There was no last page to get the answers from. The full answers had not been discovered. On pages 29 and 30 of the August issue, you will find two news stories that will explain some of the events leading up to my good fortune. The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of the Southern Jurisdiction in a magnanimous fraternal gesture has informed me that they are pleased to make available to their York Rite Brethren, through the Knight Templar magazine, full access to the resources of their library and museum including this document recently acquired from the Vatican.
It is our intention to find a way to take advantage of this generous offer and to bring to our readers, ongoing information as we attempt to decipher the contents of this package and to analyze the relevance of these documents to modern Templary and to the Grand Encampment. We will try to publish articles that will establish the context and setting of the historical period beginning on Friday, October 13th, and culminating with the burning at the stake of Grand Master Jacques DeMolay on March 18th , We will attempt to discover just how many organizations there are today which claim some sort of relationship to the ancient Templars whether it be direct descendants, a philosophical link, or just a similarity in name.
We may even explore the impact that these happenings had on religious and secular culture in Western civilization. I can think of no more appropriate forum in which to pursue this investigation than the Knight Templar magazine. Be patient, Sir Knights; this project will take months if not years to complete. I hope you will join us each month as we begin to unfold this mystery of what really happened seven hundred years ago. A very wise man once said that we are all ignorant — just about different subjects.
It seems to me that there is an awful lot of ignorance about the Knights Templar in general and about the ancient Knights Templar in particular. There also seems to be a good deal of interest about the subject.
Part of the reason for the ignorance is the fact that it happened so long ago and that everyone involved who wrote anything down had an axe to grind. There is a reason for this. It seems to me that any history over fifty years old is probably erroneous. It has been said that the victors write the history. Well, other folks do that too.
It seems to me that seven hundred-year-old history is probably predominantly fiction. One of the ways to flush out ignorance is to stir up a healthy debate.
The Knights Templar on trial: The trial of the Templars in the British Isles, -ORCA
The articles we publish during the next few months will very probably do that. Another problem with this subject is that those who are not ignorant about it tend not to communicate very well and in a common sense manner with those who are. What better place to have a debate about the truth of Templar history than in the Knight Templar magazine.
I hope these next few issues will be entertaining for you because I cannot guarantee you that, at the end, you will know the truth. As I indicated in the October issue, the museum and library of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of the Southern Jurisdiction, in a generous and most fraternal gesture, offered us full access to their recently acquired documents from the Vatican. I was able to go back to the House of the Temple in Washington D. The feedback on the October issue has been that most of you would like to know a good deal more about the documents; what they say, the history surrounding them, and their relevance to Templary today.
As I see it, this museum piece is not only a copy of an historical document, but the entire package is a history making document. The timing of its publication is interesting. It is of museum quality, and only copies were produced. Most of you will never have the opportunity to visit a museum and actually see one of these, let alone study it.
Since many of you are interested in it, I can only offer you a series of articles in which I will attempt to share with you the experience and my thoughts as we explore together the relevance of and the mystery surrounding this curious package of documents. I am neither an historian nor an archeologist so I claim no expertise in the history of Templary. I only know what I read and what I can deduce.
As the magazine has space, we welcome input from those more knowledgeable than I and will certainly publish contrary opinions as we receive them. Remember that an analysis of the facts depends on the truth of those facts. There is probably no one who is totally impartial on the subject of the history of the Templars, so everything you read or hear is tainted by some bias.
Having said all that, I propose to give you a step by step physical description of the artifact, my opinions about why it might have been published at this time, my perception of the times and environment at the time it was written, some photographs of it, and the sense I get from the rather extensive commentary that is part of the package.
Trials of the Knights Templar
We will approach this by publishing a piece each month until I have told you all I know or until you tell me you are tired of hearing about it. We will begin publishing the photos when the magazine goes to full color next month. Why do you suppose the Vatican chose to publish this package at this time? For one thing, Friday, October 13, , was the th anniversary of the initial raid on the Templars in France.
