This is a list of grand masters of the Knights Hospitaller, including its continuation as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta after 1798. It also includes unrecognized "anti-grand masters" and lieutenants or stewards during vacancies.
In lists of the heads of the Order, the title "Grand Master" is often applied retrospectively to the early heads of the Order. The medieval heads of the Order used the title of custos (Guardian) of the hospital. The title magister (Master) is used on coins minted in Rhodes, beginning with Foulques de Villaret. The first to use the title Grandis Magister (Grand Master) was Jean de Lastic (reigned 1437–1454). Later Grand Masters in Rhodes used Magnus Magister (Grand Master).
In 1607 the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II created the Grand Master a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire (Reichsfürst). This grant was renewed by the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II on July 16, 1620. On March 20, 1607, Pope Paul V granted the Grand Master the style of His Eminence and precedence at the Court of Rome immediately after the cardinals.
The style currently used by the Grand Master is:
- English: Most Eminent Highness,
- Italian: Altezza Eminentissima,
- French: Altesse Eminentissime,
- German: Hoheit und Eminenz,
- Spanish: Alteza Eminentísima.
Numbered lists of the heads of the Order were published beginning in the early 17th century, with updated editions appearing throughout the 18th century. The numbering of Masters and Grand Masters published in the 1719 Statutes of the Order lists Blessed Gerard as founder without number, Raymond du Puy as 1st Master, and Ramón Perellós (the incumbent as of 1719) as 63rd Grand Master. The numbering currently used by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta lists Blessed Gerard as 1st Master, Raymond du Puy as 2nd Master, Ramón Perellós y Rocafull as 64th Grand Master, and Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto as 80th Grand Master.
Knights Hospitaller (Kingdom of Jerusalem)
|No.||Title||Picture||Name||Time in office||Notes|
|–/1||Founder and Rector of the Hospital||Blessed Gerard||1099/1113–1118/20||Order established in 1099 and given papal recognition by Paschal II in his bull Pie postulatio voluntatis in 1113|
|1/2||Guardian||Raymond du Puy||1118/21/23–1160||Succeeded Gerard after Pierre de Barcelona and Boyant Roger served in ad interim capacity. Began the use of the Hospitallers as a military force in the Holy Land and codified rules of conduct for the Order. Introduced the Order's Great Seal.|
|2/3||Guardian||Auger de Balben||1160–1162/3|
|3/4||Guardian||Arnaud de Comps||c. 1162–1163||Historicity uncertain. Arnaud de Comps is today considered by some as a master who never existed, his name having appeared in the chronological lists placed at the top of the statutes, but his rank is still maintained in the lists of the Grand Masters.|
|4/5||Guardian||Gilbert of Assailly||1163–1169||Supported Amalric of Jerusalem in the Crusader invasions of Egypt|
|5/6||Guardian||Gastone de Murols||c. 1170–1172|
|6/7||Guardian||Jobert of Syria||c. 1169/72–1177||Acted as regent for king Amalric of Jerusalem in 1172. In 1174, opposed Miles of Plancy in favour of Raymond III of Tripoli.|
|7/8||Guardian||Roger de Moulins||1177–1187||Killed at the Battle of Cresson. Commander William Borrel was appointed Grand Master ad interim, and he was killed at the Battle of Hattin, 3 months later.|
|8/9||Provisor||Armengol de Aspa||1187–1190||Grand Master ad interim during the loss of Jerusalem in 1187, headquarters moved to Acre. Included in the canonical list of Grand Masters compiled in the early modern period. After the capture of Acre and the consolidation of the order, Armengol abdicated, and Garnier de Nablus elected as Grand Master.|
