By Eric Vandenbroeck

In the course of posting the previous three articles about the Order of Malta I received several messages from members of some of the self-styled Orders of St. John suggesting various conspiracy theories. A number of these supposed to be evidence for the Pope replacing the current Grand Master of the Order, including that thus "falsely claiming that humanitarian actions under the banner 'Order of St John can be credited to the SMOM'." Yet historian after historian have pointed out that the latter Order is indeed a continuation of the earlier one, for a sum up of some of this evidence see here and here. What the current situation with the appointment of a new Grand Master concerns there is in fact a historical precedent in the form of an even more severe dispute that, once before in the modern era, set the Order of Malta at odds with the Vatican and more significantly gave rise to a vacancy in the Grand Mastership from 1951 to 1962.

'Chevalier de Malta' redux (1)

The root cause of this particular conflict was the desire of Cardinal Nicola Canali to gain control of the Order of Malta. Cardinal Canali had supported the election in 1939 of Pope Pius XII and under his pontificate rose rapidly to become the most powerful man in the Curia. In 1944 he was put in charge of the financial aspects of the Church's administration which had previously been handled by the Secretary of State, and thus became virtually the Vatican's Minister of Finance. In 1948 Pope Pius appointed him Grand Prior of Rome in the Order of Malta, against the reluctance of Prince Ludovico Chigi, and the following year Canali became Grand Master of the Holy Sepulchre, an office that the Pope had previously kept in his own hands. He was the strong man in the small circle of cardinals who, under the patronage of Pius XII, were engaged in concentrating ecclesiastical power in the Roman Curia. His two henchmen in Rome were Cardinal Giuseppe Pizzardo and the newly promoted Cardinal Clemente Micara. An important factor in their power was their alliance with Cardinal Francis Spellman, Archbishop of New York since 1939; his command of the flow of dollars which had been coming in to relieve the Vatican's monetary worries since the war provided the financial basis for Cardinal Canali's mastery. Spellman had especially close links with Cardinal Pizzardo, who exemplified the conventional curial bureaucrat(2) and who still held the post of "chaplain" to the American Association of the Order of Malta which he had received at its foundation.

Deteriorating agricultural conditions during the nineteenth century.

One part of the background to the dispute that ought to be mentioned was the crisis in vocations of Knights of Justice in the Order of Malta that became acute at this time. As we have seen, the number of professed knights had gradually fallen during the nineteenth century, reaching a low point of thirty-four in the 1860s.(3) There was a recovery to forty-six by 1895, but thereafter the decline continued steadily, till by 1955 there were only thirteen knights in solemn vows and four in simple, besides some forty or fifty celibate Knights of Justice without vows. The reasons for the decline are not hard to identify. The value of the Order's commanderies, never very splendid, deteriorated in modern agricultural conditions the nineteenth century. Those in Czechoslovakia were confiscated outright by the communist regime; the Priory of Bohemia had disappeared altogether, though temporarily, by 1949, having neither Grand Prior nor Knights of Justice, but it retained a representative on the Sovereign Council. Since the First World War, moreover, social changes had eroded the aristocratic conventions under which younger sons often remained unmarried, expecting a modest sustenance from the head of the family. Whereby in 1919, because of the financial straits of the Order itself, the Council came to a resolution banning all further receptions of Knights of Justice; although it was not put into practice in the following years, the conditions which prompted it were naturally unfavorable to recruitment.

This decline was part of the reason for the disapproving view adopted towards the Order of Malta by Pope Pius XII, who also considered that it ought to be more active in works of charity. The Pope was perhaps not sufficiently aware of the economic causes involved in the change, or the discouragement of the knights' vocation that came from the Holy See itself. Pius IX's brief of 1854 requiring knights to make ten years' annual vows before they could profess solemnly was still in force and constituted a more cumbersome hurdle to the profession than existed in any other religious order. One might also cite the continuing practice, repeated as recently as 1948, of granting the Grand Priory of Rome to a cardinal, a survival of the abuse of commendam which the Church had otherwise consigned to the night of history. Besides depriving the knights of their senior dignity in Italy, the practice showed that the Vatican did not take the Order of Malta seriously as a religious order; not until 1961, under Pope John XXIII, was this benefice restored to professed knights. As to the charitable works, in 1948 Pius XII urged on the Order the creation of a new hospital in Rome, to be funded by all the National Associations, and Prince Chigi tried to put the plan into effect; but the Order had just made an agreement with the Italian government under which it took on the management of 6,000 hospital beds in the country, and the Roman hospital would have proved too large an additional burden; the plan, therefore, did not mature. By 1951, however, the Order in Italy was running eight hospitals (not including the Bambino Gesu), two children's homes and numerous out-patients' clinics, while the fleet of some one hundred airplanes recently acquired was carrying its services into a previously unknown field of action. One might think that surprise that the knights were able to do so much would have been a more appropriate response on Pope Pius XlI's part. In understanding his judgment, we should bear in mind the austerely anti-aristocratic stance that he personally felt the times demanded of him. 

But a decision in the Vatican to intervene in the Order of Malta's affairs was shown well before the Bali Ferdinand von Thun und Hohenstein's dismissal (which Roger Peyrefitte's novel wrongfully attributed to a grain deal).

It had hitherto been supposed that the new Constitutions of 1936 had been approved by Pope Pius XI in an audience granted to Cardinal La Puma, the Prefect of the Congregation of Religious, on 5 May of that year (3) but in April 1947 the Order was notified that there had been no papal brief signifying the approval and that the Pope wished the Constitutions to be submitted to a commission for revision. This news caused unease in the Grand Magistry. If the response had been to grant the missing brief, it would have been a natural rectification; but to treat the Order's legal status as in quasi-suspension on account of an omission eleven years before did not betoken a friendly attitude. Prince Chigi immediately set up a commission to study and revise the Constitutions, appointing Cardinal Canali as its head, but that dignitary never chose to call it to a session. Count Pecci, for his part, the Order's envoy to the Holy See, pursued efforts to have the approval granted.

It seems that Cardinal Canali had already decided to provoke a conflict with the Order of Malta and to subject it to a judgment of the Congregation of Religious, of which he was a member. A quick resolution of the problem of the Constitutions, therefore, did not enter his plans; yet this was too innocuous a difference to give a handle for intervention. Three years' inaction over the question of reform caused worry in the Grand Magistry, the detailed grounds for which are not known, but in March 1950 something happened to make Prince Ludovico Chigi aware that things were amiss. On the 11th of that month the Comte de La Rochefoucauld and Baron Marsaudon visited him and found him his usual self, but when they returned the following day he was changed, "a little nervous, somewhat distrait, with a weary air", and bad news from the Vatican was thought to be the reason. One does not know what to make of this incident, for the dispute over the Bali Thun Hohenstein did not erupt till more than a year later. The setback that seems most closely datable to this time was the emergence of the Vatican's opposition to the Order's being given charge of the Holy Places like the Lourdes pilgrimage.

