The Grand Master of the Order of Malta Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre died early Wednesday at the age of 75.
Dalla Torre had been in treatment for throat cancer in Rome in recent months. He is remembered by the Order of Malta for his kindness, appreciation of the arts, and charity towards the poor and disabled.
Pope Francis sent a condolence message to the Order of Malta April 29, describing Dalla Torre as “a zealous man of culture and faith.”
“I remember his integral fidelity to Christ and the Gospel, together with his generous commitment to exercise his office in a spirit of service for the good of the Church, as well as his dedication to the most suffering,” he said.
“I worked with Fra’ Giacomo for over 20 years,” Philippa Leslie, communications director of the Order of Malta in Great Britain, told CNA.
“He had a warm and sympathetic personality, a nice sense of humour, and was always completely natural and friendly with all whom he met, and took a great interest in people,” she said. “In relaxed moments, we discussed opera together, particularly Italian opera.”
The Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta is a position usually held for life. Dalla Torre led the order for three years before his death. He was elected as the 80th grand master in May 2018 after serving one year as the interim grand master amid the order’s ongoing reform.
Portuguese Grand Commander Fra’ Ruy Gonçalo do Valle Peixoto de Villas Boas will serve as interim head of the order, according to article 17 of the order’s constitution, until the election of the new Grand Master.
The 80-year-old interim leader has been a member of the Order of Malta’s Portuguese Association for more than 30 years. He took his solemn vows as a Professed Knight in 2015, and was elected to the position of Grand Commander in May 2019.
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