Brief Descriptive Theoretical History of the Knights Templar Order
Prologue The Ninth Templar Story Revised for Publication
A Brief History of the Knights Templar 1099-2007
After Jerusalem fell to the crusaders in 1099, most of the crusaders who did not return to their homelands they stayed in the Outremer (the Holy Land) to protect their gains and find all the remaining wealth as payment for their time. The crusaders had also been granted absolution by the Pope for their conquest and capture of Jerusalem. Many of the men that took part in the first crusade were criminals and lowly born pheasants with no noble rank. In addition, they needed to hold their lands so that they did not fall back into Muslim control.
Sir Hugh De Payen was the vassal servant of the Count of Champagne and he was sent to the Holy Land with a contingent of Knights (mostly his family and close friends) to take part in the crusades on behalf of his feudal Lord. Many believe the Count of Champagne, who was a very learned and worldly man, and as such entertained nobles from far away lands. These nobles had told Count Hugh of Champagne many stories of the secret wealth of the Jews being hidden under the old original Temple of Solomon. Thus he sent his best warrior and some men to find the treasure and keep their mission a secret only between himself and Sir Hugh de Payen. He left on the first crusade and fought for over twenty years across the Holy Land until the capture of Jerusalem.
The Knights Templar were formed following the First Crusade, and although they disbanded in the 1300s, they are still the focus of myth and legend. But how much do you know about the history of the mysterious Knights Templar?
After the success of the First Crusade where Jerusalem was reclaimed from the Muslims, several groups of pilgrims from various places in Western Europe started to journey to the Holy Land. It was not an easy journey as many people were killed while crossing the Muslim-controlled territory. Sometime in the year 1118, Hugues de Payens, a knight from France, together with his eight relatives and friends, founded a military order, which they called the Poor Knights of the Temple of King Solomon, which was later renamed the Knights Templar. They were supported by the king of Jerusalem, Baldwin II and Temple Mount (King Solomon’s Temple Site) became their headquarters. They vowed to protect the Christians visiting the Holy Land. It was here that many believe the secret plan was then implemented. The men would provide safe passage for Pilgrims and guard the routes to and from Jerusalem. In addition, it is believed by some scholars that their excavation of the Original Temple Site began and took approximately eight years to carry out. Then in 1128 Hugh de Payen made some discovery that caused him much concern and he deviated from their original plan and immediately went back to Christendom, but instead of seeking out the Count of Champagne, he went to see Abbot Bernard de Clairvaux. Bernard de Clairvaux was one of the early leaders of the Cistercian order of monks. He was also related to Hugh de Payen and some of his knights.
Bernard de Clairvaux felt that whatever that Hugh de Payen’s showed him created so much intrigue and value to Christianity that it needed to be safe guarded even from his own Vatican. He asked the Pope to allow for the establishment of the Knights Templar to carry out what he saw as a holy mission that God has preordained needed to be brought to fruition. He championed the creation of the Knights Templar Order as the Guardian of that purpose and the protector of the secrets uncovered and discovered. It was rumored that Bernard de Clairvaux was worried that the Vatican would attempt to subvert the true identity and legacy of Christ because it may have been vastly different than the Catholic doctrine that the Papacy had put forth. Bernard de Clairvaux became known as the Doctor of the Church and Pope maker, a very prominent and powerful church scholar and he later was Sainted.
Religious leaders initially criticized the need for such a powerful military order within the church itself. However, by 1129 they were given the formal endorsement by the Catholic Church. The Templars took vows of poverty, their order was allowed to accrue land and wealth and they received not only lavish donations from many regions of Europe but also found new recruits from the nobles that wanted to gain prominence. The knights likewise adopted a more Spartan code of conduct called the Rule of Seventy Two, which stated all conduct and rigorous doctrine for their daily lives. The Knights started wearing what would become their signature garment: white habits decorated with a splayed red cross on their chest. At their height the Templars had more men at arms than any single Monarch and they were the very best warriors on the battlefield. They had a strict military command hierarchy that gave them precise battlefield tactics. They constructed vast castles and established over ten thousand estates across Christendom, each producing yet more wealth for the combined use of the order.
They became known as fierce warriors for the major battles they fought during the Crusades. They were not allowed to retreat from battle unless outnumbered four to one. The Templars were not allowed to be held for ransom, so they held no value as captors. This begun their legend of fighting to the death and with such ferocity that it scared their opponents. The money that the Templars brought in allowed them to furnish their knights with the best heavy armor, weapons and horses of their day. The Templar charge was alleged to have made the earth tremble from the power and weight of their Knights on horseback. This shock and awe power was used to rout many of their opponents. With donations continuing to pour in, they set up a banking system so that religious pilgrims could deposit assets while still in their home country, and withdraw funds when they reached Jerusalem. This was the first known use of lines of credits. The Templars gained huge financial wealth from large donations and several business ventures. During the height of their power, they owned several fleet of ships, were the primary lenders to the nobles and monarchs of Europe and even owned the island of Cyprus. It was estimated that they held more wealth than the Church itself and all the Monarchs of Europe combined. This did create some very serious jealousy and contempt for them from those that owed them vast sums of money.
The Muslim soldiers regained Jerusalem in the latter part of the 12th century and changed the course of the Crusaders’ history. The Muslims were able to force the Knights Templar to relocate a number of times, and with the Europeans’ dwindling support for the military campaigns in Jerusalem, the popularity of the Templars began to wane as well and people questioned the Vatican about the need for their continued existence. They also started to have skirmishes with other Christian military orders, and participated in battles that were unsuccessful. Around 1303, they no longer had a foothold in the Muslim world, and their base of operation was moved to Paris. They faced another adversary in Philip IV (known as Phillip the Fair for his vanity), the king of France, who wanted to bring them down. It could be because the Templars refused to grant him additional loans on top of his other loans or it could be because the Templars were interested in forming their own state somewhere in the southeastern part of France. He feared it would be in the old Cathar region since the Templars had been known supporters of the Cathars in and around Carcassonne France.
The last grand master of the Knights Templar was Jacques de Molay. He was arrested together with approximately sixty other Knights on October 13, 1307. They were charged with numerous offences, such as financial corruption, fraud, homosexuality, spitting on the cross, devil worship and heresy. Most were tortured brutally and questioned under duress, many of the Templars, including de Molay, confessed initially to end their suffering. It is estimated that during this brutal betrayal approximately six hundred knights had been captured across Christendom. Some of the Templars were burned at the stake in Paris because they recanted the confessions they made earlier when they were tried. De Molay was also burned at the stake on March 18, 1314. The Pope at that time was Clement V. Clement was a childhood friend of King Phillip IV and was the Cardinal that King Phillip supported after the death of the earlier Pope under suspicious terms while he was held captive by Guillame de Nogaret (King Phillips Chief advisor). Clement then moved Vatican operations to Avignon France so that the Rome location did not fall to the Ottomans and Muslims that were invading and raiding the Spanish and Italians at the time. He previously raised concern about the secret initiation rites conducted by the Knights Templar and actually ordered an inquiry of his own. In 1312 King Philip convinced the Pope to dissolve the Knights Templar and allow for his forgiveness of any debts owed to himself and all the other Monarchs at the time.
The Knights Templar: Do they still exist today?
The Knights Templar were thought to have been disbanded some 700 years ago officially upon the death of their 23rd Grand Master Jacques de Molay. However, there are those who believe that the order still exists and has just gone underground. In the 18th century, the Freemasons and some other organizations resurrected some of the traditions and symbols of the medieval knights to keep their legend known. In recent years, stories surfaced, many of which found their way into books and films. Some say that the Knights Templar, while headquartered at Temple Mount, dug up the Holy Grail. Another story said that they have kept a secret that could destroy the Catholic Church.
