A Message from our Lord Prior

Following the outbreak of hostilities in the last few days, our Lord Prior has issued the following letter to all St John people around the world:

To all Order of St John Establishments

The outbreak of almost unprecedented hostilities in Gaza, Israel and the Palestinian Territories in the last few days have caused great shock, sorrow, fear and pain to us all. None more so than for each and all of the St John Eye Hospital Group staff, their families, friends and the patients for whom we care and all who live and work with this violence so close-by.

The terror that must strike at the hearts of all those so close to this war-like situation is indescribable. Vivid media coverage of these evolving events brings them to life for those distant from the epicentre and causes all of us in the Order of St John to reach out with love, prayers and support for each and all people this affects.

At the time of writing, all of our people in the region are safe and well. Our hospital in Gaza has sustained some minor damage to windows from nearby explosions and access roads are blocked by building rubble. All other St John people and facilities are not directly impacted. We hope and pray that this remains the case, but it is of course a dangerous and rapidly changing situation.

Our collective pride in the Hospital and its clinics and satellites and the people who work in them is always strong and is made even stronger when we see how our team continues to care for patients, families and each other even in the toughest of times. We care for anyone who comes to us in need, regardless of race, colour, religion, creed or ability to pay. We have done that for over 140 years in Jerusalem.

The current situation and the times ahead will be very difficult and the Hospital team will derive great benefit from the extra strength and support it gains from all in the Order and our supporters.

Along with the Eye Hospital Chairman Sir Andrew Cash and the CEO Dr Ahmad Ma’ali, I have separately communicated to all the Eye Hospital staff that the Order stands with them. I have reassured them of our collective great admiration of their work in the care for others; our enormous gratitude for contribution to the community they make, their service to the Order and the strength and courage they show to us all. They all have our great admiration and respect.

I have assured the Eye Hospital team that all in the Order are ready to support as best we can and the International Office and I will remain in regular contact with the Chairman and CEO to see how we can best help.

Given the communication difficulties and the load on the Hospital executive and staff, I suggest that offers of help and support from Establishments or individuals are, for the time being, best channelled through the International Office.

My message to the Hospital team concluded with: “To you all and your families: stay safe, stay strong, stay vigilant; be proud of the work you do and know that our entire Order, its members, volunteers and staff right across the world are standing with you in support.”

With warmest and very best wishes and my sincere thanks for all of your support for the Order always, and at this time the prayerful and practical support for the St John Eye Hospital people and all those people suffering in the region.

Professor Mark Compton AM
Lord Prior