Hospitality to the poor and sick is a key part of Gospel teaching. In this book Father Mark Elvins traces this imperative of hospitality from its roots in Jewish social teaching, through the teaching of Christ and the practice of the early Christians, to the creation during the mediaeval period of a widespread network of institutions offering hospitality or medical care. The Order of Hospitallers, who in 2013 celebrate their 900th anniversary, were pioneers in this movement and Father Mark follows their vision of Gospel hospitality from its beginnings in their great Hospital in Jerusalem through to the present day. He contrasts their story with that of England and Wales, where almost all institutions offering hospitality or medical care were closed and sold off under Henry VIII and Edward VI, to be replaced with a system of state charity whose inadequacies ultimately prompted William Beveridge's creation of the Welfare State. Father Mark suggests that the Hospitaller vision has much to teach us.
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