I happened to stumble upon the Order of Malta church in Vienna while meandering down the Kärntner Straße in the middle of a snowy day. It’s a small and relatively simple church consisting of a Gothic nave with an organ gallery. The Order has occupied the site since 1217, though the bulk of the current church dates from the fifteenth century. In 1806, Commander Fra’ Franz von Colloredo had the façade remodelled in the Empire style fashionable at the time. The altarpiece, a painting by Johann Georg Schmidt depicting the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, is from a few decades earlier in 1730, and there is a splendid Neoclassical monument to Jean de la Valette including telamonic Saracens. The church is also decorated with forty coats of arms: five of grand priors, one cardinal, a grand commander, twenty-nine commanders, and one bailiff.
The neighbouring Johanneshof was built in 1839, but unfortunately both it and the Malteserkirche were sold off in 1933 to pay off the debts incurred by the numerous hospitaller activities of the Order during the First World War. The Order continued in the use of the Church, which has protected architectural status under the law, and it was purchased by a benefactor in 1960 who donated it back to the Order of Malta.
The Deutschordenshaus, the home of the Teutonic Order (which was transformed into a religious order of priests, nuns, and associates in 1923) is not very far away on Singerstraße, much closer to the Stephansdom.