Sovereign Military Hospitaller
Order of St John of Jerusalem of
Rhodes and of Malta

1113 - The Bull 'Pie Postulatio Voluntatis'

1113 – The Bull ‘Pie Postulatio Voluntatis’

Papal Recognition

In 1113 Pope Paschal II officially recognized the monastic community of the Hospitallers of St John, founded in Jerusalem several decades earlier. He did so with a document addressed to Blessed Fra’ Gerard, founder and first Grand Master of the Order. This document – identified with the first words of the text itself – Pie Postulatio Voluntatis – was a fundamental element for the development of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, known today as the Sovereign Order of Malta.

Below is the text translated from Latin.


Paschal, bishop, and servant of such as are the servants of God, to his venerable
son Gerard, founder and Master of the Hospital at Jerusalem, and to his
lawful successors for evermore.
The requests of a devout desire ought to meet with a corresponding fulfillment.
Inasmuch, as of your affection thou hast requested, with regard to the Hospital
which thou hast founded in the city of Jerusalem, in proximity to the Church of
the Blessed John the Baptist, that it should be supported by the authority of
the Apostolic See, and fostered by the patronage of the blessed Apostle Peter:
We, therefore, much pleased with the pious earnestness of your hospitality, do
receive the petition with our paternal favour, and do ordain and establish, by
the authority of this our present decree, that that house of God, your Hospital,
shall now be placed, and shall for ever remain, under the protection of the
Apostolic See, and under that of the Blessed Peter. All things whatsoever,
therefore, which by your preserving care and solicitude have been collected for
the benefit of the said Hospital, for the support and maintenance of pilgrims, or
for relieving the necessities of the poor, whether in the churches of Jerusalem,
or in those of parishes within the limits of other cities; and whatsoever goods
may have been offered already by the faithful, or for the future may through
God’s grace be so offered, or collected by other lawful means; and whatsoever
goods have been, or shall be granted to thee, or to thy successors, or to the
brethren who are occupied in the care and support of pilgrims, by the venerable
brethren the bishops of the diocese of Jerusalem; we hereby decree shall be
retained by you and undiminished.
Moreover, as to the tithes of your revenues, which you collect everywhere at
your own charge, and by your own toil, we do hereby fix and decree, that they
shall be retained by your own Hospital, all opposition on the part of the bishops
and their clergy notwithstanding. We also decree as valid all donations which
have been made to your Hospital by pious princes, either of their tribute moneys
or other donations. We ordain furthermore, that at your death no man shall
be appointed in your place, as chief and master, by any underhand subtlety, or
by violence; but him only who shall, by the inspiration of God, have been duly
elected by the professed brethren of the Institution. Furthermore, all dignities
or possessions which your Hospital at present holds either on this side of the
water, in Asia, or in Europe, as also those which hereafter by God’s bounty it
may obtain; we confirm them to you and to your successors, who shall devote
themselves with pious zeal to the cares of hospitality, and through you to the
said Hospital in perpetuity. We further decree that it shall be unlawful for any
man whatsoever rashly to disturb your Hospital, or to carry off any of its property,
or if carried off to retain possession of it, or to diminish anything from its
revenues, or to harass it with audacious annoyances. But let all its property remain
intact, for the sole use and enjoyment of those for whose maintenance and
support it has been granted. As to the Hospitals or Poor Houses in the Western
provinces, in the Borgo of St.Egidio, Asti, Pisa, Bari, Otranto, Taranto and
Messina, which are distinguished by the title of Hospitals of Jerusalem, we decree
that they shall for ever remain, as they are this day, under the subjection
and disposal of yourself and your successors. If, therefore, at a future time, any
person, whether ecclesiastical or secular, knowing this paragraph of our constitution,
shall attempt to oppose its provisions, and if, after having received a
second or third warning, he shall not make a suitable satisfaction and restitution,
let him be deprived of all his dignities and honours, and let him know that
he stands exposed to the judgment of God, for the iniquity he has perpetrated;
and let him be deprived of the Sacraments of the Body and Blood of Christ, and
of the benefits of the redemption of our Lord, and at the last judgment let him
meet with the severest vengeance. But to all who deal justly and rightly with
the same, on them be the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, so that not only here
below they may receive the rewards of good actions, but also before the Judge of
all mankind, they may enjoy the blessing of peace eternal.

I Paschal, bishop of the Catholic Church, have signed
I Richard Bishop of Albano, have signed
I Landulphus Archbishop of Benevento, have read and signed
I Canon Bishop of the Church of Preneste, have read and signed
I Anastasio Cardinal priest with the title of Blessed Clement, have signed
I Gregory Bishop of Terracina, have read and signed
I John Bishop of Mellito, have read and signed
I Romuald Cardinal Deacon of the Roman Church, have signed
I Gregorio Cardinal priest of San Crisogono, have read and signed

Given at Benevento, by the hand of John, Cardinal and librarian of the Roman Church, on the 15th day of February, in the 6th cycle of indiction of the incarnation of our Lord, in the year 1113, and in the 14th year of the Pontificate of Pope Paschal II.