Sovereign Military Hospitaller
Order of St John of Jerusalem of
Rhodes and of Malta


Poste Magistrali supports the “Philately in prisons” project

Poste Magistrali supports the “Philately in prisons” project

Accepting the invitation of the “Gruppo filatelia nelle carceri” (Philately in prisons Group), which for a decade has involved a dozen inmates in maximum security regimes, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta’s Poste Magistrali was present, through the creation of a special postmark, at a significant philatelic event organised last 8 March at the Milan Opera Prison.

The meeting was the occasion to talk about the four issuing authorities of the Italian peninsula – that is, Italy, the Vatican City State, the Republic of San Marino and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta – plus a fifth one, the enclave of Campione d’Italia, active as a issuing authority for a few years after the end of World War II.

The task of talking about the history of each of the five issuing authorities and their respective stamps fell to representatives of the respective entities, while that of ‘narrating’ a significant character from the same history was entrusted to a few members of the Philately Group who stepped into the shoes of the character himself.

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta was represented by Niccolò d’Aquino di Caramanico, Delegate for Lombardy, who emphasised how the Order continues to be military, through its Italian Ambulance Corps (CISOM), and medical assistance. He cited, in this regard, the praiseworthy activity of the “Progetto Maria”, in aid of migrants. Domenico, on the other hand, took on the role of Blessed Gerard Sasso who, after leaving his native Scala on the Amalfi coast, travelled to Jerusalem where he became prior of the hospital of St. John, giving birth to what would become the current Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta.

And it is precisely the Blessed Fra’ Gerard Sasso, the Order’s first Grand Master, who appears in the special postmark that Poste Magistrali has created for the occasion. In particular, the portrait used in the vignette of the postmark is the one in the Chapel of the Magistral Palace, where the Blessed is shown with chains on his wrists, arrested for having thrown bread from the walls of Jerusalem to the besieging Christians.