In the centre of the Christian Quarter, within the Old City of Jerusalem, lies the ancient Muristan. The area, located just south of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, was where King Antiochus V built a hospital following a divine vision on Golgotha. In 600 A.D, Pope Gregory the Great commissioned the construction of a hospital at the site, a place where Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem could be treated. Over the following centuries, the structure was destroyed and rebuilt several times, however it is most associated with the Knights of St John, who established a hospital there to care for sick and injured pilgrims of all faiths in the Holy Land, in the early 12th century.

The soldier monks who were looking after the pilgrims recuperating there formed the Order known as the Knights Hospitaller of the Order of St John. Their tradition of treating all who came to their door is still one SJEHG adheres to today – treating all patients no matter their religion, ethnicity or their ability to pay.

Muristan Clinic

In today's Jerusalem residents of the Old City often face daily restrictions moving to the outskirts of the city, where our main Jerusalem Hospital is situated. Many of its inhabitants are also stallholders, who rarely travel too far for fear of losing necessary income.

SJEHG has recently fully restored the Muristan to be a working walk-in clinic - expected to see approximately 5,500 patients a year. The worst cases will be referred to the SJEHG flagship hospital in East Jerusalem, where patients will receive expert care and will not have to pay if they cannot afford to. The clinic will provide easy access to eye care (where early detection typically is key in saving sight).

The Clinic opened it's doors on international World Sight Day of all days - October 13th 2016. We are very excited to see where this new venture will take us, none of us more so than Marlene Katanasho who has been promoted from Staff Nurse in our Jerusalem Hospital to manage the Muristan Clinic.

The Muristan Peace Garden

A wonderful consequence of the Muristan Clinic renovation is it has opened up an opportunity to encourage visitors to the Old City of Jerusalem to gain awareness of the work of St John Eye Hospital.

What it is missing from the Old City is a space to escape the masses - and our new Muristan Peace Garden will hopefully offer some peace in the midst of the chaos, whilst also serving as means to educate tourists on the great work and history of the Order of St John.

The garden also includes a beautiful new sculpture – The Tree of Hope - by world renowned sculptor Mark Coreth, which is an olive tree with the canopy of swifts, migrating birds which are native to the city. In his own words Mark describes the tree as β€˜a symbol of hope for a region that desperately needs it’, and we are hoping that these swifts will go on to become a symbol of St John Eye Hospital worldwide. Click on our tree below to help our swifts fly across the world.

swift appeal