The first Templar House at Temple Mount, Jerusalem

"To the south of this holy Mussulman temple (the well-known dome-shaped Dome of the Rock, TN), on the extreme edge of the summit of Mount Moriah, and resting against the modern walls of the town of Jerusalem, stands the venerable christian church of the Virgin (now the Al-Aqsa Mosque; TN), erected by the Emperor Justinian, whose stupendous foundations, remaining to this day, fully justify the astonishing description given of the building by Procopius. (It is this building and its surroundings that was in about 1120 made available by king Baldwin to the newly formed group of knights of the "Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon"; TN).

That writer (so Procopius, TN) informs us that in order to get a level surface for the erection of the edifice, it was necessary, on the east and south sides of the hill, to raise up a wall of masonry from the valley below, and to construct a vast foundation, partly composed of solid stone and partly of arches and pillars (todat known as King Solomon's stables; TN). The stones were of such magnitude, that each block required to be transported in a truck drawn by forty of the emperor’s strongest oxen; and to admit of the passage of these trucks it was necessary to widen the roads leading to Jerusalem.

The forests of Lebanon yielded their choicest cedars for the timbers of the roof, and a quarry of variegated marble, seasonably discovered in the adjoining mountains, furnished the edifice with superb marble columns. The interior of this interesting structure, which still remains at Jerusalem, after a lapse of more than thirteen centuries, in an excellent state of preservation, is adorned with six rows of columns, from whence spring arches supporting the cedar beams and timbers of the roof; and at the end of the building is a round tower, surmounted by a dome. The vast stones, the walls of masonry, and the subterranean colonnade raised to support the south-east angle of the platform whereon the church is erected, are truly wonderful, and may still be seen by penetrating through a small door, and descending several flights of steps at the south-east corner of the inclosure.

Adjoining the sacred edifice the emperor erected hospitals, or houses of refuge, for travellers, sick people, and mendicants of all nations; the foundations whereof, composed of handsome Roman masonry, are still visible on either side of the southern end of the building."

source text: The history of the Knights Templars, the Temple Church and the Temple, by Charles G. Addison of the Inner Temple. London 1842; source illustration.

Support TemplarsNow™ by becoming a Patrontipping us or buying one of our Reliable Books

Tempelgesellschaft - a modern free Christian Community

 "We are a free Christian religious community. Free not only because we are not aligned to any of the Christian Churches, but also because our understanding of the essence of Christ’s message departs, in some aspects, from what they teach as being essential.

We teach and believe that the Kingdom of God is at one with the affirmation and practice of the commandment to love God and your fellow man. In working towards this Kingdom, we recognise the task given to humanity and unite in communities in order to contribute to its realisation on Earth according to the directive given by Jesus: »Seek first the Kingdom of God and His Justice!« (Matthew 6:33).

The name »Temple«, based on New Testament texts (Eph. 2:21,22 and 1 Peter 2:5a), expresses itself through the members of the community seeing themselves as living components of God’s temple, which they strive to build in unity and cooperation. Essential for Temple Society membership is not a commitment to doctrine, but the willingness to contribute to the Society’s task of cultivating Christian fellowship.

Because of its Free Christian orientation, the Temple Society is a member of the  Bund für Freies Christentum (Association for Free Christianity) and represents their concerns. We share a bond with all those who work for the good of humanity and towards peace."

"Following the call of their faith, they began moving to the Holy Land in 1868. They were the first to successfully drain swamps and make the land habitable for Europeans. To this day, many traces testify to their beneficial activity...

First of all a necessary distinction: they have nothing to do with the Knights Templar of the crusader era. That order was dissolved in 1312 AD.

The Christian community of the Templers evolved out of mid-nineteenth century Protestant Pietism. The Temple Society was brought into being by the theologian Christoph Hoffmann (1815-1885),  who was the son of the founder of the Korntal Pietist Community near Stuttgart and a delegate to the 1848 National Assembly in the Frankfurt Paulskirche. Its special concern is to return to the core message of Jesus, to his promise of the kingdom of God and his directive to contribute to the making of a better world through personal action to bring about this kingdom of love and kindness.

In view of the grave social ills of the time and guided by this basic attitude, Hoffmann and his followers saw the renewal of society in line with Jesus’ teachings as the foremost challenge facing a Christian community. They separated from the Church because they believed that, along with all the other Churches, the Protestant Church was neglecting this main task.

They perceived such renewal to be achievable through a more profound Christianity, where individuals strive to align their life and the choices they make with the words of Jesus in the New Testament, and where creeds, dogmas and rituals are of secondary importance in line with the Society’s motto: Set your mind on God’s kingdom and his justice before everything else.

source quotes and illustration: tempelgesellschaft.de

Support TemplarsNow™ by becoming a Patrontipping us or buying one of our Reliable Books

An Analysis of Prophet Muhammad’s Covenants with Christians

"This article examines the roles that religious pluralism and civic rights played in Prophet Muhammad’s vision of a “Muslim nation”. I demonstrate how Muhammad desired a pluralistic society in which citizenship and equal rights were granted to all people regardless of religious beliefs and practices.

