Maltese Association

Order of Malta



December 3 2022 

Grand Prior of Rome and former member of the Sovereign Council

With great sadness, the Grand Magistry announces the passing of Fra’ John Edward Critien. Grand Prior of Rome and former member of the Sovereign Council of the Order of Malta, he died today in the Magistral Palace at the age of 73.

The Lieutenant of the Grand Master, Fra’ John T. Dunlap, acknowledged the important contribution made to the Order by Fra’ John Critien, Bailiff Grand Cross of Justice, in particular his valued service as member of the Order’s government and as the custodian of Fort St. Angelo in Birgu, Malta. Thanks to his specialist knowledge and expertise, he was also appointed Curator of the art collections for the Order of Malta. In this role he managed many exhibitions on the Order of Malta in Italy and abroad in some of the world’s most prestigious museums.

Born in Malta in September 1949, Fra’ John graduated with a Bachelor of Arts at the Royal University of Malta and furthered his studies at the Universities of Perugia and Pisa. He taught English language and literature in Pisa, where he lived for 22 years. He actively supported several volunteer groups of the Order of Malta in Pisa and Florence and was invited to join the Order in 1983, taking his religious solemn vows ten years later. In 2012 he was elevated to the dignity and rank of Bailiff Grand Cross of Justice.

He was elected member of the Sovereign Council in 1994, 2009 and in 2014. For a short period in 2016-17, he served as Grand Chancellor ad interim of the Order. Since 2018 he was the President of the Italian Pilgrimages Foundation of the Order of Malta.

He held numerous roles in the Grand Priory of Rome, of which he was one of the capitulars for many years. On 28 August 2022, Fra’ John took his Oath of Office as Grand Prior of Rome – the first Maltese member of the Order to hold that Office – in the hands of the Lieutenant of the Grand Master, Fra’ John Dunlap.

The Order of Malta shares the grief of the family and the Maltese Association. It joins in prayer and in mourning for the passing of a distinguished servant of the Order of Malta, one of its Professed and a man of great faith.

Early this morning, the President of the Maltese Association, HE Marchesino Daniel de Petri Testaferrata, informed the members:

It is my excruciatingly sad duty to inform you all that, this morning, at 4am, after a short and sudden illness borne with admirable Christian fortitude, H.E. The Venerable Bailiff Fra’ John Edward Critien departed this world.

Fra’ John received the last rites yesterday evening in Rome in the hands of Mgr Scarabelli, and they were blessed with a few moments together in prayer.

While I am convinced, he is already enjoying Our Lord’s embrace, a prayer for his soul would be much appreciated.

I am utterly devastated, as I have lost a mentor, a confidant, and a close friend. We will be far poorer without him, but I treasure the warmest memories of a great man.

May he rest in peace.

Funeral details will be announced later.


'Casa Lanfreducci’ - 2, Pjazza Jean de Valette, Valletta VLT 1104, Malta