Assocs. formed before and during Crusades*; combined military and monastic principles; originally est. to protect and aid pilgrims to the Holy Land; took part in Crusades and later struggles; included:
a. knights of Malta (Knights Hospitallers [of Saint John of Jerusalem]; Knights of St. John; Sovereign Military Order of the Hosp. of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta). Began in Jerusalem before the 1st Crusade in a hospice-infirmary; received papal approval 1113; built a network of domus hospitales (guest houses) for pilgrims; driven from Jerusalem to Rhodes, then to Malta and Tripoli; survived as a religious community of chaplains and lay brothers dedicated to sanctification of its mems., service of the faith and of the papal see, and welfare work.
b. Templars (Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon; Knights Templars). Est. ca. 1119; originally devoted to protect and guide pilgrims; rule approved 1128 was a variation of the Benedictine. With strongholds throughout the E and W, mems. of the order became internat. bankers. Desiring their wealth, Philip IV (see France, 3) persuaded Clement* V to pressure the Council of Vienne* into supplying the order 1312.
c. Teutonic Knights (Ger. Knights; Knights of the Cross; Knights of St. Mary's Hosp. at Jerusalem; Teutonic Order; Der deutsche Orden; Deutsche Ritter). Originated ca. 1190 in efforts by merchants of Lübeck and Bremen to care for sick and poor Ger. pilgrims at Acre, Palestine; military order 1198. Under Hermann von Salza (ca. 11701239; grand master ca. 121039) the order conquered, and introd. Christianity into, large parts of the Baltic provinces and Russ.; declined from 15th c.; existence in Ger. dissolved by Napoleon 1809; revived 1840 in Austria as a semireligious knighthood; serves schools and hosps.; a Prot. branch of the order survived in the Neth. See also Albert of Prussia.
d. Hospitallers of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem (Lazarites). Order of knights and nurses following the rule of Augustine* of Hippo; founded ca. 1120 in Jerusalem to operate hosps. (esp. for lepers), spread the faith, care for pilgrims; activities transferred to Eur. in 13th c.; suppressed during Fr. revolution; revived in It. and Fr. in 19th c.; now an honorific soc.
H. G. Prutz, Die geistlichen Ritterorden (Berlin, 1908)
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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