The Order – Grand Magisterium


Structure of the Order
The Order has a definite hierarchy. At the top is the Cardinal Grand Master who is appointed directly by the Holy Father, to lead and govern the Order. The Grand Master is assisted by a consultative body, the Grand Magisterium, whose task is to identify and agree with the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem the programs and action to be undertaken each year to provide for the Christian institutions and communities in the Holy Land, including the operating methods and timescales.

The Presidency of the Grand Magisterium consists of the Governor General, the Vice-Governors General and the Chancellor of the Order: this is the Order’s executive “board”.

The hierarchy then divides into two distinct parts: ecclesiastic and lay. The first, headed by the Chancellor and the Ceremonial Officer, is responsible for the Order’s spiritual development; the second, headed by the Governor General, is responsible for managing the Order.

The task of the ecclesiastical hierarchy is to define programs and events to be put in place to develop Members’ spirituality. The task of the lay hierarchy is to carry out the Order’s social and charitable activities on behalf of the Holy Land.

The Order is subdivided into Lieutenancies, which in turn are divided into Sections. If appropriate, the Sections may be further divided into Delegations.

The Lieutenant, Section Heads (Presidi in Italy and Sicily) and Delegates (responsible for the Delegations) are accompanied by a parallel ecclesiastical organization consisting of Section and Delegation Priors.

All these roles are functional, involving administrative responsibilities; they are not honorary titles. The term of office is four years, which may be renewed, subject always to the holder carrying out his/her tasks correctly and effectively.

Suitable candidates for each post are suggested by the immediate superior and submitted to those in higher positions and the Grand Magisterium for final approval.

The Order currently has 52 Lieutenancies: 24 in Europe, 15 in North America and Canada, 5 in Latin America and 6 in Australia and the Far East.

At present, the number of active Members is around 23,000. These are the Members who actually practice the life dedicated to service and charity, which they promised to uphold when they were admitted to the Order.

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Grand Master

His Eminence Edwin Cardinal O’Brien, KGCHS

Edwin Frederick O’Brien was born April 8, 1939 in the Bronx, New York, son of Mary Winifred and Edwin Frederick O’Brien, Sr. He was one of three children, including brothers Ken and Tom (now both deceased). He attended St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1961, a Master of Divinity in 1964, and a Master of Arts degree in 1965. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of New York on May 29, 1965 by Francis Cardinal Spellman.

His first assignment was as a civilian chaplain at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He would later be commissioned to become a military chaplain and in 1970, he officially became an Army Chaplain with the rank of Captain, serving with the 82nd Airborne Division. From 1971 to 1972, he served a tour of duty in Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne Brigade and then the 1st Cavalry Brigade. From a base of operations in the middle of a jungle, he and a Protestant minister flew by helicopter to defensive outposts where they would provide for the spiritual needs of the soldiers.

In 1973, he left the military and began his doctoral studies at Rome’s Angelicum University. While preparing for his doctorate in sacred theology, Archbishop O’Brien was a graduate student at the Pontifical North American College. He studied moral theology and completed his doctoral dissertation, entitled The Origin and Development of Moral Principles in the Writings of Paul Ramsey, in 1976.

He returned to continue his service to the Archdiocese of New York, serving as vice-chancellor for the Archdiocese and associate pastor at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. In 1979 he coordinated Pope John Paul II’s visit to New York and for two years served as communications director for the Archdiocese. In 1986, he was elevated to Monsignor and served two terms as rector of St. Joseph’s Seminary from 1985-1989 and 1994-1997. From 1990-1994, he served as rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

On February 6, 1996, he was named Auxiliary Bishop of New York and bishop of the titular see of Thizica. He was consecrated by Cardinal John O’Connor at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on March 25, 1996. On April 7 of the following year, he was named co-adjutor bishop for the Archdiocese for the Military Services and on August 12, 1997, he succeeded as archbishop. The Archdiocese for the Military Services serves 1.5 million Catholics including all U.S. Armed Forces and their families as well as 170 Veterans Administration hospitals and U.S. Government employees overseas. From September 2005 to June 2006, he served as the Holy
See’s coordinator for the Papal Visitation of Seminaries and Houses of Priestly Formation and in 2007 was appointed a member of the Congregation for Catholic Education and Seminaries.

On July 12, 2007, his appointment as Archbishop of Baltimore by Pope Benedict XVI was announced. He succeeded Cardinal William H. Keeler, who had served as the 14th Archbishop of the nation’s oldest diocese from 1989 to 2007. Archbishop O’Brien was installed on October 1, 2007.

During his tenure as the 15th Archbishop of the nation’s oldest Catholic diocese, Archbishop O’Brien focused the Church’s ministry in several key areas, including the promotion of vocations, fostering a culture of respect for the dignity of every person, improving the quality of life in Baltimore City, and to help Catholics in the Archdiocese—young, old, and those who may have left the Church—renew and strengthen the bonds of their faith.

Confronted by the disturbing trend of declining Catholic school enrollment, Archbishop O’Brien initiated an unprecedented review and strategic planning process for the entire school system. These efforts led to the creation of a long-term strategy for strengthening Catholic schools. As well, a number of new educational initiatives to help Catholic schools remain competitive were developed.

On August 29, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop O’Brien the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. His predecessor, Cardinal John Foley, resigned the post in February, 2011 due to reasons of health.

On January 6, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named Archbishop O’Brien to the College of Cardinals.


Grand Prior
His Beatitude, Most Rev. Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem

H.E. Guiseppe De Andrea

Lieutenant General
H.E. Giuseppe Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto, KGCHS

Governor General
H.E. Count Agostino Borromeo, Knight of the Collar

Vice Governors General
H.E. Sir Adolfo Rinaldi, KGCHS
H.E. Sir Patrick D. Powers, KGCHS
H.E. Giorgio Moroni Stampa

Rev. Msgr. Hans Brouwers

Master Of Ceremonies
Rev. Msgr. Francis D. Kelly, KCHS

Members Of The Grand Magisterium
H.E. Pierre Blanchard, KGCHS
H.E. Alberto Consoli Palermo Navarra, KGCHS
H.E. João de Castro de Mendia Conde De Rezende, KGCHS
H.E. Dr. Otto Kaspar, KGCHS
H.E. Prof. Bartholomew John Mcgettrick, KGCHS
H.E. Prof. Thomas E. Mc.Kiernan, KGCHS
H.E. John C. Piunno, KGCHS
H.E. John Ralph, KC*HS
H.E. Dr. Christa von Siemens, LC*HS
H.E. Joseph E. Spinnato, KGCHS
H.E. Dr. Michael F. Whelan, KGCHS

Members Of Honor

Assessor Of Honor
Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo

Governor General Of Honor
H.E. Dr. Pier Luigi Parola, Knight of the Collar

Vice Governor General Of Honor
H.E. George T. Ryan, KGCHS
H.E. Baron Hubert Simonart, KGCHS
H.E. Jean Marc Allard

Lieutenant General Of Honor
H.E. Count Peter Wolff-Metternich Zur Gracht, Knight of the Collar

Chancellor Of Honor Mons. Juan José Dorronsoro, KC*HS

Members Of Honor
H.E. Prof. Aldo Maria Arena, KGCHS
H.E. Robert H. Benson, KGCHS
H.E. Amb. Philippe Husson, KGCHS
H.E. Conte Mario Cantuti Castelvetri, KGCHS
H.E. Michael R. Earthman, KGCHS
H.E. Dennis J. Looney, KGCHS



Grand Magisterium – Vatican

Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

The Holy See

Custodia Terrae Sanctae

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