For centuries, the Knights of Malta and the Ottomans were enemies. The knights have just celebrated their 900th
If any of you happened to be watching “euronews” just three days before Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation, you might have seen a long procession of men wearing black cloaks with white Maltese crosses slowly moving into the St. Peter’s Basilica for a meeting with the pope. These were today’s Knights of Malta, officially the Order of Malta, the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta.
The occasion was the 900th anniversary of the presentation of the Papal decree in 1113, which gave the order official status, although it was founded 60 years before that. Seeing them conjured up memories of the kingdom of Jerusalem, the Saracens and Saladin, Cyprus, Rhodes and finally the Battle of La Valletta on the island of Malta where some 30,000 Ottoman soldiers met their deaths in 1565.