Order of the Holy Ghost

Created by Innocent III, had its inception in the Hospital of the Holy Ghost, Rome, and spread throughout the Christian world, rendering invaluable services. Repeated attempts were made to make the Hospitallers of the Holy Ghost military, although they never resorted to arms. The institution was granted several privileges by Innocent III, among them exemption from all spiritual and temporal jurisdiction save his own, the right to build chapels, etc., which provided an impetus to the rise of other houses modeled on the one at Rome enjoying the same privileges, provided they submitted to periodical visitation and contributed alms to their metropolitan. The central authority was a commander, resident at Rome. By 1400, the order numbered in France more than 180 houses and a century later nearly 400. The great temporal wealth of the order was responsible for an administration similar to that of the military orders, and the Order of Our Lady of Bethlehem was founded by Pope Pius II in 1459 from the revenues of these commanderies. Due to the amount of wealth, abuses crept in, including indiscriminate bestowal of honors, including the Militia of the Holy Ghost. These actions required reform measures, culminating in 1700 when religious of the order published an edict declaring the order regular and in no way military. Under papal government the Arcispedale di Santo Spirito of Rome was open to all Catholics without regard to country, condition, or fortune, but later became a municipal institution restricted to inhabitants of Rome. This order must not be confused with the Royal Order of the Holy Spirit founded in France by King Henry III in 1578 in to supersede the Order of Saint Michael of Louis XI.

New Catholic Dictionary

NCD Index SQPN Contact Author