This action was the beginning of the end of the Templar era. I believe that it may have had something to do with the recent publicity associated with the publication of several popular novels and the production of movies about the ancient Knights Templar. I can tell you from personal experience that these things have made young men curious about Templary and Freemasonry. Our lodges and Commanderies are receiving petitions from many serious, bright young men who are interested in the ideals and character of the ancient order and who want to become a part of an organization which seeks to perpetuate these ideals.
In these recent fictional publications, the Freemasons and the Knights Templar have been characterized in a much better light than the Church. While this has been a refreshing change for us Templars and Freemasons, I am sure that it has been a concern for Church leadership; particularly the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church. The publication of existing material that would tend to exonerate the Church of all wrongdoing and to shift the blame to the long extinct monarchy of France might seem like a very good idea.
The package is extremely nice, but I can tell you that the profit margin is not trivial. A part of the package is a rather extensive documentary about its contents and the environment during this period of Templar and Church history. This was written by Dr. I studied this material and found it to be very logical and informative. She expresses some perspectives on the background of the times that were new to me and which I thought were very interesting opinions.
I will, in future issues, attempt to share with you, not so much her exact words as the sense I got of what she had to say. Maybe she will write a less expensive book at some time in the future, and you can read it for yourself. We will attempt to discuss the events, the environment, and the perspectives of the people involved in this drama leading up to the execution of Grand Master Jacques DeMolay.
Some of the parallels to our current times seem striking to me. The events leading up to the establishment of the Knights Templar as an organization are all involved with the Crusades. Next we will attempt to take a look at the environment which led to these Crusades and take a look at some photos of the artifact. Since I am able to show you color photos for the first time this month, I thought we might devote this article to a physical description of the Vatican package.
The package comes in a cloth bag with a drawstring having the insignia of the secret archives of the Vatican imprinted on one side. The bag contains a leather portfolio measuring approximately Opening the portfolio, we discover three separate compartments; one in the form of a pocket on each side and one thin pocket running the entire width of the portfolio in the same manner as the bill portion of a man's wallet. From the pocket on the right side, we remove a white or ivory book approximately On the front cover of the book is embossed in gold "Processus contra Templarios" roughly translated "Proceedings Against the Templars"- remember that all my translations are a stretch.
Near the bottom is an insignia or logo which is roughly square containing two crossed keys on a checkered field surrounded by a border containing the inscription "Archivum Secretum Vaticanum," under which is the inscription "Archivio Segreto Vaticano. The book contains several hundred pages, the majority of which are printed in Italian or Latin. The left hand pages are printed in English beginning on page We will speak more of the contents of the book in future issues.
From the left pocket, we remove another folio which is approximately the same size as the book and is secured by a string closure. Opening this second, smaller portfolio, we discover that it also has a compartment on either side. The front of the right compartment is embossed with the same inscription as is on the cover of the book.
It also has a small outer pocket containing what I perceive to be the certificate of authenticity bearing the serial number of this copy; On the right side is also a cutout containing very real looking synthetic replicas of three different wax papal seals. From the large thin pocket, we remove some more documents also written in Latin. I believe that these images were transferred from the original documents to these synthetic ones using some sort of photographic process and that some of the images have been enhanced to improve legibility.
These documents differ from the others in that there are fewer of them, they have not been as well preserved, and show signs of what appears to be mould stains, and they are larger. Each document is folded several times in order to fit the pocket. They consist of several sheets sewn together to form longer documents. Many of the documents have lengthy marginal notes and several have hand drawn decorative images either in the margins or between written sections. On the reverse side of one of these documents is an inscription which clearly bears the date "Aug This article is intended only to give a visual tour of the artifact for those of you who might never get to see one in person.
Next we will take a closer look at the contents of the book. Since the book I mentioned last month contains the only English in the package, we will next explore its contents. It has several sections and a few pages in the form of envelopes containing black and white prints of artwork concerning the trials.
There is no English translation of this document in the book. There appears to be printed texts again not in English of four dossiers from and a summary or notebook used in at the Council of Vienne. Barbara Frale is an historian on staff at the Vatican Secret Archives and a specialist on the Templars, the crusades, and the papacy. She earned her Ph. She is due to publish her own book on the subject of the Templars in As of this writing, it is not yet available.
We will try to review it when it comes available. Frale is apparently the researcher who discovered the misfiled Chinon document in Since she is on staff at the Secret Archives of the Vatican, we would expect that her commentary would present a relatively favorable perspective of the Church's involvement. After reading her "Historical Notes", I am favorably impressed with her apparent attempt to remain impartial, her attention to detail, and her methodical approach to drawing conclusions. I have decided to present her conclusions in the light of other materials I have read about the subject.
Like any good story, the author must first develop his characters. There are three main characters in this story. First you have Philip, IV, king of France. Philip has always been portrayed as a villain in this story, and Dr. Frale does nothing to attempt to change this. In fact, from her perspective, he is the number one bad guy. Next, you have Pope Clement, V. I have seen him portrayed as an evil despot, a weak and helpless puppet, a willing co-conspirator, and a fool, but Dr.
Frale gives us a new opinion to consider; one I have not seen before. Finally, we have not so much the man, Jacques DeMolay but the Order of the Temple as a whole as our third main character. In the end, it seems to me that Dr. Frale portrays them almost as you would an innocent bystander. Next, we will begin to take a really close look at King Phillip, where he came from, who he was, what motivated him, the events which influenced him, and what appeares to have been his objectives.
Motives are difficult to determine. A wise man once said that we tend to judge others by their actions and ourselves by our motives. Try to keep an open mind as we attempt to get into the minds of these players. Last month I promised we would look into the character and possible motives of one of the main characters in the Templar trial drama, Philip IV the Fair of France. There is one thing about this fellow; no matter whose account you read, he was a bad guy. He was apparently a handsome devil to have been called "the Fair", but it appears that his beauty was only skin deep.
His family had been involved in the crusades from the very beginning as far back as Louis VII' s participation in the second crusade. Bernard who was instrumental in the legitimization of the early Templars. Louis was accompanied on this crusade by the Master of the Temple, the ranking Templar officer in France. During this crusade, Louis ran out of money, and the Templars financed the remainder of the Crusade for him.
In the process they became, for all practical purposes, the treasury of France. They were so good at this that they increased the revenues of the real estate holdings of French King Philip II by an estimated percent. In the long run, this turned out to be a bad move. Louis IX was a participant and leader of the seventh and eighth crusades and apparently a very devout Christian and servant of the Church.
He was captured on at least one occasion and was ransomed by the Templars although somewhat reluctantly and under duress. It appears that Philip IV wanted to follow in his grandfather's footsteps and sort of pick up where he left off.
Author : Helen Nicholson
In reality, he lacked the finances and power to pull this off. By then, the Templars owned an estimated 9, manors, all profitable farming operations, and most of them in France. Because of the Templar relationship with the Church, none of these were taxable by the King. Philip had an advisor and co-conspirator in the person of Guillame de Nogaret, the Keeper of the Seals who appears to have been as fully ambitious and fanatically religious as Philip. In , Philip began his conquest by attacking and trying to seize the assets of the fiefdom of Gascony belonging to King Edward I of England.
This war cost both sides so much that they both decided to tax the clergy. Since an excommunicated King could hardly claim the title of "Defender of the One True Faith", this constituted a major roadblock to Philip's plans. Philip retaliated by taking the position that his ancestors were more Christian than the Papal line having been ordained directly by God and by taking the position that a King was completely sovereign in his own territory and not subject to any other authority.
He then sent a delegation of French clergy to the Pope that assured the Pontif that the King would not interfere with the authority of the Church and convinced him to allow taxation of the clergy during times of national emergency. They also managed to convince the Pope to canonize Louis IX, thus making him truly Philip's "sainted" grandfather. This did not resolve the issue because in , Bishop Bernard Saisset spoke out against Philip's abuses of the clergy and was sentenced to death for treason by the King.
Philip subsequently proposed that the Pope be deposed by the Church. Pope Boniface then drew up the necessary paperwork to excommunicate the King, but before the Pope published the document, the King sent soldiers who assaulted him and attempted to kidnap him and take him back to Paris for trial. The kidnapping was thwarted by the locals, and the Pope was rescued but died in Rome shortly thereafter. Unfortunately for Philip, the excommunication documents were lost presumably not destroyed in the fray, and he had to live with the fact that they might be found and enforced at any time.
Pope Clement V was elected as a compromise candidate between the French Crown who wanted a separate French Church under the control of the King and the Roman Church, but could not take office until the leader of the Roman contingent died because he refused to certify Cement's election. Immediately, Philip bullied the Pope into being crowned in Lyon rather than in Toulouse, the site chosen by the Pope.
He was then pressured into remaining in France rather than presiding from Rome. At the coronation, the King told Clement of rumors of heresy about the Templars and asked him to investigate. He also began his own "investigation" and constantly fed condemning "evidence" to the Pope. In , Philip, again facing financial difficulties, devalued his currency which created a rebellion, and he took refuge in the Tower of the Temple in Paris under the protection of the Templars; another mistake on the part of our ancient brethren. It is thought that his time spent in the Tower gave him opportunity to see firsthand the riches of the Templars to whom he already owed a great financial debt.
He knew the money was really there.
He ordered the Templar in charge to loan him an enormous amount without collateral and received the loan. When the books were later audited by DeMolay, the Grand Master expelled the offending loan officer from the Order. It seems pretty clear to me that Philip IV was motivated by a desire to follow in his grandfather's footsteps and be accepted as the devout and indisputable leader of the Christian world.
This required money, and he apparently would stop at nothing to get the money he needed to accomplish his ambitions. Isn't it bizarre what people will do in the name of the Christian religion? Or any other religion for that matter. Next , we will begin taking a look at the circumstances of the Templars during the time just before their arrest and trials. We have been printing articles by Stephen Dafoe about the origin and history of the ancient Templars, and we will continue to do so. I will only comment in this series about the events leading up to the trials of the Templars and during their incarceration.
As you know, the Templars were originally presumably founded to protect Christian pilgrims on their pilgrimages to the holy city of Jerusalem. Although the Islamic rulers of Jerusalem as well as the Christians had at that time, a policy that allowed these pilgrimages, the pilgrims were apparently often attacked by bands of robbers as they neared Jerusalem. As the region fell more securely under Christian control and as further crusades were launched, the Templars gradually shifted into the role of Christian warriors and crusaders. This new role at first created a dilemma because of the conflict between the killing of one's enemies and the long established Christian teaching of passivism or turning the other cheek.
Their friend, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, assisted them in this respect by formulating the "doctrine" that killing in defense of the Christian religion was not in conflict with the early Christian teaching and practice of what we now call "non-violence. Subsequently, they took an active part in most of the crusades in the Holy Land or Outremer. The Hospitalers started out providing medical care and also evolved into crusaders, but retained a medical mission as well.
In order to support their military efforts, the Templars developed a very large network of agricultural and banking businesses. They began to admit personnel with skills in business, agriculture, building, and manufacturing and made a good deal of money. Remember however, that all this was strictly in support of the central mission of conquering and holding the city of Jerusalem and surrounding areas.
In , the crusaders were finally defeated and driven off of the continent. Take a look at a map and tell me how you could watch Jerusalem burn from the deck of a ship in the Mediterranean Sea.
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Sorry - back to the story. When Acre fell, they lost their last foothold in Palestine and also their Grand Master. Remember that DeMolay was an older knight from the warrior Templars, not from the banking or business side of the house. With this catastrophic defeat, the Templars lost their entire reason for being. They had to sit and do nothing, find another war, merge with the Hospitalers, or find another mission in life.
Their boss, the Pope, had been making noises about merging them with the Hospitalers, and neither group much liked that idea, so when the Pope asked DeMolay to come to France to discuss another crusade, DeMolay jumped at the chance. It is speculated that he brought with him 18 galleys loaded with treasure, ready to help finance this new crusade. What do you suppose ever became of that? King Phillip had been plotting against the Templars for some time before the surprise attack and arrest on Friday, October 13, He had planted covert spies among them as members who fed him "evidence" to be used in the public campaign against the order.
