, different)

I know it sucks, but it had to be said. Hopefully one day, someone will get bored enough to rearrange it but for now, like I said, it'll do.

Grazzi hafna =)

Joseph Crendo-Cumbo is the head of a fake order that only gained confusion when it was recognized by the exiled King Michael of Rumania. It's an offshoot of the Paterno Order which itself was created by a self-titled "prince". [1]. Bertie, and now Festing, are the only heads of SMOM. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Magicalyak (talkcontribs) 20:19, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

Years and general editing[edit]

I have simply just been glancing at the Knights Hospitaller Page and have noticed a few errors here and there. the years are missing their subfix of B.C. or A.D., i made the changes in the first paragraph, but noticing this seems to proceed throughout the page, i want to be sure the changes are correct, so i have ceased editing. it would only make sense though that the years are A.D. and therefore, after Christ was crucified.

I also noted that when the Knights of Malta were invaded by the ottomans, all that is stated is: "Accordingly, they assembled another massive army in order to dislodge the Knights from Malta, and in 1565 invaded, starting the Great Siege of Malta."

OK, so the ottomans invaded what? what area? a specific city? a fortress? yes there is a link for "the Great Siege of Malta", but i think the location should be inserted after "invaded,".

This article does get the general concept and history of the Knights Hospitaller, but i still think there needs to be some work done here and there.


They invaded Malta, obviously. And why would the years need AD after them? Surely no one would be confused by that... Adam Bishop 21:06, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
B.C. is a suffix. A.D. is a prefix, it never goes after the year number, but rather before. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:46, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

Delisted GA[edit]

This article did not go through the current GA nomination process. Looking at the article as is, it fails on criteria 2b of the GA quality standards. Although references are provided, the citation of sources is essential for verifiability. Most Good Articles use inline citations. I would recommend that this be fixed, to reexamine the article against the GA quality standards, and to submit the article through the nomination process. --RelHistBuff 10:30, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Recent Additions[edit]

I have added a few facts to the SMOM section - size of membership, name of current Grand Master etc. For the sake of clarity the heading of the section on the Venerable Order has been amended to give its fuller title. One or two other small edits for style which I trust will be helpful. Jallason 22:37, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

How big were those Christian Crosses?[edit]

The article says, "made the Christians wear wooden crosses, half a meter long by half a meter wide, around their necks."

I'd like to put the actual measurement units here, whether that was cubits, arm lengths, or shoulder spans; but 'meters' just doesn't look right in this context. RPellessier | Talk 16:29, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

The information about the mistreatment of Christians seems irrelevant to the rest of the article - unless it can be tied to the order, I've taken it down. It belongs to the article about the city being taken, and to the page of the invader, but not about the religious order that would be founded to hold a bulding that was burnt down in that same invasion - Grey Wolf

Split off list?[edit]

I propose splitting off the list of Grand Masters into Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller or List of Grand Masters of the Knights Hospitaller. The article is getting long (34K), and the German, Czech, French, Dutch, Polish, and Slovak have such articles separated. It would also provide a clearer link for succession boxes for the people on the list, and a main article for the Category:Grand Masters of the Knights Hospitaller. Any objections? Rigadoun (talk) 17:31, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Makes sense to me, if there is an appropriate link to the list.Cosal 23:10, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
Done. I added a link in the "See also" section. If you can think of another place, go ahead and add it. Rigadoun (talk) 16:19, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

The red and white flag shown in the article is _amazingly_ similar to that of the small scandinavian country of Denmark. It's the worlds oldest flag and legend has it that it fell from the sky during a battle in the baltic region.

Is this really the Flag_of_the_Sovereign_Military_Order_of_Malta?

The Danish flag is called Dannebrog and is widely available in Denmark.

It is the correct flag. It is also very similar to the first flag used by the Holy Roman Empire. Legend states that the Flag of Denmark fell from Heavens to a Danish army in Estonia in 1219. People that don't believe in this legend have often explained the flag as simply a "standard" crusader flag. Now you know why. :) Valentinian (talk) / (contribs) 14:20, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

Reorganization needed[edit]

This article is kind of messy right now. Would it not be better to have the Knights hospitaller article be a general history of knights hospitaller (St John, Lazarus, etc) and then have individual articles for each of the orders? This would help keep things more organized and make it clear that these are distinct orders of the same tradition.--Eva bd 15:23, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

How about something with an article for each of these. This would cover the St John Orders, and similar structure could be given to the Lazarite Orders.

  • Alliance of Orders of St John
  • Order of Malta
The Four Main Protestant Orders
  • Balley Brandenburg ("Johanniterorden")
  • Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem
  • Johanniterorden I Sverige
  • Johanniter Orde in Nederland
The Four non-German Commanderies of the Bailiwick of Brandenburg
  • Swiss Commandery of the Order of St John
  • French Commandery of the Order of St John
  • Hungarian Commandery of the Order of St John
  • Finnish Commandery of the Order of St John

If we had an article for each of the starred items, that should cover the topic pretty well. The origins of the Hospitaller Orders in general could either be covered under the SMOM or possibly under the alliance.--dave-- 14:49, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Since there seem to have been no problems with this proposal on the other talk pages where it has been posted, I've begun the process. This is sorely needed because to the uninitiated, it is completely unclear what is going on with the Orders of St John. If one were to throw the self-styled orders into the mix, it gets even more confusing. (PS-I would suggest lumping the self-styled orders [as defined by the alliance orders] together in one article.--Eva bd 21:41, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

The recent re-redirect of this article highlights the point that there is too much confusion over things. We really need to find some way to make these pages organized. There has been no opposition to the move listed on thie articles talk page, yet an editor has moved it back claiming that there was no consensus. There are several talk pages were dave-- made his case and they all came up with few or now problems. We need to work something out better.--Eva bd 22:31, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Yet Another Proposed Merger[edit]

I'm against it because the Knights Hospitaller was the parent of SMOM, The Most Venerable Order, and other legitimate Orders of Saint John. SMOM and KM were seperated because some editors attempted to show the SMOM as the only legitimate offspring of the Knights Hospitaller. Some editors even went so far as to rename "Knights Hospitaller" as "SMOM". Enough of this partisanship. Russophile2 23:52, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

If the Knights Hospitaller was the parent of SMOM, wouldn't it be best if we'd move the Knights Hospitaller to SMOM as part of SMOM's history? All we'll have to do is to add a subtitle called 'History' to SMOM, then insert all the info from the Knights Hospitaller to the 'History' part. Keith Azzopardi 16:34, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
  • However, some editors seem to forget that the Knights Hospitaller was the parent of several orders besides SMOM. Russophile2 03:11, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
Then why not include the other orders in the article too? There would be less confusion then...

New Picture[edit]

If someone could find the cross of Knights Hospitaller (which I believe was a white cross on a black background) or their seal and replace the portrait of the Knight at the top of the page, that would be a big improvement.

Allliance of Chivalry of Hospitallers of Sant John, etc[edit]

Howdy Y'all,

I just added: "Linked to the S.M.O.M. by historical tradition and particular agreements are four other Orders of St. John. These Orders of Knighthood have formed the Alliance of Chivalry of Hospitallers of Saint John of Jerusalem based in Basel, of which the President is Bernd, Baron Freytag von Loringhoven and the Secretary is Mr. Ehringer-Krehl. The Members of this Alliance are:

1) Die Balley Brandenburg des Ritterlichen Ordens Sankt Johannes vom Spital zu Jerusalem (the Baliwick of Brandenburg of the Knightly Order of St. John of the Hospital in Jerusalem, otherwise known as the Johanniter Order). The Herrenmeister (Master of the Knights) is H.R.H. Wilhelm-Karl, Prince of Prussia, the membership is divided into Knights of Justice or Honor and it is based in Bonn. It is recognized as an Order of Chivalry by the Federal Republic of Germany and has Finnish, Swiss, French, Austrian and Hungarian Commanderies. The members of Johanniter Order resident in the United States have formed two sub-Commanderies, which have jointly created Johanniter Aid Association in North America Inc., based in New York.

2) The Grand Priory of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, of which H.M. Queen Elizabeth II is Sovereign Head and H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester the Grand Prior. The Grand Priory headquarters are at St. John's Gate, Clerkenwell, London EC1M 4DA, and it has Priories in Scotland, Wales, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada and Australia and Commanderies in Northern Ireland and Western Australia. The Lord Prior is Lord Vesty and the Hospitaller is Dr. Noel Rice. The U.S. Priory is composed of United States citizens and British subjects resident in the U.S., who have been admitted to the Order.

