International Knighthood Ceremony of the Knights of Malta (KMFAP) in Slovakia and Hungary 22nd – 23rd June 2012

The ceremony of investiture was always a significant event in the history of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, Federation of the Autonomous Priories (KMFAP) as well as in the life of the candidate. On this day the name of the postulant – by his merits – got into the list of knights kept in the golden book of the almost 1000 year-old Knight Order.

Emphasizing its importance and exceptional nature, the investiture ceremony is commonly organised in specially solemn circumstances and faithfully to the traditions. Throughout the years Knights of Malta maintained this tradition, therefore we chose the second time now the magnificent castle, Chateau Bela, in Slovakia, as the venue of the ceremony.

On the 23rd June 2012 took place the 19th knighthood ceremony of KMFAP, organised by its Hungarian Grand Priory and the Slovakian Priory, with the active participation of knights, dames and high-ranking leaders representing 20 countries of three continents. This time again knights of the Order of St. John, or better known as the Knights of Malta, as well as knights of the Sovereign Order of Cyprus – which is the military branch of KMFAP, and also known as Knights of Sword and Silence – were invested during the ceremony. On the 22nd June (Friday) the official events of the knighthood ceremony started with the board meeting of Pro Deo State University. (The article can be found here:

During the afternoon, especially on that hot summer day, knight candidates arrived one after the other with their family, relatives, friends to Chateau Béla – surrounded by an enormous, fresh park.

After the registration and taking up the hotel rooms, at 17.00 o'clock began the meeting with the candidates, a tradition which dates back to the knight's distant past. At that time it was recorded as the „Watch of Arms” by the knight's memory, the role of which was that the evening before the investiture all the knight candidates prepared in all respects for the big event the next day. While they cleaned their weapons and tidied their appearance: bathed, took clean clothes, completely attuned spiritually to the special experience awaiting them, in which only the privileged were allowed to partake. The postulants rethought their previous lives, their actions, and were waiting for the next day being wrapt in thoughts and spiritually purified, often kept vigil until morning, and they knew that from that day their lives changed. They knew that from that day on – in every moment of their lives – they had to be worthy of the chivalric idea, with which they became one.

This important chivalric tradition is being recalled on every evening before the investiture ceremony, of course, according to the needs of the modern age. H.M.E.H. Prince José – Grand Master of KMFAP met with the candidates, got to know them all and talked to them about the essence of being a knight in the 21st Century. Very interesting things were told them about the glorious past of knights and their everyday lives, supplementing the previously acquired knowledge of the candidates. The Grand Master introduced one by one all the postulants to the present knights and dames, and handed over to the knight candidates their Postulant Diplomas.

On this occasion the new officers of the Magisterial State Guard also received their Certificates of Appointment and uniform – same shirt – from the Grand Master and his deputy, the Lieutenant General – H.G. Prof. George Popper.


There was a brief contemplation and self-communion of the candidates in the “Hunting room” of the castle, and also the knight requisites and symbols – which are used during the investiture, or which the new knights receive – were also presented to them.


In the past the meeting with the knights was closed with a special dinner, so it also happened that way now. In the “Orangerie” – the main hall of the castle – beautifully laid tables were waiting for the candidates and the knights of the Order. The gala dinner had a good atmosphere, fine food and wine were served, while the music was on.


At the end of the dinner a giant cake – decorated with the coat of arms of the Knight Orders – was brought in, so to celebrate and greet the day of St. John (24th June) – at the same time midsummer – and the National Day of the Knight Order and the State. The summer heat lured people out to the terrace and the park, where the moonlight created a magical atmosphere for those who wished to talk. The merry-making, dance and music ended long after midnight.

Saturday morning dawned, and the first program of the day was the Roman Catholic Mass with Monsignor Ladislaus – Chaplain of KMFAP, and Monsignor Fabio Fabbri conducting the service. Knights of Malta is a multi-faith Order, and the mass was organised for our Roman Catholic knights and dames in the Chapel of the Castle – having a touching atmosphere.


Meanwhile, the preparations and arrangements were very intense – decoration of the imposing “Orangerie” hall, the location of the knighthood ceremony: with flags, flowers and chivalric symbols. The invited guests slowly gathered and while waiting they could already listen to the nice syrinx music of János Kegye – panflute artist, who was playing classical pieces during the small breaks of the investiture ceremony.

A few minutes after 11.00 o'clock – following the announcement of the Master of Ceremonies – the Knighthood Ceremony began with the ceremonial entrance, with background music: first the knight candidates arrived, followed by the dames and knights of the Order, then H.E. Sir Csaba Király – Grand Master of Ordo Hungariae, the associate member of KMFAP entered the hall. Representing the fraternal orders we greeted with distinct honour H.E. Max J. Ellul, Grand Chancellor of the Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, a special guest of the ceremony.


Then, the arrival of different religious leaders of KMFAP, as well as Bailiffs, Priors, and Grand Priors was announced. After the Vice Ministers, State Secretaries and Ministers of our Government, and right after the Magisterial Chaplains of the Knight Order, the highest-ranking officers of KMFAP closed the line: H.G. Prof. George Popper – Knight of Grand Collar, Lieutenant General, Prime Minister, and Eminent Grand Prior of the Hungarian Langue, and H.M.E.H. Prince José – Knight of Grand Collar, Grand Master and his wife, Princess Isabel.


