INTRODUCTION

There are many religious orders of chivalry recorded in the books of church history - more and less important ones, older and younger ones, still active ones and those whose fame is known through books of history only. I am going to tell you now about the oldest one of those religious orders of chivalry which still gives us a testimony of its great history by continued service to those who it was founded for. It is the Order of St. John. It is officially called "The Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta." In the course of history, we find many different abbreviated names for the Order, namely the Order of the Hospital, the Order of Rhodes, the Order of St. John, the Order of Malta. All those names were used for the whole Order until the time of the Reformation. Since the Reformation the catholic root of the order is usually called Order of Malta or The Knights of Malta, whereas its Lutheran and Anglican offspring use the name "Order of St. John". The (hi)story I am telling you is more than 600 years older than the Reformation. Therefore I use the original name for the whole order, being "Order of St. John" not meaning its Lutheran or Anglican offspring only. This Order of St. John played an important role in the history of the Religious Orders of the Church and in world history. It was founded as "The brotherhood of the Hospital at Jerusalem". Later on it became a religious Order, then a Religious Military Order, later it even became a Sovereign Subject, but then it lost its territory, but remained sovereign and today it still acts according to its motto "tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperum" (= protection of faith and service to the needy) as a religious Order and also as a subject of sovereignty and international relief organisation. It is important to know the historical situation and development and the facts and circumstances of spiritual life before, during and after its foundation, in order to properly understand the character and activities of the Order in the course of its history. This is what this book is all about. This historical research is limited to the first main phase of the history of the Order of St. John. This is the time from its origins until its expulsion from Jerusalem in 1187. First I want to tell you about the historical facts which were partly the reason for the foundation of the Order, partly the circumstances of its foundation and development and partly the result of those.


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


This page was last updated on 13.10.14 14:42:54


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