Papal Encyclicals
Papal Bulls



Anastasius, Bishop, and servant of such as are servants of God, to his beloved son Raymond, Master of the Hospital in the city of Jerusalem, and to his brethren, both present and to come, professed forever in the religious life, health and the apostolic blessing. The religion of the Christian Faith piously believes and truly confesses that while Jesus Christ, Our Lord, was rich in all things, He became a poor man for our sake. Wherefore He promises those who would imitate Him rewards of timely consolation: "Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." Likewise the Father of orphans and Refuge of the poor exhorting us to be hospitable and generous says in the Gospel: "What you have done for one of my least brethren, you have done for Me." And to prove further the excellence of such goodness, He assures us that He will give a reward even for a cup of cold water. We, therefore, whose express duty it is to provide with paternal care for those near and far, embrace you in your devotion and bestow Our favors according as they are asked. And following the example of Our predecessors of happy memory, Innocent, Celestine, Lucius, Eugene, all Roman Pontiffs, We take under the protection of Saint Peter the Hospital and the home at the Holy City of Jerusalem, and We protect with the privilege of the Holy See all persons and property pertaining to it.

We decree that whatever possessions or goods that have been acquired by the hospital to sustain the needs of pilgrims and the poor in the parishes of the Church at Jerusalem or of other churches, whether they have been acquired by purchase through the watchful care of those in charge, or bestowed by certain individuals, either through a future grant from kings or princes because of the largess of God, or acquired by some other just means; whatever has been lawfully granted to the parish priests by the venerable brethren of the See of Jerusalem, whether for themselves or for your successors, and to the brethren who care for the pilgrims, We command these (possessions) be preserved peacefully and in their entirety.

If any real estate is given to the same venerable House through someone's devotion, you may build houses there, and erect churches and make cemeteries according to the need of those who live there, as long as there do not exist neighboring abbeys that might be disturbed by this. Moreover, when lands which have been given to you are conferred with a legal title, you may have the faculty and the license to found oratories there and to make cemeteries in accordance with the needs of pilgrims and of those brethren only, who dine at your table. We decree, therefore, that the receptors of your brotherhoods (x) or collections without detriment to their masters shall stand under the protection of Saint Peter and of Us, and wherever they shall travel through the world, they shall have peace.

We decree likewise that whoever has been received in your brotherhood, if by chance the church to which he belongs has been prohibited from holding divine services, and he should happen to die, he shall not be denied a church burial, unless he has been excommunicated or under interdict by name.

Besides, if any of your brothers who have been sent by you to receive these same brotherhoods and collections shall arrive at any city, town, or village, if by chance that place is under interdict from divine services, out of reverence for Almighty God the church shall be opened once in the year at their joyful coming, and when the excommunicated have been turned out, divine services shall there be celebrated.

And since all of your goods are to be expended for the sustenance of the pilgrims and the poor, and they are not to be given to any other use, We decree that no cleric or layman may in any way presume to exact tithes from you for the gain you reap from your labors. We decree that no bishop will be permitted to pronounce a sentence of interdiction, suspension, or excommunication upon the churches under your care. Nevertheless, if a general interdict has been pronounced upon these places, divine services may be celebrated simply, as long as the excommunicated are turned out along with those under interdict by name, the doors are closed, and no bells are rung.

Moreover, so that nothing will be lacking to you for the fullness of salvation and the care of your souls, and that the sacraments of the church and divine services may be conveniently arranged for you and for Christ's poor, We decree that you may take to yourselves clerics and priests no matter whence their origin as long as you have proof of their integrity and their ordination, to the best of your knowledge through letters and consistent testimony of witnesses; and you may keep them with you either at your principal establishment or in those subject to you; provided that they are not under obligation to some locality or diocese, and that they are not considered harmful to the profession and the Order.

And if the bishops by chance are unwilling to yield these men to you, you nevertheless will have the right to take them in and retain them through the authority of the Holy Roman Church. These same clerics shall be subject to no person outside your chapter with the exception of the Roman Pontiff.

We in no way impart the power to you of taking free laymen into your community for service with the poor without objection from someone.

We refuse permission to return to the world to your brethren who once in, and having been received into your community, have made their profession and taken the religious habit. Nor would it be right for anyone of them after making his profession and assuming the cross of the Lord and taking the habit of your Order, to cast it off.

Nor should anyone move to another place, whether it be a major or a minor monastery, without consulting the brethren or the master of the place, and if the brethren should be unwilling, he should not move there even though a license has been obtained. And no license shall be given to any ecclesiastic or secular authority to take them in or keep them.

Consecrations of altars or basilicas, ordinations of clerics who have been promoted to Holy Orders, and other church sacraments are in the hands of the bishop of the diocese; if indeed he is a Catholic and has favor and communion with the Apostolic See, he shall freely and willingly give you these services with no irregularity towards you; otherwise you are permitted to approach a Catholic bishop of your choice who is indisputably supported by Our authority to grant the requests you make.

And at your death, since you are the provider and prefect of the place, no one will be put in charge through deception, craft, or violence, but only he whom the brethren elect according to the will of God.

Furthermore, the legacies or possessions here or beyond the sea, in Asia or Europe, which the hospital now rightly possesses or will be able to obtain through reasonable means, we confirm for you in behalf of your efforts in the hospital work, and through you for the said hospital. Let no one have the rashness to disturb the aforementioned hospital, or take away its possessions, or retain anything that has been stolen from it, to weaken it, or to harass it with any violence; but let everything be preserved whole and entire, which has been given for direction and sustenance and shall be provided for in the future for any purpose with due respect to the authority of the Apostolic See and the canonical justice of the bishop of the diocese.

And if in the future any ecclesiastic or secular person knowing this Our constitution attempts the rashness of going against it after the third warning unless he has made sufficient amends for the defection, he shall be relieved of the dignity of his power and office, and he shall learn that he is liable to divine justice for perpetrating the offense, and he shall be deprived of the most sacred Body and Blood of Our Lord and Our God and Redeemer Jesus Christ, and at the last judgment he shall be subject to the severest vengeance. But to all who preserve the rights of this place may the peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ come in so far as they here are receiving the fruit of their good actions, and when they meet the strict Judge may the reward of eternal peace be theirs. Amen, amen, amen.

Given at the Lateran through the hand of Roland, cardinal priest of the Holy Roman Church and chancellor, on the 21st day of October, in the third indiction, the year of the Incarnation of Our Lord 1154, during the second year of the pontificate of Pope Anastasius IV.

Note: This and other Papal Bulls pertaining to the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem are found in a reference by Delacroix de Roulx, which is a fairly common reference in university libraries. They may also be seen in the Order's archives in the Palace of the Grand Masters in Valletta, Malta.