The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of his time are used as a framework for analysis. These documents have received little attention in our time, but their messages are crucial in light of current debates about Muslim-Christian relations.

The article campaigns for reviving the egalitarian spirit of the Covenants by refocusing our understanding of the ummah as a site for religious freedom and civil rights. Ultimately, I argue that the Covenants of Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of his time can be used to develop a stronger narrative of democratic partnership between Muslims and Christians in the “Islamic world” and beyond."

This blog quotes the abstract of the paper "Religious Pluralism and Civic Rights in a “Muslim Nation”: An Analysis of Prophet Muhammad’s Covenants with Christians" by Craig Considine, published on www.mdpi.com; illustration source www.covenantsoftheprophet.com
  
Support TemplarsNow™ by becoming a Patrontipping us or buying one of our Reliable Books

The role of women in the Military Orders

The military orders differed in their attitudes towards the admission of women. Some accepted women as full sisters, while others did not. A review on Rule and practise.

Knights Templar Mass at Lier, Belgium, March 2010


On Sunday March 28, 2010, at the Holy Cross Church at Lier, Belgium, the "Orde Supremus militaris Templi Hierosolymitani militiae Christi Oecumenis Belgicae" held its annual commemoration mass for deceased borthers and sisters of the Templar Order.

At the same event a new Knights Sword was consecrated. In the future thus Sword will be used to knight new member of the Knights Templar.

For further information go to www.osmth-mco.eu


Support TemplarsNow™ by becoming a Patrontipping us or buying one of our Reliable Books

The Rule of St. Benedict Compared with the Rule of the Templars

The Primitive Rule of the Templars had as a model the Rule of St. Benedict, influenced greatly by the reformed Cistercian version, and from this base developed their own distinct code of military, spiritual, and everyday life. As a result, the Benedictine and Templar Rules bear considerable similarities.
 

"Who were the first Norwegian crusaders?"

"Several thousand Norwegians answered the call of the Pope to undertake the perilous journey to Jerusalem. What do we know about them? 
 

Jerusalem Temple Mount: The Charles Wilson and Charles Warren map collection

This link leads to the Charles Wilson and Charles Warren map collection with notes (1864 AD) of the Jerusalem Temple Mount, with detailed descriptions and reconstructions.



Note "Salomon's Stables" in the right hand corner (the dotted pattern), which probably were used by the Knights Templars, while their House was at what now is the Al-Aqsa  Mosque, located near the southwestern tip of the Temple platform.

Source www.bible.ca

Support TemplarsNow™ by becoming a Patrontipping us or buying one of our Reliable Books

Frisian ("Dutch") participation in the Crusades

"Frisian *) participation in the Crusades is attested from the very beginning of the First Crusade, but their presence is only felt substantially during the Fifth Crusade (1217–1221). They participated in almost all the major Crusades and the Reconquista.

Interreligious protection of the “people of the book” - theory and practise

"
It might be surprising to imagine that the societies of the medieval Mediterranean were brimming with diversity. The concepts of diversity and multiculturalism seem, in many respects, to be associated with modernity. However, linguistic and religious diversity were facts of everyday life throughout the medieval world. And —very much like today— diversity had its share of proponents and its discontents.

Economic and religious independence of the Knights Templar

"Independent and permanent, (made so by the papal bulls Omne datum optimum (1139), Milites Templi (1144) and Militia Dei (1145), TN)  the Templars needed the means to sustain themselves. As defenders of the goods of the Church it was appropriate to exempt them from the payment of tithes, while at the same time giving them the right to acquire them, provided that they had the assent of the bishops and their clergy.

Moreover, such a structure needed not only material resources, but spiritual guidance as well, and the bull granted the Order its own priests for the first time. Once in the Order, these priests were as much under the control of the Master as the knights and sergeants, despite the fact that the Master was not ordained. The Order was similarly allowed its own oratories, where divine office could he heard undisturbed by seculars, and around which they and their associates could be buried.

source text:  Malcolm Barber The New Knighthood: A History of the Order of the Temple (Canto) (New Ed) [Paperback]; illustration source

Support TemplarsNow™ by becoming a Patron, tipping us or buying one of our Reliable Books

The militarization of the Hospitallers, mid 12th century

"Gerard, a native of Provence, was at this period (start of the 12th century; TN) at the head of the society (of the Hospital of St. John; TN), with the title of “Guardian of the Poor.” He was succeeded (A.D. 1118) by Raymond Dupuy, a knight of Dauphiné, who drew up a series of rules for the direction and government of his brethren. In these rules *) no traces are discoverable of the military spirit which afterwards animated the order of the Hospital of St. John. That changed.

