The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon (Latin: Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Salomonici), also known as the Order of Solomon's Temple, the Knights Templar or simply the Templars, were a Catholic military order recognised in 1139 by the papal bull Omne datum optimum. The order was founded in 1119 and was active until about 1312.
The order, which was among the wealthiest and most powerful, became a favoured charity throughout Christendom and grew rapidly in membership and power. They were prominent in Christian finance. Templar knights, in their distinctive white mantles with a red cross, were among the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades. Non-combatant members of the order, who formed as much as 90% of the order's members, managed a large economic infrastructure throughout Christendom, developing innovative financial techniques that were an early form of banking, building its own network of nearly 1,000 commanderies and fortifications across Europe and the Holy Land, and arguably forming the world's first multinational corporation.
The Templars were closely tied to the Crusades; when the Holy Land was lost, support for the order faded. Rumours about the Templars' secret initiation ceremony created distrust, and King Philip IV of France – deeply in debt to the order – took advantage of the situation to gain control over them. In 1307, he had many of the order's members in France arrested, tortured into giving false confessions, and burned at the stake. Pope Clement V disbanded the order in 1312 under pressure from King Philip.
The abrupt reduction in power of a significant group in European society gave rise to speculation, legend, and legacy through the ages.
|Active||c. 1119 – c. 1312|
|Type||Catholic military order|
|Role||Protection of Christian Pilgrims|
|Size||15,000–20,000 members at peak, 10% of whom were knights|
|Headquarters||Temple Mount, Jerusalem, Kingdom of Jerusalem|
|Patron||Saint Bernard of Clairvaux|
|Attire||White mantle with a red cross|
|Mascot(s)||Two knights riding a single horse|
|Engagements||The Crusades, including:|
|First Grand Master||Hugues de Payens|
|Last Grand Master||Jacques de Molay|
After Europeans in the First Crusade captured Jerusalem in 1099, many Christians made pilgrimages to various sacred sites in the Holy Land. Although the city of Jerusalem was relatively secure under Christian control, the rest of Outremer was not. Bandits and marauding highwaymen preyed upon pilgrims, who were routinely slaughtered, sometimes by the hundreds, as they attempted to make the journey from the coastline at Jaffa through to the interior of the Holy Land.
In 1119, the French knight Hugues de Payens approached King Baldwin II of Jerusalem and Warmund, Patriarch of Jerusalem, 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, and the king granted the Templars a headquarters in a wing of the royal palace on the Temple Mount in the captured Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Temple Mount had a mystique because it was above what was believed to be the ruins of the Temple of Solomon. The Crusaders therefore referred to the Al-Aqsa Mosque as Solomon's Temple, and from this location the new order took the name of Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, or "Templar" knights. The order, with about nine knights including Godfrey de Saint-Omer and André de Montbard, had few financial resources and relied on donations to survive. Their emblem was of two knights riding on a single horse, emphasising the order's poverty.
The impoverished status of the Templars did not last long. They had a powerful advocate in Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a leading Church figure, the French abbot primarily responsible for the founding of the Cistercian Order of monks and a nephew of André de Montbard, one of the founding knights. Bernard put his weight behind them and wrote persuasively on their behalf in the letter 'In Praise of the New Knighthood', and in 1129, at the Council of Troyes, he led a group of leading churchmen to officially approve and endorse the order on behalf of the church. With this formal blessing, the Templars became a favoured charity throughout Christendom, receiving money, land, businesses, and noble-born sons from families who were eager to help with the fight in the Holy Land. Another major benefit came in 1139, when Pope Innocent II's papal bull Omne Datum Optimum exempted the order from obedience to local laws. This ruling meant that the Templars could pass freely through all borders, were not required to pay any taxes, and were exempt from all authority except that of the pope.
With its clear mission and ample resources, the order grew rapidly. Templars were often the advance shock troops in key battles of the Crusades, as the heavily armoured knights on their warhorses would set out to charge at the enemy, ahead of the main army bodies, in an attempt to break opposition lines. One of their most famous victories was in 1177 during the Battle of Montgisard, where some 500 Templar knights helped several thousand infantry to defeat Saladin's army of more than 26,000 soldiers.
Although the primary mission of the order was militaristic, relatively few members were combatants. The others acted in support positions to assist the knights and to manage the financial infrastructure. The Templar Order, though its members were sworn to individual poverty, was given control of wealth beyond direct donations. A nobleman who was interested in participating in the Crusades might place all his assets under Templar management while he was away. Accumulating wealth in this manner throughout Christendom and the Outremer, the order in 1150 began generating letters of credit for pilgrims journeying to the Holy Land: pilgrims deposited their valuables with a local Templar preceptory before embarking, received a document indicating the value of their deposit, then used that document upon arrival in the Holy Land to retrieve their funds in an amount of treasure of equal value. This innovative arrangement was an early form of banking and may have been the first formal system to support the use of cheques; it improved the safety of pilgrims by making them less attractive targets for thieves, and also contributed to the Templar coffers.
Based on this mix of donations and business dealing, the Templars established financial networks across the whole of Christendom. They acquired large tracts of land, both in Europe and the Middle East; they bought and managed farms and vineyards; they built massive stone cathedrals and castles; they were involved in manufacturing, import and export; they had their own fleet of ships; and at one point they even owned the entire island of Cyprus. The Order of the Knights Templar arguably qualifies as the world's first multinational corporation.
In the mid-12th century, the tide began to turn in the Crusades. The Muslim world had become more united under effective leaders such as Saladin. Dissension arose among Christian factions in and concerning the Holy Land. The Knights Templar were occasionally at odds with the two other Christian military orders, the Knights Hospitaller and the Teutonic Knights, and decades of internecine feuds weakened Christian positions, both politically and militarily. After the Templars were involved in several unsuccessful campaigns, including the pivotal Battle of Hattin, Jerusalem was recaptured by Muslim forces under Saladin in 1187. The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II reclaimed the city for Christians in the Sixth Crusade of 1229, without Templar aid, but only held it briefly for a little more than a decade. In 1244, the Ayyubid dynasty together with Khwarezmi mercenaries recaptured Jerusalem, and the city did not return to Western control until 1917 when, during World War I, the British captured it from the Ottoman Empire.
The Templars were forced to relocate their headquarters to other cities in the north, such as the seaport of Acre, which they held for the next century. It was lost in 1291, followed by their last mainland strongholds, Tortosa (Tartus in what is now Syria) and Atlit in present-day Israel. Their headquarters then moved to Limassol on the island of Cyprus, and they also attempted to maintain a garrison on tiny Arwad Island, just off the coast from Tortosa. In 1300, there was some attempt to engage in coordinated military efforts with the Mongols via a new invasion force at Arwad. In 1302 or 1303, however, the Templars lost the island to the Egyptian Mamluk Sultanate in the Siege of Arwad. With the island gone, the Crusaders lost their last foothold in the Holy Land.
With the order's military mission now less important, support for the organization began to dwindle. The situation was complex, however, since during the two hundred years of their existence, the Templars had become a part of daily life throughout Christendom. The organisation's Templar Houses, hundreds of which were dotted throughout Europe and the Near East, gave them a widespread presence at the local level. The Templars still managed many businesses, and many Europeans had daily contact with the Templar network, such as by working at a Templar farm or vineyard, or using the order as a bank in which to store personal valuables. The order was still not subject to local government, making it everywhere a "state within a state" – its standing army, though it no longer had a well-defined mission, could pass freely through all borders. This situation heightened tensions with some European nobility, especially as the Templars were indicating an interest in founding their own monastic state, just as the Teutonic Knights had done in Prussia and the Knights Hospitaller were doing in Rhodes.
In 1305, the new Pope Clement V, based in Avignon, France, sent letters to both the Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay and the Hospitaller Grand Master Fulk de Villaret to discuss the possibility of merging the two orders. Neither was amenable to the idea, but Pope Clement persisted, and in 1306 he invited both Grand Masters to France to discuss the matter. De Molay arrived first in early 1307, but de Villaret was delayed for several months. While waiting, De Molay and Clement discussed criminal charges that had been made two years earlier by an ousted Templar and were being discussed by King Philip IV of France and his ministers. It was generally agreed that the charges were false, but Clement sent the king a written request for assistance in the investigation. According to some historians, King Philip, who was already deeply in debt to the Templars from his war with the English, decided to seize upon the rumours for his own purposes. He began pressuring the church to take action against the order, as a way of freeing himself from his debts.
At dawn on Friday, 13 October 1307 (a date sometimes linked with the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition) King Philip IV ordered de Molay and scores of other French Templars to be simultaneously arrested. The arrest warrant started with the phrase: "Dieu n'est pas content, nous avons des ennemis de la foi dans le Royaume" ["God is not pleased. We have enemies of the faith in the kingdom"]. Claims were made that during Templar admissions ceremonies, recruits were forced to spit on the Cross, deny Christ, and engage in indecent kissing; brethren were also accused of worshipping idols, and the order was said to have encouraged homosexual practices. The Templars were charged with numerous other offences such as financial corruption, fraud, and secrecy. Many of the accused confessed to these charges under torture, and their confessions, even though obtained under duress, caused a scandal in Paris. The prisoners were coerced to confess that they had spat on the Cross: "Moi, Raymond de La Fère, 21 ans, reconnais que [j'ai] craché trois fois sur la Croix, mais de bouche et pas de cœur" ("I, Raymond de La Fère, 21 years old, admit that I have spat three times on the Cross, but only from my mouth and not from my heart"). The Templars were accused of idolatry and were suspected of worshiping either a figure known as Baphomet or a mummified severed head they recovered, amongst other artifacts, at their original headquarters on the Temple Mount that many scholars theorize might have been that of John the Baptist, among other things.
Relenting to Phillip's demands, Pope Clement then issued the papal bull Pastoralis praeeminentiae on 22 November 1307, which instructed all Christian monarchs in Europe to arrest all Templars and seize their assets. Pope Clement called for papal hearings to determine the Templars' guilt or innocence, and once freed of the Inquisitors' torture, many Templars recanted their confessions. Some had sufficient legal experience to defend themselves in the trials, but in 1310, having appointed the archbishop of Sens, Philippe de Marigny, to lead the investigation, Philip blocked this attempt, using the previously forced confessions to have dozens of Templars burned at the stake in Paris.
With Philip threatening military action unless the pope complied with his wishes, Pope Clement finally agreed to disband the order, citing the public scandal that had been generated by the confessions. At the Council of Vienne in 1312, he issued a series of papal bulls, including Vox in excelso, which officially dissolved the order, and Ad providam, which turned over most Templar assets to the Hospitallers.
As for the leaders of the order, the elderly Grand Master Jacques de Molay, who had confessed under torture, retracted his confession. Geoffroi de Charney, Preceptor of Normandy, also retracted his confession and insisted on his innocence. Both men were declared guilty of being relapsed heretics, and they were sentenced to burn alive at the stake in Paris on 18 March 1314. De Molay reportedly remained defiant to the end, asking to be tied in such a way that he could face the Notre Dame Cathedral and hold his hands together in prayer. According to legend, he called out from the flames that both Pope Clement and King Philip would soon meet him before God. His actual words were recorded on the parchment as follows : "Dieu sait qui a tort et a péché. Il va bientot arriver malheur à ceux qui nous ont condamnés à mort" ("God knows who is wrong and has sinned. Soon a calamity will occur to those who have condemned us to death"). Pope Clement died only a month later, and King Philip died in a hunting accident before the end of the year.
The remaining Templars around Europe were either arrested and tried under the Papal investigation (with virtually none convicted), absorbed into other Catholic military orders, or pensioned off and allowed to live out their days peacefully. By papal decree, the property of the Templars was transferred to the Knights Hospitaller except in the Kingdoms of Castile, Aragon, and Portugal. Portugal was the first country in Europe where they had settled, occurring only two or three years after the orders foundation in Jerusalem and even having presence during Portugal's conception.
With the protection of the Portuguese king, Denis I, who refused to pursue and persecute the former knights as had occurred in all other sovereign states under the influence of the Catholic Church, in effect , causing the dissolution of the Templars. Templar organizations simply changed their name, from Knights Templar to the renown Order of Christ and also a parallel Supreme Order of Christ of the Holy See in which both are considered the successors.
In September 2001, a document known as the "Chinon Parchment" dated 17–20 August 1308 was discovered in the Vatican Secret Archives by Barbara Frale, apparently after having been filed in the wrong place in 1628. It is a record of the trial of the Templars and shows that Clement absolved the Templars of all heresies in 1308 before formally disbanding the order in 1312, as did another Chinon Parchment dated 20 August 1308 addressed to Philip IV of France, also mentioning that all Templars that had confessed to heresy were "restored to the Sacraments and to the unity of the Church". This other Chinon Parchment has been well known to historians, having been published by Étienne Baluze in 1693 and by Pierre Dupuy in 1751.
The current position of the Roman Catholic Church is that the medieval persecution of the Knights Templar was unjust, that nothing was inherently wrong with the order or its rule, and that Pope Clement was pressed into his actions by the magnitude of the public scandal and by the dominating influence of King Philip IV, who was Clement's relative.
The Templars were organized as a monastic order similar to Bernard's Cistercian Order, which was considered the first effective international organization in Europe. The organizational structure had a strong chain of authority. Each country with a major Templar presence (France, Poitou, Anjou, Jerusalem, England, Aragon (Spain), Portugal, Italy, Tripoli, Antioch, Hungary, and Croatia) had a Master of the Order for the Templars in that region.
