The Knights Templars

My good friend, Dancing Rain Girl (DRG) , who is a terrific writer and who writes an awesome, penetrating, sometimes disturbing, but always thought-provoking blog, called My Wide Blue Seas, hat tipped me for introducing her to Insight Magazine. Insight printed an article on June 4th, a great editorial in fact, about what if Jesus was a Marine. DRG writes, “I read this and was so taken by it, as it really sums up how I feel Jesus really was and how he might have looked at the Iraq conflict or any conflict of arms”. DRG also wrote about how, if she would have believed in reincarnation, she would have been a Crusader Knight, fighting for the cause of Christ and His Poor and the liberation of the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Little did DRG know that one of my reading passions are about the Knights Templars. In fact, I mentioned the Templars in a recent post, back in January 17, 2004, which you can read here.

Here’s some basic info on the Knights Templars, who they were, for those who have never heard of them before:

At the beginning of the 12th century, Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem began to suffer growing casualties from Saracen raids.

In one incident in 1119, over 300 pilgrims were killed. The Knights of the First Crusade had long returned, but, someone or some group needed to protect new pilgrim visitors. Out of need, arose that same year, Hugues de Payen, who offered his services to the King of Jerusalem, Baldwin I.

He, along with eight of his fellow knights, vowed that they would be willing to devote themselves to policing the pilgrim routes. The king accepted the offer and soon was so impressed with their efforts that he gave the fledgling order a wing of his own royal palace as their headquarters.

In Moslem times, this wing had been the Al Aqsa mosque, built on the Jewish and Jewish-only holy site known as the Holy Temple of Solomon itself. Hugues de Payen gave the new Order its name: the Order of the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon – the Knights Templar.

The Order grew rapidly and they trained as fighters and became highly skilled warrior knights. From their original role protecting pilgrim parties, they were soon regarded as the military defenders of the Holy Land. Over a period of 200 years, what began as a nine man team of well-intentioned noblemen became the most powerful – and most secretive organization in history. Yes, in spite of devout Christian beliefs, they slaughtered men, women, and children in the name of God. But I still believe they were great, well-intentioned men. They owned many fabled religious treasures including, it is said, the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus as he perished on the Cross. They were thought to be guardians of the most revered of all Christian relics, the Holy Grail. History books also describe how the Templars were in possession of a mysterious, great secret; a particular knowledge, which, if revealed, would undermine the fundamental view of Christianity itself.

The Templars were tragically brought down by King Philip of France, who became envious of the wealth of the Templars, who became rich when they were endowed with gifts from rich pilgrims. Their fate was dealt by an order from King Philip le Bel, whose soldiers swooped upon the Knights on Friday the 13th, October, 1307 (the reason that Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day). The Templars were burnt alive, disemboweled, hung from meat hooks, drawn and quartered.

Somehow, however, the Templars knew of the impending threat a week before October 13, 1307. When the King’s men arrived, they found that the fabulous treasures moored at La Rochelle, on the west coast of France, had disappeared. To this day, its whereabouts has never been discovered. Some historians claim therefore that the organization never really died at all but that it went underground. They maintain that the Order of the Knights Templar is in existence today, though under another name. And throughout Europe, its members supposedly still meet secretly to discuss unknown business behind closed doors.

Here is a fascinating link to get you started on the Knights Templars.

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