L’OssRom: Knights Templar were innocent

There was an interesting article in L’Osservatore Romano today, in Italian, about the Knights Templar.  Alas, their articles scroll off and soon become unavailable.

The Times picked up this story.  I don’t have the energy or time to translate the L’Osservatore article, so this will serve in a pinch.

From Times Online
August 21, 2008
Vatican scholar: prayer proves Knights Templar not heretical
Richard Owen in Rome

The Vatican has for the first time published the prayer the Knights Templar composed when "unjustly imprisoned", in which they appealed to the Virgin Mary to persuade "our enemies" to abandon "calumnies and lies" and revert to "truth and charity".

L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, said the prayer was further proof that the order, which was dissolved in the fourteenth century, was not heretical. The knights were innocent of the charges against them, which included the accusation that they worshipped idols such as a "monstrous statue, half man and half goat".

The L’Osservatore Romano article, by Barbara Frale, the Vatican Secret Archives scholar who has made a special study of the knights, said it was untrue that the knights were guilty of "decadence, heresy and immoral practices".

The move follows legal action by the alleged heirs of Knights Templar to force the Vatican to restore the reputation of the disgraced order and acknowledge that assets worth some 80 million pounds were confiscated.  [I think we can, however, avoid falling into a post hoc ergo propter hoc conclusion.]

The Association of the Sovereign Order of the Temple of Christ, based in Spain, says that when the order was dissolved by Pope Clement V in 1307, over 9000 properties, farms and and commercial ventures belonging to knights were seized by the Church.

It is not however demanding that they be handed back, only that the order be "rehabilitated". A British branch also claiming descent from the Knights Templar and based in Hertfordshire has called for a papal apology for the persecution of the order. 

The Knights Templar were founded at the time of the First Crusade in the eleventh century to protect Christians making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The Order was endorsed by the Vatican, but when Acre fell in 1291 and the Crusaders lost their hold on the Holy Land support faded, amid growing envy of the order’s fortune in property and banking, and rumours about its corrupt and arcane secret ceremonies.

Whispers said novices had to deny Christ three times, spit on the cross, strip naked and kiss their superior on the buttocks, navel, and lips and submit to sodomy. King Philip IV of France, who coveted the order’s wealth, arrested its leaders and put pressure on Clement V to dissolve it. Several knights, including the Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, were burned at the stake.

However Dr Frale said the arrests by Philip IV were "absolutely illegal". She said "legends and inventions" about the knights had been perpetuated by "fantasies" such as Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and – "though of a different literary calibre" [That’s for sure!] – Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum.

She said that in 1312 Pope Clement had declared that the Templars were not heretics, and had explained that he had only dissolved the order to prevent Philip IV from "opening up a schism in the Church". She said proof of the Templars’ fidelity to the Pope and Christian dogma lay in the prayer they had composed during their long imprisonment.

It was "beautiful and moving" and "full of poetry", Dr Frale said, but "incredibly has never been studied".The prayer is addressed to "Holy Mary, mother of God", the "consolation of those who hope", and "humbly implores" her to obtain freedom for the order "through the intercession of the angels, archangels, prophets, evangelists, apostles, martyrs, confessors and virgins". It adds that the Virgin Mary knows that "our enemies" have spread "calumnies and lies" about the order, and pleads with her to make them "return to truth and charity".

Last October the Vatican launched a scheme to market limited reproductions of Processus Contra Templarios (Papal Inquiry into the Trial of the Templars), also known as the Chinon document, which Dr Frale discovered in the Vatican archives in 2003 after realising that it had been wrongly catalogued.

She said the parchment proved Clement V had accepted the Templars were not guilty of heresy. Their initiation ceremony involved spitting on the Cross, but this was to brace them for having to do so if captured by Muslim forces.

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  1. Baron Korf says:

    Interesting if true. It’d be nice if their name could be cleared, if nothing else to clear some of the air surrounding the myths of their Order and take some of the heat off of the Church. Of course any ‘rehabilitation’ would be seen as a cover-up by the ‘evil’ Catholic church. Gotta love the conspiracy theorists.

  2. Gregory DiPippo says:

    I read recently that the Spanish organization mentioned above IS planning on sueing the Vatican to get the money back. A Spanish prosecutor said, very amusingly, “This is a case to be decided by the psychiatrists, rather than the judges,”

  3. Romulus says:

    spitting on the Cross…to brace them for having to do so if captured by Muslim forces.


    Why would a Christian knight in the age of faith resort to a questionable equivocation to escape martyrdom? I don’t get it.

