Giacomo Dalla Torre, the Grand Master of the charity and chivalric Order of Malta, has died in Rome.  The Order announced his death on April 29 and said that Dalla Torre, who was elected leader in 2017, had been ill for several months.

Dalla Torre was the 80th Grand Master of the Order which was founded almost 1,000 years ago to help pilgrims travelling to the Holy Land. The Order, whose formal title is Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem, Rhodes and of Malta, is now a huge charitable organization, with 13, 500 members, 80,000 volunteers and 42,000 medical staff who work in refugee camps, drug treatment centre and clinics across the globe.

Grand Master Dalla Torre was elected temporary leader in 2017 after the resignation of the previous Grand Master, Matthew Festing, and then elected Prince and Grand Master in May 2018. He was a member of the Order of Malta for 35 years.

Giacomo Dalle Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto (his full name) was born in Rome in 1944 and became a librarian and academic, specializing in medieval art history. After joining the Order of Malta as a knight in 1985, he served in various roles, including Grand Prior of Venice, and later Grand Prior of Rome. After a time of tensions between the Order and Pope Francis over the running of the Order which led to the resignation of Matthew Festing, Dalla Torre was instrumental in reconciling the group with the Vatican and began a reform of its constitution. 

The Order of Malta said in a statement: “A man of great spirituality and human warmth, Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto always personally assisted the disadvantaged, serving meals to rough sleepers in the Termini and Tiburtina railways stations in Rome. He participated in numerous Order of Malta international pilgrimages to Lourdes and national ones to Loreto and Assisi.”

The Order of Malta has long been friends of the Anglican Centre in Rome and was represented at its Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2016, kindly offering a reception to guests which was held by the Order at the Villa Priarato di Malta in Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta.