A Treaty between Czar PAUL I Emperor of All the Russias
and
Ferdinand von Hompesch, Grand-Master of the Order of St John,
creating a new establishment of Commanderies for Russian Nobles.

Source: National Library, Malta. Arch 2196. Pages 87-105. English Translation: The British Association, Russian Grand Priory of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.
Translated by:
Tiziana Ferri. Amendments by The Reverend Michael Foster.
© The Reverend Michael Foster 1997.


This Treaty had yet to be ratified, and was drafted 1st June 1798 whilst the Order was still in Malta and under a Catholic Grand Master. Owing to the invasion by Napoleon the Treaty was never concluded. Accounts, and Letters from the Imperial Family to the Grand Master which are in the same archive folio are included at the end of the document.

IN THE NAME OF THE VERY HOLY AND INDIVISIBLE TRINITY

His Majesty Emperor of all the Russias on the one hand, wishing in his role of Protector of the Order of Malta, to demonstrate more and more His feelings of affection, regard and consideration, and aware of the advantages He can provide for His states and faithful subjects by granting a great importance to the establishment of the Order in the Russian Empire, to the effect of having the entire Illustrious Nobilty of His Empire take part, enjoying the same honours and distinctions as those admitted to the Grand Priory of Russia, established by the Agreement signed in St Petersburg on 17 January 1797, and on the other hand THE SOVEREIGN ORDER OF MALTA AND HIS EMINENCE THE GRAND MASTER, inspired by the deepest gratitude for the feelings and kind deeds of His Imperial Majesty, and wishing on their part to concur and facilitate, whilst keeping to the Constitution and the Laws of the Order, the accomplishment of an objective of such great import and usefulness to the entire Nobility of the Emperor of Russia, towards whom are directed the good intentions of His Imperial Majesty, have by common accord consented to form an Agreement to dispose of the respective objectives which the high Parties have proposed.

In consequence of which they have nominated and authorised as their Ministers Plenipotentiaries, His Imperial Majesty of all the Russias, the Lords N and N, and the Sovereign Order of Malta and His High Eminence the Grand Master, Lord N., who after having discussed matters and exchanging their full authority are directed to the following articles.

ARTICLE I. His Majesty Emperor of all the Russias, knowing how much the Institutions of the Illustrious Order of Malta are ready to inspire and keep in the greatest energy and purity, the sentiments of honour and love of glory, which distinguish the Nobility of His Empire, by and act of His Sovereign munificence, founds in His States in favour of the Order of Malta, a new Establishment for the Nobility of the Greek Religion.

ARTICLE II. For the foundation of this new Establishment of the Order of Malta within the Empire of Russia, His Majesty the Emperor very graciously assigns and accords in perpetuity, in the most ample and Solemn manner an annual revenue of 200 thousand Roubles, which will be administered, levied and allocated according to the method established in the various articles of the present Agreement.

ARTICLE III. The State Treasury of the Russian Empire will pay annually to the Order of Malta the sum of two hundred thousand Roubles. This annual payment will be made in two instalments, that is to say, the first of one hundred thousand Roubles on the 30 June/11 July, and the second instalment of one hundred thousand Roubles, in order to acquit the payment of the two hundred thousand Roubles, on the 31 December/11 January of each year. The said annual payments will have to be made to the Receiving Minister of Malta, or to his Treasurer residing in the Russian Empire, or to whomsoever shall be legally authorised to receive the allocation stated and fixed in the various Articles of this present Agreement.

ARTICLE IV. His Imperial Majesty declares that the aforementioned annual sum of two hundred thousand Roubles which He graciously grants to this foundation, will be exempt in perpetuity from all reduction and any tax, ordinary and extraordinary, in order that this new Establishment of the Order of Malta founded in the Russian Empire, will enjoy in perpetuity, in full and without the least deduction whatsoever the annual sum of two hundred thousand Roubles.

ARTICLE V. This new Establishment founded for the Nobility of the Greek Religion will be composed of eighty-four different Commanderies, the revenues from which will be fixed in the following manner; Two Commanderies at six thousand Roubles annual revenue each, two Commanderies at five thousand Roubles annual revenue each, four Commanderies at four thousand Roubles annual revenue each, six Commanderies at three thousand Roubles annual revenue each, eight Commanderies at two thousand five hundred Roubles annual revenue each, twelve Commanderies at two thousand Roubles annual revenue each, eighteen Commanderies at one thousand five hundred Roubles annual revenue each, thirty-two Commanderies at one thousand five hundred Roubles annual revenue each.