The American Association

Shortly afterward the Grand Master turned his attention to the American Association, whose anomalous habits, entrenched from the beginning, had become magnified by Francis Spellman's appointment in 1939 as Archbishop of New York. Unlike his predecessor, Cardinal Spellman set out to make his title as Grand Protector the key to active control. Until then, the American Association had been recruiting about half a dozen Magistral Knights a year, but in November 1939 Spellman (despite having no formal right for the proposal) put forward a large number of names for reception. The President, George Macdonald, initially refused, wishing to keep the Association exclusive, but he found that he was no match for the Grand Protector, and thirty-nine knights were duly admitted in 1940-41. There was then a hiatus while the United States and Italy were at war, but in March 1945 a backlog of seventy-seven American knights where admitted, followed by 136 more in large annual batches in the next four years.

These accessions meant a gratifying revenue to the Grand Magistry from reception fees, and they brought a huge increase in additional donations, for Cardinal Spellman ensured that his neophytes were not backward in expressing their generosity. Yet the only charitable work of the Association remained the Hospital of the Bambino Gesu in Rome. Hearing of the large sums that were being raised annually in America, Grand Master Prince Ludovico Chigi began to suspect that the Association's alms, paid over directly to Cardinal Pizzardo, must have some other destination than the Hospital, well funded though it undoubtedly was. Early in 1951, he wrote to Cardinal Spellman asking him to submit the Association's budgets and an account of its works; he also tried to revoke the special customs that had been tolerated since 1926, demanding that the Association cease to call itself a Chapter and its President a Master. For several months there was no reply; then in late October, Cardinal Spellman wrote to him giving no satisfaction to his requests, but instead asking him to give an account of the sums that the Grand Magistry received annually from the American Association.

Helen Nicholson writes in "The Knights Hospitaller" (2001), p 144:  "In the 1950s the Order was involved in a serious scandal when it transpired that thousands of dollars of money raised for the Order through its US association were being embezzled." But this is a misleading way of describing the action of a cardinal who diverted the funds presumably to general Vatican seems to be drawn from the accusations that began to be thrown against the Order during the 1950s, As to the American reception fees (if those are the thousands of dollars alluded to). they were not "money raised for the Order" but legal dues, and were, of course, applied to the general expenses of government.

The long delay in replying was spent by Cardinal Spellman, we may suppose, in concerting strategy with his colleagues in Rome. The conflict that Cardinal Canali was looking for was precipitated by the decision to remove the Bali Thun Hohenstein from his position on the Sovereign Council, where he sat as representative of the Priory of Lombardy and Venice, and to forbid his succession to the Grand Priory itself, to which he would soon have right by seniority. The Grand Master and his council intended these positions for Angelo de Mojana, a lawyer from Milan who became a Knight of Justice in 1950. Thun Hohenstein's response may have been prompted, as some thought, by the Comte de Pierredon, as part of the revenge for his unseating as Delegate in France. On 6 June 1951, the Bailiff presented an appeal to the Congregation of Religious, which sat to consider it on 22 June and made the appointment of a confidential Visitor to the Order of Malta. Behind the scenes, it was Cardinal Canali's objective to have himself appointed Grand Master of the Order, and it seems that he had in mind a merger with the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, already under his control.(3)

From 14 to 24 October 1951 the Grand Master with several of his officers paid a state visit to Portugal and Spain, but soon after he returned the attack on the Order began, Cardinal Spellman's letter demanding the Grand Magistry's budget has already been mentioned; on 31 October the Congregation of Religious refused De Mojana the special permission he needed to take solemn vows early and ordered the Sovereign Council to keep the Priory of Lombardy and Venice vacant for Thun Hohenstein; then on 4 November, the Grand Magistry received a message from the Congregation informing it that a cardinalitial commission had been appointed lito assist and direct the Order, the better to assure the sanctification of its members and the good of their neighbour", and that at 10 a.m. on the following day an emissary of the Congregation would arrive at the Magistral Palace to seal its offices, at the same time demanding the books of the Treasury and an inventory of the Order's possessions. The three members of the commission named were Cardinals Canali, Pizzardo and Micara.

Even for the humblest institute in the Church, such a violent measure would only have been justified by a state of serious irregularity; and here it was proposed to put the Order of Malta, with its sovereign privileges, in the hands of a curial Congregation - in practice those of Cardinal Canali. By luck, however, the domestic prelate Monsignor Nasalli Rocca di Corneliano, who was related to both Prince Chigi and Angelo de Mojana, had an appointment to see Pius XII the following morning. Through this chance - for it would have been impossible to arrange a special audience in time - the Grand Master's letter of protest came to the Pope's eyes with an hour to spare and the visit of the Congregation did not take place.

Prince Chigi immediately wrote a letter to the Pope appealing to the Order's traditional exemptions and asking for a special tribunal to be named to judge between it and the Congregation of Religious. This refusal of the authority of the Congregation undermined Cardinal Canali's whole strategy. On 13 November the Jesuit Father Castellani, a close associate of Canali's, had himself admitted by a valet to a secret audience with the Grand Master and threatened him with excommunication if he did not submit. As Father Castellani left the Palace, the eighty-five-year-old Prince Chigi was found lying on the floor of his office under the effects of a heart attack. After a brief recovery, he died the following day.

Before the threat of Cardinal Canali's immediate occupation of the Grand Magistry, the situation was saved by the Secretary of the Chancellery, Count Cattaneo di  Sedrano. As soon as the Grand Master's death was pronounced, he closed down the telephone exchange of the Palace, took the sheaf of telegrams which he had prepared  to announce  the death and the automatic assumption of the Lieutenancy by the Bali Hercolani, as senior member of the Council, and despatched them to the leading members of the Order and the heads of state with which it had diplomatic relations. Hercolani if left to himself might not have been so bold. Cardinal Canali, when he telephoned that afternoon, was confronted with a fait accompli.

The cardinalitial commission

Pope Pius XII's reply to the letter that Prince Chigi had sent him just before his death was perhaps prompted by a sense of remorse. He agreed to appoint a special commission of five cardinals to study the nature of the Order's sovereignty, with its implications for its subordination to the Congregation of Religious. But he confirmed the order already given by the Congregation forbidding the election of a new Grand Master. His appointment of the commission was even less reassuring: its president was Cardinal Tisserant, a respected scholar, and it included Cardinal Aloisi-Masella, an entirely neutral figure, but its other three members were Cardinals Canali, Pizzardo and Micara, the very men whose claims were in question. This could not be called the most fair-minded act of Pius XII's pontificate.

The commission's mode of proceeding was also such as to prejudge the issue. Ostensibly, its brief was to determine the nature of the Order's sovereignty, but that was a question which by definition could not assume the Order's subordination to a papal judgment. Historically, the sovereignty of the Order of St John rested on its conquest of Rhodes and the donation of Malta to it by the Emperor Charles V, followed by the continued recognition by various governments after the loss of Malta. The Holy See itself had never done anything to confer sovereignty on the Order, as it might have done by granting it some territory after 1522 or after 1826, when the Knights took up residence in the Papal States; its locus  standi  in the matter was simply that of one of the Powers that recognised the Order, and were therefore entitled to decide what sense they attached to its sovereignty.(3) The cardinalitial commission, however, treated the Order of Malta as a suppliant subject to peremptory decision, and in May 1952 it was proposing to issue judgment before the Order could prepare its case. Again, an appeal by Monsignor Nasalli Rocca to the Pope ensured an extension to the end of the year. On 23 December the Order's advocates took the decision to withdraw from the case, having found its conduct unacceptable; but the Commission delivered its judgment in February 1953. The ruling itself proved to be entirely fair. It recognized the Order of Malta as having a sovereignty which it defined as "functional", at the same time affirming that, in its character as a religious order, it was under the jurisdiction of the Congregation of Religious. This decision was accepted by the Grand Magistry subject to two "interpretations", which remained secret for the moment; they pointed out that the Order's sovereignty was no less real for being merely functional, and that the jurisdiction of the Congregation of Religious should be regarded as extending only over professed members of the Order.

