Blessed Gerard Tonque and His 'Everlasting Brotherhood': The Order of St. John

Author: Fr. Gerard Tonque Lagleder O.S.B.


The foundation and spiritual roots of the Hospital Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

For "the holy sick, our blessed Lords" and for all, who continue the spiritual tradition of the Order of St. John at present in living deeds serving under the Maltese Cross.


• Prologue to this English version electronically published in the Internet

• Prologue to the revised printed version

• Prologue to the original version as typescript

• Introduction

PART I: Historical Remarks


2.Historical developments until the foundation of the Order of St. John

3.The Foundation of the Order of St. John through Blessed Gerard

4.The second director of the Hospital Community: Raymond du Puy

5.The further development in Jerusalem


A. The spirituality of the Order of St. John

1.Sources: The Order's Rule and its Statutes 2.The Spirituality of the Order of St. John - its practise and philosophy

• a. The Conception of God

• b. The Liturgy

• c. The Sacraments

• d. The Conception of Man

• e. The Asceticism

• f. The Veneration of the Saints

• g. The Works of Charity =>The Hospitality

B. Sources of the Spiritual Heritage

C. The Innovation in the Spiritual Heritage

• 1. The vow of chastity

• 2. The Poor of Christ

• 3. The Hospitality

• 4. The Genesis of the Rule of the Order of St. John

D. The Influence of the Order

Conclusion and Prospect

Part III: The Text of the Rule and first Statutes

A. The Rule of Blessed Raymond du Puy

B. Statutes of Fr. Jobert

• 1. The Chapter General of 1176

• 2. The Chapter General of 1177

C. The Hospital Regulations of Roger de Moulins



PROLOGUE to this English version electronically published in the Internet

Since I founded the South African Relief Organisation of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the Brotherhood of Blessed Gerard, in 1992, it had been my desire to give profound background information on the person of Blessed Gerard, in whose honour our organisation was named the Brotherhood of Blessed Gerard. It has been a long process to plan, translate and prepare this edition and it has actually become an entirely revised and augmented version. First I had planned to publish it as printed media, but the times have changed and electronic media are taking over from libraries. I must admit, that this is an experiment and very much a Beta-Version. If you find any mistakes (English is not my mother tongue), or have any other comments and suggestions, please contact me at This Beta-Version does not include all pictures yet and is missing several chapters, which are still in preparation. Please be patient.

Yours sincerely

Father Gerard Tonque Lagleder O.S.B.

PROLOGUE to the German revised printed version:

Gerhard Tonque Lagleder: Die Ordensregel der Johanniter/Malteser. Die geistlichen Grundlagen des Johanniter-/Malteserordens, mit einer Edition und Übersetzung der drei altesten Regelhandschriften. EOS Verlag der Erzabtei St. Ottilien. 1983 (ISBN 3-88096-151-4) - (The Rule of the Order of St. John / Malta. The spiritual foundations of the Order of St. John / Malta, with a publication and translation of the Rule's three oldest manuscripts. EOS Publishing House of St. Ottilien Archabbey. 1983)

Moved by immense personal joy I submit to the reader this work on the spiritual foundations of the Order of St. John / Malta. It is based on my theological dissertation which I submitted on September 1, 1980, to the Catholic Theological Faculty of the University of Regensburg (Germany) as a typescript under the title:

"DAS NEUE IN DER GEISTLICHEN TRADITION DES JOHANNITERORDENS. Eine Untersuchung und Darstellung der geistlichen Grundlagen des Johanniterordens, ihrer Tradition und eigenstandigen Elemente." - (The innovation in the spiritual heritage of the Order of St. John. A survey and description of the spiritual foundations of the Order of St. John, their tradition and independent elements).

In the meantime I was asked by various people for one or several copies of the work or to publish it. This may be done herewith. The study does neither claim scientific meticulousness nor completeness. It rather aims mainly at the interested member of every organisation serving under the Maltese cross, to introduce them to the foundations of the service which they render. This study originally served scientific purposes as a dissertation, but this version wants to reach a wider group of interested people. Therefore I revised it entirely and simplified it linguistically (especially in Part I), I added new scientific findings and totally restructured Part III. My brother Johannes Lagleder, Neuburg/Donau (Germany) and especially my father emeritus vice principal Hans Lagleder, Altötting (Germany), both university graduates in history , German and geography, who contributed the essential part of the transcription and translation of the medieval German manuscript, assisted me greatly.

The printing would not have been possible without somebody taking its financial risk, which was taken over in the friendly generosity, which is typical of the personality of Grand Cross of Obedience, Valentin Count of Ballestrem KM, Straubing (Germany). I would hereby also like to express my special gratitude to him. My gratitude is due to the EOS Publishing house, St. Ottilien (Germany), and its director Fr. Dr. Bernhard Sirch O.S.B. and his staff, especially Bro. Otto Steidle O.S.B. and last but not least, my venerable religious superior, His Grace, the Right Reverend Archabbot Notker Wolf O.S.B. and Rev Fr. Ansgar Schmid O.S.B., who gracefully relieved me from other duties for the revision and printing of this study. I wish all readers may benefit richly through this reading and be caught by that spirit, which is not only the basis, but - because it is Holy Spirit - the source of strength and the aim of the service under the Maltese cross.

St. Ottilien, on the memorial of the founder of the Order, Blessed Gerard Tonque, September 3, 1983

Fr. Gerard Tonque Lagleder O.S.B.

PROLOGUE to the original version as typescript

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 Order of the Knights of Malta, Rome (Italy), namely his excellency, the Ven. Bailli Fra 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 the Knights 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.


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 the Lutheran and Anglican offspring of it 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 "tuition of faith and obsequiousness to the poor" as a religious Order and also as a subject of sovereignty. 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.

PART I Historical Remarks

1. Circumstances

The historical events of the 11th century have largely influenced and partly caused the origin of the Order of St. John. Many faithful from the Christian Occident used to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem since Helena, the mother of the Roman Caesar Constantine, had found the grave of Christ - which is commonly referred to as "The Holy Sepulchre" - again, had it restored and had a church built at its site.

The Church was persecuted all during the first centuries of its existence by the Roman Empire and its Emperors, the Caesars. It was Caesar Constantine who was attracted by Jesus Christ and his Church so that he converted himself and he was so much convinced that the Christian religion is the right way, that he even made it the official religion of his empire. Constantine's mother Helena wanted to find out more about the origins of Christianity. That is why she initiated archaeological research in Israel, the country where Jesus Christ was born and lived, preached, healed, suffered, died and rose from the dead. As a result of that the grave in which Jesus' body was laid after his death on the cross and which he left alive after his resurrection, was found. This tomb of Jesus is commonly referred to as "The Holy Sepulchre". Helena had it restored and she had a church built at its site. As the Christians were not persecuted any longer, soon many faithful came to Jerusalem as pilgrims to see and to literally get into touch with those places where Jesus redeemed us, to pray there and to celebrate the memory of Christ's death and resurrection in the Holy Eucharist together. These pilgrimages continued during many hundreds of years. Pope St. Leo IX. granted the "Indulgence of the Cross" for those who undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre in AD. 1053. When people went to confession in those olden times the penance they were given by the priest was not only some short prayers, but sometimes a real hard exercise for maybe many months or even years. To shorten this time of penance the Pope could grant an indulgence taking off part of the penance or all the rest of it. Such an indulgence was granted to those who made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Other priests used to directly give grave sinners, e.g. murderers, the penance to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre. But we must be aware that in those times there were no aeroplanes and no cars. Going to Jerusalem meant therefore to ride on horseback for many weeks facing all the dangers of a long tour as a stranger through foreign countries without regular supplies and security. No wonder, that most of those pilgrims arrived in Jerusalem being sick and exhausted. Therefore there was an urgent necessity to create an institution to accommodate and nurse those pilgrims. Next to the Holy Sepulchre there was a Benedictine Monastery called St. Maria Latina. Like all Benedictine monasteries it also had a house for the guests and visitors. This guest house became more and more a hospital because of the above mentioned reasons. It was a French monk called Brother Gerard Tonque who was given the responsibility to look after the guests by his monastic superior.

The early history and development of the Order of St. John was largely influenced by the crusades, but they were not the cause of its origin. Or in other words: If there would not have been crusades the Order of St. John would still have existed but surely it would have developed quite differently. The cause for the crusades was that the Ottoman Empire occupied the Holy Land and that the Christian Occident wanted to get it back out of the hands of who they called infidels. It came like that: AD 637/638 the Saracens took over Jerusalem and impeded the Christians to celebrate their cult. From AD 969 the Christians were oppressed, ill-treated and taxed by the Fatimid Rulers. The assault of the Seljuks in AD 1071 demolished nearly the whole Christian Jerusalem. Therefore Pope Blessed Urban II. proclaimed in Clermont (in France) a "Holy War" against the oppressors of the Holy Land. Later on St. Bernard of Clairvaux became one of the most important promoters of the idea of the crusades. Even if most civilised nations think differently in our days, in those times people felt, that a "Holy War" would be justified being the fight against infidels and heretics serving the pope. Already St. Augustine of Hippo used the expression "bellum iustum" (justified war) and St. Thomas Aquinas calls the conditions of its justification to be "iusta causa" (just cause), "recta intentio" (right intention), "legitima potestas" (legitimate power), "debitus modus" (right mode) and the principle of discerning the goods. The chivalry of the Occident went off into a strange remote country claiming to free the Holy Sepulchre and to restore the Honour of God. That is how they understood what they were doing. The occidental chivalry actually had the ideal precondition for the realisation of the idea of the crusades: The philosophy of chivalry was the ideal of service for the church and Christianity, for the Lord and for the women (i.e. to be a gentleman).

2. Historical developments up to the foundation of the Order of St. John.

The year AD 1099 is nowadays commonly agreed upon to be the year of the foundation of the Order of St. John. I'll tell you later on in detail about it. There are many legendary stories and reports about the origin, because there are only few written sources of evidence which could proof what the historical facts really are. The spectrum of traditions stretches from dating back the origins into times before Christ, in order to show off with a history as long as possible, to the hypothesis of a totally independent spontaneous foundation in AD 1099.

William of St. Stephen (a French historian) tells the legend, the Jewish high priest Melchior would have dishonoured the grave of King David, what King Antiochus wanted to punish him for. Divine inspiration would have influenced Antiochus to spare Melchior and to change the deserved sentence into making Melchior build a hospice by means of the stolen treasure right at that place which was destined to be sanctified later on by being the site of Christ's crucifixion. Judas Maccabeus would have supported the new foundation considerably. Later on Zacharia, the father of John the Baptist - who is the patron saint of the Order of St. John and whom it is named after - would have taken over the management of that hospital. When Julian the Roman succeeded Zacharia in managing the hospital Christ himself would have visited the hospital. Even St. Stephen - predestined for this task by being the first deacon of the church - is said to have been the superior of the order. This legend seems to come from the 12th century, as in AD 1291 people in Rome were convinced, the hospital of Jerusalem would have been the scene of many events of the New Testament, and in AD 1260 the Master of the Hospital himself assumed, Stephen would have been one of his predecessors. William of St. Stephen could not verify the authenticity of that legend and thought, the hospital would have seized when Jerusalem was deleted by Titus.

Louis Beurrier, an old French writer, claims the hospital was founded by John Hircanus, of the family of the Maccabees, to receive the pilgrims coming to Solomon's Temple one hundred and fifty years before the birth of Christ.

William Caoursin published in 1496 that the hospital would have been founded by Judas Maccabeus himself, the apostle St. Peter would have been given the keys of heaven by Jesus right in that hospital, the first council of the church would have taken place there, St. Stephen would have been its manager and he would have nominated St. John the Baptist to be the patron saint of the hospital.

A. v. Winterfeld (a German historian) wrote in 1859, that Caesar Constantine and his mother Helena would already have instituted hospitals to accommodate and nurse pilgrims in the Holy Land and on the routes leading to Jerusalem.

Masson claims: "Their (the Hospitallers') birthplace was the celebrated hospital built by Justinian (he headed the Byzantine Realm from AD 527 to 565) in Jerusalem."