3) Johanniterorder i Sverige, which is under the High Protectorship of H.M. the King of Sweden is an Order of the Swedish Crown divided into Knights of Justice or Honor. The Commander is General Fredrik Lovenheim and the Chancellor is Baron Lagerbielke. The headquarters are in Stockholm

4) Johanniter Orde in Nederland, is an Order of the Dutch Crown divided into Knights and Dames of Justice or Honor under the Protection of H.M. Queen Beatrix, who is Honorary Commander. The Landcommandeur is her father, H.R.H. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and the headquarters are in the Hague. "

  • I pretty much copied it word for word from "The Priory In The United States of The Most Venerable Order of The Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem membership directory 1999." I apologize in advance if any of those people are now dead... Captain Barrett 17:06, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

The problem with reinventing yourself is that if you succeed you will never notice. 04:44, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the debate was PAGE MOVED per discussion below. Also, I've moved the talk page that previously was here to /Archive 1. In sorting out the article history, I noticed that we have a separate Knights Hospitaller article, although this article started out at that title. That article seems to be independed from this one, focusing on the earlier history of the order before it became the SMOM. If I'm mistaken about that, or if any merging or rearranging of histories needs to happen for whatever reason, please feel free to let me know. -GTBacchus(talk) 22:22, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of MaltaSovereign Military Order of Malta — There is no need to use the full formal name of the order as the title of the page - it's far too unwieldly. Sovereign Military Order of Malta (with the corresponding acronym, SMOM) is the usual everyday name of the organisation in English. Kwekubo 01:06, 12 February 2007 (UTC)


Add  # '''Support'''  or  # '''Oppose'''  on a new line in the appropriate section followed by a brief explanation, then sign your opinion using ~~~~. Please remember that this survey is not a vote, and please provide an explanation for your recommendation.

Survey - in support of the move[edit]

  1. In Support Strongly. - The organization is complicated enough as it is. SMOM is used most frequently in literature. Captain Barrett 05:47, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
  2. In Support - Countries are not entered into Wikipedia according to their official, long-form names. No need to do so here. (Of course, I'm only making an analogy, not throwing support to the SMOM being a sovereign country, a la the Holy See.) --Mike Beidler 16:48, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
  3. Support. WP:COMMONNAME. God forbid Bangkok gets moved to its long form... --SigPig |SEND - OVER 17:58, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
  4. Support per nom and User:SigPig's Bangkok analogy. —  AjaxSmack  02:04, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
  5. Support - The current title is absurd. Titles should reflect common usage, and no-one uses two line names for anything. - Crosbiesmith 21:11, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Survey - in opposition to the move[edit]


Add any additional comments:
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

official language[edit]

for the constitution of the order the only official language is the italian.

Sovereign Military Order of Malta#Mimic Orders[edit]

Where is the section #Mimic Orders ? Did it ever existed ?

If you find it, revert my modification.

I just deleted link to nice "mimic order" (h**p://, where is "Grand master" John Grady from Tennessee. I hope, that this link never rise again :-) Yopie 23:46, 16 January 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Yopie (talkcontribs)

For more facts about John Grady "order" see, where US Court decided, that Grady and his "order" is not real SMOM. Yopie 00:30, 17 January 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Yopie (talkcontribs)

Possible Navigation Template[edit]

How does this look for a possible template to be used to navigate between the various orders of saint john:

{{Saint John Orders}}

I'm not sure how best to list each order's name and there obviously a lot of red links, but any suggestions are more than welcome.--Eva bd 18:36, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

What's the population?[edit]

The Montevideo Convention says that a country should have a permanent population, but this article doesn't give a figure. Does anyone know the figure?--ML5 (talk) 12:27, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

THE POPULATION IS 12.500 PEOPLE [8] --Alessandro.pasi (talk) 18:12, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

Does it claim Maltese territory?[edit]

--Certh (talk) 14:00, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

No, they don´t claim Maltese territory. SMOM have as extra-territorial one castle in Malta, as gift from Maltese government. Yopie 21:07, 1 March 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Yopie (talkcontribs)
So can it be described "government in excile" or not?--Certh (talk) 11:35, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
Not in the slightest. GIE makes it seem like they were forcibly removed from malta.--Jakezing (talk) 03:48, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
And SMOM was also forcibly removed from Malta by Napoleon, wasn't it?--Certh (talk) 07:24, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
But is SMOM still activley claiming to be the goverment of malta?--Jakezing (talk) 15:12, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
No, why? The are sovereign as order, not as rulers of Malta. Yopie 22:09, 7 March 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Yopie (talkcontribs)
Not much of a GIE, since neither do they, or any other nation/group/order, claim that the SMOM is one.--Jakezing (talk) 02:29, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Obviously there is no consensus on this issue. Claims of sovereignty should be tabled until this is settled. Thump Bucket (talk) 14:08, 15 July 2008 (UTC)


I maintain another order which has a list of "notables." This is tough to maintain since everyone wants their Dad on there! (It was handed out rather indiscrimately in many cases). Anyway, just ran across a Knight of Malta, William Casey. Was about to enter his name but didn't find a place. Since most of my editing on this other article is to delete some good-faith addition of a non-notable, I can see why you would want to avoid this. Is there any general direction that would enable me to delete the section in the article I'm maintaining? Or were you just lucky?  :) Student7 (talk) 16:12, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

World War 2[edit]

Was the SMOM affected by World War 2? Did the Germans force their way inside the building occupied by the SMOM? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:40, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

The Italian Branch of SMOM made Benito Mussolini a Knight to pacify/influence him. Additionally, some members of SMOM were involved in some very shady dealings during and after the war. Will wait until I have some good sources before listing these offenses here. Thump Bucket (talk) 14:12, 15 July 2008 (UTC)


Whilst SMOM may well be an English article and you can use any word you chose, please be aware that it sounds funny and pretentious (and obsolete) to the American (and maybe other) ear. (Is its usage really mandantory? Student7 (talk) 12:37, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Well there is nothing 'obsolete' about the word in British English, or "Original English" as some of us like to call it. Neither is there anything 'pretentious' about it - it is very much an everyday word. I have no objection to Americans changing English for their own purposes if they wish to do so, but we do have policy about this on Wikipedia. According to my reading of that policy, there is no justification for changing this article from British English usage to American English usage. Timothy Titus Talk To TT 11:29, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
I realized that you are "authorized." Just remember that a rather large percentage of English-speaking people are going to tune you out at that point. What is the value of being "right" when you lose readership?
We are not talking slang here, but there has to be a lot of American slang, if used in an article, would put off a non-American reader. If this were pointed out to me, I would definitely change the wording. Student7 (talk) 17:52, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
We do have slang terms in British English as well, you know. Likewise, we avoid them on Wikipedia as the yanks wouldn't understand. I quite agree with you there. However, the whole idea of slang seems a complete 'red herring' here, for as you (again correctly) point out, this is not an issue of slang terminology. This article is written in British English, in full accordance with Wikipedia policy, and therefore 'whilst' is the correct word. Your reference to "a rather large percentage of English-speaking people" does not impress me in the slightest, as we are certainly not playing a numbers game here; and frankly any reader who is sufficiently petty-minded to switch off (ref: your suggestion of losing readership) because a European-centred article is written in correct British English, is probably too stupid to handle an encyclopedia in any case. I doubt that my preceding comment actually denigrates any individual, as I suspect that your original assertion is in any case a fantasy. Finally, and in answer to your question "What is the value of being right..." I would have thought the answer to be fairly self-evident. The whole point of this project is to present information accurately. I realise that British English is more complex than American English (this is a demonstrable fact, and we all know it), but that is no argument for watering down the British English of British and European articles; I have yet to see any evidence of the advantages of a 'lowest common denominator' attitude to linguistics, or indeed to any other area of life. Timothy Titus Talk To TT 00:09, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
I guess you could footnote it or insert a template and say "this was contributed by a British speaker." Some casual readers might understand. But many won't realize that the languages are different and will stop reading or be turned off. We can't really help our language prejudices. That's the way we all are! It is reality! You have decided not to accept that and to force everyone to follow your dialect. To me, that just doesn't make sense. Student7 (talk) 02:21, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
Firstly, please don't make this personal. It is not me making others do something - it is Wikipedia policy, as decided by a consensus on this project. Secondly, I repeat, the idea that American readers will give up on an article because it is in British English is simply nonsense - few people would be sufficiently stupid and/or petty. In any case, I have plenty of American friends who speak proper British English, including the word whilst! Thirdly, what is it that "doesn't make sense" to you? Are you suggesting that for the sake of Americans, all articles should be written in American English? What nonsense! American articles are indeed written in American English - and note that those of us who speak British English put up with the lower standards of American English, and we certainly don't switch off, or give up reading the articles! You clearly have a bee in your bonnet over this word, but my advice would be to get over it, and to recognise that America is one country out of many in this world - the suggestion that we all have to follow American practice in order to satisfy American people is rubbish, and I am certain that many of your own American compatriots would agree. Timothy Titus Talk To TT 15:43, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
In America, if we were to use the adjective "bloody" verbally, people would anticipate amusement, because it meant the speaker was going to say something that was (supposedly) "typically" English and therefore funny. However, if I were to use a quote containing that adjective in Wikipedia, it might put off British readers because it is (I understand) profanity. Therefore, despite the fact that it sounded terrifically amusing to me, I would replace it with a quote that would not turn off British ears from my argument. Student7 (talk) 23:08, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Map of the Vatican?[edit]

