(1) Call for a Holy War
“In medieval Europe “the ethics of the ruling class remained those of the Nibelungenlied and the Icelandic sagas. As late as the tenth century a heathen religious order called the Joms-Vikings appeared in Scandinavia, restricted to warriors of proven bravery who submitted to a harsh discipline, sleeping in barracks without women. Death in battle was their dearest ambition - to join Woden in Valhalla. The House-Carles who gave a grim an account of themselves at Hastings had been founded by King Sweyn Forkbeard, a former commander of these Jomsburg brethren, and many European noblemen had Scandinavian blood. The traditions of the northern war-band were very much alive in the twelfth century and the chansons de geste expressed the same pagan ideals: physical prowess, the joy of plunder and the duty of revenge.” - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
The followers of the Warrior Cults of Northern Europe were feared for their frenzied ferocity in battle. Operating under a patchwork of warlords, they stood in the way of a pacified and united Europe operating under the Holy Roman Empire.
“The church tried desperately to stop the unending bloodshed. An early expedient was the ‘Truce of God’, specified days on which noblemen wore not to fight. The long-term policy was chivalry, an attempt to tame murderous instincts by providing a Christian ideal of the warrior; ultimately knighthood, originally a reputation for skill in battle, became almost a religious calling, hallowed by quasi-sacramental rites - vigils, weapon blessings, even vows of chastity. The code of the Germanic comitatus gave way to one of prayerful self-sacrifice, which exalted the protection of the defenseless. - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
“A knight must be merciful without wickedness, affable without treachery, compassionate towards the suffering, and open handed. He must be ready to help the needy and to confound robbers and murderers, a just judge without favour or hate. He must prefer death to dishonour. He must protect the Holy Church for she cannot defend herself.” - Chrétien de Troyes, Lancelot (Vulgate Cycle)
“Sagas were replaced by romances of King Arthur and Amadis of Gaul, the berserk transformed into Don Quixote. It was an example of the Catholic Church at her syncretic best, civilizing the barbarian invaders of the Roman Empire. But this process took centuries so there was urgent need of another, quicker solution. “The ascetic impulse produced a papal revolution. Gregory VII (1073-85) set the papacy firmly on a course towards the position of leader and judge of Western Christendom, demanding that temporal power be subordinated to spiritual just as the body depends on the soul, envisaging a papal army, the militia Sancti Petri. Europe listened to the priest-kings with new respect. When in 1095 Pope Urban II called upon the faithful to recover Jerusalem - occupied by the Moslems since 638 - his appeal inspired extraordinary enthusiasm. Palestine’s importance was heightened by the new appreciation of Christ’s humanity; the scenes of the Passion were still pointed out at Jerusalem. That His City should belong to infidels was contrary to the law of God. And Holy War would provide a magnificent outlet for the destructive energy of barbarous nobles.
“These saw the crusade as a summons by God to render military service and also as an opportunity to win new manors in the way they had been won in England and southern Italy. Shouts of ‘Deus li volt’ resounded throughout Europe and a great host of warlike pilgrims from all classes converged on the Holy Land singing the ancient, triumphant hymn ‘Vexilla regis prodeunt’:
‘Behold the royal ensigns fly,
The Cross’s shining mystery;
Where Life itself gave up its breath
And Christ by dying conquered death...’
Its tune was an old marching song of the Roman legion.” - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
“The knighthood which had taken part in the first Crusades had been made up of acquisitive groups of warriors who hunted together, and who subordinated individual courage to the joint discipline of the pack. By the end of the thirteenth century this earlier knighthood, which had been taunted by St Bernard for its greed, its vanity, its evil violence, had begun to give was to the literary idea of knighthood as an individual quest, a kind of lay parallel to the divine pilgrimage of the monks. The knight-errant who sought ‘adventure’ in a personal search which was often connected with worldly, erotic experience had little in common with the violent sinners who sought to purge grave sins by taking the cross.” - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
“Jerusalem was stormed in July 1099. The rabid ferocity of its sack showed just how little the Church had succeeded in Christianizing atavistic instincts. The entire population of the Holy city was put to the sword, Jews as well as Moslems, 70,000 men, women and children perished in a holocaust which raged for three days. In places men waded in blood up to their ankles and horsemen were splashed by it as they rode through the streets. Weeping, these devout conquerors went barefoot to pray at the Holy Sepulcher before rushing eagerly back to the slaughter.”
“Those who stayed in Palestine were adventurers, mainly French, with nothing to go back to, and the state they created reflected the feudalism of their own land.” “The king dressed in a golden burnous and keffiyeh and gave audiences cross-legged on a carpet. Nobles wore shoes with up-turned points, turbans, and the silks, damasks muslins and cottons that were so different from the wool and furs of France. In the towns they lived in villas with courtyards, fountains and mosaic floors, reclining on divans, listening to Arab lutes and watching dancing girls. They ate sugar, rice, lemons and melons and washed with soap in tubs or sunken baths, while their women used cosmetics and glass mirrors, unknown in Europe. Merchants, grown accustomed to bazaars, veiled their wives, and professional wailers were seen at Christian funerals. Coins had Arabic inscriptions....The climate, with its short but stormy winters and long sweltering summers, and the new diseases, caused heavy mortality despite Arab medicine. The majority of the population was Moslem. Life, perpetually overshadowed by the sinister specters of death, torture or slavery, could only be endured by men of strong self-discipline.” - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
“Once you know that the Church is being continually worn down by such a succession of disasters and by so many deaths of the sons of God as a result of the oppression of the pagans, we believe that not one of you will lie low. We urge you . . to do your utmost to defend your brothers and to liberate the Churches.” - Pope Calixtus II, 1123
(2) A New Order is Created
“The Templars came into existence in Jerusalem during the aftermath of the First Crusade. Their Order of Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon grew from a group of pious soldiers who fathered in Jerusalem during the second decade of the twelfth century. They undertook the duty of protecting pilgrims on the dangerous roads between Jaffa, where they landed on the coast of Palestine, and Jerusalem. They lived under the religious rule known as that of St Augustine, and they had help and guidance from the canons of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.” - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
“In 1104 the Count of Champagne had met in conclave with certain high-ranking nobles, at least one of whom had just returned from Jerusalem...Also present was the liege lord of André de Montbard.” - Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
“Immediately after this conclave Hughes traveled to the Holy Land, where he remained until 1108. He returned there briefly in 1114, than went back to Champagne and donated the Clairvaux site to St. Bernard. Four years later - according to the official story - his vassal and possible relation, Hughes de Payens, with André de Montbard and seven companions, set out on their mission and formed the embryonic Knights Templar. In 1125 Hughes of Champagne himself joined the new Order.” - Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince, Turin Shroud - In Whose Image? The Shocking Truth Unveiled
Hughes de Payens, also from Champagne, was a member of a cadet branch of the Counts of Troyes.
“A document of 1123 refers to Hughes as ‘Master of the knights of the Temple’ [‘Magister Militum Templi’] - it is perhaps significant that ‘Magister Militum’ had been the title of the commander-in-chief of the later Roman Empire] but his little band was merely a voluntary brotherhood and recent research seems to indicated that they were having difficulty in finding recruits and were on the verge of dissolution. Hughes had come about another crusade, not to ask for a rule. - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
“The Templars “chose the name militia templi - soldiers of the Temple - after the temple supposedly built by Solomon in Jerusalem, near which they had been assigned quarters by the King.” - John J. Robinson, Born in Blood
The full original title of new order was Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Salomonis, the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon.