Historically proven is the fact that Pope Gregory the Great sent Abbot Probus to Jerusalem at the end of the 6th century to erect a xenodocheum (the Greek word xenodokeo means verbally translated: to render hospitality) there. Breycha-Vauthier de Baillamont even talks about a hospital, a hospice and a church whose patron saint was Mary. It was called St. Maria Latina in order to distinguish it from the Greek church of St. Mary. This hospital was finished in 603 and was probably destroyed in 614 by the Persians.

Charles the Great (Charlemagne) renewed Gregory's institution towards the end of the 8th century with the permission of Haroun al Raschid, the famous caliph of the Arabian Nights and put it under the supervision of the Benedictine monastery at the church of St. Maria Latina. The pilgrim's report of the monk Bernard reports about this hospital about AD 870. It was destroyed by the fanatical caliph Hakem Biamrillah alias El-Hakim probably about AD 1010 together with the church of the Holy Sepulchre and many other Christian buildings, in spite of the fact that his mother was a Christian.

Merchants from Amalfi in the Realm of Naples (Italy) rebuilt the church and monastery of St. Maria Latina in AD 1023 after tough negotiations with Mustesaph, caliph of Egypt, under the leadership of Pantaleon Mauro. Once again Benedictine monks took charge of it and they accommodated male pilgrims in the monastery. For female pilgrims a hospice on its own was erected, whose chapel was dedicated to St. Maria Magdalene. Another hospice for male pilgrims was built too, whose chapel was dedicated to St. John the Almoner.

Directors were in charge of these branch hospices, who initially either were Benedictine monks or who were nominated by the Benedictine order. Historical sources name a master Anzelinus and later a superior Geraldus to be directors of the hospice of St. John. The hospice of St. Maria Magdalene is said to have been directed by a noble roman lady with the name of Agnes. Archaeological evidence proofs the early existence of these three institutions.

It is uncertain, but not impossible, that there is a continuity between the Gregorian, the Carolinian and the Amalfitan institutions in the course of history.

Some historians report, that Godfrey of Bouillon had found the hospital being running after having taken Jerusalem on July 15, 1099 ( which event and date represent the goal and end of the First Crusade ) and the sick and hurt crusaders would have been nursed therein. Being taken with the magnanimity of the Brotherhood Godfrey would have made rich donations to the hospital, which enabled it to become independent. Gerard, its director, therefore would have terminated the connection to the mother hospital of St. Maria Latina and would have gone his own ways. However, the hospital next to the monastery of St. Maria Latina received its own donations already in AD 1099.

Another group of historians states, the hospital would have been founded before AD 1099 and would not have any direct or indirect connections to the Amalfitan institutions. According to these hypothesises Gerard is now called the first director or founder of either the Amalfitan hospital or of the hospital erected after the conquest of Jerusalem. In the same way as the exact origins of the hospital are not totally known, the origins / descent of Gerard himself are not clear.

There are two opposite opinions: One of them is in going with the hypothesis of the independent foundation of the Hospital and considers Gerard to come from the Provence (in Southern France, i.e. the area round Marseilles), namely from the island of Martigue and gives him the surname "Tonque" (or Tum, Tom, Tenc, Tunc, Tonc, Tanque, Tenque). The other opinion is in going with the hypothesis of the continuity of the Hospital's tradition and considers Gerard's home to be Amalfi or Scala in Southern Italy and gives him the surname "del Sasso".

It should not be my task, to discuss these hypothesises or to report on further variations thereof. I am moreover convinced that neither the latter hypothesis would be a condition to demonstrate the exceptional importance of the foundation, nor that the first hypothesis would diminish the said importance:

The hospice of St. John is the historical cradle of the contemporary Order of the Knights of Malta.

3. The Foundation of the Order of St. John through Blessed Gerard

Concerning what I call in a particular sense the foundation of the Order of St. John, the opinions of the scientists differ considerably according to their intention, either to proof the independence of the foundation, or to proof a long tradition. The one group of historians states, the hospital would have been destroyed in the Seljuks' Raid AD 1070 - 1078 and would have been rebuilt soon afterwards. Other historians think, the hospital would have withstood the Seljuks' Raid and its director would also have been in Jerusalem during the siege in 1099.

A fresco in the Chapel of the contemporary Grand Magistry in the Via Condotti in Rome depicts Blessed Gerard (Beato Gherardo) chained with a loaf of bread in the left hand. This reminds us of the legend which tells us, Blessed Gerard would have thrown loaves of bread over the walls of Jerusalem to the hungry crusaders during the siege of six weeks preceding the conquest. He would have been caught and brought before the Ottoman defenders to be charged for supporting the enemy. When evidence was to be produced the loaves of bread in his coat had miraculously changed into stones and Blessed Gerard was acquitted.

Blessed Gerard reorganised the former guest house, which was then the hospice or hospital of Jerusalem totally in AD 1099, the year of the conquest of Jerusalem by the crusaders. Of course, he had to do so, because there was a vast increase of patients admitted to the hospital from among the crusaders themselves and all those who followed their trail as pilgrims again into the freed Holy City. This reorganisation is considered the foundation of the Order of St. John.

For this work it is irrelevant if that reorganisation now means either the detachment from the maybe still existing mother monastery of St. Maria Latina and the modification of the Rule of St. Benedict, or the gradual change of the Brotherhood of the hospital, which was presided over by Gerard, into a religious order in the sense of a daughter foundation, which now took on a mother's role for the Brotherhood which continued to exist. It is certain, that from this time on the Brothers of the Order , which since then is called the Order of St. John, vow to live a life according to the Evangelical Counsels - poverty, chastity and obedience -, wear their own religious vestments ( a black habit with a white beam cross at the left side) and live according to their own regulations. Unfortunately these original regulations got lost, but we may assume, that is was - like the first preserved Rule of Gerard's successor, Raymond du Puy - a conglomerate consisting of Augustinian and Benedictine ingredients with own additions. Therefore I cannot second the opinion , that the Community under Gerard's leadership would have been nothing more than a group of people of similar interests loosely joined together. This is not in contradiction to the fact that in the particular sense of Canon Law we can call the Community an independent order only since the time between 1135 and 1153.

Many pilgrims joined the newly founded order (when it was first founded) as helpers and brothers already in Gerard's times. Rich donations, e.g. by Godfrey of Bouillon and King Baldwin I (1108) enabled Gerard amongst other things to erect branch hospitals in European Mediterranean harbours. Already before 1113 there were branch hospices at the castle of St. Egid, in Asti, Pisa, Bari, Ydrontum, Tarent and Messina. Pilgrims, who got sick, should be treated there at an early stage, because otherwise the influx of sick pilgrims into the Hospital of Jerusalem would have become too big, especially as the passage to Jerusalem was free again in these times and therefore big amounts of pilgrims came to Jerusalem again.

Pope Paschal II. confirmed on February 15, 1113 through the bull "Pie postulatio voluntatis" the hospital community as a religious order, he took on the protectorate of the hospital and confirmed the acquisitions and donations of the order in Europe and Asia. The text (in English translation) is as follows:


• Paschal the Bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his venerable son Gerard, founder and Provost (prepositus) of the Xenodocheum of Jerusalem, and to his lawful successors forever.

• A pious request and desire should meet with satisfaction and fulfilment. For as much as of your affection you have requested that the Xenodocheum, which you have founded in the City of Jerusalem, near to the Church of the Blessed John Baptist, should be supported by the Apostolic See, and fostered by the patronage of the Blessed Apostle Peter. We therefore, Being much pleased with the piety and earnestness of your Hospital work (Hospitalitas), do receive your petition with paternal kindness, and do ordain by virtue of the present decree that the House of God the Xenodocheum shall always be under the guardianship of the Apostolic See, and the protection of the Blessed Peter.

• All things therefore that have been acquired for the said Xenodocheum by your solicitude and perseverance, for the support of pilgrims, and for the needs of the poor, whether in the Church in Jerusalem or in the parishes of churches in the territory of other cities, or have been presented by faithful men, no matter who, or may be presented in the future by the Grace of God, or may happen to be acquired by other lawful means, and whatsoever things have been granted, by our venerable brethren the Bishops of the Church in Jerusalem, either to you or to your successors and to the brethren there occupied in the care of the pilgrims, we decree shall be held forever in peace and undiminished.

• Moreover we ordain that the Tithes of your produce. where so ever collected at your charge and by your labour, shall be held and possessed by your Xenodocheum, notwithstanding the opposition of the Bishops and of the episcopal officers.

• The donations also, which pious Princes have made to the said Xenodocheum from taxes and other imposts, we decree shall be held confirmed.

• And at your death, who art now the overseer (provisor) and Provost of that place, no one shall be appointed there by subtlety or intrigue or violence, but only he whom the professed brethren there shall provide and elect in accordance with God's will.

• Moreover all honours or possessions, which the said Xenodocheum at present holds either beyond or on this side the sea, that is to say in Asia or in Europe, or those which in the future by the bounty of God it shall obtain, we confirm them to you and to your successors, who shall be devoting themselves to hospital work with piety and earnestness, and through you to the said Xenodocheum forever.

• To this we further decree that it shall be lawful for no man whatsoever rashly to disturb the said Xenodocheum, or to carry off its possessions, or to retain those carried off, or to lesson them, or to harass it with vexatious annoyances. But let all its possessions be preserved undiminished for the sole use and enjoyment of those for whose maintenance and support they have been granted.

• Moreover we decree that the Xenodochea or Ptochea in the western parts at Bourg St. Gilles, Asti, Pisa, Bari, Otranto, Tarento, and Messina, known by the name and style of Jerusalem shall remain as they are today under your rule and disposition and those of your successors forever.

• If therefore in the future any person, either ecclesiastic or secular, knowing this chapter of our ordinances should rashly attempt to contravene them, and if after a second or third warning he shall not make satisfactory and suitable amends, let him be deprived of his dignity, power and honour, and let him know he stand accused before the tribunal of God for iniquity that he has perpetrated, and let him be kept from the most Sacred Body and Blood of our God and Redeemer our Lord Jesus Christ, and at the Last Judgement let him undergo the severest punishment. But upon all those dealing justly towards the said place may the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ rest, and here they may receive the reward of good conduct, and before the universal Judge may enjoy the blessings of everlasting peace. Amen. Amen.

• I Paschal Bishop of the Catholic Church have signed.

• I Richard Bishop of Albano have signed.

• I Landulf Archbishop of Benevento have read and signed.

• I Conan Bishop of the Church of Praeneste have read and signed.

• I Anastasius Cardinal Priest of San Clemente have signed.

• I John Bishop of Malta have read and signed.

• I Romoald Cardinal Deacon of the Church of Rome have signed.

• I Gregory Cardinal Priest of San Crisogono have read and signed.

• Given at Benevento by the hand of John, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church and Librarian , on the 15th day before the Calends of March, in the 6th Indiction, in the year 1113 of the Incarnation of Our Lord, and in the 14th year of the Pontificate of our Lord Pope Paschal II. Fare you well.

(End of the text of Pope Paschal II's bull "Pie postulatio voluntatis")

Already at that early stage (before 1113) the Order had spread to Europe. The above bull quotes a xenodocheum in St. Gilles, which lies in the Provence in France and xenodochea in Asti, Bari, Pisa, Otranto, Tarent and Messina (all in Italy).

Pope Calixtus II. confirmed the privileges and possessions of the hospital and especially Pope Paschal II's bull "Pie postulatio voluntatis" through his bull "Ad hoc nos" dated June 19, 1119. The order started to become exempt gradually already at Gerard's times, but initially - except the exemption from tithes - not yet from the episcopal jurisdiction. Papal bulls from this and the following times proof that.

Gerard died on September 3, 1120. The French historian of the Order of St. John, the Abbot of Vertôt, mourns: "The Hospitallers lost the Blessed Gerard, the father of the poor and of the pilgrims; that virtuous man, having arrived at an exceeding old age, expired in the arms of his brethren, almost without any sickness, and fell, as we may say, like a fruit ripe for eternity."

4. The second director of the Hospital Community: Raymond du Puy

Grandmaster from AD 1125 - 1158

The Hospitallers elected Raymond du Puy as the successor of Blessed Gerard. It is Raymond's lasting merit to have codified the Order's Rule, which is being used here as the main source for elaborating the theme. The Hospitaller Order was being transformed under his direction into a Military Order, following the example of the Knights Templars and so it took on military tasks besides the charitable ones. This is no surprise, because there were many knights members of the Order already. Providing security to the pilgrims on their way from and to Jerusalem and in the hospitals was just a consequence of their aim to ca for their Lords totally. The King of Jerusalem Fulko III. entrusted Raymond du Puy with the defence of the town of Beerseba in AD 1131, the border castle of Beit Dschibrin in AD 1136 and the castle Crac des Chevaliers in AD 1142. The double role of the Order of St. John as a military and a hospital Order is first reflected in a

papal fund-raising appeal from 20 February 1131, the circular letter "Quam amabilis Deo" of Pope Innocent II.:

• "Innocent bishop, to the reverend brothers, the Archbishops, Bishops etc. salutation and apostolic blessing. How pleasing to God and highly revered the Xenodocheum of Jerusalem is, what pleasant and valuable accommodation it offers to the poor pilgrims, those have experienced sufficiently, who driven by internal piety, visit the Holy City Jerusalem and the Sepulchre of the Lord enduring the dangers at sea and the dangers at land... . There (in the hospital of Jerusalem) the poor and miserable are being convalesced. The Sick are being administered a thousand kinds of services of charity. Those who are harmed by manifold constrains and dangers are getting back there their old vigour and in order to enable them to visit the places, which were sanctified by the life of our Lord Jesus Christ on earth, the brethren of this house always prepared to risk their life for their brothers (the pilgrims) undertake to protect the pilgrims from the attacks of the infidels on their way to and fro through squires and animals used for riding which are very specially selected for this purpose... . These are the people who God uses to cleanse the Oriental Church from the dirt of the infidels and to fight the enemies of the Christian name. Because their own funds are not sufficient for a work so pious and pleasing to God, we appeal by means of this bull to your charity, that you may remedy the need of those by means of your abundance and emphatically urge the flock entrusted to you , to join their Brotherhood and to undertake collections for the upkeep of the pilgrims and the needy, which results at the same time in the forgiveness of sins... . To increase their (the brothers commissioned to raise funds) income we order you, that you make known this statute to your parishioners by special letters; we further prescribe, that, if some of your clergy want to serve the brethren of the named hospital with the permission of their spiritual superior willingly and voluntarily for a period of one or two years, that they must not be prevented to do so and they must not forfeit their feoffs and income.

Given at Chalons on this 20th day of February, in the eighth Indiction, in the first year of the pontificate of Pope Innocent II."

The Pope's appeal to join the Brotherhood does not refer to the order itself or to the Brotherhood of St. John which the order developed from, but a new institute, similar to the contemporary Third Order of St. Francis or the Benedictine Oblates. This Brotherhood is a confraternity of all who want to support the Order through their prayers and financial offerings. Shortly after his election to the Grand Magistry Raymond du Puy writes about AD 1121 to the bishops and Prelates about this Brotherhood: "As I have become the Servant of the Poor of Christ after the death of Lord Gerard", he asks to continue their almsgiving, "that they might participate in the benefits and prayers, which originate in Jerusalem ... but those who joined our Brotherhood or who will join it in future, are as certain of God's mercy as if they fought themselves in Jerusalem. They will receive the crown of justification."

Pope Innocent II. confirmed in AD 1135 the privileges granted to the Order by his predecessors.

On 7 February 1137 Innocent II. encourages the Master of the Hospital Raymond for his tasks, puts the Order under his protection and grants it further privileges.

About AD 1140 Innocent II. made an appeal to the whole Church, to support the Order in its tasks.

King (an English historian of the Order) reports that "long before the death of Raymond du Puy, the Knights of the Hospital had become firmly established in England, and Shingay in Cambridgeshire is said to have been granted to them in 1140... . During the middle of the twelfth century ... the gift of land at Clerkenwell was made on which the great Priory was built, the headquarters of the Order in England."

It was Pope Anastasius IV. (1153-1154) who granted the Order in his bull "Christianae fidei religio" the right to receive priests and to be totally independent from the episcopal jurisdiction, i.e. the Order was ever since directly subject to the Pope.

Thus the members of the Order started to be divided into three classes, being the Priests, the Knights and the "Serving Brothers".

In AD 1154 the first German community of the Order is documented to be in Duisburg, in AD 1156 the first community in Austria in Mailberg. AD 1159 follows the first community in Bohemia (now Czech Republic) in Prague. Between 1158 and 1177 the Order came to Antworskov in Dacia (now Romania). At the same time the communities of Esztergom (Hungary) and Poznan (Poland) are mentioned.

Raymond du Puy died in AD 1160, over eighty years of age. Vertôt again sings his praises stating that "the Hospitallers and indeed all the Latin Christians of the East, who had been witnesses of his virtues, anticipating his canonisation, revered him as of the number of the Blessed, a title which posterity confirmed to him."

5. The further development in Jerusalem

After Raymond's death the Order was headed by Fra Auger de Balben (AD 1160-1162), like his successor an elderly Frenchman from the Dauphin.

Under his and his successors' Fra Arnold de Comps (---) and Fra Gilbert d'Assaily (AD 1163-1170) period of leadership (between AD 1160 and 1170) falls the establishment of the Order in Spain. Fra Gilbert, an Anglo-Norman Soldier, reports King, "had been one of the Bailiffs of Syria since 1146. He probably derived his origin from the family of Assalit, a name well known in Languedoc. He was the first of the great military Masters of the Hospital, and under his rule its militarisation proceeded so rapidly, that within a few years we find the Hospitallers seriously rivalling the Templars in military strength. The failure of an expedition against Egypt and failing support from within the Order made Fra Gilbert resign his office in AD 1170.

Fra Gaston de Murols, previously the treasurer, followed as Grand Master in AD 1170-1172.

Raymond's fifth successor, Master Gerard Jobert (1173-1177) and the General Chapter issued the Statutes "The Privilege of the Sick to have white bread" (Chapter General of 1176) and "The Customs of the Church of the Hospital of Jerusalem" (Chapter General of 1177), which are relevant for our reflection.

Jobert's successor was another Anglo-Norman soldier: Fra Roger de Moulins (1177-1187). Under his leadership the Order was already predominantly involved in military tasks. This urged Pope Alexander III. (1159-1181) to issue the bull "Piam admodum" (dated between 1178 and 1180) to admonish Fra Roger "to vigorously adhere to the sanctified customs and good consuetude of his deceased predecessor... . The brethren should only touch their weapons when there is a general call up to defend the country or to besiege a castle of the infidel under the sign of the cross. By doing so the care for the poor must not be decreased in any way." This exhortation was not disregarded at all and the Chapter General of 1181 gives new Hospital Regulations in their decisions.

In AD 1178 the Grand Priory of France emerged through a division of the province of the Provence, which had grown too big.

On 4 July 1187 the Christian Army including the Hospitallers was completely destroyed in the disastrous Battle of Hattin by Saladin. "Among the prisoners", King reports, "were 230 Knights of the Hospital and the Temple. Every knight was given the chance of saving his life by renouncing Christianity and becoming a Moslem. Not a single man of them flinched before the ordeal, and two days after the battle the glorious crown of martyrdom was their reward."

The period of time of our reflection is being concluded by Saladin's entry into Jerusalem on October 2nd, 1187. The Order of St. John had to give way and changed it's centre to Margat. Although sultan Saladin had given his permission to the hospital to continue its operation for another year. This date terminates the history of the Hospital of Jerusalem, which was in closest connection with the origin, the foundation and the first glorious history of the Order of St. John.

Part II

A. The spirituality of the Order of St. John

Let's reflect on the spirituality of the Order of St. John, the theme, which this work mainly wants to deal with. Besides all other elements the spiritual one is the main pillar of the Order of St. John ever since its foundation until today.

1. Sources: The Order's Rule and its Statutes

The spiritual element in the early time of the order is to be described here according to the evidence given by the Order's Rule and those Statutes, which were added to the rule in that time, when the Order's Centre was in Jerusalem. Unfortunately the originals of these sources got lost. The oldest preserved versions of the Rule are a manuscript copy from October 7th, 1253 in Latin language and a Code from the late 13th Century (after AD 1288), which contains amongst others also Jobert's and Roger de Moulins' Statutes in medieval French language. The latter is the Code membr. in the Vatican Library n 4852, which is called "Regulae Hospitalis S. Joannis Hierosolymitani in Lingua Gallica" in the index of the Vat. lat. Codes of the Library. It starts with the French translation of the bull "Quanto per gratiam Dei" of Pope Lucius III. from November 4th, 1184 or 1185, which quotes Raymond's Rule on sheets 1 to 18R. It is followed by the two Statutes of Jobert (sheet 18V to 24R), the Statutes of Roger de Moulins (sheet 24R to 32V), Alphonse of Portugal (sheet 32V to 49V), the four statutes of Hughes de Revel (sheet 49R to 79R), the statutes of Nicholas Lorgne (sheet 79V to 83R), Jean de Villiers (sheet 83R to 122V) and the code is being completed by the "Esgarts" and "Usances" from the time about 1239 (sheet 122V to 140V). Historical Science used and still uses this Code as the most renown source for its research. The older versions of the Rule in German language (late medieval German) are a manuscript in the Cologne City Archives (HAStH, Geistl. Abt. 129 a) from about AD 1380 and another manuscript from the 14th century in the Bavarian State Library (Clm 4620). The text of the Rule from the Aargau State Archives and from the Vatican Library are edited in Delaville's Cartulaire (No. 70), the medieval German manuscript from the Bavarian State Library in my dissertation "Die Ordensregel der Johanniter/Malteser. St. Ottilien 1983"

Waldstein-Wartenberg concludes that Raymond would have adopted the Rule of St. Augustine and elucidated and augmented it by a statute, which would represent the decisions of the chapters general. Though this seems quite plausible, as the Rule of the Order of John appears like a trunk in comparison to the contents and structure of the Rule of St. Augustine and the Rule of St. Benedict, it is uncertain and there is no documentary proof for this hypothesis. As I will elaborate later on, the Rule of the Order of St. John contains considerable l quotes from the Rule of St. Augustine, what would not have been necessary, if it were just an explanation on how to implement the Rule of St. Augustine. At the beginning of the 13th century - according to Waldstein- Wartenberg - the dependency on the Rule of St. Augustine would have been forgotten about and this statute therefore would be considered the Rule. It is being called "Rule" already on November 4th, 1184(5) in the Bull "Quanto per gratiam Dei" and on October 7th, 1253 by Master Guillaume de Chateauneuf.

There are also a dispute on when the Rule is to be dated. On the one hand it is being dated between AD 1155 and 1160, because the Rule is repeatedly dealing with clerics and priests of the Order and Pope Anastasius IV. gave permission to the Order to receive priests only on October 21st, 1154 through the Bull "Christianae fidei religio" and Raymond died at the latest in AD 1160; on the other hand the Bull "Quanto per gratiam Dei" of Pope Lucius III. deals with the confirmation of the Rule by Pope Eugene III. on July 7th, 1153, which means that the Rule must have been given before AD 1153. Waldstein-Wartenberg adds, that the origin of the Rule could be presumed considerably earlier, because such papal approbation would have been usual only from the middle of the 12th century, as it were a legalisation of the existing facts.

Raymond's Rule was and remained a definitive authority for the development of the Order until today. Later versions of the Rule were always preceded by the first chapter of Raymond's Rule, because it stipulates Christian charity as the principle of its spirituality and its activities.

Delaville divides the text of the Rule in 19 chapters, according to the structure of the Vatican Lat. Code No 4852.

Preamble Authorisation of the Rule by the whole chapter (general)

Chapter 1 How the Brethren should make their profession.

Chapter 2 What the Brethren should claim as their due.

Chapter 3 concerning the conduct of the Brethren and the service of the churches and the reception of the sick.

Chapter 4 How the Brethren should go abroad and behave.

Chapter 5 By whom and how alms should be sought.

Chapter 6 concerning the alms obtained and concerning the produce of the houses.