If this entity has no territory, why would a map be needed in the right table

and especially, LocationVaticanCity.svg !? ^-o

unless im missing something, can someone explain or does anyone else agree this should be corrected? (talk) 10:23, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Map was added, because HQ of the Order is in Rome. Name of image does not pretend anything. --Yopie 12:16, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Although the Order has no 'territory' in the usual sense, it does have sovereign territorial jurisdiction over its own two headquarters properties in Rome - they are extra-territorial from normal Italian jurisdiction. As such, the current map is appropriate. Timothy Titus Talk To TT 15:16, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

of course it does. showing a locator map of the Vatican in the infobox is still a rather ill-advised decision. The question here is not "does it have sovereign territorial jurisdiction over its own two headquarters properties" (to which the answer is of course yes), but "does the locator map serve any purpose benefitting the article reader". --dab (𒁳) 10:28, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Indeed, and the answer to your question is also "yes". It does benefit the article reader. you and I may know exactly where we are talking about, but there is no reason to assume that the article reader knows where we are talking about. SMOM is headquartered in Rome, and that is why the map in question was employed. Timothy Titus Talk To TT 12:16, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

ccTLD citatation needed[edit]

for internet identification the SMOM has not sought, nor been granted, a top level domain (such as .com, while Vatican City uses its own domain

With very few exceptions indeed, ccTLDs are only granted based on ISO 3166 two-letter country codes. SMOM does not have an ISO 3166 code assigned, therefore they also cannot (could not) get a ccTLD. Conversely, if you are on the ISO 3166 list, there is a ccTLD reserved for you, whether you use it or not. It typically has nothing to do with seeking a ccTLD. You can't do that, afaik. -- (talk) 11:21, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the info. How should this be reworded or should it be deleted? "A country code has not been assigned to SMOM"? (and how important is it that they haven't?) Student7 (talk) 18:42, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Removal of irrelevant image[edit]

I am proceeding to remove the photo placed in the Military Corps of the Order section as it is wrongly described as portraying "High officials of the SMOM" and therefore doesn't belong there.

These are not "High officials of the SMOM" they are instead Italian Army Warrant Officers or NCOs (Specifically two Primo Maresciallo Luogotenente ("higher" Sergeant Major), one Primo Maresciallo (Sergeant Major) and one Maresciallo Capo (Master Sergeant) all NATO OR-9 equivalent) of the Corpo Sanitario Esercito (Medical corps of the Army)

Stemel (talk) 14:55, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Russian ukases and "hereditary knights"[edit]

Hi; I was looking for material on the Russian ukases of 1799 and 1821 re the history of the Pacific Northwest and found something very interesting, maybe, to authors/editors here. The article I found, which is on so maybe you're already aware of it, concerns the Emperor Paul I of Russia's creation of the status of hereditary knights, apparently in relation to the reliquary of the hand of St. John the Baptist. I don't know too much more about it but thought someone here might find the article linked useful for expansion of this article.Skookum1 (talk) 15:17, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Simply strange web of bogus, self-styled order. Nothing useful for article about SMOM. --Yopie 19:37, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
Skookum, Pay no attention to Yopie - he is a troll. The pages you note were developed by Dr Michael John Foster of the United Kingdom, the foremost authority on this subject. Tipi Tiki (talk) 19:56, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

== Observer at the UN == I have found no references to the SMOM as having that status nor is it mentioned in the wikipedia article on UN members (which also lists the observers). Does anyone have citation for this? Camelbinky (talk) 04:55, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

Conspiracy theories[edit]

There are various conspiracies related to the Order of Malta, I was wondering if it was a good idea to mention them in any kind of formal way. [9] ADM (talk) 21:58, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Why? If there is not any real basis, is not necessary mention these theories. --Yopie 09:39, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Agreed, see WWII above. There is no need to mention conspiracy theories when there are Bonafide cases of SMOM making Benito Mussolini a knight, and SMOM members being involved in ODESSA and other dealings with Nazis. Thump Bucket (talk) 18:13, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Missing List of diplomatic missions articles about SMOM[edit]

  • list of delegations of SMOM to international organizations: [10]
  • list of diplomatic relations with SMOM: [11]
  • list of diplomatic missions of SMOM to countries: [12]
  • MISSING: list of diplomatic missions to SMOM

Most of the independent countries and also some unrecognized countries and the EU have such articles. As SMOM is a sovereign entitiy engaging in diplomatic relations with states maybe there should be articles for its missions too? Alinor (talk) 20:38, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

The list of missions to SMOM remains incomplete, as there haven't been found a single source for these. But there is the notable exception of the Holy See. Does it really don't have a mission accredited to SMOM? Alinor (talk) 15:34, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

Aircraft Marking (Roundel)[edit]

See here: [13] for the Military aircraft insignia of SMOM. Alinor (talk) 09:48, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

Flag, Coat of Arms articles[edit]

Missing currently:

Population and citizenship[edit]

According to entries here [16] there is a SMOM citizenship for at least 3 people (three top SMOM officials) or even more (also SMOM diplomats around the world). Alinor (talk) 09:53, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

All knights with vows are citizens.--Yopie 21:42, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
The initial link contains the statement "I have at hand a book, "Report from Practically Nowhere" by John Sack, copyright 1955 et seq., ...., with a chapter about the S.M.O.M. wherein is stated that, by agreement with the Italian government, citizens of the S.M.O.M. are limited to three: the Grand Master, the Deputy Grand Master, and the Chancellor. These carry S.M.O.M. passports. The numerous other members of the order remain citizens of their own respective countries."
But [17] it is stated "12,500 members, 80,000 volunteers"
SMOM passport has a link to [18] showing two types of passports - diplomatic and service.
So, there seems to be some mixup. Could somebody explain - what category has what status? Maybe:
  • the "top 3" get SMOM citizenship and regular passport (if there is such? or diplomatic if there isn't)
  • the SMOM ambassadors/etc. get diplomatic passports (what about SMOM citizenship?)
  • the "Knights with vows" (how many are these?) get SMOM citizenship and service passports
  • the 12500 members (knights without vows?) could get service passports (what about SMOM citizenship?)
  • the 80000 volunteers remain citizens of their own countries (and no SMOM passports)

Alinor (talk) 15:27, 28 July 2010 (UTC)


How does one exactly become a citizen of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta?--CafeDelKevin (talk) 05:00, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

This is answered in the previous section (above). Citizenship of the SMOM comes automatically for those who are admitted to the grade of Knighthood within the Order, or for SMOM diplomats in its various embassies around the world. Timothy Titus Talk To TT 10:20, 23 January 2010 (UTC)
I see, thanks for answering. I know that Wikipedia is not a forum, but I believe this should be added to the article.--CafeDelKevin (talk) 14:57, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

sovereignty recognition?[edit]

We have the list of ~100 countries recognizing SMOM as sovereign, established diplomatic relations, etc. But are there other states, that do not recognize SMOM as sovereign entity?

  1. According to this [19] list the following countries do not have diplomatic relations with SMOM: Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Canada (for Canada see also [20] - I think it should be changed to orange on the map). They have "official relations" instead of diplomatic.
  2. Monaco and Russia have a different type of "diplomatic special mission".
  3. Also, here, page30-31, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Greece do not accept SMOM diplomatic passports (Germany on the other hand accepts both diplomatic and service SMOM passports).
  4. some of the rest ~100 that have no formal relations with SMOM, especially the European and Mediterranean states (like UK)?

