The Order of the Knights of Malta has awarded the Greek Alternate Foreign Affairs Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis with its Grand Cross pro Merito Melitensi.
In a ceremony in Rome, the minister was recognized for his contribution to the start of diplomatic relations of Greece with the Order of Malta, which was founded in Jerusalem in 1048, and which transferred its headquarters to Rome in 1834.
Speaking to Greek media following the event, Varvitsiotis said that he was "happy we are formally initiating diplomatic relations with the Order of the Knights of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta, a prominent order that works for the relief of humanity."
Greece, he said, is among 100 or more countries that recognize the order, "and looks forward to the presence of the Order of Knights in our country for issues related to frong-line help, relief of migrants and refugees, humanitarian help, and, of course, dealing with the repercussions of climate change and all natural disasters."
Varvitsiotis said "it is a great honor" to receive the high distinction on behalf of the Greek people and expressed the hope that "the future will bring us closer."[ANA]