39th Ceremony of Investiture of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta (KMFAP) between 1-3 November 2019 in Malta
It was a great pleasure that the 39th International Knighthood Ceremony of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, Federation of the Autonomous Priories (KMFAP) was again held in Valletta, Malta, co-organised by the Hungarian and the Maltese Grand Priories.
Knights, dames and guests were present from 29 countries (Malta, Hungary, Portugal, Angola, Slovakia, Italy, Austria, Turkey, China /Hong Kong/, USA, Iraq, Sweden, Czech Republic, Serbia, Benin, U.K., Poland, South Africa, The Netherlands, Brazil, Monaco, Ukraine, Switzerland, Albania, Sierra Leone, Republic of Congo, Sao Tomé and Principe, Sri Lanka, and Armenia) of 4 continents of the world.

Members of the Order with their families and guests arrived on time to be present from the very beginning of this special event that consisted of different chapters. It coincided with the celebration of the 25th anniversary of IBSSA and the 7th “Partnership for Security” International Conference on the 3rd November opened by the Minister for Home Affairs and National Security of Malta, Hon. Dr. Michael Farrugia in the presence of many high-profile organisations from the security profession and representatives of IBSSA, and IAPA from numerous countries.

Day of Honour: 1st November 2019

The event started on the 1st of November with the “Day of Honour”, dedicated to the Postulants by the General Chapter of Knights meeting, held at Grand Hotel Excelsior, Bellavanti Room, in the presence of the members of the Order. The meeting was opened by the host, Sir David Zammit, Grand Prior of Malta, welcoming and introducing the leaders of the Order to the Postulants. It was the moment when the new Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the KMFAP Government, Sir Jovan Kovacic (Republic of Serbia) was introduced as well. It was followed by a short welcome address of the Grand Master and the general presentation of KMFAP and its institutions by H.G. George Popper, Lieutenant General of the Grand Master. There were also other presentations: about FEMERAID International – Malta Unit, SRG and MCF by Sir David Zammit, about FEMERAID Air Rescue by Sir Nuno Cosmelli and Briefing about the newly established FEMERAID International Ambulance Service by Kevin Martin Gauci.

It was a very important moment when the 27 Postulants (26 Order of Saint John + 1 Sovereign Order of Cyprus) introduced themselves one-by-one. The Grand Master asked the Postulants in which activities they wanted to be involved? After being introduced, each Postulant signed the Oath, and received the Postulant Diplomas, the “Code of Chivalry” and the Tari coins in folder with Certificates.

Then we proceeded to an important segment: New appointments
• Sir Florentin Tchaou – Prior of Benin
• Sir Kevin Mayne – Prior of Canada
• Sir Ján Gramata – Prior of North and Centre Slovakia
• Sir Zeljko Gajic – Commander of the Serbian Unit of the Magisterial Guard
• Sir Jason Pisani – Commander of the Maltese Unit of the Magisterial Guard
• Sir Branislav Jovchevski – Major General
• Sir Viktor Kiss – KMFAP Representative in Ukraine
• Sir Sergij Meshko – KMFAP Representative in Ukraine

The General Chapter of Knights meeting ended by an ancient and intimate knightly tradition dating back to the origins of the knighthood: The Watch of Arms, when all the Postulants got acquainted with the symbols and their meanings: the 8 pointed white cross, the red cape – that they receive when being knighted, the spur and other customs and rules of knights that they must respect, obey and preserve, while meditating on their future life and changes following this important event coming up: the investiture.

Day of Investiture: 2nd November 2019

This grand-scale investiture was hosted by the Mediterranean Conference Centre (MCC), one of the most prestigious buildings in Malta, built in the 16-17th centuries in Valletta and operated by the Knights of Saint John, called Sacra Infermeria, that time it was famous for being the best hospital in whole Europe. We are very proud of its history, and we recalled the memory of our brave knights and great predecessors serving in the hospital and providing excellent medical care to all those who needed. There is a very interesting and comprehensive museum about the hospital and the work of the care giving knights.

