Fra John T. Dunlap. Photo: Order of Malta

After Lieutenant Luzzago’s Death, the First American to Head the Order of Malta Is a New York Lawyer

Brother John Dunlap is a lawyer and member of the College of Lawyers of New York State and a Barrister and Solicitor of the College of Lawyers of the Province of Ontario, Canada. In 1986 he joined the Dunnington, Bartholow & Miller law firm, becoming a partner in 1993. 

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Written by: Valentina di Giorgio


(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 13.06.2022).- The bulletin issued to the media regarding the papal agenda reflected that, among the private audiences that Pope Francis held last Saturday, June 11, was one with Cardinal Silvano Tomasi and Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda, who will also be created Cardinal. The subject of the meeting wasn’t specified, but it’s now known for its effects. 

This morning Pope Francis appointed Fra John T. Dunlap, member of the Sovereign Council of the Order of Malta, Lieutenant of the Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta. Fra John T. Dunlap succeeds Fra Marco Luzzago, who died last June 7. 

In his appointment letter, Pope Francis said that “the sudden departure of the Lieutenant Grand Master, Fra Marco Luzzago, a few months after the holding of the Extraordinary General Chapter, leads the Order of Jerusalem to live a new moment of consternation and uncertainty. 

The Pontiff’s decision will enable the Order of Malta to speed up the reform process and return to an ordinary administration under a Grand Master shortly after. The Order of Malta thanks the Holy Father for his paternal solicitude. 

Fra John T. Dunlap will take the oath on June 14 in the church of Santa Maria of the Aventine, before Cardinal Silvano Maria Tomasi and the leadership of the Order of Malta, at the end of Fra Marco Luzzago’s solemn funeral. 

The new Lieutenant Grand Master, together with the Pope’s Special Delegate and the Sovereign Council, will continue the process of the constitutional reform of the Sovereign Order of Malta. 

The New Leader Appointed by the Pope

Brother John T. Dunlap was born in Ottawa, Canada, in 1957. After studying at the University of Nice, he graduated from the University of Ottawa and obtained the title of Doctor in Law from the University of Western Ontario. The John Cabot University of Rome conferred on him an Honorary Doctorate in Public Service.

Brother John Dunlap is a lawyer and member of the New York State College of Lawyers and a Barrister and Solicitor  of the College of Lawyers of the Province of Ontario. He joined the New York law firm Dunnington, Bartholow & Miller in 1986, becoming a partner in 1993. He specialized in the law of societies and of immigration. A lawyer of international prestige, he has been legal adviser of the Holy See’s Permanent Observation Mission to the United Nations since 1997. 

Admitted to the Order of Malta in 1996 , he made his temporal vows as Knight of Justice in 2004. In 2006 he was elected first Regent (Religious Superior) of the Sub-Priory  of Our Lady of Lourdes with headquarters in New York. On June 7, 2008, he made his solemn vows as the first American member. 

In 2009, Dunlap was elected for a five-year mandate as member of the Sovereign  Council. He was re-elected for another five-year mandate by the General Chapter, the Order’s elective organ, in 2014 and 2019. 

He has served the Order of Malta for over a decade as President of the Committee for the Protection of Names and Emblems and Representative to the Alliance of the Orders of Saint John. 

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