ARTICLE VI. All the aforementioned eighty-four Commanderies will pay annually to the Venerable Common Treasury of the Order in Malta twenty percent of their respective revenues according to the division indicated in the previous Article. The aforementioned Commanderies shall further make an annual payment of five percent in order to be exempt from the duty belonging to the Venerable Common Treasury of the Order over the goods of each owner upon the latter's death, to which duty are subject all the Knights of Malta and therefore through this aforementioned annual contribution of five percent of the Russian Knights of the Greek Religion shall be exempt in perpetuity.

ARTICLE VII. That which remains to complete the total sum of two-hundred thousand Roubles shall be distributed each year in the following manner : for the benefit of the Great Hospital of Malta, ten-thousand Roubles yearly for the defense of the Island and the repair of the Fortifications, ten-thousand Roubles, for the expenses of the permanent Mission in St Petersburg, four-thousand Roubles for the upkeep of the Chapel of the Greek Religion including its minister, four-thousand six-hundred Roubles, and for house repairs and other additional expenses, ten-thousand Roubles.

ARTICLE VIII. The Order of Malta will be given possession of the revenues assigned to its new establishment in the Russian Empire, and which constitutes the subject for this present Agreement, beginning from the 1 July until the 1 of January 1799, making for the half year one-hundred thousand Roubles which shall be deposited in the Venerable Common Treasury of the Order of Malta. Consequently of the Commanders who shall be nominated, none shall begin to benefit from their respective revenues until the 1 January 1799.

ARTICLE IX. The contracted high Parties are convened by common accord to fix and assign in the Articles of this present Agreement the duties which the Knights of Russia and the Greek Religion will of necessity have to fulfil without any exception in order to gain admittance to this Establishment of the Order of Malta and to subsequently enable them to obtain the Commanderies founded by this present Agreement.

ARTICLE X. The prescribed duties are as follows ; 1: Undergo the proof of Nobility the manner of which shall be established by a Commission nominated by the first of the eighty-four Commanders and which shall include the representative of the Order of Malta in the Empire of Russia, this will later be approved and sanctioned in Malta. 2: Pay into the Venerable Common Treasury in Malta the passage fee, be it of Majority or of Minority, from the moment of their reception by all the other Knights of the Order, and to satisfy all the duties and taxes established within the Order of Malta. The Majority passage, that is to say, for all those who are received after the age of fifteen years is fixed at 1200 Roubles. The Minority passage, that is to say, for those who are received before the said age is fixed at 2400 Roubles. 3: Undertake the four customary Crusades, be it in Malta within the ranks of the Order, or be it in the Russian army, against the Infidels. Six months of Campaign shall be completed for a Crusade. To establish the discharge of Crusading duties, it shall be necessary to obtain a Certificate from the military Chiefs and Commanders outlining the length of service and good conduct. 4: Not to be in debt either to the Venerable Common Treasury of the Order of Malta nor to the Venerable Grand Priory of Russia.

ARTICLE XI. All individuals who wish to be admitted to this new Establishment of the Order of Malta in the Russian Empire, will of necessity have to fulfil the duties outlined by the Numbers 1 and 2 of the preceding Article, and to subsequently measure up to the expectations of the Commanders and to be granted future vacancies, it will be necessary to have fulfilled all the duties outlined in the same Article under the Numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4.

ARTICLE XII. All the Knights who will be received into this new Establishment of the Order of Malta will be obliged to precisely fulfil all the duties prescribed by the present Agreement, and it is by right of seniority which must be accrued after the time of respective receptions, that the enjoyment of Commanderies will be attained through successive vacancies, but the right of seniority will not be valid until the prescribed duties have been discharged, so that all candidates can be favoured, they shall have to acquire right of seniority and the completion of all duties prescribed by this present Agreement.

ARTICLE XIII. A Commander may, on the occasion of subsequent vacancies, on leaving the Commandery to which he had already been admitted move to a Commandery of Improvement, that is to say of better renown. But in order to obtain this improvement within the Commanderies, a Commander must have acquired the right of seniority, nor be indebted to the Venerable Common Treasury nor the Venerable Grand Priory of Russia.

ARTICLE XIV. The eighty-four Commanderies of this new Institution will be subject to, as all the other Commanderies of Malta, to the duties of Burial and vacancies, these will be regulated according to the laws and customs observed in all the Grand Priories. The Venerable Common Treasury of the Order will have, within the terms prescribed for Burials and Vacancies, the administration and the revenue of a vacant Commandery.

ARTICLE XV. The revenue from all Commanderies which remain vacant due to lack of Candidates, shall be deposited in full in the Venerable Common Treasury of the Order, until an individual shall show himself capable of filling the post, and it will be only from the day that he will have legally acquired it, that Burial and Vacancy will come into force, conforming to Statute IX and Order XIV of the Common Treasury.

ARTICLE XVI. His Eminence Monsignor Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta, leaves to His Majesty the Emperor the first nomination of the eighty-four Commanders and the eighty-four Knights who will have the expectancy of the Commanderies on the occasion of the latter's subsequent vacancies, according to the rank of priority assigned them by His Majesty the Emperor in this first nomination.

