Pope Francis Promulgates a new Constitution of the Order of Malta and Replaces its Governing Council

Pope Francis has promulgated a new Constitution of the Order of Malta and appoints a provisional Sovereign Council, as part of an ongoing renewal process of the Order. He announces the convocation of the Extraordinary General Chapter for January 25, 2023, the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.
Vatican News reports that Pope Francis has taken the next steps in the renewal of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta (the Sovereign Military Order of Malta) with a decree issued on Saturday. The Decree establishes the new Constitutional Charter and related Melitense Code of the Order, an, taking effect immediately, the revocation of the High Offices, and the dissolution of the current Sovereign Council governing the Order. The Decree also names a provisional Sovereign Council whose members are: Fra' Emmanuel Rousseau, Grand Commander; Riccardo Paternò di Montecupo, Grand Chancellor; Fra' Alessandro de Franciscis, Grand Hospitaller; Fabrizio Colonna, Receiver of the Common Treasure. The directive also calls for an Extraordinary Chapter General on 25 January 2023, the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.  (Vatican News Excerpt)


The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta has always enjoyed particular protection by the Apostolic See.
The Roman Pontiffs on numerous occasions - starting with Pope Paschal II, who with the Bull Pie postulatio voluntatis approved this Order, assuring him protection and granting him rights and privileges - intervened to affirm his identity, to maintain operations, to help to overcome crises, as well as to guarantee the existence and development of the Jerusalem Order, also in its prerogatives of sovereignty in the international sphere.
According to the Sentence of 24 January 1953, issued by the Court of Cardinals established on 10 December 1951 with the chirograph of my predecessor Pope Pius XII, of venerable memory, the "prerogatives inherent to the Order [...] as a subject of international law [...], which are proper to sovereignty, […] however, they do not constitute in the Order that complex of powers and prerogatives, which is proper to sovereign bodies in the full sense of the word ”. In fact, the Order is "a religious Order, approved by the Holy See [...]. Besides the sanctification of its members, it also pursues religious, charitable and welfare purposes ”. Furthermore, “The two qualities of a sovereign Order and a religious Order […] are intimately connected to each other. The quality of the Institution's sovereign Order is functional, that is, aimed at ensuring the achievement of the Order itself and its development in the world "(Acta Apostolicae Sedis 45 [1953], 765-767).
Therefore, being a religious Order, it depends, in its various forms, on the Holy See.
With paternal solicitude and concern I have followed the path of the Order in recent years, appreciating the works carried out in various parts of the world, also thanks to the generous contribution of Members and Volunteers, and also noting the need to initiate a profound spiritual, moral and institutional of the whole Order, especially and not only of the Members of the First Class, but also of those of the Second Class.
To this end, I entrusted my Special Delegate, Cardinal Silvano Maria Tomasi, c.s., with this important work of reform, as well as the revision of the Constitutional Charter and the Melitense Code and the preparation of the Extraordinary General Chapter. Many steps have been taken, but just as many obstacles and difficulties encountered along the way.
After listening and talking with various representatives of the Order, the time has come to complete the process of renewal started, in fidelity to the original charism. To protect the unity and greater good of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta:


the new Constitutional Charter and the related Melitense Code, approved by me, providing for its immediate entry into force, and




1. The revocation of the High Offices;

2. the dissolution of the current Sovereign Council;

3. the constitution of a provisional Sovereign Council, made up of the following members:

-        SE. Fra ’Emmanuel Rousseau - Grand Commander

-        SE. Riccardo Paternò of Montecupo - Grand Chancellor

-        SE. Fra ’Alessandro de Franciscis - Grand Hospital

-        SE. Fabrizio Colonna - Receiver of the Common Treasure;

and from:

-        SE. Fra 'Roberto Viazzo

-        SE. Friar Richard Wolff

-        SE. Friar John Eidinow

-        SE. Fra ’João Augusto Esquivel Freire de Andrade

-        SE. Fra 'Mathieu Dupont

-        SE. Antonio Zanardi Landi

-        SE. Michael Grace

-        SE. Francis Joseph McCarthy

-        SE. Mariano Hugo Windisch-Graetz;

4. the convocation of the Extraordinary General Chapter for January 25, 2023, the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, which will take place in compliance with the new Regulations approved by me. The Extraordinary General Chapter will be prepared by my Special Delegate and the Lieutenant of the Grand Master, assisted by the provisional Sovereign Council;

I confirm all the faculties attributed in the past to my Special Delegate until the conclusion of the Extraordinary General Chapter, which will be co-chaired by him and the Lieutenant of the Grand Master.

This, despite any rule or provision of law to the contrary, as well as any privilege or custom, even worthy of note, that may be contrary to this decision of mine.
Source: Vatican.va and Vatican News

Finally, I arrange for this Decree to come into force today and to be notified to the entire Order.

From the Vatican, 3 September 2022