The knights of St John
This has been the religious center for the Knights Orden of St John. Established 1048 as protectors of pilgrims (from any religion !) they turned into military activity after Jerusalem was lost. Initially based at Cyprus,later Rhodes , in early 1500 Rhodes was lost and the orden without territory.1530 Malta was declared their new territory and 1565 Grandmaster de Valetta withstood a fierce attack from the Ottomans (therefore of course the name Valetta on it´s capital).
The island was occupied by Napolen 1798 and the orden has been based in Rome ever since. In medeival times they were crusaders in close cooperation with the nights of Templar (not an existing orden anymore).We have seen their fortresses spread all over the eastern Mediterranean being impressed by the magnitude of the orden those days.
Today they are 13.500 knights and dames. They have their own sovereignty under international law,a permanent observer status in the UN,issue their own passports, and employ 25.000 doctors,nurses and paramedics all over the world to aid in poverty,warzones,catastrophies and so on. At the same time they still have military power with three brigades in close liason with the Italian Armed Forces. Military power is supposed to be used for protecting christians all over the world....