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A Knight's Letter

16 July 2023

The Order of St John looms large in Malta's history. You'll find its presence imbued in Malta's architecture, culture and language. I tried to imagine a young noble knight away from his family, trying to embrace the new land he finds himself in after the Order's loss of Rhodes. Would this be the letter he writes to his family?

Young Knight

Dearest mother,

I pen this heartfelt missive to thee, longing for the warmth of your embrace and the comfort of our cherished hearth. In these times of trial and tribulation, my thoughts oft wander to our cherished memories, to the laughter we shared in our beloved homeland.

Alas, we hath lost our fair dominion of Rhodes, a place so hallowed and steeped in the valorous deeds of our forefathers.

The lamentations of our hearts doth resound, for it was the accursed Ottoman Turks who didst wrest this sacred land from our grasp. Mine soul trembles with great ire at the mention of our adversaries. These infidels, in their unrelenting pursuit of dominion, hath laid waste to our once-mighty fortress. Their ruthless swords cleaved through our brethren with naught but disdain, casting our proud order into disarray. Verily, their treacherous ways and unquenchable thirst for conquest hath sullied the hallowed soil of Rhodes.

Yet, even in our darkest hour, a beacon of hope doth shine forth. The noble and pious Grand Master, Philippe Villiers de l’Isle Adam, didst receive a divine vision. It was the Emperor of Spain, Emperor Charles V, who didst offer us Malta as a sanctuary in the tempestuous seas. In this land, he saw the potential for our order's revival, a bastion from whence we canst rise anew.

Thus, we hath embarked on a perilous voyage, beset by tumultuous waters and tempestuous winds. As the winds carried us across treacherous seas, my heart ached with yearning for thy presence. The storms that assailed our vessels were but a reflection of the turmoil that raged within me, torn between the duty that called me to defend our sacred order and the longing to be by your side. Yet, I remained steadfast, buoyed by the legacy of our forefathers, who had borne their burdens with unwavering resolve.

Upon our arrival, Malta greeted us with its resplendent beauty, a testament to the Creator's handiwork.

The Maltese people, with their warm and hospitable nature, welcomed us as brethren. They hath extended their hands in aid, cognizant of our plight and eager to assist. It warms mine weary heart to witness their resilience and fortitude in the face of their own tribulations.

Verily, we hath chosen Birgu as our new sanctuary in this foreign land. Its fortifications, steadfast and impregnable, shall serve as our bulwark against our adversaries' advances. In Birgu, as I wander through its labyrinthine streets, memories of our ancestral home flood my mind. The scent of the sea mingles with the echoes of distant battles, and the ruins of ancient civilizations serve as silent witnesses to the resilience of the human spirit. I am reminded of the cherished tales told by our ancestors, passed down through generations, of valor and sacrifice in the face of insurmountable odds. The weight of history rests upon my shoulders, urging me to honor our noble lineage and rebuild what has been lost.

The Maltese people, imbued with an unwavering faith, doth mirror our own devotion to Christianity. Their piety is a balm to our weary souls, kindling a renewed sense of purpose within us. In their embrace, we find strength to rebuild our lives and fortify our presence in Birgu. A bond, forged in the crucible of shared trials, doth unite us in our quest to safeguard this sacred land.

Thus, we stand resolute, vowing to rise from the ashes of our loss and reclaim our honor. Though our resources be scarce, and the scars of war yet visible upon this land, our resolve remains unyielding. For we art the Knights of St. John, an indomitable force sworn to protect the faithful and champion the righteous cause.

May the Almighty bless our endeavors and grant us victory in our righteous pursuit. I beseech thee to keep us in thy prayers, as we shall endeavor to overcome the trials that lie ahead.

Yours in unyielding loyalty,
Sir Eustace Bennett

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