  4. Boniface says:

    I second Romulus. Spitting on the cross seems like a very bizarre way to prepare a knight for martyrdom. Wouldn’t they be trained to resist all attempts to blaspheme the name of Christ? It just doesn’t seem to fit in…

  5. anamericanmother says:

    Of course I’m just an old courthouse rat, but WHENEVER somebody says, “It’s not about the money,” it IS about the money. Always.

    But this outfit in Spain is going to have a hard time proving it is the legitimate successor/heir. It would be worse than the Tichbourne Heir and Jarndyce v. Jarndyce combined.

    I’m with the Spanish prosecutor, Gregory, although perhaps he’s being more charitable than I’m inclined to be.

  6. Ron says:

    I’m with Romulus and Boniface on this one. Why would they spit on a Holy Cross? And wouldn’t doing it in preparation be also an affront to Our Lord’s Holy Cross?

    Pax Christi tecum.

  7. Jeff Pinyan says:

    It could be construed as a sacrifice on the part of the Knights: foregoing a gallant martyrdom, and instead staying alive and imprisoned with the hope of living long enough to be freed and serve the Church (alive) again.

    Just speculation.

  8. Sean says:

    If the Knights Templar took the 3 religious vows, who are all these heirs/successors? If in England the Church confiscated any property of the Knights it was then confiscated by Henry so if they want to sue anyone it should be the British Government. The same for France, Germany, Spain, Italy. Perhaps the Vatican could sue the Italian government to recover the territory it lost in Rome under Pius IX.

  9. Marcin says:

    I second Boniface. I guess they liked banking, after all.

  10. Martin_B says:

    It seems to me, that the Knights Templar have been wrongly accused and tried for heresy and blasphemy.
    But it seems from todays point of view, that the order was in a state in wich bisbanding it was the right thing to do, because the order had left it’s path.

    It had been founded as an order of “monks in arms” like the other knight-orders, but in has turned more and more into a force, which was dominated by it’s military role. Thus the “weird” initiation acts, like spitting on the cross. You can find similar things in any modern army, though always “informal”. And while such behaviour might be tolerable for an army (maybe even a christian one) it is surely unbefitting for knights that have taken vows.

  11. John Enright says:

    We live in a very litigious world, so I have no doubt that a Papal admission that the Order of Knights Templar was wrongfully deprived of its property will result in a lawsuit by someone in some jurisdiction. Lots of interesting questions would be raised: what law governs the cause of action? lex loci delicti commissi or lex loci fori? Is the applicable statute of limitations tolled by the absence of the Pontiff from the jurisdiction wherein the suit is filed? Is the Pope to be made a party in his corporate or personal capacity? What about Sovereign Immunity? At least in England, was Henry VIII’s destruction of the monasteries a superseding or intervening act?

  12. Jordanes says:

    This news article is fairly typical of the British press in its inaccuracies and shoddy and biased journalism in matters pertaining to Catholicism.

    Last October the Vatican launched a scheme

    “Launched a scheme” — manifest bias, intended to suggest that the Vatican is publishing these ancient documents purely to make money for itself.

    to market limited reproductions of Processus Contra Templarios (Papal Inquiry into the Trial of the Templars), also known as the Chinon document,

    Wrong. The Parchment of Chinon is just one of the documents included.

    which Dr Frale discovered in the Vatican archives in 2003 after realising that it had been wrongly catalogued.

    “Discovered”? Well, she located it anyway. It has always been known it was in the Vatican Archives, because a transcription of it was published in 1693 in Paris by Étienne Baluze, in his history, Vitae Paparum Avenionensis (“Lives of the Popes of Avignon”). Also, as Bishop Sergio Pagano, prefect of the Vatican Archives, reported last October, the Parchment of Chinon was “described perfectly” in a 1912 Vatican Archives catalogue. It was never hidden and has always been available to researchers. According to Bishop Pagano, modern researchers didn’t notice that catalogue reference until 2001. That reference is what enabled Dr. Barbara Frale to locate it in 2003.

    While it is a good thing that the original parchment is now available for scholarly study, its contents have been available for study, and have been known to all serious Templar scholars, ever since Baluze published it in 1693.

    Catholic News Service last fall had a good story that attempted to counter the hype and falsehoods that were been promoted by the mainstream media:


    Gregory said: I read recently that the Spanish organization mentioned above IS planning on suing the Vatican to get the money back. A Spanish prosecutor said, very amusingly, “This is a case to be decided by the psychiatrists, rather than the judges.”

    Indeed, those self-styled Templars in Spain had better think twice about trying to press their bogus claims in a court of law, as they might end up being sued themselves for fraud. There are several self-styled orders of chivalry claiming to be the modern Templars, and none of them can prove their claims.