ARTICLE XVII. The aforementioned eighty-four initial Commanders will be exempt from their Crusading duties. The first eighty-four Knights nominated by His Majesty the Emperor and who will have the expectation of Commanderies will pay at the time of their nomination, only half of the fixed passage fees, but when they will subsequently be in a position of obtaining a Commandery, they will have to pay the remainder of their passage fees and satisfy all duties and taxes fixed by the Order of Malta.

ARTICLE XVIII. His Majesty the Emperor leaves to his Eminence Monsignor Grand Master, head of the Order of Malta, to exercise his magisterial prerogative to bestow a Commandery every five years, whilst during which interval he will render vacant some amongst the aforementioned eighty-four Commanderies which form this new Establishment.

ARTICLE XIX. The Commanderies, which by virtue of the concession of His Majesty the Emperor, outlined in the preceding Article, will be bestowed by his Eminence Grand Master, shall be subject to the annual fees and other duties outlined in the Magisterial Conferments, the very Eminent Grand Master will not however be able to validate this Magisterial pre-eminence other than in favour of an individual admitted to this new establishment of the Order of Malta ARTICLE XX. The very Eminent Grand Master, wishing to bestow Commanderies by his magisterial grace as a reward for merit, wishes that prior to magisterial inclusions taking place, His Majesty the Emperor indicates the individuals who through their personal service will be well deserving of the Sovereign, the State and the Order of Malta, and will be the most worthy of this preference.

ARTICLE XXI. So that the distribution of the goods assigned to this new establishment of the Order of Malta, can be extended over a larger number of individuals, it will not be permitted for any Knight to have, by virtue of seniority more than one Commandery at one time, so that he quits the Commandery he had before he can opt for another, superior, Commandery. The acquisition of Commanderies will be carried out according to the conditions of Succession, the regulations outlined in the articles of this present Agreement.

ARTICLE XXII. The Knights who, by their particular merit, will have gained the goodwill of His very Eminent Grand Master, a bestowed Commandery, will not be subject to the regulations outlined in the previous article, which is only relevant to those Commanderies gained by virtue of Seniority.

ARTICLE XXIII. His Majesty the Emperor of all Russias, in order to contribute more and more to the advantages of the Order of Malta, to its well being and its prosperity, and at the same time aid all individuals of the Nobility of His Empire, and also those who through particular circumstances are not in a position to fully afford the duties prescribed in the present Agreement, the means to fully partake of the distinctions, honours and prerogatives assigned to Russian Knights, admitted and received into this new Establishment of the Order of Malta, deigns to accord from the present and once for all time His Imperial permission and Sanction for all foundations to come from family Commanderies or Patronage, for all those who wish to follow this noble Institution, will have to address directly the Order of Malta or its representative in the Russian Empire, be it to agree reciprocal conditions or draw up respective deeds of foundation and obtain from Malta the necessary approval.

ARTICLE XXIV. Family or Patronal Commanderies will be titled in perpetuity in the Order of Malta, and wherever there is need, with the name of the founding families. The family Commanders will enjoy all honours, privileges and prerogatives which will be assigned to them by the respective Agreement between the Empire of Russia and the Sovereign Order of Malta.

ARTICLE XXV. The Commanders of this new Establishment will assemble in the house belonging to the Grand Priory of Russia of the Order of Malta, to acknowledge and direct matters, be this through administration and bookkeeping, or the observance, interpretation and execution of the regulations and conditions stipulated in the present Agreement, by observing the rules prescribed for those assembled.

ARTICLE XXVI. The Plenipotentiary Minister of Malta to the Russian Empire, in his function of general Proxy for your Eminence Monsignor Grand Master of the Supreme Council of the Order, and of the Venerable Common Treasury will be given audience according to his rank and seniority. He will report on all matters decided by majority vote, according to the forms and customs observed in the Order of Malta and according to the regulations prescribed in the present Convention. He will keep a register of relevant debates and will make to Malta the required communications.

