Topic: Military history/Crusades

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Sovereign Military Order of Malta

Military history Heraldry and vexillology Catholicism Military history/Crusades Military history/Medieval warfare Countries Former countries Military history/National militaries Malta Orders, decorations, and medals

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), officially the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta (Italian: Sovrano Militare Ordine Ospedaliero di San Giovanni di Gerusalemme di Rodi e di Malta; Latin: Supremus Militaris Ordo Hospitalarius Sancti Ioannis Hierosolymitani Rhodiensis et Melitensis), commonly known as the Order of Malta, Malta Order or Knights of Malta, is a Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalric and noble nature. Though it possesses no territory, the order is a sovereign entity of international law and maintains diplomatic relations with many countries.

SMOM claims continuity with the Knights Hospitaller, a chivalric order that was founded c.‚ÄČ1099 by the Blessed Gerard in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The order is led by an elected Prince and Grand Master. Its motto is Tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperum ('defence of the faith and assistance to the poor'). The order venerates the Virgin Mary as its patroness, under the title of Our Lady of Philermos. Its modern-day role is largely focused on providing humanitarian assistance and assisting with international humanitarian relations, for which purpose it has had permanent observer status at the United Nations General Assembly since 1994.

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