The judgment of the cardinalitial commission gave no basis for the Congregation to seize power over the Order. Indeed, it had become apparent at an early stage that Cardinals Tisserant and Aloisi-Masella were not prepared to play Cardinal Canali's game, and there was even talk in some quarters of collusion on the part of the papal Secretariat of State to help the Order escape the authority of the Congregation.(4) The Grand Magistry in all this did not behave as a cringing victim. The Lieutenant Antonio Hercolani, who governed the Order from the death of Prince Chigi till 1955, was a man of strong character, concealing an agreeable personality behind a somewhat dominant manner. He never let himself be intimidated, and in his tenure of three years and a half he deserved as well of the Order as the Grand Master Tommasi or the Lieutenant Candida had in their time. The Marchese Rangoni Machiavelli died in May 1952 and was replaced as Grand Chancellor by Baron   Apor, who had been until 1945 the Hungarian envoy to the Holy See, and who was equally clear-minded in defending the rights of the Order. Count Luciano Cattaneo, as his official secretary, was indefatigable in the same cause.

Besides this personal robustness in the Magistral Palace, what defeated Cardinal Canali was that he had struck just a few years too late. In the short period since the war, the Order had strengthened its position, both through the growing interest in its membership that began to be felt outside Europe and through its diplomatic representation. Seven new National Associations were founded in North and South America between 1951 and 1954, and the consolidation of the Order's diplomatic relations with Italy, Belgium, Argentina, Portugal and Spain gave a background of support which had not been present before.

Moreover, the Order was able to keep up the momentum, surprisingly enough, during the years that it was without a Grand Master, and by 1955 it had established diplomatic relations with every South American country except Uruguay. In that respect, Thun Hohenstein's political work for the Order ensured the failure of his own protest. In particular, Italy had strong reason to be beholden to the Order of Malta: by its agreement of 1948 with the Italian state, the Order was eventually managing sixteen hospitals in the country, and it was also allowing the Air Force to train its pilots and parachutists on the aeroplanes which were officially owned by the Order, under the treaty limiting the size of the Italian Air Force. As the dispute with the Holy See developed, a hint on the part of the Italian government that it was not indifferent to the outcome helped to give Pius XII second thoughts, as did the interest taken in the question by the world's pressi even two governments which were not in diplomatic relations with the Order expressed their concern at the way it was being treated. In short, the Order of Malta had become more than the domestic Roman concern that it might have appeared to be, viewed from the Vatican, in the immediately post-war years.

For a time, Cardinal Canali and his associates had not yet taken the measure of this new support, and they showed by their behaviour that they thought they were already in control. In 1952 Cardinal Spellman took it upon himself to receive sixty-seven knights into the American Association without informing the Grand Magistry, let alone obtaining its authority, and naturally without passing on their reception fees. The fact was discovered accidentally when one of his recruits appeared at the Palazzo Malta in December. The Sovereign Council had to content itself with confirming the receptions and exacting the fees.

Having had no satisfaction from the ruling of the Tribunal in 1953 Cardinal Canali had to resort to new means, and he began a campaign of attacks on the Order of Malta in the world press and in books. The most notorious of the latter was the "Book of Bern", which appeared in the same year and declared itself the work of a "Committee for the moral renewal of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta". It was in fact composed by Dr. Johann Gehlen, a German Protestant who had been Thun Hohenstein's secretary during his time in office and had fallen with him. The accusations were thrown at the Order in this and other writings were at the outer limits of the recherche. The collusion of Cardinal Canali with Gehlen's work became known to the Palazzo Malta and in June 1954 it was able to use the secret to checkmate his move to be appointed Grand Master by papal decree.

Time was running out for Cardinal Canali as the pope's health declined, and in 1955 he resolved to get the Bali Hercolani out of the Magistral Palace. Pope Pius XII set up a new commission of six cardinals, who were the same that had composed the Tribunal with the addition of Cardinal Valeri, to supervise the Order of Malta. An election was also ordered, not for a Grand Master but for a new Lieutenant; yet the options in that field were very limited. Even Cardinal Canali could not now hope to have Thun Hohenstein elected; so he fell back on Don Flavio Melzi d'Eril, a man in his forties who had been a Knight of Justice without vows for seven years and was the only man in his position prepared to take the Cardinal's part. On the eve of the election, in April 1955, a last-minute alternative as Grand Master was mentioned, the President of the Spanish Association, the Infante Fernando of Bavaria and Bourbon (1884-1958), who had just been left a widower, but not being a Knight of Justice he was too far outside the regular field. On the Grand   Magistry's side, Hercolani had been the sole natural successor since Prince Chigi's death, the only alternative candidate mentioned being the Grand Prior of Naples, Fra Carlo Maresca dei  Duchi di Serracapriola. In the circumstances, it would have been too intransigent towards the Holy See to elect either of them; the Grand Magistry, therefore, put forward an almost unknown Sicilian widower, Fra Ernesto Paterno Castello di Carcaci (1882-1971). Cardinal Canali was assured that he had no chance of being elected. But he failed to take into account that the election was held under the new rules introduced in 1936, and the assembly included not only seventeen professed knights and chaplains but eleven representatives of National Associations. These concerted their policy beforehand} and when the election was held on 24 April Melzi d'Eril received only two votes, Paterno emerging as the new Lieutenant with a comfortable majority.

From now on, the most that Cardinal Canali could do was to preserve the hold of his commission of six as long as possible, while the discussions for reform continued. The new regime represented a partial victory for the Order, but it led to a decline of unity within it. At the end of 1955, the Presidents of the National Associations held a meeting in Brussels to discuss the proposals for a new Constitution that had been roughed out between the Lieutenancy and the cardinalitial commission, and they declared them to be unacceptable, as being too ecclesiastical and neglecting the role of the Associations. The Lieutenant Paterno replied with a rebuke which caused offense by attributing the opposition to ill-will and to subversive influences. Cardinal Canali, on his side, was not ready for a settlement that would allow for the prompt election of a Grand Master. When a new Constitution was adopted, therefore, at the beginning of 1957, it was only provisional, to last for three years, and in the meantime, the dissensions within the Order continued to grow.

The decisive event that brought the conflict to an end was the death of Pope Pius XII on 9 October 1958, putting a close to the curial regime represented by Cardinal Canali and his associates. The new Pope, John XXIII, was friendly towards the Order of Malta, of which he had been a Grand Cross since 1955 when he was Patriarch of Venice, and he introduced a less authoritarian style of rule in the Vatican. In the last three years of his life, Cardinal Canali saw his power ebb away and the cardinalitial commission was abolished a few weeks before his death when Pope John XXIII gave his approval to the Order's definitive Constitution.

Looking over the course of the dispute, one is inclined to say that the Order made unnecessary difficulty for itself through not being properly aware of its own case. An example is Monsignor Nasalli Rocca's last-minute intervention with Pope Pius XII to prevent the Congregation of Religious from seizing control of the Palazzo Malta in November 1951. This may be dramatic, but one might suggest that a simpler course would have been to draw the Congregation's attention to the bull of Pope Pius VI, Pastoralium Nobis, of 1779, exempting the Order of Malta from the jurisdiction of ordinary tribunals, "even those of Most Illustrious Cardinals", possibly followed by a diplomatic protest at the attempted violation of it. Similarly, with regard to the tribunal appointed to decide on the Order's sovereignty, the case does not seem to have been put that this question was at least as much a diplomatic as a juridical one, and the Order could not simply be treated as a suitor before a Vatican tribunal.

On Pope Pius XII's side, the essential weakness was the contrast between his ostensible intention, the reform of the Order of Malta, and the real root of the conflict, which was Cardinal Canali's ambition to become Grand Master. This gave rise to a number of subsidiary incoherences: the Statutes of 1936 were declared unacceptable, yet Cardinal Canali sat on the opportunity to revise them from 1947 onward. The Order was accused of an excessively political orientation, yet the attack took the form of supporting the appeal of Thun Hohenstein, who had been the man most responsible for it. Pius XII expressed the wish for more emphasis on the religious vocation, yet one effect of his intervention was to squash the plan to found a new Grand Priory in England, with professed knights, while in 1955 it was being proposed to raise to the head of the Order either Flavio Melzi d'Eril, who was not in vows, or the Infante Fernando, who was not even a Knight of Justice.

Regardless of rights and wrongs, the practical effect of Cardinal Canali's intervention was felt in the internal troubles of the years without a Grand Master. The characteristic feature of this time was the rebellion of the National Associations, which showed themselves fiercer than the Lieutenancy in asserting the sovereignty of the Order. They achieved a victory by having two representatives of theirs (a German and a Frenchman) added to the Sovereign Council in 1955. The protest of the Associations mixed up two things which were not strictly related, the desire to obtain for the Presidents a constitutional representation in the Order's government, and an impatience with the rule of feeble Italian professed knights whom they saw as inefficient and too subservient to the Holy See.(4) Their demand for a say in government created a permanent legacy which marks off the Order since the 1950s from what it had been under Prince Chigi and before.

Paterno's lack of skill in appeasing these external rumblings was not compensated within his own Roman circle. When the Grand Chancellor   Apor resigned in 1958, the condition of the Grand Magistry assumed a perilous appearance. General Giannantoni, called from Lebanon to fill the breach, found that some individuals were in full rebellion against the Lieutenant. He described the state of affairs as "unsustainable and bidding fair to paralyse the whole activity of the Order."(7) The finances, after their good handling under Hercolani, had slid into mismanagement. Flavio Melzi d'Eril's presence as Grand Commander for the past three years had not been a factor for mutual confidence, but he now resigned his office. The proposal to call the Spanish knight Pablo Merry del Val to Rome as Grand Chancellor fell through because the Treasury declared itself unable to pay him an appropriate salary. Giannantoni persuaded Prince Enza di Napoli Rampolla to take the post and, after an agitated few months, returned to his Middle Eastern appointment.

The result of such troubles was that, by the time the Chapter General was called into session on 8 May 1962 to elect a Grand Master, the Order's inner circle was in serious disarray. The candidates proposed were Fra Angelo de Mojana, who was well known as the legal champion of the Order's case for the past eleven years, and Pra Ottone Grisogono, who was old in years but very young in his membership of the Order. Neither of them was very welcome to the National Associations, which were indisposed to an Italian government, but no credible candidate was available from the Austrian Priory; it had prematurely lost Fra Michael Adamovich, who had been an able member of the Sovereign Council under Hercolani and Paterno but who died in his fifties. Fra Angelo de Mojana was accordingly elected, and the interregnum that the Grand Magistry had suffered since the death of Prince Chigi was finally closed. The Bali Hercolani ended his days shortly afterward, having lived just long enough to witness the success of the defense he had initiated; Cardinal Canali had died in August 1961, a few weeks after the winding up of the cardinalitial commission had demonstrated the failure of his attack.

The new Constitution

Besides filling the vacancy in the magistral office, the Chapter General of 1962 formally adopted the new Statutes, which in their main lines continue to regulate the Order today. These introduced extensive changes in the government of the Order of Malta. The Grand Master remains a professed Knight of Justice and is elected for life, but the Council with which he governs has an entirely new character. Before 1955 it consisted only of five Knights of Justice representing each of the Grand Priories, with the addition of the Grand Chancellor, who might be a Knight of Honour and Devotion; substantially, this was the system under which the Order had been governed since 1845. The body was known as the Ordinary Council, but the Statutes of 1936 formalized the name "Sovereign Council", which had come into use in the previous years, and this usage continues today. Under that regime, the representatives were elected ad hoc by their Priories, or even (as in the case of the lapsed Priory of Bohemia) appointed by the Grand Master, and they continued in office indefinitely. The Statutes of 1961 made away with this structure entirely and introduced one which was in some respects a return to the Council before 1798. The post of Grand Commander was revived, as the foremost dignity in the Council; that of Grand Chancellor became formally the second office; and two ancient posts were also brought in, those of Hospitaller (known since 1997 as Grand Hospitaller) and Receiver of the Common Treasury. These four became the "high officers" (alte cariche); to them were added six Councillors without portfolio, completing the membership of the Sovereign Council. The temporary expedient introduced in 1955, of having two direct representatives of the National Associations added to the Sovereign Council, was discontinued. Besides the Grand Master and Grand Commander, at least four members of the Council as a whole were required to be Knights of Justice, ensuring a majority for the professed; the remainder were to be Knights of Obedience.

It is worth noting that the high offices have changed their precedence or their function vis-a-vis those which bore the same name before 1798. The Grand Commander is nowadays the superior of the Knights of Justice and of Obedience, a responsibility which is appropriate to him as the only high officer who is necessarily a professed knight; the Chancellor and Hospitaller have reversed their old precedence; and the Receivership of the Common Treasury is now one of the four high offices, instead of being, as it was historically, a subordinate post in the Order.

Change made to method of electing Sovereign Council.