ARTICLE XXVII. The present Convention will be ratified by His Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias and by the Sovereign Order of Malta and his very Eminent Monsignor Grand Master, and the ratifications will be exchanged as promptly as is possible. At which time the undersigned Plenipotentiaries will sign and seal the present Agreement. Drawn up in St Petersburg this


STATEMENT 
=========

Monies which will be paid to the Venerable Common Treasury in the year 1798
for the second Establishment of the Order of Malta in the Russian Empire
_____________________________________________

Sum for the first term of 1 July 1798 to 1 January 1799 R 100,000

Passage Fees of 84 Commanders at R1,200                   100,800

Passage Fees paid in half for 84 Knights                   50,400
                                                   ______________
Total                                                   R 251,200
                                                   ______________

NB - To the sum of Roubles 251,200 is added 20% according to actual exchange
of St Petersburg, over Vienna, given to Malta             301,440

DISTRIBUTION
of 200 thousand Roubles annualy assigned by His Majesty the Emperor to the
second establishment of the Order of Malta in the Russian Empire

___________________________________________

2 Commanderies each at R 6,000                           R 12,000 
2        "       "       5,000                           " 10,000 
4        "       "       4,000                           " 16,000 
6        "       "       3,000                           " 18,000 
8        "       "       2,500                           " 20,000 
12       "       "       2,000                           " 24,000 
18       "       "       1,500                           " 27,000 
32       "       "       1,200                           " 38,400
______________________                                   ________ 
84 Commanderies                                         R 165,400 

To the Great Hospital of Malta                             10,000 
For the maintenance of the fortifications of Malta         10,000
For the Chapel in St Petersburg                             4,600 
For the permanent Maltese Mission in Russia                 4,600 
For the Palace of Malta in St Petersburg                    6,000 
                                                         ________ 
Total                                                   R 200,000 
                                                         ________


STATEMENT Of annual revenues, fixed and extraordinary, of the Venerable Common Treasury originating from the second establishment of the Order of Malta in the Russian Empire _______________________________________________ Surety 20% on the sum of R 165,400 R 33,080 Duty of 5% in lieu of those effects calculated on said sum of R 165,400 8,270 For the Great Hospital of Malta 10,000 For the maintenance of the fortifications of Malta 10,000 ________ Fixed Revenues R 61,350 Fees Burials and Vacancies Duties and Taxes ________ Total R ________


Letter from Czar Paul I, Emporer of all the Russia to the Grand Master in Malta.

Monsignor the Grand Master I have received from the hands of the Ambassador Count de Litta, your Eminence's letters, marked with the seal of the Order of Malta, with which he had been charged, he delivered to me the ones and the others in a solemn audience which I granted him for this purpose. The sentiments which your Eminence expressed to me in Your name and that of Your Order, were most agreeable to me. It is with equal pleasure that I have associated myself to a Corps which from time immemorial has had as guide to its actions valour and glory, I can therefore assure your Eminence that I attach a particular value to the Consignment You have made to me of the Crosses brought by the most celebrated heroes of Your Predecessors as well as Your own. I accept the Quality of Protector of the Order of Malta with which Your Eminence, together with all Your Knights, has honoured me, if it belongs to me, due to the proofs that I have given up to the present regarding my Goodwill, to the Order of Malta, I forsee that the Feelings of Esteem and Affection that I shall retain for it, will furnish me in the Future with occasions in which to advance Its Interests. The Count de Litta, of whom I wish to render witness the distinguished manner in which he discharged the task he was set in my regards, will always find me disposed to receive and consider all that will be relevant to this objective, he will not have failed to recount to your Eminence of the distribution of the Crosses and Commanderies which I have already carried out in the Grand Priory of Russia.

I am for the rest
Monsieur Grand Master

Of your Eminence
The most affectionate Paul

St Petersburg
26 February 1798


Letter No 2 from the Empress.

Monsieur the Grand Master, Monsieur the Ambassador the Count de Litta presented Me with the Grand Cross of the Order of Malta which your Eminence had charged him to deliver to Me. I received with a true satisfaction this token which distinguishes a Corps whose reputation has shone through up to our times. It is for this reason that the Emperor My Husband has accorded it His Esteem, publicly ascertained by the foundation of a Grand Priory in the Russian Empire. I do share these feelings of His Majesty, and it will always give Me pleasure to furnish proof of this to your Eminence as well as to Your Order.


Letter to the Grand Master on behalf of Alexander.

The Grand Duke Nicolas My Son

To M Grand Master in Malta

Having been awarded the same decoration, and his tender age not yet allowing him to express the sentiments which he will one day experience, I shall serve as his interpreter with your Eminence

I am for the rest very perfectly

M Grand Master
Of your Eminence

The most affectionate

St Petersburg
27 February 1798

Monsignor Grand Master, I shall leave your Eminence to be the judge of the feelings inspired in me by the Grand Cross of the Order of Malta which the Ambassador the Count de Litta has just delivered to me. These tokens of Heroism and Valour have been appreciated as they should be on my part, they remind me of all the glorious deeds which have shone upon the Order, and which have merited it the most distinguished sufferance of His Majesty the Emperor my Father. I can therefore but feel very flattered to see myself associated with a Corps that gathers to itself such fine titles of public and general Esteem. It is with these sentiments that I am

Monsignor Grand Master
Of your Eminence
The most affectionate Alexandre
St Petersburg
February 1798

To M Grand Master, in Malta.


Created 11th May 1998.
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