Otrosh V. The history of the Order of the Ioanites (Hospitallers)
The article deals with the history of origin of the Order of Ioannites (Hospitalaires), which like other knight orders, had its origins during the period of the Crusades aimed at liberation the Holy Land and the Holy Sepulcher from the infidels. The causes for the emergence of the first spiritual knight’s orders are in opposition to Christianity with the world of Islam at the earliest stages of their history. Since VII century Islam, which was also called by the name of the founder of Mohammedanism, had been the greatest threat to the Christian civilization of Western Europe. For a hundred years, from 632 to 732, Muslims have been completely occupied by Christianity for many centuries to the territory of North Africa and West Asia, with the exception of Asia Minor. However, up to 1000th year, Muslims have already conquered most of Asia Minor and tried to conquer the Mediterranean Christian countries of Western Europe, using their military superiority at sea, but they managed to take root in Spain only. This Muslim conquests series in VII, VIII and especially in the XI century put the Christian Church at the brink of disaster, depriving it of more than half of the fertile and richly cultivated land.
In the first half of the 11th century Sunni caliphate was occupied by Turkic nomads. Their first helmsman was called Seljuk, therefore, all his successors, and later all the people began to call the Seljuks. They managed to merge and subjugate almost all of Mohammedan Asia. In the 70’s of the XI century Seljuks founded their own state on the territory of Asia Minor. Soon they took control of Palestine and Syria, and in 1078, they took Jerusalem, which belonged to the Fatimid Caliphate. The Seljuk Turks State became known as the Roum Sultanate (“Roum” in the East, is called the part of Asia Minor, which was owned by Byzantium). Thus, the Seljuk Turks became the main force of the Muslim world. They conquered almost all of Asia Minor and became a constant threat to Constantinople itself.
The main strake military force of the Western Christian nations against Muslims were two “international” composition military-spiritual orders – Ioannites (Hospitalaires) and Templars, as well as Teutonic Order, consisting of the Germans only. The Order of the Ioannites (Hospitalaires), which later became known by its geographical origin, was the Maltese Order, and since 1824 it had its residence in Rome as an extra-territorial entity. Being a state-like entity that does not have its own territory and population, the Maltese Order is the only consistent sequel had been founded in 1099 and since 1113 officially recognized St. John of Jerusalem Order, forced by the circumstances of time before its initial hospital and charitable activities add military service for the sequrity of pilgrims in the Holy Land and the protection of Christian civilization in the East.
Key words: Order of Ioanites (Hospitallers), Maltese Order, Crusades.