The Great Diaspora- (scattering of the Knights and their possessions) did take place as most scholars generally agree, that the Templars managed to disperse most of their portable wealth before the King’s henchmen came to confiscate it. The Templars had a vast network of knights and members at the time, approximately 160,000 folks. Indeed, the royal agents found all the monasteries had in large part been abandoned and left desolate… they found the Templar ships had all set sail and not even been recorded by departure or destination. Other smaller Templar fleets in the south and north of France, Flanders, and Portugal also left ports – and sailed into legend. … Also missing from the Templars’ strongholds were the documents and records of the former empire of the Order. Thus the mystery is secured and the conspiracy to both destroy them, loot their treasury and uncover and possibly destroy any evidence that did not benefit the Vatican was avoided by the Templars own failsafe plans for such deceit and treachery.
To provide for their new secret infrastructure of the new form of the Order as a secret society, and with no more Holy wars to wage, the Templars fell back on their second career, finance and trade. In addition, many believe they revisited their original plan to establish their own kingdom in Christendom, but one where they could control their own destiny without regard for the intervention of other Monarchs or the Vatican’s control.
Naturally, most of the Templar wealth was out in the fields as working assets earning them income on crops, trade, and money affairs. This new model of revenue for the order… needed many new forms of secret infrastructure to allow it to continue to flow for them. Much of their revenue was transferred to their new Headquarters in Tomar Portugal, where they had not been persecuted. Also, besides the 18 ships that escaped from the port of La Rochelle in 1307, the vast majority of Templar ships, both merchant vessels and armed galleons… would surely have been doing what the Templars did best – plying the seas of the Mediterranean and Atlantic, earning money to keep the order financially sound by arranging for commerce transactions.
Finally the Conspiracy Mystery is Uncloaked:
On 20 August 1308, Pope Clement V secretly absolved the Knights Templar of the charges brought against them by the Inquisition and supported by King Phillip IV.
The Knights Templar had been one of the largest of the medieval Catholic military orders and had acquired a great deal of political and financial influence in Europe. French King Philip IV, who owed the Templars a significant amount of money, used rumors about the secret rituals of the Templars to bring charges of heresy against them so that his debts could be erased. He wanted to suppress the Templars in Europe and to obtain their wealth for himself, a fortuitous windfall he felt he was worthy of for bringing their Satanic rituals to the attention of the Pope. He brought a good deal of pressure upon the Pope Clement V to support his attacks against them. Many believe since Clement feared if he did not go along he to might meet the same fate as his predecessor. Originally the Pope had hoped to merge the Templars with the Knights Hospitaller Order in order to preserve the military presence that the Vatican could use at their disposal if any Monarchs saw fit to oppose Vatican authority. But the Templars wanted no part in that scenario. The Hospitallers went on to be the muscle that the Vatican and in particular the Jesuit Order utilized to torture, kill and punish those that the Inquisition found guilty during the great inquisition period. This stigma haunted and tainted the Knights Hospitaller Order so much that they changed their name to the Knights of Malta to try to down play the carnage and brutality that their Hospitaller Order came to be known for. The Templars for their part did not trust or regard the Hospitallers very highly and there was a very significant discord between the two orders. The Templar assets that the Vatican did find or control at the time of their disbanding in 1312 were all turned over to the Hospitallers by the Vatican to reward them for their loyalty to the Church.
The Chinon Parchment reveals that Pope Clement V gave the Grand Master of the Templars and other heads of the Templar Order absolution from the charges of heresy and permission to receive the sacraments. At this time, Clement still hoped to be able to save the Templars from the wrath of Philip IV. However, Philip threatened military action against Clement if he did not dissolve the Templars and at the Council of Vienne in 1312, Pope Clement V issued the bull Vox in excelso – which abolished the Order of Templars on the grounds of the many scandalous accusations which had been brought against them. It was known to the Pope that these charges were not substantiated or truthful but many believe he chose to ignore that so that the Papacy could remain in tact and out of harms way from Phillip IV, the most powerful of the Kings in Christendom. Though, Clement V also noted that his decision to abolish the Templars [was] not without bitterness and sadness of heart. His deceit and complicity none the less were sealed by his act of doing nothing to do what was right and just.
In 2001 the Vatican Secret Archives re-discovered the Chinon Parchment of 1308 AD, in which Pope Clement V absolved the Knights Templar and their last official Grand Master Jacques de Molay of all charges brought against he and the entire Order of the Templars. The Chinon 1308 Papal decree “extended the mercy of pardon from excommunication”, thereby “restoring to unity with the Church and reinstating to the communion of the faithful and the sacraments of the Church”. (Another Chinon Parchment was already known to historians, published in 1693 and 1751 AD, containing the same wording.)
In 1311 AD, the Council of Vienne held in Dauphine further ratified the Chinon Parchment, voting to continue the maintenance of the Templar Order.
In 1312 AD, however, under extreme pressure from French King Philip IV, and after many unsuccessful attempts to merge the Templars with the Order of Hospitalliers to preserve them, Pope Clement V issued the Papal Bull Vox in Excelsis, that is believed to have suspended the Order, and Ad Providam, which redistributed most Templar assets (those that were held by the Vatican) to the Hospitalliers (Knights of Malta) and other orders. Although this has been interpreted as “dissolving” the Order, the Vox in Excelsis Bull explicitly stated that it was “not by definitive sentence”, and it was in fact only a dismantling of the infrastructure of the Knights Templar Order as devised by the Vatican originally. Many feel that this wording allowed for the secret preservation of the order even within the walls of the Vatican, where the Templars still had many Cardinals and supporters that were known close confidants, especially those within the Cistercian Order of Monks.
Post Diaspora Theoretical History of The Knights Templar and their Families
It is relatively impossible for an order with the size, power and wealth of the Knights Templar to just vanish over night, so the conundrum is where did they go and how did they hide so many with so much so well? That remains the question that most scholars cannot answer with certainty.
AD March 18, 1314- The Last known Grand Master Jacques de Molay is burned at the stake on the lle des Juifs a small island in the Seine river across from Notre Dame Cathedral. Some believe that he secretly conveyed his Grand Master rights by official charter of transmission to the Templar priest that heard his last confession, Father Jean-Marc Larmenious, so that the succession of Grand Masters would not be broken.
AD 1314- Rumors that some elements of the Templars have fled to Scotland and were in armed support of King Robert the Bruce in his defense against the English are raised. Legend has been said to bring forward that a group of heavily armed knights charged out of the woods at the battle of Bannockburn and routed the huge English army by shock and awe of their heavy cavalry and fighting ferocity, thus establishing King Robert the Bruce as rightful King of Scotland.
AD 1315- The Battle of Morgarten at Gothard Pass where a small force of 1500 lightly armed peasants defeated the enormous army of some 5,000 heavily armed mounted knights of Austrian Habsburg Duke Leopold I, who was trying to establish a short invasion route to Italy. Legend says the Templars trained and directed the ambush of the far superior Austrian forces. This led to the formal establishment of Switzerland, which is the oldest democracy still in continued existence. Many of the Swiss ideals are directly related to Templar philosophies and symbols yet today. Switzerland was a mountainous region directly adjacent to France and easily accessible to the fleeing Templars and could be resupplied from Italy from their ports. This was what some believe as the establishment of the Templar Kingdom within Christendom that many of them had wanted rather than to try to reconquer the Holy Land as Jacques de Molay had desired. Switzerland was difficult to invade and had rough terrain and was isolated from Rome and the others Monarchs.
AD 1319- The Order of Christ is founded in Tomar Portugal by King Dinis and he allows it be established as the new home of the Templars HQ.
AD 1347- King Magnus Eriksson of Sweden charters the first entity to establish a perpetual ownership of a mining operation, and thus the concept of a Corporation is created. His line was directly connected and in support of the Templars according to history. This concept of a body of anonymous ownership collective was a Templar design. The perfect way to invest money anonymously without giving away identities and thus creating a risk of detection, it allowed them to make money and invest money in many operations around the world and create even larger financial wealth for themselves.
AD 1397- The first modern bank is established in Venice, by Giovanni Medici, a known Templar family in a strong Templar operational base. The Venetians built most of the Templar ships and many believe Venice was the naval port the Swiss Templars utilized for sea access to and from their inland empire in Switzerland. It was from this that the first modern bonds were sold to finance new investments and pay off war debts and paying interest to the bond shareholders was established. This as yet another Templar banking concept.
