Order of Malta stamps
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The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, better known as the Sovereign Order of Malta, has a two-fold nature. It is one of the most ancient Catholic Religious Orders, founded in Jerusalem in around 1048. At the same time it has always been recognized by nations as an independent subject of international law.
The Order's mission is summed up in its motto "Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum" - defence of the faith and assistance to the suffering.
Based in Rome, Italy, the SMOM takes its origins from the Knights Hospitaller, an organization founded in Jerusalem in 1050 as an Amalfitan hospital to provide care for poor and sick pilgrims to the Holy Land. After the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 during the First Crusade, it became a Catholic military order under its own charter. Following the loss of Christian held territories of the Holy Land to Muslims, the Order operated from Rhodes (1310–1523), and later from Malta (1530–1798), over which it was sovereign.
Although this state came to an end with the ejection of the Order from Malta by Napoleon, the Order as such survived. It retains its claims of sovereignty under international law and has been granted permanent observer status at the United Nations. SMOM is considered to be the main successor to the medieval Knights Hospitaller.
Today the order has 12,500 members; 80,000 permanent volunteers; and 20,000 medical personnel including doctors, nurses, auxiliaries and paramedics. The goal is to assist the elderly, the handicapped, refugees, children, the homeless, those with terminal illness and leprosy in five continents of the world, without distinction of race or religion. In several countries, including France, Germany and Ireland, the local associations of the Order are important providers of first aid training, first aid services and emergency medical services. Through its worldwide relief corps, Malteser International, the Order is also engaged to aid victims of natural disasters, epidemics and armed conflicts.
Unificado (Italian catalog) #830
40th Anniversary, USFI (Italian Philatelic Press Union)
Inside #???: Italy, Sardinia 50c letter sheet imprint, 1819 (changed colors)?O
Thanks to Lou Guadagno
Unificado (Italian catalog) #BF 82 (#846-854)
40th Anniversary, First stamps of SMOM (Poste Magistrali)
Inside #???: First 9 stamps of SMOMO
Unificado (Italian catalog) #1-9
Thanks to Attilio Papio and Lou Guadagno
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Order of Malta stamps