The 40th anniversary of the transfer of Castello Lanzun in Mensija from Lt Col Robert Gayre, the Laird of Gayre and Nigg, to the Military and Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem in the custody of the Grand Commandery of the Castello, was celebrated by a visit of the 49th Grand Master of the Order, Don Carlos Gereda de Borbón, marquis of Almazán, to Malta.
Castello Lanzun is the international headquarters of the Order of St Lazarus. Built in the 15th century as a fortified farmhouse to protect the Maltese from the raiding Muslims, Turkish and Barbary pirates, it was virtually destroyed during World War II.
Initially purchased by Lt Col Gayre, who restored the building at his expense, the property was generously given to the Order in the custody of the Commandery of Lochore, later renamed the Grand Commandery of the Castello.
On May 12, 1973, Castello Lanzun was formally opened by the then Grand Master Don Francisco de Borbón y de Borbón as the official headquarters of the Order of St Lazarus.
In 2001, Don Francisco de Borbón y Escasany, Duke of Seville, took over the leadership of the Commandery of the Castello and he was succeeded in September 2008 by Don Carlos Gereda de Borbón.
During this visit, the Grand Master unveiled a plaque at Castello Lanzun marking the occasion in the presence of the Grand Executive Council of the Order, the Grand Chancellor Emeritus of the Order Geoff Fosberry, the Commander of the Grand Commandery of the Castello Gerry Maidens and other members.
The following day, at St Paul’s Pro-Cathedral, the Grand Master presided over an investiture, jointly hosted by the Grand Commandery of the Castello, the Grand Priory of Malta and the Commandery of Gozo, during which 32 postulants joined the Order, while a number of members of the Order were promoted or given awards for their service.
Also present for this ceremony were the members of the Grand Executive Council of the Order, 14 heads of foreign jurisdictions from all over the world as well as other foreign members of the Order who travelled to Malta for the occasion.
On the eve of the investiture, a vigil service for postulants, led by the chaplains of the Order, was held for the first time in Malta at Madonna tal-Pilar church in Valletta.
The investiture ceremony was followed by a gala dinner at the Grand Hotel Excelsior, Floriana, attended by over 280 members and guests.
The Grand Master concluded his visit to Malta with an official visit to the President, Dr George Abela, at San Anton Palace, Attard.
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