A lead bulla issued by Grand Master Roger de Moulins, Master of the Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem (Knight’s Hospitallers). It is a Find of Note of County Importance
The Knights Hospitaller was formed by a group of Crusaders in 1099 to support the hospital in Jerusalem which had recently been conquered.
On 15 February 1113 Pope Paschall II issued a Pie postulatio voluntatis (“Most pious request”) to formally recognise the Knights Hospitaller. This bulla confirmed the independence of the Order and gave them the right to elect their Grand Masters without external interference. The order if preserved at the National Library of Malta; Malta
The Order’s Great Seal, or bulla, was introduced by the second Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller, Raymond du Puy who served in the role from around 1121 to 1160. It remained in use, with some modifications until 1798.
The image on the obverse shows the Grand Master kneeling in prayer before the patriarchal cross. Between them are the letters alpha and omega. This is a common Christian symbol and refers to the phrase in the bible “I am the Alpha and Omega” which can be interpreted to mean that God is eternal.
The legend reads ROGERIV[S] CVSTOS, which is the Master’s name followed by his title, CVSTOS (“Guardian“).
The reverse depicts a patient at the Hospital in Jerusalem. The legend reads +.hOSPITA[LIS.Ih]ERVSALEM.
Grand Master Roger de Moulins
Roger de Moulins was the eighth Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller from 1177 to his death in 1187. He issued a number of statutes to regularise the administration of the Order.
In 1184 he toured Europe to seek support for a new crusade against the growing power of Saladin. He arrived in England in 1185 which helped bring the Order to greater prominence here; in 1194 Richard I granted the English Hospitallers a charter and entrusted hospitals at Worcester and Hereford to their care.