All of them were subject to the Grand Master, appointed for life, who oversaw both the order's military efforts in the East and their financial holdings in the West. The Grand Master exercised his authority via the visitors-general of the order, who were knights specially appointed by the Grand Master and convent of Jerusalem to visit the different provinces, correct malpractices, introduce new regulations, and resolve important disputes. The visitors-general had the power to remove knights from office and to suspend the Master of the province concerned.
There was a threefold division of the ranks of the Templars: the noble knights, the non-noble sergeants, and the chaplains. The Templars did not perform knighting ceremonies, so any knight wishing to become a Knight Templar had to be a knight already. They were the most visible branch of the order, and wore the famous white mantles to symbolize their purity and chastity. They were equipped as heavy cavalry, with three or four horses and one or two squires. Squires were generally not members of the order but were instead outsiders who were hired for a set period of time. Beneath the knights in the order and drawn from non-noble families were the sergeants. They brought vital skills and trades from blacksmiths and builders, including administration of many of the order's European properties. In the Crusader States, they fought alongside the knights as light cavalry with a single horse. Several of the order's most senior positions were reserved for sergeants, including the post of Commander of the Vault of Acre, who was the de facto Admiral of the Templar fleet. The sergeants wore black or brown. From 1139, chaplains constituted a third Templar class. They were ordained priests who cared for the Templars' spiritual needs. All three classes of brother wore the order's red cross.
Starting with founder Hugues de Payens in 1118–1119, the order's highest office was that of Grand Master, a position which was held for life, though considering the martial nature of the order, this could mean a very short tenure. All but two of the Grand Masters died in office, and several died during military campaigns. For example, during the Siege of Ascalon in 1153, Grand Master Bernard de Tremelay led a group of 40 Templars through a breach in the city walls. When the rest of the Crusader army did not follow, the Templars, including their Grand Master, were surrounded and beheaded. Grand Master Gérard de Ridefort was beheaded by Saladin in 1189 at the Siege of Acre.
The Grand Master oversaw all of the operations of the order, including both the military operations in the Holy Land and Eastern Europe and the Templars' financial and business dealings in Western Europe. Some Grand Masters also served as battlefield commanders, though this was not always wise: several blunders in de Ridefort's combat leadership contributed to the devastating defeat at the Battle of Hattin. The last Grand Master was Jacques de Molay, burned at the stake in Paris in 1314 by order of King Philip IV.
Bernard de Clairvaux and founder Hugues de Payens devised a specific code of conduct for the Templar Order, known to modern historians as the Latin Rule. Its 72 clauses laid down the details of the knights' way of life, including the types of garments they were to wear and how many horses they could have. Knights were to take their meals in silence, eat meat no more than three times per week, and not have physical contact of any kind with women, even members of their own family. A Master of the Order was assigned "4 horses, and one chaplain-brother and one clerk with three horses, and one sergeant brother with two horses, and one gentleman valet to carry his shield and lance, with one horse." As the order grew, more guidelines were added, and the original list of 72 clauses was expanded to several hundred in its final form.
The knights wore a white surcoat with a red cross, and a white mantle also with a red cross; the sergeants wore a black tunic with a red cross on the front and a black or brown mantle. The white mantle was assigned to the Templars at the Council of Troyes in 1129, and the cross was most probably added to their robes at the launch of the Second Crusade in 1147, when Pope Eugenius III, King Louis VII of France, and many other notables attended a meeting of the French Templars at their headquarters near Paris. Under the Rule, the knights were to wear the white mantle at all times: they were even forbidden to eat or drink unless wearing it.
The red cross that the Templars wore on their robes was a symbol of martyrdom, and to die in combat was considered a great honour that assured a place in heaven. There was a cardinal rule that the warriors of the order should never surrender unless the Templar flag had fallen, and even then they were first to try to regroup with another of the Christian orders, such as that of the Hospitallers. Only after all flags had fallen were they allowed to leave the battlefield.
Although not prescribed by the Templar Rule, it later became customary for members of the order to wear long and prominent beards. In about 1240, Alberic of Trois-Fontaines described the Templars as an "order of bearded brethren"; while during the interrogations by the papal commissioners in Paris in 1310–1311, out of nearly 230 knights and brothers questioned, 76 are described as wearing a beard, in some cases specified as being "in the style of the Templars", and 133 are said to have shaved off their beards, either in renunciation of the order or because they had hoped to escape detection.
Initiation, known as Reception (receptio) into the order, was a profound commitment and involved a solemn ceremony. Outsiders were discouraged from attending the ceremony, which aroused the suspicions of medieval inquisitors during the later trials. New members had to willingly sign over all of their wealth and goods to the order and take vows of poverty, chastity, piety, and obedience. Most brothers joined for life, although some were allowed to join for a set period. Sometimes a married man was allowed to join if he had his wife's permission, but he was not allowed to wear the white mantle.
With their military mission and extensive financial resources, the Knights Templar funded a large number of building projects around Europe and the Holy Land. Many of these structures are still standing. Many sites also maintain the name "Temple" because of centuries-old association with the Templars. For example, some of the Templars' lands in London were later rented to lawyers, which led to the names of the Temple Bar gateway and the Temple Underground station. Two of the four Inns of Court which may call members to act as barristers are the Inner Temple and Middle Temple – the entire area known as Temple, London.
Distinctive architectural elements of Templar buildings include the use of the image of "two knights on a single horse", representing the Knights' poverty, and round buildings designed to resemble the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
The story of the persecution and sudden dissolution of the secretive yet powerful medieval Templars has drawn many other groups to use alleged connections with them as a way of enhancing their own image and mystery. The Knights Templar were dismantled in the Rolls of the Catholic Church in 1309 with the death of Jacques de Molay; there is no clear historical connection between them and any modern organization, the earliest of which emerged publicly in the 18th century.
Many temperance organizations named themselves after the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, citing the belief that the original Knights Templar "drank sour milk, and also because they were fighting 'a great crusade' against 'this terrible vice' of alcohol." The largest of these, the International Order of Good Templars (IOGT), grew throughout the world after being started in the 19th century and continues to advocate for the abstinence of alcohol and other drugs.
The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem is a self-styled order established in 1804 and "accredited as a nongovernmental organization NGO) by the UN in 2001." It is ecumenical in that it admits Christians of many denominations in its ranks. Its founder, Bernard-Raymond Fabré-Palaprat, produced the Larmenius Charter in order to try to link it with the original Catholic Christian military order.
Freemasonry has incorporated the symbols and rituals of several medieval military orders in a number of Masonic bodies since the 18th century at least. This can be seen in the "Red Cross of Constantine," inspired by the Military Constantinian Order; the "Order of Malta," inspired by the Knights Hospitaller; and the "Order of the Temple", inspired by the Knights Templar. The Orders of Malta and the Temple feature prominently in the York Rite. One theory on the origin of Freemasonry claims direct descent from the historical Knights Templar through its final fourteenth-century members who allegedly took refuge in Scotland and aided Robert the Bruce in his victory at Bannockburn. This theory is usually rejected by both Masonic authorities and historians due to lack of evidence.
The Knights Templar have become associated with legends concerning secrets and mysteries handed down to the select from ancient times. Rumours circulated even during the time of the Templars themselves. Masonic writers added their own speculations in the 18th century, and further fictional embellishments have been added in popular novels such as Ivanhoe, Foucault's Pendulum, and the Da Vinci Code, modern movies such as National Treasure, the Last Templar, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, as well as video games such as Broken Sword and Assassin's Creed.
Beginning in the 1960s, there have been speculative popular publications surrounding the order's early occupation of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and speculation about what relics the Templars may have found there, such as the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant, or the historical accusation of idol worship (Baphomet) transformed into a context of "witchcraft".
The association of the Holy Grail with the Templars has precedents even in 12th-century fiction; Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival calls the knights guarding the Grail Kingdom templeisen, apparently a conscious fictionalisation of the templarii.
By Molay's time the Grand Master was presiding over at least 970 houses, including commanderies and castles in the east and west, serviced by a membership which is unlikely to have been less than 7,000, excluding employees and dependents, who must have been seven or eight times that number.
The Templars retained a base on Arwad island (also known as Ruad island, formerly Arados) off Tortosa (Tartus) until October 1302 or 1303, when the island was recaptured by the Mamluks.
the Knights Templar [...] carried white shields with red crosses but [their] sacred banner, Beauséant, was white with a black chief
(WT, 12.7, p. 554. James of Vitry, 'Historia Hierosolimatana', ed. J. ars, Gesta Dei per Francos, vol I(ii), Hanover, 1611, p. 1083, interprets this as a sign of martyrdom.)
According to William of Tyre it was under Eugenius III that the Templars received the right to wear the characteristic red cross upon their tunics, symbolising their willingness to suffer martyrdom in the defence of the Holy Land.
The Pope conferred on the Templars the right to wear a red cross on their white mantles, which symbolised their willingness to suffer martyrdom in defending the Holy Land against the infidel.