  13. Deusdonat says:

    “legends and inventions” about the knights had been perpetuated by “fantasies” such as Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and – “though of a different literary calibre” [That’s for sure!] – Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum.

    I’m glad Time finally had the courage to say it. Ego Confiteo I read the DaVinci code as a) I like to make up my own mind about things and b) Iit had become such a part of popular culture that I didn’t want to miss out. When I was finished with it (it was lent to me by my aunt) she and I spent about 20 minutes laughing about how childish it was. I compared it to a Nancy Drew novel (no offense, Nancy) in that the clues, twists and “exotic” locations seemed to be geared towards the literary level of a 13-year-old reader. Dan Brown pompously tried to pepper the text with foreign words and phrases, but outed himself in that in several instances, they were out of context and just plain wrong (revealing he is just not that cultured to begin with). The sad fact is that this book was so popular in the US, which tells me people here really need to get out more.

  14. oleksander says:

    i heard on the radio (Ave Maria from Ann Arbor) that another reason the templar were disbanded was that they were SUPER greedy and caused a lot of trouble and after they were suppressed there was ver little uproar and not missed by laymen because they were glad to be rid of the curruption

  15. Scott W. says:

    Of course I’m just an old courthouse rat, but WHENEVER somebody says, “It’s not about the money,” it IS about the money. Always.

    That’s what Judge Mills Lane said when he was doing his court show. (I thought he was great and demystifying some of the more jargony aspects of the law. Favorite quote: “I’m not final because I’m right, I’m right because I am final“.)

    However, I’ve never been impressed with the insight that it really is about the money when someone says it isn’t. True, it IS about the money, but to most people (reasonably in my estimation) money is merely the scoring system. It is the tangible proof of their rightness in a case. More money = more right. Whether or not they go home and take a bath in it is irrelevant.

  16. Guy Power says:

    Jordanes is very correct when he says the contents of the document have been known. All this recent hubbub is merely sensationalism … and is going to be picked up by every crackpot soi-dissant Templar “Order” [scare quotes] who wants to prove they are Templars. (Nevermind the fact that the font of honor (the Pope) had dissolved the organization.

    The monies and properties in France were confiscated by Philip the Fair; the assets, properties, etc. in other lands were transferred to the Knights of the Hospital of St. John (Hospitallers), who are now known as the Knights of Malta and their legitimate spin-offs: the Johanniterorden in Europe, and the Order of St. John in England. The Templars in Portugal just changed their names and became the Knights of Christ. I think I recall reading, but don’t clearly remember, that a couple of Spanish Orders also received Templar properties.

    Interestingly, most of the then-extant Templars were absorbed into the other Orders or were …. PENSIONED off. Yup … not burned at the stake, etc.

    So, all you soi-dissant Templars — everything was transferred LEGALLY to other Church Chivralic Orders.

    Guy Power
    Member, Order of St. John

  17. John Polhamus says:

    “I have no doubt that a Papal admission that the Order of Knights Templar was wrongfully deprived of its property will result in a lawsuit…”

    But interestingly, the admission is that of Clement V, not Benedict XVI. Politics is always politics, even in the church, and right and wrong are still absolute whenever the injustice or offence date from. There may in fact be no legal heirs, but the order can still be rehabilitated, and may well deserve to be. And what harm could the presence of another equestrian order do in today\’s ecclesial morass? Heck, we may need their protection again in the future, just to make pilgrimage to the grocery store! (I\’m being fecetious…sort of…no, really I am…well, not completely…wink…frown…)

  18. Jordanes says:

    Favorite quote: “I’m not final because I’m right, I’m right because I am final“.

    He cribbed that from Oliver Wendell Holmes — and like most of Holmes’ philosophy of law, it’s rubbish. Being final does not make one right, unless you’re God. Being final just makes you final.

    This Templar stuff is not about the money. Not solely anyway. It’s about historical accuracy, truth, and justice: which is why none of the fake Templar “orders” will prevail. As Guy Power said, the Templars were created by the Pope and were dissolved by the Pope, and there is currently no Catholic chivalric order called the “Templars,” because none of those self-styled groups derives their honor and grace from any sovereign, not the Pope or anybody else.

  19. Anthony says:

    The Templars were re-established as diocesan order in Siena. This is a new church foundation and they do not claim to be an historical continuation of the original Templars. See: http://www.ordo-militiae-templi.org/

  20. Deusdonat says:

    Scott – but to most people (reasonably in my estimation) money is merely the scoring system.

