Belgrade, June 22nd
For the second year in a row the festivity of St. John the Baptist, Patron Saint of the Sovereign Order of Malta, was celebrated in a context of humanitarian diplomacy and culture.
While it is clear to all that our mission is in favor of those most in need in the world, particularly in the 120 countries where we are present, sometimes it is harder to remember that our nearly 1,000 years of history also include culture. And so, for the second consecutive year, in the picturesque setting of the National Theatre of Belgrade, was performed the famous opera of Giuseppe Verdi “Rigoletto”, masterfully interpreted by the baritone Alberto Gazale and soprano Elena Mosuc.
At the National Theatre, in the presence of 550 people and the institutional, religious, diplomatic and cultural authorities, the Ambassador Alberto di Luca has addressed his greetings on behalf of the Grand Master of the Sovereign Order, Fra’ Matthew Festing, emphasizing the excellent relations between the Order of Malta and Serbia and the continuous successful development of bilateral cooperation.
Among other things he has emphasized the great commitment of the Embassy of the Order in Serbia for the realization, for the second year in a row, of the project “Make a WISH to the Sovereign Order of Malta,” which for the year 2016 is dedicated to the orphans housed at the center of Sremcica and the girls with mental disabilities of the monastery of the Serbian Orthodox Church St Petka, in the village of Izvor.
Numerous were the letters with the WISHES that arrived at the Embassy from the two institutions and, unlike last year, there wasn’t any waiting for a final ceremony of delivery but instead, due to urgency matters, it was decided fulfill the WISHES as soon as economic resources were available. And so it was possible to deliver to Izvor important medical equipment such as electrocardiographs and glucometers, which the Orthodox nuns requested and have been expecting for years now; and a first supply of clothing and washing and drying machines necessary for faster and better maintenance of the high quality care provided to the children.
The success of this first part of the “Make a WISH 2016” should be ascribed to the precious and generous donors who wanted to support the project. This is the case for the “Global Fund for Forgotten People” of the Order of Malta; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan; and the Italian clothing company “Original Marines” that Ambassador di Luca wanted to publicly thank.
In the coming months we will proceed to the delivery of a 20 seat Mini-Bus for Sremcica; Industrial washing and dryer machines for Izvor; and an ambulance for the use of the Sisters of the monastery St. Petka who manage the center and with a lot of love and devotion take very good care of their 92 girls.
The baritone Alberto Gazale and soprano Elena Mosuc charmed the passionate and qualified audience – which, at the end, has spoken with a warm and lengthy standing ovation – for their masterful interpretation of “Rigoletto” by Giuseppe Verdi, under the charismatic direction of Maestro Dejan Savic. A special performance wanted by the Embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta on the occasion of the National Day, appreciated by both Serbian music lovers and the authorities and the diplomatic corps accredited in Serbia.
At the end of the Opera, in the foyer, the guests toasted to the friendship between Serbia and the Order of Malta and to the success of many initiatives that the Embassy in Belgrade organized over the past year: a tradition by now, the “A hot meal on a cold winter”; the support to the refugees – in collaboration with the German Malteser – that, especially at the beginning of year, crossed Serbia, and we gave our help both in Vranje and at the border with Hungary, in addition to the “Make a WISH to the Sovereign Order of Malta ” which is attracting so much interest in the country both on a personal level as well as the media.
There were numerous MP’s including the newly elected Vice President of Parliament Hon. Vladimir Marinkovic and former Chairman of the Serbia-Order of Malta Friendship Group and Hon. Jadranka Jovanovic, famous opera singer.
Together with the Apostolic Nuncio representing the Holy See, H.E. Msgr. Luciano Suriani, accompanied by the Secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature, Msgr. Janusz Stanislaw Blaxhoviak; are intervened, for the Catholic Church, the Archbishop of Belgrade, H.E. Msgr. Stanislav Hocevar; for the Orthodox Church – special representative of the Serbian Patriarch H.H. Irinej – Mr. Aleksandar Praščević, Director for the foreign relations; and numerous Ambassadors and Diplomats accredited in Belgrade including: H.E. Ilir Boçka, Ambassador of Albania; H.E. Ricardo Fernando Fernández, Ambassador of Argentina; H.E. Johannes Eigner, Ambassador of Austria; H.E. Lazar Mirkić, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina; H.E. Isabela Cristina de Azevedo Heyvaert, Ambassador of Brazil; H.E. Angel Simeonov Dimitrov, Ambassador of Bulgaria; H.E. Philip Herbert Pinnington, Ambassador of Canada; H.E. Constantinos Eliades, Ambassador of Cyprus; H.E. Giuseppe Manzo, Ambassador of Italy; H.E. Toufic Jaber, Ambassador of Lebanon; H.E. Branislav Mićunović, Ambassador of Montenegro; H.E. Abdellah Zegour, Ambassador of Morocco; H.E. Daniel Banu, Ambassador of Romania; H.E. Oleksandr Aleksandrovych, Ambassador of Ukraine; Mr. Denis Kuznedelev, Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy; Mr. Oskar Benedikt, Minister-Counsellor of the Delegation of the European Union; Mrs. Nena Scott, wife of the Ambassador of the United States of America; and Mr. Alix-Andre Michel Saint Lot, Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund.