Knights Templar win heresy reprieve after 700 yrs.
Posted 13 October 2007 - 11:02 PM
By Philip Pullella Fri Oct 12, 4:10 AM ET
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Knights Templar, the medieval Christian military order accused of heresy and sexual misconduct, will soon be partly rehabilitated when the Vatican publishes trial documents it had closely guarded for 700 years.
A reproduction of the minutes of trials against the Templars, "'Processus Contra Templarios -- Papal Inquiry into the Trial of the Templars"' is a massive work and much more than a book -- with a 5,900 euros ($8,333) price tag.
"This is a milestone because it is the first time that these documents are being released by the Vatican, which gives a stamp of authority to the entire project," said Professor Barbara Frale, a medievalist at the Vatican's Secret Archives.
"Nothing before this offered scholars original documents of the trials of the Templars," she told Reuters in a telephone interview ahead of the official presentation of the work on October 25.
The epic comes in a soft leather case that includes a large-format book including scholarly commentary, reproductions of original parchments in Latin, and -- to tantalize Templar buffs -- replicas of the wax seals used by 14th-century inquisitors.
Reuters was given an advance preview of the work, of which only 799 numbered copies have been made.
One parchment measuring about half a meter wide by some two meters long is so detailed that it includes reproductions of stains and imperfections seen on the originals.
Pope Benedict will be given the first set of the work, published by the Vatican Secret Archives in collaboration with Italy's Scrinium cultural foundation, which acted as curator and will have exclusive world distribution rights.
The Templars, whose full name was "Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon," were founded in 1119 by knights sworn to protecting Christian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land after the Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099.
They amassed enormous wealth and helped finance wars of some European monarchs. Legends of their hidden treasures, secret rituals and power have figured over the years in films and bestsellers such as "The Da Vinci Code."
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.
BURNED AT THE STAKE
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.
The most titillating part of the documents is the so-called Chinon Parchment, which contains phrases in which Pope Clement V absolves the Templars of charges of heresy, which had been the backbone of King Philip's attempts to eliminate them.
Templars were burned at the stake for heresy by King Philip's agents after they made confessions that most historians believe were given under duress.
The parchment, also known as the Chinon Chart, was "misplaced" in the Vatican archives until 2001, when Frale stumbled across it.
"The parchment was catalogued incorrectly at some point in history. At first I couldn't believe my eyes. I was incredulous," she said.
"This was the document that a lot of historians were looking for," the 37-year-old scholar said.
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.
SPITTING ON THE CROSS
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.
"Simply put, the pope recognized that they were not heretics but guilty of many other minor crimes -- such as abuses, violence and sinful acts within the order," she said. "But that is not the same as heresy."
Despite his conviction that the Templars were not guilty of heresy, in 1312 Pope Clement ordered the Templars disbanded for what Frale called "the good of the Church" following his repeated clashes with the French king.
Frale depicted the trials against the Templars between 1307 and 1312 as a battle of political wills between Clement and Philip, and said the document means Clement's position has to be reappraised by historians.
"This will allow anyone to see what is actually in documents like these and deflate legends that are in vogue these days," she said.
Rosi Fontana, who has helped the Vatican coordinate the project, said: "The most incredible thing is that 700 years have passed and people are still fascinated by all of this."
"The precise reproduction of the parchments will allow scholars to study them, touch them, admire them as if they were dealing with the real thing," Fontana said.
"But even better, it means the originals will not deteriorate as fast as they would if they were constantly being viewed," she said.
Posted 15 October 2007 - 09:56 AM
Unless their spirits still remember the persecution, come back and say "Told you so!".
The whole thing is a very interesting story, though. Thanks!
Posted 15 October 2007 - 11:46 AM
Take my hand and we'll go riding through the sunshine from above
Posted 04 April 2008 - 04:27 AM
Thanks for the article Shawn.
Posted 04 April 2008 - 12:19 PM
There are some really interesting mysteries involving treasures, cults, conspiracies, and murders, when it comes to the Knights Templar.
Edited by Shawn333, 04 April 2008 - 12:21 PM.
Posted 04 April 2008 - 12:39 PM
I have to admit, I never thought of it this way before. I have always been a supporter of the separation of church and state, but only because I think the freedom to choose one's own religion is so important. I'm really glad you brought this up because you make an extremely valid point...and an it's an entirely different way of looking at things.
This is one of the reasons I believe separation of church and state is so important. It's important in keeping religious institutions from corruption and so benefits them. A lot of people see it in a modern context of only keeping religions from influencing and controlling government, but it actually keeps religions safe from government as well and it insures that they don't become more political than spiritual in nature.
Posted 04 April 2008 - 06:10 PM
...but it actually keeps religions safe from government as well and it insures that they don't become more political than spiritual in nature.
wow! Great line and I agree wholeheartedly.
Posted 06 November 2008 - 05:59 AM
By Fiona Govan, Madrid Correspondent
The Association of the Sovereign Order of the Temple of Christ, whose members claim to be descended from the legendary crusaders, have filed a lawsuit against Benedict XVI calling for him to recognise the seizure of assets worth 100 billion euros (£79 billion).
They claim that when the order was dissolved by his predecessor Pope Clement V in 1307, more than 9,000 properties as well as countless pastures, mills and other commercial ventures belonging to the knights were appropriated by the church.
But their motive is not to reclaim damages only to restore the "good name" of the Knights Templar.
"We are not trying to cause the economic collapse of the Roman Catholic Church, but to illustrate to the court the magnitude of the plot against our Order," said a statement issued by the self-proclaimed modern day knights.
The Templars was a powerful secretive group of warrior monks founded by French knight Hugues de Payens after the First Crusade of 1099 to protect pilgrims en route to Jerusalem.
They amassed enormous wealth and helped to finance wars waged by European monarchs, but spectacularly fell from grace after the Muslims reconquered the Holy Land in 1244 and rumours surfaced of their heretic practices.
The Knights were accused of denying Jesus, worshipping icons of the devil in secret initiation ceremonies, and practising sodomy.
Many Templars confessed to their crimes under torture and some, including the Grand Master Jacques de Molay, were burned at the stake.
The legal move by the Spanish group comes follows the unprecedented step by the Vatican towards the rehabilitation of the group when last October it released copies of parchments recording the trials of the Knights between 1307 and 1312.
The papers lay hidden for more than three centuries having been "misfiled" within papal archives until they were discovered by an academic in 2001.
The Chinon parchment revealed that, contrary to historic belief, Clement V had declared the Templars were not heretics but disbanded the order anyway to maintain peace with their accuser, King Philip IV of France.
Over the centuries, various groups have claimed to be descended from the Templars and legend abounds over hidden treasures, secret rituals, and their rumoured guardianship of the Holy Grail.
Most recently the knights have fascinated the modern generation after being featured in the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code.
LINK TO ARTICLE
Posted 11 December 2008 - 10:43 AM
Edited by Abelskeeper, 11 December 2008 - 10:44 AM.
Posted 20 May 2012 - 12:18 PM
said that he was in this ¨group¨ knight Templar..
it was terrible he killed many kids.. and my friend
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