    Very true. But it is also the measure of punishment in the corporate world. We have also witnessed this scenario in the recent punitive damages awarded to victims of the abuse scandal. Meaning, damages were awarded in previous decades as well, but never in the sums (i.e. as in Mahoney’s LA diocese). This was the court (which is an extension of the government) saying, “enough is enough! maybe NOW you will learn.”

    Back to the Templars, I have a sneaky suspicion that there is no real line of ascendency involved here, which means they are as legitimate as any Wiccan with a broom who claims ascendency from some ancient order.

  21. Jordanes says:

    This interesting survey, pseudonymously attributed to “Dr. Pangloss,” delves into the spurious claims of “Neo-Templar” groups claiming to be survivals of the Templars:


  22. Cornelius says:

    I too find the “spitting on the cross” bit quite strange, and not at all in line with the theme of the story, which I take it is (was) the innocence of the Knights.

    The Knights were famous for fighting without quarter – taken or given – and I
    find it hard to believe that they would TRAIN their men in such an impious
    act that, at the very least, would have scandalized other Christians and
    emboldened their Muslim enemies.

    This story makes me think that perhaps the Knights really did have serious
    doctrinal and pedagogic problems within their order.

  23. Deusdonat says:

    Cornelius – I can’t say this for sure, but it was also rumoured that the knights had what were the Western equivalent of “ninjas”. They went out among the populace of given regions to scout or spy. Remember: at this point in history, the world was not as Christian and Mohammedan as it is now; there were countless other religions and sects in the regions (some that still survive today in small pockets) as well as traders/travelers. So, if captured, the knight in question could feign ignorance at Christianity, the language of his captors or symbols of any kind. Spitting on a cross would be an “easy out” so to speak, without being forced to renounce Christianity or commit verbal blasphemy.

    Once again, this is speculation and can’t really be proven at this point any more than any other claim or accusation about the Templars.

  24. Steve K. says:

    “However Dr Frale said the arrests by Philip IV were “absolutely illegal”.”

    Really? According to whose law? I am not defending P IV but I think a medieval French king was subject to different laws than Dr. Frale. It’s just absurd to seek legal redress for something that happened in the Middle Ages. Idiots.

    BTW, I quite liked Foucault’s Pendulum – it mocked Dan Brown before he even made it on the scene. IIRC, recently Umberto Eco said Brown reminded him of one of his characters from Pendulum, and in fact Brown might not even be real. ;)

  25. Emilio III says:

    What seems really weird to me is that a group in Spain would claim to be heirs to the Templars. Though the French Templars may have been turned into moneylenders at the time of the suppression, in Spain they were still fighting against “the Religion of Peace”. When the order was suppressed in Spain, their goods were confiscated (by the governments, not the Church) but turned over to the newly-created order of Our Lady of Montesa, which continued as a (semi) sovereign order until 8 December 1587 when its last Grand Master (a less reputable brother of St Francis Borgia) turned it over to Philip II. Montesa was damaged by an earthquake in 1748 and eventually the order moved to Valencia, where they are housed (not coincidentally) in la casa del Temple.

    So if they really want “their” lost assets, they should sue the order of Montesa or its Grand Master (king) Juan Carlos.

  26. Deusdonat says:

    Emilio very good points. And if these neo-Templars want to open that particular can of worms, maybe they should expect to hear from the heirs of Saladin and other Mohammedans filing suit against the raided caravans and trading ships commandeered by the Templars.

    This could get quite ugly.

  27. Robert says:

    It will be interesting to see how this story develops over the upcoming months.

    Speaking of knights and such, I just want to note that Corpus Christianum (www.corpuschristianum.org) is an association dedicated to praying for the renewal of Christendom… in case anyone is interested.

    Thanks for the interesting post, Fr. Z.

  28. Another Tom says:

    The Italian text of the article from L’Osservatore Romano with an intermittent and rough English translation:

    Come pregavano i monaci guerrieri nelle carceri di Filippo il Bello
    As the monks prayed warriors in the prisons of Philip the Handsome