As the SMOM status is unique, it would be good to have such info in the article (like we have the "states do not recognize Israel as a state" - there the list of countries with no "established relations/suspended relations/withdrawn their recognition" is separate from the list of countries that do not recognize it "as state"). Alinor (talk) 15:53, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

The respective post about Holy See recognition is here. Alinor (talk) 17:38, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

Canada's status is correct on the map per this source I found. Outback the koala (talk) 19:48, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
The map as updated (Canada-orange) is correct, yes.[21] Alinor (talk) 04:53, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
Maybe Monaco/Russia have diplomatic, but special, relations, because SMOM is sovereign, but not state - in contrast to the cases of "official instead of diplomatic" relations. Alinor (talk) 05:51, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

I found this: "The French Republic does not recognize the SMOM as a subject of international law; see a statement by the spokesman of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Feb 7, 1997." Alinor (talk) 12:18, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

The section, "International Status of the Order," states, "However, unlike the Holy See, which is sovereign over Vatican City, SMOM has had no sovereign territory (other than Fort St Angelo in Malta and a few properties in Italy with extraterritoriality)." This is saying, in effect, "Unlike the Holy See, SMOM has no sovereign territory, except for its sovereign territory." It appears that the status of the SMOM properties is on a scale above the status of embassies and diplomatic missions (see Section 58):

"[T]he clear territorial separation of sovereign areas that exists between the Italian State and the State of Vatican City does not exist between the Order of Malta and the Italian State, but neither can it be said that the treatment given to the headquarters of the Order (Aventine, Via Condotti) is, simply, that reserved for the headquarters of diplomatic missions accredited to the Italian State. In fact, the headquarters of the Order have diplomatic extraterritoriality (authoritarian acts of any kind – executive, acts of inspection, judicial – cannot take place inside), but in addition, the Italian State recognizes the exercise, in the headquarters, of the prerogatives of sovereignty. This means that Italian sovereignty and Maltese sovereignty coexist without overlapping, because the Order exercises sovereign functions in a wider area than occurs in the diplomatic missions of the States for, although [those diplomatic missions] enjoy extraterritoriality, the guarantees deriving from the privilege of immunity are constrained to a purely administrative area; the Order, instead, makes use of extraterritoriality to meet the very acts of sovereign self-determination that are the same as the States (legislative, judicial, administrative, financial acts)."

Jeff in CA 18:00, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Other orders of St.John/hospitallier[edit]

I added link in See also to The Alliance of the Orders of St. John of Jerusalem (covering SMOM/Catholic and the Protestant orders).

But what about an "Orthodox Order of Saint John"? (such as this).

I think this is related to the above issue of states recognizing SMOM - the european states that don't have diplomatic relations with it are mostly the protestant ones and Greece/Turkey ("home" of the Eastern Orthodox Church). Alinor (talk) 09:19, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Return to Malta[edit]

Near the end of the page, it says that the order has recently returned to Malta. However, at the top it says that the order is currently headquartered in Rome, Italy. The order's official site confirms that the order did move back to Malta. As this is the case, I think that anything in the article about current headquarters should be switched from Rome to Malta. If nobody sees anything wrong with this in five days, I'll fix the page. David815 (talk) 16:44, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

NO! Absolutely not. The Order remains headquartered in Rome. The Magistral Palace (official residence of the Grand Master) and the Villa Malta, together with the SMOM Post Office, Library, Archive, & Military Corps Headquarters, all remain in Rome (geographically speaking - though legally, of course, they are extra-territorial, and therefore not part of Rome or of Italy). The Order has indeed returned to Malta, and has a 99-year lease on its property there, which also has extra-territorial rights from Malta. However, this is not a transfer of the Headquarters. The article remains correct as it stands. Timothy Titus Talk To TT 17:44, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Agree with Tim. This is a fine line, but there is no need to change the page. Outback the koala (talk) 17:49, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

Okay, but I changed the Return to Malta section to avoid future readers making my mistake. Thanks for pointing it out. David815 (talk) 18:04, 2 July 2011 (UTC) I see that that was reverted. Well, if you're sure it's clear enough then I'll let it be. David815 (talk) 12:49, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

A mere fiction?[edit]

I read:

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta [...] is widely considered a sovereign subject of international law.

The source provided for that is Jonathan Riley-Smith, The Atlas of the Crusades (Facts On File, Oxford, 1991). The crusades ended centuries ago. Why is a book about wars that ended centuries ago used as a source for what is "widely considered" about the present day?

I further read:

The Order has established diplomatic relations with 104 sovereign states.

This comes with a footnote. The footnote provides a list. It does not provide a source.

There's a map, too. No source is specified for the information within the map.

Why should I or indeed anyone believe this stuff? -- Hoary (talk) 12:10, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

