The Prince and Grand Master
Religious superior and Sovereign of the Order of Malta
The Grand Master is elected for ten years from the Professed Knights by the Council Complete of State.
According to the Constitution, as the religious Superior and Sovereign, he must fully dedicate himself to the development of the works of the Order and to set an example of living by Christian principles, to all the members of the Order.
He is vested with supreme authorities. Together with the Sovereign Council, the Grand Master issues the legislative measures not covered by the Constitution, promulgates government acts, manages Common Treasure assets, ratifies, international agreements and the summoning of the Chapter General.
The States with which the Order has diplomatic relations recognise the Grand Master with the prerogatives, immunities and honours reserved for Heads of State. The title of Most Eminent Highness is bestowed on the Grand Master and the Holy Roman Church confers him the rank of Cardinal.
The Grand Master resides at the Order’s seat of government the Magistral Palace in Rome.
Fra’ John Dunlap was elected 81st Grand Master on 3 May 2023.
Profile of the Grand Master
Fra’ John T. Dunlap was born in Ottawa, Canada, in 1957. After studies at the University of Nice he graduated from the University of Ottawa, then obtaining his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Western Ontario. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in Public Service by the John Cabot University in Rome.
Fra’ John Dunlap is an attorney admitted to the New York State Bar and a barrister and solicitor of the bar of the province of Ontario. In 1986, he joined the law firm of Dunnington, Bartholow & Miller in New York, becoming a partner in 1993. He specialised in corporate and immigration law. An internationally respected lawyer, he is since 1997 a legal advisor to the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations.
Admitted to the Order of Malta in 1996, he took temporary vows as a Knight of Justice in 2004. In 2006, he was elected first Regent (religious superior) of the Sub-Priory of Our Lady of Lourdes based in New York. On 7 June 2008, he took his solemn vows as the first American member to do so.
In 2009 Fra’ John Dunlap was elected for a five-year term as a member of the Sovereign Council. He was re-elected for another five-year term by the Chapter General – the Order’s elective body – in 2014 and 2019. For over a decade he has served the Order of Malta as Chairman of the Committee for the Protection of Names and Emblems and Representative to the Alliance of the Orders of St.John.