The Sovereign Order of Malta’s Patron Day. Ambassador Roberto Musneci: We have a strong relation with Romania

His Excellency Roberto Musneci, Ambassador of the Sovereign Order of Malta in Romania, during an event celebrating the establishment of the Order, emphasized the importance of the bilateral relationship between Malta and Romania.

Ambassador Musneci speach on the Sovereign Order of Malta’s Patron Day:

Secretary of State Raed Arafat,  YE Metropolitan Archbishop Perca, YE the Apostolic Nuntio, Archbishop Gloder, YE Archbishop Emeritus Robu, distinguished members of all confessions, (Ministers) , members of the Diplomatic Corp, members of the Government and of the Parliament, fellow Members of the Sovereign Order, Ladies and Gentlemen,

My wife Marialaura and I are delighted to see you here to celebrate with us our Patron’s day St John the Baptist. Our Order created almost 1000 years ago in Jerusalem is present in territories of todays Romania since the 13th Century  not only building, at the time, a medical facility but entering into a proper agreement between sovereign entities. We recently published the agreement and history for us is of paramount importance. In recent times, as you know diplomatic relations were established in 1932  and our charitable activity continued, not without difficulties, even during the unilateral suspension of such relations by the Communist regime in 1947. Finally, 31 years ago our relief Corp SAMR (Malteser Relief Corp of Romania) was founded. It counts now over 1000 volunteers and 120 employees in 18 centers running over 100 projects of social inclusion and healthcare support in disadvantaged communities and in case of natural disasters in coordination with Romanian authorities. Since the creation  in 1048 and throughout our history, this has been our Charisma: Protect the faith and serve those in need. We do it in each country according to our means and skills of course but with the same guiding principles and the internal discipline stemming from our history. 

Now that the lengthy process of Constitutional reform is behind our shoulder, we do experience a real reenergization not only of our projects but also of our communications and diplomatic activities. The recent visit of Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu to our Grand Chancellor Riccardo Paterno’ di Montecupo was not only aimed at reconfirming the solid relations between Romania and our Order but also at finding ways to optimize the use of financial and human resources at our disposal and to increase our communication to Institutions and public at large to distinguish ourselves from other organizations that use and often abuse our history and symbols confusing, at best, both public opinion and authorities. We are very pleased of the few but relevant points agreed in Rome and we are optimist that we will see them in practice over the coming period.

As we proven times and times again even a so called atypical state with no territory or economic objectives but kept together by its history and Charisma can maintain its sovereignty over the centuries, and play an important role in situations were faith diplomacy and humanitarian diplomacy plays a key role in conflict de-escalation and in mitigating the impact of crisis in marginalized communities. This is, we believe, the rational beyond our recognition in over 120 states and multilateral organizations. 

Of course, even this year, sadly, our celebration comes at an extremely difficult junction with the harshening of the war in Ukraine that runs the risk to see the law of force prevailing on the force of the international law. Our Order was only involved in the preparatory meetings of the recent pragmatic summit in Switzerland but we are happy to see in final declarations that any solution should be based in the respect of International law. I would add a tautology if you like: this should include safety for all populations from war and terrorism and of course it applies also to the crises in the middle east and in all tension areas and where we are always involved. In these situations our relief corps in virtually all countries in Europe, in US and in Romania in particular, raised to the challenge providing technical support, human and financial resources to alleviate the sufferings of those displaced by the war. Romania became a catalyst of such helps from Italy, Germany, US, Austria, Poland and many others. This was due primarily to the commitment of our volunteers and their ability to work internationally with fellow members of our Order.  It is of paramount importance to be alongside the Ukrainian population until a just peace based on International law and acceptable to Ukrainian people first of allis achieved.

Our efforts in this respect have always been supported and encouraged also by SMURD. Once again I salute the leadership of Sec. of State Arafat as he continues to be a point of reference for our volunteers. I thank you Raed for your openness and pragmatic, solution-driven, approach.

I would also like to thank and congratulate the Royal House, the Custodian of the Crown HM Margareta and HRH Prince Radu for their collaboration with our Order and the role they are playing in Romanian and Moldavian societies. 

As usual, we continued to work closely with the Ministries of health and labor both at central and local level and I welcome and thank representatives of the Ministry present tonight.  

