The Order of Malta today does not have a territory, but it does have functional sovereignty. For example, there is its own national anthem (Ave Crux Alba), a public holiday (24 June, the feast day of John the Baptist), a currency (scudo, which is only minted for collectors), and its own postage stamps (with limited territorial validity). ). Also famous is the Maltese cross, a white cross with eight points on a red background.
The order also issues its own diplomatic passports. There are diplomatic relations with more than 100 countries and representation to, among others, the European Union and the United Nations, although they are not full members. They also maintain contacts with international organizations such as the Red Cross.
What is the Order of Malta concerned with? Their mission is based on two pillars: on the one hand “the active experience of the Christian faith and its promotion”, on the other hand “care for the poor and needy in society, wherever in the world.” The latter is the most important mission. The order is active in dozens of countries in the field of charity, health care and emergency aid in the event of disasters and wars. Over the centuries, an extensive diplomatic and humanitarian network has been developed, enabling them to provide aid even in difficult and remote areas.
Many countries each have their own department, but there is a separate organization for emergency and reconstruction aid, Malteser International. In it, 20 national departments of the Order are combining their expertise on international aid.