Under the new Constitution, it has been elected since 1962 by a Chapter General held every five years. The Chapter General consists mainly of professed knights and chaplains, but it is enlarged with twelve representatives of the National Associations. This rule incorporates the provision of the 1936 Constitution regarding the Complete Council for the election of a Grand Master. It admitted to that body for the first time the Presidents of the European Associations provided they were Grand Crosses; that condition was intended to preserve the control of the Grand Magistry, which could exclude any unwanted member by Withholding the Grand Cross from him. Under the modern Constitution, however, that qualification was dropped, as was the restriction of representation only to the European Associations. One should add that in 1953 Pope Pius XII had already created the post of Prelate of the Order (appointed by the Holy See), replacing the old dignity of Prior of St John which became lost after the fall of Malta. The Prelate has usually been an archbishop and has authority over the priests of the Order, and over its spiritual life in general. He ranks next to the Grand Master, above the Grand Commander, but is not a member of the Sovereign Council. There is also the post of Cardinal Patronus, which replaced that of Cardinal Protector in 1961, as the Holy See's representative. It was an example of Pope John XXIII's goodwill that he appointed as the first holder of this office Cardinal Paolo Giobbe, who was a warm friend of the Order. The Cardinal Patronus is always a Bailiff Grand Cross but stands outside the Order's hierarchy.

Besides these governmental changes, another important provision was the one which Pius XII had pressed for, so as to develop the religious character of the Order. This was the introduction of a new class of Knights of Obedience, bound not by vows but by religious promises. Knights of Obedience were henceforth to be eligible to all the government offices except those of Grand Master and Grand Commander(8), Entry into the class of Obedience requires a year of probation, in which the applicant makes a retreat and is subject to a spiritual director; after making his promise, the Knight of Obedience has a continuing duty of religious observance, but not of celibacy. Knights of Obedience are members of a Grand Priory where one exists and otherwise are grouped into Sub-Priories, whose superior, known as the Regent, maybe a Knight either of Justice or of Obedience.

The response to the opportunity thus granted was especially strong in Germany, where a novitiate for the new class was opened in March 1959. By the end of 1961 fifty-three knights had made their promises or begun their probation, and the Sub-Priory of St Michael had been founded, with the professed knight Fra Hubert von Ballestrem as its Regent. There followed the Sub-Priories of England (1970), Ireland (1972) and Spain (1990), the two American Sub-Priories (2001 and 2006) and Australia (2008). In 1997 Dames of Obedience were also permitted and were added to the existing Sub-Priories. It may be added that the vocation of Obedience throughout the Order has always been interpreted, for better or for worse, in terms of personal and religious conduct, and any idea an outsider might have of a host of âmes damnées subservient to the Grand Master's command would be dispelled by close acquaintance.

The class of Obedience enables the Order of Malta to offer, at least to a minority of its members, a stricter form of religious obligation than existed before. There seems to have been a vestigial intention of making it also a stepping-stone to the vocation of Justice, in the sense that candidates for that class were expected to spend at least a preliminary year in Obedience. That potential has not, however, been developed - indeed, in Germany the class of Obedience has become something of a stronghold from which the vocation of the professed knight has been in practice overlooked - and this must be called one of the opportunities that the Order has missed in the past fifty years.

The class of Justice was also reformed by the changes of 1957-61. Firstly, it is no longer possible for unmarried noblemen to enter as Knights of Justice and remain without taking vows, as used to be common, and entry in Minority has been abolished. As recently as 1950 Prince Nicolas von Liechtenstein was entered as a Knight of Justice at the age of three, and the following year Count Franz Alfred von Hartig at sixteen. There are other surviving members today who likewise entered the Order directly in Justice, though somewhat older, those who have not chosen to profess have been transferred to the class of Honour and Devotion, and their breed is destined to extinction. Nowadays an aspirant to Justice must have reached twenty-two years and must have been a knight for at least a year. The Order has thus gone in the opposite direction to that envisaged by the Sovereign Council in 1954, when it wanted to encourage the entry of boys at a minimum age of fifteen and proposed reviving for the purpose the class of magistral Pages. 10

Another change in the career of Knights of Justice was the abolition of the rule imposed in 1854 obliging them to spend ten years in simple vows before they could profess. Now the minimum required is five years (or three for candidates over forty), while nine years in simple vows has become the maximum permitted; nor are simple vows renewed annually any longer but at three-year intervals. The year's novitiate required before taking first vows remains unchanged. In these respects, the Order of Malta has become reassimilated to other religious orders.

One could hardly say that these changes are to thank for the fact that the number of Knights of Justice has now risen, from its low point of seventeen in 1955 to a current figure of fifty-five. A more significant reason is that since 1989, the nobiliary qualification for Justice has been abandoned (though it remains for the offices of Grand Master, Grand Commander and Grand Prior).11 While it is encouraging as far as it goes, the recovery of this class in the past sixty years is relatively disappointing. In fact, the great weakness of the reform of 1957-61 was that it did not do enough for the class of professed, and thus for the Order's full religious character. In that respect, it fell short of the revival which the Lieutenant Candida attempted after 1834, and which disappeared piecemeal, for diverse reasons, after his death. Candida's plan was for a unified novitiate in Rome, including, as in the past, the service of the sick, and for a revival of the four years' "caravans", which was a specific programme of duties - although (contrary to his original intention) a merely ceremonial one - before a knight qualified for a commandery. The hospitaller duty was brought to an end by the burning of the Cento Preti, the attendance in the papal antechamber was discontinued by Pius IX, and the year's novitiate soon became, as it still remains, simply a year of preparation wherever the candidate happened to be living. The training of professed knights thus suffered a loss of coherence which the Order has not succeeded in correcting.

The crisis in the vocations to Justice

Even Candida's plans did not include the revival of the regime which existed before the fall of Malta, and which included ten years' residence in one of the Auberges before a knight qualified for high office. The result of that system was that every knight received a full experience of the communal life of the Order, with its distinctive religious devotions and observances, before he proceeded to profession. Candida's reforms were unable for financial reasons to provide a common residence for young knights, and the same deficiency has continued since then. Worse, the substitute provision that existed in the nineteenth century, that of an early expectation of a commandery, has virtually disappeared, for the commanderies, apart from being only available in Italy and Austria, have nowadays lost their value and do not provide a complete living. The result is that the Order of Malta has the unique disadvantage among religious orders of calling for religious dedication but being unable to support it's professed, who are thus forced to depend on secular earnings or on private means. It is not surprising, therefore, if the Knights of Justice remain a small group who are unable to devote themselves wholly to the Order's work or to fill its government offices.

The crisis in the vocations to Justice in their old heartland became obvious in the middle of the twentieth century, and it continues to this day. In Italy there has always been a sufficient, though not very ample, the supply of knights to man the three Grand Priories; but there is an unfortunate tendency here to assume that Knighthood of Justice is a vocation for elderly men who have been left widowers.

In Austria, the crisis began after the fall of the Empire and became serious after the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany. Between 1938 and 1948 the number of Austrian Knights of Justice fell from twenty-two to twelve. The premature loss of one able knight, Fra Michael Adarnovich, has already been mentioned, and a similarly early death took away Baron Gottfried Gudenus, who was appointed Grand Prior of Austria in 1964 at the age of forty but died fourteen years later. The dearth of Austrian Knights of Justice today has had the result that after the death of Prince Wilhelm von Liechtenstein (Grand Prior from 1996 to 2007), it was impossible to find a successor, and the Grand Priory has been placed under a commissioner. Even less healthy, though more excusable in view of forty years of communist rule, has been the state of the Grand Priory of Bohemia; over the years professed members have had to be appointed to it from other nationalities and it too at present lacks a Grand Prior.