Foundation of the Hospitallers of Saint John at the end of the 11th century

"In the eleventh century, when pilgrimages to Jerusalem had greatly increased, some Italian merchants of Amalfi, who carried on a lucrative trade with Palestine, purchased of the Caliph Monstasser-billah, a piece of ground in the christian quarter of the Holy City, near the Church of the Resurrection, whereon two hospitals were constructed, the one being appropriated for the reception of male pilgrims, and the other for females.

Papel bulls and the Knights Templar summarized

"There are many important dates in the history the Middle Ages, but some notable ones were the issuance of the Papal Bulls and, in this instance, those issued for and against the medieval Knights Templar. A Papal Bull is a formal proclamation or order issued by the Pope and the use of "bull" is derived from the lead seal or "bulla" that is appended to the end of the order to authenticate it. Originally a Papal Bull was used for normal communications, but would evolve and used for formal and important occasions.

Great Priory Knights Templar International, Paris, 2012



Video of the Great Priory of the Knights Templar International Chapter of France held in Paris, 16-18 March 2012 "Remembering the Grand Prior of Jacques de Molay".

Souce YouTube.


Support TemplarsNow™ by becoming a Patron, tipping us or buying one of our Reliable Books




The Templar Seal

"The first seal that we are aware of is one of Grand Master Everard de Barres, a small wax seal from 1147 with the inscription “TUBE: TEMPLI: XPI. ....  Seals were used to validate letters, edicts and documents. With these seals, the authenticity of the document was validated.

Promo-video OSMTH Knights Templar Belgium


Support TemplarsNow™ by becoming a Patron, tipping us or buying one of our Reliable Books




source


Support TemplarsNow™ by becoming a Patron, tipping us or buying one of our Reliable Books

Knights Templar and Papal bulls: Militea Dei (1145)

"'Militea Dei’, the third of the papal bulls, issued by Pope Eugenius III in 1145, is very similar in both content and style to the one year older earlier ‘Milites templi’ (1144). The bull begins with praise for the knights’ efforts for the eastern church, drawing attention yet again to important military task the Order was saddled with. The bull moves on, much like the bull before it, to compel the clergy again to gather resources for the Templars.

The Templar force counted

The number of Knights Templar during the 200 years of their existence remains open for debate. TemplarsNow collects information on this issue.

The early years of the Knights Templar - 1104 - 1120

"The first history of the Brotherhood is known as the time that occurs between the Synod of Nablus (January 16, 1120, TN) until the Council of Troyes (January 13, 1129, TN), where the Order is definitely created, but...what about before?

Before this period that covers from 1104 through 1120...what occurs during this period? This prehistory is the dark era of these knights. How did they support themselves?

As we shall see they had more than ample support, powerful support such as no other group of this sort ever counted on, not even the Deacon of St. John Hospitalier, to take off with such self assured success. They had economic power, they had hosts, they had lawfull cover. Later would come donations that miraculously multiply upon being accepted at Troyes. Their logistics and marketing worked marvelously.

Their provenance was made up of members of royalty and from the different noble houses of the Franks: Burgundians, Normans. etc. made the rest an easy passage of alliance with the highest spheres of the church, perhaps as Mellado says about its early ambition having no measure, perhaps it was not all bucolic and romantic as it has passed on in the annals of its first history.

It is a natural understanding that prior to this time there was already a formation “in testing” since previous  years. How many? Not known, but logic prevails and we must yield and honor the closest hypothesis based on archival documents that were consulted. If my conjectures are correct (and there is no authentic proof to think that they are not possible) we could be talking not of the nine years of its existence until Nablus. If we count 1104 as the year of its conception until 1114 when it is already constituted and is put into practice upon the arrival of the Hugh’s, in that year, until 1120, when its officially recognized at Nablus, some 16 years had transpired that would encompass the novitiate, the temporal acknowledgment; the creation of the Brotherhood or congregation in the aforementioned Synod. It can be stratified in six different periods.
  1. Ideological and embryonic phase from 1104 until 1107, in which the creation of a police force is perceived as necessary. Creative steps are taken that leave Godfrey of Sainte-Omer tasked with its creation.
  2. Formation of the Militia Christi phase, incorpora-ting same with knights related to the conquerors that take Palestine as the new promised land, there whe-re the mister nobody’s can become someone, forcing that social stratification (35). In the long run, the church had served on not few occasions as a means of social climbing.
  3. Phase of activation with the presence of the Hugh’s from 1114 to 1120, where their relationship would be without rules,habits, monastic vows, no depen-dency on military or ecclesiastical authorities, bound only by the particular and personal oath of each of its members. Here we may apply from William of Tyre who wrote “the knights wore secular garb, they wore clothing such as all folk wear...”
  4. Foundation phase, Synod of Nablus (1120, TN) of the congregation or brotherhood, with a proper name, rules, dwellings, monastic vows, uniformity, disciplines, etc.,
  5. Acceptance by the church at Troyes phase (1129, TN). The Creation of the Order.
  6. Definite consolidation of the Order in 1139 by the Omne Datum Optimum Papal Bull.

