The Supreme Grand Priory
The Supreme Grand Priory is the governing body of the United Grand Priories of the Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus. It meets on an annual basis and ensures the continuous growth of the Order and the operational logistics of its organisation. All its Grand Officers work within the Order on a voluntary basis and receive no remuneration.
The Supreme Grand Priory is based in Edinburgh, Scotland and meetings of the Knights in Council are regularly held there. It is presided by its Supreme Grand Prior, H. E. Chevalier Richard Comyns of Ludston GCLJ GCMLJ. Its international operations are directed from the office of the Grand Chancellery, which is based in Malta, under the auspices of the Grand Chancellor, the Chev. Massimo J Ellul GCLJ GCMLJ. Its administrative and legal operations are administered by the Grand Secretary of the United Grand Priories, the Chevalier Steven Groeneveld GCLJ GCMLJ.
The first elected Grand Officers of the Supreme Grand Priory within the United Grand Priories were:
Supreme Grand Prior – H. E. Richard Comyns of Ludston GCLJ GCMLJ – Grand Priory of Scotland.
Grand Chancellor – Chevalier Massimo J Ellul GCLJ GCMLJ– Grand Priory of Malta.
Grand Secretary – Chevalier Robin Slack KCLJ KMLJ – Grand Priory of Scotland.
Grand Chaplain – The Most Reverend Monsignor Anton Gauci ECLJ CMLJ – Grand Priory of Malta*.
Grand Marshal Emeritus – H. E. Jim Neilson GCLJ GCMLJ – Grand Priory of Scotland.
Grand Marshal – H. E. Steven Groenweld GCLJ GCMLJ – Grand Priory of South Africa.
Grand Treasurer – Chevalier Thomas Nash KCLJ – Grand Priory of the International Lazarites.
As per Supreme Grand Council directive, the operations of the various Grand Priories operating under the United Grand Priories remain independently led by their respective Grand Priors and Chancellors, without any influence by the Supreme Grand Priory save for instances wherein it would be reported to the Supreme Grand Priory that a specific Lazarite organization is not operating according to the letter and spirit of the constitutions of the United Grand Priories of the Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem.
The Supreme Grand Prior, H.E. Richard Comyns of Ludston GCLJ GCMLJ, officially opening the 2012 International Lazarite Symposium at the Knights’ of Malta ancient Sacra Infermeria. It was indeed the biggest Lazarite gathering worldwide in these last decades and further underlined the Order’s global Lazarite leadership in the field of Lazarite Hospitaller work.
The Grand Chancellor of the United Grand Priories and Chairman of the Saint Lazarus Foundation, H.E. Chev. Massimo J. Ellul GCLJ GCMLJ. Under his watch, the Order enjoyed rapid growth and achieved significant Hospitaller achievements worldwide, which brought a number of national commendations to the Order from various governments and heads of state, including U.S. President Barak Obama.
The Past Grand Secretary of the Order, the Chevalier Robin Slack KCLJ KMLJ. His legal experience as a Scottish Magistrate and Justice of the Peace proved to be constantly useful in ensuring that all Lazarite operations worldwide were handled in a transparent and proper structure according to the laws of the land in the jurisdictions in question.
The Grand Treasurer of the Order, the Chevalier Thomas W. Nash KCLJ CMLJ, with his innate Canadian flair for precision and professionalism, ensures the smooth financial initiatives of the Order and the coordination of the financial logistics of its worldwide philanthropic and Hospitaller commitments.
The Grand Secretary and Past Grand Marshal of the Order, H.E. Chevalier Steven Groeneveld GCLJ GCMLJ. His hands-on Hospitaller work in South Africa inspired many a Lazarite officer of the primary need to emulate the Hospitaller work of our medieval forerunners apart from the underlining and preservation of the old and beautiful ritual of the Order.
The Grand Chaplain General of the Order, H.E. The Reverend Monsignor Joseph Vella Gauci ECLJ CMLJ. Apart from his past prestigious position within the Catholic Commission of the Bishop’s Conferences of the European Community, the Grand Chaplain General's academic background related to ecumenism and inter-faith dialogue proved to be essential in furthering the spiritual growth of the Order in harmony with the various Christian denominations embraced by its members. The Grand Chaplain General is also an accredited Ambassador to UNESCO.
