ope Francis meets with the Order of Malta’s Fra’ Marco Luzzago on June 25, 2021. | Vatican Media
The Order of Malta on Tuesday announced the death of Fra’ Marco Luzzago, who had led the 1,000-year-old institution since 2020.
In a June 7 statement, the order said that the 71-year-old died after a “sudden illness” at Villa Ciccolini in the Italian province of Macerata.
He was expected to serve for a one-year term ahead of the election of a new Grand Master of the order, a position traditionally held for life.
But his term was extended by Pope Francis amid a push to conclude a years-long process of constitutional reform.
The pope launched the reform process in 2017 after he accepted the resignation of Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing.
The order said in its statement: “According to Article 17 of the Constitution of the Sovereign Order of Malta, the Grand Commander, Fra’ Ruy Gonçalo do Valle Peixoto de Villas-Boas has assumed the functions of Lieutenant ad interim and will remain head of the Sovereign Order until the election of the new head of the Order.”
It added that information about the funeral of Fra’ Marco Luzzago would be released “in the coming hours.”