Chapter 7 Who and in what manner they should go abroad to preach.

Chapter 8 Concerning the clothing and food of the Brethren.

Chapter 9 Concerning Brethren guilty of fornication.

Chapter 10 Concerning Brethren quarrelling and striking one another.

Chapter 11 Concerning the Silence of the Brethren.

Chapter 12 Concerning Brethren misbehaving.

Chapter 13 Concerning Brethren found with private property.

Chapter 14 What office should be celebrated for the deceased Brethren.

Chapter 15 How the things here detailed are to be firmly maintained.

Chapter 16 How our Lords the Sick should be received and served.

Chapter 17 In what manner Brethren may correct Brethren.

Chapter 18 How one brother should accuse another brother.

Chapter 19 That the Brethren bear an their breasts the sign of the Cross.

Jobert's two statutes, "The Privilege of the Sick to have white bread" of 1176 and "The Customs of the Church of the Hospital of Jerusalem" from the time between 1177 and 1181, may be called the first (regulations on how to execute) the Rule.

"The Privilege of the Sick to have white bread" states that the income from the casales of St. Mary and Caphaer should be used for baking white bread for the sick and if that income would be insufficient, good wheat should be taken from the granary of the Hospital. Even the weight of a loaf was prescribed to be 16 ounces and one such loaf should be given to two poor persons.

"The customs of the Church of the Hospital of Jerusalem" prescribes in

chapter 1 the time for beginning the morning mass, forbids saying Mass more than once a day and regulates the church ceremonies in case of somebody dying.

Chapter 2 prescribes the stipends and stole fees for priests with particular regulations in case of the commemoration of a deceased.

Chapter 3 states that there must be always light in the church and what liturgical instruments have to be prepared.

Chapter 4 prescribes what to do if a stranger died and

chapter 5 if the deceased was one of the Brethren.

Chapter 6 and 7 are regulations on how to use the stole fees and

chapter 8 finally deals with the procedures to follow when a will was left to the hospital.

The statutes of Master Roger de Moulins given by the chapter general on March 3rd, 1181 "That the Churches should be regulated with the knowledge of the Prior" may be considered further regulations on how to execute Raymond's Rule, especially its chapter 16. These regulations are divided into two parts. The second part being the augmented consuetude (customary) facts on how part one was implemented. Part one starts with a regulation that priests and clerics and the equipment of the church are under the supervision of the Prior. From the second regulation onwards it solely deals with nursing regulations: Four doctors should be engaged for the hospital. Furthermore it deals with the size and equipment of the beds, the clothing for the sick when going to the latrines, the making of cradles for new-born babies and the way how to prepare the bears of the dead. Thereafter it deals with the conduct of the nursing staff and the procedures in the case of bad conduct of a nurse. Then it lists the responsions, i.e. contributions, which the mother hospital demanded from the overseas branches of its community. Part one is concluded with the norm for the Brethren to look after the sick as if they were their lords, to give them servants as assistants and what their duties are. Part two describes the reception, nursing care and feeding of the sick and their clothing when going to the latrines in more detail. We also come to know that the hospital used to accommodate abandoned children and that poor couples received food to celebrate their wedding. The house used to repair and pass on second hand clothes and shoes and gave financial support to released prisoners. Five clerics used to pray the Psalter every night for the benefactors of the house. The community invited daily 30 poor people for a meal. Three days a week all the poor who came were given alms and food. At Lenten time every Saturday thirteen poor people were invited for a meal, their feet were washed, they got new clothes and an alms.

2. The spirituality of the Order of St. John - its practise and philosophy

a. The Conception of God

Joining the Order meant dedication in the sense of offering or sacrificing themselves to God. In the name of Almighty God the Rule is ordained and he requires of the Brethren at the Last Judgement that they had kept what they had had to promise, i.e. to live according to the Evangelical Counsels. But God helps them to succeed, he dwells in his Saints (cf. Rom 8.27, where "saints" means the faithful) and keeps guard over them. Their service, thus also the work of the chapter General, is done for the honour of God. Therefore and for the honour of the Cross itself, they wear the cross on their vestments, that God may protect and defend them through this banner on account of their faith. The second and the third divine person are quite seldom expressively named in the documents which this publication is dealing with - except in the formulas "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" and "Anno Domini". But even when at the above places the Rule refers just to the Lord God, the theological content of those predications proofs that God is meant either as Trinity (chapter 15) or particularly Jesus Christ (chapter 1, verse 2 and chapter 4, verse 7) or the Holy Spirit (chapter 1, verse 1 and chapter 4, verse 7). Jesus Christ as such is being expressively referred to only in to cases, i.e. in the Rule, chapter 14, verse 8, which says "let the brother priests, who shall sing the Masses (for a deceased brother), pray for his soul to Our Lord Jesus Christ", or in the Latin version of the "Privilege of the Sick to have white Bread", where the brother who contravenes the prescriptions is being considered as equivalent to the traitor of Jesus Christ.

b. The Liturgy

A dignified liturgy was an important element of the service of the Order of St. John as the whole service was to glorify God. The Chapter General even enacted separate "Church Regulations" under Master Jobert, which laid down exact rules for these services. One had to behave properly in church and there should be eternal light burning in it. The church had to provide liturgical equipment. The order of celebrations provided that the morning mass must not begin before dawn and that no priest was allowed to say Mass more than once a day. The priest should be served by clerics (which according to contemporary Canon Law meant anybody having started the candidacy for the priesthood by receiving the tonsure) in albs on the altar. Readings of the Holy Scripture and Sprinkling with Holy Water should take place in the hospital itself on Sundays. The memorial of the deceased played a big role among the liturgical celebrations. These ceremonies were prescribed through extensive regulations in chapter 14 of the Rule and chapters 1, 4 and 5 of the "Church Regulations".

c. The Sacraments

The conception of the Sacraments - as far as it can be deducted from the Rule and the Statutes which this work is based on - provides essential information about the Order's spiritual Foundation (basis).

The Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) is the very instrument of repentance in order to totally focus on the imitation of Christ again, when one strayed away from the right path. But most severe punishments, which ought to make the sinner repent, are being imposed, when sins became publicly known. The fact that the sick were supposed to first go to confession and receive Holy Communion before they were brought to bed, when they were admitted to the hospital is typical for the Order of . John's conception of their service.

The Holy Communion of the Sick also played an important role being administered again and again also after admission to the hospital.

The "Hospital Regulations" indirectly give us information about the deep respect towards the Sacrament of Marriage, because the hospital gave support to poor bridal couples towards their wedding reception.

d. The conception of man

The conception of man is going to be deducted from the tasks and the position of the different classes of the members of the church.

The religious priest is an equal member of the community and subdued under the prior. Secular (diocesan) priests there haven't been rich at all. More than once the Regulations of the Order refer to voluntary stipends for secular priests, who did services for the Order. The contemporary Canon Law in these days counted not only priests and deacons among the clergy, but also e.g. sub- deacons and acolytes.

They should serve the priest at the altar and accompany him when administering Holy Communion to the Sick. The Psalter is read every night by five clerics for the benefactors of the house.

The Conception of the Rule and the first Statutes of man in general lets us understand what the spiritual foundation of the service of the Order of St. John is all about: The Faithful themselves become Saints because God takes up residence (dwells) in them. The Brethren must witness this holiness when going abroad.

The Conception of the Poor and Sick is especially revealing for our theme: They are called "Poor of Christ" or "Poor of Our Lord". Thus we understand that the Poor of Christ are Holy Poor, in whose name the Rule is enacted and who being Lords are being served like a Lord. This quotation "quasi dominus" can be interpreted in two different ways: On the one hand as "like A Lord" - note that in these days "Lord" was used as a kind of royal title - on the other hand as "like THE Lord", i.e. like God or like Christ. The oldest Latin and French text allow both interpretations, whereas the oldest German text decided for the interpretation "like A Lord". I am not going to report on the many discussions, which of these interpretations may be the right one. I rather melt both into one: By serving the Sick like Lords the Brother served the Lord, which is the outspoken aim of the Order. No other place in the respective documents reveals more clearly the enacting of Christ's words: "Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, that you do unto me!" The Hospital is supposed to be a community of Saints where all mutually contribute to the other's sanctification. The sick are destined to be an instrument to sanctify the brothers and that makes them holy themselves. The Brethren glorify on the one hand the Lord in their service to the sick, which always was seen as a integrated service of Body and soul. Thus the Brethren sanctify the Sick and the service itself as well as themselves. Even the house where this mutual sanctification takes place thus becomes holy. Now we understand why the Regulations use the word "holy" that frequently.

e. The Asceticism

A review of the ascetic demands and achievements of the Brethren offers us a deep insight into the spirituality of the Order of St. John:

The main theme are the Religious vows. Through them all Brethren promise chastity, obedience and to live without their own personal property. The Rule explains thereafter the call of the separate Evangelical Counsels in more detail:

In order to be able to keep the vowed chastity the Brethren are supposed to avoid contact with women. If that is unavoidable they must keep guard over their modesty. In the contrary to the customs at that time and place they should not lie down naked. If a brother in spite of all that fell into fornication, he should, if he had sinned in secret, confess secretly and do an appropriate penance. But if the brothers sin became well known he is subject to severe punishment.

Obedience includes whatever the master prescribes to the brother. It is called holy obedience being an instrument for sanctification.

As far as the demanded poverty is concerned we come to know, that the clothing of the Brethren must not be luxurious but simple. This demand is being emphasised by threatening the brethren with severe punishments even posthumously, if forbidden property was found to have been in possession of the concerned. If forbidden property is being found at the lifetime of the concerned, this money is being tied round his neck and he is being led naked through the Hospital and beaten severely.

Another ascetic call is the Fasting of the Brethren. They should eat only twice a day and on Wednesdays, Saturdays and from Septuagesima (= the third Sunday before Lent) until Easter they should not eat meat.

The Brethren must live most modestly and they must keep silence at table and after compline (= night prayer).

f. The Veneration of the Saints

Concerning the spirituality I would like to add some words on the Order's veneration of the Saints. In the times this work is dealing with there are only very rare statements there about.

Mary, the Holy Mother of God and St. John are named only once, i.e. in chapter 15 of the Rule ("All these things ... we command and ordain in the Name of Almighty God, and of the Blessed Mary, and of the Blessed St. John, and of the (holy) Poor." (only the German source inserts "holy"). This formula so to speak introduces Holy Mary, St. John and the holy Poor as patron saints. We know already from history that the church was erected next to the church of St. Mary Latina and that its tradition roots in this monastery. Thus a continuation of the veneration of Mary suggests itself. For sure we know from later times (about AD 1239) that the novices being received into the community of the Order had to say: "I vow and promise to God Almighty, to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary and to Saint John the Baptist, that I will always be obedient to the superior which God and our Order have given me, that I will live without property and that I will keep chastity, so help me God." Moroso refers to Bosio's reports on "the veneration , which the Knights showed to the most blessed virgin and from the shrines, which they erected to her honour. The shrine of Our Lady of Liesse is especially worth being mentioned among those, which was built by three French Knights, who were saved miraculously by Mary." (Moroso. loc. cit.. S.4) The veneration of the picture of Our Lady of Philermos plays an important role later on at the times of the Order on Rhodes until today.

The Order's veneration of St. John plays a special role, particularly as the Order is named after him. But for the moment we have to distinguish:

The hospice for men, which was built as an extension of the monastery of St. Mary Latina, was dedicated with its chapel to St. John the Almoner towards the end of the 11th century. The historians, which regard the hospital of St. John of Jerusalem as a continuation of the hospice, also call him the first patron Saint of the Order of St. John. He was a noble man from Cyprus, born in AD 550. He became patriarch of Alexandria in Egypt. He soon was veneratet as one of the biggest benefactors in the eastern sphere, because he dedicated himself especially to the Poor and the Sick. He founded hospitals and poorhouses and he was the first to call the Poor and Sick his "Lords and Masters". He died between AD 616 and 620.

Most of the scientists who deny a dependence of the Hospital from the Amalfitan hospice, regard St. John the Baptist as the patron saint of the Order right from the beginnings. John the Baptist is mentioned in a document for the first time in the deed of gift of Foupier Favard about the land Diosolvol. This document dates back to the time between AD 1106 and 1110. At the latest from that time onwards, i.e. still in the times of the founder Gerard, St. John the Baptist is to be regarded as the patron saint of the Order. Thus also the bull "Pie postulatio voluntatis" of Pope Paschal II. from February 15th, 1113 calls John the Baptist the Patron Saint. He was venerated as the forerunner of Christ. He was in the desert, where he preached, like the Brothers of the Order of St. John, who went into a foreign desert like area, to serve Christ there.

St. John (probably as the Vicar of Christ) is symbolically depicted on coins of the Order of the beginning 16th century as a feudal lord, who enfeoffs the Grand Master with banners,

or his (St. John's) head on the plate after his decapitation,

whereas the Grand Master and the Order's Council kneel praying in front of Christ's Grave on the oldest seals of the Order. Waldstein-Wartenberg refers to the veneration of St. John the Baptist as the patron saint of the Lonely and of the baptisteries in France and Bedford reports that St. John was venerated also a patron Saint of the Sick - he refers to epileptics.

g. The Works of Charity => Hospitality

"Hospitality holds the highest rank among all works of piety and humanity. All Christian peoples agree to that because hospitality includes all other virtues. It must be exercised and respected by all men of good will - especially by those who carry the honourable name of a Knight Hospitaller. Therefore we must not devote ourselves to any other task with more dedication than to this very task the Order has got its name from." History proofs that these words of Vertôt were not a hollow formula in the Order of St. John but were filled with life in the practical service. The Hospitality of the Order of St. John roots in a profound spirituality, which we dealt with above, and it is one of its elements. Hospitality is service to the Poor of the Lord. The Masters of the Order call themselves "servant of the Poor of our Lord Jesus Christ" or "Servant of the poor Sick" and the Brethren are called Servants of the Poor. This attitude seems quite strange, especially as humility is commonly not associated with the factual life of the knights. But we must take into consideration that the knights usually were very submissive and devout to their superiors. The crusaders considered Christ their supreme superior whom they finally served. Christ identified himself with the lowly: "The righteous will then answer him, 'When, Lord, did we ever see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we ever see you a stranger and welcome you in our homes, or naked and clothe you? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you? ' The King will reply, 'I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did it for me!'" (Mt. 25.37-40). Serving the hungry, thirsty, estranged, naked, sick or imprisoned therefore means serving Christ and that is exactly what the knights were up to. Therefore it is just a consequence of their faith and their ideals of chivalry to serve the poor as their Lords.

The practical connection between the spiritual and the physical service to the poor shows that the Brethren of St. John did not restrict their service to the physical welfare of the sick, but that they were also concerned about the spiritual welfare. Thus they used to have an altar for saying holy Mass right in the wards. Later on St. John's Hospitals were often built as double story churches, whereas the sick lay in the first floor and could look down from their beds to the ground floor and thus have audio- visual contact with the happenings on the altar of the church.

This custom has continued until today, e.g. in a coach of a hospital train from World War I,

or in a present hospital (San Giacomo in Augusta) of the order.

This connection is already obvious in the oldest seal of the Order, which symbolises the interior of the Hospital. A sick person lies in the bed with his face turned aside. The "Eternal Light" is suspended (hanging down) from a dome in the background, it reminds the Sick of Christ's presence in the Sacrament of the Altar. The swinging censer symbolises the prayers of the Brethren for the convalescence of the sick.

The Rule and the Statutes obviously proof what an even for our days exemplary well organised system of charity was being run by the Order of St. John already in the first 88 years of its existence. Moreover it did not restrict itself to its main task of nursing, but it also includes services like baby care, care for abandoned children, welfare aid, e.g. by material help for poor bridal couples, other poor people or discharged prisoners, or food aid for the Poor. A St. John's Hospital thus represented much more than just a hospital or a hospice (the latter was in those days not defined as a home for terminally ill, but purely as accommodation for guests, e.g. pilgrims. The Latin word hospitium means just "house for guests"). I would therefore like to call the Hospital of Jerusalem a comprehensive institution of Charity Care. This may not only be understood qualitatively but also quantitatively. The priest Johannes Wizburgensis (John of Würzburg/Germany) reports in AD 1170 on his travel in AD 1135 to Jerusalem and the Holy Land. He writes about St. Hospital in Jerusalem: "At that time, when I was there myself, the number of the sick admitted was up to 2000 as I was told personally by the serving brothers, ... but these numbers increased steadily." Roger de Moulins reports in AD 1177, that after the Battle of Tell Diezer (Ramle) 750 wounded soldiers were admitted to the hospital which was already accommodating 900 other sick people. Another pilgrim to Jerusalem, Theodericus, who visited the Hospital about AD 1172, counted 1000 beds. We also know that the hospital made no difference in where the people seeking help came from when admitting the sick. This fact explains a certain gentlemen's agreement from the enemies of Christianity towards the hospital, especially in the 11th century. Zwehl praises this fact by writing: "The honour to have been the first ones to tackle the accommodation and nursing of sick people of every kind and origin in a larger scale is to be credited to the Hospitallers." It is another exceptional quality, that every sick person had his own bed in the St. John's Hospitals, which was in those times really unusual. The Hospitality of the Order of St. John represented all in all a remarkable progress in the occidental medieval Care for the Sick. Frederick Barbarossa calls the achievements of the Order "invaluable works of mercy" and Richard Lionheart calls the "most holy hospital of Jerusalem magnificent in works of piety". Pope Alexander III. calls the Brethren "steadfast champions of Christ" in his bull "Quanto maior" from March 9, 1160.

A most valuable contribution to the research of the early history of the Order of St. John was made by Berthold Count of Waldstein- Wartenberg's book "Die Vasallen Christi" in 1988. He discovered a report of an unknown German monk, who he thinks might be identical with John of Würzburg or Theodericus, in the Bavarian State Library, Munich (Germany) [CML 4620 f. 132 b - 139b]. The author reports, that he had been inside the walls of Jerusalem before the conquest of the Crusaders and that he himself had been admitted to the Hospital. The charity work which he experienced there was quite a contrast to the worldly life in the city itself. This encouraged him to write a tract on charity, which contains an elaborate description of the nursing care of the Order of St. John. He did not want to bother the doctors and nurses with the many questions a reporter usually asks. Therefore he just wrote down what he observed, which makes his report even more valuable. The reporter is obviously not able to distinguish between knights and serving brothers and he also mixes up their titles. He probably has not known the statutes either, although his report is in going with the prescriptions of the hospital regulations, which just reveals, that the brethren of the Order observed their Rule.

According to him the hospital admitted sick people of all nations, ranks and classes, men and women, Christians and Non-Christians. Every sick person, no matter what sex or religion he or she belonged to, was considered a neighbour of Christ, who had to be admitted and nursed. The Hospital is called the "Palace of the Sick" and consequently belongs to them. For the sick the best was just good enough. Therefore the hospital may also have employed oriental doctors, which encouraged the local people even more to come to the Hospital for treatment.

If sick people could not come to the hospital by their own means, the serving brothers of the hospital went to their home and transported them carefully to the hospital. There was even a kind of ambulance service, which accompanied the crusaders on their way. Even full time employed surgeons belonged to that service, who erected tents or canopies on the battle fields, where the casualties were brought to and even their mounts, which were then used to transport the wounded to the hospital. If those were not sufficient the brethren had to put their own pack animals to the patients' disposal, thus showing that they only had lent those from their Lords, the sick, anyway.

As soon as the sick had arrived in the hospital the porter had to receive and treat them like Lords. They were first brought to a priest, were they could confess their sins and receive as the first food, the "remedy of heavenly medicine", i.e. Holy Communion. (This practise the Order had adopted from the Medical School of Salerno). Thereafter the sick were brought to the ward.

The Hospital was divided into eleven wards, which were obviously segregated according to the kind of sickness or injury of the patients. One ward had between 90 and 180 beds. Every ward was catered for by a special nursing team consisting of twelve nurses who were subject to a master. The women's ward, mainly serving as a maternity ward, was situated in a separate building. Waldstein- Wartenberg (Vasallen Christi) assumes it may have been situated in the western wing of the hospital adjacent to the Maria Latina Maior Convent. The nurses there may originally have belonged to St. Magdalene's Convent and later have become nuns of the Order of St. John.

The beds were big and covered with a bedspread and a linen sheet and feather cushions, so that the sick did neither "have to suffer from the roughness of the shaggy blankets nor through the hardness of the bed". The private clothing of the sick was secured in sealed bags and they were provided with coats, furs and shoes, so that they neither had to suffer from the coldness of the marble floor nor that they would make themselves dirty. (cf. 2 HO 2).

The nurses had to prepare the beds, to straighten the blankets and to loosen the cushions. They had to be of assistance to the sick in every respect, to cover them, to set them up and to support them in walking. Their hands were washed and dried with a towel as often as necessary. When it was time for meals a "tablecloth" was put on top of their beds. Bread was distributed in special baskets. Every sick person got his own loaf of bread, to avoid giving an unequal share. To intensify the appetite of the sick, even the sort of bread was changed frequently, so that no aversion would develop. The food for the sick was usually prepared in the monastery kitchen, where they cooked beef and mutton on Tuesdays and Thursdays, whereas Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays flummery was cooked. The members of the Order, knights, serving brothers and sisters served the food to the sick and got afterwards exactly the same food. The nurses had to watch that the food was well prepared and of good quality. When the quality of the food was poor or the sick did not have a good appetite, the nurses had to make a note of that fact and they had to see to it, that the patients got supplementary food like chicken, doves, partridges, lamb, bucks, at times also eggs or fish. The nursing staff had to buy regularly pomegranates, pears, plums, chestnuts, almonds, grapes, dried figs and vegetables like lettuce, chicory, turnips, parsley, celery, cucumber, pumpkin, sweet melons etc. The treasury of the Order provided every ward with a budget of 20 to 30 Solidi per week for such additional food. The doctors of the hospital prescribed which patients had to get a special diet. Generally forbidden for all patients were beans, lintels, sea- onions (?), moray eels, meat from mother pigs, every smoked meat, biltong or fat meat or innards.

Certain Brethren had the special task to wash the head and trim the beard of every patient. They had to wash the feet and clean the soles with a pumice stone every Monday and Thursday. They had to go through all the wards during food distribution and sprinkle everybody with water and apply incense. This was done by burning Thyrus wood, the so-called oriental tree of life. This general oriental custom was supposed to disinfect, but chased away the insects in any case.

"Because doctors have learnt a lot and have practical knowledge," our reporter concludes, "the community of the Order entrusts the practical healing to the experience of science, that the sick might not be deprived from what is possible to man." The number and knowledge of learned European doctors was not very considerable. Therefore Jews, Arabs, Armenians and Syrians were recruited as doctors. The doctors visited the wards every morning and evening. They were accompanied by two nurses. One of them had to get the medicines, the other one had to hold the urinal (urine analysis played a central role in medical examination in those days) and write down the prescriptions.

The hospital employed also barbers (village quacks), which were recommended by the doctors. It was their task to bleed the patients according to the prescriptions of the doctors. {The medieval conception of patho-physiology ascribed many sickness to an imbalance of what they considered the four body liquids, blood (Latin: sanguis), phlegm (Greek: flegma [phlegma]), bile (Greek: [chole] means also anger and rage) and black bile (Greek: melaina chole [melaina chole]), which had its effect even in the mood of a person. If there was too much blood, the person is sanguine; too much phlegm makes him phlegmatic; too much bile causes one to be choleric and too much black bile makes a melancholic. To interfere with such an imbalance, e.g. through bleeding somebody was considered a necessary medical treatment.}

To the very surprise of the contemporary witness terminally ill patients were nursed with the same care as those who had a good prognosis.