|9/10||Guardian||Garnier de Nablus||1190–1192||Supported Richard I of England in the Third Crusade.|
|10/11||Guardian||Geoffroy de Donjon||1193–1202||After his death, succeeded by Pierre de Mirmande as Grand Master ad interim.|
|11/12||Guardian||Afonso de Portugal||1202–1206||Resigned in 1206|
|12/13||Guardian||Geoffroy le Rat||1206–1207||First structured the Order by nationality, or Langues.|
|13/14||Guardian||Guérin de Montaigu||1207–1228||Fifth Crusade.|
|14/15||Guardian||Bertrand de Thessy||1228–1231||Sixth Crusade.|
|15/16||Guardian||Guérin Lebrun||1231–1236||Conflict with Bohemond IV of Antioch.|
|16/17||Guardian||Bertrand de Comps||1236–1240||Barons' Crusade, Headquarters moved to Jerusalem.|
|17/18||Guardian||Pierre de Vieille-Brioude||1240–1242||Battle of Gaza, conflict with the Templars.|
|18/19||Guardian||Guillaume de Chateauneuf||1242–1258||Fall of Jerusalem in 1244, headquarters at Acre, Krak des Chevaliers and Margat. Captured at La Forbie in 1244. Jean de Ronay served as Grand Master ad interim, dying in 1250 at Mansurah. De Chateauneuf was released by the Ayyubids on 17 October 1250.|
|19/20||Guardian||Hugues de Revel||1258–1277||Loss of Krak des Chevaliers in 1271|
|20/21||Guardian||Nicolas Lorgne||1277–1285||Loss of Margat in 1285. Upon his death, Grand Commander Jacques de Taxi served as Grand Master ad interim until his successor Jean de Villiers arrived in the Holy Land.|
|21/22||Guardian||Jean de Villiers||1285–1294||Siege of Acre.|
|22/23||Guardian||Odon de Pins||1294–1296||Headquarters moved to Limisso, Cyprus.|
|23/24||Guardian||Guillaume de Villaret||1296–1305|
Knights of Rhodes
|No.||Title||Picture||Name||Time in office||Notes|
|24/25||Master||Foulques de Villaret||1305–1319||Nephew of Guillaume de Villaret. Resigned at request of Pope John XXII, 1319. Died 1327.|
|Anti-Master||Maurice de Pagnac
|25/26||Master||Hélion de Villeneuve||1319–1346|
|26/27||Master||Dieudonné de Gozon||1346–1353|
|27/28||Master||Pierre de Corneillan||1353–1355|
|28/29||Master||Roger de Pins||1355–1365|
|30/31||Master||Robert de Juilly (de Juliac)||1374–1376|
|31/32||Master||Juan Fernández de Heredia||1376–1396||Appointed by Pope Gregory XI. Later supported Antipope Clement VII. Deposed by Pope Urban VI, 1382. Continued as Anti-Master at Rhodes until his death.|
|32/33||Master||Riccardo Caracciolo||1383–1395||Appointed by Pope Urban VI, 1382.|
|33/34||Master||Philibert de Naillac||1396–1421|
|34/35||Master||Anton Flavian de Ripa||1421–1437|
|35/36||Grand Master||Jean de Lastic||1437–1454||Siege of Rhodes (1444); first use of the title "Grand Master" (Grandis Magister)|
|36/37||Grand Master||Jacques de Milly||1454–1461|
|37/38||Grand Master||Piero Raimondo Zacosta||1461–1467|
|38/39||Grand Master||Giovanni Battista Orsini||1467–1476|
|39/40||Grand Master||Pierre d'Aubusson||1476–1503||Siege of Rhodes (1480)|
|40/41||Grand Master||Emery d'Amboise||1503–1512|
|41/42||Grand Master||Guy de Blanchefort||1512–1513|
|42/43||Grand Master||Fabrizio del Carretto||1513–1521|
Knights of Malta
|No.||Title||Picture||Name||Time in office||Notes|
|43/44||Grand Master||Philippe Villiers de L'Isle-Adam||1521–1534||Siege of Rhodes (1522), headquarters moved to Malta in 1530|
|44/45||Grand Master||Piero de Ponte||1534–1535|
|45/46||Grand Master||Didier de Saint-Jaille||1535–1536|
|46/47||Grand Master||Juan de Homedes||1536–1553||Malta was attacked by an Ottoman fleet in 1551. The attack was repelled, but the Ottomans captured the island of Gozo, and later also the order's stronghold in Tripoli. De Homedes began a program improve the fortifications at Malta|
|47/48||Grand Master||Claude de la Sengle||1553–1557||Continued the improvement of fortifications, expanding Fort Saint Michael into a major bastion and completing Fort Saint Elmo.|
