Order of Malta Palestine

Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta

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Grand Hospitaller visits the construction site at Tantur, Jerusalem.

Mar 1, 2016

The Representative Office to the State of Palestine invited H.E. Prince Dominique de La Rochefoucauld-Montbel, Grand Hospitaller of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the Monastery of St. John at Tantur on his last visit to the Holy Land. Mr. Denis Sevaistre, CEO of the Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem, and other administrative staff of the Holy Family Hospital joined the visit to see recent progress on a project the Order of Malta is engaged in at its property in the Holy Land.

The Tantur estate is currently undergoing a major overhaul. The building is being completely refurbished and a new annex to the building is being built. By the end of the year, the property will be re-opened as a guesthouse for Pilgrims and other visitors, and will be especially equipped for wheelchair accessibility throughout. 

The land has also been going through a renewal. It boosts 92 beautiful Rumi olive trees, many of which are estimated to be up to 1000 years old. Last November, the Order harvested the trees for the first time in centuries and engaged itself in a very exciting olive oil project. Members and volunteers of the Order of Malta will be able to buy the exclusive Order Of Malta olive oil at Lourdes in April.

Tantur was part of a donation that King Baldwin gave to the Order of Malta in 1110 – three years before Pope Paschal II recognised the Order as a religious entity. Tantur, along with the other properties the Order of Malta owned in the Holy Land, were lost before the Order left for Cyprus in 1291. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that some of the trees at Tantur were planted when the Order owned the property in the 11th century. The property came under the ownership of the Order again in during the Ottoman era when a Hospital of the Order was re-built on the site, and the Monastery has been owned by the Order since then, despite a turbulent local history.