“Their first duty was to protect the road to Jerusalem, but it was not long before they assumed the role of a volunteer police force.” - Noel Currer-Briggs, The Shroud and the Grail - A Modern Quest for the True Grail
“Certain noblemen of knightly rank, devoted to God, professed a wish to live in chastity, obedience and without property in perpetuity, binding themselves in the hands of the lord patriarch to the service of Christ in the manner of secular canons. Among these, the first and most important were the venerable men, Hughes de Payens and Godefroi de Saint-Omer. Since they did not have a church, not a settled place to live, the king [of Jerusalem, Baldwin II] conceded a temporary dwelling to them in his palace, which he had below the Temple of the Lord, to the south side....The first element of their profession enjoined on them for the remission of their sins by the lord patriarch and the other bishops, was that they should protect the roads and routes to the utmost of their ability against the ambushes of thieves and attackers, especially in regard to the safety of pilgrims.” - William, Archbishop of Tyre
“King Baldwin welcomed the religious knights and gave them quarters in the eastern part of his palace, which stood on the supposed site of King Solomon’s Temple and adjoined the former Al-Aqsa Mosque; in the same area the canons of the Holy Sepulcher gave them stabling for their horses..” - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
(3) The Prieure de Sion
“There was a secret order behind the Knight’s Templar, which created the Templars as its military and administrative arm. This order, which has functioned under a variety of names, is most frequently known as the Prieure de Sion (‘Priory of Zion’).” - Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
“Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln uncovered evidence of a conspiracy surrounding the Order of Sion (sometimes referred to as the Order of Our Lady of Sion), which involved a number of families from Champagne. This, they claim, was behind the founding of the Templars. The prime mover in these events was Hugues, Count of Champagne, who was instrumental in founding the Order and who eventually joined the Templars himself in 1125. Some historians believe that Hugues was related to Hughes de Payens - the records are sketchy - but he certainly was his feudal lord.” - Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince, Turin Shroud - In Whose Image? The Shocking Truth Unveiled
“Certain writers have suggested that the Templars were ‘infected’ with the Johannite or Mandaean heresy - which denounced Jesus as a ‘false prophet’ and acknowledged John [the Baptist] as the true Messiah. In the course of their activities in the Middle East the Templars undoubtedly established contact with Johannite sects...” - Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
“The Grand-Pontiffs of this sect [the Johannites] took the title of Christ, and laid claim to an unbroken chain of succession in their office. At the time of the foundation of the Order of the Temple (AD 1118), the Grand-Pontiff was named Theocletes; he was acquainted with Hugo de Payens and initiated him into the mysteries and privileges of his Church, promising him the sovereign priesthood and supreme government, finally designating him as his successor.” - Kenneth Mackenzie, The Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia
At least two alleged Grand Masters of the Prieure de Sion showed an involvement in Johannite-related activities. The allegation that Hughes de Payens was secretly a Johannite was repeated in the nineteenth century, first by the Vatican and later by the Theosophists.
“The Johannites ascribed to Saint John [the Baptist] the foundation of their Secret Church, and the Grand Pontiffs of the Sect assumed the title of Christos, Anointed, or Consecrated, and claimed to have succeeded one another from Saint John by an uninterrupted succession of pontifical powers. He who, at the period of the of the foundation of the Order of the Temple, claimed these imaginary prerogatives, was named THEOCLET; he knew HUGHES DE PAYENS, he installed him into the Mysteries and hopes of his pretended church, he seduced him by the notions of Sovereign Priesthood and Supreme royalty, and finally designated him as his successor.” - “Allocution of Pio Nono against the Free Masons”
“The true version of the history of Jesus, and the early Christianity was imparted to Hugh de Payens, by the Grand-Pontiff of the Order of the Temple (of the Nazarene or Johannite sect), one named Theocletes, after which it was learned by some Knights in Palestine, from the higher and more intellectual members of the St. John sect, where were initiated into its mysteries. Freedom of intellectual thought and the restoration of one and universal religion was their secret object. Sworn to the vow of obedience, poverty, and chastity, they were at first the true Knights of John the Baptist, crying in the wilderness and living on wild honey and locusts. Such is the tradition and the true kabalistic version.” - M. P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled
(4) A Secret Objective?
“...In 1894 a group of British Army officers, with a budget of just five hundred pounds, set out to try and map the vaults below the ruins of Herod’s Temple. The contingent of Royal Engineers led by Lieutenant Charles Wilson conducted some excellent work under very adverse conditions and they could confirm that the chambers and passageways they found were often vaulted with keystone arches. They also confirmed that they were not the first visitors to the subterranean galleries when they came across Templar artifacts discarded some seven hundred and forty years previously. These consisted of part of a sword, a spur, part of a spear or lance, and a small Templar cross.” - Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key
“When the crusaders conquered Jerusalem in 1099, they heard from such Jews as remained in the city that the Holy of Holies was right there in the Dome of the Rock. The crusaders mistakenly identified the Moslem Dome of the Rock with Solomon’s Temple.” - Noel Currer-Briggs, The Shroud and the Grail - A Modern Quest for the True Grail
“In 1118, nine Knights Crusaders in the East, among whom were Geoffroi de Saint-Omer and Hughes de Payens, consecrated themselves to religion, and took an oath between the hands of the Patriarch of Constantinople, a See always secretly or openly hostile to that of Rome from the time of Photius. The avowed object of the Templars was to protect the Christians who came to visit the Holy Places: their secret object was the re-building of the Temple of Solomon on the model prophesied by Ezekiel.” - General Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma
“The real task of the nine knights was to carry out research in the area in order to obtain certain relics and manuscripts which contained the essence of the secret traditions of Judaism and ancient Egypt, some of which probably went back to the days of Moses...There is no doubt that [they] fulfilled this particular mission and that the knowledge obtained from their finds was taught in the oral tradition of the Order’s...secret circles.” - Gaetan Delaforge, The Templar Tradition in the Age of Aquarius
In the 1960’s “Louis Charpentier...in two books not remarkable for the clarity of their ideas, claimed that the Templars were despatched to the Holy Land by St Bernard to fetch the Ark of the Temple of Solomon back to Europe. His evidence that they were successful in this enterprise is the building of the Gothic cathedrals of Europe, which the Templars financed partly with silver produced by the practice of alchemy, partly with more silver which (three centuries before Columbus) they imported from the Americas, and disembarked at La Rochelle!” - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
“...A number of Jewish and Islamic legends spoke of a sealed and secret passage beneath the Well of Souls leading into the bowels of the earth, where the Ark supposedly been concealed at the time of the destruction of Solomon’s Temple - and where many believed that it rested still, guarded by spirits and demons.” It is “highly probable that Hugh de Payens and his backer the Count of Champagne could...have been motivated by a desire to find the Ark - and that they could have established the Templars, and taken control of the Temple Mount, in order to achieve this goal.
“If so, however, then they failed in their objective. In the twelfth century, as one expert put it, ‘the asset value of a famous relic was prodigious’. Possession of a relic as uniquely significant as the Ark of the Covenant would, in addition have brought enormous power and prestige to its owners. From this it followed, that if the Templars had found the Ark, they would certainly have brought it back to Europe in triumph.” - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
“We had recently discovered that a duplicate of the Qumranian copper scroll had been deposited in the ‘Shith’, or cave, directly beneath the altar of the Temple - that cave that was capped with the marble block with a ring at its center. Had it been this stone that the Templars lifted and descended to the vault below?” - Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key
(5) The Templar’s Architectural Skills
“On the other side of the palace [i.e., the Al-Aqsa Mosque] the Templars have built a new house, whose height, length and breadth, and all its cellars and refectories, staircase and roof, are far beyond the custom of this land. Indeed its roof is so high that, if I were to mention how high it is, those who listen would hardly believe me.” - Theorderic (1174)
“Clearly he had regarded the Templars’ architectural skills as almost supernaturally advanced and had been particularly impressed by the soaring roofs and arches that they had built....Soaring roofs and arches had also been the distinguishing features of the Gothic architectural formula as expressed at Chartres and other French cathedrals in the twelfth century - cathedrals that...were regarded by some observers as ‘scientifically...far beyond what can be allowed for in the knowledge of the epoch’ [Louis Charpentier, The Mysteries of Chartres Cathedral].”
