The Malta Priory was elevated to a Grand Priory on February 22nd 1970 by Royal Warrant signed by H.M. King Peter II of Yugoslavia and further confirmed by L.G.M. Prince Sergei Sergeivitch Troubetskoy.
The factors due to the elevation of the Malta Priory to Grand Priory can be summarized as follows:
1. The Malta Priory had played an important role in the memorable event of the election of King Peter II to the Grand Mastership on January 3rd 1965.
2. The Bailiff Prior of Malta, Professor Gaston Tonna-Barthet, had brought to the attention of King Peter the letter dated August 7th 1797, that the Grand Master Ferdinand von Hompesch had written to King Christian of Denmark on August 7th 1797 A photocopy of this letter is to be found at the World Headquarters in Valletta.
3. The Bailiff Prior of Malta submitted that implementation of Hompesch’s request be considered and that the Malta Priory be elevated. His Majesty agreed and signed a Royal Warrant on February 22nd 1970.
Bailiff Grand Prior of Malta contacted the L.G.M Prince Sergei Sergeivitsch Troubetskoy who confirmed in Council the elevation of the Malta Priory to that of Grand Priory with jurisdiction over the Maltese Islands, Great Britain, Ireland, Andorra, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, San Marino, South France, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
The Grand Priory of Malta had already branched out to Great Britain and as far as Brisbane in Australia. A Priory in England was in existence with Bailiff Prior Anthony S. Zammit in charge and also a Priory in Brisbane with Bailiff Prior Roland Podesta in charge.
1969 – Major Roland Podesta admitted into the Order and commissioned by Bailiff Gaston Tonna Barthet to establish a Commandery in Australia.
1972 – the first Commandery of Australia (in Queensland) was formally established. Chevalier Roland Podesta elevated to the rank of Commander.
1974 – the Commandery of Australia promoted to a Priory with jurisdiction over Australia and New Zealand. Bailiff Prior Roland Podesta appointed a member of the Grand Council of the Grand Priory of Malta.
1975 – the Priory of Australia was granted Grand Priory Status with Bailiff Roland Podesta as Grand Prior; sadly he passed away while attending the dinner following the 1980 lnvestiture in Brisbane.
1981 – Mother Teresa of Calcutta was Invested into the Order in Sydney and was presented with a cheque for her ongoing charitable endeavours.