25th Jubilee Ceremony of Investiture of the Knights of Malta (KMFAP) between 23-24 October 2015 in Château Bela, Slovakia

The Hungarian Grand Priory of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, Federation of the Autonomous Priories (KMFAP) organised its 25th jubilee Ceremony of Investiture, for the 7th time in close cooperation with the Slovakian Grand Priory, in the halls of Chateau Bela in Slovakia between 23 – 24 October 2015. 



The Knighthood Ceremony of the Knights of Malta (KMFAP) and the Sovereign Order of Cyprus (Knights of Sword and Silence) took place again in the beautiful spot of Chateau Bela, where gorgeous circumstances, intimate atmosphere, great cuisine and courteous service contributed to the high standard of the investiture.

Day of Preparations: 23rd October 2015

Early afternoon all the participants had arrived in sparkling sunshine and after checking in the series of events began at 17.00 under strict scenario. “General Chapter of Knights and Postulants” During this event the candidates of Knights of Malta and of the Sovereign Order of Cyprus met the Grand Master – HMEH Prince José, the highest leaders as well as the knights and dames of KMFAP. After the welcoming speeches the participants and the Postulants had the opportunity to learn about the structure, the leaders and the previous year's major international activities – with special regard to the humanitarian work – of the Knights of Malta through the usual mediated presentation. Then they listened to the report of the Director of FEMERAID International – Budapest about the humanitarian and emergency response activities of the unit.


The next event was the introduction and appreciation of all the candidates – emphasizing their qualities and merits to the present guests and to the Grand Master, from whom they received the official Postulant diplomas, and the Ten Commandments of Chivalry. These candidates became worthy to be members of the prestigious family of the Knights of Malta, or the Sovereign Order of Cyprus in order to carry on the heritage of our venerable predecessors in the modern era, and to enhance our glorious past.

Those knights and dames were also present during the introduction, who recommended the Postulant for knighthood, because they undertake the role of the godfather, or godmother over the prospective knight / dame. During this meeting the Grand Master and H.G. Prof. George Popper – Prime Minister of KMFAP presented the international composition of the restructured and expanded new suit of the government, in which – in addition to the old officers – a number of new knights also received important mandates. 


Among the guests of honour at the two-day event we welcomed again the high-ranking delegation of the Diplomatic Mission for Peace and Prosperity (DMPP) from Albania – which international organisation is recognised and supported by the UN, the European Union and the USA – led by H.E. Shefki Hysa – Governor of DMPP. During the “General Chapter of Knights and Postulants” meeting took place the signing ceremony of a long-term Cooperation Agreement between DMPP and KMFAP. „Watch of the Arms” - knightly meditation At 18.30 o'clock in the unique atmosphere of the Hunting Hall – following the hundreds years of tradition of the Saint John knights – under the direction of HMEH Prince José Cosmelli, Grand Master all the postulants got to know the history and significance of our knightly symbols.

They could think over their life, and ponder what an important event is approaching the next day, which is worthy of their former life as a deserved recognition. The Knighthood Ceremony is such an honour, which must be understood as an award received for a lifetime work and activity. On the other hand the highest leaders of KMFAP repeatedly stressed this time as well, what is the duty of the knights and what is expected from them


Gala Banquet At 19.30 o'clock in the Orangerie hall of Chateau Bela the official gala dinner took place. The great atmosphere with friendly conversations and the delicious dinner – where the traditional knight cake was also served – were made even more enjoyable by the live music and dance, and the musical involvement of some knights caused a real surprise to the audience. All this contributed much to the remarkable conclusion of the night before the next day’s inauguration.  



Day of Investiture: 24th October 2015

Day of Investiture: 24th October 2015 Holy Mass in the Chapel of Chateau Bela Following the tradition, the morning of the Investiture Day began with the Roman Catholic Mass, celebrated by Monsignor Ladislaus (Sir László Szakál) – papal chaplain, Magisterial chaplain of KMFAP, and by Sir Mgr. Pavol Zemko – member of the Magisterial Religious Council in the Chapel of the Castle for our Catholic knights and postulants. Our members – in the Order of Knights of Malta – not only come from different countries and have different nationalities, but also belong to different religious denominations. This religious pluralism is also faithfully reflected in the composition of our Magisterial Religious Council, the members of our Board of Religious Counsellors and Interfaith Pluralism. This tolerance is still one of the ideological cornerstones of KMFAP, the respect of chivalric ideals and the humane values – beside the principles required from all our members. 



