15th Investiture of the Grand Priory of the Mediterranean
Saturday 25th April 2009
Investiture of the Grand Priory
Church: Basilica of Saint Dominic, Valletta, Malta
[Currently viewing: The Procession/Ceremony]
The largest ever investiture in the Maltese islands of the Grand Priory of the Mediterranean of the Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus was held in April and witnessed a packed gathering of more than three hundred knights, dames, confreres and consoeurs and guests of the Order in the Basilica of Saint Dominic in the country’s capital, Valletta.
The investing officers were led by the Grand Prior of the Supreme Grand Priory of the Order, H.E. Chev. Richard Comyns of Ludston GCLJ. It also included the Grand Secretary, Chev. Robin Slack KLJ and the Grand Chancellor, Chev. Massimo J Ellul. Naturally, the Grand Prior of the Mediterranean, the Right Reverend Monsignor Anton Gauci ECLJ, held the chair for the opening of the investiture and indeed delivered a beautiful sermon on the works of our organization to the congregation.
The investiture took note of the Grand Prior’s sixtieth anniversary as an ordained priest of the Roman Catholic Church and, throughout a standing ovation, was awarded the Order of Merit of the Order of Saint Lazarus in the rank of Commander for his sterling work in the community.
A number of deputations were also present for the investiture, including a Scottish delegation headed by Dame Alexandra Cooper DLJ, a delegation from England led by Confrere Derek Cobbing CLJ, a delegation from the Austrian CSLI, who are now fully fledged members of the United Grand Priories of the Order, led by Confrere Wolfgang Steinhardt, and others.
The guests for the investiture also included a deputation led by His Excellency the Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher and a number of his Grand Officers, knights and dames.
The investiture also included the first official patronage of a Scout Group in Malta, namely the Marsa Scout Group, which also provided the march past for the Order’s Grand Officers and Officers and were the official standard bearers of the investiture. The Marsa Scout Group now joins the Gozo Scout Group, both being under the patronage of the Order and proudly sporting the Order’s badge on their uniforms. In fact, the Secretary General of the Grand Priory assisted the Investing Officer in distributing around seventy five shoulder patches of the Order to the Scout members present after the badges were blessed by the Grand Priory Chaplain, the Right Reverend Joseph Vella Gauci ChLJ.
All the Commanderies of the Grand Priory of the Mediterranean were represented by means of their Commanders and deputy Commanders. A record amount of postulants and promotions were indeed the apex of the ceremony which was conducted with the participation of the Commanders of the Commanderies of de l’Isle-Adam, Cotoner, La Valette, Pinto and De Rohan.
One postulant was thus admitted into the Grand Priory with the rank of Member of the Order (MLJ). Thirteen confreres and consoeurs were admitted into the Grand Priory with the rank of Officers of the Order (OLJ). One Consoeur was admitted into the Order in the grade of Commander of the Order (CLJ) whilst the investiture also witnessed the admittance of a Confrere from the Commandery of La Valette with the rank of Knight of Grace of the Order.
This investiture was also very important historically due to the fact that a number of important promotions were meted out by the Grand Prior of the Supreme Grand Priory of the Order. The first ever rank of Knight Grand Cross of the Order was given to the Chancellor of the Grand Priory, Chevalier Massimo J Ellul GCLJ KMLJ after it was duly announced in the October 2008 investiture held in the Cathedral of Gozo. The Commander and Secretary of the Commandery of de l’Isle-Adam, Chevaliers Thomas Nash and Derek Cobbing were promoted to Knight Commander and Knight of Grace of the Order respectively. The Commanders of the Commanderies of De Rohan and Pinto, Chevaliers Darren Marmara and Robert Vella were also promoted to the rank of Knight of Grace of the Order. Two other active members, Confrere Joseph Borda and Confrere Roberto Ortiz (The United Grand Priory representative of Brazil) were promoted to the Grade of Commander of the Order.
The investiture also saw the resurrection of the Saint Lazarus Choir, with their beautiful blue and white uniforms who created a superb atmosphere throughout the solemn event. The choir was ably directed by Conseour Lilian Plumpton, who also received the Order of Merit of the Order in the Grade of Officer for her sterling work in this department. Seventeen other confreres and consoeurs also received various grades in the Order of Merit of the Order of Saint Lazarus for work in the Community, including the volunteers of the Tiny Infants Parents Support Group – part of the national Ta’ Kana movement – and Major S. J. A. Clews, who chairs the Malta Memorial District Nursing Association. These two organizations will be benefiting from the donations raised by the Grand Priory throughout 2009 and 2010 in order to assist them in their needful and philanthropic/Hospitaller work in the community.
The head of the Austrian Delegation, Confere Wolfgang Steinhardt CMLJ was also honoured by the Grand Priory by means of the Order of Merit of the Order in the Grade of Commander of Merit. Earlier in the investiture, Confrere Steinhardt presented a beautiful hand-painted banner of the Mediterranean branch of the Corps San Lazare International which will also be run by the Grand Priory of the Mediterranean. Confrere Steinhardt present the Chancellor of the Grand Priory, Chevalier Massimo J Ellul with the highest rank of merit which the CSLI can give to officers of merit and entrusted the Mediterranean branch of the Corps San Lazare International in his hands.
The Group Scout Leaders of both the Marsa Scout Group and the Fgura Scout Group were acknowledged in the investiture as were a number of mayors and councilors from various local councils throughout Malta and Gozo.
After a superb march past by the strong contingent of Scouts present at the investiture, the members and officers of the Order and their guests congregated to the historic Casino Maltese in Valletta for the investiture luncheon. The atmosphere and food was indeed superb and a number of speeches were delivered by the Grand officers present.
Entrance of the Grand Officers
Entrance of the Supreme Grand Prior
The St. Lazarus Choir
The Grand Prior Homily
Offertory by Scouts
Prayers offered by Scouts
Malta Scouts Patronage and Arm Badges