    Uno degli argomenti che negli ultimi anni ha scosso con particolare forza la curiosità dei lettori – e di riflesso solleticato l’interesse degli editori – è quello dei Templari, l’ordine religioso-militare più potente del medioevo. One of the arguments that in recent years has shaken with particular force the curiosity of readers – and reflected solleticato the interest of publishers – is that of the Templars, the religious order-most powerful military of the Middle Ages. L’istituto nacque a Gerusalemme subito dopo la Prima Crociata da una confraternita di militari laici guidata dal cavaliere francese Hugues de Payns: erano un gruppo di volontari che avevano scelto di vivere presso il Santo Sepolcro offrendo la loro abilità di guerrieri per difendere i pellegrini in viaggio lungo le rotte della Terra Santa, infestate dai predoni islamici che si gettavano sui convogli e li massacravano. The institute was born in Jerusalem immediately after the First Crusade by a brotherhood of soldiers led by lay knight French Hugues de Payens they were a group of volunteers who had chosen to live at the Holy Sepulchre offering their skills warriors to defend pilgrims travel along the routes of the Holy Land, infested by Islamic marauders who tossed on convoys and massacravano. Il re di Gerusalemme Baldovino ii intuì che la confraternita poteva crescere fino a diventare un vero e proprio corpo militare scelto, prezioso ausilio per difendere il regno cristiano; esisteva però un grosso problema: nella mentalità religiosa del tempo il servizio di Dio e la vita consacrata erano visti come cose incompatibili con il mestiere delle armi. The King of Jerusalem Baldwin ii realized that the brotherhood could grow up to become a real military body chosen, valuable help to defend the Christian kingdom, but there was a big problem: in the religious mentality of the time the service of God and the consecrated life things were seen as incompatible with the profession of arms. Consapevole che un progetto così ardito non avrebbe facilmente ottenuto il consenso del Papa, il re di Gerusalemme fece appello alla personalità spirituale più influente dell’epoca, un uomo dotato di un’eloquenza incredibile associata a un carisma fuori del comune: san Bernardo abate di Chiaravalle. Aware that a project so bold would not have easily obtained the Pope, the king of Jerusalem had appealed to the personality of the most influential spiritual, a man with incredible un’eloquenza associated with a charisma outside of the municipality: abbot of St Bernard Chiaravalle. Figlio di un famiglia nobile che lo aveva destinato a essere cavaliere ed ereditare un’esistenza di privilegi, Bernardo si era fatto monaco benedettino contro la volontà dei suoi genitori, convinto che la sola vera felicità terrena (oltre alla vita eterna) si conseguisse nella pace del chiostro. The son of a noble family who had intended to be a knight and inherit a life of privileges, Bernardo had monaco Benedictine against the wishes of his parents, convinced that the only true happiness on earth (in addition to eternal life) to succeed in peace nunnery. L’abate di Chiaravalle incarnava appieno l’ideale fondamentale dello spirito monastico, il contemptus mundi, ovvero il disgusto verso le logiche che muovono la vita mondana, le quali nel primo xii secolo non erano molto diverse da quelle attuali: la centralità del denaro e del profitto economico, il potere come strumento per beffare la giustizia, il ricorso quotidiano a pratiche immorali – quali la vendita delle cariche religiose, la prostituzione, il tradimento politico – per salire socialmente. The abbot of Clairvaux incarnava fully the fundamental ideal of the spirit monastic, contemptus mundi, or disgust towards the logic behind the worldly life, which in the first xii century were not very different from those of today: the centrality of money and profit economic power as a tool for beffare justice, appeal to everyday immoral practices – such as the sale of religious charges, prostitution, treason political – to climb socially.
    San Bernardo non era solo un teologo, era un mistico, concetto che forse oggi è impossibile comprendere appieno. St. Bernard was not only a theologian, was a mystic, a concept that perhaps today it is impossible to fully understand. Ma proviamo a fare un esempio: il fedele comune è colui che nelle avversità della vita si avvicina a Cristo mentre porta il patibolo lungo la via della croce, e su quella croce si abbandona con tutto il suo peso lasciandosi trasportare come il naufrago su un tronco verso la riva; il mistico invece si mette sotto il patibolo insieme a Gesù, e lo aiuta a trasportare il peso della croce con tutti quelli che vi stanno abbandonati sopra. But we try to give an example: the faithful common is the one who in adversity of life comes close to Christ while bears gallows along the path of the cross, and that the cross disappears with all his weight leaving carry as the castaway on a trunk towards the shore, the mystical puts you under the gallows with Jesus, and helps to carry the weight of the cross with all those who are abandoned above. Fu grazie alla mediazione di san Bernardo che Papa Onorio ii approvò la fondazione dell’ordine templare nel Concilio di Troyes del 1129: dovette pensare che da un uomo del genere potessero venire solo frutti buoni. It was thanks to the mediation of St. Bernard that Pope Honorius ii approved the foundation of Templar in the Council of Troyes, 1129: he had to think that a man of this kind could come only good fruits.
    Lo spirito originale che animava il Tempio era ispirato a quello del monachesimo benedettino, al principio fondamentale dell’ora et labora: i Templari infatti prendevano i tre voti monastici di povertà, obbedienza e castità, dividevano la loro vita fra le preghiere nel convento e l’attività militare, intesa proprio nel senso di labor (in latino “fatica, dolore”), dunque un sacrificio offerto a Dio per difendere i più deboli. The spirit that motivated the original temple was inspired by the Benedictine monasticism, the fundamental principle the time et labora: Templars in fact took the three monastic vows of poverty, obedience and chastity, divided their lives between prayers in the convent and ‘military activity, understood in the sense of labor (in Latin “fatigue, pain”), then offered a sacrifice to God to defend the weakest. Mentre il monaco benedettino di tipo tradizionale spendeva la parte quotidiana del suo labor coltivando la terra, svolgendo attività artigianali o ricopiando preziosi manoscritti nello scriptorium del convento, il Templare si esercitava al combattimento e scendeva in campo quando la campana suonava l’allarme. While the monaco Benedictine traditional spent part of his daily labor cultivating the land, doing craft or ricopiando precious manuscripts in the scriptorium of the convent, Templar is performed to combat and down in the field when the bell sounded the alarm. A causa della vocazione militare i Templari non potevano essere consacrati sacerdoti: un’antichissima e severissima proibizione canonica vietava che le specie eucaristiche potessero essere toccate da persone che avevano commesso omicidio, seppur per motivi di difesa. Because of the Templars vocation military could not be consecrated priests: ancient and canonical severissima ban prohibiting the Eucharistic species that could be touched by people who had committed murder, although for reasons of defence. Le funzioni, con l’approvazione di Papa Innocenzo ii, furono affidate ai cappellani che, pur essendo Templari a tutti gli effetti, si occupavano esclusivamente del culto. The functions, with the approval of Pope Innocent ii, were entrusted to chaplains that they Templars for all intents and purposes, dealt exclusively of worship.
    Cresciuto a dismisura grazie all’entusiasmo popolare, come pure al favore dei Papi e dei sovrani di tutta la cristianità, nel giro di appena cinquant’anni il Tempio divenne un organismo diffuso in tutto il bacino del Mediterraneo: in Occidente le sue installazioni erano soprattutto efficientissime fattorie che producevano beni di ogni tipo, i quali venivano venduti per ricavare denaro da trasferire in Terra Santa e sostenere i costi della difesa del regno. Thanks grown out of popular enthusiasm, and in favour of the Popes and kings of all Christendom, in the space of just fifty years the Temple became a widespread throughout the Mediterranean basin: in the West its installations were mostly efficient farms producing goods of all kinds, which were sold to get money to be transferred to the Holy Land and support the costs of defending the kingdom. In sintesi, si potrebbe forse definire una multinazionale al servizio della crociata. In summary, we could perhaps define a multinational at the service of the crusade.

