Last updated: March 16. 2013 9:25PM - 107 Views

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(AP) The Knights of Malta, one of the most peculiar organizations in the world, is marking its 900th birthday with a colorful procession through St. Peter's Square, a Mass in the basilica and an audience with Pope Benedict XVI.


The Knights are at once a Catholic religious order, an aid group that runs soup kitchens, hospitals and ambulance services around the globe, and a sovereign entity that prints its own passports and enjoys diplomatic relations with 104 countries yet has no country to call its own.


Some 4,000 people volunteers and members, draped in their trademark black cloaks with a white, eight-pointed Maltese Cross on the front processed through St. Peter's Square Saturday for the Mass marking the 900th anniversary of the order's recognition by the Holy See.


Associated Press
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