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Sovereign Medical Order of the Knights Hospitaller Charity Profile
The Sovereign Order of the Knights Hospitaller of St John of Jerusalem, of Cyprus, of Rhodes and of Malta, also variously known as the Orders of Saint John of Jerusalem, or simply the Knights Hospitallers, was a unique set of international organizations. It was the original religious ORDER beginning in 1055 to have had its own, unique sovereignty in European history, occupying and maintaining its own territories and islands for extended periods of time. Wherever they settled, the Knights Hospitallers always established first a Hospital and then, if needed, built defence fortifications.
The development and expansion of the Orders has influenced the course of world history known to so little few. Its construction of maintenance of hospitals made dramatic contributions to medicine and hygiene, such as the procedures for quarantine [forty days and forty nights], separation of patients into single beds to prevent contagion, the conduct and rules for nursing, hygiene and the development of sewers, and required and continuing education for doctors in cadaver anatomy and surgery. (1) The Knights Hospitaller in their military pursuits bridged the disparate cultures of the Christian East and West. What is unusual is the antiquity and continuity of the Orders, and its soveriegn existence in an age in which the Church itself was the only truly international organization.