|48/49||Grand Master||Jean Parisot de Valette||1557–1568||Valette became the Order's most illustrious leader, commanding the resistance against the Ottomans at the Great Siege of Malta in 1565.|
|49/50||Grand Master||Pierre de Monte||1568–1572||Continued the construction of the new capital Valletta. Strengthened the order's fleet, and participated in the Battle of Lepanto of 7 October 1571.|
|50/51||Grand Master||Jean de la Cassière||1572–1581||Crisis in the wake of the Protestant Reformation. Expulsion of the Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg) in 1581.|
|Anti-Grand Master||Mathurin Romegas||1581|
|51/52||Grand Master||Hugues Loubenx de Verdalle||1581–1595|
|52/53||Grand Master||Martín Garzés||1595–1601|
|53/54||Prince and Grand Master||Alof de Wignacourt||1601–1622||Constructed the Wignacourt towers and the Wignacourt Aqueduct. Repelled the last serious Ottoman attempt at capturing Malta in 1614.|
|54/55||Prince and Grand Master||Luís Mendes de Vasconcellos||1622–1623|
|55/56||Prince and Grand Master||Antoine de Paule||1623–1636|
|56/57||Prince and Grand Master||Giovanni Paolo Lascaris||1636–1657||Caribbean possessions|
|57/58||Prince and Grand Master||Martin de Redin||1657–1660|
|58/59||Prince and Grand Master||Annet de Clermont-Gessant||1660||Died less than four months after his election, on 2 June 1660.|
|59/60||Prince and Grand Master||Rafael Cotoner||1660–1663||Commissioned the Italian Baroque artist Mattia Preti to start painting Saint John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta.|
|60/61||Prince and Grand Master||Nicolás Cotoner||1663–1680||Siege of Candia + Mattia Preti's work at St John's Co-Cathedral completed.|
|61/62||Prince and Grand Master||Gregorio Carafa||1680–1690||Renovation of Auberge d'Italie in the Baroque style, improvement of Fort Saint Angelo and Fort Saint Elmo. Ottoman attacks were still expected, but there were no longer any notable engagements.|
|62/63||Prince and Grand Master||Adrien de Wignacourt||1690–1697||Instituted a widows pension for the widows of those fallen in the Ottoman wars.|
|63/64||Prince and Grand Master||Ramón Perellós||1697–1720||Organised the Consulato del Mare (Consulate of the Sea). Established relations with imperial Russia. Fought corruption within the Order. Engagement against Ottoman pirates.|
|64/65||Prince and Grand Master||Marc'Antonio Zondadari||1720–1722|
|65/66||Prince and Grand Master||António Manoel de Vilhena||1722–1736||Restored the city Mdina, constructed Fort Manoel and significantly improved the fortifications of Malta in general. Built Casa Leoni and Palazzo Parisio, and renovated Verdala Palace. Manoel Theatre (1731). Conducted peace negotiations with the Ottomans, without result. Declared neutrality in the War of the Polish Succession.|
|66/67||Prince and Grand Master||Ramón Despuig||1736–1741||Improved the fortifications of Mdina, modernised legislation, renovated the Co-Cathedral of St. John. Naval engagements with Ottoman Algeria.|
|67/68||Prince and Grand Master||Manuel Pinto da Fonseca||1741–1773||Expelled the Jesuits from Malta. In 1753 proclaimed the sovereignty of the Order on Malta and a dispute started with the Kingdom of Sicily under King Charles V. Normal relations were resumed the next year, with the Order retaining de facto control over Malta as a sovereign state.|
|68/69||Prince and Grand Master||Francisco Ximénez de Tejada||1773–1775||Rising of the Priests (1775), bankruptcy of the order.|
|69/70||Prince and Grand Master||Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc||1775–1797||Instituted the Anglo-Bavarian langue and the Russian Grand Priory.|
|70/71||Prince and Grand Master||Ferdinand von Hompesch
|1797–1799||First German elected to the office. Abdicated 6 July 1799 following the French invasion of Malta.|
