37th Ceremony of Investiture of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem (KMFAP) between 14-15 June 2019 in Château Bela, Slovakia
Between the 14-15 June 2019 a solemn investiture of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, Federation of the Autonomous Priories (KMFAP) was held in the beautiful Chateau Belá (the “Most Romantic Chateau of Europe”), in Slovakia, co-organised by the Hungarian and the Slovak Grand Priories. It was the 15th time that the Order had its knighting ceremony in Slovakia, attended by postulants and guests coming from 24 countries (Slovakia, Hungary, Portugal, USA, Angola, Malta, France, Czech Republic, Turkey, Central African Republic, Switzerland, Philippines, Albania, Austria, Iran, Serbia, Macedonia, Benin, Hong Kong, UK, Romania, Russia, Montenegro, Sao Tome and Principe) of 4 continents (Europe, Asia, Africa and America).

The very first part of the event was the PRO-DEO State University (PDSU) – Doctor Honoris Causa Ceremony at the Gobelin Room. The honorary title was bestowed to a high-profile candidate with important scientific academic and entrepreneurial background from Hungary by the Rector Magnificus in presence of the members of the Board of Trustees and the Board of Professors of PDSU.

Day of Honour: 14th June 2019

The so-called “Day of Honour”, dedicated to the Postulants by the General Chapter of Knights, was held in the Conference Room, in the presence of the members of our Order. This event contained: - Meeting with the highest leaders and the members of the Order – the Grand Master, the Lieutenant General, members of the Government, knights and dames attending and assisting during the ceremony - Presentation of a historic survey and summary about the multifaceted activity of the Order, focusing on the humanitarian work - Introducing the postulants by their godfathers or godmothers - Handing over the Postulant Diplomas and the Code of Chivalry


The 2-hour General Chapter of Knights meeting was followed by an ancient and very intimate knightly tradition dating back to the origins of the knights, inherited from our great predecessors: The Watch of Arms, when the postulants got acquainted with the symbols and their meanings – the 8 pointed cross, the red cape – that they receive when being knighted, the customs and rules of knights that they have to respect, obey and preserve, while meditating on their future life and changes following this important event coming up next day: the investiture.

In the evening a Gala Banquet awaited the attendees at the splendid Orangerie with fine dinner, joyful music, long discussion, new acquaintances in a very friendly atmosphere. As a kind attention and to remember our 15th knighting ceremony held in Slovakia, a delicious cake was presented by Mrs. Katka Dubecova, the deputy director of the hotel in honour of our Order. She is a great professional of event organising, a very kind and reliable person presenting the Chateau. Thank you for standing with us and being always helpful for our ceremonies! It is a real pleasure to work with you!

At this point we have to recall and mention the fact that thanks to Lady Maria Czellarikova, Dame Grand Cross of Malta (Slovakia), member of the Organising Committee and the Admission Board of KMFAP we started a fantastic and long lasting cooperation with Chateau Belá, and we will continue it in the future.

Day of Investiture: 15th June 2019

At 8.00 an intimate Holy Mass was celebrated for the postulants, knights and dames by Monsignor Ladislaus Joannes, Chaplain of His Holiness, the Pope, Magisterial Chaplain of the Order.

The solemn investiture of the Postulants started at 11.00 am in the presence of high ranking guests, diplomats, Grand Masters and representatives of friendly orders in the nicely decorated Conference Hall with the symbols of the Order.
(As the weather was extremely hot, over 35 °C, we had to change our usual setting inside the castle and to use the Conference Hall with air condition.)

After the processional entrance of all participants – the postulants, the knights and dames, invited guests, as well as the high officials of KMFAP with music – the ceremony started. Playing the three anthems: Slovak, Hungarian and KMFAP while entering the respective flags, followed by the swords used by the Grand Master for knighting.

In Perpetuam Rei Memoriam:
We remembered the knights, who passed away recently, and praying for the recovery and health of the ill members of the Order. This time we could listen Gounod – Ave Maria, performed by Lady Lívia Ághova, Dame Commander of Malta, famous soprano of the Prague Opera.

Then we proceeded to Several Acts:
- Dr. José Pedro de Morais (Postulant from Angola) was decorated as “Knight Commander” of the KMFAP.

The Several Acts was followed by the major part of the event, the Knighthood Ceremonial – investiture of the postulants: Blessing of the Insignia of the Order was performed by our professed knight, member of the Board of Religious Counsellors and Interfaith Pluralism: Sir Ottó Hoffmann Fra Constantin.

Lady Lívia Ághova – by singing Tosca's prayer from Puccini’s opera with her outstanding voice – was able to touch our souls and prepare the postulants for the coming investiture.

Right before the knighting act the Grand Master asked the postulants:
- Are you ready to serve your Home Land and obey the laws of your Government, and also to be loyal to our Sovereign Order and State, to its Grand Master and to its Government, to defend all those in need, or in danger, with no discrimination's whatsoever, and fight for Justice and for Peace?

This time 15 worthy postulants were admitted to the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta and 2 postulants to the Sovereign Order of Cyprus, from 12 countries, under their merits and human qualities, on the recommendation of two Knights or Dames, as their godfathers and godmothers. The knighting ceremony was administered by H.M.E.H. Prince José, the Grand Master of KMFAP and the Lieutenant General H.G. George Popper, assisted by the Grand Prior of Slovakia, the Prior of France, the Minister of State from the Prime Minister’s Cabinet, and the Master of Ceremony, Sir Peter Stangl and many other Knights and Dames, who did their best this time again.

According to our traditions the Grand Master gave awards of advancements of ranks and incentives to those members who deserved it with their outstanding work for the benefit of the Order and helping the needy to make a difference.

At the end of the ceremony the Speaker expressed the gratitude on behalf of the supreme leaders of the Order and conveyed sincere congratulations to the knights and dames, who contributed with their devoted and professional work to the success of the 37th investiture held in excellent cooperation of the Slovak and Hungarian Grand Priories.

After the group and family photo session in the beautiful emerald green park of the castle and before heading to Budapest, all the participants and guests were invited for a lunch.

The 2-day-event was topped by the 25th Ball of Bodyguards and Knights. After the official opening of the Jubilee Ball by the hosts, H.G. George Popper and Prince José, a cake cutting ceremony took place at the stage with music and songs, celebrating together the 25th anniversary of IBSSA led by Prof. George Popper, as president of the international organisation for companies and individuals operating in private security sphere worldwide.

We were delighted to spend a magic evening in the Ballroom of Hotel Marriott, famous for its breath-taking view on the city of Budapest, the old city of the Castle Hill and the majestic Danube river. We felt privileged and were delighted to welcome many VIP guests: the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Hungary, the Ambassador of Norway to Hungary and his wife, the Ambassador of Chile to Hungary, the Ambassador of Nigeria to Hungary, the Ambassador of Malaysia to Hungary and the Honorary Consul General of Sao Tome and Principe in Hungary, and many other personalities, who accepted the invitation to our Ball. It was a great evening full of music, dancing, fun, great artists' performances, fine dinner and studio photography, with a lot of laughs and emotions. This unique event with its elaborated details was an extraordinary experience for all participants, leaving unforgettable memory in their hearts.

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