From IBWikiHospitallers of St. John. In the mid-19th century, external matters were assumed by the Federated Kingdoms, leaving internal governance to the Knights. Malta is known for its ancient ruins and is a thriving tourist destination. It served honorably during the Second Great War as an airbase for Royal Navy dirigible fleets that harrassed Europe from the south and Africa from the north.
THE SOVEREIGN MILITARY AND HOSPITALLER ORDER OF SAINT JOHN OF JERUSALEM, OF RHODES, AND OF MALTA
Early 18th century: Led by the Langues of England and Germany, members of the order start agitating for certain changes.
1798: Napoleon conquers Malta. Grand Master Hompesch flees to Trieste. Hospitaller sisters continue to serve at the hospital in Valetta and protect the archives of the Order. The priory of Russia chooses to depose the current grand master and elects Tsar Paul I as grand master.
1800: England conquers Malta. Included in the expedition are a few Kemrese, English, and Scottish knights of the Order. The Hospital of Valetta is turned over to these knights under the authority of the King of England. The English reject both Grand Masters' claims to Malta.
1800-????: The great schism. One faction of the Order (predominantly English) controls the hospital in Valetta. One faction controls the Order's holy relics (predominantly Italian). One faction (predominantly Russian) enjoys great military and economic power.
1811: England and the Holy See agree on a set of terms which will permit the Order to return to Malta.
1812: In grand council the Order rewrites its articles and properly elects a new grand master.
1814: Among its actions, the Congress of Vienna [?], with the consent of the Federated Kingdoms, returns the rule of Malta to the Order to St. John. Additionally, the signatory nations agree upon certain rules concerning the Order's properties throughout Europe.
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Jefferson (Conculture 29574, Mar 23, 2008):
For all their complaints and troubles, the people of Malta are very cautious about changing the political balance of power that governs them. It is much like the water rights situation in our American West. It is complicated, cumbersome, and could undoubtedly be improved, but it works, and people are afraid of what might happen if it was changed too suddenly.
Jefferson (Conculture 29575, Mar 23, 2008):
Internally, [the Knights of Malta] would like to think that they stand neutral in inter-state disputes. They cannot give unbiased aid or stand as unbiased aides if they are known to be specifically allied to one group or another, so they try to avoid alliances. Leadership struggles over the past 20 years have even questioned the basic principle of favoring Christian over non-Christian nations. While the question has not been fully resolved (mainly because it would require a ruling from the pope, which is not likely to happen anytime in the foreseeable future), there is a tendency to say that as all humanity is God's creation, the order has a responsibility to humanity that is greater than its responsibility to the community of Christ which, after all, is more a construct of man than of God.
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