The Spiritual Advisory Council meeting of the Order was held on July 30th and July 31st at The Royal Foundation of Saint Katherine, London.

The meeting was led by the Ecclesiastical Grand Prior, The Most Reverend Monsignore Michele Pennisi. Other Members of the Council in attendance were The Reverend Pastor Eric Dyck (Canada) Vice Chair; The Reverend Alexander McDonald (Scotland); Dr. Andreas Rademachers (Germany) and the Secretary to the Council, H.E. The Chev. Gareth Vaughan. Invited guests to this Council were Mrs. Alba Thomas, interpreter for the Ecclesiastical Grand Prior and Dame Patricia Pedrazas Freeman, Deputy Vice Grand Chancellor. Following the opening prayers, introduction and welcoming, the minutes from the previous meeting were approved.

The Council then proceeded to review several items such as the Order's Spiritual Focus, the current relationship with the Melkite - Greek Catholic Patriarchate in Jerusalem and the recently appointed Patriarch, His Beatitude Youssef I Absi as Spiritual Protector of the Order. The Council also revised the duties and functions of Chaplains in Jurisdictions and Commanderies and the matters of protocol in vigils and investitures.

It was noticed that suggestions had been made across several Jurisdictions that more Spiritual guidance should be supplied, this encouraging suggestion was received with enthusiasm with the result that practical items such as an ecumenical calendar and a prayer book for the Order are being examined and proposed.

Pilgrimages are an important part of the Spiritual life of the Order, when members of different countries and denominations come together with the common purpose of praying and strengthening their faith. Following recommendations from the Council several destinations for the upcoming Pilgrimage will be submitted to the Grand Master for consideration.

As an answer to the petition of His Beatitude to support threatened Christians in Syria, the Council agreed to approach the Patriarch to ask for advice and current specific projects where the Order could be of use. This effort will certainly create a strong and special liason between the Hospitaller Commissioners of the Order and the Spiritual Advisory Council.

The Grand Master dedicated the following words to the Council:
"Dear Monsignore, dear Reverend's, dear members of the Spiritual Advisory Council of the Order, As your Grand Master I would like to send you my deepest regards and thank you for all the important work you have been doing to keep spirituality and Christianity alive in our Order. We are living troubled times in which faith and moral is often lost and I am absolutely concerned and grateful for your valuable work protecting and promoting Christianity and God's work. I hope this meeting is fruitful and helps gathering us in Ecumenism and brings upon us a positive and successful project for years to come. The Grand Master".

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