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Grand Commander

Responsible for religious and spiritual matters

The Grand Commander assists the Grand Master in fulfilling the charism of the Order and in the diffusion and protection of the faith, in the supervision of the Grand Priories and Subpriories, and in the supervision of the Members of the First and Second Class. Care of the chapel of the Magistral Palace and the organization of pilgrimages of the Order are included in the responsibilities of the Grand Commander. The Grand Commander exercises the function of Superior regarding Members of the First and Second Class in “gremio religionis”

He exercises the function of Lieutenant ad Interim in the case of death, resignation from office or permanent incapacity of the Grand Master.

Grand Commander, H.E. Fra’ Ruy Gonçalo do Valle Peixoto de Villas-Boas

He was born on 27 November 1939 in Oporto (Portugal), where he graduated in Industrial Chemical Engineering.

After carrying out military service, he started his career as engineer in the Portuguese Tobacco Company, where he was Director of Research and Development. He has been a full member of CORESTA (Cooperation Centre for Scientific Research Relative to Tobacco) and ISO (International Organization for Standardization).

In 1984 he became a member of the Order of Malta’s Portuguese Association. In 1996 he made the promise of Obedience. In 2008, after the death of his wife, Maria da Conceição, he became a Professed Knight taking a solemn vow in 2015.

He has held many positions in the Order, including that of the Grand Master’s Delegate in Brazil, Councillor, Chancellor and Vice President of the Portuguese Association and Vice Delegate of the National Associations.

For many years he has personally taken care of the material and spiritual needs of inmates in a prison in Portugal and participates in the Order’s pilgrimages to Fatima and Lourdes.

He has written books and articles on the Order of Malta.

He served on the Government Council from May 2014 to April 2019.
The Chapter General of 1st May 2019 elected him Grand Commander. After the death of the 80th Grand Master Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto, he assumed the functions of Lieutenant ad interim until the election of the new Lieutenant of the Grand Master, Fra’ Marco Luzzago, on November 8, 2020.



The mission of the Order of Malta is inspired by its tradition of ‘Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum', to assist the poor and the sick, and bear witness to the Christian faith.


The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law. The Order - which is based in Rome, in via Condotti - has its own Government, an independent magistracy, and bilateral diplomatic relations with 110 countries.


The Order of St John of Jerusalem is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilisation. Present in Palestine in around 1048, it is a lay religious Order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature.