The Grand Magistral Council
In the rule of Saint Basil, by which the Order was originally governed, as also in that of St Augustine, which was confirmed to the Order by Pope Alexander IV and on which the rules and statutes of 1649 were based, there were – as in any order of a religious character – two complementary powers.
The first of these was the Chapter General, which is composed of all those members entitled to vote, and exercised in the election of the Grand Master and in amending the rule (later termed the charter or constitution).
The second power was the Grand Master himself, who was required to govern the Order in such a manner as to enable its members as a whole to pursue its objectives, and the legitimacy of which power was derived from his election by the Chapter General and approval by the competent canonical authority.
The basic purpose of this council is to maintain peaceful relations between the jurisdictions and to be a focus of dialogue between the Grand Master, within the Grand Magistry, and the Heads of Jurisdiction.
The Grand Magistral Council is the body representing the Heads of Jurisdiction and facilitating dialogue and decision-making on the part of the Grand Master, the Grand Magistry and the members of the Order.
It enables the decisions of the Grand Master and the Grand Magistry to be transmitted and explained.
The Grand Magistral Council communicates to the Grand Master and the Grand Magistry any issues and concerns of the members of the Order in each jurisdiction.
The Grand Magistral Council thus maintains the cohesion of the Order, enabling all the members of every jurisdiction to understand and implement the decisions of the Grand Master and the Grand Magistry, and to express any questions or concerns.
The Grand Magistral Council is the ‘natural vector’ of communication in the Order – communication from the jurisdictions to the Grand Magistry and the Grand Master, and from the Grand Master and Grand Magistry to the jurisdictions.
Each and every jurisdiction, through the President of the Grand Magistral Council, has the right to petition the Grand Magistry and the Grand Master.
The Grand Magistral Council is normally convened annually by its President.