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27 Jul

Military Orders

The Crusades launched by Pope Urban II to recapture the Holy Land from the Muslims resulted in the establishment of military orders which were religious at the same time. The most famous and influential military/religious orders were founded in Jerusalem after the First Crusade to defend and protect the pilgrims on their way to the holy places as well as to defend the newly established Crusader states. They initially fought against the Muslims in the Holy Land but later they also fought against heretics, pagans and other “enemies” of the Roman Catholic Church.

All military orders established in the Holy Land were closely tied to religion, while their members are often referred as the warrior-monks. Organization of the military orders was very similar to monastic orders and each order had its own rituals, ceremonies and symbols. Each member had to make a vow when joining the military order which besides the usual oaths to poverty, chastity and obedience also included the obligation to fight against the infidels. Thus military orders clearly distinguished themselves from the monastic orders and had a right to use weapon, to hunt and to fight.

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