They do have a permanent observer seat at the United Nations...[22], the same status as Vatican City . Best, Markvs88 (talk) 14:25, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
"Why should...anyone believe this stuff?". Well, anyone who keeps their eyes open whilst going about their normal life will usually pick "this stuff" up. I'm not sure whether this is a serious query or not. The fact that you can walk into the SMOM embassy in many countries in the world, is fairly clear evidence (I've been to two myself). Then there is the evidence of the United Nations organisation. The link given above is to a SMOM website, but this one is to the official website of the United Nations. You have to scroll down, because SMOM is the final entry on the page. The 104 countries with diplomatic relations can all be confirmed by consulting the Foreign Affairs departments of those nations (there are 104 of them, but here, for example, is the official website of the Government of Malta showing their accredited diplomatic mission from SMOM), or you can find the whole list at World Statesmen here. Timothy Titus Talk To TT 15:53, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for the reminder to keep my eyes open while going about my normal life. This is something that I too often fail to do, but I do make endeavors. While doing so, I have seen many embassies, some of them with remarkable and unfamiliar flags -- I was recently struck by the unfamiliarity and handsomeness of the flag hanging outside what turned out to be an embassy of Eritrea -- but I do not recall ever having seen an embassy of this "sovereign military order". ¶ You say: The fact that you can walk into the SMOM embassy in many countries in the world, is fairly clear evidence [...]. Then there is the evidence of the United Nations organisation. The link given above is to a SMOM website, but this one is to the official website of the United Nations. You have to scroll down, because SMOM is the final entry on the page. I went to the page, and I scrolled down. And yes, SMOM is the final entry. But what the page lists are Intergovernmental organizations having received a standing invitation to participate as observers in the sessions and the work of the General Assembly and maintaining permanent offices at Headquarters. And yes, it lists various worthy intergovernmental organizations that I've heard of, and some that I haven't. Unsurprisingly, the "Holy See" -- a "state" that, improbably, is widely recognized -- isn't among them. So yes, the UN recognizes SMOM, just as it recognizes the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf. But this says nothing about either "sovereignty" or any embassy of SMOM anywhere. -- Hoary (talk) 02:05, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Further, you cite It's not a website with which I'm familiar. It appears to be the creation of one Ben M. Cahoon, who doesn't supply his credentials. It certainly seems thorough in some ways, but it doesn't provide its sources for the matter of present-day recognition as a "sovereign" whatever, which makes it possible that the assertion was uncritically taken from SMOM or even Wikipedia. Or what am I missing? -- Hoary (talk) 02:18, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
  • About sovereignty of SMOM see book International Law by Malcom Shaw, Cambridge 2003, p. 218. There are no doubts about sovereign status of SMOM.--Yopie (talk) 06:53, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
I haven't seen the book International Law, but obligingly lets us view p.218 of the fifth ed, and I have just now read that. Yes, it does say that, back in the Fascist period, Italy's highest court "recognised the international personality of the Order". The meaning of what it says beyond this is not immediately obvious. The author does seem to say that diplomatic relations go to prove something, and then says that SMOM has such relations with "over forty" states. There may indeed be no doubts about the sovereign status of this organization, but Shaw does not say there are none; who does? Well, this is perhaps a strange requirement, but which authoritative source clearly treats this organization as sovereign? ¶ Furthermore, while "over forty" and "104" are not incompatible, "over forty" seems a very odd way to express the number 104 (or thereabouts). Which of the following do you think is correct? (1) Shaw has a bizarre way of expressing numbers; (2) He was right and Wikipedia is right (the number has increased); (3) He was and is right and Wikipedia is wrong; (4) He was and is wrong and Wikipedia is right. -- Hoary (talk) 11:19, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
What do you claim? That SMOM is an intergovernmental organization? And who are its member states then?
Or you claim that SMOM doesn't have diplomatic relations with the countries listed on its official website[23][24]? See for example Montenegro[25], Croatia[26]. Unfortunately not all states maintain such easy to check lists. If you claim that the SMOM official website source is not reliable please raise the issue at WP:RS/N. Japinderum (talk) 13:59, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't claim anything, other than that the official website of an organization isn't a disinterested source for grand claims about that organization. Instead, I expect a considerable degree of disinterested sourcing for what the article claims. This hardly seems a matter for WP:RS/N, although you are free to make it one. You and others here seem very certain of the factual correctness of what's claimed in the article; fine, let's see your source(s) then. ¶ Incidentally, do you have any comment on my question above about the contrast between Shaw's "over forty" and this article's "104"? -- Hoary (talk) 01:16, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
The Shaw "over forty" doesn't contradict the SMOM "104"[28]. You ask why these figures are so different. So, what year does Shaw cite for the 40+ figure? The book is published in 2003, but maybe Shaw gave a number from earlier moment that he had data for (and that's why he put "over forty" instead of exact figure - he knows that over time diplomatic relations are established with additional states).
What "grand claims"? It is regular practices for entities conducting diplomatic relations to publish such lists LIST OF COUNTRIES, WHICH HAVE DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH GEORGIA, Montenegro[29], Croatia[30]. SMOM also published such list.[31] About non-SMOM sources you can look at these in the previous sentence and at other over 20 I just added at List of diplomatic missions to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
Do you still question the reliability of SMOM official website list of diplomatic relations? Which of these states do you think should not be listed and why? Japinderum (talk) 08:38, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
And in addition to those listed immediately above by Japinderum, I had already given a similar reference for Malta, several paragraphs above, repeated here: Malta. Either SMOM is indeed a sovereign entity, as the article claims, or these various other countries are lying about their diplomatic relations. Timothy Titus Talk To TT 09:26, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for this excellent work, Japinderum. ¶ Me, earlier: I don't claim anything, other than that the official website of an organization isn't a disinterested source for grand claims about that organization. That could have been phrased better. Now, I have no reason to believe anything that a tiny number of states (e.g. North Korea) say about themselves, but I'll believe simple claims made about diplomatic recognition made by over 90% of states, however dim a view I may have of these states. However, this "Sovereign Military of Malta" is something else. According to the WP article, it's not of Malta (other than historically and for unspecified use of some part of some castle) and it's only tenuously military. The WP article manages to make it seem by turns a commendable philanthropic organization and a Pynchonesque fantasy. I understand that it has issued stamps, but then so have done a number of organizations. (And with recognition -- though elsewhere private fantasies have also led to [Coins and postage stamps of Sealand|stampoids] merely for curio collectors.) ¶ As for Shaw and his "forty", I confess to having been rattled and amused when (A) told (above): About sovereignty of SMOM see book International Law by Malcom Shaw, Cambridge 2003, p. 218. There are no doubts about sovereign status of SMOM but (B) finding that Shaw writes nothing at all conclusive and that this very WP article says There are differing opinions as to whether a claim to sovereign status has been recognized. Ian Brownlie, Helmut Steinberger, and Wilhelm Wengler are among the experts who say that the claim has not been recognized (though it doesn't specify where they say this). All this in the context of a putative encyclopedia whose editors seem curiously indulgent to fantasies of sovereignty. -- Hoary (talk) 11:06, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
I can't exactly follow what you say with the example of North Korea, SMOM and over 90% of states. But on the subject of SMOM - as you see in the sources given above it's recognized as sovereign entity (it doesn't claim to be a state - so comparisons with Sealand and micronations are not correct) by MANY states. For discussion over who recognizes and who doesn't recognize SMOM as sovereign you can look right above: #sovereignity recognition?.
Thank you for initiating the quest for this work. But now, after this was done, do you still question the reliability of the official SMOM website? (the reason for dubious/citation needed tags here and at list of diplomatic missions)
I'm not against participating in debate "what SMOM is?" here (until somebody closes the discussion per WP:NOTFORUM) - if you wish, but we have to solve the editing problem at hand:
I see only few paths forward - either you still question the reliability of the SMOM website (then please refer to the noticeboard) - or you raise some specific objection (such as "SMOM doesn't have diplomatic relations with Serbia") which we can try to find a source about - or you agree to utilize the SMOM website as source. Japinderum (talk) 13:39, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Right, SMOM doesn't claim to be a state. I don't claim that it has any parallels. However, I was groping for other cases that might resemble it. ¶ I'm wary of giving blanket approval to use of the SMOM website, but yes it can be used for many purposes. You've done such a good job with sourcing particular recognitions and SMOM's claim is credible in conjunction with these sources. -- Hoary (talk) 14:48, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, there are some organizations, that try to impersonate SMOM - exactly because SMOM has international recognition. But those are just fakes (see here).
So, I assume we agree to remove the dubious/citation needed tags put recently on SMOM and list of diplomatic missions articles. Japinderum (talk) 12:43, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
I've removed all but one from this article. The one is the claim, oddly sourced to a book about events centuries ago, about the wide recognition of SMOM's sovereignty. If this is widely recognized, there should be more obviously relevant and more authoritative sources saying so. (Indeed, this article suggests this, but it gives authors and not titles etc.) As it is, there remains something screwy here. Consider: 56 countries recognize SMOM stamps for franking purposes, a number that includes at least two that don't have formal relations with SMOM. This (if correct) in turn implies that of those nations that do have what are called formal relations, half don't even recognize the stamps. I start to wonder whether many of these relations have any meaning. (Yes, I do see the occasional physical sign of a relationship: yesterday I added a photo from Commons to one of these list articles.) -- Hoary (talk) 14:09, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
When the citation given says "Riley-Smith, 170" that means page 170 of the Riley-Smith source listed in the Bibliography section - Riley-Smith, Jonathan, The Atlas of the Crusades. Facts On File, Oxford (1991). The year of the book is 1991 and not 170.
I don't see anything screwy... SMOM has established diplomatic relations with 104 states. It has official, but not diplomatic, relations with 6 others. Not related to this 104 and 6 is the list of countries that have signed postal agreements with SMOM - most of these also have diplomatic relations with it, Canada has only official relations, Mongolia - none. Not having a postal agreement does not mean automatically that the other countries don't recognize the stamps and also the stamps issue has more to do with UPU technicalities and can't be used as "recognition test" - neither to confirm nor to refute (Canada and Mongolia are examples for this).
Let's not judge here what meaning the diplomatic relations of one or another have. You see many sources showing that states around the world establish diplomatic relations with SMOM, exchange ambassadors with it, etc. For those involved, these relations have a meaning - otherwise they wouldn't bother. I agree that it would be nice to have a source describing in detail the diplomatic relationships of SMOM, but I don't see anything in the present article that contradicts the sources we have so far. Japinderum (talk) 07:35, 26 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I realize that The Atlas of the Crusades is twenty years old, not centuries old. But it's primarily about events that are centuries in the past. I haven't seen it, but its title does not suggest to me a book that purports to inform people other than peripherally about matters of the late 20th (let alone early 21st) century. My guess (again, I haven't seen it) is that Riley-Smith would have hurriedly put in material such as this as an afterthought. Why should the WP article appear to depend on this one source for this assertion? If you think that widespread recognition is enough to show that it has "sovereign status" -- which wouldn't much worry me; I'm amazed and appalled by the lengths to which other WP editors persecute what they call "original synthesis" -- then fine, let the article say so. But if it needs a synthesizing source, then get a better one. Note what this source is used for: that the SMOM is widely considered a sovereign subject of international law. And note that the very same WP article also says: There are differing opinions as to whether a claim to sovereign status has been recognized. Ian Brownlie, Helmut Steinberger, and Wilhelm Wengler are among the experts who say that the claim has not been recognized. (For none of which a specific source is provided.) ¶ I wonder whether you, who are clearly familiar with the organization, realize what an appearance of mumbo-jumbo and hoax there is to those who are not familiar with it. The description of the organization starts off by sounding like something imagined by somebody who'd read more Pynchon (or just Dan Brown?) than was good for himself. I tell myself that no, it really does exist. Furthermore, that it does very worthy things via "Malteser International" -- but then I wonder what it is or does aside from "Malteser International". A name that, I regret to say (and surely through no fault of SMOM), brings to my mind something quite different; whereupon the article unintentionally slips from the Pynchonesque to the Pythonesque. -- Hoary (talk) 02:30, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
If we find more sources I don't object adding those to Riley-Smith. I don't know whether it is an afterthought or not - but about the SMOM recognition as sovereign non-state entity the sources show that more than 100 states recognize it as such and there are only few other states who maybe don't. So far we have a source only for 1 state that doesn't recognize SMOM as such - France. See #sovereignity_recognition? above. Even if we count all states that have official relations instead of diplomatic relations and all that don't accept SMOM passports (that we have sources for) - the figure will be smaller than the number of states that don't recognize Israel or People's Republic of China. Depending on what you think is "widely considered a sovereign subject of international law" - if Israel and China are considered to be such subjects (being also states), then there is no reason to question SMOM being such. Or at least that's what the present sources show. Japinderum (talk) 08:06, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

history section[edit]

I have moved the history section from the bottom of the page to the second subsection. When I encountered this page I found it confusing to be reading about the international status of an organization before learning how that organization was formed. This move formats the page in a similar fashion to other pages I have encountered.Coffeepusher (talk) 15:18, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

I think that makes sense. Timothy Titus Talk To TT 21:18, 25 February 2012 (UTC)


Any news about Ecuador-SMOM relations? Japinderum (talk) 12:51, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

Diplomatic relations established with Cyprus[edit]

On June 6, 2012 SMOM and Cyprus established diplomatic relations - see here. Gugganij (talk) 21:57, 8 June 2012 (UTC)

SMOM claims to be the same order, but it is it?[edit]

The article gives the following established events: Established Circa 1099; Loss of Malta 1798; Headquarters in Rome 1834. It seems that SMOM was established only in 1834 and (at best) claims to be the successor of the order that held Rhodes and Malta. However, the article confuses the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (Rome) with the Order of St. John (Rhodes, Malta). These are not the same body.