Pope Eugenius gave them the right to wear a scarlet cross over their hearts, so that the sign would serve triumphantly as a shield and they would never turn away in the face of the infidels': the red blood of the martyr was superimposed on the white of the chaste." (Melville, La Vie des Templiers, p. 92.)
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Baphomet (; from Medieval Latin Baphometh, Baffometi, Occitan Bafometz) is a deity that the Knights Templar were falsely accused of worshipping and that subsequently was incorporated into disparate occult and mystical traditions.
The name Baphomet appeared in trial transcripts for the Inquisition of the Knights Templar starting in 1307. It first came into popular English usage in the 19th century during debate and speculation on the reasons for the suppression of the Templars.Since 1856, the name Baphomet has been associated with a "Sabbatic Goat" image drawn by Eliphas Levi which contains binary elements representing the "sum total of the universe" (e.g. male and female, good and evil, on and off, etc.). On one hand, Lévi's intention was to symbolize his concept of "the equilibrium of the opposites" that was essential to his magnetistic notion of the Astral Light; on the other hand, the Baphomet represents a tradition that should result in a perfect social order.Council of Vienne
The Council of Vienne was the fifteenth Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church that met between 1311 and 1312 in Vienne. Its principal act was to withdraw papal support for the Knights Templar on the instigation of Philip IV of France, after the French monarch attacked Rome and killed Pope Boniface VIII (Attack at Agnani).Grand Masters of the Knights Templar
Each man who held the position of Grand Master of the Knights Templar was the supreme commander of the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon (also known as the Knights Templar), starting with founder Hugues de Payens in 1118. While many Grand Masters chose to hold the position for life, abdication was not unknown. Some masters chose to leave for life in monasteries or diplomacy. Grand Masters often led their knights into battle on the front line and the numerous occupational hazards of battle made some tenures very short.
Each country had its own Master, and the Masters reported to the Grand Master. He oversaw all of the operations of the Order, including both the military operations in the Holy Land and eastern Europe, and the financial and business dealings in the Order's infrastructure of western Europe. The Grand Master controlled the actions of the order but he was expected to act the same way as the rest of the knights. After the Pope issued a Papal Bull on behalf of the Templars, the Grand Master was obliged to answer only to Rome.Hugues de Payens
Hugues de Payens or Payns (c. 1070 – 24 May 1136) was the co-founder and first Grand Master of the Knights Templar. In association with Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, he created the Latin Rule, the code of behavior for the Order.Knights Templar (Freemasonry)
This page is about a Masonic organization. For the medieval Knights Templar, see Knights Templar. See also Knights Templar and popular culture.The Knights Templar, full name The United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta, is a fraternal order affiliated with Freemasonry. Unlike the initial degrees conferred in a regular Masonic Lodge, which (in all Regular Masonic jurisdictions) only require a belief in a Supreme Being regardless of religious affiliation, the Knights Templar is one of several additional Masonic Orders in which membership is open only to Freemasons who profess a belief in Christianity. One of the obligations entrants to the order are required to declare is to protect and defend the Christian faith. The word "United" in its full title indicates that more than one historical tradition and more than one actual order are jointly controlled within this system. The individual orders 'united' within this system are principally the Knights of the Temple (Knights Templar), the Knights of Malta, the Knights of St Paul, and only within the York Rite, the Knights of the Red Cross.
Like the Masonic Red Cross of Constantine being inspired by the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George and the Order of Malta being inspired by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the Masonic order of Knights Templar derives its name from the medieval Catholic military order Knights Templar. However, it does not claim any direct lineal descent from the original Templar order.Knights Templar Cartel
The Knights Templar Cartel (Spanish: Los Caballeros Templarios) is a Mexican criminal organization originally composed of the remnants La Familia Michoacana drug cartel based in the Mexican State of Michoacán.After the first alleged death of Francisco Montes and co-founder Nazario Moreno, leaders of the La Familia Michoacana cartel, on 9 December 2010, a split between the cartel leaders emerged. Some of the cartel co-founders, Montes brothers; Fred Montes CM and Frank Montes, Servando Gómez Martínez, and Dionisio Loya Plancarte, formed into a Royalty of La Familia calling itself Caballeros Templarios (or Knights Templar). A large part of La Familia Michoacana left with them to form the Knights Templar group, while José de Jesús Méndez Vargas kept the leadership of the now greatly diminished "Familia Michoacana", starting a fight for the control of Michoacán.The Knights Templar Cartel indoctrinates its operatives to "fight and die" for the cartel. They have taken full control of the now defunct La Familia Michoacana operations in states including Michoacán, Guerrero, the state of Mexico, and Morelos.