Extracts from the History:
From the 971-year history of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem - established in 1048 in Jerusalem by our great predecessors - a lot of noble traditions of the chivalric life and spirit are still valid. Already in the Middle Ages the Knighthood Ceremony was considered very mysterious to the people, filled with ancient symbolic meaning. Knighthood has been conferred in the accolade which is the central act in the ceremony. Entry into Knighthood was highly ritualised, in the old times it started with ritual bathing as a symbol of purification followed by the Watch of Arms. The Knights wore 3 colours during their investiture: white vesture symbolising purity, covered by a red robe for the nobility, the cap for the fraternity, and black shoes and trousers, which symbolised the death. The Sword, Spurs and Shield were the symbols of Knighthood - nowadays the Shield is being replaced by the 8-pointed neck-cross. The Oath of Knighthood was an expression of loyalty and sincerity. Anyone who broke the Oath was seen as to have committed a crime. The Knight had to swear to defend to his uttermost the needy: the weak, the ill, the poor, the orphan, the widow and the oppressed. From the beginning to the present time the same knightly virtues and humanist values had to be respected and followed by the knights to uphold the ancient and noble traditions, to become one with the ideals and objectives of the Order, and participating actively in the main activity of our Knightly Order: the humanitarian work, helping the needy. According to the rules the Postulants gain admission to the Order under their merits and human qualities, on the recommendation of two Knights or Dames, who are the Godfathers or the Godmothers of the Candidate.
As it is said the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem was established in the Holy Land, (today Israel), in 1048, where we held an investiture in 2018 in the historic city of knights – Acre, in the medieval Fortress of the Knights, co-organised by the KMFAP Grand Priory for the Holy Land and the Hungarian Grand Priory to renew our activity in Israel, by returning to the roots and birthplace of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem.
Here on the Maltese Islands, situated in the middle of the Mediterranean, the knights of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem lived and worked between 1530-1798, following their long stay in Rhodes for 213 years (1308-1523). They established a new capital La Valletta and an independent, modern and well-functioning state that existed 268 glorious years. In 2018, we celebrated an important anniversary: the 970 years (1048-2018) of establishment of a hospitaller-monastic community in Jerusalem, the future Order of Saint John of Jerusalem.
We also remembered another historic, but very sad event being decisive for the Order and the life of the knights: the 220th anniversary of the end of the presence of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem in Malta (1798-2018). The arrival of Napoleon to Malta in 1798 put an end to the 268 glorious years of the independent and autonomous state of the Knights of Saint John, which was never restored, and the lost territories were never returned to the Knights despite the stipulations of the Treaty of Amiens, signed in 1802 between the French and British, as a peace treaty, and expired in 1803. Thus, the knights had to leave Malta, captured by the French Army.

The 39th Knighthood Ceremony was organised in the beautifully decorated La Valette Hall of MCC full of families and guests waiting for the ceremony, as a great privilege for all participants to take part at this historic venue in Malta.
It started with the processional entrance of the Postulants, the members of the Order, the priors, grand priors, members of the government, and the grand knighting officials under the guidance of the Master of Ceremony, followed by the flags and investing swords, and the anthems of Malta and the KMFAP were played. Then we remembered our deceased Knights and Great Predecessors and prayed for the health of our ill members and listened Gounod: Ave Maria performed by Lady Lívia Ághova, the famous soprano of the Prague Opera, enjoying her beautiful voice also during the whole ceremony.

The Speaker of the Ceremony asked Mr. Branko M. Lazarevic, Special Envoy of the Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia to read the message of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, H.E. Mr. Ivica Dacic – greeting all the knights, dames and guests present at this Ceremony – which was then handed over to the Grand Master, HMEH Prince José.

Before the official investiture, the Grand Master delivered his speech to the Postulants as follows:

This time the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta (KMFAP) received 26 new members, 1 squire and 2 damsels, and the Sovereign Order of Cyprus received 1 new member and her son, as squire. The investiture was performed in 4 parts, interrupted by classical music.

After the ceremony, conforming to the traditions, the Grand Master conferred awards and advancements to recompense the merits and the remarkable work of the knights, for the benefit of the Order and to make a difference:
• Sir Károly Miklósi (Hungary) – Grand Cross Knight of Cyprus
• Sir Ing. Ludovít Kulcsár (Slovakia) – Knight Commander of Malta
• Sir István Elek, GCKM (Monaco) received Gold Star with Diamonds decoration

The ceremony of investiture was closed by the official photo session and a cocktail reception at the La Valetta Hall of MCC.

Ball of Knights, Dames and Security Professionals: 3rd November 2019

The 3-day event ended on the evening of the 3rd November with a great Ball in honour of our new knights, members of the Order, their families, friends, invited guests and the participants of the IBSSA Congress and Conference – celebrating its 25th anniversary, with excellent dinner in festive ambience topped by the music of the Maltese Group: Speed of Sound, and dancing late night, while other knights used the services of the Cigar Club being at their disposal.

We truly wish and hope to meet again in Malta in 2020 …

10th January 2020