From Jerusalem to Malta:
the Hospital's Character and Evolution
Anthony Luttrell
Gerusalemme nel codice di Federico di Montefeltro (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana Urb. Lat. 277, fol. 132 v.). Al centro l'ospedale dell'Ordine di San Giovanni.
The origins of the Order of St. John remain somewhat obscure, and the homelands of the founder Girardus, perhaps an Italian, and of the first Master Fr. Raymond de Podio, possibly French or Provençal, are unknown. The emergence of the Hospital was an aspect of the profound religious revival in the West which generated a reformed papacy, monastic renewal based on Cluny, lay movements for the support of charity and hospitals, and the first crusade. Probably in about 1070 various merchants from Amalfi, and perhaps from elsewhere in Southern Italy, founded a hospice for Latin pilgrims in Jerusalem which was attached to the Benedictine house of Sancta Maria Latina; subsequently a second house was established for women. These hospices were for pilgrims and especially for the poor rather than for the medically sick. Their staff may have been lay brethren under some vow of obedience. The hospices seem not to have had their own incomes or endowments, their resources coming from the Amalfitans and the Benedictines and perhaps also from pilgrims and other visitors (2).

[1] This brief study seeks merely to outline certain approaches developed elsewhere. The best overall history is H. Sire, The Knights of Malta (New Haven, 1994), though it is not always reliable on points of detail. For the early periods, J. Riley-Smith, The Knights of St. John in Jerusalem and Cyprus: ca. 1050-1310 (London, 1967), and J. Delaville le Roulx, Les Hospitaliers à Rhodes jusqu'à la mort de Philibert de Naillac: 1310-1421 (Paris, 1913); for the post-1421 period, G. Bosio, Dell'Istoria della Sacra Religione et Illustrissima Militia di San Giovanni Gerosolimitano, ii (2nd ed: Rome, 1629) [the first edition should not be used].
[2] R. Hiestand, "Die Anfänge der Johanniter", in Die geistlichen Ritterorden Europas, ed. J. Fleckenstein - M. Hellmann (Sigmaringen, 1980); A. Beltjens, Aux Origines de l'Ordre de Malte: de la Fondation de l'Hôpital de Jérusalem à sa Transformation en Ordre militaire (Brussels, 1995); A. Luttrell, "The Earliest Hospitallers" in Montjoie: Studies in Crusading History in Honour of Hans Eberhard Mayer, ed. B. Kedar et al. (Aldershot, 1997).
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