In Germany, whose nobiliary tradition was always in step with that of Austria-Hungary, the vocation of Justice never recovered from the loss of the Grand Priory. In 1959 a hope of improvement was kindled when Count Hubert von Ballestrem (1910-95) took vows. He was a notable figure, of a Silesian family which had long been distinguished in the Order, and had been a knight since 1932. Resident in Berlin after the Second World War and a well-known stalwart of Catholicism, he was imprisoned by the Russians on the charge of being a Vatican spy and was held for four years. After professing as a Knight of Justice, he became Regent of the German Sub-Priory from 1961 to 1992, but his example did not draw more of his compatriots into that class, and his successors as Regents have been Knights of Obedience.

Finally, the Constitutions of 1957-61 also made a slight difference to the third class of Knights and Dames of Malta, the honorary one which requires neither vows nor religious promises. The nomenclature of this class has undergone various changes over time, and further specific ones were introduced in 1957. For most of the nineteenth century, those who received this distinction were called Knights or Dames of Devotion if they made the full nobiliary proofs, or Magistral Knights if they lacked them. The Order's rolls from 1886 begin to use the designation of "Honour and Devotion", incorporating the term Ehrenritter, which had already been in use for many years in the German-speaking world; and in the twentieth century the distinction began to be made between Magistral Knights jure sanguinis, i.e. with incomplete noble proofs, and those with none at all. The provisional constitutions of 1957 proposed to divide the third class into four grades: Knights or Dames of Honour and Devotion, those of Grace and Devotion (with incomplete noble proofs), those of Merit (with some element of noble proofs), and those of Magistral Grace, which implied no nobility other than the knighthood granted by the Grand Master. Dames of Grace and Devotion and Magistral Grace were also admitted at this time, the cross of the Order having previously been granted 'only to noblewomen. The proposed grade of Merit was soon dropped, and the third class of knights and dames is now divided into the other three grades mentioned. Members of this class are required merely to observe the ordinary rules of the Catholic Church (thus a divorcee, for example, may not be a member of the Order), but in practice the third class, accounting for the vast majority of the 13,500 members today, have provided the main strength of the voluntary commitment that keeps the Order's charitable works running.

The area of recruitment of these members widened immensely after the Second World War. To the thirteen National Associations that existed until then there were added between 1951 and 1962 sixteen more, most of them in North and South America - a remarkable achievement at a time when the Order's full government was in suspension: and since then a further nineteen have been founded.

In 1964 there was also instituted the cross Pro Merito Melitensi for those who have rendered charitable and other services, but it does not imply membership of the Order and can be conferred on non-Catholics. This class includes several grades, the highest two being Grand Cross and Grand Collar. In recent years the custom has been introduced of conferring this decoration even on those who are already Knights or Dames of Malta, a practice not envisaged when it was instituted.

Other recent changes that may be mentioned relate to the grades of Bailiff and Grand Cross among the professed knights. Originally, the two were the same; any knight who was appointed to a Grand Priory or Bailiwick ipso facto became a Grand Cross, and the rank was also given ad honores to others who had not yet attained such benefices. Nowadays, however, a Grand Prior is not necessarily a Grand Cross, an honour which is conferred separately: and in 1997 Grand Master Andrew Bertie divided the grades of Bailiff and Grand Cross into two, the former being senior.

The new grandmaster

In the first five years of De Mojana's Grand Mastership there was a strong surge of opinion in the National Associations, wishing to take advantage of the Order's restored status to establish a new and reforming team of government; the dissatisfaction of the 1950s, when the Associations were pushing forward their claims to take part in government, was not yet appeased. Perhaps the strongest voice in this camp was that of the admirable Baron Twickel, President of the Rhenish- Westphalian Association, who deserves high credit for the development of the Order's activity in Germany but who somewhat overlooked the institutional character of a religious order which the statutes of 1961 were designed to preserve. The movement described resulted, unfortunately, in the most serious contretemps experienced in the settling of the Order's new Constitution. In the Chapter General of June 1967, held to carry out the first change of government under De Mojana, the Order elected a Sovereign Council which included six Knights of Obedience and only four Knights of Justice, of whom three were not yet in solemn vows; this implied that nine of the ten members required dispensations from the Holy See to take up their offices. It seems remarkable that no-one foresaw that this would be asking for trouble. Pope Paul was surprised, and the Prefect of the Congregation for Religious, Cardinal Antoniutti, a prelate of firmly traditional views, refused to accept the election. 12 At first he insisted that all the members of the Council must be professed; after a little negotiation, he declared himself willing to grant dispensations for two Knights of Obedience. The Order was thus obliged to reconvene its Chapter General in January 1968 and elect a new Sovereign Council, with eight professed knights and only two Knights of Obedience, Quintin Gwyn as Grand Chancellor and Karl Wolfgang von Ballestrem as Hospitaller. Geraud de Pierredon, in narrating these events, writes an implied criticism of Cardinal Antoniutti and treats the incident as a continuation of the interference in the Order's affairs shown by the Vatican in the previous decade; this in spite of his mention elsewhere that in 1966 the Order had "a truly friendly co-operation" with the Congregation of Religious". An alternative view to Pierredon's would be that Cardinal Antoniutti's intervention prevented the Order of Malta from embarking, at the outset of De Mojana's Grand Mastership, on a reckless secularisation of its government.

The overall estimate of Angelo de Mojana must be that he was not equal to Ceschi and Chigi as a Grand Master, nor equal to Thun in personality (though that may have saved him from Thun's mistakes); he certainly took up his office with more diffidence than any of those three predecessors. De Mojana belonged to a family of minor gentry, owners of the lordship of Cologna in Lombardy; the family's recent alliances provided him with the requisite quarters of nobility, but temperamentally the Grand Master was what his career suggested, an unassuming Milanese lawyer, and he felt as keenly as anyone the remark that Count Pecci made on his elevation: "Fra Angelo de Mojana has made too great a leap."13 In contrast to his predecessor's gifts, his linguistic limitations made him take to addressing the diplomatic corps in Italian rather than French. The power behind his throne was Fra Hubert Pallavicini (1912-98), a member of the Hungarian branch of his family, who was Master of Ceremonies for thirty years; from the first he resolved to come to the Grand Master's aid by wrapping him in a cocoon of ceremony, but his protege did not show himself to the manner born. Observers noted mistakes in opposite directions, such as when, on a visit to Sicily, he received the noble ladies presented to him sitting down, or when, on a visit to Monaco, he signed the visitors' book in the Prince's absence.

