The Chapter-General of 1181


In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. In the year of the incarnation of Our Lord 1181 in the month of March, on the Sunday on which they chant 'Laetare Jerusalem' (i.e. March 22nd), I Roger, servant of Christ's poor, in the presence of the clerical and lay brethren seated around the Chapter-General, to the honour of God and the glory of our Religion, and the support and benefit of the sick poor.

  1. It is commanded that the statutes of the church aforesaid and the benefits for the poor afterwards written should be kept and observed forever, without going contrary to them in any respect. Concerning the churches it is commanded that they should be arranged and regulated at the disposition of the Prior of the clerics of the Hospital with regard to books clerics vestments priests chalices censers perpetual light and other ornaments.
  2. And secondly, it is decreed with the assent of the brethren that for the sick in the Hospital of Jerusalem there should be engaged four wise doctors, who are qualified to examine urine, and to diagnose different diseases, and are able to administer appropriate medicines.
  3. And thirdly, it is added that the beds of the sick should be made as long and as broad as is most convenient for repose, and that each bed should be covered with its own coverlet, and each bed should have its own special sheets.
  4. After these needs is decreed the fourth command, that each of the sick should have a cloak of sheepskin and boots for going to and coming from the latrines, and caps of wool.
  5. It is also decreed that little cradles should be made for the babies of the women pilgrims born in the House, so that they may lie separate, and that the baby in its own bed may be in no danger from restlessness of its mother.
  6. Afterwards it is decreed the sixth clause, that the biers of the dead should be concealed in the same manner as are the biers of the brethren, and should be covered with a red coverlet having a white cross.
  7. The seventh clause commands that wheresoever there are hospitals for the sick, that the Commanders of the houses should serve the sick cheerfully, and should do their duty by them, and serve them without grumbling or complaining, so that by these good deeds they may deserve to have their reward in the glories of heaven. And if any of the brethren should act contrary to the commands of the Master in these matters, that it should be brought to the notice of the Master, who shall punish them according to the sentence of the house commands.
  8. It was also decreed, when the council (i.e. Chapter-General) of the brethren was held, that the Prior of the Hospital of France should send each year to Jerusalem one hundred sheets of dyed cotton to replace the coverlets of the poor sick, and should reckon them in his Responsion together with those things which shall be given in his Priory to the House in charity.
  9. In selfsame manner and reckoning the Prior of the Hospital of St. Gilles should purchase each year the like number of sheets of cotton and send them to Jerusalem, together with those things which shall be given in his Priory for the love of God to the poor of the Hospital.
  10. The prior of Italy each year should send to Jerusalem for our lords the sick two hundred ells of fustian (= cotton sheets) of divers colours, which he may reckon each year in his Responsion.
  11. And the Prior of Pisa should send likewise the like numbers of fustians.
  12. And the Prior of Venice likewise, and all should be reckoned in their Responsions.
  13. And likewise the Bailiffs this side of the sea should be particular in this same service.
  14. Of whom the Bailiff of Antioch should send to Jerusalem two hundred ells of cotton cloth for the coverlets of the sick.
  15. The prior of Mont Pelerin (i.e. Tripolis) should send to Jerusalem two quintals of sugar for the syrups, and the medicines and the electuaries of the sick.
  16. For this same service the Bailiff of Tabarie (i.e. Tiberias) should send there the same quantity.
  17. The Prior of Constantinople should send for the sick two hundred felts.
  18. Moreover guarding and watching them day and night, the brethren of the Hospital should serve the sick poor with zeal and devotion as if they were their lords, and it was added in Chapter-General that in every ward (rue) and place in the Hospital, nine sergeants should be kept at their service, who should wash their feet gently, and change their sheets, and make their beds, and administer to the weak necessary and strengthening food, and do their duty devotedly, and obey, in all things for the benefit of the sick.


Let all the brethren of the House of the Hospital, both those present and those to come, know that the good customs of the House of the Hospital of Jerusalem are as follows:

  1. Firstly the Holy House of the Hospital is accustomed to receive sick men and women, and is accustomed to keep doctors who have the care of the sick, and who make the syrups for the sick, and who provide the things that are necessary for the sick. For three days in the week the sick are accustomed to have fresh meat, either pork or mutton, and those who are unable to eat it have chicken.
  2. And two sick persons are accustomed to have one coat of sheepskin (pelice de brebis/berbis?), which they use when going to the latrines (chambres), and between two sick persons one pair of boots. Every year the House of the Hospital is accustomed to give to the poor one thousand cloaks of thick lamb skins.
  3. And all the children abandoned by their fathers and mothers t Hospital is accustomed to receive and to nourish. To a man and woman who desire to enter into matrimony, and who possess nothing with which to celebrate their marriage, the House of the Hospital is accustomed to give two bowls (escueles) or the rations of two brethren.
  4. And the House of the Hospital is accustomed to keep one brother shoemaker (corvoisier) and three sergeants, who repair the old shoes (soliers) given for the love of God. And the Almoner is accustomed to keep two sergeants who repair the old robes that he may give them to the poor.
  5. And the Almoner is accustomed to give twelve deniers to each prisoner, when he is first released from prison.
  6. Every night five clerics are accustomed to read the Psalter for the benefactors of the House.
  7. And every day thirty poor persons are accustomed to be fed at table once a day for the love of God, and the five clerics aforesaid may be among those thirty poor persons, but the twenty-five eat before the Convent, and each of the five clerics should have two deniers and eat with the Convent.
  8. And on three days of the week they are accustomed to give in alms to all who come there to ask for it, bread and wine and cooked food.
  9. In Lent every Saturday, they are accustomed to celebrate Maundy for thirteen poor persons, and to wash their feet, and to give to each a shirt and new breeches and new shoes, and to three chaplains, or to three clerics out of the thirteen, three deniers and to each of the others, two deniers.
  10. These are the special charities decreed in the Hospital, apart from the Brethren-at-Arms whom the House should maintain honourably, and many other charities there are which cannot be set out in detail each one by itself. And that these things be true good men and loyal here bear witness, that is to say Brother Roger, Master of the Hospital, and Brother Bernard the Prior and all the Chapter-General.

Roger de Moulins - 8th 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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