Part 23: The Order of St. John of Jerusalem

The final straw that broke the Turkish back, on  September 6th, the long anticipated relief force from Sicily, led by  Don Garcia arrived in northeastern bay of the island, it was not the 16,000 promised  actually around 8,000., but  the Turkish scouts did not report it accurately until to late.   The Turks still had close to 20,000 troops, but the will to fight on was gone,  by September  8th the siege  was lifted, the Turks had set sail for the east not to return.  The Knights were left on the battlements, the Maltese Cross  banners waving as the victory bells rang out.

Of the 40,000 Turks who set out to crush  the Order of St. John and capture Malta it is estimated that the  Turkish losses were immense       conservatively 25,000. to 30,000.

Of the Christian forces of the original 9000, only 600 survived.  “During the siege 250 of the Knights died.”14

Suleiman the Magnificent army had received one of his most costly defeats.  Upon hearing of this defeat,   Suleiman vowed to return himself the following year and “not spare a single inhabitant!15 It was not to be, instead the following year he took his army to Hungary where a short time later, Suleiman died.

This incredible victory made the Order of St. John the toast of Europe and brought the Order world wide fame and the forever linked the Order with the island of Malta, henceforth the Order became known as the Knights of Malta.  It’s banner the  8 pointed Cross of St. John, became identified as the Maltese Cross.

This victory “although no one could have foreseen it at the time,  was the last effort of the  Ottomans to break into the western Mediterranean and complete the encirclement of Europe from the south.  Had Malta fallen the face of Europe might have been completely changed with the next decade.”  “Queen Elizabeth of England, had observed during the course of the siege that ‘if the Turks should prevail against the Isle of Malta, it is uncertain what further peril might follow to the rest of Christendom’. This “… victory of the Knights was seen as the salvation of Europe.”16

In closing:  When one sees a Cross of Malta,  remember the Knights, think of their 8 aspirations, their tradition of duty, honor and self sacrifice.   Remember Malta,  where a few Knights held the walls against impossible odds and by doing so, saving western civilization as we know it today.

Bibliography

The Great Siege by Ernle Bradford,  1961 Harcourt, Brace World, Inc.

The Shield & the Sword The Knights of St. John, Jerusalem, Rhodes & Malta by Ernle Bradford, 1972 E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc.

A Short History of Malta by Brian Blouet, 1967, Frederick A. Praeger, Publishers

Knight Hospitaller from Wikipedia  October, 2009

The Templars by Piers Paul Ried, 1999, St. Martins Press

Empires of the Sea by Roger Crowley, 2008, Random House

1  Mike Singer, 9 July, 2004

2,3 The Shield & the Sword The Knights of St. John, Jerusalem, Rhodes & Malta by Ernle Bradford, 1972 E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc.

The Great Siege by Ernle Bradford,  1961 Harcourt, Brace World, Inc.  pg 9

5 The Great Siege by Ernle Bradford,  1961 Harcourt, Brace World, Inc.  pg 5

6 The Shield & the Sword The Knights of St. John, Jerusalem, Rhodes & Malta by Ernle Bradford, 1972 E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc.

7, pg 152;  8 pg 156;  9 pg 157, 10 pg 160; 11 pg 162, 12 & 13  pg 163; 14 pg 167; 15 pg 166  & 16 pg 168

The Shield & the Sword The Knights of St. John, Jerusalem, Rhodes & Malta by Ernle Bradford, 1972 E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc.

About leader

District Deputy Grand Master Saratoga-Warren District 1998-2000; Grand Lodge Leadership Services Committee; Leadership Development Course Coordinator; Vice Chairman Grand Master's Educational Task Force; Vice Chairman Grand Lodge Child ID Committee; District Deputy Grand High Priest 14th Capitular District; Grand Master of the 1st Veil 2010; Grand Master 2nd Veil 2011; Grand Master 3rd Veil 2012 Grand Royal Arch Captain 2013 Grand Principal Sojourner 2014 Grand Captain of the Host 2015 Warren County Historical Society Board of Trustees; Queensbury Masonic Historical Society Charter Member; State Chairman Lodges & Buildings Committee Deputy Grand Master's Advisory Committee
This entry was posted in History and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.