“...What if, in their excavations on the Temple Mount, they had unearthed scrolls, manuscripts, theorems or blueprints relating to Solomon’s Temple itself? What if these discoveries had included the lost architectural secrets of geometry, proportion, balance and harmony that had been known to the builders of the pyramids and other great monuments of antiquity?” - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
Geoffrey de St Omer “knew an elderly canon by the name of Lambert, who was a retired schoolmaster of the Chapter of Our Virgin in St Omer...who spend many years compiling an encyclopedia of human knowledge.”
“Today, one of the most famous of all of Lambert of St Omer’s works is his hasty copy of a drawing that depicts the heavenly Jerusalem. It shows that the two main pillars of the heavenly Jerusalem are both named ‘Jacob’, and apparently shows the founder to be John the Baptist.”
“...The concept of a ‘Heavenly Jerusalem’ or a ‘New Jerusalem’ was discovered in scrolls recovered from five different caves in Qumran, all based on Ezekiel’s visions in which the new city is described in detail with fifteen hundred towers, each a hundred feet tall.” - Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key
“And what if the Templars had shared these secrets with Saint Bernard in return for his enthusiastic backing of their order?” - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
St. Bernard, the patron of the Templars, “played a formative role in the evolution and dissemination of the Gothic architectural formula in its early days (he had been at the height of his powers in 1134 when the soaring north tower of Chartres cathedral had been built, and he had constantly stressed the principles of sacred geometry that had been put into practice in that tower and throughout the whole wonderful building).”
“Gothic architecture...had been born at Chartres cathedral with the start of construction work on the north tower in 1134....In the years immediately prior to 1134 Bernard had cultivated a particularly close friendship with Geoffrey the Bishop of Chartres, inspiring his with an ‘uncommon enthusiasm’ for the Gothic formula and holding ‘almost daily negotiations with the builders themselves’.”
When asked “What is God?”, Bernard replied “He is length, width, height and depth.” “The entire edifice had been carefully and explicitly designed as a key to the deeper religious mysteries. Thus, for example, the architects and masons had made use of gematria (an ancient Hebrew cipher that substitutes numbers for the letters of the alphabet) to ‘spell out’ obscure liturgical phrases in many of the key dimensions of the great building. Similarly the sculptors and glaziers - working usually to the instructions of the higher clergy - had carefully concealed complex messages about human nature, about the past, and about the prophetic meaning of the Scriptures in the thousands of different devices and designs that they had created.” (For example a tableau in the north porch depicts the removal, to some unstated destination, of the Ark of the Covenant - which is shown placed upon an ox-cart. The damaged and eroded description, ‘HIC AMICITUR ARCHA CEDERIS’ which could be ‘Here is hidden the Ark of the Covenant’.)” - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
“In 1139, Pope Innocent II (whose candidacy, incidentally, had also been enthusiastically backed by Saint Bernard), granted the order a unique privilege - the right to build their own churches. This was a privilege that they subsequently exercised to the full: beautiful places of worship, often circular in plan like the Temple Church in London, became a hallmark of Templar activities.” - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
“In a single century from 1170 no fewer than eighty cathedrals and almost five hundred abbeys were built in France alone, involving more masonry than was ever cut in ancient Egypt! These buildings were built to a startling new scale never seen before.” - Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key
“The great effort of the Order was the transfer of funds and men to the east. They erected numerous building in the west - preceptories, churches, granges - for training and administration, but these were humble and utilitarian in nature, with a few exceptions. There was no standard form of Templar church: a very few, curricular or polygonal, recalled the shape either of the Dome of the Rock at Jerusalem (the ‘Temple of God’ of the Templar seal) or of the octagon of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher at Jerusalem. But most Templar churches were orthodox apsidal structures.” - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
(1) A Powerful Champion
“Every brother who is professed in the Holy service should, through fear of the flames of Hell, give total obedience to the Master; for nothing is dearer to Jesus Christ than obedience, and if anything be commanded by the Master or by one to whom he has given his power, it should be done without demur as if it were a command from God . . . for you must give up your own free will.” - The Rule of the Templars, as recorded by scribe John Michael at the Council of Troyes, 1128
“When the Knights Templar were founded in 1118-1119 in Jerusalem, it was a ‘poor order’ whose primary function was the protection of pilgrims along the main roads between the coast at Jaffa and the inland city of Jerusalem. But an important transformation took place when this nascent Order came under the patronage of St Bernard of Clairvaux, nephew of AndrŽ de Montbard, one of the founding group of the Templars. Until his conversion at the age of twenty, St Bernard himself had been destined for a knightly career, and when he came to patronize the Knights Templar that Order was imbued with the ideals and convictions of the knightly class of Burgundy.” - Edward Burman, The Assassins - Holy Killers of Islam
“It was Hugues of Champagne who donated the site of Clairvaux to Bernard, where he built his abbey and from whence he expanded his ‘empire’. He became the official ‘sponsor’ of the Templars, and it was his influence that ensured papal recognition at the Council at Troyes, this being the capital of Hughes’ land....It was a disciple of Bernard’s, Pope Innocent II, (formerly a monk at Clairvaux) who freed the Templars from all allegiance to anyone except the Pope himself.” - Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince, Turin Shroud - In Whose Image? The Shocking Truth Unveiled
In 1128, Bernard of Clairvaux “was just twenty-eight years old when the Council of Troyes asked him to help create a Rule for the Templars. He did more than that. He became their most vocal champion, urging that they be supported with gifts of land and money and exhorting men of good family to cast off their sinful lives and take up the sword and the cross as Templar Knights.” - John J. Robinson, Born in Blood
“St Bernard, who took a strong liking to Hughes, recognized a means of channeling the feudal nobility’s surplus energy which would convert ‘criminals and godless, robbers, murderers and adulterers’. He promised Hughes that he would compile a rule and find recruits. ‘They can fight the battle of the Lord and indeed be soldiers of Christ’. Military Christianity had found it real creator.” - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
“Indeed, the knights of Christ fight the battles of their lord in safety, by no means fearing to have sinned in slaying the foe, nor fearing the peril of their own deaths, seeing that either dealing out death or dying, when for Christ’s sake, contains nothing criminal but rather merits glorious reward. On this account, then: for Christ! hence Christ is attained. He who, forsooth! freely takes the death of his foe as an act of vengeance, the more willingly finds consolation in his status as a soldier of Christ. The soldier of Christ kills safely; he dies the more safely. He serves his own interests in dying, and Christ’s interests in killing!” - St Bernard
Bernard “urged young men to take up the Templar sword, comparing the Templar’s holy way of life, so pleasing to God, to the degenerate ways of the secular knights, whose lives were dedicated to vanity, adultery, looting, and stealing, with many sins to atone for. The dedication to Christ, to a life of chastity and prayer, to a life that might be sacrificed in battle against unbelievers, was enough penance to atone for any sin or any number of sins. On that basis, Bernard appeared to sceleratos et impius, raptores et homicidas, adulteros, ‘the wicked and the ungodly, rapists and murderers, adulterers’, to save their own souls by enlisting as Kings of the Temple. That guaranteed absolution was also a way out for those suffering under decrees of excommunication. The taking of the Templar oath would evidence submission to the Church, and the supreme penance of a lifetime at war for the True Cross would satisfy God’s requirement for punishment of the contrite.” - John J. Robinson, Dungeon, Fire and Sword (1991)
“The warriors are gentler than lambs and fiercer than lions, wedding the mildness of the monk with the valour of the knight, so that it is difficult to decide which to call them: men who adorn the Temple of Solomon with weapons instead of gems, with shields instead of crowns of gold, with saddles and bridles instead of candelabra: eager for victory -- not fame; for battle not for pomp; who abhor wasteful speech, unnecessary action, unmeasured laughter, gossip and chatter, as they despise all vain things: who, in spite of their being many, live in one house according to one rule, with one soul and one heart.” - St Bernard
