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Only the Stone Remains
By 1303, the age of the great crusades was over.
And, thus, the need for the Templars to defend the
crusaders changed. The defense of the Holy Land no
longer necessary, the Templars had no further reason
or right to exist. Of course, like many organizations
they had become self perpetuating. The U.S.
government experiences this in many of it's
bureaucratic branches. By 1303, the Templars
had land in many countries, from Scotland to
Cyprus. The were by many accounts, bloated and
fat. As an organization, and in some cases, as individuals.
By 1303, Philip IV was 35 years old and had been
a king successfully for half his life, since age 17.
His idea to take back the Holy Land, after the
crusades had failed, was to unite the Hospitallers
and the Templars into a leaner, more economic
machine. And, with the death of the pope and the
installment of De Got, Philip would get the papal
decree he needed. Philip supported De Got on 6
conditions. One of these was the dissolving of
the Order of the Temple.
On Monday, May 11, 1310, Philip, with his newly
appointed 22 yr old archbishop Philip de Marigny,
succeeded in burning to death 54 Templars.
This while the commission appointed by the Pope
was still deciding the fate of the Templars all
over Europe. Philip was hell bent to get his way.
In Paris, nearly 120 Templars burned before it
was over. But this process was not orderly and
did not follow in such a systematic way as most
would have us believe. Philip and Clement the
Fifth didn't simply put down a decree and then
make it so. Years of chaos ensued before the
order was dissolved in 1312. Much political intrigue
ensued before Philip got his way. Many in Europe,
many in the councils, realized the falsehoods in
the claims by Philip and said so repeatedly.
In Portugal, Majorca and Aragon, the Templars
were declared innocent. General opinion in the
British Isles was the same, but in order to keep
the Pope happy, a compromise was worked out.
The Templars declared themselves 'so defamed
by the articles in the papal Bull that they could
not purge themselves', they were absolved by
the prelates of England and reconciled to the
Church. In Germany and in Cyprus, the Order
was acquitted completely. In Cyprus, Clement V
had the Governor of the island stabbed to death
and ordered a re-trial in which the original order
of acquittal was reversed.
Only in Navarre and Naples were the Order found
guilty. These were both puppets of King Philip "The Fair".
Later, of course, Clement V declared the Order ended
and it's property taken and Templars arrested. Of
course, the Templars had, by now, 3 months warning
of the arrests. Not to mention the time between the
first arrests in 1307 and the final dissolution of the
Order in 1312.
This long post is my attempt to persuade you not to
look for the easy answer.
The end of the Order of the Temple was not so neat
and cannot be so tidily wrapped up by saying that it
simply ended. It didn't end simply and it simply
didn't "end." In the least, it's members still recognized
each other in their towns and villages. They still met
on occasion. Many of them still held and managed
Templar property as it took decades for the church
or the King of France to grab it all. When historians
look back on the events we are currently living through,
they'll state it in simplified terms. But we living it
know it isn't so simple or so pat.
The Knights Templar, Stephen Howarth, Atheneum,
New York 1982.
Born In Blood, The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry,
John J. Robinson M. Evans & Co., 1989