Relations with Lithuania
Diplomatic Relations between the Sovereign Order of Malta and the Republic of Lithuania
The establishment of diplomatic relations between Lithuania and the Sovereign Order of Malta had been under discussion since 1990, at the beginning of Lithuania’s independence. It was Johannes Freiherr Heereman von Zuydtwyck, President of the German Order of Malta (Malteser-Hilfsdienst) and Prof. Vytautas Landsbergis, first speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania (Seimas), who initiated the talks. In 1991, Prof. Landsberg visited the headquarters of the Malteser-Hilfsdienst in Germany and afterwards met the then Grand Master Fra’ Andrew Bertie in Rome.
Diplomatic relations between the Sovereign Order of Malta and Lithuania were officially established on 9 July 1992. The Order of Malta was represented by Johannes Freiherr Heereman von Zuydtwyck, while Lithuania was represented by Gediminas Šerkšnys, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The first Ambassador of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Baron Peter von Furstenberg, was accredited in Lithuania on 2 September 1993.
Six months later, on 5 January 1994, Kazys Lozoraitis was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Sovereign Order of Malta. Amb. Kazys Lozoraitis presented his credentials to the Grand Master of the Order of Malta in Rome on 7 February 1994. He served as the Lithuanian Ambassador to the Holy See and the Sovereign Order of Malta until 2004.
In 1994, President Algirdas Brazauskas was the first President of the Republic to be received by Grand Master Fra’ Andrew Bertie in the Magistral Palace of the Sovereign Order of Malta in Rome.
The first state visit of a Grand Master to the Republic of Lithuania took place in 1999. A delegation led by Fra’ Andrew Bertie arrived on 17 May 1999 in Vilnius. The Grand Master met with the President of the Republic of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus. The highest state awards were exchanged. “It was an extremely interesting exchange of views and at the same time it gave me the opportunity to see for myself what progress Lithuania was making by strengthening its identity, implementing faster-than-ever social and economic progress, and fully respecting humane and Christian values, which has always been a distinguishing feature of Lithuania”, noted the Grand Master.
After the meeting with the President, the delegation laid wreaths at the Antakalnis cemetery, to pay homage to those who died for Lithuania’s independence.
After addressing the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas), the Postal Agreement between the Republic of Lithuania and the Order of Malta was signed. Lithuania became the 48th country with which the Order has postal agreements in place. The Grand Master Fra’ Andrew Bertie together with the Speaker of the Seimas Vytautas Landsbergis opened an exhibition of postage stamps of the Order of Malta.
A Cooperation Agreement between the Order of Malta and Republic of Lithuania was signed on September 2018. In order to fulfill obligations of this Agreement, Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 27 August 2019 delegated to the Bilateral Commission Mrs. Jolanta Balčiūniene, Director of European Countries Department and Ms. Giedre Verollet, Second Secretary of Western and Central Europe Division.
The Order of Malta is currently represented in the Bilateral Commission by the Ambassador of the Order of Malta to Lithuania, H.E. Manfred Ritter Mautner von Markhof and by the President of the Order of Malta Relief Organization in Lithuania Mr. Bronius Einars.
Bilateral relations between the Order of Malta and Lithuania are currently at their highest level.
The Ambassador of the Order of Malta to Lithuania has close contacts with the highest officials of the main institutions of the Lithuanian State – President Palace, Lithuanian Government and Parliament.
The Ambassador took part in the meeting at the Presidential Palace on 17 February 2020 (Day of Lithuanian Independence) and was greeted by the Lithuanian President and highest Lithuanian State officials.
The Ambassador of the Order of Malta to Lithuania keeps friendly relations with more than dozen foreign Ambassadors, accredited in Lithuania (Germany, USA, Great Britain, Ireland, Poland, Estonia, Ukraine, Austria, Italy, Israel, Japan, etc.).