(...) Thus the date of creation of the embryonic Templars, would be around 1107/1113, (...) From 1114 until 1120 is the recruiting phase. In 1120 the Brotherhood is legalized and in 1129 the Order is created by the Holy See, and is confirmed in 1139."

This blog quotes from an article "The First Templar Knights (Part 2)  -  The origin of the Temple" by Josè Maria Fernandez Nùñe in the December 2015 OSMTJ Spain The Graal Magazine to be downloaded here.  The text and interpunction was slightly improved and clarified. For references see the original text. Illustration King Baldwin meeting Hughees de Payns source

Support TemplarsNow™ by becoming a Patron, tipping us or buying one of our Reliable Books

Carta caritatis: the Cistercian constitution - blue print of the Templar rule


"Carta Caritatis’ (also known as the Charter of Charity) is a Cistercian source that is considered ‘the fundamental constitution of the Cistercian Order.’49 There is much debate amongst historians as to when the charter was actually written.

Many historians, including W. A. Parker Mason, believe the charter was completed by 1117, however, the modern historian, Lekai, argues that such a document would have taken decades longer. The work is generally attributed to Stephen Harding, the third abbot of the Cistercian Order, though modern historians agree that he was probably the author of only a primitive version of the source, and that the ‘Carta Caritatis’ was expanded by later generations, as and when it was appropriate....

At face value, the ‘Carta Caritatis’ is startlingly reminiscent of the Rule of Saint Benedict in its structure. However, while the Rule is a guide to how monks live their lives in the monastery, the charter reads much more like a legal document, not a guide, but an order. Thecharter is considered the Cistercian constitution due to its regulations for an intricate network of Cistercian houses. The formation of a constitution illustrates how quickly and rapidly the Cistercian Order had grown, no matter what part of the twelfth century it was written. The complex organisation and the mention of daughter-houses having daughterhouses of their own is testament to this."

This blog quotes freely from the thesis by Lori Firth, Hull University (2012):  "A Comparison of the Cistercian and Knights Templar Orders, And the Personal Influence of Bernard of Clairvaux", to be found here. Illustration By Jörg Breu the Elder - The Yorck Project (2002) 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei (DVD-ROM), distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH. ISBN: 3936122202., Public Domain, Link

Support TemplarsNow™ by becoming a Patron, tipping us or buying one of our Reliable Books

Religious fanaticism in the 12th Century Muslim camp

"The fiery zeal and warlike enthusiasm of the Templars were equalled, if not surpassed, by the stern fanaticism and religious ardour of the followers of Mahomet. “Noureddin fought,” says his oriental biographer, “like the meanest of his soldiers, saying, ‘Alas! it is now a long time that I have been seeking martyrdom without being able to obtain it.’ 

Religious fanaticism in the 12th Century Knights Templar camp

"The Templars style themselves “The Avengers of Jesus Christ,” and the “instruments and ministers of God for the punishment of infidels,” and the Pope and the holy fathers of the church proclaim that it is specially entrusted to them “to blot out from the earth all unbelievers,” and they hold out the joys of paradise as the glorious reward for the dangers and difficulties of the task.

Origin of the Cistercian Order: isolation and poverty

"The self-induced exclusion from the world discussed in the ‘Exordium Parvum’ is perhaps the first instance we see of the ideal of poverty, which became a part of the Order’s mantra.

Burton and Kerr point out that with the ideal of poverty, the author of the text is perhaps trying to conjure a comparison; ‘… embraced that poverty which… at one and the same time evoked the notion of apostolic poverty (making the ‘new monks’ the successors of the apostles as well as the early monks). They also argue that the formation of Cîteaux did not occur in complete isolation at all, and that the location of the founding house as described in the source is a manufactured ideal to reinforce the apostolic imagery and an association with the desert fathers; ‘…the reality of the site of the New Monastery was that it was far from remote but it was integrated into the territorial holdings of Burgundy, not many kilometres from the ducal and ecclesiastical centre of Dijon, and settled enough to have a rural population.’

This is an argument that holds substance, as surely the later recruits that saved and ensured the success of the Order would not have heard of the way of life of the monks if they were so far from society. It seems likely that the founders of the Order sought uncultivated land but within a reasonable distance of the civilised world. Considering the success and riches that the later generations of the Order gained, partly through the cultivation of the isolated lands they were given and other ventures such as sheep-shearing in the desolate lands of Yorkshire, this isolation from the world could be considered as a break away from society to gain land (that their benefactors would not mind bestowing) and to avoid competition from other orders.

However such a view perhaps suggests that the early Cistercians did not hold the values that the Order held with esteem, and were only seeking to gain. It would be wrong to suggest that their search for isolation was borne out of greed, but it is interesting to note that their initial ideal of poverty led the Order to become vastly rich and powerful."