Sovereign Military Order of Malta
|Prince and Grand Master of Sovereign Military Order of Malta|
|John T. Dunlap|
Prince and Grand Master
since 13 June 2022
|Style||His Most Eminent Highness|
|First monarch||Blessed Gerard|
|No.||Title||Picture||Name||Time in office||Notes|
|72||Grand Master de facto||Paul I of Russia||1798–1801||Elected by the Priory of St. Petersburg in September 1798 (before the abdication of von Hompesch). Election not confirmed by Pope Pius VII.|
|Nikolai Saltykov||1801–1803||De facto Lieutenant in Saint Petersburg.|
|73||Prince and Grand Master||Giovanni Battista Tommasi||1803–1805||Appointed by Pope Pius VII. Residence in Messina and Catania.|
|Lieutenant||Innico Maria Guevara-Suardo||1805–1814||Headquarters in Catania.|
|Lieutenant||Andrea Di Giovanni y Centellés||1814–1821||Headquarters in Catania.|
|Lieutenant||Antoine Busca||1821–1834||Headquarters in Ferrara.|
|Lieutenant||Carlo Candida||1834–1845||Headquarters moved to Palazzo Malta, Rome.|
|Lieutenant||Filippo di Colloredo-Mels||1845–1864|
|Lieutenant||Giovanni Battista Ceschi
a Santa Croce
|74||Prince and Grand Master||Giovanni Battista Ceschi
a Santa Croce
|1879–1905||Restoration of the office of Grand Master after a 75-year interregnum, confirmed by Pope Leo XIII.|
|75||Prince and Grand Master||Galeas von Thun und
|76||Prince and Grand Master||Ludovico Chigi Albani
|Lieutenant||Antonio Hercolani Fava
|Lieutenant||Ernesto Paternò Castello
|1955–1962||Constitutional Charter approved by Apostolic Letter of Pope John XXIII, June 24, 1961.|
|77||Prince and Grand Master||Angelo de Mojana di Cologna||1962–1988|
|Lieutenant ad interim||Jean Charles Pallavicini||1988|
|78||Prince and Grand Master||Andrew Bertie||1988–2008||Constitutional Charter and Code revised by the Extraordinary Chapter General 28-30 April 1997.|
|Lieutenant ad interim||Giacomo dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto||2008|
|79||Prince and Grand Master||Matthew Festing||2008–2017||First Grand Master elected under the new constitution of 1997. Resigned in 2017.|
|Lieutenant ad interim||Ludwig Hoffmann-Rumerstein||2017|
|Lieutenant of the Grand Master||Giacomo dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto||2017–2018|
|80||Prince and Grand Master||Giacomo dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto||2018–2020|
|Lieutenant ad interim||Ruy Gonçalo do Valle Peixoto de Villas Boas||2020|
|Lieutenant of the Grand Master||Marco Luzzago||2020–2022|
|Lieutenant ad interim||Ruy Gonçalo do Valle Peixoto de Villas Boas||2022|
|Lieutenant of the Grand Master||John T. Dunlap||2022–2023||Appointed by Pope Francis.|
|81||Prince and Grand Master||John T. Dunlap||2023–present||First Grand Master following the 2022 revision of the Order's constitution.|
- Grand master (order)
- Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg)#Herrenmeister
- Grand Masters and Lieutenancies of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre
- Grand Master of the Teutonic Order
- Grand Masters of the Order of Saint Lazarus
- List of grand masters of the Knights Templar
- List of heads of state of Malta
- Morris (1884), 17–19.
- Gothaisches Genealogisches Handbuch des Fürstlichen Häuser, Fürstliche Häuser Band 2 (Marburg: Verlag des Deutschen Adelsarchivs, 2018), 175.
- "Del titolo di 'Altezza' del Gran Maestro dell'Ordine Gerosolimitano", Rivista del Collegio araldico anno I (1903): 271.
- Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Fürstlicher Häuser Band I (Glücksburg: C. A. Starke, 1951), 178.
- "Regio Decreto 21 gennaio 1929, n. 61", articolo 51 Gazzetta Ufficiale del Regno d'Italia, Anno 70, Numero 28 (2 febbraio 1929), 526.
- Constitutional Charter and Code, Title III, Article 12, Sovereign Order of Malta.
- Carta Costituzionale e Codice, Titolo III, Articolo 12, Sovrano Ordine di Malta.
