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Benedict XVI meets Leader of Order of Malta

Grand Master Fra' Andrew Bertie in audience

Benedict XVI received in audience Grand Master Fra' Andrew Bertie of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, accompanied by members of the Sovereign Council.

The Holy See did not release any details of today's meeting.

After the meeting with the Pope, the delegation was received by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state.

The Order of Malta said in a statement: "Matters touched on during the talks included the order's initiatives for peace in the Middle East, its medical activities in over 22 countries in Africa and in South America, the order's coming historical pilgrimage in the Holy Land and its promotion of interreligious dialogue."

The Order of Malta, recognized by Pope Paschal II in 1133, is the fourth oldest religious order in the Church. It currently works serving the poor and the sick throughout the world.

More than 10,000 knights and dames worldwide are engaged in charitable works.

As grand master, Bertie oversees the numerous international charitable activities of the order, which now has observer status at the United Nations.

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