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Polish Knights of Malta rebuild pre-war legacy

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 01.03.2013 11:32
  • The Knights of Malta in Poland today
As the Order of the Knights of Malta celebrates its 900th anniversary, the Polish branch is rebuilding its legacy having been banned during the communist era.

Chairmen of the Polish Knights of Malta Aleksander Tarnowski (L) and Andrzej Potworowski (R) entering St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on the 900th anniversary of the order. Photo: Anna Donimirska

“We are not knights any more, we are fighting with poverty and medical needs, helping in disasters throughout the world, and situations like in Syria,” says Jerzy Donimirski, who attended the order's 900th anniversary celebrations at the Vatican in mid-February.

“Nobody is going with guns [nowadays],” he told our reporter Nick Hodge, “we are going with an outreached hand, with help.”

Formed by a group of crusaders, the Roman Catholic order's sovereignty was recognised by Pope Paschal II in 1213. Although virtually landless today, the order maintains diplomatic relations with over 100 countries, enjoying permanent observer status at the United Nations.

Poland has 158 Knights of Malta today, and the activities of the order at home are currently focused on building hospitals, besides other charity work.

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