    Nel 1307 il re di Francia Filippo iv il Bello attaccò l’ordine e lo mise sotto processo con l’appoggio dell’Inquisizione di Francia. In 1307 the King of France Philip the Handsome iv attacked the order and put on trial with the support dell’Inquisizione of France.

    L’accusa era quella di eresia: secondo un’ordinanza d’arresto scritta dal braccio destro del sovrano, lo stesso giurista Guillaume de Nogaret che aveva partecipato all’attentato di Anagni contro Papa Bonifacio viii (1303), i Templari praticavano in segreto riti pagani e avevano voltato le spalle alla fede cristiana. The accusation was that of heresy: according to an order of arrest written by the right arm of the sovereign, the same lawyer Guillaume de Nogaret who had participated all’attentato of Anagni against Pope Boniface viii (1303), the Templars practiced in secret rites pagans and had turned their backs on the Christian faith.

    Grazie a fortunati ritrovamenti di atti originali conservati presso l’Archivio Segreto Vaticano oggi sappiamo che la disciplina primitiva del Tempio, il suo spirito autentico, nel tempo si erano corrotti entrando in decadenza e lasciando aperta la porta alla diffusione del malcostume; ma i Templari non erano affatto diventati eretici in massa e il processo fu essenzialmente un mezzo per mettere le mani sul loro patrimonio, come del resto disse chiaramente Dante Alighieri nel canto xx del Purgatorio. Thanks to lucky discoveries of original documents kept at the Vatican Secret Archives today we know that the primitive of the Temple, its true spirit, over time were corrupt decadence entering and leaving the door open to the spread of malpractice, but not the Templars were hardly become heretics by mass and the process was essentially half to get their hands on their heritage, as it clearly said Dante Alighieri in song xx of Purgatory.