At dusk the day shift ended and two brothers per ward took over night shift. The brothers had to light three to four lamps in the ward "in order to prevent the sick from illusions, errors and dubiousness." One of the brothers had to go round with a candle in the left and a wine jar in the right hand and call out dearly to them: "You Lords, wine from God." Whoever wanted to drink had to be served. The other brother did the same with a jug of water calling out: "You Lords, water from God." When all had quenched their thirst, both came with a copper full of warm water calling: "Warm water, in God's name." It was their task to wash the sick and they used to do it "without force, but mild persuasion". Afterwards they just had to walk around in the ward continuously to watch even those sick who were asleep. Those who were uncovered had to be covered, who was lying uncomfortably, had to be repositioned. In case of necessity the priest had to be called and the deceased had to be removed.

Our reporter does not mention that the priests had to pray daily after dark with the patients. In a prayer text from the 12. century the "Lords Sick" were asked to pray for peace, the fruits of the earth, the pope, the cardinals, the patriarch of Jerusalem, the delegates, archbishops and bishops, for the Master of the Order and the Holy Land, the brothers of the Order, the kings of England etc., for all pilgrims, benefactors, the prisoners of war in the hands of the Saracens, for the Sick, the donates and the Sisters, who work in the hospital, for the spiritual and financial supporters, and finally for their own parents. It seems strange, that the sick were asked to pray, but they were believed to be closer to Christ and therefore their prayers were considered more effective. After the brothers had prayed the nocturne, all brothers on night duty met to form a procession by candlelight. Together they proceeded through all wards and could notice "if one of the wardens was careless or disorderly or even antagonistic to this task." Afterwards they elected a brother from among themselves, who had to supervise them. This brother continuously walked through all wards and kept an eye on the guards, that nobody fell asleep, was careless or even behaved improperly when nursing the sick. If he discovered any mistake in the care, he amended this mistake immediately, but he was entitled to sentence the careless guard with flagellation, which was executed on the following day. Such severe punishment was imposed on those, who maltreated the sick in words and deeds. Who did so repeatedly was immediately suspended from service and replaced by another brother. The evildoer was sentenced by the Hospitaller or his deputy, who had jurisdiction over all nursing and medical staff, to imprisonment of 40 days at water and bread.

Our reporter also mentions a hospital for women, which is situated in a separate building. His description is quite short, presumably he had no access to the department. He calls the nurses "Mothers of St. John" and nuns. They are most probably Nuns of the Order of St. John evolving from St. Magdalene's Convent. The female hospital was mainly a maternity ward. The delivering mothers got warm baths and all what they needed for their body hygiene. The commissioner of the hospital provides napkins for the newly born children which were laid into a cradle next to their mother. There was only an exception made, if the mother was poor, very ill or negligent with the infant because of her "stepmotherly harshness". In such cases the child was passed on to a wet nurse. As soon as the mother's condition had improved, the child was returned not later than a fortnight after birth. If the mother was not in a position to raise her child because of poverty, the master of the hospital visited her and arranged the transfer of the child to a foster mother. That happened quite often, as our reporter writes about up to one thousand children, who had to be supported by the hospital at the yearly cost of twelve talents each.

B. Sources of the spiritual heritage

The different hypothesises on the origin of the Rule of the Order of St. John have already been briefly mentioned in the above paragraphs. In the contrary to those above mentioned opinions Truszczyski states, that the Regulations which were enacted by Gerard, the founder of the Order, would have been a rule following the Benedictine Order. It is quite reasonable to assume that, because the hospital was part of the Benedictine Monastery St. Mary Latina before AD 1099 anyway. Other authors say Gerard or Raymond would have adopted the Rule of St. Augustine. Referring to the above supported hypothesis of the independence of the Rule of the Order of St. John, according to the fact that Pope Lucius III. compares both rules with one another, and because the Rule of the Order of St. John includes parts of the Rule of St. Augustine verbally, this hypothesis may be explicated and supported hereinafter:

The elements of the Rule of the Order of St. John which are common with the Rule of St. Benedict or with the Rule of St. Augustine or with both of them are being used to explain the hypothesis.

The following scheme shows in short the parallels of contents of the compared Rules:

No statement Rule of the Rule of St. Rule of St. Order of St. Augustine Benedict John

1 no property I,2;XIII,1 I,4 XXXIII,6;LV,17

2 obedience I,2 II,44 V

3 order provdes food II,1 I,4 - and clothing

4 simple clothing II,2 IV,19 LV,7

5 going abroad only in IV,1f. V,36 - a group of two or three, companion chosen by superior

6 brethren are IV,7 I,9;IV,24 - temples/dwelling of God

7 inconspicuous IV,4 IV,19 - behaviour

8 general conduct IV,4 IV,20f. -

9 contact with women IV,5f. IV,24 -

10 light at night VII,3 - XXII,4

11 fasting except when VIII,2 III,14 - sick

12 sleep dressed VIII,3 - XXII,5

13 punishment for sins IX IV,29 - with women or fornication

14 punishment for IX - XXV serious faults

15 satisfaction of the IX,4f. - XLIV expelled

16 quarrelling amongst X,1f. VI,41f. LXX brethren

17 taking back of X,3f. - XXIX absconded brethren

18 silence at table XI,1 III,15 XLII,8

19 fraternal correction XII,1;XVII IV,25 XXIII;XXVIII; LXX

20 denouncing to XII,1;XVII,4 IV,26 XLVI,4 superior

21 reception of XVI - LIII sick/guests

22 attend to XVI,2f. - LIII,4+8 sick/guests first spiritually, then physically

The above scheme shows clearly what a close connection there is in the contents of the Rules. This may depend on the one hand on the fact that all three Rules are written for religious people. Therefore certain elements will be part of every Rule. This is certainly the case with the topics of poverty, simple clothing, obedience and silence. But there are parallels in several particular regulations and statements which suggest a closer dependence. Steidle deals with the influence of the Rule of St. Augustine on the Rule of St. Benedict. He calls the above quoted paragraphs XXXIII,6; XLII,8 and XLVI,4 Augustinian parts of the Rule of St. Benedict. As far as the dependence of the Rule of the Order of St. John on the Rule of St. Augustine is concerned, we even find literal correspondence in chapter 4 of Raymond's Rule:

Rule of the Order of St. John IV, Rule of St. Augustine V, 36 1-5.7

(1) "Iterum cum ierint fratres per Nec eant ad balneas, sive quocumque civitates et castella, non eant ire necesse fuerit, minus quam duo soli set duo vel tres, vel tres.

(2) nec cum quibus voluerint, sed Ne qui habent aliquo eundi cum quibus magister iusserit ire necessitatem, cum quibus ipse debent, voluerit, sed cum quibus praepositus iusserit, ire debebit.

(3) et cum venerint quo voluerint, (IV,20) cum veneritis quo itis, simul stent simul state.

(4) in incessu; in habitu et in (IV,21) In incessu, in statu, (in omnibus motibus eorum nichil fiat, habitu) in omnibus motibus vestris quod cuiusquam offendat aspectum, nihil fiat quod cuiusquam offendat sed quod suam deceat sanctitatem. aspectum, sed quod vestram decet sanctitatem.

(5) Quando etiam fuerint in domo (IV,24) Quando ergo simul estis in aut in ecclesia, vel ubicumque ecclesia et ubicumque et feminae femine sint invicem, suam sunt, invicem vestram pudicitiam pudicitiam custodiant ... custodite;

(7) Deus enim, qui habitat in Deus enim, qui habitat in vobis, sanctis, isto modo custodiat eos, etiam isto modo vos custodiet ex

amen. vobis.

Ambraziejute admits dependence only in the case of verbal correspondence. This might be a too narrow view, because over and above literal correspondence there are close parallels in the meaning and themes both to the Rules of St. Augustine and of St. Benedict. Especially at places where the theme concerned represents a particular special regulation, e.g. the regulation to have light in the dormitory or to lie down dressed, there a dependence suggests itself. In a fundamental point of the spirituality of the Order of St. John there is a parallelism to the Rule of St. Benedict: In chapter LXIII,13 Benedict determines, that the abbot is to be called "lord" and "abbot", "because we believe that he holds the place of Christ". What a minimal difference to the sick being called "poor of Christ", "holy Poor" or "lord" by the Order of St. John, because they regard the sick as the Lord!

Supposed that this Geraldus, whom William of Tyre calls after AD 1048 the director of the branch hospice of St. John belonging to St. Mary Latina Monastery, is identical with that Gerard, who founded the Order of St. John in AD 1099 and if we further imply, that the first mentioned Geraldus was a Benedictine Monk and was put into charge by the abbot of St. Mary Latina, then the reception of Benedictine elements into the Rule of the Order of St. John suggests itself. A direct adoption of the Rule of St. Benedict was not possible with respect to Gerard's aims, which St. Benedict's Rule was too narrow for. What would be more reasonable to assume than to pick out the fitting elements from St. Benedict's Rule, to add elements out of the less particular Rule of St. Augustine and one's own particular ideas and ideals and to amalgamate all these ingredients forming a new Rule, which Gerard's successor Raymond du Puy recorded in writing as the Rule of the Order of St. John? The strong influence of the Augustinians, which we notice in Raymond's Rule becomes more understandable, when we have in mind, that the canons (?) of St. Augustine of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre lived in immediate proximity to the Hospital of Jerusalem. Delaville deducts from the strongly Augustinian character of the Rule of the Order of St. John even a striving for independence from the Benedictine monastery St. Mary Latina.

C. The innovation in the spiritual heritage

On account of the above descriptions and findings we now are able to see the elements, which the Order of St. John brought as innovations through its foundation and Rule into the history of the religious institutes, of the church and of the world. Thus we reached the finishing straight of our description.

1. The vow of chastity

A substantial new element of the spiritual heritage of the Order of St. John is the demand in the Rule to vow chastity. No Founder of a religious Order had demanded this yet explicitly in his Rule. That does not mean, that previous orders would not have known or demanded chastity, but in the Rule itself this vow appears for the first time with the Order of St. John.

The Rule of St. Augustine contains in its fourth chapter clear statements on how to keep chastity. It demands, to pleasantly stand out in moral habits, to behave according to the holy status, neither to desire women, nor to wish being desired by them, nor to star at them in an unchaste manner.

In the Rule of St. Benedict too, there are statements about chastity: "to love chastity" is a tool for good works and the abbot must be chaste, too.

Chastity appears for the first time in the formula for the religious vows about AD 1148 in the monastery (of canons of) St. Genoveva in Paris, when this was reformed on the suggestion of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, whereas chastity was already counted amongst the duties of clerics in the "Aachen Rule for Clerics" in AD 816. Abbot Odo of St. Genoveva called these vows "chastity, community(life) and obedience." Raymond words it in the Rule of the Order of St. John: "the three things ..., which they have promised to God: that is to say, chastity and obedience, ... and to live without property of their own."

Through a development of the Rule of St. Augustine therefore the vow of chastity came into the Rule of the Order of St. John. The priests of the brotherhood of the hospital of Jerusalem, which was the forerunner of the Order, had a decisive influence on the emergence of the Rule. Thus canon 4 of the Lateran Synod of AD 1059, which was concerning secular priests, may have served as a basis for the canonising of the Rule. It reads: "Those clerics, who in obedience to our predecessor, kept chastity, should eat and sleep, share their income and lead an apostolic life at the churches they have been ordained for."

2. The Poor of Christ

A second new element of the Order of St. John is to call the Sick "Poor of Christ" or "holy Poor". This designation had not been known in the occidental church before, but becomes afterwards part of its linguistic usage. Thus different Popes used the term "Poor of Christ" in several bulls: Pope Anastasius IV. in 1153 and Pope Alexander III. in 1166 and 1168. Secular rulers used this term too: Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in 1158 or King Baldwin III of Jerusalem in 1160. "Holy poor" the sick are called in deeds of gift of William Ferrariis and Raoul le Fun (AD 1165-1172). This terms are closely and profoundly connected with the Spirituality of the Order of St. John , which admits - as already explained above - the sick as a full member into the "community of Saints" of the hospital. This lead us to the third, the most characteristic new element in the spiritual heritage of the Order of St. John: The hospitality in its special nature and its special genuineness at the Order of St. John.

3. The Hospitality

As I described above in detail, the hospitality of the Order of St. John is in its inmost essence spirituality. The service to the "Poor of Christ" is spiritual service. This fact is proven by chapter 3 of the Rule, which belongs to its independent material. There visiting the sick including the communion of the sick is being taken for granted and they just enacted liturgical regulations for it.

