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Fra’ John Dunlap: “We are looking at a future full of hope”

The Lieutenant of Grand Master Fra’ John Dunlap, together with members of the newly elected Sovereign Council and the participants in the Extraordinary Chapter General, were received this morning in audience by His Holiness Pope Francis in the Consistory Hall of the Vatican. Also present were Cardinal Silvano Tomasi, the Pope’s Special Delegate to the Order of Malta and Cardinal Gianfranco Ghirlanda.

The audience takes place the day after the conclusion of the Extraordinary Chapter General, during which the new Sovereign Council, the Order of Malta’s government, was elected. It will remain in office for the next six years.

Pope Francis: “The path to follow is the one directly indicated by Christ, so that we may be ever more united to bear witness to our faith and to our membership in the Order of Malta and to the octagonal Cross that you so proudly wear. The time has come to dedicate oneself devotedly and fervently to the Christian mission,” and that the works “must be a sign of Christ’s charity.

“I bless you all, your families and your charitable works in all the existential peripheries. Do not forget to pray for me, for my work is very difficult.”

The Lieutenant of the Grand Master thanked the Holy Father “in the name of the entire Order of Malta for the benevolence and paternal love with which he has followed the Order of Malta in these long months. We can now set out again with confidence and with new eyes looking to a future full of hope.” 

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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.