|Fontfroid Monastery in Southern France|
|Source: Ahmed Ragab, Harvard Divinity School|
Their plight sparked the foundation of one of the most important religious orders of the Middle Ages: the Hospitallers or Knights of St. John. (See separate entry.) But not just the Hospitallers. Pilgrims were coming from across Europe and they spoke different languages; they needed care-takers who could understand them. In consequence, a number of early hospitals were established by monks speaking the same language as the pilgrims, but most of these were later absorbed into the Hospitaller’s network as the Knights of St. John became increasingly wealthy, powerful, and international.
A few, such as the establishments for lepers and the German hospital established during the siege of Acre in Third Crusade, evolved into independent orders. The leper hospitals were taken over by the Knights of St. Lazarus and German hospital became the Teutonic knights, to mention just two examples. Notably, all hospitals in the crusader states were run by religious/military orders; there were no secular hospitals in the Byzantine and Muslim tradition.
|Hospitaller Complex, Acre|