Four fundamental principles of the administrative management of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre

Obedience, transparency, collegiality, and fiscal responsibility

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Riunione amministrativa del Gran Magistero The administrative office of the Grand Magisterium during one of its recent working meetings, together with the Order's Governor General, Leonardo Visconti di Modrone.

Ambassador Leonardo Visconti di Modrone, Governor General of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, expresses his views of the administrative management of our Pontifical Institution, presenting also the role of the Commissions that support him in the government of the Order.


The Cardinal Grand Master has given strong impetus to the theme of spirituality. With one of his publications he has outlined a meditation for the members of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, and for anyone who wants to approach the Word of God. He also reformed the liturgical rituals of all ceremonies through a work of revision and simplification corresponding to the most recent guidelines of the Holy See.

As Governor General, it is up to me to govern and manage the Order and many Lieutenants have asked me how I set up my work. I would like to answer their questions with these brief comments.

First of all, it is my duty to offer grateful tribute to my predecessor, Prof. Agostino Borromeo, who never failed to offer his advice deriving from a vast academic experience and extensive knowledge of the Church, and who accompanied me in the beginning of my mandate. I drew inspiration from continuity with his exemplary governorship, while adding the fruits of a different experience, gained in over forty years of diplomatic life and in public administration. I would also like to thank the two Grand Masters, with whom I had the privilege of working, for the trust and kindness shown to me. Without their support I would never have been able to carry out the task entrusted to me. Finally, I must give credit and thanks to the staff who assist me - who are not numerous, but are extremely qualified - for their efficient assistance and constant dedication. I have often wondered about the reasons why I had been called to this office, and chosen from among many confrères with greater seniority in the Order. The answer I gave myself was that the Order was looking for someone with experience in international contacts, who could give new impetus to the dissemination of knowledge of our Order and above all of the works it promotes in the Holy Land.

It was evident, in fact, from the first interviews held, that the charitable activity carried out by the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in compliance with the mandate entrusted to it by the Supreme Pontiffs, to protect the Christian presence in the Land of Jesus, was not as well-known and appreciated in public opinion as it deserved. Greater dissemination of the work of the members of the Order would certainly have favoured its strengthening, its expansion and increased its charitable role.

Therefore, I decided to set up my work on the basis of four principles: obedience, transparency, collegiality, and fiscal responsibility.

Obedience because I have the privilege of being able to report on my work to the Grand Master every day and receive his approval. Both from Cardinal O'Brien, with his extensive contacts in North America and the frequency and dynamism of his visits to the various Lieutenancies in the world, and from Cardinal Filoni, thanks to his many years of diplomatic experience, as Substitute in the Secretariat of State and Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, I have received firm directives and authoritative guidance.

Transparency because I wanted the budget, both of the Order (which collects donations from the Lieutenancies), and of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (to which the vast majority of these donations are forwarded) to be certified by a leading financial institution, and that all accounting operations be documented and approved by the Treasurer and by the Economic-Financial Commission meeting on a weekly basis. Furthermore, I have ordered that every purchase or service must comply with those correct accounting rules that I had learned and applied in my service in the Public Administration, so that upon the entry into force of a New Procurement Code of the Holy See in the summer of 2020, the Order was perfectly prepared to apply the directives.

Collegiality because I asked to be joined by four Vice Governors with regional geographic mandates, respectively responsible for Europe, North America, Latin America, and one for Australia, Oceania, and the Far East. Furthermore, at my request, a series of consultative commissions have been set up, chaired by a member of the Grand Magisterium, in addition to the Holy Land Commission, the Commission for Admissions, and the Commission for the Consulta. These are the Economic and Financial Commission, chaired by the Treasurer Dr. Saverio Petrillo; the Legal Commission, chaired by attorney Flavio Rondinini; the Commission for Spirituality, chaired by the Master of Ceremonies Msgr. Fortunato Frezza; the Protocol Commission, chaired by the Chancellor Ambassador Alfredo Bastianelli; the Commission for Palazzo della Rovere, chaired by the Vice Governor Jean-Pierre de Glutz Ruchti. Each of these commissions carries out an important consultative task by providing a contribution of skill and professionalism fundamental for collegial management.

Fiscal Responsibility because the expenses of the Grand Magisterium are based on the utmost economy: the radical cuts applied during 2020 have allowed savings compared to the previous year. In this regard, I would also like to note - answering a question often put by Lieutenants - that the expenses for the restorations of the portion of Palazzo della Rovere, which will include an hotel, do not affect the resources deriving from the contributions of the Lieutenancies, but are covered in part by a special reserve set up in the past by the Grand Master Cardinal Foley, and in part by the future manager of the hotel.

With this spirit and with renewed faith, after a difficult year 2020, we are preparing to face the new year 2021.


Leonardo Visconti di Modrone

Governor General


(Spring 2021)


News from the Commissions of the Grand Magisterium


The Commission for Admissions, chaired by the Chancellor of the Order, Ambassador Alfredo Bastianelli, met every month (with the exception of March and April 2020 because of the lockdown), and approved during the year 2020, 737 cases of admission to the Order and 790 cases of promotions to higher rank, for a total of 1527 cases, compared to 2138 (1129 and 1009) in the previous year.

The Legal Commission, chaired by attorney Flavio Rondinini, analyzed the Regulations of the Lieutenancies to verify their compatibility with the New Statute of the Order. It also expressed its opinion on numerous disciplinary cases, drawing up rules that could offer consistency of treatment and guarantees of a fair trial. Finally, it has made proposals on fiscal matters aimed at finding, at the European level, common formulas for tax deductions.  

The Protocol Commission, chaired by Ambassador Bastianelli, met periodically, in the presence of the Grand Master, to update the protocol norms as well as the liturgies of the principal ceremonies and to prepare the texts for the publication of a manual for use by the Lieutenancies.

The Commission for Spirituality, chaired by the Master of Ceremonies of the Order, Msgr. Fortunato Frezza, assisted the Cardinal Grand Master in the revision of all the liturgical texts of the Order's ceremonies and rites. The Master of Ceremonies takes care of the protocol of the ceremonies celebrated by the Cardinal Grand Master.

The Economic and Financial Commission, chaired by the Treasurer of the Order, Dr. Saverio Petrillo, is responsible for drawing up the annual budget and managing the Order's economic and financial resources. It meets periodically to decide on investments. The Treasurer submits weekly to the Governor General and countersigns the management of incoming and outgoing financial flows.  

The Commission for Palazzo della Rovere, chaired by the Vice Governor Jean Pierre de Glutz-Ruchti, met in the presence of the Cardinal Grand Master, to determine the steps to be taken to choose the future manager of the hotel in the light of the New Vatican Procurement Code and to monitor the work being undertaken to renovate the building.

To this list should be added the Holy Land Commission, provided for in the Constitution, and the Commission for the Consulta, whose work is specifically linked to the general assemblies of the Order.