On the internet, for example on the page of the OSMTH of France, one is preparing to celebrate this year the 900th anniversary of the Knights Templar. This stems from the proposed year of origin 1118 which is nowadays considered false.
At present it is widely accepted that it was in 1119 that the French knight Hugues de Payens approached King Baldwin II of Jerusalem (crowned king at Bethlehem on Christmas Day 1118) and Warmund, Patriarch of Jerusalem (installed in August or September 1118), and proposed creating a monastic order for the protection of these pilgrims. King Baldwin and Patriarch Warmund agreed to the request, probably at the Council of Nablus in January 1120. The king granted the Templars a headquarters in a wing of the royal palace on the Temple Mount in the captured Al-Aqsa Mosque.
In his paper The first Templar Knight (part 2), the origin of the Temple, Josè Maria Fernandez Nùñez proposes a six phase development period of the premordial Order of the Temple, from 1104 to 1120.
"The first history of the Brotherhood is known as the time that occurs between the Synod of Nablus (January 16 to 20, 1120, TN) until the Council of Troyes (January 13, 1129, TN), where the Order as such 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.
- 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.
- Formation of the Militia Christi phase, incorporating 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. In the long run, the church had served on not few occasions as a means of social climbing.
- 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 dependency 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...”
- Foundation phase, Synod of Nablus (1120, TN) of the congregation or brotherhood, with a proper name, rules, dwellings, monastic vows, uniformity, disciplines, etc.,
- Acceptance by the church at Troyes phase (1129, TN). The Creation of the Order.
- Definite consolidation of the Order in 1139 by the Omne Datum Optimum Papal Bull.
The quotes above illustrate that the ninth centennial of the Knights Templar should be celebrated in 2019 at the earliest and preferrably in January 2020. If more official events are taken as date of birth, the celebrations should be even later.
This blog quotes briefly from Wikipedia but mainly from the 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.