Sovereign Military Hospitaller
Order of St John of Jerusalem of
Rhodes and of Malta

200° anniversary of the death of Grand Master Von Hompesch


Ferdinand von Hompesch zu Bolheim, Prince and 71st Grand Master of the Order of Malta, died in Montpellier, France on 12 May 1805. Elected on 17 July 1797 as the first German Grand Master, von Hompesch was caught up in one of the most dramatic periods in the Order’s history – the invasion of the island of Malta by Bonaparte’s soldiers in June 1798. Grand Master von Hompesch, with 300 Knights and 7000 soldiers at his disposal, faced the French fleet of 600 ships and 29,000 men led by General Bonaparte. Respectful of the Order’s Rule that forbids them to fight against Christians, the Knights did not offer resistance and were forced to abandon Malta. Von Hompesch abdicated on 6 July 1799, definitively renouncing the supreme office of Grand Master. The Order of Malta commemorated him on the 200th anniversary of his death with a mass celebrated in the church of Sainte Eulalie in Montpellier, France where he is buried, by Monsignor Guy Thomazeau, Archbishop of Montpellier and Chaplain General of the French Association. Fra’ Andrew Bertie, Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta, took part in the mass with the Order’s French and German Associations, led by their presidents the Count and Prince de la Rochefoucauld-Montbel and Leo-Ferdinand Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck.

At the end of the commemoration a plaque was affixed:

à la mémoire de


Fra’ Ferdinand Hermann Anton von Hompesch zu Bolheim

Prince et 71éme Grand Maître

de l’Ordre de Sâint Jean de Jérusalem, de Rhodes et de Malte

Né le 9 novembre 1744 à Bolheim-mort le 12 mai 1805 à Montpellier

Inhumé en cette église

Requiescat in pace

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