Along with the Sinaloa Cartel and Gulf Cartel, the Knights Templar formed a short-lived joint enforcer gang called Cárteles Unidos (English: United Cartels) or La Resistencia, composed of well-trained gunmen dedicated to kill and expel Los Zetas Cartel operatives who were invading the former Familia Michoacana territories in Michoacán and Jalisco.
The Templars' most recent feud is against the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, which is trying to gain full control of Jalisco and Michoacán, and also against Civilian vigilante and Militia groups that are fighting back the criminals in an attempt to clear Michoacan from the Knights Templar.
On February 27, 2015, Servando "La Tuta" Gómez Leader of the Knights Templar was arrested by the Mexican federal police. A number of his associates were also arrested and many properties were also seized by the Mexican government.Knights Templar School
Knights Templar School is a co-educational secondary school with academy status located in the market town of Baldock in North Hertfordshire, England. In a February 2006 Ofsted report, the school was described as "outstanding", one of only eight secondary schools in Hertfordshire to be so recognised. It retained its "outstanding" status following a further Ofsted inspection in February 2009. The Knights Templar School gained academy status on 1 April 2011. Following an Ofsted inspection in October 2012 the school was categorised as "good" against a newer, far more demanding Inspection framework.
In September 2014 the school celebrated its 75th anniversary.Knights Templar in England
The history of the Knights Templar in England began when the French nobleman Hughes de Payens, the founder and Grand Master of the order of the Knights Templar, visited the country in 1128 to raise men and money for the Crusades.Knights Templar in popular culture
The original historic Knights Templar were a Christian military order, the Order of the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, that existed from the 12th to 14th centuries to provide warriors in the Crusades. These men were famous in the high and late Middle Ages, but the Order was disbanded very suddenly by King Philip IV of France, who took action against the Templars in order to avoid repaying his own financial debts. He accused them of heresy, ordered the arrest of all Templars within his realm, and had many of them burned at the stake. The dramatic and rapid end of the organization led to many stories and legends developing about them over the following centuries. The Order and its members increasingly appear in modern fiction, though most of these references portray the medieval organization inaccurately.
In modern works, the Templars generally are portrayed as villains, misguided zealots, representatives of an evil secret society, or as the keepers of a long-lost treasure. Several modern organizations also claim heritage from the medieval Templars, as a way of enhancing their own image or mystique.List of Knights Templar
This is a list of some members of the Knights Templar, a powerful Christian military order during the time of the Crusades. At peak, the Order had approximately 20,000 members.
The Knights Templar were led by the Grand Master, originally based in Jerusalem, whose deputy was the Seneschal. Next in importance was the Marshal, who was responsible for individual commanders, horses, arms and equipment. He usually carried the standard or nominated a standard-bearer. The Commander of the Kingdom of Jerusalem was the treasurer and shared some authority with the Grand Master, balancing his power. Other cities also had Commanders with specific regional responsibilities.
The Grand Master and his Seneschal ruled over eight Templar provincial Masters in Europe, who were responsible for Apulia, Aragon (Spain), England, France, Hungary, Poitiers, Portugal and Scotland.
The bulk of the fighting force was made up of knights and sergeants. Knights, who usually came from the nobility, were the most prestigious and wore the white mantle and red cross over their armour, carried knightly weapons, rode horses and had the services of a squire. Sergeants filled other roles such as blacksmith or mason as well as fighting in battle. There were also squires who performed the task of caring for the horses.
For a separate list of Grand Masters, see Grand Masters of the Knights Templar.Norton School
Norton School was a secondary school in Letchworth, Hertfordshire that was founded in 1905 and which closed in 2002 following a period of being in special measures. It has since been partially demolished and redeveloped as a collection of housing and apartments by Miller Homes.Rothley Temple
Rothley Temple, or more correctly Rothley Preceptory, (pronounced Rowth-Ley) was a preceptory (a religious establishment operated by certain orders of monastic knights) in the village of Rothley, Leicestershire, England, associated with both the Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaller.
The preceptory's chapel, constructed by the Knights Templar, is currently part of the Rothley Court Hotel.Temple Church
The Temple Church is a church in the City of London located between Fleet Street and the River Thames, built by the Knights Templar as their English headquarters. It was consecrated on 10 February 1185 by Patriarch Heraclius of Jerusalem. During the reign of King John (1199–1216) it served as the royal treasury, supported by the role of the Knights Templars as proto-international bankers. It is jointly owned by the Inner Temple and Middle Temple Inns of Court, bases of the English legal profession. It is famous for being a round church, a common design feature for Knights Templar churches, and for its 13th- and 14th-century stone effigies. It was heavily damaged by German bombing during World War II and has since been greatly restored and rebuilt.