Souce text: thesis by Lori Firth, Hull University (2012): "A Comparison of the Cistercian and Knights Templar Orders, And the Personal Influence of Bernard of Clairvaux", to be found here. References in the source. Illustration

Cistercian monks working an praying source

Support TemplarsNow™ by becoming a Patron, tipping us or buying one of our Reliable Books

Knights Templar and Papal bulls: Milites Templi (1144)

"The second of the papal bulls, ‘Milites templi’ was issued in 1144 by Pope Celestine II. The bull discusses briefly the military aspects of the order; ‘through them that God has freed the eastern church from the filth of the pagans and defeated the enemies of the Christian faith.’ This shows the complete sanction for the military aspects of the order, even the taking of human life, if it means fighting for the Christian realm.

The exemplary military conduct of the Knights Templar documented

"Brother Everard des Barres, the newly-elected Master of the Temple, having collected together all the brethren from the western provinces, in 1147 joined the standard of Louis, the French king, and accompanied the crusaders to Palestine.

The Templar Rule and the Cistercian influence


"The Latin Rule, also known as the Primitive Rule, is one of the earliest sources of the Knights Templar. The Primitive Rule is a result of the discussions that took place at the Council of Troyes, which was under the heavy guidance of Bernard of Clairvaux, the new rising star of the Church. (...) The Council of Troyes took place in January 1129. The original Latin Rule, from the Council of Troyes, was actually written by the council’s scribe, John Michael, though the credit for its contents go to St Bernard; ‘At the very least he must have been a major influence on the framing of the Latin Rule, for it is clear that the later Templars valued their Cistercian links above all’.

The early Cistercians: back to strict observance of the Rule of St Benedict

"The ‘Exordium Parvum’ is a 12th century Cistercian document that includes the early history of Cîteaux, incorporating official letters and documents with narrative. While this source illustrates to us that the monks left Molesme to pursue a more rigorous devotion to the Rule of St Benedict, yet there is contrary evidence within the ‘Exordium Cistercii’ that tells us that the monks left for a new way of life because Molesme placed too much emphasis on materialistic wealth and possessions.

Gregorian reform at the root of Cistercian monasticism

"The Gregorian Reforms (initiated by Pope Gregory VII and the circle he formed in the papal curia, c. 1050–80, dealt with the moral integrity and independence of the clergy, TN). This reform inspired others to seek a monastic life far from the secular world and all its excesses and greed, to a life based around control of desire, and the strict discipline of the rules of the desert fathers.

Many new orders were formed, namely Benedictine and Augustinian. Of these new orders, it was the Cluniacs that dominated in the monastic aspect of the Church (which in the medieval period was much more significant). The Cluniacs sought to follow the Rule of St Benedict, taking vows of obedience and poverty. The importance of the Cluniacs in this innovative period cannot be understated; ‘At the end of the eleventh century, at the height of its magnificence, Cluny was the head of a huge monastic empire containing many hundreds of dependencies and associated houses spread throughout western Europe....

The Cistercian Order finds its origins in the Cluniac monastery. It was from the abbey of Molesme, that Robert of Molesme with other monks, including Stephen Harding, left in search of a monastic life of stricter poverty than had been seen hitherto by the Cluniacs....The Cistercian, though he lived a communal life, had his salvation very much in his own hands than his Cluniac cousin: he was expected to do more to eradicate his own sins than to pray for the forgiveness of others. This illustrates some other differences between the two reformist orders.

The early Cistercians sought an isolated place, rejecting the world, to pursue this vocation.... The history of the Cistercian Order is integral to the history of western monasticism....Indeed, the history of the Cistercian Order is so intertwined with the history of medieval Europe as a whole, that it is hard to identify which influenced the other more."

This blog quotes freely from the thesis by Lori Firth, Hull University (2012):  "A Comparison of the Cistercian and Knights Templar Orders, And the Personal Influence of Bernard of Clairvaux", to be found here. References in this source. Illustration shows Pope Gregory VII source

Support TemplarsNow™ by becoming a Patron, tipping us or buying one of our Reliable Books

Knights Templar and Papal bulls: Omne datum optimum (1139)

"
To confirm the Order’s legitimacy in the Roman Catholic Church, three papal bulls (Omne datum optimum, Milites Templi and Militea Dei) were issued between 1139 and 1145.

The first of these bulls, ‘Omne datum optimum’ issued in 1139 by Pope Innocent II allowed the Order many privileges when it came to gaining resources for itself. The bull exempted the Knight Templar from the payment of tithes, which was criticised by many, perhaps due to jealousy. Prior to this the only other order to gain this exemption was the Cistercians. The Templars were also given permission to gain wealth and support for their order’s growth from the plundering in battles.

Although the Templar brothers were not permitted to hold money for themselves (which is another similarity to the Cistercians) the Templars rules seem to be far more lax than the Cistercians when it came to wealth. This brings into question the supposed Templar ideal of poverty that was made apparent in the Latin Rule.

Another feature of this papal bull was that priests were added to the Knights Templar which shows that the Order was growing quickly and that a hierarchical structure was coming into place. Much like the hierarchical structure of the Cistercians in which the Abbot of Cîteaux was the leader, the Master in the Knights Templar was the head of the Order. This makes the document similar again to ‘The Charter of Charity’ in the way that it sets out the Order’s structure.