    L’arresto di tutti i Templari di Francia ordinato da Filippo il Bello era un atto assolutamente illegale perché solo il Papa aveva facoltà di indagare su un ordine religioso della Chiesa di Roma, quale era appunto quello del Tempio. The arrest of all the Templars of France ordered by Philip the Handsome was an act absolutely illegal because only the Pope had power to investigate a religious order of the Church of Rome, which was precisely that of the Temple. Pressato dalle emergenze finanziarie, con il regno di Francia sull’orlo della bancarotta, Filippo il Bello di fatto ne incamerò i beni sicuro di poter convincere Papa Clemente v (Bertrand de Got, 1305-1314), a condannare l’ordine dopo un processo-lampo. Pressed by financial emergencies, with the kingdom of France on the verge of bankruptcy, Philip the Handsome in fact it incamerò goods sure if I can persuade Pope Clement v (Bertrand de Got, 1305-1314), to condemn the order after a process – lightning. Il Pontefice invece reagì con un’energia inaspettata: dopo ben cinque anni di intense guerre diplomatiche, ricattato dal sovrano che lo minacciava di aprire uno scisma se si ostinava ancora a voler salvare i Templari, il Papa soppresse l’ordine senza mai pronunciare una sentenza e nel Concilio di Vienne del 1312 fece mettere agli atti che il processo non aveva fatto emergere prove concrete di eresia a loro carico. The Pontiff instead reacted with an energy unexpected: after five years of intense diplomatic wars, blackmailed by King that threatened to open a schism ostinava if you still want to save the Templars, the Pope abolished the order without ever pronounce a judgement and the Council of Vienne of 1312 had put on record that the process had not revealed evidence of heresy against them. Il 18 marzo 1314, visto che Clemente v non si decideva a emettere una sentenza sui capi dell’ordine, Filippo il Bello fece rapire il gran maestro Jacques de Molay e un altro grande dignitario, il precettore di Normandia Geoffroy de Charny, e li fece bruciare sul rogo a Parigi, su un’isoletta della Senna. The March 18, 1314, since v Clement decided not to issue a judgement on the heads of the order, Philip the Handsome did kidnap the Grand Master Jacques de Molay and another great dignitary, the preceptor of Normandy Geoffroy de Charny, and made them burning at the stake in Paris, on a small island in the Seine. Secondo un testimone oculare del rogo il maestro poco prima di morire chiamò il sovrano e il Papa a comparire dinanzi al Tribunale di Dio: poiché Clemente v morì appena un mese dopo – sfinito da una malattia che lo affliggeva da molto tempo – e Filippo il Bello nel volgere di un anno – per un incidente di caccia – la fantasia popolare ricollegò questi due eventi alle parole di Jacques de Molay: ne nacque la leggenda di una “maledizione” dei Templari che si sarebbe abbattuta sulla casa reale di Francia, culminata nella morte di re Luigi XVI sulla ghigliottina durante la Rivoluzione Francese. According to an eyewitness, burning the teacher shortly before his death he called the king and the Pope to appear before the Court of God: because Clement v died just one month later – exhausted from a disease that afflicted him for a long time – and Philip the Handsome in the space of a year – for a hunting accident – the popular imagination ricollegò these two events to the words of Jacques de Molay: I was born the legend of a “curse” of the Templars that would hit on the Royal House of France, which culminated in death King Louis XVI on the guillotine during the French Revolution.
    Il filone della leggenda da quel momento non si è mai esaurito, anzi ritorna in auge periodicamente con nuova forza e ogni volta appare colorato di tinte nuove: ne sono un buon esempio i molti racconti e libri di fantasia usciti di recente sul tema, fra i quali spiccano i romanzi d’avventura Il codice da Vinci di Dan Brown e Il pendolo di Foucault di Umberto Eco (di ben altro calibro letterario). The tendency of legend from that moment never spent, indeed returns to auge periodically with new strength and every time it appears colored hues of new ones are a good example of the many stories and fantasy books come out recently on the subject, including which include the novels of adventure The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown and Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco (quite different caliber literary). Sotto le luci della ribalta sta la figura inquietante del Bafometto, una specie di mostruosa statua metà uomo e metà caprone che dovrebbe raffigurare l’idolo segreto dei Templari: invece fu inventato di sana pianta dal gusto neogotico di alcuni collezionisti del primo Ottocento. Under the lights of the limelight is the figure of disturbing Bafometto, a kind of monstrous statue half man and half goat, which should depict the idol secret of the Templars: instead of sound was invented by plant neogothic taste of some of the first collectors nineteenth.