Then knights marched into the hall, carrying the swords of knighting of KMFAP and of the Order of Cyprus as well as all the national flags (Slovak Republic, Hungary, Ordo Hungariae, Knights of Malta, Sovereign Order of Cyprus), and in the meantime the participants were listening to the Slovakian, the Hungarian and the KMFAP anthems.

The Grand Master – in his welcoming speech – greeted the present diplomats, members of the Diplomatic Corps and honorary guests, including Ing. Peter Lednár – Mayor of the city Zlaté Moravce (Slovakia), and the officials of Ahmadiyya – representing the organisation.

On the occasion of each knighthood ceremony we commemorate the deceased knights and dames, and pray for the quick recovery and good health of our sick knights. The composition of Schubert – Ave Maria gave an appropriate atmosphere for that, performed by Lívia Ághova – soprano singer of the Prague Opera, who was invested during the ceremony to Dame of the Knight Order.

Before the official knighting of the candidates the Grand Master handed over to H.E. Albino Malungo – Ambassador, representing Angola in Seoul, Korea – the Grand Cross decoration of the Knights of Malta.

The official language of the Order is English, so understandably the Grand Master's dissertation to the postulants was also in English. The highest-ranking leader of KMFAP explained in his speech that one of the most important prerequisites of becoming a knight is the humane values. Being a knight is an honour – associated with a solemn responsibility – which changes the life of the individual. The work will begin after, and active participation in the humanitarian work of KMFAP can be expected from every member of the Knight Order.

After the speech, the Grand Master called upon the representatives of all religions to bless the knight symbols and the requisites of the investiture, which were presented by several squires, knights and dames – holding those symbols in their hands.

After the great music, Puccini: Tosca's Prayer – and right after placing the prie-dieu to the podium – the ceremony of investiture began. This time 6 new knights of Malta, 2 dames of Malta, and 3 knights of Cyprus – who came from the following countries: Czech Republic, France, Monaco, Mauritania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Hungary – were invested by the Grand Master. According to our traditions the ceremony was organised with the assistance of the Knights of Malta officials as well as with the help of the KMFAP and Ordo Hungariae members. As that tradition was also preserved by the Order that each candidate has a godfather or godmother, who recommended the postulant to be knight or dame of the Order and who assumes responsibility for the certain person.


The meaningful chivalric symbols – wearing which give spiritual “charge” and strength and contribute to the formation of the knight's identity – are extremely important for the members of the Knight Order:

  • The most important is the white Maltese Cross – symbol of love, faith and charity, which serves as a shield, protects and beatifies, its eight points represent eight happiness, and the knightly virtues.
  • The red Cape – symbol of knightly brotherhood, which is proudly worn by the knights and dames of the Order at any official events.
  • The Sword of the inauguration – symbol of moral force, power, peace and justice.
  • The Spurs, with which the kneeling candidate's heel is touched – reminiscent of the knights' riding past.

From this time on the salutation “Sir” is coming to the newly invested knights, and the dames have the right to use the title of “Lady” - attached to the first names, as the Grand Master also called the new knight and dames for the first time after their initiation, while the fraternal embrace was received.

Children can also join the Knight Order, whose parents – at least one of them – are members of the Order: they are given the titles Squire, or Damsel with their investiture. This time – during the knighthood ceremony – one boy was invested to Squire of Malta. And as an important event in the modern history of the Sovereign Order of Cyprus the first Squire of Cyprus was knighted, who became member of the Knights of Sword and Silence.


After the ceremony of investiture took place the announcement of handing over Medals and Advancement of Grades: knights – carrying out outstanding work for the benefit of the Order – are granted of this recognition.

The new knights and dames took their seats in the front row – already wearing the bright red Cape of Malta with the white cross of eight-vertex on it, or the blue Cape of Cyprus also with the Maltese cross. By this the knighthood ceremonial came to an end, and the participants – in compliance with the Order's hierarchical rules, and on the sound of music – marched out to the beautiful park, where the new knights and dames of the Order received the congratulations and the official photo-taking took place. 



When the ceremony finally ended, the participants travelled back to Budapest (Hungary) in order to attend the evening program – the Gala Banquet – at our traditional place: the Hotel Marriott. The 15th International Ball of Knights and Bodyguards was held in the ballroom of the hotel, which is commanding a fantastic view to the beautiful city of Budapest.


The knights and dames already worn the chivalric decorations on their elegant suits and evening dresses, and the official diplomas of knighthood, the membership cards and the knight's oaths – signed during the ceremony of investiture – were also handed over to the newly invested knights and dames. Great and delicious dinner, a lot of entertaining programs, good music and dance were waiting for the guests, who enjoyed themselves well all night at this ball too.


The video of the knighthood ceremony can be viewed on YouTube in 3 parts by clicking on the links below:
or on the Facebook page of KMFAP: