Belgrade. June 12, 2018
This year as well, the Festivity of St. John the Baptist, Patron of the Order of Malta, was celebrated in a context of humanitarian and cultural diplomacy. It was organized twelve days prior to the date of Festivity, June 24, so that the traditional opera-event of the Order of Malta could fit the rich calendar of the National Theater in Belgrade. It was defined as the “cultural event of the year in Serbia” by the local press.
The Order of Malta’s humanitarian mission has fused with the values of the most refined musical tradition for an unforgettable representation of the famous “Lucia di Lammermoor” by Gaetano Donizzetti, whose acclaimed protagonists were once again – after the great success in 2017 – the Canadian soprano Claire Coolen and the Italian baritone Alberto Gazale.
Ambassador Alberto di Luca addressed the 600 guests from the Diplomatic corps and state Institutions, guests from the religious, academic and economic world in Serbia. In his speech, he sent the best wishes to the newly elected Grand Master of the Order of Malta Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto for the commitment that awaits him, pointing out that in Serbia as well, all the activities promoted by the Embassy are always inspired by the millennial Polar star of the Order of Malta: “Defense of the faith and assistance to the poor”.
The Authorities and distinguished guests, in the interval of the Opera, were invited in the foyer where the Ambassador and Mrs. di Luca, together with collaborators of the Embassy, proposed a toast to friendship and cooperation between Serbia and the Order of Malta, and the success of the humanitarian activities organized by the Embassy, currently under way and planned for the future. Among the guests were the newly installed Ambassador of Italy H.E. Carlo Lo Cascio and the Ambassador of France H.E. Frèdèric Mondoloni.
It was particularly appreciated the presence of the Ambassador of the Russian Federation H.E. Alexander Chepurin and his wife who wanted to join us at the Theatre and be present during the toast and the second act despite the fact that they celebrated their National Day the same day at 7:00 p.m.
The warm expressions of friendship, support and encouragement were pronounced by Hon. Vladimir Marinkovic, Vice President of the Parliament and President of the Parliamentary friendship group of the Order of Malta.
Speech given by the Ambassador Alberto di Luca
Your excellency Minister Đukić-Dejanović; Honorable Vice-president of the Parliament Mr. Marinković; Your Excellency Monsignor Apostolic Nuncio; Honorable deputies of the Parliament; Your Excellencies Ambassadors; Ladies and Gentleman; Dear Friends:
First of all, I wish to raise my thoughts to His Most Eminent Highness, Prince and Grand Master Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto, elected on May 2nd as the 80th Grand Master of our Sovereign Order.
I send him the most fervent wishes for the high mission that awaits him.
I take this opportunity to renew my heartfelt gratitude to the authorities representing the Parliament, the Government and the national and local Institutions in Serbia, to which I express the deepest appreciation for their availability, and for the concrete and constructive spirit that has marked the numerous opportunities for dialogue and collaboration in humanitarian, medical, social and educational field.
With the diplomatic relations established in 2017 with Germany, today the Order of Malta has 107 Embassies in the world, together with Permanent Representatives to the UN and its Agencies.
The Order’s structures – animated by thousands of doctors, nurses and volunteers – work to fight epidemics and poverty, treat the sick, assist orphans, elderly people, single mothers, refugees and migrants, always defending and supporting human life and dignity without any distinction of faith, origin and condition.
I would only like to mention two cases to prove permanent vitality of the Order’s millennial mission that I consider paradigmatic:
⁃ in Bethlehem our “Holy Family” Hospital welcomes all expectant mothers and babies regardless of religious belief. The Mayor of the City gave the statement to the Italian daily newspaper “Corriere della Sera” that “The Order of Malta in Bethlehem has made the impossible possible”.
⁃ The hard work in the Mediterranean Sea of the members of the Italian Relief Corps of the Order, operating on Italian Navy ships, to save and treat migrants from Africa.
This is the part of the activities of our Order in 2018 always faithful to the Polar Star illuminating the path “Tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperum”
(Defence of the faith and assitance to the poor).
Thank you all and enjoy “Lucia di Lammermoor”!