Sovereign Military Order of Malta - Governance of The Order

Governance of The Order

The proceedings of the Order are governed by its Constitutional Charter and the Order's Code. It is divided internationally into six territorial Grand Priories, six Sub-Priories, and 47 national associations.

The supreme head of the Order is the Grand Master, who is elected for life by the Council Complete of State, holds the precedence of a cardinal of the Church since 1630, and received the rank of Reichsf├╝rst (Prince of the Holy Roman Empire) in 1607. Fra' Matthew Festing was elected by the Council as 79th Grand Master on 11 March 2008, succeeding Fra' Andrew Bertie, who was Grand Master until his death on 7 February 2008. Electors in the Council include the members of the Sovereign Council, other office-holders and representatives of the members of the Order. The Grand Master is aided by the Sovereign Council (the government of the Order), which is elected by the Chapter General, the legislative body of the Order. The Chapter General meets every five years; at each meeting, all seats of the Sovereign Council are up for election. The Sovereign Council includes six members and four High Officers: the Grand Commander, the Grand Chancellor, the Grand Hospitaller and the Receiver of the Common Treasure . The Grand Commander is the chief religious officer of the Order and serves as "Interim Lieutenant" during a vacancy in the office of Grand Master. The Grand Chancellor, whose office includes those of the Ministry of the Interior and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is the head of the executive branch; he is responsible for the Diplomatic Missions of the Order and relations with the national Associations. The Grand Hospitaller's responsibilities include the offices of Minister for Humanitarian Action and Minister for International Cooperation; he coordinates the Order's humanitarian and charitable activities. Finally, the Receiver of the Common Treasure is the Minister of Finance and Budget; he directs the administration of the finances and property of the Order.

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