“Another pools of recruits was provided by the poor knights who lacked the funds to acquire horses, armor, and weapons. All of those things would be given to them upon their entry, along with personal attendants and servants. They were certain of adequate food and a place in which to live. Their self-respect, no matter how low it might have sunk, would be instantly restored....(A heavy war-horse cost roughly the equivalent of four hundred days’ pay for a free laborer).” - John J. Robinson, Dungeon, Fire and Sword (1991)
“By the thirteenth century...an aspirant was required to be a knight, the son of a knight and his lady. Villein descent was a bar to entry as a knight; it was also a bar to the priesthood, so the Military Order was no exception. An excommunicated aspirant was to be brought first to the bishop and he could be received into the Order only if the bishop would absolve him. It seems from the Statues of the Order that recruiting went on among knights who had been found guilty of serious moral offenses, a well-known rule in the French version directs to Templars to frequent and recruit from gatherings of excommunicated knights. That the Latin version of the rule gives the directly opposite injunction, not to frequent such gatherings, probably shows the tension between the official clerical attitudes to the Order and the vernacular military culture which lay alongside it. Opinion was divided to the end; at the time of the trial and dissolution of the Order it was being said that it was a disgraceful thing that robbers worthy of death had been admitted to the Order.” - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
“Have I not been obedient to the Rule? The Rule is the bones of my body, it runs from my feet to my head, and it is in my arms; these fingers,,,The Rule is my marrow. Am I not also garbed in the Rule,for it tells me what I wear. The Rule is within me and about me. It is my hand when I fight and tells me what my weapons are. Within and Without.” - William Watson
(2) Initation Rites
“The admission of postulants took place at weekly chapters. If a majority of the brethren agreed, the candidate was brought into the chapter to be examined by two or three senior brothers. If his answers were satisfactory, which meant that he was a free man, noble, fit and of legitimate birth, he was brought before the master...” - Noel Currer-Briggs, The Shroud and the Grail - A Modern Quest for the True Grail
“The initiation ceremony, over which great secrecy prevailed, took place almost invariably in a copy of the rotunda of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Many Templar churches and chapels were build round with this in mind, and in their center, as at the Templar Vera Cruz Church of Segovia in Spain, there was often an actual model of the tomb of Christ, in the form of a two-storied structure with steps leading up. At some stage the special ceremony was devised for initiated members of the order whereby they were given a momentary glimpse of the supreme vision of God attainable on earth, before which they prostrated themselves in adoration.” - Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin - The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?
“Knights were initiated into the temple in a secret ceremony held at night in the guarded chapter house. The great prior would ask the assembled knights several times if they had any objections to admitting the novice to the order. Hearing none, he reviewed the rules of the order and asked whether the novice had a wife and family, debts or disease, and if he owed allegiance to any other master. Having answered in the negative, the novice knelt, asking to become a ‘servant and slave’ of the temple and swearing obedience by God and the Virgin Mary. “ - Ancient Wisdom and Secret Sects
“During the ritual of admission to the Order, reference was made to the immortality of God and so to the intactness of the Son of God. John of Cassanhas, Templar Preceptor of Noggarda, tells how the leader of an admission ritual declares, ‘Believe thou in God, who has not died and will never die.’” “When the moment came for the postulant to take his vows, he was required to place his hand not on the Bible, which was the usual practice, but on the Missal open at the point in the Mass where the body of Christ is mentioned. Several brother priests, such as Bertrand de Villers and Etienne de Dijon, both from the diocese of Langres, said that at the point in the Mass where the Host is consecrated they were told to omit the words Hoc est enim corpis meum.” “...He then vowed...to follow the usage and custom of the house; and to help to conquer the holy Land. After this he was formally admitted to the order, and the white mantel was placed on his shoulders. The brother-priest then spoke Psalm 133:” - Noel Currer-Briggs, The Shroud and the Grail - A Modern Quest for the True Grail
“Ecce quam bonum et quam jocundum habitare fratres in unum - Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.
It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes.
It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.” - Psalms 133 - a song of ascents (of David)
According to George Sassoon (co-author of the Manna Machine, this psalm refers to a ritual relating to the mana machine, a high tech device which purportedly fed the ancient Israelites during their exodus from Egypt. Imbued with mysterious powers, it was venerated as the Ark of the Covenant.
(3) Poverty and Brotherhood
Based on the Cistercian rule, “first came the three basic monastic vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Chastity took count of both sexes. No Templar was to kiss or touch any woman, not even his mother or sister. Even conversation with any woman was discouraged, and often forbidden. Templars wore sheepskin drawers that were never to be removed. (The Rule ordered that Templars should never bathe, so the ban of the removal of drawers was seen as support for the prohibition of sexual activity.) No Templar was to allow anyone, especially another Templar, to see his naked body. In their dormitories, lamps burned all night to keep away the darkness that might permit or encourage homosexual practices, a constant concern in all-male societies, including monasteries.” - John J. Robinson, Born in Blood
“An emphasis on silence, even to the extent of using signs in the refectory, came from the same source, while the simplicity of Cistercian altar furnishings was paralleled by the plainest weapons and saddlery possible, with no trace of gold or silver....Religious services alternated with military exercises. there were two main meals, both eaten in silence with sacred reading from a French translation of the Bible, special emphasis being placed on the Books of Joshua and the Maccabees. All found inspiration in the ferocious exploits of Judas, his brothers and their war-bands, in reconquering the Holy Land from cruel infidels. Brethren ate in pairs to see that the other did not weaken himself by fasting. Wine was served with every meal and meat three times a week; their mortification was the rigors of war. Each knight was allowed three horses but with the symbolic exception of the lion, hawking and hunting were forbidden. He had to crop his hair and grow a beard....His Master was not merely a commanding officer, but an abbot. For the first time in Christian history soldiers would live as monks.” - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
The shield of the Templars was exactly that of Sir Galahad, the Christianized Grail Hero - a pure white background emblazoned with a large red cross.
“The Templars’ emblem was a horse carrying two knights, a symbol of poverty and brotherhood. Bernard clearly viewed his rough-hewed band more favorably than he did rich secular knights, noting that Templars were seen ‘rarely washed, their beards bushy, sweaty and dusty, stained by their harness and the heat’. The Knights Templars wore white mantels emblazoned with a red cross and rode to battle behind a white and black banner called the Beauseant, after the piebald horsed favored by the order’s founders. The same word became their battle cry.” - Ancient Wisdom and Secret Sects
“Instant obedience to his superiors was required of every Templar, and since the order was responsible to on one but the pope, it essentially created its own system of punishments, up to the death penalty, for disobedience....Templars were allowed no privacy, and if a Templar received a letter it had to be read out loud in the presence of a master or chaplain.”
“On the battlefield the Templars were not permitted to retreat unless the odds against them were at least three to one, and even then they had no right to retreat unless ordered to do so....Men who joined the Templar order fully expected to die in battle, and most of them did.” - John J. Robinson, Born in Blood
“A Cistercian thinks of cutting down a tree as prayer, given the right conditions, and the Templar had a similar attitude towards a Moslem. In St Bernard’s words ‘killing for Christ’ was ‘malecide not homicide’, the extermination of injustice rather than the unjust, and therefor desirable; indeed ‘to kill a pagan is to win glory for it gives glory to Christ’....Death in battle meant consecration as a martyr, a road traveled by 20,000 Templars, knights and sergeants in two hundred years of war.”
