A report by “Spectator”, photos KMFAP
Following a longstanding tradition (since 2009), we received again an invitation to the investiture of the postulants of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem / Knights of Malta of the United Grand Priories and we gladly accepted this invitation. The Lazarus Union was represented by Special Ambassador to the United Nations, Senator Prof. h.c. Wolfgang Steinhardt, on behalf of the General Plenipotentiary.
Senator Prof. h.c. Wolfgang Steinhardt traveled to Chateau Bela in Bela, Slovak Republic on Friday, as the award of an honorary doctorate (PhD h.c.) from Pro Deo State University – New York, planned for him in April 2020 in New York, should be made up for during the investiture celebrations. This ceremony was carried out in a small but solemn setting and personally presided over by the rector of the university in the presence of other dignitaries.
This was followed by a session of the chapter of the KMFAP and the personal introduction of the postulants on the occasion of this year’s investiture. Many of our friends and good acquaintances from previous joint events could be welcomed again.
An impressive gala dinner in the Orangerie of Chateau Bela was the highlight of the day.
With the marching in of the flags, the sword bearers, the honorary and festive guests of friendly organisations from 18 countries on three continents, the investiture began the next day. Due to COVID-19, a somewhat fewer guests came this time, but this did not affect the solemnity and dignity of this celebration.
Right at the beginning, our Senator Prof. Steinhardt was able to give his message of greeting on behalf of the Lazarus Union and to present Lady Erika Macsári with a very high honour as a thank you for the friendship that has existed for many years. Prof. Georg Popper and Lady Anna Popper (as the first woman) were already accepted into our Knighthood of Honour in 2011 at our very first investiture of the Knighthood of Honour of the Lazarus Union and are therefore among its founding members. Then Senator Prof. Steinhardt presented H.M.E.H. Prince Jose and Sir George Popper the anniversary friendship banner of the Lazarus Union as a visible sign of solidarity.
In his address, the Grand Master of the KMFAP, H.M.E.H. Prince Jose pointed out to the postulants the importance of what duties they have to take on with the knighthood. Particularly impressive were the statements regarding the position of a “knight” even in our times. Living and cultivating the knightly virtues are more important and indispensable than ever.
What was particularly noticeable was the fact that only the Lazarus Union friendship banners were attached to the flag of the KMFAB (it is kissed as a sign of loyalty by the postulants before the investiture). A gesture that symbolises mutual friendship, similarities and appreciation more than words.
The celebration was framed by a duo of flute / guitar, complemented by a wonderful violinist from the ranks of the KMFAP, who impressively demonstrated their skills with their program. The well-known opera singer Livia Aghova also gave wonderful performances and, through her heartiness, could spread a wonderful and solemn atmosphere.
After the usual photo session, preparations began for the “farewell ball” with an excellent buffet in the rooms of Chateau Bela, where there were still many opportunities to make new friends and renew old friendships. The next morning, after breakfast, it was time to say goodbye again.
Conclusion: A very, very successful event and if we are invited again, we will certainly be there again.