The grand master
(; ) is the holder of the supreme office of the Teutonic Order
. It is equivalent to the grand master
of other military orders
and the superior general
in non-military Roman Catholic religious orders
, literally "high master", is only used in reference to the Teutonic Order, as Großmeister
("grand master") is used in German to refer to the leaders of other orders of knighthood.
An early version of the full title in Latin
was Magister Hospitalis Sancte Marie Alemannorum Jerosolimitani
. Since 1216, the full title Magister Hospitalis Domus Sancte Marie Theutonicorum Jerosolimitani
("Master of the Hospital House of St. Mary of the Germans at Jerusalem") was used.
Compared to other medieval governments, transfer of power within the Teutonic Knights was run efficiently. Upon the death of a grand master, the vice master called a capitulum
of the leading officers of the order. The general chapter would select a twelve-person electoral college composed of seven knights, four sergeants, and one priest. Once a majority-candidate for grand master was chosen, the minority electors would concede to support unanimity. These elections usually provided a succeeding grand master within three months.
Candidates for the position of grand master had experience as senior administrators for the order and were usually chosen on merit, not lineage. This... Read More