The area around the Temple Church is known as the Temple. Temple Bar, an ornamental processional gateway, formerly stood in the middle of Fleet Street. Nearby is the Temple Underground station.Templum Domini
The Templum Domini (Vulgate translation of Hebrew: 'הֵיכָל ה "Temple of the Lord") was the name attributed by the Crusaders to the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.
It became an important symbol of Jerusalem, depicted on coins minted under the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem.
The Dome of the Rock was erected in the late 7th century under the 5th Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan at the site of the former Jewish Second Temple (or possibly added to an existing building Byzantine building dating the reign of Heraclius, 610–641).
After the capture of Jerusalem in the First Crusade (1099), the Dome of the Rock was given into the care of Augustinian Canons Regular, who turned it into a Christian church.
The adjacent Al-Aqsa Mosque was called Templum Solomonis ("Temple of Solomon") by the Crusaders. It first became a royal palace. The image of the Dome, as representing the "Temple of Solomon", became an important iconographic element in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The royal seals of the Kings of Jerusalem depicted the city symbolically by combining the Tower of David, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock and the city walls.
After the completion of the purpose-built royal palace near the Jaffa Gate, the King of Jerusalem gave the building to the Knights Templar, who maintained it as their headquarters. The Dome was indicated on the reverse of the seals of the Grand Masters of the Knights Templar (such as Everard des Barres and Renaud de Vichiers), and it became the architectural model for Templar churches across Europe.Although the Dome of the Ascension survived from the Crusader period, it has since remained in the hands of Islamic authorities as part of the larger complex of the Dome of the Rock.The Sacred Order of Saint Dumas
The Sacred Order of Saint Dumas ( SAN-doo-MAH) is a fictional group in the mythos of DC Comic's Batman. Created by writer Dennis O'Neil and introduced in the first issue of the Sword of Azrael arc, the Order is a deviant faction of the Knights Templar from which the mantle of Azrael originates.Trials of the Knights Templar
The Knights Templar trace their beginnings to the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in c. 1120 when nine Christian knights, under the auspices of King Baldwin II and the Patriarch Warmund, were given the task of protecting pilgrims on the roads to Jerusalem, which they did for nine years until elevated to a military order at the Council of Troyes in 1129. They became an elite fighting force in the Crusades known for their propensity not to retreat or surrender.
Eventually, their rules of secrecy, their power, privileges and their wealth, made them vulnerable to the King of France’s accusations, and with the Pope’s unsuccessful attempts to prevent it, their destruction. The Templar leader, Master Jacques de Molay had recently come to France for meetings with the pope. In 1307, members of the Templar order in France were suddenly charged with heresy and arrested. In France, many ultimately, including their leader, were burned at the stake while others were sentenced to perpetual imprisonment. The events in France led to a series of trials in other locations, not all of which had the same outcome.Witham Preceptory
The site of the former preceptory at Temple Hill, South Witham. It 'has been largely under pasture' since the Knights Templar left in 1308.]]
Withham Preceptory, one of the smallest Knights Templar preceptories in England, was founded, before 1164, at Temple Hill, near South Witham, Lincolnshire, and was abandoned in the early 14th century.York Rite
The York Rite (sometimes referred to as the American Rite) is one of several Rites of Freemasonry. A Rite is a series of progressive degrees that are conferred by various Masonic organizations or bodies, each of which operates under the control of its own central authority. The York Rite specifically is a collection of separate Masonic Bodies and associated Degrees that would otherwise operate independently. The three primary bodies in the York Rite are the Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, Council of Royal & Select Masters or Council of Cryptic Masons, and the Commandery of Knights Templar, each of which are governed independently but are all considered to be a part of the York Rite. There are also other organizations that are considered to be directly associated with the York Rite, or require York Rite membership to join such as the York Rite Sovereign College but in general the York Rite is considered to be made up of the aforementioned three. The Rite's name is derived from the city of York, where, according to a Masonic legend, the first meetings of Masons in England took place, although only the lectures of the York Rite Sovereign College make reference to that legend.
The York Rite is one of the appendant bodies of Freemasonry that a Master Mason may join to further his knowledge of Freemasonry. But the York Rite is not found as a single system worldwide, and outside of the York Rite there are often significant differences in ritual, as well as organization. However, in most cases, provided that the Grand Body in question regards the parent "Craft" jurisdiction as regular, each distinct Order has recognised fraternal inter-relations with the respective Grand Body within the York system.