34th Ceremony of Investiture of the Knights of Malta (KMFAP) on the 25th March 2018 in the Holy Land, in Acre (Israel)
At the invitation of Sir Dr. Rony Kluger, the international group of members of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, Federation of the Autonomous Priories (KMFAP) took part in a seven-day Israeli round trip, during which the knights and dames visited the Jewish, Christian and Saint John of Jerusalem Order’s historic sites.
After seeing the most important monuments and Biblical sites of Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, the Lake of Gennesaret (Sea of Galilee) and its surroundings, the highlight of the journey was the arrival to the nearly 1000-year-old knightly town of Acre (Akko). In this medieval town, the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem stayed over 200 years.

After serious preparation, the Knights of Malta (KMFAP), with the utmost contribution of the Grand Priory of Holy Land, organised its 34th Ceremony of Investiture on the 25th March 2018 in the Citadel of Acre.
The present knights and dames of KMFAP arrived to visit the Hospitaller Fortress (KnightsHalls), built by the Templars and the Knights of St John, with the leadership of H.G. Prof. George Popper – Lieutenant General, wearing their red capes, knightly symbols, and bringing the flags as well as the sword of investiture of the Knightly Order with them.

The Fortress, built with impressive engineering work, despite the many vicissitudes it had suffered in the hundreds of years, has almost completely preserved its original condition and has a spectacular exhibition telling its story, which is particularly close to the hearts of the Knights and Dames of Saint John.
When the group reached the Knight’s Hall of the Citadel the visit was interrupted and after about 700 years, a Knighthood Ceremony took place again in this place of special significance for us, knighting one Postulant of the Knights of Malta.

At the beginning of the ceremony, Sir Rony Kluger – Grand Prior of the Holy Land of KMFAP, read the Greeting Letter of HMEH Prince José Cosmelli – Grand Master, sent specially on this occasion, as well as the Authorization Letter to the Lieutenant General to carry out this unique investiture between the much-seen historical walls.

Lady Anna Popper presented the Order’s story with special regard to the important role of Akko, the port city. Following the return of Jerusalem to Muslims in 1192, Akko became the seat of the Order of Saint John until 1291, when Akko fell as well, and after about 250 years of its presence in the Holy Land the Order was forced to leave forever, as many times during its history. From its homeland, the seat was moved to the island of Cyprus, where the knights had been actively present for nearly 100 years.

After recalling the glorious historic past, the highest dignity of the ceremony, H.G. Prof. George Popper took the floor and informed the participants on how the Knighthood Ceremony takes place in the modern practice of the Order, but here in Akko, in the ancient knightly object it was quite different. The place itself is the living history of the Order and grasping this unique occasion the knighting of an extraordinary person was announced.
Prof. Popper said that one of the great members of KMFAP, Sir John Dora (who died in a tragic accident in 2005) had been in the care of a talented young man and had shared even then his wish with us that he wanted his patronage once to be a member of the Knights of Malta, but that time he was too young for that.

Over the past 10 years, Tony Schiena has become a famous Hollywood movie star, a world-renowned instructor, who has been actively involved in the preparation of Kurdish units fighting against ISIS, as well as in the training of US special forces. Moreover, he created an international organization fighting against internet child pornography. Based on all these, “Sir Antonio” worthily deserved his knighthood membership. And it was a special honour to knight him in this wonderful place, in the Knights' Hall of the Fortress, in the circle of knights and dames lined up around him, which was a lifelong experience for all participants.

10th April 2018