Messina, 9 October, 2021.
To mark the 450th anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto, the Sicilian Delegation of the Dynastic Orders of the Royal House of Savoy organised a day of celebration in collaboration with the Grand Priory Delegation of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, which took place in Messina on 9 October.
At the Church of the Santissima Annunziata ai Catalani – formerly the Royal Chapel of the Sovereigns of Sicily in the 15th century, the Rev. Don Antonino Merlino officiated at the Holy Mass in suffrage of the Christian Fallen in battle and to invoke peace on the Christian East in the presence of the representatives of the Dynastic Orders of the Royal House of Savoy with the Delegate, Gr. Uff. Avv. Francesco Atanasio, the Vice Delegate, Comm. Dr. David Truscello, and the Deputy for Messina, Rev. Don Andrea Di Paola and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, led by Prof. B.ne Carmelo Romeo Vagliasindi, SMOM Grand Priory Vice Delegate for Messina.
At the end of the Holy Rite, a Message sent by the Grand Master of the Dynastic Orders of the Royal House of Savoy, HRH Prince Victor Emmanuel, was read out.
Then, in remembrance of the “Fallen and veterans of the Holy League”, the laying and blessing of a laurel wreath – donated by the Institute of the Blue Ribbon – at the monument to Don John of Austria, erected by the Senate of Messina in 1572, and the speech by Prof. Romeo Vagliasindi, also bearing the greetings of H.E. Ambassador Carlo Marullo di Condojanni, were some of the most intense moments of the entire commemoration.
The event retraced the unfolding of a glorious page of European history, in which the galleys of the Knights Hospitaller and those of Duke Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy took part in the fleet of the Holy League, the latter under the command of Admiral Andrea Provana di Leiny, the early core of the nascent military, religious and hospitaller Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, established in 1572 by H.H. Pope Gregory XIII.
The ceremony was also attended by representatives of the Italian Red Cross Volunteer Nurse Corps, of the Messina Federation of the Institute of the Blue Ribbon for Combatants and Holders of Decorations for Military Valour and the National Institute of the Guard of Honour to the Royal Tombs of the Pantheon.