In the early Middle Ages, a xenodochium or xenodoch(e)ion (from Ancient Greek ξενοδοχεῖον, ksenodokheion; place for strangers, inn, guesthouse) was either a hostel or hospital, usually specifically for foreigners or pilgrims, although the term could refer to charitable institutions in general. The xenodochium was a church institution that first appeared in the Byzantine world. Xenodochia were more common than institutions of a more specific nature, such as the gerocomium (a place for the old), nosocomium (for the sick) and orphanotrophium (for orphans). A hospital for victims of plague was called a xenodochium pestiferorum (guesthouse of the plague-carriers).
- Guenter B. Risse, Mending Bodies, Saving Souls: A History of Hospitals (Oxford University Press, 1999), 82.