    Così accade che gli appassionati, a volte persino gli storici di mestiere, subiscano il fascino della leggenda templare dimenticando di guardare con attenzione i documenti, quelli che contengono la verità. So happens that the lovers, sometimes even historians trade, suffer the charm of the legend Templar forgetting to look carefully documents, those that contain the truth. Ignorate per secoli fino al punto di essere credute smarrite, queste antiche carte tornano alla luce e restituiscono tesori della cultura (ma anche della spiritualità) che forse nessuno immaginava. Ignore for centuries to the point of being believed lost, these old cards back to light and return cultural treasures (but also of spirituality) that perhaps no one imagined. Come ad esempio il testo di una preghiera bellissima, commovente, che alcuni Templari composero durante i lunghi anni di prigionia nelle carceri di Filippo il Bello. How, for example, the text of a prayer beautiful, moving, that some Templars composed during the long years of captivity in the prisons of Philip the Handsome. Fu letta durante il processo, ma gli storici non l’hanno mai valorizzata forse perché essi stessi sono incuriositi soprattutto dagli aspetti misteriosi, diciamo pure oscuri della vicenda. It was read during the trial, but historians have never valued perhaps because they themselves are curious mainly from mysterious aspects, we also obscure the affair. È un canto accorato che parla di dolore, interminabili attese, angoscia ma anche speranza. It is a heartfelt song about pain, endless expectations, distress but also hope. Fu scritta dai Templari in prigione, ma potrebbe essere recitata da chiunque si trovi in un momento di sconforto e difficoltà. It was written by the Templars in prison, but could be recited by those who are in a moment of distress and difficulties. È un documento pieno di poesia, e incredibilmente non è mai stato studiato. It is a document full of poetry, and incredibly has never been studied. Ne riportiamo un passo: “Santa Maria, madre di Dio, piissima, gloriosa, santa genitrice di Dio, preziosa e sempre vergine Maria, salvezza di chi è alla deriva, consolazione di chi spera, tu che conforti e difendi chi si pente dei suoi peccati, dona a noi consiglio e difesa; e proteggi l’ordine religioso tuo, che fu fondato dal beato Bernardo tuo santo confessore con altri uomini buoni della Santa Chiesa di Roma, e dedicato a te, santissima e gloriosissima. Te imploriamo umilmente, concedi la libertà per il nostro ordine, con l’intercessione degli angeli, degli arcangeli, dei profeti, degli evangelisti, degli apostoli, dei martiri, dei confessori, delle vergini, e nonostante tutte le calunnie rovesciate su di noi dai bugiardi, come tu sai, i nostri avversari siano ricondotti alla verità e alla carità, sicché noi possiamo serbare i nostri voti ei comandamenti del Signore nostro Gesù Cristo tuo figlio, che è difensore, creatore e redentore nostro, salvatore pieno di misericordia, Dio che vive e regna nei secoli dei secoli. Amen”. It’s a step: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, piissima, glorious, holy mother of God, precious and ever Virgin Mary, the salvation of those who are drifting, consolation of those hopes, you who defend and comfort those who repents of his sins, give us advice and defence and protect your religious order, which was founded by Blessed Bernardo your holy confessor with other good men of the Holy Church of Rome, and dedicated to you, holy and glorious. humbly implore you, grant freedom for our order, with the intercession of angels, archangels, the prophets, evangelists, apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, and despite all the calumnies overturned on us by liars, as you know , Our adversaries are not brought to truth and charity, so we can keep our votes and the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ your son, who is defender, creator and redeeming our savior full of mercy, God who lives and reigns over the centuries the centuries. Amen. ”
    Non c’è da stupirsi se poco più tardi, nel Concilio di Vienne del 1312, Papa Clemente v farà mettere agli atti che i Templari non erano eretici; e anche se costretto a chiudere l’ordine per evitare che Filippo il Bello aprisse uno scisma in seno alla Chiesa cattolica, chiarì espressamente che l’ordine del Tempio non poteva essere condannato . No wonder whether little later, in the Council of Vienne, 1312, Pope Clement v will put on record that the Templars were not heretics, and even if forced to close the order to prevent Philip the Handsome opened a schism within the Catholic Church, expressly clear that the order of the Temple could not be condemned.
    Bafometti e altri mostri a parte, sulla storia dei Templari c’è ancora davvero tanto da indagare. Bafometti and other monsters aside, the history of the Templars really there is still much to investigate. E lo studio della spiritualità di questo antico ordine religioso darà alla cultura contemporanea altri notevoli spunti di discussione. And the study of spirituality of this ancient religious order, will give contemporary culture other major points for discussion.

  29. techno_aesthete says:

    “The Templars were re-established as diocesan order in Siena.”

    Technically, they are a private association of the faithful. The current Code of Canon Law does not have the category of “order” for newly established communities.

  30. Lady Lauren says:

    If their “reputation” is to be “restored” wouldn’t the first step be to require them to return to the Holy Land to continue the good fight? Just hoping.

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