The Grand Marshal of the Order is the Chev. Peter Neuen KCLJ KCMLJ hailing from the Grand Priory of Germany. With years of experience in the private sector, he was instrumental in ensuring that the investitures and physical and Hospitaller presence in Central Europe gathered momentum and went from strength to strength.
The Grand Registrar of the Order, the Chev. James Schutz KCLJ KMLJ, seen here with the mantle of the Sacred Medical Order of the Knights of Hope, who are fully fledged members of our international Lazarite confraternity. The Grand Registrar is an established and published medical doctor and has been in the forefront of coordinating tangible, international Hospitaller work and philanthropic donations for the bettering of society as a whole, especially persons with physical and intellectual disabilities who are so close to his heart.
The Past Grand Registrar of the Order, the Chevalier Christopher Chambers of Skighaugh. As Chancellor of the US Grand Priory, he has led this jurisdiction from strength to strength and was an intermediary for the Order with various international institutions and Royal families.
In April 2010, the elected Grand Officers of the Supreme Grand Priory were unanimously confirmed in their Grand Offices for the period April 2010 – April 2012. In 2012, at the International Lazarite Gathering, and consequently in 2014 and 2016, the Grand Officers were again reconfirmed in their positions within the Council of Knights, with 2016 seeing the introduction of the position of Grand Registrar General. Furthermore, the Supreme Grand Priory admitted and officially sanctioned the representatives of the various new Grand Priories forming part of the United Grand Priories into its administrative organ.
As per the Constitution of the United Grand Priories, which was ratified and amended in 2009, the Grand Priors and the Chancellors of all the authorized and recognized Grand Priories under the over lordship of the United Grand Priories are automatically elected to serve in the Supreme Grand Priory in order to represent the interests of the various jurisdictions under the Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem.
As per 2017, the elected Grand Officers of the Supreme Grand Priory of the United Grand Priories of the Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus are as follows:
The Supreme Grand Prior, who is the chairman and chief executive officer of The Grand Council, shall hold office for a period of two years after The Grand Council votes for his election. There is no term limit for the position and the incumbent may offer himself for re-election at the end of his term.
H.E. Richard Comyns of Ludston GCLJ GCMLJ
The Grand Prior is a lawyer by profession and heads a number of companies in the financial sector.
The Grand Chancellor, who is appointed by the Supreme Grand Prior, on behalf of The Grand Council, and holds office during the pleasure of The Grand Council or until resignation, and shall in all things act for and on behalf of the Supreme Grand Prior if the latter is unable to perform the functions of his office by reason of absence or ill-health.
H. E. Massimo J. Ellul GCLJ GCMLJ
The Grand Chancellor is a marketing and management consultant by profession and heads his own consultancy operations.
The Grand Secretary, appointed by the Supreme Grand Prior, on behalf of The Grand Council, and shall hold office during the pleasure of The Grand Council or until resignation. It is the responsibility of the Grand Secretary to ensure the proper administration of this international organisation and deal with any possible disputes that may arise between Members of The Grand Council and members of the Order, or members of the public.
H.E. Steven Groeneveld GCLJ GCMLJ
The Grand Secretary is a retired Commander of the South African Navy and runs his own philanthropic non-governmental organisations in South Africa.
Past Grand Secretary: Chev. Robin Slack KCLJ KMLJ
The Past Grand Secretary is a Magistrate and Justice of the Peace for the Sheriffdom of Lothian and Borders, in South East Scotland.
The Grand Marshal, appointed by the Supreme Grand Prior, on behalf of The Grand Council, shall hold office during the pleasure of The Grand Council or until resignation, and shall prescribe and regulate the arrangements for all ceremonies of the Order in accordance with the wishes of The Grand Council.
Chev. Peter Neuen KCLJ KMLJ
The Grand Marshal has an extensive background of management and real estate operations in the private sector and has held senior positions in a number of established German commercial enterprises.
Past Grand Marshal: H.E. Steven Groeneveld GCLJ GCMLJ
The Past Grand Marshal is a retired Commander of the South African Navy and runs his own philanthropic non-governmental organisations in South Africa.
Past Grand Marshal: H.E. James E. Neilson GCLJ GCMLJ
The Past Grand Marshal is a retired private entrepreneur in the transportation sector in Scotland.
The Grand Hospitaller, holds office during the pleasure of The Grand Council or until resignation, shall, when required, be responsible to The Grand Council for supervising the general direction, organisation and technical administration of the humanitarian projects undertaken by the constituent Grand Priories and their associated activities. In the exercise of his duties, the Grand Hospitaller may be assisted and advised by a Hospitaller Committee over which he shall preside and which shall comprise such members as may be appointed by The Grand Council after consultation with the Grand Hospitaller.
The Grand Chaplain General, who shall be appointed by the Supreme Grand Prior, on behalf of The Grand Council, shall be a Confrere of the Order of senior ecclesiastical rank, and shall hold office during the pleasure of The Grand Council or until resignation. The Grand Chaplain General shall be the advisor of The Grand Council in all matters of an ecclesiastical nature and shall determine the form of religious service and prayers to be used on such occasions as are not provided for by the Statutes or Regulations.
H. E. The Reverend Monsignor Joseph Vella Gauci ECLJ CMLJ
Mons. Joseph Vella Gauci is a Past Officer of the Secretariat of COMECE (Commission of the Bishop’s Conferences of the European Community), a Roman Catholic Monsignor and an accredited Ambassador to UNESCO.
The Grand Treasurer, is appointed by the Supreme Grand Prior, on behalf of The Grand Council, and shall hold office during the pleasure of The Grand Council or until resignation, shall preside over the financial affairs of The Grand Council and shall be responsible, to The Grand Council, for the receipt of Registration Fees, Fees of Honour and all matters relating to the procuring of income for the administration of The Grand Council.
Chev. Thomas Nash KCLJ CMLJ
Thomas Nash is the Chairman and CEO of Xalles Holdings Inc., a publily listed holding company that owns operating subsidiaries in financial services and Fintech.
The Grand Registrar, is appointed by the Supreme Grand Prior, on behalf of The Grand Council, and shall hold office during the pleasure of The Grand Council or until resignation, shall preside over the registration of the works and jurisdictions of The Grand Council and shall be responsible, to The Grand Council, for the receipt of such.
Grand Registrar: Chev. James Schutz KCLJ KMLJ
The Grand Registrar is an accomplished and published medical practitioner and highly active in the voluntary and philanthropic sector.
Past Grand Registrar: Chev. Christopher Chambers of Skighaugh KCLJ KMLJ
Christopher Chambers is executive director of Software Architecture at Universal Electronics Inc in the US and has successfully patented scores of his own original work with the relevant authorities worldwide.
Aides de Camp to the Office of the Grand Chancellor
Due to the strenuous voluntary work related to the foreign affairs of the Order by means of the Office of the Grand Chancellor, the Supreme Grand Priory in 2010 decreed (decree 56/10) the appointment of a number of Aides de Camp to the Office of the Grand Chancellor. These officers of the Order are given specific tasks by the Grand Chancellor, enabling the harmonious and smooth growth of the Order in its various regions. To date, the Office of the Grand Chancellor has appointed the following Aides de Camp:
2010: Chevalier Robert Vella KLJ
Responsible for liaison related to operations within the jurisdictions of the Grand Priories of Malta and Gozo.
2011: Chevalier Stefan Andras KCLJ CMLJ
Responsible for the growth of the Order in Europe.
2013: Confrère Daniel Bugeja KCLJ CMLJ
Appointed as Chairman of the International Heraldic Committee within the Order.
As of July 2019, the below is the updated list of Grand Priories represented in the Supreme Grand Priory of the Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem. They are listed in order of precedence from the founding of the United Grand Priories in 1995:
The Grand Priory of Scotland
The Grand Priory of England
The Grand Priory of South Africa
The Grand Priory of Malta
The Grand Priory of Gozo
The Grand Priory of Italy
The Grand Priory of the International Lazarites (representing all the Priories, Grand Commanderies, Commanderies and delegations of the Order who have not yet reached the level of Grand Priory)
The Grand Priory of the Ukraine
The Grand Priory of Russia
The Grand Priory of Austria
The Grand Priory of Hungary
The Grand Priory of Brazil
The Grand Priory of Argentina
The Grand Priory of Sicily
The Grand Priory of the United States of America
The Grand Priory of Congo
The Grand Priory of Denmark
The Grand Priory of Slovakia
Sacred Medical Order of the Knights of Hope
The Grand Priory of Kenya
The Grand Priory of Uganda
The Grand Priory of Germany
The Grand Priory of Ethiopia
The Grand Priory of Pakistan
The Grand Priory of Ghana
The Grand Priory of Montenegro
The Grand Priory of Saint Kitts and Nevis
The Grand Priory of Ecuador
The Grand Priory of Jamaica
The Grand Priory of Serbia
The Grand Priory of Colombia
The Grand Priory of Cuba
The Grand Priory of Canada
The Grand Priory of Indonesia
The Grand Priory of Rwanda
The Grand Priory of Macedonia
The Grand Priory of the Netherlands
The Grand Priory of the Dominican Republic
The Grand Priory of China
The Grand Priory of Romania
The Grand Priory of Switzerland
The Consecration of the Grand Priory of Slovakia by the Supreme Grand Prior
The Consecration of the Grand Priory of Denmark
The Consecration of the Grand Priory of Hungary in the private chapel of the Presidential Palace, Buda.
