Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Hospitallers. The Knights Hospitallers, or Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, afterwards known also as the Knights of Rhodes or of Malta, was one of the military orders which grew up in connection with the Crusades. Between 1023 and 1099 two hospitals were founded at Jerusalem by certain merchants of Amalfi, one for male, the other for female pilgrims. The church attached to the former was originally dedicated to St. John the Almoner, afterwards to St. John the Baptist. The germ of the order is to be found in an association of pilgrims who after their own recovery resolved to devote their lives to the service of the hospital. After the expulsion of the Turks from Jerusalem (1099), many Crusaders joined the body, and at the suggestion of their rector, Peter Gerard, they formed themselves into a religious order, which in 1113 received the sanction of Pope Pascal II. Under Gerard's successor, Raymond du Puy, the order was reorganised on a military basis.

It was removed to Margat in Phoenicia in 1187, to Acre in 1287, and to Cyprus in 1291. In 1310 the knights captured the island of Rhodes, whence they were expelled by the Sultan Solyman in 1522.

In 1530 Charles V. granted them the islands of Malta and Gozo with the city of Tripoli. The famous siege of Malta, in which the Turks were finally repelled mainly through the gallantry and determination of the Grand Master La Valette, took place in 1565. In 1798 the island was seized by the French. Since that time the order has almost ceased to exist; the office of Grand Master has been vacant since 1801, but a Deputy Grand Master is still appointed. The order originally comprised three classes - Knights, Chaplains, and Serving Brothers. The knights were divided into eight

"languages," those of Provence, Auvergne, France, Italy, Aragon, Germany, Castile, and England. Each language had several Grand Priories, to which were attached Commanderies or resting-places for pilgrims on the sea-coast.