There is a multitude of surveys and descriptions of the history of the Order of St. John. They extensively describe its political development, its juridical history and its hospitality; but it is appropriate, to acknowledge the spiritual tradition of the Order in a more apt degree. But it cannot and will not be the aim of this work, to elaborate a compendium of its religious and spiritual history, but rather to make a modest contribution to illuminate its development of ideas and the innovation which the order of St. John represented through its foundation for the history of religious orders.
The inner motivation to deal with this theme lies in the fact that I have found myself in the service under the Maltese cross a field of activity where I want to strive to exercise Christian charity effectively; moreover I found in the spiritual foundation of the Order of Malta a spiritual home, which moulded my inner yearning for personal imitation of Christ. Therefore dealing with the spiritual heritage of the order is a personal matter of concern to me, not without the intention, to pass on my enthusiasm to others.
I want to express my gratitude to all those, who accompanied and supported the development of this work.
First and foremost my deep gratitude is owed to Professor DDr. Fr. Gerhard Bernhard Winkler O.Cist., the professor of medieval and modern church history of the University of Regensburg (Germany), who I submitted this work to as a dissertation. He gave me great freedom in the choosing and elaboration of this theme, the decisive impulse and several precious hints. I owe immense gratitude to the Grand Magistry of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Rome (Italy), namely his excellency, the Vén. Bailli Frŕ Oberto Pallavicini KM., for his generous friendly permission to use the Biblioteca Magistrale there and for the support of my work by numerous reproductions of sources and rare literature. I also thank the former counsellor of the Government of the Order, grand cross of obedience Hans Ludolf von Kotze KM, Munich (Germany), and the librarian of the Biblioteca Magistrale, Signora Irene Topai, for her very friendly and patient assistance. I owe special thanks the direction of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vatican City, namely its prefect, His Excellency Archbishop Dr. Stickler, in whose manuscripts' department I was able to study the basic sources, and to the director of the German College in the Vatican, Professor Dr. Erwin Gatz. I also thank the State Archives of the Canton of Aargau, Aarau (Switzerland), The Bavarian Main State Archives and the Bavarian State Library, Munich (Germany), and the Library of the University of Regensburg (Germany), especially its department for ordering books from other libraries.
The emeritus Hospitaller of the Order of Malta, his Excellency, the Honourable Bailli grand cross of obedience Dr. jur. Carl Wolfgang Count of Ballestrem KM, Hardheim (Germany), sponsored my work with great personal interest and very precious hints and help, which I am especially grateful for. My further thanks are due to the Secretariate General of Malteser-Hilfsdienst, Cologne (Germany), namely its Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Heinz Himmels, who provided me with several books out of his library, the emeritus Commander of Malteser-Hospitaldienst Austria, grand cross of obedience Counsellor Dr. Berthold Count of Waldstein-Wartenberg KM, Vienna (Austria), Fr. DDr. Adolar Zumkeller O.S.A., Würzburg (Germany), Fr. Stephan Senft O.S.A., Regensburg (Germany), the Superior General of the Malteser-Schwesternhelferinnen, Rose baroness of Oer, Legden (Germany), the Malteser-Hilfsdienst in the Diocese of Regensburg (Germany) and its Director, grand cross of obedience Valentin Count of Ballestrem KM, Fr. Dominik Conrad O.H., Frankfurt am Main (Germany), Rev. Sr. M. Theresa Brenninkmeijer O.Cist., Sostrup (Denmark), Rev Arnold Pirner, Neustadt/WN (Germany) and my father emeritus deputy principal Hans Lagleder, Altötting (Germany), and my brother Johannes Lagleder, Neuburg/Donau (Germany) for numerous hints and help.
This page is part of the publication: Blessed Gérard and his "everlasting brotherhood": The Order of St. John of Jerusalem
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