From 408... To the 1100s
One pertinent question remained unasked, however: as a prior grand master once remarked on his selection, given the etymology of things, "Does this mean I need to learn how to ride a horse?" (For the record, he didn't.)
In his own statement on the move, the nominee's iconic predecessor, John Cardinal Foley -- who retired from the post in February -- said he "could not be happier" that O'Brien was named to fill the spot, and that his heir would be "an outstanding leader" of the global group dedicated to the support of the church's membership and institutions in the Holy Land.
The news "is a delight," His Foleyness said.
With his fierce work-ethic in the face of increasing weakness and heartfelt spirit of genuine friendship and commitment, Philadelphia's "patriarch" -- the first non-European cleric ever to hold the post -- proved an immensely popular chief among the order's rank-and-file over his four-year tenure at its helm, during which time the Knights extended their presence to (among other spots) Russia and Africa.
Remaining as apostolic administrator of the Premier See for the unknown duration of its first interregnum in over six decades, while O'Brien said he would split his time between the Baltimore chancery and Holy Sepulchre duties until his successor takes office, the scenario should make for an easy start.
Come Fall, the bulk of the order's activity invariably focuses on the US, as the nation's 11 lieutenancies, which command an outsize share of the order's membership and heft, hold their annual gatherings between September and December, each highlighted by the investiture of new knights and ladies.