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Knights Hospitaller 4
Knights Hospitaller - Guardians of Pilgrims in the Holy Land
So much has been focused on the Templar Knights, romanticized even today in modern writings, that many of the other organizations that sprung from the First Crusades have been ignored. One such group was the Knights Hospitaller.
The group was founded originally as an order dedicated to caring for the sick among the pilgrims in Jerusalem under the direction of Blessed Gerard Thom, with a Papal Bull from Pope Paschal II in 1113. There is a historical conflict, some claiming association with a hospital under the Benedictine monks and others stating that the Benedictine hospital had their own order. Regardless, the group had its roots in the physical care of the sick in one of the earliest infirmaries established for pilgrims to the Holy Land in Jerusalem and were known as the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, The knight order was one of the largest military orders in the area and in addition to caring for the sick, began to accompany the Pilgrims on their journey in order for them to navigate the very rocky political struggles that occurred after the First Crusade among the victors. Many of the wealthiest and powerful families of Europe were part of the Hospitallers.
Their base of operations was spread throughout the
region in castles and ports.
Many of the modern orders of Knights have their roots in the Hospitallers, remaining true to the tenets of the original group, caring for the sick and the poor. Their influence was significant through Europe and the Middle East through the following centuries until Napoleon Bonaparte, in 1798, ordered them from their headquarters on the Isle of Malta and the Grand Master Ferdinand Von Hompesch, surrendered and vacated Malta. He dispersed the Knights, who returned to establish independent orders of various religious persuasions under different royalty all over Europe, with a few regrouping in St. Petersburg, Russia, who refused the order of Von Hompesch to disband the order. The Tsar of Russia, Alexander I, returned the order to the control of Pope Pius II, who renamed the order, the Russian Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta.
Their motto, still retained by the many modern orders
descended from them is:
“Pro Fide, Pro Utilitate Hominum”
“FOR THE FAITH AND IN THE SERVICE OF HUMANITY”
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