21 A lazerij for lepers. From the seventeenth century we see the appearance the jurisdiction of the town on the road to Aachen, some eightThe crusades caused a dramatic rise in the number of lepers inthe high middle ages and in Maastricht this led to thefoundation of a colony in an isolated location in an area underof the first regular hospitals, but centuries earlier,Maastricht had special institutions to care for people with infectious diseases. Or should we say ‘put away’ or hundred meters outside the German gate. Such a leper colony ‘removed from society’? Traditionally, the town has always been was called a ‘lazarij’ or ‘lazerij’, after Lazarus who is described compelled to take active steps to deal with diseases like leprosy. in the bible as a leper who was cured by Christ. Placing a leper The Roman armies brought leprosy from Asia Minor to in a lazerij was clearly a form of quarantine for the protection Europe. The disease reached our regions in the early part of the of the healthy population, and was accompanied by a farewell fifth century. From the very beginning lepers were placed ritual. The family reported the patient to the priest, who outside the community, in other words outside the built up and blessed the parishioner on leaving for the colony. This indicates inhabited areas. A will, drawn up by a certain deacon Grimo or that usually lepers did not return home and were in fact Adelgisel of Verdun in 634 bears witness to this. He stipulated declared dead, which was underlined by the fact that they lost that his property in the domain of Flémalle was to be used for all their money and possessions. the lepers of Maastricht. We do not know where the lepers Lepers were permitted to beg in and around the lived at that time, but it must have been outside the Maastricht lazerij, also named the Sick, but the town paid their settlements of Maastricht and Wyck. costs of living from the revenues from its land.
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