TEMPLARS

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TEMPLARS ; a celebrated order of knights, which, like the order of St. John and the Teutonic order, had its origin in the crusades. Hugh de Pajens, Godfrey de St. Uldemar, and seven other knights, established it in 1119, for the protection of the pilgrims on the roads in Palestine. Subsequently, its object became the defence of the Christian faith, and of the holy sepulchre against the Saracens The knights took the vows of chastity, of obedience, and of poverty, like regular canons, and lived at first on the charity of the Christian lords in Palestine. King Baldwin II of Jerusalem gave them an abode in this city, on the east of the site of the Jewish temple ; hence they received the name of Templars, Pope Hono* rius II confirmed the order, in 1127, at the council of Troyes, and imposed on them rules drawn from those of the Benedictine monks, to which were added the precepts of St. Bernard de Clairvaux, who warmly recommended this order. The fame of then* exploits procured them not only numerous members, but also rich donations in houses, lands and money. The different classes of this order were, knights, squires, and servitors, to which were added, in 1172, some spiritual members, who officiated as priests, chaplains, and clerks. All wore a badge of the ordera girdle of linen thread, to denote their vows of chastity ; the clerical members had white, the servitors gray or black gowns; the knights wore, besides their armor, simple white cloaks, adorned with octangular bloodred crosses, to signify that they were to shed their blood in the service of the church. From the class of the knights, who were required to be of approved nobility, and who were the actual lords of the possessions of the order, the officers were chosen by the assembled chapters, viz. marshals and bannerets, as leaders in war; drapiers, as inspectors over their wardrobe; priors, as superiors of single preceptories or priories; abbots, commanders, and grand priors, as rulers over provinces (similar to the provincials of the monastic order); and the grand master, as chief of the whole order. The latter had the rank of a prince, and considered himself equal to the sovereigns of Europe; since the order, like the Jesuits in later times, by virtue of the papal charters, acknowledged the pope alone as its protector, being independent of any other ecclesiastical or secular jurisdiction, and free even from the effects of interdicts, governing itself, and administering its estates according to its own pleasure, the occupants and vassals of which had to pay them tithes. Uniting the privileges of a religious order with great military power, and always prepared for service by sea and land, it could use its possessions to more advantage than other corporations, and also make conquests on its own account; in addition to The principal part of the possessions of the order were in France: most of the knights were also French, and the grand master was usually of that nation. In 1244, the order possessed 9000 considerable bailiwicks, commanderies, priories and preceptories^ independent of the jurisdiction of the sovereigns of the countries in which they were situated. Its members were devoted to the order with body and soul, and their entrance into it severed all their other ties. No one had any private property. The order supported all. The arrogance objected to them by bishops and princes is easily accounted for by their power and wealth, as is also the luxury in which they eventually indulged. The crusaders complained that the order allowed its worldly interests to prevent it from affording a cordial support to the holy wars ; and the emperor Frederic II accused them of treason, of favoring the Saracens, and of friendly connexions with these enemies of Christianity. Though accounts differ on this point, it is certain that, during the gradual decline of the Christian kingdom of Jerusalem, the Templars endeavored to secure their own possessions in that country by means of treaties with the Saracens. Nevertheless, they were obliged, in 1291, with the last defenders of that kingdom, to leave the Holy Land entirely ; and they transferred their chief seat, which had been in Jerusalem, to the island of Cyprus. There the grand master resided, with a select body of officers, knights and brethren, who exercised themselves in warfare by sea against the Saracens. James Bernard Molay, of Burgundy, the last successor of the first grand master, Hugh, endeavored in vain to reform the degenerate spirit of the order. Most of the knights cared more for their worldly possessions than for the holy sepulchre. The aspirations of many of them for political influence, particularly in France; the mystery which hung over the internal administration of the order, and which linked together the initiated; but especially its power and wealth,drew upon it the suspicions and the jealousy of princes. Rumors were spread respecting ambitious plans for the overthrow of all the thrones of Europe, end for the establishment of a republic of the nobility; also respecting opinions at variance with the Catholic faith being fostered in the bosom of the order. In the quarrels between Philip the Fair and Clement V, Philip's friend, under the pretext of consultations for a new crusade, and for a union of the knights Templars with the knights of St. John, summoned, in 1306, the grand master Molay, with sixty knights, to France. After their arrival, these and all the other knights present were suddenly arrested, Oct. 13, 1307, by the king's soldiers. Philip seized upon the estates of the order, removed his court into the temple (the residence of the grand master in Paris), and order ed the trial of the knights to be commenced without delay, by his confessor, William of Paris, inquisitor, and archbishop of Sens. He endeavored to justify