This order of chivalry, known as the Knights of Saint John or the Knights Hospitaller, was founded in the 11th century. They later became the Knights of Rhodes due to the island of Rhodes they chose as their base. Later this order became known as the Knights of Malta. We will answer questions such as where the Knights of Rhodes come from, whether the Knights of Rhodes are a sect, and how the Knights of Rhodes were founded. If you’re ready, let’s get started!
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Who are the Knights of Rhodes?
The sect is headquartered in Rome, Italy. The current official name of the order is “Sovrano Militare Ordine Ospedaliero di San Giovanni di Gerusalemme di Rodi e di Malta” in Italian. Turkish translation: “Jerusalem, Rhodes and Maltese Holy Sect of Sovereign Military Hospitality Jin”.
Peter Gerard was elected the order’s first chief lord around 1100. Godefroy de Bouillon donated land to the order shortly after the foundation of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, and many, inspired by him, decided to donate land to the order. Pope II. Paschal recognized the Knights Hospitaller as a sect in 1113. This sect, which began to militarize in the 1120s, conducted its first military activity in 1136.
The sect, known at first as a charity, was created to help the sick and poor pilgrims who would arrive in the city in Jerusalem, thanks to special permission obtained by Italian merchants from Muslims. This sect, which is known to be affiliated with the Catholic Church, has managed to survive up to the present day and has independently had a strong navy and army for several years of history. So much so that this sect left a big mark in the history of Europe, Islam and the Ottoman Empire.
These knights, who numbered about 2,000, felt responsible only to the Pope. This forced them to operate separately from the central and local government. The Jerusalem Road sect, first known as Hajiyolu, later joined the crusader army.
Beginning of the Knights of Rhodes sect and change of base
The Church of St. John (St. John) in Jerusalem arose as a result of the development of a hospital for the treatment of sick pilgrims. After the conquest of Jerusalem by the crusaders in 1099, Gerard, who was the head of the hospital, began to work in Jerusalem. Together with the inhabitants of Provence, he began to establish inns in areas inhabited by Italians on the way to Palestine.
Many crusader knights were treated in this hospital, and some donated part of their fortune here. Others chose to stay in Jerusalem and serve in the hospital. The hospital, getting richer and richer, has become a powerful institution that fights against Muslims, as well as helping the poor and sick.
Although they were defeated by the armies of Saladin Ayyubi at the Battle of Hattin, their activities continued. After the fall of Akka in 1291 and the disappearance of the principalities of the crusaders, they settled in Cyprus and continued their work for the sick and pilgrims. The reason they settled in Cyprus was to be closer to Palestine in the hope of one day conquering it again.
The Order captured Rhodes in 1309. They established a hospital here and acted as an independent state. In 1522, during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottomans captured Rhodes. In 1530, the German Holy Roman Emperor Charles V presented the order with the island of Malta. The order was able to resist the Ottoman attacks and built a strong fleet and hospital. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Ottoman threat waned and the order gradually weakened. Napoleon Bonaparte captured Malta in 1798. After that, in 1834, the headquarters of the order was moved to Rome.
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The function of the sect today
Currently, the Order of Malta has the status of a sovereign non-state entity. The sect, which calls itself humane, harmless and impartial, maintains diplomatic relations with 104 countries. In addition, many countries grant the knights of this sect diplomatic privileges and immunity.
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