In accordance with the rules of the Constitution, the Grand Magisterial Council Meeting called together by the Grand Chancellor takes place every second year. For 2005, the Grand Priory of the Maltese Islands was chosen to prepare and organise the meeting. Its chancellor, Chevalier Michael Ciavola, KCLJ, has been appointed the administrator: The venue for the event was the New Dolmen Resort Hotel, located at Qawra, Saint Paul's Bay, and well known for its meeting facilities.
The meeting was presided over by the Grand Vicar and President of the Supreme Council, H.E. Chevalier Reginald Saviour Attard, GCLJ. Members of the Supreme Council present were: the Grand Chancellor, H.E. Chev. Dr. Friedrich Schuberth, GCLJ; the Grand Custodian, H.E. Dame Helen Meli Attard, GCLJ, and the Grand Marshal, H.E. Chev. Dr. hc Vittorio Galoppini, GCLJ. They were joined by members newly appointed by the Grand Vicar: as Grand Legal H.E. Chev. Dr. Joseph Raymond Pace, GCLJ, and as Members without portfolio, H.E. Colonel the Chev. Andrew Adam von Rhedey, GCLJ (Grand Magisterial Delegate for the Eastern European Countries) and H.E. Chev. Björn J. Pettersson, GCLJ (Grand Magisterial Delegate for the Scandinavian Countries).
Nine countries have been represented by either the Heads of Jurisdiction, other representatives or members: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Malta, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Other jurisdictions and individual members unable to attend because of different reasons have sent greetings.
From the United Grand Priories of the Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus a large delegation headed by the Master General, Fra John Baron von Hoff von Sydow, GCLJ, and also a large number of Maltese members and guests attended the Investiture ceremony and the Gala Dinner.
The first days have been devoted to tourism purposes. Tuesday The Limestone Heritage, an interesting attraction, and the Old City Mdina have been visited, a lunch in the beautiful neo-Gothic house of Confr. George Attard, OLJ, the former mayor of Mdina included. Whole Wednesday was spent to visit the sister island Gozo. This evening a "Maltese Folklore Night" with typical Maltese dinner was offered at the famous Ta' Maria restaurant in Mosta. Each evening aperitifs were served before common dinner in the hotel bar, the time being used both for informal conversations as well as to renew old friendships or to establish new relations.
On Thursday, two sessions of the Supreme Council took place at the Grand Vicar's apartment. Four new appointments to the Supreme Council have been announced and in addition to the three new appointees present, this was H.E. Chev. Raphael Doria, GCLJ, Keeper of the Seal (Switzerland). Further more two new Grand Secretaries have been appointed: Chev. Michael Ciavola, KCLJ, Secretary General in the Grand Chancellery (Malta), and Cdr. Renato von Schumacher, CLJ, Judge of Arms and Herald Principal (Switzerland). A lengthy agenda was considered, including the current and future situation of the Order, amendments to the Constitution, membership, the international structure, finances, insignia, legal aspects, the Alliance treaty, etc.
The meeting of the Supreme Council was continued Friday morning. The afternoon was reserved for private meetings between the Supreme Council and individual Heads of Jurisdiction to exchange information and news.
Saturday morning the General Meeting took place with a similar agenda presided by the Grand Vicar. The Grand Chancellor announced the appointment of the new members of the Supreme Council and the Secretaries General and the establishment of four new Jurisdictions. Following he reported about other Order's items. The Heads of Jurisdiction delivered their national progress reports followed by an intense general discussion.
After a pleasant common lunch, all attending the Investiture departed at 4 p.m. by bus for the University church in Msida. Once the guests were seated, the procession of members entered the church. The lovely ladies' Choir from Pembroke parish accompanied the divine service (Roman-Catholic rite) which was celebrated by the Chaplain of the Grand Priory, Reverend Father Thomas Moore, OFM Conv., SChLJ. During the Investiture Ceremony, which was presided by the Grand Vicar, the Grand Chancellor admitted ten new Members from various countries, promoted six others, and a further six were awarded decorations of Merit.
That evening, cocktails were served at 7.30 p.m. in the vestibule of the large hall, the time being used both for conversations and photo opportunities. The cadets of the Special Rescue Corps who have participated in the Investiture as the Guard of Honour, have been awarded the Commemorative Medal. The Gala Dinner Dance which followed was well attended by over 125 guests, each of the tables being hosted by a senior officer of the Grand Priory. During the excellent menu of four well-chosen courses, participants were entertained by the famous band .... with an appropriately international repertoire. By the Grand Vicar a Loyal Toast was proposed to H.E. the President of Malta. The Grand Prior greeted the guest of honour, the Honourable Minister for the Family and Social Solidarity, Mrs. Dolores Cristina, M.P., and her husband as well as all others, thanked for the participation and his staff for the well done organisation of this meeting and proposed last a toast to the Order. The Hon. Mrs. Cristina addressed those present and appreciated the activities of the Grand Priory and its associated voluntary organisations. Following toasts have been proposed to H.E. the Grand Vicar and to the Grand Priory of the Maltese Islands. After the main course the Grand Vicar declared the meeting closed. Many present enthusiastically echoed these sentiments. Later on all present have been entertained by Mrs. ...., an excellent soprano, and - by oldies sung by the Grand Prior.
On Sunday a group of senior officers and members participated in the Investiture of the United Grand Priories at St. Andrews church in La Valletta, followed by a Lunch, whilst others departed.
The Grand Magisterial Council Meeting 2005 Malta was unanimously agreed to be an outstanding success. The next GMCM in 2007 will take place in Kosice, Slovakia, and there is an invitation to hold the event in Spain in 2009.
Commemorative Medal "Malta 2005"
On the occasion of the Grand Magisterial Council Meeting 2005 the Grand Priory of the Maltese Islands, duly authorised and approved by the Grand Chancellor according to part 2, chapter 8, section 8a of the Constitution, Statutes and General Regulations, has issued a special Commemorative Medal. Each participant has received the decoration, miniature and certificate.
This Commemorative Medal has been issued as a golden medal.
Obverse: The arms (shield) of the Grand Priory of the Maltese Islands, circled by the inscription "GRAND MAGISTERIAL COUNCIL MEETING ●MALTA 2005●"
Reverse: The eight pointed cross badge of the Order circled by the inscription "ORDO MILIT. ET HOSPIT. SANCTI LAZARI HIEROSOLYMITANI".
The ribbon is white and red (national colours of Malta) with green stripes at both sides.
The recent Grand Magisterial Council Meeting - both the meeting of the Supreme Council as well as the General Assembly - has produced results which are important for the future of our beloved Order. And the Dinner Dance - distinguished by the presence of the Honourable Minister for the Family and Social Solidarity, Mrs. Dolores Cristina - was a splendid event. Once again I thank all those involved in the preparation of this meeting, especially Chevalier Michael Ciavola, and also Chevalier Tony Cutajar, responsible for the Investiture.
Now we must try to do our best to work for the prosperity and growth of our Order. I request all Members to support the government of the Order and also the national senior officers in their duties. All your views, proposals and ideas are always welcome.
Friedrich Schuberth, PhD, GCLJ
Last Updated 26 11 2005