The Holy Spirit Hospital in Rome as the centre of a hospital system of European importance

Dr. Andreas Rehberg

The still active Hospital S. Spirito in Sassia was founded by Pope Innocent III around 1200. He entrusted the management of the project to Gui de Montpellier, who had already built up his own hospital community in his home country. Based on the documentation, found mainly in Roman State Archives and relatively consistent compared to the general state of sources on city life, this project shall develop some of the themes overlooked by research and will be published in a sequence of essays. The Hospital embodies a type of papal establishment, but calls for comparison with the other types of hospices in Rome – from the civic hospitals to the structures set up for foreigners (for example the Anima Hospice) – as well as the other charitable Orders that had their centres in St-Antoine-en-Viennois in France, S. Maria of Roncisvalles in Navarre or S. Giacomo di Altopascio near Lucca. By virtue of the "international" network of the Order of the Holy Ghost with hospitals from Sicily to England and from Spain to Hungary, many "foreigners" have been documented in the Roman motherhouse S. Spirito in Sassia. All in all, surprisingly few Order members were enough to hold together the often very long-knit nets of the Order's branches. However, centrifugal forces everywhere threatened the power of the Order's Preceptor, whose position, in contrast, was unchallenged in the hinterland (as shown by the micro study of the Order's hospice in Tarquinia, the medieval Corneto, about 70 km north of Rome). The studies conducted by the DHI on S. Spirito in Sassia seek to contribute to comparative religious research and to trace the multiple aspects of – not always unilateral – transfers of people and (technical) knowledge within the Order, even beyond cultural and linguistic barriers.In addition, an outlook on the general attractiveness of Rome and the monasteries of its surrounding area (Subiaco, Farfa) for the European religious clergy in the late Middle Ages, was given for the first time in 2006 – a topic likely to be developed into a new research focus in the coming years.

Dr. Andreas Rehberg
Researcher, Responsible for Late Middle Ages and the Institute's Archive, Editor of the series "Ricerche dell'Istituto Storico Germanico di Roma"
+39 06 66049229


"Ubi habent maiorem facultatem ... quam papa". Der Heilig-Geist-Orden und seine Ablasskampagnen um 1500, in: Andreas Rehberg (Ed.), Ablasskampagnen des Spätmittelalters. Luthers Thesen von 1517 im Kontext, Berlin-Boston 2017 (Bibliothek des Deutschen Historischen Instituts in Rom 132), pp. 219–270.

Quando i malati del Santo Spirito andavano alle terme. Qualche episodio legato ai Bagni di Stigliano alla fine del Quattrocento, in: RR. roma nel rinascimento (2016), pp. 307–325.

La restituzione dei male ablata nell'operato dell'ospedale di S. Spirito in Sassia (sec. XIII–inizio XVI), in: Andrea Fara/Donatella Strangio/Manuel Vaquero Piñeiro (Eds.), Oeconomica. Studi in onore di Luciano Palermo, Viterbo 2016, pp. 199–221.

L'Ordine di Santo Spirito e le sue filiali dal medioevo al primo Cinquecento, in: Anna Esposito/Andreas Rehberg/Miriam Davide (Eds.), Storia di un Priorato dell'Ordine di Santo Spirito: Ospedaletto di Gemona, Udine 2013, pp. 41–68.

L'ospedale di S. Spirito a Tarquinia, membrum hospitalis sancti Spiritus in Saxia de Urbe immediate subiectum (secoli XIII–XV), in: Alfio Cortonesi/Anna Esposito/Letizia Pani Ermini (Eds.)/Luca Gufi (Collab.), Corneto medievale: territorio, società, economia e istituzioni religiose, Atti del convegno di studio, Tarquinia 24–25 novembre 2007, Tarquinia 2009, pp. 245–298.

Una categoria di ordini religiosi poco studiata: gli ordini ospedalieri. Prime osservazioni e piste di ricerca sul tema "Centro e periferia", in: Anna Esposito/Andreas Rehberg (Eds.), Gli ordini ospedalieri tra centro e periferia. Giornata di studio, Roma, Istituto Storico Germanico, 16 giugno 2005, Roma 2007 (Ricerche dell'Istituto Storico Germanico di Roma 3), pp. 15–70.

Anna Esposito/Andreas Rehberg, Premessa, in: Anna Esposito/Andreas Rehberg (Eds.), Gli ordini ospedalieri tra centro e periferia. Giornata di studio, Roma, Istituto Storico Germanico, 16 giugno 2005, Roma 2007 (Ricerche dell'Istituto Storico Germanico di Roma 3), pp. 7–11.

Die Römer und ihre Hospitäler. Beobachtungen zu den Trägergruppen der Spitalsgründungen in Rom (13.–15. Jahrhundert), in: Gisela Drossbach (Ed.), Hospitäler in Mittelalter und Früher Neuzeit. Frankreich, Deutschland und Italien. Eine vergleichende Geschichte/Hôpitaux au Moyen Âge et aux Temps modernes. France, Allemagne et Italie. Une histoire comparée. Mit einem Vorwort von Werner Paravicini, München 2007 (Pariser Historische Studien 75), pp. 225–260.

Päpstliche caritas auf dem Prüfstand. Anmerkungen zu einer neuen Studie zum Heilig-Geist-Orden, in: QFIAB 86 (2006), pp. 562–581.

Die fratres von jenseits der Alpen im römischen Hospital S. Spirito in Sassia. Mit einem Ausblick auf die Attraktivität Roms für den europäischen Ordensklerus im Spätmittelalter, in: Uwe Israel (Ed.), Vita communis und ethnische Vielfalt. Multinational zusammengesetzte Klöster im Mittelalter, Akten des Internationalen Studientags vom 26. Januar 2005 im Deutschen Historischen Institut in Rom, Berlin 2006 (Vita regularis. Abhandlungen 29), pp. 97–155.

Nuntii – questuarii – falsarii. L'ospedale di S. Spirito in Sassia e la raccolta delle elemosine nel periodo avignonese, in: Mélanges de l'École française de Rome. Moyen Âge 115,1 (2003), pp. 41–132.

I papi, l'ospedale e l'ordine di S. Spirito nell'età avignonese, in: Archivio della Società Romana di Storia Patria 124 (2001), pp. 35–140.

L'Ospedale di Santo Spirito nell'età avignonese: fra la protezione della Curia e le vicende politiche a Roma, in: L'Antico Ospedale di Santo Spirito. Dall'istituzione papale alla sanità del terzo millennio, in: Il Veltro 45,5–6 (2001), pp. 95–104.