“Bernard’s genius had transformed a Germanic warrior cult into a religious vocation just as pagan gods had been metamorphosed into saints and fertility rites into Christian festivals. Christ had ousted Woden.” - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
(1) Rumors and Charges
“Public indignation was aroused by...charges of ...worshipping the devil in the form of an idol called Baphomet.” Baphomet was “the Templar symbol of Gnostic rites based on phallic worship and the power of directed will. The androgynous figure with a goat’s beard and cloven hooves is linked to the horned god of antiquity, the goat of Mendes.” - Peter Tompkins, The Magic of Obelisks
“Some confessed that they had also worshipped an idol in the form of a cat, witch was red, or gray, or black, or mottled. Sometimes the idol worship required kissing the cat below the tail. Sometimes the cat was greased with the fat from roasted babies. The Templars were forced to eat food that contained the ashes of dead Templars, a form of witchcraft that passed on the courage of the fallen knights.” - John J. Robinson, Dungeon, Fire and Sword (1991)
In the list of charges drawn up by the Inquisition against the Templars on 12 August 1308, there appears the following:
“Item, that in each province the order had idols, namely heads, of which some had three races and some one, and others had a human skull.
Item, that they adored these idols or that idol, and especially in their great chapters and assemblies.
Item, that they venerated (them).
Item, that (they venerated them) as God.
Item, that (they venerated them) as their Savior....
Item, that they said that the head could save them.
Item, that [it could] make riches.
Item, that it made the trees flower.
Item, that [it made] the land germinate.
Item, that they surrounded or touched each head of the aforesaid idols with small cords, which they wore around themselves next to the shirt or the flesh.
Item, that in his reception, the aforesaid small cords or some lengths of them were given to each of the brethren.
Item, that they did this in veneration of an idol.
Item, that they (the receptors) enjoined them (the postulants) on oath not to reveal the aforesaid to anyone.” - The Articles of the Accusations
“...They bestowed worship in their chapter on a heathen idol, variously described as to its physical characteristics, but known as a ‘Baphomet’, which etymologically was the same word [in Old French] as ‘Mohammed’. [Once or twice the form Mahomet is actually used by witnesses in the trial.] Like so many persecuted heretical groups of the past, they were said to hold their chapters only secretly and at night.”
“It was impossible for the Templars to have ‘picked up in the East’ the practice of worshipping an idol bearing the name of the Prophet Mohammed, since no such idol existed anywhere in the Levant, even among breakaway sects such as the Ismailis or the Druse. The idea that Muslims were idolaters was itself a part of another system of ‘smears’, the pejorative representation of the oriental world by western Christians.” - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
“In the Inquisition evidence there are several references to members of the order receiving on initiation a little cord that had been in contact with the ‘head’.” - Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin - The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?
Upon being initiated into the Order of the Peacock Angel (Yezidis),”a holy thread, of intertwined black and red wool, is put around the neck. Like the sacred thread of the Parsis and other ancient Middle Eastern cults, this must never be removed; and it sounds like the cord that the Templars were accused of wearing when the Order was suppressed as heretic.” - Arkon Daraul, Secret Societies
(2) Descriptions of the Idol
The idol was described by Philip the Fair as:
“...a man’s head with a large beard, which head they kiss and worship at all their provincial chapters, but this not all the brothers know, save only the Grand Master and the old ones.” - Philip’s instructions to his seneschals
During The Trial of the Templars in 1307 Brother Jean Taillefer of Genay gave evidence. He “was received into the order at Mormant, one of the three perceptories under the jurisdiction of the Grand Priory of Champagne at Voulaine. He said at his initiation ‘an idol representing a human face’ was placed on the altar before him. Hughes de Bure, another Burgundian from a daughter house of Voulaine, described how the ‘head’ was taken out of a cupboard, or aumbry, in the chapel, and that it seemed to him to be of gold or silver, and to represent the head of a man with a long beard. Brother Pierre d’Arbley suspected that the ‘idol’ had two faces, and his kinsman Guillaume d’Arbley made the point that the ‘idol’ itself, as distinct from copies, was exhibited at general chapters, implying that it was only shown to senior members of the order on special occasions.” “The treasurer of the Paris temple, Jean de Turn, spoke of a painted head in the form of a picture, which he had adored at one of these chapters.”
“Nearly all the brethren agreed that the head was bearded and had long hair, and the Templars, like the majority of their contemporaries, regarded long hair as effeminate, so the length of the ‘idol’s hair was remarkable for this, if for no other reason.” - Noel Currer-Briggs, The Shroud and the Grail - A Modern Quest for the True Grail
According to the most consistent accounts, the idol was:
“...about the natural size of a man’s head, with a very fierce-looking face and beard.” - Deposition of Jean Tallefer
“He went on to say that he could not describe it more particularly, except that he thought it was of a reddish color.” - Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin - The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?
The mysterious object at one of the Templars’ Paris ceremonies was
“brought in by the priest in a procession of the brethren with lights; it was laid on the altar; it was a human head without any silver or gold, very pale and discolored, with a grizzled beard like a Templars.” - Stephen of Troyes
“Other descriptions, clearly referring to copies, included mention of gold and silver cases, wooden panels, and the like. But the Paris head is different. One gets the distinct impression that this was the holy of holies, accorded ceremonial strikingly reminiscent of that used by the Byzantines.” - Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin - The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?
(3) Theories About the Head
It is possible that the head idol was intended to represent the severed head of John the Baptist, based on allegations that he was revered by the Order. The Templars took part in the sack of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in 1203-4. Robert de Clari described the opulence and numerous relics at the sacred chapel of the Boucoleon Palace, amongst them supposedly the head of John the Baptist. An egregore is a magical entity that is artificially created by the focused thoughts and desires of a medium (analogous in many ways to Tibetan tulpas.) Supposedly a medium or statue could then serve as a tenant for the egregore, nourished by the sexual life-powers of the members.
“The Egregora does [sic] exist in the so-called ‘astral plane’ and it is a demon, that is to say, an illusory entity. It is not a true Microcosm, but a gestalt of vitalized shells, a focus for everything that is negative, defeatist, maudlin, bigoted, introverted in human nature - a morass completely hostile to progress and to the spiritual evolution of mankind.” - Marcel Ramos Motta (from P. R. Koenig below)
“The representation of the egregore as bust recalls the ancient literary tradition of animated statues or Salome, who wanted the head of John the Baptist, probably to master his visionary powers.....The classic prototype of such an egregore is Baphomet, the alleged egregore of the Templars, who was (as the Roman Emperor of the Gods) likewise worshipped in the form of a bust. In the secret statutes of the Templars, Baphomet was besought with the introduction to the Qu’ran and dismissed with the 24th chapter of the Book of Sirach.” - P. R. Koenig, “Too Hot to Handle”
Another possibility as to the identity of the Baphomet may lie with Nicodemus, who in the Gospel of John who brought spices for Christ’s burial. He is also mentioned in the apocryphal Evangelium Nicodemi (4th C.) as a ruler of the Jews who testified in Christ’s favor. The Interpolation in the First Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval (12??) tells of the flight of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea to England and includes the following intriguing passage:
“Nicodemus had carved and fashioned a head in the likeness of the Lord on the day that he had seen Him on the cross. But of this I am sure, that the Lord God set His hand to the shaping of it, as they say; for no man ever saw one like it nor could it be made by human hands. Most of you who have been at Lucca know it and have seen it.” - Interpolation in the First Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval
“Surely this evidence [given by Templars at their trial] suggests that copies of the head, perhaps some of them not unlike the Sainte Face de Laon, others of carved stone or alabaster, such as those of the Nottingham School of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, were widely distributed throughout the order’s houses. This would at least explain why nothing resembling a pagan idol was found after the brethren had been arrested, and why none of the pictures found in their chapels raised so much as an eyebrow.” - Noel Currer-Briggs, The Shroud and the Grail - A Modern Quest for the True Grail
The idol was also described as:
“...An old piece of skin, as though all embalmed and like polished cloth.” - Chronicles of St. Denis
Ian Wilson also hypothesizes that the Templar idols were representations of Christ’s face copied from the Mandylion/Shroud. A possible surviving example, on a painted panel found at Templecombe, England, shows “a bearded male head, with a reddish beard, lifesize, disembodied, and, above all, lacking in any identification mark....It conforms too, to some of the most rational Templar descriptions: ‘a painting on a plaque’, ‘a bearded male head’, ‘lifesize’, ‘with a grizzled beard like a Templars’. (The Templars cultivated their beards in the style of Christ).” - Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin - The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?