Last month, I mentioned that DeMolay had expelled the treasurer of the Paris Temple for providing an unauthorized loan to the King of France. The King tried to persuade DeMolay to reverse his decision and having failed, persuaded the Pope to order his reinstatement. This proved that DeMolay was not untouchable. After the King ordered the raid, he started a public campaign to incite the general population to force the Pope to suppress the order.
The "evidence" presented was almost all completely false. It was particularly scandalous and shocking but simply not true. He then used the inquisition to torture the Templars and to extort confessions from the captive knights.
The Knights Templar on trial: The trial of the Templars in the British Isles, 1308-1311
The Templars had been subject to the inquisition since the time of the crusade against the Cathars See article on page 6 of the October issue. The Pope, realizing that he was losing control of the situation demanded to personally interrogate DeMolay, but the King deliberately kept the Grand Master away from him. The Pope then sent his own lawyers to Notre Dame in Paris to conduct an interrogation during which DeMolay retracted prior confessions which he insisted were given under torture.
After receiving the report from his commission, the Pope ordered an immediate stop to all further action against the Templars and again demanded that the King turn DeMolay over to him at Poitiers. Finally, Phillip sent a caravan containing seventy prisoners to the Pope. The prisoners were composed of the top Templar leaders in custody and a "select group of Templars and excommunicated fugitives.
Curiously, when the caravan was only part way there, the wagons containing the top Templar leaders including DeMolay himself were diverted to Chinon and never arrived at the Pope's location. The Pope never personally questioned DeMolay, but found the order innocent of nearly all the charges and granted absolution for the others. The trials were concluded on August 20, , but DeMolay was not released.
In another surprise move on March 18, , the King seized DeMolay and had him burned at the stake for heresy, a judgment and sentence he was not empowered to make. At the time of the trials, the order was only around two hundred years old; almost exactly the same age as our Grand Encampment. The Templars, after a two hundred year tradition of heroic warfare, prosperous business, exemplary honor and chivalry, and devoted service to their religion, had come to an ignominious end - or had they?
Next , we will look at the infamous Pope Clement V. The Vatican documents tell a quite different story about him than I had heard before. Here is where the mystery really begins to unfold. In attempting to analyze the role of Pope Clement V in the trial of the Templars, his character, and his motivation, it will be necessary to take into consideration the events leading up to the capture, trial, and executions of the Templars and the environment in which these events took place.
Although my primary source for this information is the documentary notes accompanying the Vatican documents, it was necessary to include material from Dr. Although these other authors do not necessarily agree with Frale's conclusions about the nature of the Pope's involvement, they provided many valuable facts, dates, and names that were necessary to round out the story and to place everything in the correct chronological order.
Be patient; this is going to take more than one month. It is first important to understand a few facts. The Papacy did not have a standing army except for the Templars and the Hospitalers.
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The Templars and Hospitalers, though allies in many ways, were sometimes considered to be rivals and did not always play well together. Pope Innocent II issued a document entitled Omne Datum Optimum which "liberated" the Templars from all control of civil or political authority. The Knights have also been portrayed as guardians of the legendary Holy Grail, the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper before his crucifixion.
The Vatican expects most copies of the work to be bought up by specialized libraries at top universities and by leading medieval scholars. The Templars went into decline after Muslims re-conquered the Holy Land at the end of the 13th century and were accused of heresy by King Philip IV of France, their foremost persecutor. Their alleged offences included denying Christ and secretly worshipping idols. Philip was heavily indebted to the Templars, who had helped him finance his wars, and getting rid of them was a convenient way of cancelling his debts, some historians say.
Frale said Pope Clement was convinced that while the Templars had committed some grave sins, they were not heretics. Their initiation ceremony is believed to have included spitting on the cross, but Frale said they justified this as a ritual of obedience in preparation for possible capture by Muslims. They were also said to have practiced sodomy. Discover Thomson Reuters. Directory of sites. United States.