The article is also confusing. Are the ties between SMOM and Malta (the country) recent? I quote the article: "SMOM has had no sovereign territory (other than Fort St Angelo in Malta and a few properties in Italy with extraterritoriality) since the loss of the island of Malta in 1798".

The citations provided in the article are by SMOM's own members.

Therefore the article fails: (1) fan's point of view, rather than a neutral point of view, (2) original research, (3) citations for verification. (4) All in all, there are multiple issues.

Please clean up the article to conform to Wiki standards. Humble observer (talk) 05:45, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

"La Orden de Malta y su Naturaleza Jurídica" (English translation) - detailed, expert perspective[edit]

Magaly Arocha’s paper is very detailed and nuanced. The author not only includes many arguments in favor of the proposition that SMOM sovereignty is equivalent to other States, but also argues convincingly that a claim of territory is not relevant and that the existence of extraterritoriality cannot be discounted. It pointedly addresses many of the concerns raised on this talk page. (This translation was performed by a human, not a machine.)

The Order of Malta and Its Legal Nature

Magaly Arocha, First Consul of the Consulate General of Venezuela in Naples

Some historical data

The Order of St. John was founded before the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 by the armies of the First Crusade. It began as a monastic community dedicated to San Juan Bautista, which administered a hospice-infirmary for pilgrims to the Holy Land. In the beginning it was linked to the Benedictines, and under the Blessed Gerard became an independent organization.

With the Bull of 15 February 1113, approved by Pope Paschal II, the foundation of the Hospital of St. John became an Order exempt from the Church.

The political situation after the founding of the Kingdom of Jerusalem by the Crusaders, forced the Order, under its second leader (and the first to be called Master), Friar Raymond du Puy, to assume military duties for the protection of patients, pilgrims and the Christian territories that the Crusaders had recovered from the Muslims. Thus the Order of the Hospital of St. John acquired the character of an Order of Chivalry.

The Knights were all subject to the three religious vows of obedience, chastity and poverty. Thus it became a mixed person, a religious-military Order. It has two fundamental goals: serving the poor and the defense of Christianity (protection of the faith).

In 1291, Acre, the last Christian stronghold in the Holy Land fell, and the Order settled temporarily in Cyprus.

The independence of the Order from any other State, under papal documents, and its right to maintain armed forces and fight wars, formed the basis of international sovereignty. With the occupation of the island of Rhodes, the Order also acquired territorial sovereignty.

Rhodes became a bastion of Christianity in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The Order was ruled by the Grand Master and Council, minted its own money and maintained diplomatic relations with other States. The Grand Master was Sovereign Prince of Rhodes and then of Malta.

In December, 1522, the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent attacked Rhodes, and the Knights were forced to capitulate, and in January 1523, they left the island. For the next seven years the Order, even though it retained its international sovereignty, was without territory until, by assignment of the Emperor Charles V (in his capacity as King of Sicily), it obtained the islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino, as well as Tripoli in North Africa, as a sovereign fiefdom.

On 26 October 1530, the Grand Master Friar Philippe de Villiers de l'Isle Adam took possession of Malta with the approval of Pope Clement VII. The Order was to remain neutral in wars between Christian nations.

In 1607 and again in 1620, the title of Prince of the Holy Roman Empire was united with the rank of Grand Master, and in 1630 became equal to the rank of Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church with the treatment of Eminence.

In 1798, Bonaparte, during his campaign against Egypt, occupied the island of Malta and expelled the Order. The Knights again found themselves without territorial headquarters. There followed what has been called the Russian coup (1798-1803).

The Emperor Paul I of Russia, proclaimed himself Grand Master (de facto, not de jure) through a small group of Knights, in the place of the Grand Master Friar Ferdinand von Hompesch, who had been forced to leave Malta in French hands.

This proclamation was not recognized by the Holy See (a necessary condition for legitimacy). His successor, Alexander I, however, helped the Order to return to a legitimate government in 1803; Friar Giovanni Battista Tommasi was elected Grand Master.

The British had occupied Malta in 1801 and, although the Treaty of Amiens (1802) recognized the sovereign rights of the Order on the island, it was never possible to enforce them.

Having had provisional seats in Messina, Catania and Ferrara, the Order finally in 1834 settled in Rome, where it now enjoys extraterritoriality in the Palace of Malta (at 68 Via Condotti) and the Villa of Aventine.

The Order was ruled by Lieutenants from 1805 until 1879, when Pope Leo XIII restored the Grand Master to the office of Cardinal and associated honors. The hospital work was again the main objective.

Structure of the Order

The Order of Malta, a supranational institution, without abandoning the defense of Christian ideals, their energies and resources devoted to humanitarian and social assistance, is the only religious order of the Catholic Church to be both a Catholic Order and Cavalry.

It is unique in possessing Professed Knights, called Justices, who are direct descendants of the founders of the Order and among whom is elected Grand Master and most members of the Sovereign Council.

The sovereignty of the Order is exercised by the Prince and Grand Master, who is the Chief Justice, and the Councils (the Sovereign Council, the General Chapter and the Complete Council of State).

The General Chapter is the Supreme Assembly of Knights, which normally meets every five years and elects the members of the Sovereign Council, while the Complete Council of State is convened for the purpose of electing a Grand Master or Lieutenant.

Both the General Chapter and the Complete Council of State include representatives of the Grand Priories, Priories, Sub - and National Associations, bodies to which the Order is divided in different countries.

The Grand Master receives the treatment of Eminence and Highness (or Eminent Highness) corresponding by precedence to a Cardinal, and therefore Prince of Royal Blood, as well as for the rank of Prince of the Holy Roman Empire (recognized by Austria and Italy) and still reigning ex-Prince of Rhodes and later Malta, and is also internationally recognized as head of state with corresponding sovereign honors.

The Grand Master governs the Order assisted by the Sovereign Council, chaired by him and consisting of four senior officers (the Grand Commander, Grand Chancellor, the Hospitaller and Receiver of the Common Treasure), four directors and two alternate directors, all elected by the Chapter General among the Professed Knights or on exception among the Knights in Obedience.

The pope appoints as his representative a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, who has title Cardinalis Patronus; the latter is assisted by the Prelate of the Order, also appointed by the Supreme Pontiff.

The life and work of the Order are governed by the Charter, approved by the Holy See and the Code de Rohan, promulgated by the Grand Master Friar Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc in the eighteenth century.

Legal issues of concern to the Order are considered by an advisory technical body called the Legal Council, appointed by the Grand Master with the consent of the Sovereign Council.

The Order has its own Courts of First Instance and Appeal. Appeals against the judgments of the second degree of the Courts of the Order may be filed with the Court of Appeals of the State of Vatican City, which in such cases acts by delegation of the Order and serves as the Supreme Court.

The Order has diplomatic relations, according to public international law, with the Holy See, which is based on the religious Order but is independent of the chivalric sovereign Order, and with 71 countries in Europe, America, Asia and Africa (data from 1996-97).

The Order accredits Representatives or Delegates in Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Monaco, Germany and Greece and the European Commission. Since 1994, the Order enjoys Permanent Observer status to the United Nations and in that capacity maintains permanent delegations in New York, Geneva, Paris, Rome and Vienna.


The Order of Malta is presented with full international legal personality. This personality is evidenced by:

  • the existence of a right of active and passive legation, of the jus contrahendi, the right to issue passports, privileges and immunities enjoyed by the Grand Master and external representative bodies,
  • the existence of an internal organization that gives life to legal entities recognized on par with foreign legal entities,
  • the existence of its own legal jurisdiction as an alternative to territorial jurisdiction or membership, and the power of conferring decorations [of diplomatic honor].

The Order occupies its own place in the scope of the international community no differently than other entities, contributing as others do to forming customary rules – States do not have a monopoly over this – although, from a purely quantitative point of view, fewer in number.

The Legal Nature of the Order

The Order in its centuries-long life is presented as independent of any State. It is not an organization or a governmental institution. It has affirmed, in Constitutions that have been produced over time, its own sovereign quality, an affirmation of great importance in assessing its independence.

The international community, through the behavior of States, has recognized the right of active and passive legation. There are few doubts expressed about the period before 1798, when the Order exercised territorial sovereignty in Malta and neighboring islands.