Perhaps the most important aspect of ‘Omne datum optimum’ was that ‘this effectively made the Order answerable only to the pope, and therefore free from all other ecclesiastical and secular demands.’ This was the fullest approval the Order could hope to achieve from the papacy and as a result the Order gained an independence from local authorities that must have caused discontent with other orders, not dissimilar to
the issues the Cistercians faced with the Cluniacs. Piers Paul Read suggests that this authorisation and sanction for the Knights Templar may not have been borne completely out of the pope feeling passionate about the Templar cause; Read argues that St Bernard’s support of Innocent II during his contested election secured the papal seat for Innocent, and crudely asks ‘Was Omne Datum Optimum Bernard’s reward for his support?’ If this is the case then it shows yet again that the influence of St Bernard and the Cistercians was absolutely pivotal in the growth and popularity of the military order."

This blog quotes freely from the thesis by Lori Firth, Hull University (2012):  "A Comparison of the Cistercian and Knights Templar Orders, And the Personal Influence of Bernard of Clairvaux", to be found here; Illustration: Pope Innocent II source

Support TemplarsNow™ by becoming a Patron, tipping us or buying one of our Reliable Books
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The origin of the Cistercian Order by its own account: Exordium Parvum


"Exordium Parvum’ is a source written by the Cistercians themselves and appears to be a simple and reliable retelling of the formation of the order, thought to have been written before 1119. W. A. Parker Mason says; ‘the account is so bald and straightforward that it is transparently truthful, its very conciseness being in its favour, while the documents also must be accepted as genuine’. The purpose of this source not only seems to be a basic history of the foundation of the order, but also as a document that legitimises the origins of the Cistercian order.

The Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem - contemporary to the Knights Templar

"The Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem owes its origins to Godfrey de Bouillon of the first Crusade, who gathered around him a group of Knights who were entrusted with the protection of the religious Chapter of Canons at the Holy Sepulchre of Christ in 1100. Godfrey had been elected leader of the victorious Crusaders, but refused the title of King. Instead he took on the title "Advocatus Sancti Sepulchri" - "Defender of the Holy Sepulchre".

Reshaping the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem - 1847 to present

"After their origin in 1103 and some 80 years of existence, the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem first began to fail as a cohesive military body of knights after Saladin regained Jerusalem in 1182, and completely ceased to exist in that format after the defeat of Acre in 1291. Only in 1847 the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem was restored and Pope Pius IX modernised the Order. 

The Approach of the modern Knights Templar OSMTH

The main modern international Templar Order is the "Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani" OSMTH or Knights Templar International. What is the Approach from the OSMTH according to the Order's Overview of Purpose and Activities?

Breaking away of the Church from the secular society in the 11th century

From the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries, medieval Europe and the development of the Church saw rapid and radical change. After centuries of a move away from the archaic values of the desert fathers, the Church became embroiled in the political structure of Europe and became more and more intertwined with the secular world as the secular and spiritual worlds fought for power. How did this change come to be?

A Comparison of the Cistercian and Knights Templar Orders

The Cistercian Order is often seen as the religious main precursor and mentor of the Order of the Knights Templar. Was that established through structure or ideology? And what was the role of Bernard of Clairvaux?

The trial of the Templars summarized - quotes


The trial of the Templars has been summarized by Malcolm Barber in the Introduction to "The Debate on the Trial of the Templars (1307–1314)". This blog quotes a part of the introduction.

"The trial of the Templars is one of the most sensational events of the high middle ages. Contemporaries expressed astonishment when, on the 13th, the day after the funeral, all the members of the order in France were suddenly arrested and accused of what amounted to the renunciation of the faith that they were supposed to be defending with their lives. They had, the French government alleged, all been received into the order in ceremonies in which they denied Christ, spat on a crucifix and engaged in obscene kissing with their receptor and, thereafter, they had been obliged to take part in acts of sodomy with other brothers and to worship idols. Molay was not alone: during November and December, French royal officials succeeded in gaining admissions of guilt from nearly all the Templars in their custody, and it looked as if the order was doomed.

However, the trial was prolonged because of unexpected resistance, first from the pope, Clement V, and then from the Templars themselves, led by the order’s former procurator at the papal court, Peter of Bologna. Clement V intervened because he regarded the affair as an affront to his jurisdiction and dignity, for he had not been consulted about the arrests but, as he could not reverse the process, he decided to attempt to take over the proceedings himself, ordering arrests in other countries and conducting his own inquiries. The papal intervention had a quite startling effect, for some of the Templars withdrew their confessions, claiming they had been made under coercion. Thus, early in 1308, the pope suspended the proceedings, and it was only after massive pressure from the French crown, culminating in a direct confrontation at Poitiers in May and June 1308, that he could be induced to restart them. This time they took the form of a papal commission to inquire into the order as a whole, and a series of local, episcopal inquiries, which were to investigate individuals at the diocesan level.

