Ramón Perellós y Roccafull, Grand Master of the Order of Malta, 1697 - 1720

  • Grand Master Perellós established the Consolato del Mare, a specialized tribunal handling naval affairs.
  • The capture of the city of Oran on the Algerian coast by the Turks in 1708 deeply affect Perellós, resulting in a stroke.
  • Perellós maintained neutrality when Tsar Peter I requested support against the Turks.
  • As a patron of the arts, Perellós built St. Lawrence Church in Birgu.

Ramon Perellós y Rocafull, born in Valencia in 1637, belonged to the noble Langue of Aragon.

Before ascending to the position of Grand Master, Perellós held the office of Bailiff of Negroponte.

During his reign, Perellós oversaw several important developments that strengthened the Order's position in the Mediterranean.

In response to the ongoing threat posed by the Ottoman Empire, Perellós prioritized the reform of the Order's navy. He established the Consolato del Mare, a specialized tribunal handling naval affairs, and commissioned the construction of several ships to bolster the Order's naval prowess.

The loss of Oran to the Turks in 1708 deeply affected Perellós, resulting in a stroke.

Painting of Ramón Perellós y Roccafull

Under Perellós's leadership, the Order's galleys were involved in several successful battles against the Turks. In 1707, the Order's galleys provided crucial support to the Spanish forces during the siege of Oran, earning commendation from the King of Spain himself.

However, the subsequent loss of Oran, a city along the Algerian coast, to the Turks in 1708 deeply affected Perellós, leading to a stroke.

Despite this setback, Perellós continued to work tirelessly for the international prestige of the Order and the defense of the Maltese islands.

A consummate diplomat, he maintained a policy of neutrality when an emissary of Tsar Peter I of Russia requested the Order's support in forming an alliance against the Turks.

Perellós was also a patron of the arts and oversaw several important construction projects during his reign. He officially opened the new church of St. Lawrence in Birgu, which was built to the designs of Lorenzo Gara.

Church of St. Lawrence in Birgul today

In addition, he generously donated sets of Flemish tapestries to the Conventual Church (St. John’s Co-Cathedral). These tapestries can be admired in the Tapestry Chamber of the Magistral Palace.

Furthermore, Perellós expanded the Sacra Infermeria, a hospital renowned throughout Europe for its advanced medical practices.

Ramon Perellós y Rocafull passed away on January 10, 1720, aged 84, and was buried in the Chapel of Aragon within the Conventual Church.

His enduring legacy as a Grand Master who fortified the Order's navy and initiated vital construction projects continues to inspire the members of the Order of Malta to this day.

A set of Flemish tapestries to the Conventual Church

The Sacra Infermeria, the Holy Infirmary of the Knights of St John