These things would not be worth mentioning except that they have a bearing on the personal change that took place in the Order's government. Shy of some of the aristocrats around him, the Grand Master took to preferring less established brethren whose nobiliary claims did not eclipse his own. He therefore made the most of the provision in the 1961 Constitution permitting up to five members of the Sovereign Council to be chosen, by dispensation, from Knights of Obedience, and he pushed for their election in preference to available Knights of Justice. Thus the Canadian knight Quintin Iermy Gwyn became Grand Chancellor in 1968, succeeding the Principe di Napoli Rampolla, and the Irish knight John Galvin became Hospitaller in 1977, after the long tenure (1962-75) of Count Ballestrem. The Vatican did not repeat its unexpected stand of 1967 and the dispensations requested were nodded through. An arrangement intended as exceptional was thus turned into the invariable rule, so that since 1978 no Knight of Justice has been elected to the high offices of Chancellor, Hospitaller or Receiver. Commenting on this, Fra Cyril Toumanoff blamed De Mojana for effectively abolishing the constitutional supremacy of the professed in the Sovereign Council. In taking this path the Order departed from the understanding expressed by the Lieutenant Paterno in 1962, when he commented on the new Constitution: "The Holy See has conceded that, with the necessary dispensations, Religious may be replaced by Knights of Obedience, it being understood that this is by way of exception and for grave reasons to be examined in each particular case ... This exceptional character, not to say one of derogation of the prescriptions of Canon Law, presupposes that this representation ought in no way to be detrimental to the legitimate preponderance of the members of full right."14

On the other side of the question, we ought to recognise the achievements of the new leadership. Quintin Gwyn was the first member of the Order's government to be drawn from outside Europe - though the change was more one of geography than of style, for he was of Enlish education and was no stranger to the grand manner. He was an enterprising Grand Chancellor and encouraged the activity of the National Associations, initiating the practice of calling their Presidents to Rome for regular two-yearly meetings. He came to office shortly after the death of Cardinal Spellman, who as we have seen had the American Association firmly under his thumb. Apart from constitutional objections, that had the drawback that the Association had developed no works except the financial support of the Vatican, in the form of the Bambino Gesu Hospital, and of the archdiocese of New York. A group of southern members under the leadership of Mr William Fitzgerald sought separation; they followed the example set in 1953 when the Western Association was founded, based in San Francisco, at the height of the campaign made by Cardinals Canali and Spellman to subject the Order. The Grand Chancellor supported their intention, and the formation of a Southern Association was put forward in 1974. The American Association, under its President John Coleman and his successor Peter Grace, regarded the secession as a hostile act and enlisted Cardinal Cooke of New York in support of their resistance. The founding of the Southern Association was approved by the Sovereign Council, rescinded and then decreed again.

The American Association and the Southern, which was renamed the Federal in 1986, remained at daggers drawn for years, and relations were not healed until Grand Master Andrew Bertie visited Washington in 1991. William Fitzgerald, as long-serving President of the Southern Association, gave a magnificent dinner for him at which Peter Grace was a guest. The original American Association has also given up the special titles which it had adopted at its foundation (and which it refused to change at Gwyn's request) and now uses the same terminology as the rest of the Order. Peter Grace, in his term of office from 1977 to 1995, developed the works of the Association in alliance with the charity AmeriCares, and their growth has continued since then; the involvement in the Lourdes pilgrimage was also due to his initiative.

In a pocket apart from the National Associations was a group of expatriates who provided the first Knights of Justice in America. They were led by the distant cousins Prince Cyril Toumanoff and Count Olgerd de Sherbowitz-Wetzor, exiles from the Russian Revolution, who both became Knights of Honour and Devotion in 1955 and of Justice in 1963. They were joined by Giancarlo Pallavicini (brother of the Master of Ceremonies, and himself Grand Commander in Rome from 1982 to 1994), and for a short time in 1969 there were three Knights of Justice living in Washington, more than in any other city except Rome. They encouraged Count George Lasocki, a former Polish diplomat who had been living in America since 1939, to follow the same path, and he became a Knight of Justice in 1975. These were the forerunners of the ten Knights of Justice that the Order now has in North America, all of them of native birth.

In the Order's progress on the same continent, one should note the foundation of the first ten Latin American Associations all in a rush in the 1950s, together with that of the Canadian Association in 1952. The latter, besides quickly producing the first transatlantic Grand Chancellor, boasts another pair of significant figures, General Georges Vanier (1888­1967) and his wife Pauline. Georges Vanier was Governor General of Canada from 1959 until his death, being the first French Canadian to hold that office. This devout and charming couple played a great role in the Order of Malta and in Canadian society, and they have both been proposed to the Vatican for beatification.

Returning to the old world, it is fitting to mention some noteworthy figures in the middle and later years of the twentieth century. In Portugal the knights had been hit hard by the revolution of 1910, and the Association was left without a President from the death of the Marquis de Pombal in 1911 until 1940. In the latter year the post was offered to the Conde das Alcacovas, and he held it for two decades. He was one of the leading movers of the Catholic recovery in the public life of his country in the time of Salazar, after the damage done by the Masonic governments in the early years of the Republic. In Spain the President of the Association from 1919 to 1958 was the Infante Fernando of Bavaria and Bourbon, and he negotiated with General Franco the recognition as his successor of Don Juan Carlos, who had been christened in 1938 in the chapel of the Magistral Palace in Rome while his family was in exile. The Prince later held the Presidency of the Spanish Association for ten years before his accession as King.

In Italy the agreement with the government under which the Order had since 1948 been managing numerous hospitals with a total of 6,000 beds came to an end in 1961, and the Italian Association began to specialise in the provision of diabetic care, in which it took a pioneering role, with many centres throughout the country. An attempt was made to preserve something of the hospitaller service after the grant to the Order in 1957 of the old papal hunting lodge of La Magliana, to the west of Rome. The financial difficulties were formidable, and in 1966 the Order was proposing to abandon the project and sell the property. Through great efforts the original plan was rescued; a large modern hospital was built adjoining the old castle and was opened in February 1971. This hospital of 270 beds continues its work today, specialising in neurological care and rehabilitation. A distinctive feature of the Order's charitable activity in Italy has been its former military medical force, which completed its transformation into a body providing rescue service in cases of catastrophe, while retaining its status as part of the Italian army. Many interventions in earthquake scenes have taken place, not only in Italy but in other places such as Africa. From 1991 onward the Corpo Militare began an extensive activity in the Balkans, beginning with service in the conflicts caused by the break-up of Yugoslavia and continuing in Albania and Romania.

In the Italian Grand Priories, there had been a very liberal admission of members during the years of the Lieutenancy, in particular of Knights of Magistral Grace; in 1962 the number of these alone in Italy was greater than the entire membership of the American Association, which was by far the largest of the other National Associations. The dangers of this expansion were shown when in 1981 the scandal of the Masonic lodge P2 erupted, involving hundreds of the most prominent figures in Italian society. It was disclosed that the lodge included three or four of the Order's recruits of recent years. Whether or not this suggested, as in the case of Baron Marsaudon in the 1940s, a lack of care in the scrutiny of candidates, it at any rate pointed to the fact that the Order was finding its knights among different sectors from those of the past.

Together with the expansions of the Associations in North and South America, these trends were part of a wide democratisation of the Order that took place under Grand Master De Mojana.