The operation of the papal commission in Paris offered the Templars another opportunity and there, in the spring of 1310, they mounted such an effective defence that the French government had to resort to further intimidation in the form of execution by burning of various groups of Templars who had the misfortune to be held in dioceses where the bishops were closely allied to the French monarchy. Even then, there were Templars willing to offer a defence before the commission, but the French government’s control of the personnel of the order meant that few of them had the chance to speak out again. The end came in the spring of 1312 at the council of Vienne, when the pope, having gathered reports from across Christendom, declared that the order was too defamed to continue and thus suppressed it, although he did not condemn it on the original charges. Its property was to be transferred to the Hospitallers – by this time established in Rhodes – so that it could continue to be used in the cause of the recovery of the Holy Land, which the pope claimed had been the original intention of the donors."

Support TemplarsNow™ by becoming a Patron, tipping us or buying one of our Reliable Books

The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem - non-military blueprint of the Knights Templar?

The origins of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem date back to the First Crusade, when its leader, Godfrey de Bouillon, liberated Jerusalem. As part of his operations to organise the religious, military and public bodies of the territories newly freed from Muslim control, he founded the Order of Canons of the Holy Sepulchre.

According to accounts of the Crusades, in 1103 the first King of Jerusalem, Baldwin I, assumed the leadership of this canonical order, and reserved the right for himself and his successors (as agents of the Patriarch of Jerusalem) to appoint Knights to it, should the Patriarch be absent or unable to do so.

The Order’s members included not only the Regular Canons (Fratres) but also the Secular Canons (Confratres) and the Sergentes. The latter were armed knights chosen from the crusader troops for their qualities of valour and dedication; they vowed to obey Augustinian Rule of poverty and obedience and undertook specifically, under the command of the King of Jerusalem, to defend the Holy Sepulchre and the Holy Places.

Very soon after the First Crusade the troops – including the Knights of the Order of Canons of the Holy Sepulchre – began to return to their homelands. This led to the creation of priories all over Europe, which were part of the Order as they came under the jurisdiction of the noble knights or prelates who had been invested on the Holy Sepulchre itself and who, although they were no longer in the direct service of the King of Jerusalem, continued to belong to the Order of Canons.

The Order first began to fail as a cohesive military body of knights after Saladin regained Jerusalem in 1182, and completely ceased to exist in that format after the defeat of Acre in 1291. The passing of the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem left the Order without a leader, though it continued to survive in the European priories thanks to the protection of sovereigns, princes, bishops and the Holy See.

The priories kept alive the ideals of the Crusader Knights: propagation of the Faith, defence of the weak, charity towards other human beings. With the exception of events in Spain, it was only rarely that the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre ever took part again in military action to defend Christianity.

In the 14th century, the Holy See made an extremely high payment to the Egyptian Sultan so that he would grant the right to protect the Christian Sanctuaries to the Franciscan Friars Minor. Throughout the whole period of the Latin Patriarchate’s suppression, the right to create new Knights was the prerogative of the representative of the highest Catholic authority in the Holy Land: the Custos.

Elsewhere on this website it is argued that some researchers suggest that the origins of the Temple can be found in the associations that the Knightly Order of the Sepulcher formed with the Order of the Canons Regular of the Holy Sepulcher. It seems this group may have been known as the “Milites Christi,” or “Milites Sancti Sepulchri”, later to be known as the Knights Templar.

Source of text of all but the last paragraph and illustration sleohs.com

Support TemplarsNow™ by becoming a Patron, tipping us or buying one of our Reliable Books 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Ribat, a muslim model for Christian religious militia such as the Knights Templar?

"The Templars were the first military order,  a completely new, hybrid type of organization merging the hitherto mutually exclusive spheres of chivalry and monasticism into a single institution of sacred violence.a Beforehand, chivalry and monasticism had been regarded as incompatible spheres. It was only at the beginning of the nineteenth century that the suggestion was first made that this order was inspired by Muslim institutions.

Introduction to the Middle Ages: Barbarians, Christians and Muslims - quotes

"The Middle Ages were not only a period of European civilization. There was the western medieval period and that of the Eastern Empire, which still survived among the splendours of Byzantium for 1000 years after the fall of Rome. During those same centuries a great Arab civilization flourished, while in Europe there was a more or less clandestine, but very lively Jewish culture. The boundaries between these different cultural traditions were not as marked as people think today.

March 18, 2016 - 702nd Commemoration death of Jaques de Molay

On March 18, 2016 we commemorated the 702nd anniversary of the death of the last official Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay. De Molay, born in 1244 was put to death in Paris by the King of France on 18 March 1314. He was the 23rd and last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, leading the Order from 20 April 1292 until it was dissolved by order of Pope Clement V in 1307.

