2011-09-10 12:09:00

Knights and Dames in the third millennium

“Currently, in my own view, our biggest challenge is what on earth are we going to do about Africa”, says Grand Master Fra Matthew Festing, the man charged with guiding a 900 year old religious and sovereign order of 13,000 Knights and Dames into the third millennium.

Fra Matthew’s full title is Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, Most Humble Guardian of the Poor of Jesus Christ, and his task is no less daunting.

Beyond the history and pageantry, the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta – as it is more commonly known – is one of the world’s major emergency aid organizations as well as providing health and development aid in non-emergency situations.

It has a presence in over 120 countries bringing its mission to help the sick and the needy to nations as diverse as Haiti, Japan, Myanmar and Congo, through a network of 80 thousand volunteers.

Launching a series of seminars hosted by the International Relations department of the American University of Rome, Grand Master Fra Matthew Festing spoke of the challenges facing this unique and historic Order as it adapts to changing times while remaining faithful to its ancient roots. Listen to Emer McCarthy’s full interview with Grand Master Fra Matthew Festing: RealAudioMP3

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