The problem arises in the nineteenth century, the most difficult stage for the international position of the Order, given the vacancy of the Grand Master (1805-1879), a period in which the Order was ruled by Lieutenants General.

However, the study of international relations in this period shows that the loss of possession of the Maltese archipelago did not affect the right of active and passive legation for the Order, which is legally important for checking the absolute continuity of international status regardless of the territorial possession of Malta.

One can say that there is continuity between the Order as currently structured and as recognized by the international community and the Order as it was when exercising powers deriving from territorial sovereignty.

The only differences are obviously the lack of territory and non-institutional citizens, but in this respect it should be reiterated that this condition is not a limitation of the peculiar characteristics of the Entity, as developed over time, because the exercise of territorial sovereignty was not, nor is today, one of the purposes of the Order, nor does it need a territorial basis to exercise its sovereignty. This exercise was a means to achieve its objectives, of a highly spiritual nature.

However, it is undeniable that the absence of territory deprives the Order of unquestioned independence. This peculiar situation may account for the gradualness with which States agree to diplomatic recognition, the same gradualness expressed in relation to States that are recently created or not yet very stable, but it carries no weight in framing the Order's legal nature, unless one wants to conditionally weigh the territorial element that no longer exists or one does not want to acknowledge the importance of recognition by a subset of States.

It is worth asking how one can justify afterward the continuity of international and diplomatic relations (in the nineteenth century) when during that time span, the International Community did not know other sovereign Entities distinct from the States, and moreover, the same international doctrine precluded the existence of regulatory ordinances outside of States’ legal relations.

The independence of the internal organization, always reaffirmed, was precisely the quality that legitimized the persisting international personality of the Order, admittedly with the peculiarities arising from the absence of a sovereign territory, as well as its particular relationship with the Holy See. The Order, in its entirely individual characteristic, anticipated the phenomenon of recognition by non-state Entities.

The number of States with which the Order maintained diplomatic relations increased in the twentieth century. Without doubt other Governments appreciated its work during the two world wars on behalf of war victims as well as their fight against disease and hunger, especially in Africa and Central-South America.

States recognize its sovereignty even in the absence of a territorial base and in spite of the inability [perceived by those States] in some way to set up the existence of a State for its internal organization’s independence, because they understand that full recognition of the international status of the Order and the consequent establishment of normal diplomatic relations is an indispensable tool to fulfill its mission.

The supranational structure of the organization is manifested in the existence of peripheral agencies working in the field of those national territories in which the Knights are present.

Internal sovereignty of the Order of Malta

As sovereign as the Order is in international relations, it is also in its own internal law. If one reviews the manifestations of the internal sovereignty of States, it is evident that, with the necessary adaptations, they are present in the Order of Malta.

The first element is the existence of a governing power that is not derived from any other power (non recognoscens superiorem) and is never imposed by force on its subjects.

The Order has a government constituted by the Grand Master and Sovereign Council that exercises the executive power with full autonomy in relation to members of the Order and the institutions of the latter (Priories, Sub-priories, National Associations, Delegations, Bailiwicks, Parcels).

The second element is the existence of a system of legal rules that has in itself its own justification; a part of legal doctrine that speaks to a "native legal system."

The Order of Malta has a complex legal system represented by its own Constitutional Charter, by the Code, by other laws and regulations governing the internal organization of the Order, the functioning of its institutions, the rights and duties of its members in relation to legal relationships that are constituted as a result of their membership in the Order.

The third element is the existence of a judiciary that decides the application of the rules of law in case of controversy. The Order has a judiciary made up of the existing courts before the Grand Magisterium.

The point is that the sovereignty of the Order of Malta is a historical social and political reality.

The Order maintains political and legal relationships with many of the States, meets and has played a role in the international community with full autonomy and exercises supreme power over its own members.

The legal formulas that explain its existence are:

  • the theory of a native legal system of non-state character,
  • the theory of sovereignty as a tool for religious and humanitarian purposes of the Order,
  • the theory of the existence of an international norm of jus singular that attributes sovereignty to the Order as an international subject sui generis.

Relations of the Italian State with the Order

For the purpose of studying the international position of the Order of Malta, the posture of the Italian State in whose territory, since 1870, the Grand Master of the Order is based, is very important.

Italy would be the state that would have more interest in contesting the sovereignty of the Order, because of inevitable limitations on its recognition arising from Italian sovereignty (the extraterritoriality of the Palace of Via Condotti and the Villa del Aventino in Rome, where the Grand Master and the central functions of the Order have their residence).

The sovereignty of the Order is recognized after the establishment of the Kingdom of Italy (1861) and before its union with Rome (1870). A government commission to study the knightly orders in the various Italian States concluded in 1868 that "the Order of Malta as European public law is concerned, has not ceased to be sovereign."

The question then arose regarding the implementation of the decree of 7 July 1866 (in fact until 1929, when the Concordat with the Holy See was signed) abolishing "orders, corporations and religious congregations." By decision of the State Council of 2 August 1869, application of this decree to the Order of Malta is excluded, in consideration of its particular legal status.

The decree of 28 November 1929, with diplomatic relations between Italy and the Order still not existing, established that "the representatives of the High Magisterium of the Sovereign Order of Malta, regularly accredited and expressly delegated by the Grand Master," were present at public ceremonies immediately after the Diplomatic Corps.

The international character of the Order and its sovereignty are explicitly recognized by the Supreme Court of Appeals in several judgments (from 1913 onwards). In particular the Supreme Court found that:

"The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Malta is a sovereign international subject, although deprived of territory, equivalent to a foreign state, with which Italy maintains diplomatic relations, so there is no doubt, as the Court of Appeals has already advised, that it is premised upon the legal treatment relative to foreign States and therefore also the jurisdictional exemption limits already mentioned, i. e., the activity related to the attainment of its public purposes."

In 1948 the Foreign Minister gave provisions to the Prefecture of Rome so that the Grand Master was reserved, in each circumstance, the treatment intended of foreign sovereigns.

After World War II Italian courts have reaffirmed the sovereignty of the Order, extracting all the legal results of this recognition. Thus the Court of Rome, in a June 1947 ruling, held that the Order should be equated with foreign states for the exemption of executive acts.

So, when in 1956, Italy and the Order decided to establish diplomatic relations, it was simply assumed as the logical result of a situation of well-defined and consolidated law and fact.

Relations with the Holy See

As seen, the peculiarity of the position of the Order at the international level is due in part to the absence of territory and non-institutional citizens, and in part, the bond of dependence in relation to the Holy See because of the remaining differences between canonical law and Maltese law.

In fact, special links between Maltese law and canonical law can be demonstrated, because of the decision of the Knights – autonomously organized in the institution – to impose religious rule and to place themselves under the protection of the Pope.

The Apostolic Letters show that S. S. Benedict XIV on 12 March 1753 declared the Order subject to the protection of the Apostolic See, and immune to any other jurisdiction.

Therefore, the Order of Malta has a dual legal personality: in international law and in canonical law.

The Holy See confirmed the most important sources of Law of the Order: the Constitutional Charter and the Maltese Code, to verify the religious orthodoxy, as well as approve or ratify the election of the Grand Master, treating him as an eventual religious Lieutenant Grand Master, as in the past and as provided in the Constitution.

These approvals, however, establish character but no verification nor decrease in the self-determination of the Order, because they conform to the traditional relations that were established with the Church, after the Order assumed the characteristics of a "Religion," and should consider that – until the last century – the Maltese organization being exclusively centered around the professed Knights (First Class), the need for ecclesiastic interventions was clearer.

The sovereignty of the Order led the Holy See to attribute, from the canonical point of view, a very special position of respect for the legal discipline of other religious orders.

The link with the Holy See comes from the fact – mentioned above – that some members belonging to the First Class (inside of the Order the Knights are distinguished by class, based on the nobility of blood, the issuance of religious vows or the promise of obedience (they tend to the perfection of Christian life)). Those in the First Class are Knights of Justice, who profess religious vows and Conventual Chaplains, who are ordained priests.

It is evident that not everything is about a religious profile of assuming vows, and that Maltese law is detached from canonical law, and it is clear that Knights of the First Class only depend on the Holy See within the limits and with respect to the profession of vows.

The Constitution and the Code of the Order include numerous rules of Special Canon Law, which, by repealing Common Canon Law or citing it, discipline the obligations of a canonical nature of the members of the Order, especially those providing religious vows. Under this profile the approval by the Holy See of the Constitution and the Maltese Code was necessary.

The link between the two Entities does not preclude a wide sphere of autonomy of the Order, within which it has the possibility of sovereign self-determination, arising autonomously in its relations with other States, in view of its own institutional purposes.

