The Knights of Rhodes
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem is a Roman Catholic lay religious order that governed Rhodes from 1310-1522 A.D. The Order grew out of the Knights Hospitaller, an organization founded in Jerusalem in 1050 A.D. as an Amalfitan hospital to provide care for poor and sick pilgrims to the Holy Land . Its Latin motto is Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum which means “Défense of the faith and assistance to the poor.” It is the world’s oldest surviving order of chivalry.
After the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 during the First Crusade, the Knights organized themselves into a Catholic military order under its own charter. Following the loss of Christian-held territories of the Holy Land to Muslims, the Order operated briefly from Cyprus and then conquered Rhodes where they governed for over 200 years.
Its membership included people from all over Europe, organized by the languages they spoke. The medieval city on Rhodes has seven gates, one for each of the languages spoken by members of the Order.
In 1522, Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent’s Turkish forces of 100,000 men laid siege to Rhodes. The Knights successfully defended themselves for six months but were finally defeated. The Turks admired the courage of the Knights and allowed them to sail away to Malta.
The 213 years during which Rhodes was occupied by the Order of the Knights of St. John are often considered one of the Rhodes’ most flourishing periods. They left impressive evidence of their time on Rhodes and gave it the specific color which the town still retains in its invulnerable walls, its gates, its gates, churches, hospitals, inns and majestic palaces.
The Knights of St John Today
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta (Official Name)
The Order of Malta is one of the few Orders created in the Middle Ages and still active today. It is also the only one that is at the same time religious and sovereign. After the loss of Malta the Order settled definitively in Rome in 1834 where it owns, with extraterritoriality status, the Magistral Palace in Via Condotti 68 and the Magistral Villa on the Aventine Hill.
The Flags and Emblems of the Order
The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law, with its own constitution, passports, stamps, and public institutions. The Order has diplomatic relations with 104 countries - many of which non-Catholic - and missions to major European countries, as well as to European and international organizations. The original Hospitaller mission became once again the main activity of the Order, growing ever stronger during the last century. On 2 May 2018, Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre has been elected the 80th Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta.
For more information please visit the official website of the Order at: http://www.orderofmalta.int/