In conclusion, some additional thanks. Marialaura and I and our small diplomatic staff, would like to thank all the sponsors that helped us tonight and our Relief Corp SAMR in our day to day activities. They start to be quite a few for our standards and they have already been mentioned but their logos are available and without any shyness I sincerely thank each and every one of them. They clearly understood the value of what we do over and beyond their personal courtesy.

Thank you very much for coming and, with great pleasure, I invite Secretary of State Raed Arafat to give us his  remarks

Thank you!


Raed Arafat speach on the Sovereign Order of Malta’s Patron Day:

" Your Excellency, Ambassador Musneci, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends and colleagues,
I am extremely honored to have the valuable opportunity to respond to Ambassador Musneci's speech on the occasion of The Sovereign Order of Malta’s Patron Day, on behalf of the Romanian government.

This is a unique occasion for me to publicly thank the Sovereign Order of Malta, particularly the Maltese Relief Corps of Romania, for their involvement and support given to the Romanian authorities in addressing challenges that continually test our preparedness and resilience.

I will not repeat what Ambassador Musneci has already stated regarding the vast history of the Sovereign Order of Malta and its centuries-long humanitarian support for those in suffering. Instead, I prefer to share with you my personal experience collaborating with the volunteers of the Order.

My first contact with the Order was in the early nineties, after the communist regime ended and the real needs of the Romanian population started surfacing. Medications, medical care, and support for the vulnerable and persons with disabilities were just part of the activities the Order’s volunteers were delivering through their newly opened base in Cluj, even before the official founding of the Maltese Relief Corps of Romania. The involvement of the German Malteser Hilfdienst in the first years following the revolution was extremely important not only to those in need but also to governmental agencies, especially in the health care field.

In the early nineties, I knew a volunteer from the Malteser Hilfdienst based in Cologne. His name was Berndt Muller. Few amongst you know that the SMURD system was supposed to start in Cluj, but after continuous blockades, the initiative began in Târgu Mureș in 1990. In 1994, after the authorities in Cluj observed how things evolved in Mureș County, they requested that something should be done to start the SMURD in Cluj. This is when Berndt, mobilizing substantial help from the German Malteser Hilfdienst, supported Cluj Fire Department to start the SMURD system in Cluj. SMURD Cluj was supported by the Romanian Maltese Relief Service, as well as their colleagues from Germany, for many years, donating vehicles, equipment, and medical consumables, leading to the saving of thousands of lives. It is not exaggerated to say that The Order of Malta played a major role in the development of the Romanian emergency response system through their involvement in Cluj.

Looking at our surroundings, at the challenges we face, and those we may face in the future, whether caused by natural or man-made disasters, we at the Department for Emergency Situations are aware that we cannot be the only responders. We need to work together with volunteers and nongovernmental organizations to be better prepared and more resilient, not excluding the necessity to collaborate with the private sector as well. This is why we try to get acquainted with our partners, train together, and complement each other to be ready to face all challenges. This is why we signed an agreement with the SAMR since the foundation of our department, allowing us to work closely together. We hoped that such an agreement would serve only to prepare and be ready, but we found ourselves working with the SAMR and other organizations to build up an adequate response to deal with major emergencies, starting with the pandemic and continuing with the major refugee crisis caused by the Russian aggression on Ukraine.

Our experience in Romania and the experience of our colleagues worldwide show that volunteer organizations are vital for our communities, regardless of how advanced or wealthy they are. This is why, looking at the nearly 1000-year history and evolution of The Sovereign Order of Malta, I can only imagine the good deeds, the suffering alleviated, and the lives saved by the volunteers who believed in their faith and mission, and put the well-being of others ahead of their own. As Ambassador Musneci said earlier, there is a place for the diplomacy of faith, and those who truly understand and believe in the purpose of faith know that it is meant to bring us closer and make us better, regardless of the faith we follow.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the Romanian Order of Malta Service for the excellent work they are doing and the outstanding collaboration they have had with us to make life easier for those in need. I also want to assure you of a long-lasting cooperation with the Department of Emergency Situations at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, where we see you as a highly valued partner.

Thank you for all that you have done, and keep on serving!".

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