Jerusalem remains a focal point for different faiths, and it has been a place of pilgrimage for thousands of years. The Order of St John was founded in Jerusalem by monks with a mission to care for sick pilgrims, regardless of faith. By 1080 they had established a hospital, and the men and women who worked there became known as Hospitallers.

Soon after, Jerusalem became a focus for conflict. In 1095, the First Crusade was launched to overthrow Muslim rule in the region. In 1099, Jerusalem was captured by Christian knights.

The Hospitallers continued to care for the sick, but around 1148, its members adopted a new military role as the Crusader Kingdom became politically unstable.

In 1187, Sultan Saladin conquered Jerusalem.