Though little is known of his actual life and deeds except for his last years as Grand Master, he is the best known Templar, along with the Order's founder and first Grand Master, Hugues de Payens (1070–1136). Jacques de Molay's goal as Grand Master was to reform the Order, and adjust it to the situation in the Holy Land during the waning days of the Crusades.

Death-site plaque of Jaques de Molay on Isle des Juifs, Paris
As European support for the Crusades had dwindled, other forces were at work which sought to disband the Order and claim the wealth of the Templars as their own. King Philip IV of France, deeply in debt to the Templars, had De Molay and many other French Templars arrested in 1307 and tortured into making false confessions. When de Molay later retracted his confession, Philip had him executed by burning upon a scaffold on the Paris Ile des Juifs in the River Seine on 18 March 1314.

source text and illustrations wikipedia.org

12th century Templar ecclesiastical privileges, powers and immunities by papal bull "Omne Datum Optimum"

In 1172 AD Pope Alexander III famous bull, omne datum optimum, confirming the previous privileges of the Templars, and conferring upon them additional powers and immunities, was published in England. 

The Hospitaller Order - from caring to fighting

"The first authentic notice of an intention on the part of the Hospitallers to occupy themselves with military matters, occurs in the bull of Pope Innocent the Second, dated 1130 AD. This bull is addressed to the archbishops, bishops, and clergy of the church universal, and informs them that the Hospitallers then retained, at their own expense, a body of horsemen and foot soldiers, to defend the pilgrims in going to and in returning from the holy places. 

Templar privileges, powers and immunities set by papal bull "Omne Datum Optimum" 1172 AD

In 1172 AD Pope Alexander’s famous bull, Omne datum optimum, confirming the previous privileges of the Templars, and conferring upon them additional powers and immunities, was published in England. 

Origin and remains of the Hospitaller Hospital at Jerusalem

"
In 603 AD, Pope Gregory I commissioned the Ravennate Abbot Probus, who was previously Gregory's emissary at the Lombard court, to build a hospital in Jerusalem to treat and care for Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land.

In 800, Emperor Charlemagne enlarged Probus' hospital and added a library to it. About 200 years later, in 1005, Caliph Al Hakim destroyed the hospital and three thousand other buildings in Jerusalem.

In 1023, merchants from Amalfi and Salerno in Italy were given permission by the Caliph Ali az-Zahir of Egypt to rebuild the hospital in Jerusalem. The hospital, which was built on the site of the monastery of Saint John the Baptist, took in Christian pilgrims travelling to visit the Christian holy sites. It was served by Benedictine monks.

The monastic hospitaller order was founded following the First Crusade by the Blessed Gerard, whose role as founder was confirmed by the papal bull Pie Postulatio Voluntatis issued by Pope Paschal II in 1113. Gerard acquired territory and revenues for his order throughout the Kingdom of Jerusalem and beyond.

Under his successor, Raymond du Puy de Provence, the original hospice was expanded to an infirmary near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Initially the group cared for pilgrims in Jerusalem, but the order soon extended to providing pilgrims with an armed escort, which soon grew into a substantial force. Thus the Order of St. John imperceptibly became military without losing its eleemosynary character. The Hospitallers and the Knights Templar became the most formidable military orders in the Holy Land. Frederick Barbarossa, the Holy Roman Emperor, pledged his protection to the Knights of St. John in a charter of privileges granted in 1185.
 
The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced the finding of the 1000-year-old building of the Hospitallers in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The building was spread out over more than 14.000 square metres and characterized by massive pillars, ribbed vaults, smaller halls, patient rooms and ceilings as high as 6 metres. “The Muslim Arab population was instrumental in assisting the Crusaders in establishing the hospital and teaching them medicine,” the IAA archaeologists said.  It was the Muslim hero Salah a-Din, who conquered Jerusalem from the Crusaders (1187, TN), who helped preserve the structure, allowing 10 Crusader monks to run the hospital.

Historical documents have revealed that the hospital was highly organised with different wings and departments for patients suffering from different medical conditions. In times of emergency, it could take in up to 2,000 patients from all religions.  There was even a system for ensuring Jewish patients received kosher food.

In the earthquake of 1457, the building collapsed. During the Ottoman Empire, what remained was used as a fruit and vegetable market that operated until 2000. 

Source Wikipedia and Order of Malta; Illustration source

Support TemplarsNow™ by becoming a Patron, tipping us or buying one of our Reliable Books

Templar castles in 12th century Outremer - police and taxing stations

Conspiracy theorists would have it that the Knights Templar, especially in their early decades, did not do much more than excavating under the Temple Mountain, finding all kinds of esoteric items, and bringing those to Europe. Is this reality or did the Templars have practical tasks?

Templars at the court of the Counts of Flanders

"Ever since the founding of the Templar Order, the Templars had considerable influence on the Counts of Flanders. As early as in 1127 and 1128 Counts William Clito and Derrick, successively, donated the rights to the repay of their personal loans in the County to the Temple Order. Several Flemish noblemen subsequently followed their example. This was an important source of income for the Temple.