The Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law.

The Order – which has its seat of government in Rome – has:

Its own government.
Bilateral diplomatic relations with over 100 countries.
Permanent Observer status at the United Nations and in many international organizations.

Its operational activities are managed by the five Grand Priories, six Subpriories and forty-eight National Associations of Knights and Dames on five continents.

The Order issues its own passports, coins, and stamps. It creates public institutions endowed with independent juridical personality. The Order is governed by the Constitutional Charter and the Code, last reformed in 2022.

Fra’ John T. Dunlap

Our Current Grand Master

The current Grand Master is Fra’ John T. Dunlap.

The Grand Master governs the Order as sovereign and as religious head. He is elected for life from among the professed knights in perpetual vows. He is assisted by and presides over the Sovereign Council, which is composed of four high offices — the Grand Commander, Grand Chancellor, Grand Hospitaller, and Receiver of the Common Treasure — as well as six councillors, all elected at the Order's Chapter General for a five-year term.

The Council of Government and the Board of Auditors assist the Grand Master and the Sovereign Council. The Chapter General also elects the members of these two bodies for a five-year term.

The Legal System

The legal system of the Order is divided into three powers:

Legislative power

Rests with the Grand Master and Sovereign Council for all non-constitutional matters and with the Chapter General for constitutional matters.

Executive power

Rests with the Sovereign Council, chaired by the Grand Master and composed of thirteen Knights elected by the Chapter General.

Judicial power

Rests with the Magistral Courts of First Instance and of Appeal, composed of judges appointed by the Grand Master and the Sovereign Council.

Commitment to Transparency and Integrity

Whistleblower Statement

From its beginning in the 11th Century, the Order of Malta has served the poor and sick. The Order has cared for the vulnerable of all ages through the centuries, and renews that commitment today.

Consistent with this focus, the Order of Malta Western Association has adopted policies encouraging the reporting of any potential improper conduct, including, but not limited to:  discrimination against, harassment of, or any other imposition upon individuals; financial improprieties; violations of civil or canon law or of policies of the Order and of the Association; or of any other similar illegal or improper actions.

Report Abuse

Please call (424) 365-6015 to report any complaint or misconduct to our Supervisor for the Protection of the Vulnerable. Your call is confidential. The Association prohibits retaliation against any person making a good faith complaint, report, or inquiry.