The Grand Master is elected for life from among the Professed Knights by the Council Complete of State.
According to the Constitution, as the religious Superior and Sovereign, he fully dedicates himself to develop the works of the Order and to set a Christian example to all members of the Order.
He is vested with supreme authority together with the Sovereign Council. The Grand Master issues the legislative measures not covered by the Constitution, promulgates government acts, manages Common Treasure assets, ratifies international agreements and summons the Chapter General.
The States with which the Order has diplomatic relations recognize the Grand Master with the prerogatives, immunities and honours reserved for Heads of State. The title of Most Eminent Highness is bestowed on the Grand Master, and the Holy Roman Catholic Church confers him the rank of prince of the Church. The Grand Master resides at the Order’s seat of government the Magistral Palace in Rome.
Lieutenant ad interim and Grand Commander, H.E. Fra’ Ruy Gonçalo do Valle Peixoto de Villas Boas.
After the death of the 80th Grand Master Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto, he has assumed the functions of Lieutenant ad interim and will remain head of the Sovereign Order until the election of the new Grand Master.
He was born on 27 November 1939 in Oporto (Portugal), where he graduated in Industrial Chemical Engineering. In 1984 he became a member of the Order of Malta’s Portuguese Association. In 1996 he made the promise of Obedience. In 2008, after the death of his wife, Maria da Conceição, he became a Professed Knight taking a solemn vow in 2015.
For many years he has personally taken care of the material and spiritual needs of inmates in a prison in Portugal and participates in the Order’s pilgrimages to Fatima and Lourdes. He served on the Government Council from May 2014 to April 2019. The Chapter General of 1st May 2019 elected him Grand Commander.