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Blessed Gerard
Gerhardus
Girardus
Gerard Tonque 

Tenure

c.1100-1120

Nationality

Italian or French

Birth

?

Death

3 Sep 1118/1120 (Jerusalem)

Biographical Notes

General Notes

Founder of the Order

(Free translation of the relevant passage from d'Avity)

When Jerusalem was captured by Godfrey of Bouillon, Gerard was Rector or Master of the Hostel of St John. During the siege of the city, he had been placed in prison by the Muslims who suspected that he had made secret compacts with the Christian besiegers. Once the city was occupied by the Christians, he was liberated after which he governed the Hostel of St John with much care and charity, stimulating and impelling Christian kings and princes to donate generous possessions and endowments so that within a short time the Hostel of St John had grown and acquired possessions in France, Italy, Spain and other Christian places.


15.2.1113 Papal Bull of Pope Paschal II

In 1113 Pope Paschal placed Brother Gerard and the Knights of St John under the protection of the Holy See, granting many privileges, and established that after Gerard's death elections would determine the succession of  new rectors and governers, who would later be called Grandmaster of the order or military Hospital of St John of Jerusalem; which name has persisted for five hundred years up to today (1628).

In 1118, Brother Gerard departed this life in the pontificate of Gelasius II who had started the order of the Temple. 


(...quo urbs capta fuit a Principibus Christianis, et godfredus Bullionaeus rex electus: quod accidit anno MXCIX.)

1. Cum urbs caperetur, frater Gerhardus erat Rector sive Antistes Xenedochii S. Ioannis, qui urbe a CHristianis obsessa ab infidelibus male habitus, et diuturno carcere detentus fuit, propterea quod ipsum suspectum haberent, quasi arcana cum Christianis, qui urbem obsidebant, consilia agitaret. Verum urbe a CHristianis occupata ex carcere emissus fuit, et Xenodochium S. Ioannis magna cum charitate et cura gubernavit, exstimulans et impellens reges et Principes Christianos, ut illud locupletarent et dotarent: quod liberaliter ab ipsis factum fuit: adeo ut Xenodochium illud S. Ioannis brevi tempore magnos proventus et possessiones in Gallia, Italia, Hispania et aliis Christiani orbis provinciis obtinuerit.

Anno MCXIII. Paschalis, Pontifex Maximus, fratrem Gerhardum et Equites S. Ioannis in tutelam et protectionem S. Sedis Apostolicae; recepit, magnis privilegiis ipsis concessis, et consticuit, ut post obitum Gerhardi canonice ad electionem novi Rectoris et gobernatoris procederetur, qui postea fuit appellatus magnus Magister ordinis sive militiae Hospitalis S. Ioannis lerosolymitani: quod nomen ipsi in hunc usque diem per quingentorum annorum spatium mansit.

2. Anno MCXVIII. frater Gerhardus ex hac vita migravit, sub Pontificatu Gelasii II. quo tempore ordo Templariorum initium sum fit.

Source:
Avity, Pierre d'; Gottfried, Johann Ludwig: Archontologiae Cosmicae, Liber III: Origo Ordinum Militarium, tam Regularium, Dissertatio de Ordine Equitum Melitensum, p.31 Frankfurt am Main, 1628

Blazon

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Engraving by Antonio F. Lucini of Matteo Perez d'Aleccio's fresco