“...The descriptions given of it [the Baphomet] varied wildly. The physical characteristics assigned to the ‘Baphomet’ seemed to come either from the mauf or demon of northern folklore, or from church reliquaries. It was often said to represent a cat, a beast traditionally associated with witchcraft and heresy.” - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
“INQUISITOR: Now tell us about the head.
BROTHER RAOUL: Well, the head. I’ve seen it at seven chapters held by Brother Hugh de Peraud and others.
INQUISITOR: What did one do to worship it?
BROTHER RAOUL: Well, it was like this. It was presented, and everyone threw himself on the ground, pushed back his cowl, and worshipped it.
INQUISITOR: What was its face like?
BROTHER RAOUL: Terrible. It seemed to me that it was the face of a demon, of a maufé [evil spirit]. Every time I saw it I was filled with such terror I could scarcely look at it, trembling in all my members.” - from M. Michelet, Procés des Templiers
Based upon the idol’s description as a “demon” having “very fierce-looking face and beard”, the idol very likely could have been Asmodeus, the “daemon guardian” who helped Solomon build his Temple. A statue of the demon guards the door of the parish church at Rennes-le-Château.
“The Templars’ stronghold in Jerusalem, the site of their foundation, was finally overrun by the Moslems in 1244. Thirty-three years later the victorious sultan, Baibars, inspected their castle and is recorded to have discovered inside the tower ‘a great idol, in whose protetion the castle had been placed: according to the Frank who had given it its name [this is an unreadable word, made in diacritic letters]. He ordered this to be destroyed and a mihrab [Moslem prayer niche] constructed in its place.” - Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin - The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?
(4) A Feminine Origin?
“...We found indisputable evidence for the charge of secret ceremonies involving a head of some kind. Indeed the existence of such a head proved to be one of the dominant themes running through the Inquisition records....Among the confiscated goods of the Paris preceptory a reliquary in the shape of a woman’s head was found. It was hinged on top, and contained what appeared to have been relics of a peculiar kind.” - Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
The reliquary was:
“A great head of gilded silver, most beautiful, and constituting the image of a woman. Inside were two head bones, wrapped in a cloth of white linen, with another red cloth around it. A label was attached, on which was written the legend CAPUT LVIIIm. The bones inside were those of a rather small woman.” - Oursel, Le Procés des Templiers
“Caput LVIIIm - ‘Head 58m’ - remains a baffling enigma. But it is worth noting that the ‘m’ may not be an ‘m’ at all, but the astrological symbol for Virgo.” - Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
“That it had a feminine origin is shown by Gerald Massey who writes ‘METE was the BAPHOMET or mother of breath’. According to Von Hammer, the formula of faith inscribed on a chalice belonging to the Templars is as follows: Let METE be exalted who causes all things to bud and blossom, it is our root; it is one and seven; it is octinimous, the eight-fold name.” - Kenneth Grant, Nightside of Eden
“Herodotus (4:26) speaks of the practice in the obscure Issedones of gilding a head and sacrificing to it. Cleomenes of Sparta is said to have preserved the head of Archonides in honey and consulted it before undertaking an important task. Several vases of the fourth century BC in Etruria depict scenes of persons interrogating oracular heads. And the severed head of the rustic Carians which continues to ‘speak’ is mentioned derisively by Aristotle.” - Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind
A similar tradition could be found in the Celtic cult of the severed head which figured predominently in Peredur, a Welsh romance about the Holy Grail.
“A great lady of Maraclea was loved by a Templar, a Lord of Sidon; but she died in her youth, and on the night of her burial, this wicked lover crept to the grave, dug up her body and violated it. Then a voice from the void bade him return in nine months time for he would find a son. He obeyed the injunction and at the appointed time he opened the grave again and found a head on the leg bones of the skeleton (skull and crossbones). The same voice bade him ‘guard it well, for it would be the giver of all good things’, and so he carried it away with him.” - Ward, Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods
“One chronicler cites the name of the woman in the story - Yse, which would seem quite clearly to derive from Isis.” - Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
“At one time there was only God. He was all omnipotent and existed alone. This caused him to become discontented, thus he split himself in two in order to create a mate. He kept the elements of Order and Logic for his own being and gave his mate the elements of Chaos and Emotion for her being. Her name is Yse (pron. Issa). She became so overwhelmed with love at her creation that when he kissed her, she gave him a reaction which was to become known as the ‘Chosen Response’. The Chosen Response was the first acknowledgement and reaction of love between a male and female in the universe, and this became the greatest secret of and mystery of mankind, being ‘The Holy Grail’.” - Synopsis from the Merovingian Bible, “Angels Among Us! The Gnostic (Johannine) Christian Path”
Dr. Hugh Schonfield in The Essene Odyssey “had discovered a system of cryptography - he called it the ‘Atbash Cipher’ - which had been used to conceal certain names in Essene/Zadokite/Nazarene texts. This system of coding figured, for example, in a number of the scrolls found at Qumran.” - Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Messianic Legacy
Schonfield “showed that by applying the Hebrew Atbash code to the name Baphomet, the name Sophia [ShVPIA], female wisdom, is revealed. Sophia is equated with Isis by Plutarch.” - David Wood, Genisis
Isis’s magic was allied to the wisdom of the Egyptian god Thoth. His wife or consort, Nehemaut, was known to the Gnostics as Sophia.
“By this analysis, therefore, when the Templars worshipped Baphomet what they were really doing was worshipping the principle of Wisdom.” - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
“From the Templars’ use of the Atbash Cipher, it is probable that some form of Nazarean or neo-Nazarean sect had continued to survive in the Middle East as late as the twelfth century, and had made its teachings available to the West.” - Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Messianic Legacy
(5) The Black Virgin
“Plutarch compares Isis to knowledge, and Typhon to ignorance, obscuring the light of the sacred doctrine whose blaze lights the soul of the Initiate. No gift of the gods, he holds, is so precious as the knowledge of the Truth, and that of the Nature of the gods, so far as our limited capacities allow us to rise toward them.” - General Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma
“The great Egyptian goddess Isis, often depicted as a black woman, is inextricably linked with alchemy and is closely associated with the Black Madonnas of Europe.” - Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince, Turin Shroud - In Whose Image? The Shocking Truth Unveiled
“The ankh [the looped cross of Egypt] which Isis carries as supreme initiatrix may account for some of the oddly-shaped scepters carried by the Black Virgins who, like Isis, often favor the color green. Their greeness and blackness points to the beginning of the opus whose secret, according to alchemists, is to be found in ‘the sex of Isis’.” -Ean Begg, The Cult of the Black Virgin
“The Black Virgin..is Isis and her name is Notre Dame de Lumiére.” - Pierre Plantard de St Clair (former Grand Master of the Priory of Sion)
“The Templars, imprisoned and awaiting death in the Castle of Chinon...composed a prayer to Our Lady acknowledging Bernard to be the founder of her religion. In addition to the numerous hymns and sermons he addressed to her, he wrote about 280 sermons on the theme of the Song of Songs, the epithalamion of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, whose versicle ‘I am black, but I am beautiful, O ye daughters of Jerusalem’ is the recurring refrain of the Black Virgin cult.” -Ean Begg, The Cult of the Black Virgin
“I am black, but beautiful, daughters of Jerusalem. Like the black tents of Cedar, like the pavilions of Solomon.” - Song of Songs 1:5-6
Most of the several hundred statues in France known as Black Madonnas were accidentally darkened by smoke and fumes from votive candles. Others were originally constructed of a dark wood like ebony (and later pear) or deliberately darkened through periodic treatment with oil or wine. Syrian, Coptic, or Ethiopian images transported to France during the Crusades may have served as prototypes for the Black Madonnas. Black represented the color of earth - the source of fertility and life, or divine flesh, or sorrow. Many effigies of goddesses were black including Isis, Diana and Cybele. From early on in Christianity, the Bride of the Song symbolized the Church and the Virgin Mary. Churches of the Black Virgin often bore the name of Mary Magdalene. In 1247, Emperor Baldwin II (who helped establish the Templars in Jerusalem) exchanged pieces of the Shroud of Turin with the Abbey of Vézelay for the purported body of Mary Magdalene. A secret tradition states that the Magdalene was Jesus’ wife and bore Jesus’ offspring to Southern France. There she was revered as a medium of occult revelation.
