Members of the Knights of Malta gathered in St Peter's
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The ancient Knights of Malta get blessing from the Pope

9 February 2013 Last updated at 20:55 GMT

At the Vatican 4,000 members and volunteers of the Knights of Malta, a medieval religious order of the Roman Catholic Church, marched in procession to St Peter's basilica to receive a papal blessing.

It is exactly 900 years this week that the crusader knights were granted recognition by the Pope as a sovereign state.

The BBC's David Willey reports.