B. THE CHAPTER - GENERAL OF 1177

THE CUSTOMS OF THE CHURCH OF THE HOSPITAL OF JERUSALEM

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

These are the customs which should be observed in the House of the Hospital of Jerusalem.

  1. The first morning Mass should not be begun before it is day, nor should the Commander of any house order the priest to chant mass. And no priest should chant mass twice in a day, unless by chance the body of the dead person be there, and then in this manner, first should be chanted the mass for the day, if it be a Sunday or a day of Festival, and afterwards should be chanted that for the dead, if a body be present there. And everywhere where a deceased (brother) of the hospital shall be buried, the day of his death should be written in the calendar. And for thirty days masses should be chanted for his soul. And when the Trental shall be completed, the day the anniversary should always be celebrated for his soul, and when the church where the Trental shall be celebrated has three priests, one should celebrate the Trental, and the other two chant the masses for the day. And if two priests only be there where the Trental should be celebrated, the service should be shared between them, and the gratuity. And when there shall be there no more than one priest, they shall obtain another a stranger to celebrate the service of the Trental.
  2. And when it shall be celebrated, one besant and a new shirt and breeches, according to the custom of the House, should be given to him. And if it be impossible to find a stranger priest. and the priest of the house be without the company of another priest, the Trental should be celebrated in this manner, that is to say that every day he should chant for the dead except on Sundays and days of solemn festival; and then afterwards he should make the commemoration and remembrance for the brother that is departed. But when the thirty days shall be passed, and after the number of days on which commemoration should be made only for the soul of the brother shall be fulfilled by the Trental, and there should be given to the priest the charity aforesaid. And if by chance these things should happen in Lent in the houses where there shall be no more than one priest, let it be postponed until after Easter, and then let celebration be made for the soul of the brother without delay.
  3. And let the brethren always take care to have a light in the church, and let the chalice for administration be of silver, and the censor of silver.
  4. And it is commanded that the bodies of pilgrims or of other Christians, who shall die after the Hour of Vespers, should be left until the next day; and in the Hospital, where they shall have died, let them not lie upon their biers without a light. And the next day before Prime they should be carried to the church, and after Mass should be buried; the biers of the dead should be like those that are in Jerusalem.
  5. The bodies of the brethren should be watched in the church, and the clerics should be around them chanting their psalms, and the tapers should be lighted. Of the charity that is given to the priests for the Trental the house should retain nothing; but for the Trentals of strangers the brethren should retain the half.
  6. For the public and private masses the priests should have nothing for themselves, except so much as the brethren should wish to give them of their own free will.
  7. Of the payments from confessions the sixth part should be given to the priests and the clerics, not by contract but of grace; but in casales where there shall be no burgesses, and no one except one priest, the arrangements aforesaid shall be at the discretion of the Commander of the house, and the gratuity of the clerics he shall give as shall seem good to him.
  8. Of the wills and legacies, which shall be made to vicars up to one besant, the half should be given to them; but the legacies and wills, which shall be left to the Hospital , when they shall be paid over, the brethren should receive them without deduction.

Joubert of Syria - 7th grandmaster of the Order of Malta (SMOM)


Blessed Gérard
This page is part of the publication: Blessed Gérard and his "everlasting brotherhood": The Order of St. John of Jerusalem


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