In international relations, it is ruled out that the Order act in the name and interest of the Holy See, but it is true that the dependent relationship is presented to the outside in the form of "protection" as several historical circumstances demonstrate.

This situation of "dependency," or alleged limitations on the sovereignty of the Order, is not derived from constitutional law or international law, but has its origin in the nature of religious order assumed by the Institution, by the professed vows by the highest ranks of the Order – as noted – and for typically persecuted Christian purposes."

The Grand Master of the Order of Malta is unique among the heads of religious orders in that he has a right to the title of Eminence and to the honors for the Cardinals.

The Order of Malta is the only religious order that has a representative of the Pope, who must be a Cardinal (Cardinalis Patronus), with "the task of promoting the spiritual interests of the Order and its members and to foster relationships between the Holy See and the Order itself."

But in the aspect of religious order, the Order has a particular position, different from that of other religious orders, so much so that even the religious aspect is covered by the Order of Malta in its own legal rules (Constitutional Charter and Code) and, only via an extra channel to establish it, under the Canonical Law.

If we study the issues of a religious nature that the Order has over its sovereignty, it must be noted that such sovereignty has never been put into question by the Holy See and has instead been reaffirmed in the most solemn ways.

The Holy See accepted a diplomatic mission of the Order until 1834 and from 1930 onwards; in the interim period diplomatic relations were suspended simply because, with the Grand Master based in Rome, the existence of a legation in the same city seemed useless.

On 30 October 1921, Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, in his capacity as Secretary of State, declared that:

"The Holy See recognizes the Order of Malta as an independent international order with sovereign privileges."

The Order cannot be mistaken for a religious-monastic order, either by the presence of lay members or by the absence of a requirement of common life, which is one of the most typical monastic characteristics.

In this regard, we should recall that in December 1951 a controversy arose that originated in the pretense of the Sacred Religious Convention to monitor and investigate the institution of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem as a common religious order.

In these circumstances, the Grand Master made use of ancient prerogatives that claimed the privilege of the Order of not recognizing "another bishop as superior that was not the Pope" and filed a request directly to the Pope asking for a trial, which was conducted by a Tribunal of Special Cardinals instituted by Pius XII.

In the judgment of 24 January 1953, relations between the Holy See and the Order were defined and the characteristics of "sovereign" and "religious" determined, as well as respective areas of competence.

About the "Nature of the quality of religious rule of the Order," the statement said that "the Jerosomilitana Order of Malta, as composed by the Knights and Chaplains, is a Religion and more precisely a religious order, approved by the Holy See;" it further stated that "the decorations of the Order and their associations depend on it ..."

On 12 March 1953, the Order informed the Secretary of State, through diplomatic channels, of the acceptance of the judgment "conditioned" on the acceptance of a "specific interpretation" in three points, of which the second affirmed that "the religious nature of the Order is limited to the professed Knights and Chaplains who compose it," and that the judgment precluded any interference by the Secretary of State in the diplomatic activity of the Order. The Holy See communicated as always through diplomatic channels, it "has taken note."

"Taking note," without rejecting or contradicting the proposed interpretation, has meant the improvement "of an international interpretative agreement, reached by the parties concerned, on some controversial points, setting a definite position."

However, the most solemn reaffirmations of the sovereignty of the Order are contained in the Constitutional Charter approved by S.S. John XXIII on 24 June 1961. Article 1 affirms that "the Order is a legal entity formally approved by the Holy See. It has the quality of a subject of international law."

Article 3 states that "the intimate connection existing between the two qualities of a religious order and a sovereign order do not oppose the autonomy of the order in the exercise of its sovereignty and prerogatives inherent to it as a subject of international law in relation to States."

It also provides for a diplomatic mission of the Order to the Holy See and the appointment of the Cardinalis Patronus. It further provides (Article 12) that "the Grand Master is the Supreme Commander of the Order. Incumbent upon him are special prerogatives and sovereign honors under the rules in force."

In short, the current situation is no different – in law – from what has been consolidated historically, so that one cannot assert the non-existence of a sphere of self-determination of the Order in its relations with any State, nor may one assert the right of interference of the Holy See in international affairs of an institutional character, because the protection afforded by the Holy See to the Order does not mean protectorate, nor can one speak of allegiance.

The distinction between Vatican diplomacy and diplomacy of the Order is so clear that in none of the States with which the Order has diplomatic relations, is the representation of the latter entrusted to the Apostolic Diplomatic Missions. The Holy See is not involved in any way in the international conventions of the Order.

From the point of view of internal organization, there is no interference of the Holy See in the elections and appointments to the offices of the Order, unless canonical dispensation (permission) is needed, in some cases, for the appointment of non-professed Knights to offices for which the Constitution of the Order requires them to be professed.

The Prince Grand Master is also head of a religious order and as such, his election ought to be confirmed by the Apostolic See.

The Order of Malta, within the limits that are compatible with its actual position as a subject deprived of territory, is in the international community, a sovereign entity on par with the States, and the Prince Grand Master is comparable, from the point of view of international law, to the Heads of State.

This report is based on the book written by Prof. Aldo Pezzana entitled, Il Fondamento giuridico e storico della sovranita 'dell'Ordine Gerosomilitano di Malta, 37 pages, and the books by Prof. and Attorney Francesco Gazzoni entitled, L'Ordine di Malta, Milan, 1979, 137 pages; A. Pecchioli, Storia dei Cavalieri di Malta, Editalia, Rome, 1978, 125 pages; and in the Annuarie, 1996/1997, Oedre Souverain Militaire Hospitalier de Saint-Jean de Jerusalem de Rhodes et de Malte, Rome, 1996, 142 pages ("Feast of the Patron of the Order, San Juan Bautista," Annuarie, 1996/1997, Oedre Souverain Militaire Hospitalier de Saint-Jean of Jerusalem de Rhodes et de Malte, p.21-23).

It is worth remembering that accredited Maltese representatives to the States enjoy immunities and privileges not as international officials, but rather in their capacity as diplomatic officials, with the rank of Ambassador or Minister plenipotentiary. On the one hand, the clear territorial separation of sovereign areas that exists between the Italian State and the State of Vatican City does not exist between the Order of Malta and the Italian State, but neither can it be said that the treatment given to the headquarters of the Order (Aventine, Via Condotti) is, simply, that reserved for the headquarters of diplomatic missions accredited to the Italian State.

In fact, the headquarters of the Order have diplomatic extraterritoriality (authoritarian acts of any kind – executive, acts of inspection, judicial – cannot take place inside), but in addition, the Italian State recognizes the exercise, in the headquarters, of the prerogatives of sovereignty. This means that Italian sovereignty and Maltese sovereignty coexist without overlapping, because the Order exercises sovereign functions in a wider area than occurs in the diplomatic missions of the States for, although [those diplomatic missions] enjoy extraterritoriality, the guarantees deriving from the privilege of immunity are constrained to a purely administrative area; the Order, instead, makes use of extraterritoriality to meet the very acts of sovereign self-determination that are the same as the States (legislative, judicial, administrative, financial acts).

(end of paper)

Jeff in CA 18:25, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

redirect from "SoUvereign Military Order of Malta"?[edit]

Souvereign Military Order of Malta still points to the Malta-article, but probably should point to this article here instead. As i don't know all background details about this article title's handling, i'll leave that decision to the main editors. GermanJoe (talk) 10:12, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Agreed, I don't see any reason why it should point to Malta so I've gone ahead and redirected it here. TDL (talk) 18:05, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Post Noms[edit]

Does the order authorise members to use post nominal letters in each language? Garlicplanting (talk) 13:01, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

Controversies, reason for eviction from Malta and relationship with Islam etc.[edit]

This article seems a bit complementary and tame to me. However wonderful these caring knights are today, I have the vague understanding that they were more or less pirates on Malta, which is why Napoleon dumped them out, much to the pleasure of oppressed maltese- no? They still have the word Military in their title, which must presumably make the average islamic state at least cautious in dealing with them. I realise that with all these different Orders and splinters around it must be difficult, but surely the article is not very balanced without a glimpse of controversy? IceDragon64 (talk) 22:22, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

In a dozen centuries or so, someone might have done something wrong, but I think the topic is fairly presented. It did pass GA at one time, I think.
Napoleon was just trying to conquer the world, of which Malta was a part. He also hated the pope (and organized religion of any sort), and SMOM was definitely pro-pope and therefore presented a convenient target. This has more to do with Napoleon than SMOM itself IMO.
I don't know about their Muslim relationships, but the Arab states (for example) are not so naive politically that an ancinet name means anything particularly. Arabs have Red Crescent which is usually correlated to Red Cross, but could correlate to SMOM as well. Student7 (talk) 00:28, 16 June 2014 (UTC)