The St John Eye Hospital GroupDownload full article

Jerusalem and the Occupied Territories


About a thousand years ago, in 1070, a hospice was established in Jerusalem to care for pilgrims travelling to those distant lands. Founded by Traders from Amalfi (whose armorial cross formed the basis of the modern St John cross you are familiar with), and staffed by monks from a nearby Benedictine abbey, this Hospice treated travellers from all walks of life, irrespective of their origin or creed. Although over time the Hospital of St John developed into a religious and military order, with the subsequent dissolution of the Order, the Hospital ceased to exist. However, in 1882 Queen Victoria gave her support to the formation to a new ‘Eye Hospital of St John in Jerusalem’, once again established to relieve the suffering of patients in this land.

The modern St John Eye Hospital Group now includes the main Hospital in East Jerusalem, the satellite eye care centres in Hebron, Anabta and Gaza, and mobile outreach clinics which operate throughout the West Bank, providing charitable eye care to the people of the occupied Palestine territory, approximately half of whom live in poverty.

St John Eye Hospital, Jerusalem. By Molly Verity

St John Eye Hospital, Jerusalem. By Molly Verity

Sadly, the rate of blindness in this population is many times higher than in the developed world such as the UK, Europe and the USA; almost a third of the population is under the age of ten, and eye disease is particularly high in this group, including squint, infantile glaucoma (raised pressure in the eye), cataract (preventing normal visual development), and serious eye injuries. In adult patients, the problems of cataract, glaucoma and diabetes remain a major problem, but are potentially treatable.

Despite operating in one of the most challenging and changing geopolitical environments in the world, in 2012 St John treated over 112,500 patients, with over 4700 patients having surgery, all possible due to corporate, institutional and personal charitable donations from countries around the globe.

If you are interested to find out more about the work of this remarkable organisation, please visit their website given below. Please also consider supporting this charity if you are able – the Hospital group is modern and efficient, and your donation will be used effectively to relieve eye suffering among these unfortunate people. Thank you.

Contact St John Eye Hospital:

London Fundraising and Marketing Office
4 Charterhouse Mews

Tel: 44 (0)20 7253 2582
Fax: 44 (0)20 7253 2612

Articles on the work of St John

‘The St John Eye Hospital Group Historic Order, Modern Hospital’

‘To cure often, to comfort always’

‘Going into 2019: A Perspective and Factsheet on St John Eye Hospital Group’

David H Verity, KStJ
Hospitaller, Order of St John
Trustee, and Chair of the Clinical Governance Committee
The St John Eye Hospital Group