I am convinced, that the conception of charity as worship of God, which represents the essential aim of the Orders in those days like today, was the remaining motivating force, which preserved the Order until today through the heavy storms of its history in the contrary to other religious orders of chivalry. The Order of St. John was the first religious Order which made hospitality its main task. Sometimes it proudly was called the eldest and for centuries the only regular relief organisation of the occident. Rightfully it deserves the honour of being the eldest hospital order of the world. "The Order founded by Gerard anticipated for many centuries all the following organisations, who devoted themselves to nursing the Poor and the Sick."

Although hospitality as such is no new invention of the Order of St. John - the roman valetudinariums for the nursing of sick slaves, in order to uphold their capacity to work, or the xenodochea, which were instituted in big number in the course of time by the bishops, to nurse sick and aged people, following an advise of the Council of Nicaea AD 325, were examples of much older hospitality - it still was the first religious community, whose central task was to care for the poor and sick and who ran this service in a large scale.

The Rule and the Statutes (in the said time) give no evidence that the brethren made a fourth vow, the vow of hospitality. But the Customs (usances) about AD 1239 describe in chapter 121 the ceremonies how a brother should be received. It says: "You promise and vow unto God and unto Our Lady and unto our Lord St. John Baptist to live and to die in obedience, and to be obedient unto whatsoever superior God shall give you. And likewise you promise to live in chastity until your death. And likewise you promise to live without property of your own. Also we make another promise, which no other people make, for you promise to be the serf and slave of our lords the sick." (King, Statutes pg. 193) If we consider this now a fourth religious vow or an additional promise, it is in any case a profound innovation, because such a promise appears for the first time in the history of religious orders besides the vows to live according to the evangelical counsels, like we find it in our days with the hospital order of St. John of God.

It is remarkable and new in this context, too, who the aim of the service was directed to. Whereas the Rule of St. Augustine and especially the Rule of St. Benedict seem to focus at the first place on the brethren's gaining of salvation through their service to God and the neighbour, the main destination of the Rule of the Order of St. John is to selflessly try to achieve the neighbour's, i.e. the poor and the sick's salvation. Surely the latter is not a result of extensive dogmatic exegetic reflection on fundamental principles, but rather due to a original Christian impetus. The wish to gain one's own salvation surely plays a big role with a brother of the Order of St. John, but the activities of the order are directed in a far more obvious way to the outside, i.e. to the sick.

4. The genesis of the Rule of the Order of St. John

A last new moment is the different genesis of the Rule of the Order of St. John compared to the older Rules of religious orders. In the Rule of St. Augustine and in the Rule of St. Benedict the founder of the Order gives regulations for a God pleasing religious life well founded practically and theoretically. But the Rule of the Order of St. John is the theoretical theological reflection about the exercised practise, written down because the practise was found to be right and thus was standardised, i.e. the Rule is not just theory which is to be filled with life, but it is philosophy of what was practised, whose norms regulate the further practise for the future too.

In this context it is also unusual, that the Rule itself and all statutes added to the Rule, are always authorised by the whole chapter general and not just by the founder or his successors, the Masters of the Hospital. This proofs first indications of a democratic structure in the legislature of a religious community. Thus also the veneration of Blessed Gerard or of his successor, Raymond du Puy as Founders of the Order stepped back behind the big veneration of St. John, the elected patron saint of the Order. This fact is also not known from any other older Order.

D. The influence of the Order

The Order of St. John, his Rule and the practise which it is based onto, exercised already in early times a determining influence on the history of religious orders and the church. This most obvious through the fact, that its Rule , so to say as an exemplary Rule, was adopted as a whole or in parts or to the meaning by later orders.

• Thus Pope Clement III. prescribed on July 18, 1188 the Rule of the Order of St. John to the HOSPITAL ORDER OF TERUEL, which was founded by King Alphonse II of Aragon for the ransom of prisoners.

• The TEUTONIC ORDER OF KNIGHTS, whose aim were to fight the enemies of the church and the charitable duties towards the poor, also adopted in its constitution in AD 1198 the Rule of the Order of St. John, as far as the care for the poor and sick was concerned. Already in AD 1143 Pope Celestine II. subdued the Teutonic Hospital under the obedience and disposition of the Order of St. John. Pope Innocent III. stated in his bull "Sacrosancta Romana ecclesia" from February 19, 1199 his contentment, that the Teutonic Order really followed the Rule of the Order of St. John in his care for the Poor and sick.

• The hospital ORDER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, founded by Guido of Montpellier for the care of the poor and sick, organised its charitable activities according to the example of the Order of St. John, too. Its Rule corresponds with the Rule of the Order of St. John in many instances literally or in its meaning.

• The ORDER OF THE BRIDGE BUILDERS OF ST. JAMES, whose task it was to build bridges in order to make it easier for travellers to cross rivers and who also ran hospices, also used the Order of St. John as an example for its charitable organisation. The French branch of the order (de l'Hôpital d'Altopascio) was given the statutes of the Order of St. John by Pope Gregory IX. in AD 1239.

• John of Matha founded towards the end of the 12th century the ORDER OF THE TRINITARIANS (Ordre des Trinitaires pour le rachat des captives), in order to exchange prisoners. Its first constitution also corresponds with the Rule of the Order of St. John in some instances verbally or follows the same philosophy.

• The same applies for FRENCH HOSPITALS, e.g. in Paris (Hôtel Dieu), Château-Thierry, Saint-Paul, Montdidier, Noyon, Saint Julien, Saint-Jean in Cambrai, Amiens, Saint-Riquier, Abbeville, Beauvais and Montreuil-sur-Mer.

Thus the Order of St. John set the standards for the Christian Charity in vast parts of the Occident for centuries.


The foundation of the Order of St. John AD 1099 represents - as I tried to describe in the above - a remarkable event in the history of religious orders. It was not just the origin of one of the many religious orders, but of the first hospital order of the church. It set spiritual standards, which contributed to the moulding of the life of the church until today. The spirituality culminating in hospitality was the basic spiritual innovation which the Order of St. John contributed to the history of Religious orders. Based in the faith it always was and is still today the motivating force for the order. Even as the order was transformed, beginning with the times of the second director Raymond du Puy, into a military order, who also took on military and juridical tasks as a sovereign - emerging from the spirit of protection to the pilgrims and the idea of the "militia Christi" - which was the reason that the order appeared in its turbulent history rather as a military power than as a hospital order, the order has in no phase of its development forgotten to fulfil its main task which is hospitality.

As the Maltese cross, the symbol of the eight beatitudes of Christ's Sermon on the Mount, in refugee camps and on hospitals, on centres for medical research and ambulances, on institutions for civil defence and rehabilitation, on hospital trains for pilgrimages for the sick and on training facilities for nursing personnel, gives an eloquent witness, that the Order of Malta translates it's timeless motto "Protection of faith and obsequiousness to the poor" into contemporary works of Christian charity, we are reminded of the word of the founder of the Order, Blessed Gerard: "Our brotherhood will be everlasting, because the ground which this plant is rooted in, is the misery of the world - and because, God willing, there will always be people, which want to work towards the alleviation of these sufferings and making this misery more bearable."

May the Order of St. John / Malta, based on its spiritual foundation, humbly serve the hungry and thirsty, the estranged and naked, the sick and imprisoned Lord in all future, and thus become a sign of Christian faith, cheerful hope and apostolic love for the people.





In the name of God, I Raymond Servant of Christ's poor and Warden of the Hospital of Jerusalem, with the counsel of all the Chapter, both clerical and lay brethren, have established these commandments in the House of the Hospital of Jerusalem.