AD 1446-Rosslyn Chapel is constructed by the Scottish Sinclair family a long-standing Founding member of the Templar order. Many believe the clues to the Templar secret history were etched into the intricate designs and that even some Templar archives were hidden there. Others believe it was the Templar’s plan to create a red herring to throw most anyone off their real trail if they were being sought out for further persecution.
AD 1415- Prince Henry the Navigator born from a Templar led the Portuguese exploration of the Americas and created the first school of exploration by the sea.
AD 1492- Christopher Columbus also believed to have been a Templar was exploring looking for a route to the spice islands but rediscovered North America some say by reading secret Templar maps from earlier voyages taken from their Northern bases of Operation in Scotland and Scandinavia.
AD 1519- Magellan also from a Templar family known as a navigator led the first successful round the world voyage and opened up new discoveries including the cape of Africa and the Indian ocean islands and Asian routes. This gave the Templars vast new unchartered lands to develop and create revenue from by developing infrastructure there and also keeping them out of reach of the Monarchs of Europe.
AD 1602- The Dutch East India Company is formed and stocks are able to be traded or exchanged at varying values within a controlled center of commerce (stock exchange). This is also a Templar Concept so that they can invest their vast sums of monies in multiple commerce operations across many kingdoms eventually and attract new ideas worthy of investment to their awareness. Establishing the first of many stock exchange houses across Europe and eventually the world. The perfect intelligence gathering apparatus for investing anonymously in all types of operations and secretly amassing huge sums of wealth in plain sight.
AD 1609- Royal Bank of Amsterdam is formed and begins to take deposits and make loans with interest, highly linked to the same members that founded the Dutch East India Company alleged to be from Templar families.
AD 1668- The First Central Bank is formed again a major Templar Concept for organizing a vast banking empire that is growing immensely in popularity and profits and creating sway and influence that is unrivaled even by the Vatican and the Rulers of Europe. This bank was again formed in Sweden as the Riksbanken creating a central currency for trade and commerce.
AD 1741- Swiss Private Banking is borne officially with the launch of the Wegelin Private Bank. This is the birth of the secretive Swiss banking system renowned worldwide for their secrecy and security in the most violent and inhospitable of times. All, of these are Templar founding ideals of their order. The Swiss position of maintaining their fierce neutrality and forming a common and mobile means of defense against any invaders is also a Templar concept. The Swiss Redoubt of defense fortifications was the design to protect Switzerland from any invader and provide that all able bodied men under age fifty should have military training and keep weapons at their homes for instant mobilization if the defense of their country was necessary.
AD 1804- Emperor Napoleon restores the Ordre du Temple as a direct rebuke to the French Kings before that had caused the Order’s demise. This has now been utilized as the foundation of the modern Templar Order reconstitution of being publicly visible. Subsequently the Templar’s officially set up operational facilities in Jerusalem, London, Geneva, Portugal and America and now in several other countries expanding the order once again along the original ideals. Including becoming a chartered recognized NON-Governmental Organization holding stature within the United Nations and being the only military and Christian order recognized by all the Royal Houses of Europe and Scandinavia today as men of nobility.
AD October 25, 2007- The Vatican declares the Templars were innocent of all allegations and absolves the Templars of all crimes against the church with a full 700 years too late pardon of their grave mistake and heinous act against the followers of Christ. This is due to a document found by a Vatican Archives researcher, which indicated that the Pope knew of their innocence in 1307-1314 but turned his head as the atrocities that were committed against the order. Thus sealing the fact that their demise was indeed a conspiracy to over throw the Order and defrock them of their wealth, title and honor. The great mystery of what they discovered however remains the whisper of speculation still today.
The secrets have not been made public if they are known to the Modern Order and those that may have survived of the secret families within the original noble order have never broken rank as to the “Great Treasure that the Knights Templar Order was established to preserve and protect for humanity against all that would seek to subvert and/or misuse such knowledge to their own worldly gains.”
The Secrets have created an enormous amount of historical and scholarly Conjecture:
The identity of the ninth founding member of the order has never been established to this day. The name of Hugh de Payen and his seven other named founders are well documented. But the historical records always state that there are nine founding members of which one has been kept anonymous. Why would Hugh de Payen immediately need such secrecy? Many believe the Ninth Templar original member was kept secret to allow for the guardianship of the secrets even from those within the order itself, and that this kinship and lineage of guardianship is another secret that exists within the most secretive and powerful order ever established through out history.
Another major point of curiosity is exactly what did Sir Hugh de Payen find under King Solomon’s Temple that changed him and his purpose so radically? Whatever it was had such significant worth and merit that he immediately raced back to Europe to meet with the most knowledgeable clergyman of his time, Abbott Bernard de Clairvaux, and the Abbott was so moved he wrote to the Pope asking and beseeching the Vatican to provide special protection and commissioning endorsement for Sir Hugh de Payen and his knights. No order had ever been granted so much autonomy by the Vatican ever before. They did not pay taxes to any monarch and did not tithe to the church. In addition the Templars could cross borders without any permission required from Feudal lords and owed no fealty to any monarch. They were allowed to have their own priests that did not come under the auspices of the other orders within the church. This gave the Templars complete autonomy from any outside influence and thus the ability to conduct their operations and duty without prejudice, which Abbott Bernard de Clairvaux maintained was paramount to their ability to fulfill their destiny. The major question then is so just what did Hugh de Payen discover under King Solomon’s Temple that created so much necessity that it should create so much responsibility and independence so much so that the Vatican allowed for these special rules? Many speculate that the significance was so vast that it swayed the most powerful organization of those days on the planet, the Vatican to give them never before special privileges. The list of beliefs and legends include; the identity of Christ and his special relationship to Mary and his supernatural status with God. Some belief it was alien artifacts used by Solomon to control magical powers such as alchemy, wisdom and knowledge of universal significance and immortality. The most popular are the actual Holy Grail or chalice that Christ drank from and blessed the Disciples with at the Last Supper and the very Ark of the Covenant itself. Another very interesting legend is that Christ himself wrote a gospel explaining everything that man needed to know about God, the Afterlife, the Universe and our existence that would allow mankind to become more understanding of God and his actual designs and desires for humanity. This Lost Gospel of Christ may contradict many of the religious views of current religions including the Vatican, so it would not necessarily be viewed as being something that would lead to the furtherance of the Catholic Church’s doctrine. The Knights became very wealthy very quickly so some believe that they found the hidden treasury of the Jews and possibly the Phoenicians. The speculation of what was found if anything at all is far reaching. The truth is it could be all of the above, some of the above or none of the above. That is the foundation to the intrigue behind the great conspiracy theorists views. The thirst for this information by society is almost insatiable. Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code sold over 5,000,000 copies, Raymond Kourey’s The Last Templar sold over 5,000,000 copies, Steve Berry’s book the Last Templar has sold over 2,000,000 copies and the list goes on. The tale of the Knights Templar has spawned numerous books, legends, documentaries and feature movies. The Fan blogs dedicated to this subject get regular unique visitors of between 15,000 to 100,000 per year. So, in spite the antiquity to the tale the modern public has continued to remain fascinated with it.
The tale of what they found and why they were forced to hide it is a story of great fascination because it includes murder, conspiracy, deceit, betrayal and secrecy that has evaded mankind for nearly nine hundred years, until now. What if the story came out today and had real merit? How would those in power react to such new knowledge and how would such powers be used if they were indeed supernatural and so powerful as many have speculated? Where is the guardian the Ninth Templar today does he still exist and if so, what role does he play in protecting these secrets and treasures today? The clash between good and evil is a classic tale of biblical proportions but if given this additional twist this could be the actual preliminary warning of the days just before Armageddon. Only God until now knows the actual truth, but all of that is about to possibly change. This is the tale of the Ninth Templar and his legacy in our modern times.