this arbitrary procedure by the horrible crimes and heresies of which the order had been accused. Historical records represent the accusers as some expelled Templars, who calumniated the order at the instigation of its enemies. The charge of apostasy from the Catholic faith could not be substantiated. The other allegations, such as that they worshipped the devil, practised sorcery, adored an idol called Bapho7net, contemned the sacrament, neglected confession, and practised unnatural vices, were, according to the general opinion of histori ans down to the present day, malicious misrepresentations or absurd calumnies. A gold box of relics, which the Templars used to kiss, according to the custom of Catholics, was what gave origin to the story of the Bapho met; and because, in an age previous to the general reception of the doctrine of transubstantiation, they practised the an cierit manner of celebrating the mass (viz. without the elevation of the host), this was called contempt of the sacrament: their confessing exclusively to their own clerical members was the ground of the charge, that they received absolution from their temporal superiors; and the friendship by which they were united, gave rise to the imputation of unnatural practices. In those times of general persecution against heretics, every one, whose ruin was resolved upon, and who could not be attacked in any other way, was accused of heresy. Accordingly, Philip being determined, before any inquisition had taken place, to destroy the order, for whose wealth he thirsted, the inquisitors employed, who were entirely devoted to him, and, for the greater part, Dominicans, enemies of the order, used this means to excite the public opinion against them. By means of the most horrid tor tures, confessions of crimes which had never been committed were extorted from the prisoners. Overcome by long captivity and torment, many Templars confessed whatever their inquisitors wished, since a persevering denial of the crimes with which they were charged was punished with death. Clement V at first opposed this arbitrary treatment of an order which was amenable only to the church; but Philip soon prevailed on him to join in its suppression. Two cardinals were sent to take part in the examinations at Paris, and other clergymen were united to the courts of inquisition in the provinces, in order to impart a more legal appearance to the procedure. Though little was, in fact, proved against the Templars, the archbishop of Sens dared, in 1310, to burn alive fiftyfour knights, who had denied every crime of which they were accused. In other dioceses of France, these victims of tyranny and avarice were treated in a similar way. The other princes of Europe were also exhorted by the pope to persecute the Templars. Charles of Sicily and Provence imitated the example of Philip, and shared the booty with the pope. In England, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Germany, the Templars were arrested, but almost universally acquitted. The inquisitions at Salamanca and at Mentz (1310) also resulted in the justification of the order. Nevertheless, the pope, at the council of Vienne, in Dauphiny, solemnly abolished the order by a bull of March 2, 1312, not in the legal way, but by papal authority (per provisionis potius, quam condemnaiionis viam). The members of the order, according to this bull, were to be punished with mildness, when they confessed the crimes imputed to them; but those who persevered in denying them were to be condemned to death. Among the latter were the grand master Molay, and Guido, the grand prior of Normandy, who were burnt alive at Paris, March 13, 1314, after they had cited, according to tradition, Philip and Clement to appear before the judgmentseat of God within a year. The pope, in fact, died April 19 in the same year, and the king November 29. The estates of the order were conferred, by the council of Vienne, upon the knights of St. John, and its treasures in money and precious stones were assigned for a new crusade. But in France, the greatest part fell to the crown, and me pope kept considerable sums for himself. In Spain and Portugal, some new military orders were founded, and en dowed with the estates of the Templars, In other countries, the knights of St. John acquired the rich inheritance of their rivals. The Templars maintained themselves longest in Germany, where they were treated with justice and mildness. At Storlitz, some were found as late as 1319. The members who were discharged from their vows, entered the order of St. John. The original documents of the process against the Templars in France, published in 1792 by Moldenhawer, prove the infamous and arbitrary conduct of the French courts in this case. Von Hammer, in the Fundgruben des Orients, Mysterium Baphometi revelatum, has lately revived the accusation of apostasy, idolatry, and unnatural vices, against the knights Templars, representing them as Gnostics and Ophites ; but Raynouard (Journal des Savans, March, 1819) has shown how unfounded is this accusation, and has proved that by Baphomet (q. v.) nothing but Mohammed is to be understood. Compare also Raynouard's Monum. histor. relatifs a la Condemnation des Chevaliers du Temple (Paris, 1813). Silvestre de Sacy has proved likewise (Magaz. encyclop., 1806, volume vi.), that Baphomet signifies nothing but Mohammed. According to Willi. Ferd. Wilcke's Geschichte des Tempelherrnordens aus den QuellenHistory of the Order of the Templars, drawn from the Sources (Leipsic, 1826, seq., 2 vols.) the spirit of the order had degenerated into a Mohammedan Gnosticism, which led to its ruin. Wilcke asserts the guilt of the order. It continued in Portugal under the name of the order of Christ. In Paris arose the society of the New Templars. Bishop Miinter has published the statutes of the order from a manuscript in old French.