The 25th International Ceremony of Investiture At 11.00 o'clock everything was ready to begin the solemn knighthood ceremony: the beautifully furnished and decorated Orangerie hall, the postulants being lined up, their families and guests taking their seats in the hall. The highly experienced international team – directing and being involved in the organisation, and conduction of the event – was waiting for the trombone sounds and thus began the ceremony and the solemn marching in: first the candidates – as the most important participants of the day, then the knights and dames of KMFAP and of the Sovereign Order of Cyprus, as well as leaders and members of our Associated Orders (International Order of Saint George, The Martyr, Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, Ordine di Aquila Romana), followed by the officers of KMFAP in ascending order of their ranks, then entered the inauguration swords of Knights of Malta (KMFAP) and of the Sovereign Order of Cyprus. Last, but not least the flags of Slovakia, Hungary, the Sovereign Order of Cyprus and the Knights of Malta marched in and accordingly, the Slovak, and Hungarian national anthems were sounded, followed by the orchestrated KMFAP anthem.

At this solemn ceremony knights and guests from 20 countries of 4 continents were present, as the flags placed behind the grandstand of the Grand Master referred to it. According to the traditions the investiture was enriched by an excellent music program composed for the occasion, in cooperation with Lady Lívia Ágh – world-famous soprano of the Prague State Opera, Ms. Zsófia Kristó – flute, and Mr. Péter Rendes – guitar soloists.  After his welcome speech to the guests, the Grand Master commemorated about our deceased knights and dames, and also about those, who struggle with serious disease therefore could not be present. We wish fast recovery for our sick members, and the possibility for them to return to the active work of Knights of Malta. A joyful event also happened in the life of Knights of Malta – on the 21st October Kai Stefán Veres, the son of Sir András Stefán and Viktória Veres was born. Monsignor Ladislaus sent the blessing to the knightly newborn baby. This time again, Gounod – “Ave Maria” was performed for all of them by Lady Lívia.




The ceremony continued with the “Several Acts” event, where the following awards were handed over by the Grand Master of KMFAP: - H.E. Shefki Hysa (Albania), Governor of DMPP received the Grand Cross Knight of Malta decoration - Mr. Welid Hemid Ghiten Alkalfewi (Iraq), deputy-mayor of Bashra city received the Honorary Doctoral degree of PRO-DEO State University - Sir Mgr. Pavol Zemko (Slovakia), Magisterial Religious Counsellor of KMFAP received the Honorary Doctoral degree of PRO-DEO State University.


The Ceremony of Investiture was carried out with the assistance of our team of knights and dames. At the beginning Sir Monsignor Ladislaus Szakál (in Hungarian) and Sir Mgr. Pavol Zemko (in Slovakian) – on behalf of all religions – blessed the symbols of KMFAP and of the Sovereign Order of Cyprus, which were given to the Postulants during their inauguration, and afterwards they can wear. After signing the Oath, and saluting in front of the flag by kissing it at the angle, the Postulants – accompanied by their godfather(s) / godmother(s) – kneed down on the prie-dieu in front of the Grand Master, and the traditional 3 sword-touches formally declared them to be knighted. The Order of Knights of Malta and the Sovereign Order of Cyprus knighted new candidates from 11 countries.


The Knights of Malta (KMFAP) invested 9 new knights and 2 dames, while the Sovereign Order of Cyprus, the military wing of KMFAP – knighted 1 gentleman and 2 dames, who became members of the privileged group of the Knights of Sword and Silence. For everyone the nicest and refreshing moment of the ceremony was the investiture of squires and damsels.



These children and young people represent the future and maybe one of them will be the next grand master – said Prince José, Grand Master of KMFAP, while all the present squires and damsels gathered in front of the throne in order to help and assist during this inauguration.


These children and young people represent the future and maybe one of them will be the next grand master – said Prince José, Grand Master of KMFAP, while all the present squires and damsels gathered in front of the throne in order to help and assist during this inauguration. 1 new squire and 1 damsel joined the Knights of Malta, and 1 squire was invested in the Sovereign Order of Cyprus. Closing the Ceremony 3 of our active knights were also rewarded for their outstanding, remarkable work and significant activities – done for the benefit of the Order – so contributing much to the development of the Knights of Malta and of the Sovereign Order of Cyprus: advancements of grade were presented to them.



At the end of the ceremony H.E. Shefki Hysa, Governor of Diplomatic Mission for Peace and Prosperity (DMPP) took the floor, and with the assistance of Sir Alexander Milesz – Ambassador of Peace, handed over the Honorary Ambassador of Peace and High Commissioner of Peace appointments to H.G. Prof. George Popper. And at the same time Sir George also received the Doctor of International Diplomacy H.c. degree of the Academy of Universal Global Peace. The university – besides India and the USA – is recognised by the UN and the EU as well. Furthermore, Sir Tamás Szalai – knight of Malta was inaugurated Honorary Consul General for Peace of DMPP.


Finally, the Ceremony Speaker expressed her thanks and gratitude – on behalf of the Order – to those knights and dames, who selflessly and effectively assisted and so contributed to the success of the event. The Knighthood Ceremony ended with the congratulations and photography, but for the newly invested knights and dames the real work has just begun with their active participation in our humanitarian work, which is the main activity of the Knights of Malta.

26th October 2015