The French Association enjoyed progress under the long presidency of Prince Guy de Polignac, who held office from 1952 till his death in 1996. The most distinguished political figure to emerge from this National Association was Valery Giscard d'Estaing, a Knight of Malta from 1964, who was President of France from 1974 to 1981. In the charitable field, the Oeuvres Hospitalieres Francaises de l'Ordre de Malte built up an important ambulance service, which proved its efficiency and its reputation during the student riots in Paris in May 1968, an emergency during which more than thirty vehicles were deployed. The Oeuvres Hospitalieres also devoted themselves to work in the former French colonies in Africa, where they developed a large network. Count Geraud de Pierredon, a son of the pioneering diplomat, was responsible for this endeavour from 1956 as Secretary General and later as Directeur des Oeuvres, after which he served as Hospitaller of the Order from 1978 to 1989. In Africa the Oeuvres Hospitalieres made the campaign to eradicate leprosy their special task. In 1955 Prince Guy de Polignac, accompanied by the Comte d'Harcourt, the Duc Decazes and the Comte d'Orglandes, went to Gabon to open the leper villages of Mayumba and Tchibanga. A Pavillon de Malte was founded in 1967 at the Fann University Hospital in Dakar; it was followed in 1972 by the lnstitut de Leprologie Appliquee de Dakar (ILAD), which rapidly became the best research and hospital facility in Senegal and one of the best in West Africa. After a generation's work the fight against leprosy on the continent has been largely won, and since 2011 the ILAD has become the Centre Hospitalier de l'Ordre de Malte, providing more general medical care.

The first British Grand Master

Representing a final break with the period of 1951 to 1962, following Angelo de Mojana the in the initial overview mentioned Andrew Bertie became the next Grand Master.

Fra Andrew Bertie while a descendant of the Earls of Lindsey and Abingdon is characterised as an unassuming man who came his princely office after ordinary professional career. Somewhat out of his element in Rome, he had virtually no experience of the Order's inner circles, or even of Italy, and although his linguistic gifts quickly put him at ease in the language he was not used to the cross-currents to which his head-first dive into the Order's waters exposed him.

Fra Andrew was thus inclined to leave the political government of the Order to his subordinates and concerned himself with fostering its religious nature. For this he was better equipped than his predecessors for many generations. As the alumnus of one Benedictine school and a master for many years at another, he cultivated a life-long interest in monasticism which had led him, with characteristic quirkiness, to study the lamaseries of Tibet. In Rome he introduced the practice of communal saying or singing of the liturgical hours in the palace chapel; he thus reinforced the sense of the professed knights as a religious community, the successor of the one which Gerard had initially founded in Jerusalem.

Conclusion: If it were not a military order, the Order of Malta today would be one of the best-known charitable organizations in the world; but precisely because it works under an illustrious name it is liable to be regarded as a merely ornamental body - or, indeed, among fantasizers, as a secret society devoted to the hidden manipulation of power. The history of the past two centuries shows well enough that there has never been anything mysterious about the Order of Malta, even though at one time it may have represented a small aristocratic world that was familiar to few.

15 Nov. 2017: The following came as part of a discussion with a former student when he asked me about the Bobrinskoy Orthodox Order of Saint John (OOSJ) and the alleged "The Sovereign Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem Knights of Malta" thus opening up what for me is a new research topic. Self-styled Knights Of Today.

19 Nov. 2017: Where the previous part described the phenomenon of self-styled Knightly orders of St John or of Malta, most of these orders claim to be continuations of various alleged offshoots of what now appears to be a non-existing Russian Orthodox priory. Case Study: Malta and the Russian Usurpation.

27 Nov. 2017: In the following historical investigation it has become clear that the original SMOM Order indeed continued unabated and that the Order's continuing sovereign status was not forfeited through the loss of Malta. The appointment of a new Grand Master.

2 Dec. 2017:  Contested as some of the following developments initially where they also contain some intrigue. The foundations of the National Associations of the Order in England and Germany.


1) Reference is here to the famous 1957 novel by Roger Peyrefitte which four years later was followed by the much more substantial sixth book of Histoire Politique de l'Ordre de Malte, by Thierry and Geraud Michel de Pierredon that covered similar ground from a purely historical perspective. Roger Peyrefitte in his novel perpetuated a substantial fallacy when he stated that at some point in the nineteenth century there were no more than seven professed knights and chaplains in all Europe [Chevaliers de Malte. Chapter 2] Besides the knights. the number of professed chaplains never fell below about thirty-five. the bulk of them in the collegiate church in Prague.

2) In the 1960s Fr Yves Congar O.P. described Cardinal Pizzardo as a "sub-mediocrity with no culture, no horizon, no humanity" (Mon Journal du Condle). A more objective guide to his outlook is the fact that in 1963 he supported the election as pope of Cardinal Montini because of his long career in the Curia, not realising that as Pope Paul VI he would destroy the structure of curial power to which Cardinal Pizzardo was devoted.

3) This is explicitly stated in the version of the Constitutions published in 1938 and printed in Pierre don, Vol. 4, Part 1, p. 622.

4) According to H. J. A. Sire, in the history of the Order of St John, there have been two cases of Grand Masters being raised to the cardinalate [Aubusson In 1489 and Verdale in 1587]. and three of Grand Masters being appointed by the Pope (Heredia in 1377. Tommasi in 1803 and Ceschi in 1879) There has been no case of one who was not a professed knight being made Grand Master.

4)  A certain confusion has been thrown over this question by writers who suggest - in an ill-defined way - that the Origins of the Order's sovereignty are to be found in the papal bull Pie postulatio volutatis of 1113. That, however, merely conferred the ecclesiastical privileges of an exempt religious order, and the grant could not give the Hospital of Jerusalem any element of sovereignty. any more than to the Benedictines. the Cluniacs. etc.

5) H. Charles Zeininger de Borja, La Charte Constitutionelle Provisoire de l'Ordre de Saint-Jean in II Diritto Ecclesiastico, Anno LXX, No.1, 1959, p. 19, footnote 64. Ostensibly a juridical study, this article is a warm political statement of the pro-Canali case.

6) The complaints of a government dominated by Italians were perhaps exaggerated In 1956 it was pointed out that. aside from the Lieutenant and the three   represeniatives of the Italian Priories. the other five members of the Sovereign Council were all non-Italian.

7) Pierredon, Vol. 6, pp. 263, 476 and 478.

8) It seems that the thinking behind the introduction of the Knights of Obedience was connected with Cardinal Canali's original plan to merge the Order of Malta wilh that of the Holy Sepulchre (which has no professed knights); The Knights of Obedience would have replaced those of Justice as the class of special religious dedication in the combined order.

9) Bulletin Mensuel of October and November 1954, published by the Order.

10) H. Charles Zeininger de Borja, La Charte Constitutionelle Provisoire de l'Ordre de Saint-Jean in II Diritto Ecclesiastico, Anno LXX, No.1, 1959, p. 19, footnote 64. Ostensibly a juridical study, this article is a warm political statement of the pro-Canali case.

11) The result is that the term Knight of Justice [which originally meant one who had satisfied the nobliiary proofs] has become a misnomer In former centuries a non-noble who became a professed knight was called a Knighl of Grace.

12) Cardinal Antoniutti had been the conservative papabile in the Conclave of 1963. and received the largest number of votes after Cardinal Montini in the early ballots.

13) Cardinal Antoniutti had been the conservative papabile in the Conclave of 1963. and received the largest number of votes after Cardinal Montini in the early ballots.

14) Pierredon, Vol. 6, p. 95, quoting the Lieutenant's letter to Baron von Twickel of 20 January 1962.