The original “Order of St. John of the Hospital of Jerusalem” predates the Crusades by more than a score of years. The order did not become ‘warrior monks’ until after 1113 when the Pope recognized them as a military order of the Church. Godfrey of Bouillon granted the Hospitallers land for their charitable work and many donations of land and funds followed over the years. By the 1130’s the Hospitallers were a large fully functioning army in service to the Church.
In 1144 the order built the majestic “Krak des Chevaliers” castle in what is today Syria. This magnificent structure was unquestionably the greatest of all the many fortresses built by the Crusaders in the Middle East.
The Templars and Hospitallers were always in competition with one another for resources and control of territories often resulting in combat between these warrior monks. The Hospitallers lost their last stronghold to the Saracens in 1291 and relocated to Cyprus.
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