1.HOW THE BRETHREN SHOULD MAKE THEIR PROFESSION: Firstly, I ordain that all the brethren, engaging in the service of the poor, should keep the three thing with the aid of God which they have promised to God, that is to say, chastity and obedience, which means whatever thing is commanded them by their masters, and to live without property of their own: because God will require these three things of them at the Last Judgement. 2.WHAT THE BRETHREN SHOULD CLAIM AS THEIR DUE: And let them not claim more as their due than bread and water and raiment, which things are promised to them. And their clothing should be humble, because Our Lord's poor, whose servants we confess ourselves to be, go naked. And it is a thing wrong and improper for the servant that he should be proud, and his Lord should be humble. 3.CONCERNING THE CONDUCT OF THE BRETHREN AND THE SERVICE OF THE CHURCHES AND THE RECEPTION OF THE SICK: Moreover this is decreed that their conduct should be decorous in church, and that their conversation should be appropriate, that is to say, that the clerics, deacons and sub- deacons, should serve the priest at the alter in white raiment, and if the thing shall be necessary another cleric should render the service, and there should be a light every day in the church, both by day and by night, and the priest should go in white raiment to visit the sick, bearing reverently the Body of Our Lord, and the deacon and the sub-deacon, or at least an acolyte should go before, bearing a lantern with a candle burning, and the sponge with the holy water. 4.HOW THE BRETHREN SHOULD GO ABROAD AND BEHAVE: Moreover, when the brethren shall go to the cities and castles, let them not go alone but two or three together, and they shall not go there with those whom they would, but with those whom their Master shall order, and when they shall become there where they would go, let them remain together as united in their conduct as in their dress. And let nothing be done in their movements which might offend the eyes of anyone, but only that which reveals their holiness. Moreover, when they shall be in a church or in a house or in any other place where there are women, let them keep guard over their modesty, and let no women wash their heads or their feet, or make their beds. May Our Lord, who dwells among his saints, keep guard over them in this matter. 5.BY WHOM AND HOW ALMS SHOULD BE SOUGHT: Also let religious persons, both clerical and lay brethren, go forth to seek alms for the holy poor; also when they shall seek for a lodging (hostel), let them go to the church or to some suitable person and let them ask of him their food for charity sake, and let them buy nothing else. But if they should not find anyone who will give them the necessaries, let them buy by measure one meal only, on which they shall live. 6.CONCERNING THE ALMS OBTAINED AND CONCERNING THE PRODUCE OF THE HOUSES: Also let them take neither land nor security from the alms collected, but let them deliver them up to the Master with an account in writing, and let the Master deliver them up with his own account in writing to the poor in the hospital; and let the Master receive from all the Obediences the third part of the bread and wine and of all food, and that which shall be surplus should be added to the alms, and let him hand it over in Jerusalem to the poor with his own account in writing. 7.WHO AND IN WHAT MANNER THEY SHOULD GO ABROAD TO PREACH: And let not any of the brethren, of whatever Obedience they may be, go to preach or to make collections, except only those whom the Chapter and the Master of the Church shall send. And let those same brethren, who shall go to make collections, be received in whatever Obedience they shall come, and let them receive such food as the brethren have ordained among themselves, and let them demand no other thing. Also let them carry with them a light, and in whatever house they shall be lodged (herbergie), let them cause the light to burn before them. 8.CONCERNING THE CLOTHING AND FOOD OF THE BRETHREN: Furthermore also we forbid the brethren to wear at any time brightly coloured cloth (dras ysambruns ne galembruns) or furs of animals (pennes sauvages) or fustian. Also let them not eat more than twice in the day, and let them eat no meat on Wednesdays or Saturdays, or from Septuagesima until Easter, except those who are sick or feeble; and let them never lie down naked, but clothed in shirts or linen or wool, or in other similar garments. 9.CONCERNING BRETHREN GUILTY OF FORNICATION: But if any of the brethren, and may such a thing never happen, through sinful passion shall fall into fornication, if he shall sin in secret, let him do his penance in secret, and let him impose upon himself suitable penance; and if it shall be well known and proved absolutely for certain, then in that town in which he shall have committed the sin, on the Sunday after Mass, when the people shall have left the church, let him be severely beaten and flogged with hard rods (verges) or leather thongs (corroies) in the sight of all by his Master or by other brethren commanded by the Master, and let him be expelled out of all our company: and after wards if Our Lord shall enlighten the heart of that man, and he shall return to the House of the Poor, and shall confess himself to be guilty and a sinner and the transgressor against the law of God, and shall promise amendment, he should be received and for a whole year should be treated as a stranger, and the brethren should observe during this period of time whether he be satisfactory, and afterwards let them do as shall seem good to them 10.CONCERNING BRETHREN QUARRELLING AND STRIKING ONE ANOTHER: Also if any brother dispute with another brother, and the Procurator of the House shall have heard the complaint, the penance should be as follows: he shall fast for seven days, the Wednesday and the Friday on bread and water, and he shall eat seated on the ground without table and without napkin (toaille). And if the brother shall strike another brother he shall fast for forty days. And if he shall depart from the House, or the Master under whose authority he shall be, wilfully and without the leave of his Master, and afterwards he shall return, he shall eat for forty days seated on the ground, and shall fast on Wednesdays and Fridays on bread and water; and for as long a time as he has been absent, let him be treated as a stranger, unless by chance the time should have been so long that the Chapter should think proper to modify it. 11.CONCERNING THE SILENCE OF THE BRETHREN: Also at table, as the Apostle says, let each one eat his bread in silence, and let him not drink after Compline. Also let the brethren keep silence in their beds. 12.CONCERNING BRETHREN MISBEHAVING: And if any brother shall not conduct himself well, and shall be admonished and corrected by his Master or by other brethren twice or three times, and if, at the instigation of the Devil, he will not amend his ways not obey, he should be sent to us on foot with a written report of his sin; and always a small allowance (procuration) should be given to him sufficient to enable him to come to us, and we will correct him; and also no brother should strike the sergeants subject to him for any fault or sin they may commit, but let the Master of the House and the brethren exact vengeance in the presence of all; but always let the sentence (justice) of the House be maintained completely. 13.CONCERNING BRETHREN FOUND WITH PRIVATE PROPERTY: And if any of the brethren have made a disposition of private property at his death, he shall have concealed it from his Master, and afterwards it shall be found upon him, let that money be tied round his neck, and let him be led naked through the Hospital of Jerusalem, or through the other houses where he dwells, and let him be beaten severely by another brother and do penance for forty days, and he shall fast on Wednesdays and Fridays on bread and water. 14.WHAT OFFICE SHOULD BE CELEBRATED FOR THE DECEASED BRETHREN: Moreover we command that this statue should be made, which is most necessary for us all, and we ordain it in commanding that for all the brethren who die in your Obedience thirty Masses should be chanted for the soul of each; and at the first Mass each of the brethren, who shall be present, shall offer one candle with one Denier. Which Deniers, as many as there shall be, should be given to the poor for God's sake; and the priest who shall chant the Masses, if he be not of the House, should have provision in the Obedience on those days; and on completion of the office, the Master should render charity to the said priest, and let all the garments of the deceased brother be given to the poor; also let the brother priests, who shall sing the Masses, pray for his soul to Our Lord Jesus Christ, and let each of the clerics chant the Psalter, and each of the lay brothers 150 paternosters. And also concerning all other sins and matters and complaints let them judge and decide in Chapter with righteous judgement. 15.HOW THE THINGS HERE DETAILED ARE TO BE FIRMLY MAINTAINED: All these things, just as we have detailed them above, we command and ordain in the Name of Almighty God, and of the Blessed Mary, and of the Blessed St. John, and of the poor, that these same things should be kept with the utmost strictness. 16.HOW OUR LORDS THE SICK SHOULD BE RECEIVED AND SERVED: And in that Obedience in which the Master and the Chapter of the Hospital shall permit, when the sick man shall come there, let him be received thus, let him partake of the Holy Sacrament, first having confessed his sins to the priest, and afterwards let him be carried to bed, and there as if he were a Lord, each day before the brethren to eat, let him be refreshed with food charitably according to the ability of the House; also on every Sunday let the Epistle and the Gospel be chanted in that House, and let the House be sprinkled with holy water at the procession. Also if any of the brethren, who hold Obedience in different lands, coming to any secular person offering allegiance and giving him the money of the poor, in order that those persons should cause the said brethren to prevail by force against the Master, let such brethren be cast out of all the company 17.IN WHAT MANNER BRETHREN MAY CORRECT BRETHREN: Also if two or more brethren shall be together, and one of them shall conduct himself outrageously be evil living, the other of the brethren should not denounce him to the people nor to the Prior, but first let him chastise him by himself, and if he would no be chastised, let him join with himself two or three brethren to chastise him. And if he should amend his ways, they should rejoice at it; but if he be not willing to amend his ways, then let him write down the guilt of the brother, and let him send it to the Master privately, and according at the Master and the Chapter shall order let it be done concerning him. 18.HOW ONE BROTHER SHOULD ACCUSE ANOTHER BROTHER: Let no brother accuse another brother unless he be well able to prove it; and if he shall accuse him and be unable to prove it, he is no true brother. 19.THAT THE BRETHREN BEAR ON THEIR BREASTS THE SIGN OF THE CROSS: Also let all the brethren of all the Obediences, who now and henceforward shall offer themselves to God and to the Holy Hospital of Jerusalem bear on their breasts the cross, on their cassocks (chapes) and on their mantles, to the honour of God and the Holy Cross that God by that banner (gonfanon), and through faith and works and obedience, may guard and defend us in soul and in body, with all our Christian benefactors from the power of the Devil in this world and the next. Amen.




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

Let all men know of those who are, and those in the future shall be sons of Holy Mother Church, that I Jobert, Master of the Hospital of Jerusalem, with the good will and unanimous consent of all our brethren assembled in our Common Chapter, before the presence and witness of the passion and resurrection of Our Lord, have given and granted in permanent possession to our blessed lords, that is to say to the poor of the Xenodocheum of the Hospital of Jerusalem, and to Brother Steven the Hospitaller at the present time, and to their successors who shall come after them perpetually for all time, two casales, that is to say the casales of St. Mary and Caphaer, with all their possessions and appurtenances within and without, for the provision of white bread which should be given to them forever; and if by chance it should happen that the corn should fail in the casales or be insufficient to provide for the needs of the poor, enough should be taken from the Treasury to purchase white bread and to provide sufficient for the poor; and if should happen that the wheat from the casales should be mixed with evil herbs, good wheat should be taken measure for measure from the granary of the Hospital, and so sufficient should be provided for our lords the poor. And in order that this gift may be established and unaltered forever, we have caused this charter to be sealed with our seal; and if anyone from henceforward would go to contrary to this Holy Commandment, or would distort it, may he be damned with Judas the traitor in everlasting damnation, with Cain and Dathan and Abiron, whom the earth swallowed up, may he be cursed with the curse. Amen.

Each loaf should be the weight of two marks, and should be given to two poor persons.

This decree was made in the year of the Incarnation of Our Lord 1176.



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.


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.


The Second Vatican Council says in Art. 2 of its Decree on the contemporary renewal of religious life "perfectae caritatis" from October 28, 1965: "Contemporary renewal of Religious life means: permanent return to the roots of every Christian life and to the spirit of the origin of the individual institutes, but at the same time their adaptation to the changed conditions of the time. This renewal is to be put into effect under the motivation of the Holy Spirit and under the leadership of the church according to the following principles:

a. Last norm of religious life is the imitation of Christ as described in the gospel. It must be the supreme rule for all institutes.

b. It is to the profit of the church, that the institutes have their individuality and their particular tasks. Therefore the spirit and the essential intentions of the founders and the healthy traditions, which constitute together the heritage of every institute, must be faithfully researched and preserved ..."

The latter has been the task of this work. In doing so I neither claim to have described totally what the charisma of my patron saint, the Blessed Gerard Tonque is all about, nor that there were no room for amendments to what I have written. Therefore I will be most grateful for every stimulus for further studies and for every suggestion for improvement. If I had succeeded to bring out the indispensable basis of every service under the Maltese cross, like it was lived and laid down by the founder and his first successors, my big wish would be fulfilled, to make a little contribution to the renewal of this order, who I feel so deeply attached to.

When we look today onto the essence and the work of the order, we may joyfully state that it did not only start with the Second Vatican Council to tackle this renewal with lots of energy. But renewal is no singular procedure, but means a perpetual change, a lasting flexibility according to the demands of the time. Renewal means also, but not only, an outward change, but essentially also a permanent inward change. I.e. every member of the Order and every helper in the works of the Order must be prepared to continuously reflect and if necessary to repent, as far as the nature, the contents, the aim and the type of his service is concerned. Especially in our times, where we often complain about secularisation, diminishing of faith, selfishness and so on, every individual has to question himself, keeping the aim of the Order in the back of his mind, again and again, what for and how he does this service: Is it really the pure love to God and the neighbour, which motivates him to meet the suffering Christ selflessly in the needy fellow man? The future of all who serve under the Maltese cross is being shaped and determined by the answer to that question. Only, if we are able to respond to this question with a clear "Yes", have we been faithful to the intentions and aims of the founder of the order.

The aim "tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperum" (Protection of faith and obsequiousness to the poor) is an inseparable unity. It must not and it cannot be divided into its two parts. Because the service for the faith lacks credibility, if it doesn't result in the helping deed, and all aid for the poor, even if it may emanate from the very best intentions and be perfectly organised, remains a miserable fragment, if it is not part and parcel of the imitation of Christ, who is the only one who can and who will bring the good, which he started in us, to perfection.

This leads to the consequence for the running of our service, that we always have to see the needy in its unity of body and soul. Physical healing and spiritual welfare are inseparable. But the aim "spiritual welfare" must not be mixed up with psychological health. The latter is just part of physical health. As we rightfully call for caring for those entrusted to us also psychologically, this does not free us from the task of the pastoral care, i.e. care for the spiritual welfare of our proteges. As the salvation of man lies in his communion with Christ, it is our task through our service to bring people closer to Christ in such a way that they can have en encounter with him which has an effect on their salvation. Our service thus is knowingly and essentially also missionary service. Thus we take part as God's instruments in his plan for the world's salvation. The essential difference of our service to the work of other relief organisations is in the fact, that we do not and shall not only heal, but that we are called to sanctify.

Service to the needy motivated by faith in imitating Christ is genuine service towards salvation, is truly divine service.

This is, and nothing else was and will be the task of everyone serving under the Maltese cross. This aim is not only our only justification to exist, but an inward duty, but also the highest honour and distinction of all who follow the ideals and example of Blessed Gerard.

Fr. Gerard Tonque Lagleder O.S.B.


The original bibliography of the literature used for this publication contains 76 German, 21 French, 14 Latin, 10 Italian, 7 English, 2 Dutch and 1 Spanish title/s. In order to be practicable, there are only the English titles enumerated here:


• MIZZI, J.: A Bibliography of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem 1925-1969. in: The Order of St. John in Malta: XIII Council of Europe Exhibition. 1970. 108-204


General Literature and Monographs

• BEDFORD, W.K.R. and HOLBECHE, Richard: The Order of St. John of Jerusalem. Being a History of the English Hospitallers of St. John, their Rise and Progress. London 1902. Reprint (New York) 1978

• BRADFORD, Ernle: The Shield and the Sword

• FINCHAM, H. W. : The Order of St. John of Jerusalem and its Grand Priory of England. London 1933

• KING, Edwin James: The Grand Priory of The Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in England. London 1924. Reprint (New York) 1978

• KING, Edwin James: The Knights Hospitallers in the Holy Land. London

• KING, Edwin James: The Knights of St. John in the British Empire. London 1934

• KING, Edwin James: The Rule and Statutes and Customs of the Hospitallers 1099-1310. London 1934

• KING, Edwin James: The Seals of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. London

• KINGSLEY, Rose G.: The Order of St. John of Jerusalem (past and present). London 1918. Reprint (New York) 1978

• MASSON, Madeleine: A Pictorial History of Nursing. Middlesex 1985

• REES, William: A History of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in Wales and on the Welsh Border including an Account of the Templars. Cardiff (1887, 21947). Reprint (New York) 1978

• RENWICK, E. D. and WILLIAMS, I. M.: A Short History of the Order of St. John. London 51969

• RILEY-SMITH, Jonathan: The Knights of St. John in Jerusalem and Cyprus c. 1050-1310. London 1967 = A History of the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem I

• WILLIAMS, Richard: St. John's Gate Picture Book. London 1947

Taken from the Homepage of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gerard at