The Consecration of the Grand Priory of Brazil
The Consecration of the Grand Priory of the United States of America
As per the Constitution of the United Grand Priories of the Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, the Supreme Grand Priory is required to meet and elect its peers at least once every two years. In the International Lazarite Congress of 2016, the constitution was changed and the timeframe was changed to five years. Due to the rapid growth of the Order in these last years, there were various instances wherein the Supreme Grand Priory met yearly, by means of International Lazarite Congresses, in order to offer the heads of jurisdictions the possibility to meet up more frequently and discuss the needs of such a growing international Lazarite confraternity.
In 2012, the meeting of the Supreme Grand Priory also evolved into the First International Lazarite Symposium, which was held at the Sacra Infermeria of the Knights of Malta in Valletta. This proved to be the biggest congregation of Lazarites world-wide in these last decades. In June 2014, the Second International Lazarite Symposium was held in the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, located in the Leeward Islands, which is a federal two-island state in the West Indies. It is the smallest sovereign state in the Americas, in both area and population. In 2016, two conventions were successfully executed for the year, the first one in Tampa, Florida (January) and the last one in Malta (April/May). In June 2017, the International Lazarite Congress was again held in the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. The International Lazarite Symposium commemorating the 25th anniversary of the founding of the United Grand Priories will be held in Malta in April 2020.
The Supreme Grand Prior addressing a session of a Supreme Grand Priory Meeting
The various heads of jurisdictions during a plenary session of the 2010 Supreme Grand Priory Meeting
Delegates at the Supreme Grand Priory Meeting of 2010 unanimously applauding the resolutions of the Meeting and the re-election of the Supreme Grand Prior and his Grand Officers.
The April 2012 third plenary session of the Supreme Grand Priory meeting.
The 2012 Supreme Grand Priory Meeting was part of the First International Lazarite Symposium,
which saw the biggest Lazarite gathering world-wide in these last decades.
Senator Wolfgang Steinhardt, Commander in Chief of the Union Corps San Lazare International,
addressing the Supreme Grand Priory, April 2012.
Delegates of the 2012 Supreme Grand Priory meeting, including observers from the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem. The 2012 Supreme Grand Priory meeting again unanimously re-elected the Supreme Grand Prior and his Grand Officers.
The Grand Treasurer, Chevalier Thomas Nash KCLJ CMLJ, and other Grand Officers addressing the delegates of the Supreme Grand Priory in April 2012.
The First 2016 Lazarite Congress was held in Tampa, Florida in January and more than 200 Lazarite delegates participated in this Lazarite gathering. A number of pertinent Lazarite and Hospitaller issues were debated, including the consecrations of new Grand Priory in the Caribbean and the South Americas, monastic medicine in the 21st Century and how to apply it to Hospitaller work and specialized discussions related to medical breakthroughs from around the world with the participation of eminent doctors of medicine.
The Second 2016 Lazarite Congress was held in Malta with more than 400 Lazarite delegates congregating for this initiative with the physical presence of HRH the Raja of Kupang and the Chancellor of the Royal Household of HM King Kigeli V of Rwanda. High level deputations were conducted and the new Grand Priories of Canada, Indonesia and Rwanda were consecrated by the Supreme Grand Prior, as were the three new Commanderies in Germany.
In February 2017, the Saint Lazarus Foundation co-hosted a European Conference on Inclusive Workplaces for delegates from all across Europe entitled 'Employment of Persons with Disabilities in the Labour Market.' The Conference was a huge success, with over 200 delegates from the European national disability federations and the European assisted employment organisations participating. The event was co-hosted with the European Union of Supported Employment and the European Disability Forum, the latter in which the Foundation is an active member of. The President of the European Disability Forum, Yannis Vardakastanis and hailing from Greece, is a Knight Grand Cross of Merit of the Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus.