Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, has received many honors through his life, the latest being an appointment as “Prior of Maryland” of the Ecumenical Hospitaller Order of St. John.
The appointment has to do with Dr. Parikh’s work as a physician and as a philanthropist.
The Sovereign Order of the Hospitaller Knights of Saint John traces its origins to the 12th century, and has come to be defined over time as an independent corporate foundation, registered as a non-profit in the U.S., whose reason for existence is to support the needy and oppressed.
Dr. Parikh’s appointment as “Prior of Maryland” is a “very big position” in the Order, said Prince Peter Iossif de Lemessos, Grand Master & President of the Ecumenical Hospitaller Order of St. John.
“The Doctor (Parikh) was chosen because he is a medical doctor and he can help us with projects in the United States in his area,” Prince Peter told News India Times via the phone from his office in Italy.
“Also, I know he has helped people in his district and his state; And we also know he has a hospital in India,” he added.
The ‘Statute’ laid down on the organization’s website says, “It is apolitical, a confessional, open to all who believe in God, regardless of race, color or creed and have proved through their humanitarian, cultural and social activities to be worthy of the honour of being admitted.”
The three-year appointment which gets automatically renewed unless one wants to opt out of it, requires the Priors of different districts and states to work together and decide what medical projects they would work on.
“I am very fond of the Doctor because I had the honor to meet him, his wife (Dr. Sudha Parikh), and his daughter (Dr. Purvi Parikh). It is a lovely, lovely family. And when you have that kind of family union, that is when you can help the people,” Prince Peter emphasized in the phone interview. “We want to bring medical aid, help the poor, and bring peace. We need to bring peace and not war,” Prince Peter said.
“It’s a great honor to be nominated for philanthropic work. I am humbled and will continue my activities and expand them through this Ecumenical Order,” Dr. Parikh said.
In an email bestowing the Order on Dr. Parikh, Prince Peter said, “It is a role of great responsibility, which enhances the centrality assumed by the Ecumenical Order in the world of “Institutional Philanthropy” whose strength lies in the ability to create value for society by making its voice heard strongly to face the biggest challenge we have in the face: that of helping to shape a more aware population in the world that puts the common good at the center. A great and demanding task awaits you.”
Today, according to its website, the values by which the Order defines itself include – “respect the lives of others, taking up arms of will, economic and operational commitment, solidarity and love for others, creating an international collaboration service, implementing international understanding and interculturality, planning new organizational and operational mechanisms, suitable for modern operations, to allow a real, effective and active presence in the Society.”