- Charte constitutionelle et Code, Titre III, Art. 12, Ordre Souverain de Malte.
- Verfassung und Codex, Kapitel III, Artikel 12, Souveräner Malteserorden.
- Carta Constitucional y Código, Títolo III, Art. 12, Soberano Orden de Malta.
- Bibliography: Friedrich von Hellwald, Bibliographie méthodique de l'Ordre souv de St. Jean de Jérusalem (1885), 137f. Examples: Abcontrafeiung aller Großmeister des ritterlichen Johanniter-Ordens, Frankfurt 1611. Chevillard, Jacques-Louis, Les noms, qualités, armes et blasons de leurs Eminences Messieurs les Grands-Maistres de l'Ordre de Saint Jean de Jérusalem, dits de Malte, depuis leur origine jusqu'à présent, — Paris (1697, updated 1741). François Clément, Chronologie historique des grands-maîtres de l'Ordre de St. Jean de Jérusalem in: L'art de vérifier les dates, Paris (1770). Cronologia de i Gran-Maestri dello Spedale del Santo Sepolcro, ec. detti di Malta, dedicated to the then-ruling Grand Master, Ramon Perellos y Roccaful, printed by Domenico de' Rossi in Rome (1709). An updated version of this work was re-published with English translation in 1962. Cronologia De I Gran Maestri Dello Spedale Della Sacra Religione Militare Di S Gio Gerosolimitano E Dell’Ordine Del Santo Sepolcro Oggi Detti Di Malta. (1099 -1962) — Chronology of the Grand Masters of the Hospital of the Sacred Military Religion of St John of Jerusalem and the Order of the Holy Sepulchre now known as the Order of Malta. (1099-1962), translated by Fra John Edward Critien, photography and design by Daniel Cilia, published in collaboration with Heritage Malta (1962), reprinted in 2005, ISBN 9789993270676. Horquet, Karl, Chronologie der Grossmeister des Hospitalordens während der Kreuzzüge, Berlin (1880) The etched portraits used in the list below fictional (with attributed coats of arms) are from a French Histoire des Chevaliers Hospitaliers published in 1726: Monsignor l'Abbe de Vertot, Histoire des Chevaliers Hospitaliers de S. Jean de Jerusalem - appellez depuis les Chevaliers de Rhodes, et aujourd'hui les Chevaliers de Malthe (1726).
- Volume che contiene gli statuti della Sacra Religione Gerosolimitana, Orden de Malta, per Antonio Scionico, 1719,1–9 (manual continuation of the chronology to Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc as 69th).
- "The Grand Masters". orderofmalta.int. Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
- The Order's Great Seal, or leaden bulla, remained in use, with some modifications, from the 12th century until 1798. Until 1278, when Nicholas de Lorgne introduced a separate conventual bulla, there was no distinction between the seal of the Grand Master and that of the order. The general design of the seal featured, on the obverse, the Grand Master kneeling in prayer before the patriarchal cross. This image was usually accompanied with the sacred letters alpha and omega, which referenced the Second Coming of Christ. The central image was surrounded by a legend with the Master's name followed by the official designation CVSTOS. Barbara Packard, Seals of the Grand Masters, Museum of the Order of St John, 14 October 2015.
- Zammit, Vincent (1992). Il-Gran Mastri - Ġabra ta' Tagħrif dwar l-Istorja ta' Malta fi Żmienhom - It-Tieni Volum 1680-1798. Valletta, Malta: Valletta Publishing & Promotion Co. Ltd. pp. 405–406.
- Numbering according to the SMOM (website orderofmalta.int as of 2017) implies the recognition of Riccardo Caracciolo as 33rd Grand Master, and of Paul I of Russia as 72nd Grand Master (r. 1798–1801).
- Constitutional Charter and Code of the SMOM (1997).
- Pullella, Philip (23 June 2016). "Knights of Malta head resigns after dispute with Vatican". Reuters. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
- Dunlap's election was made possible by the 2022 revisions to the Order's constitution ordered by Pope Francis, which removed the traditional requirement that the Grand Master be able to prove noble ancestry.
- "The Order of Malta's new Constitution". orderofmalta.int. Sovereign Military Order of Malta. 2022-09-03. Retrieved 2023-05-03.