(1) Deep into Africa
“In the year 1145, the German bishop Otto of Freising reported in his Chronicon a most astonishing epistle. The Pope, he reported, had received a letter from a Christian ruler of India, whose existence had been totally unknown until then. And that king had affirmed in his letter that the River of Paradise was indeed located in his realm. “Bishop Otto named as the intermediary, through whom the Pope had received the epistle, Bishop Hugh of Gebal, a town on the Mediterranean cost of Syria. The ruler, it was reported, was named John the Elder or, being a priest, Prester John. He was reputedly a lineal descendant of the Magi who had visited Christ the child. He defeated the Muslim kings of Persia, and formed a thriving Christian kingdom in the lands of the Ends of Earth.” - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
“Prester John is a corruption of Presbyter John - the Apostle John - even in the Gospel, it says that a rumor had arisen that John would never die, but that this was not true. Combine that with the several emperor Johns of Byzantium, at a time with Europe was threatened by Muslim invasion, and it becomes conflated into a rumor of hope of assistance.” - Steve.Schaper (@cheswicks.toadnet.org)
“...No sooner had Bishop Otto reported the existence of Prester John and of the River of Paradise in his realm, then the Pope issued a formal call for the resumption of the Crusades. Two years later, in 1147, Emperor Conrad of Germany, accompanied by other rulers and many nobles, launched the Second Crusade.
“As the fortunes of the Crusaders rose and fell, Europe was swept anew by word from Prester John and his promises of aid. According to chroniclers of those days, Prester John sent in 1165 a letter to the Byzantine emperor, to the Holy Roman emperor, and to lesser kings, in which he declared his definite intention to come to the Holy Land with his armies. Again his realm was described in glowing terms, as befits the place where the River of Paradise - indeed, the Gates of Paradise - were situated.” - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
“If indeed you wish to know wherein consist our great power, then believe without doubting that I, Prester John...exceed in riches, virtue, and power all creatures who dwell under heaven. Seventy-two kings pay tribute to me. I am a devout Christian and everywhere protect the Christians of our empire...We have made a vow to visit the sepulcher of our Lord with a very great army...to wage war against and chastise the enemies of the cross of Christ...
“Our magnificence dominates the Three Indias, and extends to Farther India, where the body of St. Thomas the Apostle rests. It reaches through the desert toward the place of the rising sun, and continues through the valley of deserted Babylon close by the Tower of Babel...” - Prester John in a letter addressed to Manuel Commentus, Emperor of Byznatium (1165)
“Where was PresterJohn? His reference to the Apostle ThomasÕ tomb pointed to India, but so muddled were medieval notions of geography that India was thought to be somewhere near the Nile; thus when, in 1177, the Pope wrote to PresterJohn, his letter was presumably carried into ÔMiddle IndiaÕ, or Ethiopia.” - Mysteries of the Past
“Harbay, reigning Zagwe monarch of Ethiopia before his brother Lalibela deposed him, is deduced to have been the mythical Prester John. “Derived from Jano, a reddish-purple toga worn only by royalty, the word [Jan] meant ‘king’ or ‘Majesty’...” - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
Prester John’s letter also contained a warning against the Templars, who were believed to have been allied with his brother against him.
“There are Frenchmen among you, of your lineage and from our retinue, who hold with the Saracens. You confide in them and trust in them that they should and will help you, but they are false and treacherous...may you be brave and of great courage and, pray, do not forget to put to death those treacherous Templars.” - Prester John in the letter written to varous Christian kings (1165)
In Parzival, “a member of the Grail Company...spoke, amongst other things, of riding ‘deep into Africa...past the Rohas’. ...Rohas was the old name for a town in the remotest highlands of Ethiopia - a town now called Lalibela in honor of the great king who was born there and who made it his capital when he returned to it in triumph in the year of our Lord 1185...Lalibela had spent the previous quarter of a century in Jerusalem rubbing shoulder with the knights of a military-religious order whose headquarters stood on the site of the Temple of Solomon - knights who would have had a special interest in any contender to the throne of a country which claimed to possess the lost Ark that the Temple had originally been built to house.” - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
“Writing was seen on the Gral to the effect that any Templar whom God should bestow on a distant people...must forbid them to ask his name or lineage, but must help them gain their rights. When such a question is put to him the people there cannot keep him any longer.”
“If a land should lose its lord, and its people see the hand of God in it and ask for a new lord from the Gral Company, their prayer is granted...God sends the men out in secret.” - Wolfram von Eschenback, Parzival
Ethiopia’s diplomatic relationship with Christian Europe were to continue into the following century.
“It is known that this emperor [Wedem Ara’ad of Ethiopia] in the...year of our salvation 1306 sent thirty envoys [who]...presented themselves reverentially before Pope Clement V at Avignon.” - Giovanni da Carignano (a Genoese cartographer active during the years 1291-1329)
“By a considerable margin, the eleven rock-hewn churches of Lalibela were the most architecturally advanced building that Ethiopia had ever known (indeed, in the considered opinion of UNESCO, they deserved to be ranked amongst the wonders of the world.)....Towering edifices, the churches remain places of living worship eight hundred years after they were built. It is important to stress, however that they were not built at all in the conventional sense, but instead were excavated and hewn directly out of the solid red volcanic tuff on which they stand. In consequence, they seem superhuman - not only in scale, but also in workmanship and in conception.” “...Considerable efforts have been made to cloak their real natures: some lie almost completely concealed within deep trenches, whole others hide in the open mouths of huge quarried caves. Connecting them all is a complex and bewildering labyrinth of tunnels and narrow passageways with offset crypts, grottoes and galleries - a cool, lichen-enshrouded, subterranean world, shaded and damp, silent but for the faint echoes of distant footfalls and priests and deacons go about their timeless business.”
On the arch “of the ceiling of the rock-hewn church of Saint Mary’s...can be seen a stylized croix pattŽe contained within a Star of David - a most unusual symbol in a Christian place of worship, but one to which it is known that the Knights Templar were particularly attached. Behind the arch...[is]a cloth-wrapped column said by the priests to have been engraved by King Lalibela himself with the secrets of how the rock-hewn churches were made.” Another croix pattŽe is carved on a boulder on the outskirts of Axum, and several more can be found “in the ruins of King Kaleb’s palace - a structure that could well have been still standing and inhabited in the thirteenth century.” - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
(2) Portugal: The Knights of Christ
“In Portugal, the Templars were cleared by an inquiry and simply modified their name, becoming the Knights of Christ. They survived under this title well into the sixteenth century, their maritime explorations leaving an indelible mark on history. (Vasco da Gama was a Knight of Christ; Prince Henry the Navigator was a grand Master of the Order. Ships of the Knights of Christ sailed under the Templars’ familiar red patte cross. And it was under the same cross that Columbus’s three caravels crossed the Atlantic to the New World. Columbus himself was married to the daughter of a former Grand Master of the Order, and had access to his father-in-law’s charts and diaries.) - Baigent & Leigh, The Temple and the Lodge
“...The first and most active figure on whom any solid information is available was Prince Henry the navigator, Grand master of the Order of Christ and a man described by his biographer [Zurara] as possessing ‘strength of hear and keenness of mind to a very excellent degree...[who] was, beyond comparison, ambitious of achieving great and lofty deeds.”
