Friday, 15 February 2013

Holy Cowls

The Knights of Malta are the lesser known of the Military Orders created during the crusades .... there were five major orders formed in the Holy Land and in the middle east between the late 11th century and the early 12th century: the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre (circa 1099), Knights Templar (circa 1118), Knights Hospitaller (circa 1099) (St John), Knights of the Hospital of St Mary of Jerusalem (Teutonic Knights) and Knights of St Lazarus.

The Templars are of course long gone, but the Knights of Malta survived as a direct descendent of The Knights Hospitaller and are unique, in that they are still a sovereign entity, as they 'rule' a palace in one of Rome's smartest shopping districts, a church and an elegant villa overlooking the city, but no longer over any territory.

The Knights Hospitaller became Knights Of Malta and ceremonial

However they still have observer status at the United Nations, just like the Vatican, and the soon to be ex
Pope Benedict XVI is a former member of the order.

This week saw a celebration of the 900th anniversary of the founding of the order by Benedictine monk Brother Gerard, who opened a hospital for sick and poor pilgrims in Jerusalem 1113 AD, at the height of the Crusades.

Its funny how these anachronisms can survive into the modern era .....

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