Grand Master (order of knights)

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Grand Master or Grand Master is the title of the highest dignitary of an order of knights , who is thus the head of the order as master of the order .

The grand master of a religious knightly order is usually elected by the general chapter of the order. Due to the rule of the order , the members commit themselves to absolute obedience to their grand master in all matters. Despite his primacy, his power is limited by the chapter of the order . He does not have the opportunity to change the statutes without authorization in order to strengthen his influence.

The secular house orders, which were donated by various European kings as a distinction or to strengthen their own household power, are to be distinguished from the religious knightly orders. The grand master of these orders was usually the king who inherited the grand master dignity. Some religious orders of knights, the Spanish and Portuguese orders of knights after the end of the Reconquista , were in the 15th and 16th centuries. Century subordinated to the respective king, who received the grandmaster title and inherited it from then on.

Existing orders of knights

Order of Malta

The Grand Master of the Order of Malta has been elected for life by the General Chapter since around 1100 , and Fra ′ Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto has held the office as the 80th Grand Master since 2018 .

Order of the Teutonic Knights (German Order)

The origins of the Teutonic Knights can be found in a field hospital of Bremen and Luebian merchants during the Third Crusade around 1190 in the Holy Land during the siege of the city of Acre . Around 1198 the hospital community was elevated to the status of a religious knightly order. The Grand Master is the highest office in the Teutonic Order. From 1530 to 1929 the office was called colloquially "Hoch- und Deutschmeister". Last high and German master was from 1894 to 1923 the kuk Field Marshal Archduke Eugen of Austria from the House of Habsburg . Frank Bayard was elected the current 66th Grand Master of the Order on August 22, 2018 ; He received the abbot's benediction from the Bishop of Vienna Christoph Schönborn on November 17, 2018 .

Order of the Golden Fleece

The Order of the Golden Fleece was on January 10, 1430 Philip the Good , duke of Burgundy donated, the most respected nobles of his country after the membership in the Order of the Garter had declined. After the dukes of Burgundy died out in 1477, the order passed to the Spanish line of the Habsburgs . When the last Spanish king from the House of Habsburg died in 1700, the order was divided into two lines. Both the Spanish, the Bourbon branch , and the Austrian branch of the Habsburg family still exist today. Today's grandmasters are King Felipe VI. for the Spanish and Karl Habsburg-Lothringen for the Austrian line.

For the Grand Masters of the Order, see the corresponding overview in the target article .

Order of Knights of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem

The Order of Knights of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem was founded in 1847. At first he was directly subordinate to the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Some Popes then personally headed the Order before a Curia Cardinal was established as Cardinal Grand Master of the Order from 1949. The current Grand Master of the Order is Edwin Frederick O'Brien .

Order of Lazarus

Acting 49th Grand Master of the Order of Lazarus is Don Carlos Gereda y de Borbón, Marqués de Almazán. The Protector of the Order has been the head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church united with the Roman Catholic Church and the highest Catholic dignitary in the Near and Middle East, the Patriarch of Antioch and the whole of the Orient, of Alexandria and Jerusalem, at the time of Gregory , since 1841 III. Laham .

Extinct orders of knights

The following orders, which have expired today, had a grandmaster:

Spiritual orders of knights

Secular orders of knights


  • Alain Demurger: The Knights of the Lord. History of the spiritual orders of knights. Beck, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-406-50282-2 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Grandmaster  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations