Spiritual Guide and Protector
Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani
Sergio Sebastiani (born 11 April 1931) is an Italian cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and the president emeritus of Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.
Sebastiani was born in Montemonaco, Italy. He studied at the Episcopal Seminary of Ascoli Piceno and later at the Archiepiscopal Seminary of Fermo. He continued his studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome where he earned his licentiate in theology and at the Pontifical Lateran University where he was awarded a doctorate in canon law. He was ordained on 15 July 1956 in Fermo. After this he studied in Rome until 1960.
He served as secretary of nunciature in Perú, 1960–1962; in nunciature in Brazil 1962–1966; auditor in nunciature in Chile, 1966–1967. He was recalled to the Vatican as secretary of Cardinal Cicognani and subsequently Cardinal Villot during their terms as secretaries of State, and later a head of the secretariat of the Sostituto, 1967–1974. The decision was taken to appoint him to the rank of Counselor of nunciature in France with special charge before the Council of Europe, 1974–1976. He was created Prelate of honour on 30 April 1974. In 1976, Pope Paul VI appointed him Titular Archbishop of Caesarea in Mauretania and at the same time Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Madagascar and Mauritius. Sebastiani became Apostolic Nuncio (ambassador of the Holy See), to Turkey in 1985. In 1994, he was appointed General Secretary of the Central Committee for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.
In 1997, Sebastiani was made President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, part of the Roman Curia, responsible for auditing the temporal possessions of the Holy See. He served in this position (with a legally required interruption during the 2005 sede vacante) until his resignation on 12 April 2008. Pope Benedict XVI named Velasio De Paolis as Sebastiani's successor.
Sebastiani was created and proclaimed Cardinal-Deacon of S. Eustachio on 21 February 2001, and was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI. On 21 February 2011, he opted for the order of Cardinal Priest, with his former diaconal church elevated to the level of cardinalitial title. He turned 80 and lost voting rights in future papal conclave on 11 April 2011.
Sebastiani is the spiritual guide and protector of the Sovereign Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta
The members celebrate the Feast Days of their Heavenly Patrons; Saint John the Baptist on 24th June and Saint John of Almsgiver on 23rd January by attending a special mass officiated by His Eminence Cardinal Sebastiani at la Basilica di San Eustachio in Rome.
The Great Siege Day (Malta, AD 1565) is celebrated on 8th September in the respective Priories.
The Order's Prelates from all Christian denominations represent the Order in various spiritual activities and ceremonies across the globe.
An International Solemn Investiture Ceremony is conducted by the Prince Grand Master each year.