Report to the Sacred Council, Order of St. John of Jerusalem in Malta, concerning the Treaty or Convention to establish a Catholic Grand Priory of Russia.

Source: National Library, Malta. Arch 2196. November 1797.
English Translation:
British Association of the Russian Grand Priory of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. Archives. Translation: Tiziana Ferri.
Amendments:
The Reverend Michael Foster.  
© The Reverend Michael Foster 1997.


To his Eminence and Sacred Council.

SO as to discharge the honourable duty set upon us by your Eminence and this Sacred Council in their venerable decree of July, we have the honour to inform your Eminence and this Sacred Council that we have carefully examined the Treaty drawn up between the Plenipotentiaries of His Majesty Emperor of all the Russias and the Venerable Bailli Litta, Plenipotentiary Minister of this Sacred Order, and in each Article we observed tracts of the greatest benevolence and munificence of this August Monarch, whilst not content to fully grant to this Sacred Order all its requests, due to the ancient possessions in Poland which passed under His dominion, but also wished, with a generosity fitting only the great magnanimity of His Heart, to grant it more than double its requests, and under conditions far more advantageous and prestigious for the Sacred Order than initially requested.

We shall not report here the entire contents of the Treaty as it is necessary that your Eminence and this Sacred Council do so in person, as well as the four Articles that were drawn up separately from the Treaty, so that they may ratify these, which we deem should be done immediately, and on each article.

We now have the honour to inform your Eminence and this Sacred Council on several matters which we extract from the report of the Venerable Bailli Litta which accompanies this Treaty and which brings to our attention that His Imperial Majesty through his benevolence towards the Sacred Order arranged to reserve the first nomination and Commanderies to the Priory, but not deeming it fitting of the respect and gratitude owed to His Majesty by this Sacred Order, of taking advantage of His act of great clemency, we consider it necessary that the Venerable Bailli Li(tta) beg His Imperial Majesty in the name of your Eminence and this Sacred Council to proceed with the nomination of this Priory and Commanderies, furthermore that He will thereby ensure that the Sacred Order will be invested with fitting subjects , who will continue to deserve the Lofty Protection and Love that His Majesty has shown this Sacred Order, following such nomination the Chancery of the Sacred Order will send the usual seals for which the Venerable Bailli Litta will indicate the name of the Saint, or other, under which the Commanderies should be drawn. And as it could sometimes happen that His Majesty, relative to the aforementioned first nomination of the Priory and Commanderies, will wish to appoint persons who, due to their particular circumstances are unable to submit to the all the statutory depositions, we consider it necessary that the Minister of the Sacred Order demonstrate to His Majesty the firm intent already expressed by your Eminence and this Sacred Council, of according these persons all the dispensations which His Majesty wishes to concede them, whilst entreating Him to maintain intact their obligation to undergo the corresponding proofs, to pay the Common Treasury the established fee, etc, once the Sureties have been established.

We see from the same report that His Imperial Majesty wishes to receive for Himself, Her Majesty the Empress and the three Princes of His August Family the Cross of Devotion. Certainly an event, that in the midst of the adversities with which our Order is beset, which the benign Hand of Divine Providence wishes to give a new Lustre, and to thus summarily render more glorious and triumphant its Name throughout the entire World. Therefore we deem vital that the Venerable Bailli Litta offer His Majesty the most warm and respectful thanks on behalf of your Eminence and the entire Order for such a great honour, and at the same time beg Him to accept on His own behalf and that of his August Family, not only the Cross of Devotion, but also the Habit and the Grand Cross.

The same Venerable Bailli Litta suggests that His Imperial Majesty may appreciate the granting of the Cross of Devotion to the two Plenipotentiaries who concluded this present Treaty, under whose names the usual Seals could be issued from the Chancery and sent to the same Venerable Bailli Litta, who before all else, should present them to His Imperial Majesty, and we deem the same necessary for three Ladies, who were recommended by Her Majesty the Empress.

The Venerable Bailli Litta makes several mentions of the Special Protection given to his work by His Naepolitan Majesty, and the great Zeal with which the Duke of Serracapriola discharged his duties, for which your Eminence has already expressed thanks, and it only remains to suggest the opinion of Venerable Bailli Litta that the said Duke should be given the Cross of Devotion, as well as the Count of Coblenz, Plenipontentiary Minister to the Russian Court of His Majesty the Emperor of Hungary and Bohemia, and the Duke of Siessers, General Lieutenant in the service of His Majesty the Emperor of Russia, who co-operated most effectively towards the success of these negotiations. Of course the Venerable Bailli Litta should not present the relevant Seals without having first reassured himself of His Imperial Majesty's approval.

In his report the Venerable Bailli Litta further notes that His Imperial Majesty indicated it would please Him that those Knights of the Order who are engaged in His military Service and who will be unable to go to Malta in order to take part in the Crusades, should be recompensed for the Campaigns undertaken after their reception, be these on the Black Sea or at the borders against the Infidel. To which sovereign care we believe we must strictly adhere, obviously only for those persons who have obtained a special recommendation from His Imperial Majesty.

Finally, the Venerable Bailli Litta informs us in his report that His Imperial Majesty, giving ever more of His generosity, assured him that in consideration of the permanence of a Minister for the Sacred Order in St Petersburg, and in order to provide a site for Chapter meetings, for housing archives and a Chapel, He has entirely given over to the Sacred Order ownership of one of the largest and finest palaces to be found in that Capital, which shall be called Malta Palace, with permission to place the Arms of the Sacred Order on its facade.

To the many great acts of kindness by His Imperial Majesty are added spoken honours for which we can merely suggest nothing better than to entreat your Eminence to act as the voice of the entire Order and to send to the Throne of His Imperial Majesty the most humble and respectful expressions of thanks. This is the sum knowledge with which we can inform your Eminence and this Sacred Council, whilst with the most profound respect we declare ourselves..


Created 11th May 1998.
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