The Order of Malta’s Grand Hospitaller (Minister of Humanitarian Action and International Cooperation) Fra’ Alessandro de Franciscis paid a three-day visit to Poland and Ukraine during which he met institutional representatives and visited some of the most significant Order of Malta initiatives to assist refugees and those displaced by the war in Ukraine.
He was accompanied by his Chief of Staff, Ivo Graziani, by a delegation of Ordre de Malte France (which supports numerous projects in Poland and Ukraine) headed by its President, Cédric Chalret du Rieu, by Jacek Tarnowski and Dr. Marcin Świerad, President and Hospitaller respectively of the Polish Association of the Order of Malta, and by Niels Lorijn, Ambassador of the Order of Malta to Poland.
In the Polish capital, the delegation had talks with the Apostolic Nuncio, Monsignor Salvatore Pennacchio, and Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, Archbishop of Warsaw, and visited several refugee programmes, including those promoting integration with Polish language courses for Ukrainians.
On the second day, the Order of Malta’s delegation crossed the Polish border into Ukraine, where it visited the Likhachev cemetery in Lviv, held meetings with local and religious authorities with whom the Order of Malta has carried out numerous regarding health- and social care initiatives, and met with staff and volunteers at some of these projects, including a shelter for displaced people and a warehouse for humanitarian aid from which supplies are sent to some 60 locations across Ukraine.
The following day Fra’ Alessandro met with refugees housed by the Albertine Sisters in Krakow and visited the Order of Malta’s centre for disabled children.