A journey back in time that only opened the gates to further, deeper exploration.
We arrived as seekers and left as knights.
I've flown to Rhodes (Rodi in Italian) to reunite with my daughters. This island once cradled our distant ancestors, the Knights of Rhodes, before they set sail for Southern Italy. This journey, steeped in our heritage, feels exceptionally special, a voyage home of sorts.
Our tale begins in the 11th century, in the Holy City of Jerusalem, where the Knights Hospitaller was founded. Among the founding knights was a man named Ezra, who devoted his life to providing care for pilgrims and the sick, true to the mission of the Order.
As the First Crusade ended, Ezra and his fellow knights were forced to take arms to defend the Holy Land. Their presence became a beacon of hope for the faithful, and as the course of history shifted, and the knights were compelled to move their base to the coastal city of Acre. It was here that Ezra's son, Isaac, distinguished himself through valor and kindness. Despite the tumultuous circumstances, Isaac held onto the core values of the Order, living a life of service and courage.
The fall of Acre in 1291 led the knights to retreat in the island of Cyprus. Isaac, like his father, was now a prominent figure in the Order. His leadership and seafaring skills were crucial during this transition. However, Cyprus was not to be their home for long.
In 1309, Isaac's son, Barnabas, led the Order to the island of Rhodes. Here, the knights became a sovereign entity, defending the Eastern Mediterranean against Ottoman incursions for nearly 200 years. Alas, upon the fall of Rhodes in 1522, the Knights Hospitaller were offered the island of Malta, where they would continue their legacy. However, Barnabas' great great grand son, Leandros, took a different path. Driven by his love for Isabella, a woman from Southern Italy, Leandros relocated to her homeland, sailing across the Mediterranean, as far as any Rodi Knight had ever done.
Today their descendants carry on their legacy, exploring the world as far beyond and deep within as their bodies and minds will take them, in the name of freedom, justice, and good will. From the holy city of Jerusalem, through the challenges of Acre, the island of Cyprus, and the strongholds of Rhodes, the spirit of the Knight is alive and well in the Rodi clan.