Conferred by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the Knightly Order of pro Merito Melitensi is an order of merit awarded in recognition of a pursuit that gives honor and prestige to the Sovereign Order. Established in 1916,1 the Order pro Merito Melitensi is conferred by decree of the Sovereign Council and by motu proprio of the Grand Master. It is awarded mainly to non-members of the Order, regardless of religion. Those granted do not automatically become members of the Order of Malta.

Description of the Order of pro Merito Melitensi

collare

The Collar of the Order pro Merito Melitensi comprises a gold interlocking chain with three alternating motifs. Two of the three motifs are filigree in design; the third is the Meritorious Cross in miniature. The chain’s two segments join in the center, at a shield of the order in red and white enamel. Suspended from the shield is a gold Grand Magistral crown, below which hangs the white gold-trimmed Meritorious Cross. The Chain or the Collar, awarded to Heads of State, also contains the crown. The center of the star is worked in white enamel with the motto, “MIL. ORD. EQUITUM MELIT BENE MERITI” (“well meriting the Military Order of the Knights of Malta”), in gold, surrounding the inner circle of red enamel, on which is mounted the white Meritorious Cross.2

The Grades of the Cross:

  1. Collar
  2. Cross
  3. Medal

The Collar, normally awarded to Heads of State, has a single grade divided into two Classes:

Collar pro Merito Melitensi (for Civilians)

Collar with Swords pro Merito Melitensi (for the Military).

The Grades of the Cross of the Order pro Merito Melitensi for the laity are:

For Civilians:

1 – Grand Cross pro Merito Melitensi – Special Class

2 – Grand Cross pro Merito Melitensi

3 – Grand Officer pro Merito Melitensi

4 – Commander pro Merito Melitensi

5 – Officer pro Merito Melitensi

6 – Cross pro Merito Melitensi

For Women:

1 – Grand Cross pro Merito Melitensi – Special Class

2 – Grand Cross pro Merito Melitensi

3 – Cross pro Merito Melitensi with Plaque

4 – Cross pro Merito Melitensi with Crown

5 – Cross pro Merito Melitensi with Shield

6 – Cross pro Merito Melitensi

For the Military:

1 – Grand Cross with Swords pro Merito Melitensi – Special Class

2 – Grand Cross with Swords pro Merito Melitensi

3 – Grand Officer with Swords pro Merito Melitensi

4 – Commander with Swords pro Merito Melitensi

5 – Officer with Swords pro Merito Melitensi

6 – Cross with Swords pro Merito Melitensi.

The Cross of the Order pro Merito Melitensi for ecclesiastics has the following grades:

1 – Grand Cross “pro piis meritis” pro Merito Melitensi

2 – Cross “pro piis meritis” pro Merito Melitensi

The Medal of the Order pro Merito Melitensi has three grades:

For Civilians (men and women):

  • Gold Medal
  • Silver Medal
  • Bronze Medal

For the Military:

  • Gold Medal with Swords
  • Silver Medal with Swords
  • Bronze Medal with Swords

The Gold medal is awarded to those who have put their lives at risk assisting the Order of Malta.

The Order of pro Merito Melitensi is conferred on specific dates: the: 2nd of February, Candlemas; the 24th of June, which is the feast of St. John the Baptist, the Patron of the Order of Malta’ and on 13th of October, the feast of Blessed Gerard, the founder of the Order.

An exclusion to these rules are the motu propio awards and occasions when officials and authorities of the Order of Malta terminate their offices and responsibilities.

Roster of Filipinos who have received the Knightly Order pro Merito Melitensi, Grand Cross

Name Position
Diosdado Macapagal President of the Philippines
Ferdinand E. Marcos President of the Philippines
Fernando Lopez Vice President of the Philippines
Carlos P. Romulo General
Alberto Katigbak Ambassador
Antonio Delgado Ambassador
Benigno Toda y Toledo Ambassador
Jose D. Ingles Ambassador
Jose Ma. Soriano Ambassador
Jose Ma. Zaragoza Ambassador
Manuel Collantes Ambassador
Rafael Gonzales Ambassador
Vicente Arenas y Perez Ambassador
Edgardo Galvante Major
Imelda Marcos First Lady
Clemente Gatmaitan Secretary of Health3
Antonio Infante
Danilo Pizarro
Eduardo Montilla y Ortiga
Gabriel A. Daza
Jesus Puno

Grand Cross pro Merito Officier

Name Position
Amadeo Forteleza, Sr. Colonel
Fabian Ver Major General
Gil Fernandez Commodore
Simeon Alejandro Commodore

Commander pro Merito Melitensi

Name Position
Pedro M. Picornell

Officer pro Merito Melitensi

Name Position
Carlos J. Valdes Ambassador
Renato Garcia Lieutenant Colonel

Cross pro Merito Melitensi

Name Position
Jose Luis B. Guerrero

Bene Merenti pro Merito Melitensi

Name Position
Cesar Viardo
Sister Elizabeth, ICM
Sister Ida Willem, ICM
Sister Maria Vermeersch, ICM

Medal of the Order pro Merito Melitensi

Gold Medal Silver Medal Bronze Medal
Beatriz Zobel de Ayala Alma Gabertan Romero Sister Christine Suarez
Cesar Viador Maria Elena Asuncion Picornell y Garcia Sister Imelda Paredes, OP
Dan Lewis Nestor Yu Garcia Rosario Urbano
Commodore Hilario Ruiz Nina S. Barsaga
Rosa Rosal Ofelia Luna-Perez
Sister Eva Fidela Maamo
Sister Gemma Kim, SMB
Sister Germain Vandervelde
Sister Lutgar Ramirez, SPC
Sister Maria Antoine Villanueva, SPC
William Olalia

Related Reading:

 

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1 Noonan Jr., James Charles. The Church Visible: The Ceremonial Life and Protocol of the Catholic Church. New York: Sterling Publishing, 2012. p. 118

2 Ibid.

3 Choy, Catherine Ceniza, Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipino American History, (Durnham: Duke University Press, 2003), 116, retrieved on March 2, 2014 from link.

 

Bibliography

Noonan Jr., James Charles. The Church Visible: The Ceremonial Life and Protocol of the Catholic Church. New York: Sterling Publishing, 2012.

“Order Pro Merito Melitensi”, Order of Malta : Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, retrieved on March 2, 2015 from link.