Knights Templar and Friday the 13th

Wednesday, 11 June 2014 - 01:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General

Order of Knights Templar in Europe around 1300 © Marco Zanoli/cc-by-sa-3.0

Order of Knights Templar in Europe around 1300 © Marco Zanoli/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon (Latin: Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Salomonici), commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple (French: Ordre du Temple or Templiers) or simply as Templars, were among the most wealthy and powerful of the Western Christian military orders and were among the most prominent actors of the Christian finance. The organization existed for nearly two centuries during the Middle Ages.

Officially endorsed by the Catholic Church around 1129, the Order became a favoured charity throughout Christendom and grew rapidly in membership and power. 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 managed a large economic infrastructure throughout Christendom, innovating financial techniques that were an early form of banking, and building fortifications across Europe and the Holy Land.

Knights Templar seal © İrish Masonic Jewels Cross Pattée © Liberal Freemason Knight Orders in Outremer, 1291 © Marco Zanoli/cc-by-sa-3.0 Order of Knights Templar in Europe around 1300 © Marco Zanoli/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Order of Knights Templar in Europe around 1300 © Marco Zanoli/cc-by-sa-3.0
The Templars’ existence was tied closely to the Crusades; when the Holy Land was lost, support for the Order faded. Rumours about the Templars’ secret initiation ceremony created mistrust and King Philip IV of France, deeply in debt to the Order, took advantage of the situation. In 1307, many of the Order’s members in France were arrested, tortured into giving false confessions, and then burned at the stake. Under pressure from King Philip, Pope Clement V disbanded the Order in 1312. The abrupt disappearance of a major part of the European infrastructure gave rise to speculation and legends, which have kept the “Templar” name alive into the modern day.

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 the Templars as a way of enhancing their own image and mystery. There is no clear historical connection between the Knights Templar, which were dismantled in the Rolls of the Catholic Church in 1309 with the martyrdom of Jacques de Molay, and any of the modern organizations, of which, except for the Scottish Order, the earliest emerged publicly in the 18th century. There is often public confusion and many overlook the 400-year gap. However, in 1853, Napoleon III officially recognized the OSMTH. The Order operates on the basis of the traditions of the medieval Knights Templar, celebrating the spirit of, but not claiming direct descent from the ancient Order founded by Hugues de Payens in 1118 and dissolved by Pope Clement V in 1312. On Friday, 13 October 1307, hundreds of the Knights Templar were arrested in France, an action apparently motivated financially and undertaken by the efficient royal bureaucracy to increase the prestige of the crown. Philip IV was the force behind this ruthless move, but it has also tarnished the historical reputation of Clement V. From the very day of Clement V’s coronation, the king falsely charged the Templars with heresy, immorality and abuses, and the scruples of the Pope were compromised by a growing sense that the burgeoning French State might not wait for the Church, but would proceed independently.

Read more on Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani (OSMTH), Wikipedia Friday the 13th and Wikipedia Knights Templar (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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