“Born in 1394, and actively involved in seafaring by 1415, Henry’s greatest ambition - as he himself declared - was that he would ‘have knowledge of the land of Prester John’. Chroniclers who were his contemporaries, as well as modern historians, are in full agreement that he devoted the greater part of his illustrious career to the pursuit of precisely this goal.”
“It is notable that he immersed himself in the study of mathematics and cosmography, ‘the course of the heavens and astrology’, and that he was constantly surrounded by Jewish doctors and astronomers - men in every was reminiscent of Wolfram’s character Flegetanis who ‘saw hidden secrets in the constellations [and] declared there was a thing called the Gral whose name he read in the stars without more ado’ [Parzival ].” - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
In Portugal, Dom Enrique, mestrat of the Knights of Christ became know as Enrique the Navigator and “exploited every modern method. At Sagres his staff included geographers, shipwrights, linguists, Jewish cartographers and Moorish pilots. The team studied map making and how to improve navigational instruments, the astrolabe and compass. Islam had conquered the Spains; Christianity would conquer Africa, then Asia. By 1425 his brethren had colonized Madeira and the Canaries. In 1445 they settled the Azores. The systematic exploitation of the west African coast began in 1434, made possible by the new caravels, the most seaworthy ships of their day. Rigged with many small sails instead of one or two huge spreads of canvas as hitherto, these new ships were much easier to handle - a smaller crew make provisions last longer.” - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
“Our knowledge of the Henrican voyages is inadequate, and this is largely due to the adoption of a policy of secrecy which included the suppression of facts...historical works...nautical guides, maps instructions to navigators and their reports.” - Edgar Prestage, The Portugese Pioneers
“Indeed, so great was the commitment to secrecy in Henry’s time that the release of information on the results of the various exploratory voyages that were undertaken was punishable by death. Despite this, however, it is known that the prince was obsessed with the notion of making direct contact with Ethiopia - and that he sought to achieve this end by circumnavigating Africa (since the shorter route through the Mediterranean and then into the Red Sea via Egypt was blocked by hostile Muslim forces). Moreover, even before the Cape of Good Hope was rounded, the masters of Portuguese vessels venturing down the West African coast were instructed to enquire after ‘Prester John’ to see whether it might mot be quicker to approach his kingdom overland.” “It was not until the early years of the twentieth century that certain secret archives pertaining to the last decade of his life came to light. Among these archives a brief note was found to the effect that ‘an ambassador of Prester John visited Lisbon eight years before Henry’s death’. It is not known what the purpose of this mission was, or what the prince and the Ethiopian envoy discussed. Nevertheless, two years after their meeting it can hardly have been accidental that King Alfonso V of Portugal granted spiritual jurisdiction over Ethiopia to the Order of Christ.”
In 1487 “King John II of Portugal, then Grand Master of the Order, had sent his trusted aide Pero de Covilhan on a perilous journey to the court of Prester John via the Mediterranean, Egypt and the Red Sea. Disguised as a merchant, Covilhan passed through Alexandria and Cairo to Suakin and there, in 1488, he took ship in a small Arab barque for the Yemeni port of Aden. He then became caught up in various adventures which delayed him considerably. As a result it was not until 1493 that he finally succeeded in entering Abyssinia. Once there, however, he made his way immediately to the emperor’s court where he was first welcomed but later paced under comfortable house arrest. One can only speculate as to why this happened, but...Covilhan’s greatest skill was a spy (he had previously worked as a secret agent in Spain)...”
In 1497 Vasco da Gama, also a Knight of the Order of Christ “devoted a considerable part of the expedition [to India] to African exploration and is reported to have wept for joy when, at anchor off Mozambique he was rightly told that Prester John lived in the interior far to the north.”
“...the first official Portuguese embassy to the court of Prester John landed at the port of Massawa in 1520 and made its way inland [in a grueling eight month march] to meet with Lebna Dengel, the Solomic emperor who had been on the throne since 1508. - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
“We saw...to our great joy the tents and camps of the Emperor Prester John.” - Captain of the Portuguese expedition (October 20, 1520)
“At the center of this tent capitol, in a red pavilion guarded by warriors wearing lion skins and by live lions on leashes, the travelers beheld him, the negus, or emperor, of Ethiopia. That neither he nor any of his subjects had heard of Prester John fazed the Portuguese not at all, so elated were they to have found him at last.” - Mysteries of the Past
“One of the members of this embassy was Father Francisco Alvarez...who had been told by priests of the ancient tradition that the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela had been ‘made by white men’....Carved into the roof of this great edifice [the church of Saint George], he said, was ‘a double cross, that is, one within the other like the crosses of the Order of Christ.” - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
(3) Spain: “Viva la Muerte”
“In Spain the brethren of Calatrava, Alcantara and Santiago were the spearhead of the Reconquista, consolidating the Christian advance, destroying the exotic Moslem civilization of Cordoba and Granada. On the vast and lonely meseta where no peasant dared settle for fear of Moorish raiders, the monkish frontiersmen ranched hears of cattle and sheep, a practice which reached North America by way; of the Mexican haciendas. In the later Middle Ages politicians used them to capture the whole machinery of Castilian government.”
“They were the perfected instrument of five centuries of warfare with Islam, given their final shape by the Templars’ example.”
“Much of Spanish history cannot be understood without some knowledge of the brethren [which became the Order of Knight’s of Christ and The Aragonese Order of Montesa after the dissolution]. They had become the Reconquista itself and helped form their country’s military tradition, that compound of unspeakable ferocity and incredible gallantry, expressed in the modern Tercio Extrajero’s motto - ‘Viva la Muerte’. It was this spirit and the techniques of the Reconquista which overcame Aztecs and Incas, creating the Spanish Empire, while Portuguese brethren transformed the crusading idea into a movement of colonization which ended with Europe dominating the world.” - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
“Not long after the Templar dispersal, very accurate and inexplicable sea-charts began to appear all over Europe. These maps, called portolans (thought to be derived from ‘port’ to ‘land’), were far superior to the Ptolemaic maps studied by academic ecclesiastics in the monasteries and fledgling universities. Most of the portolans covered the area of the Mediterranean and the European Atlantic coast. They covered the areas crucial to European sea-commerce.
“The earliest dated portolan chart is the Opicinis de Canestris map of the Mediterranean of 1335 A.D. It demonstrates that maps of inexplicable accuracy began to appear in Europe less than 25 years after King Philippe’s surprise raids against the Templars and the papal elimination of the Order under Clement V.”
“...Is it mere coincidence that his flagship, the famous Santa Maria, bore Templar crosses on her sails when Columbus set sail from Palos? Is it mere coincidence that his voyage was financed, not by the sale of Isabella’s jewelry as so commonly thought, but by a mysterious consortium of wealthy men which included Jews and other heretics? And is it only coincidence that Columbus weighed anchor on August 3, 1492 just a few hours before the deadline for all Jews to be out of Spain?” - Michael Bradley, Holy Grail Across the Atlantic
(4) England: The Peasants’ Rebellion
For several years before the Peasants’ Revolt in England in 1381, “a group of disgruntled priests of the lower clergy had traveled the towns, preaching against the riches and corruption of the church. During the months before the uprising, secret meetings had been held throughout central England by men weaving a network of communication. After the revolt was put down, rebel leaders confessed to being agents of a great Society, said to be based in London.”
“Another mystery was the concentrated and especially vicious attacks on the religious order of the Knights Hospitaller of St. John, now known as the Knights of Malta. Not only did the rebels seek out their properties for vandalism and fire, but their prior was dragged from the Tower of London to have his head struck off [along with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Treasurer] and placed on London Bridge, to the delight of the cheering mob.....One captured rebel leader, when asked the reasons for the revolt, said, ‘First, and above all...the destruction of the Hospitallers.’”
“Pope Clement V had directed that all of the extensive properties of the Templars should be given to the Hospitallers” almost seventy years before the Peasant’s Revolt.”
Walter the Tyler “exploded into English history with his mysterious uncontested appointment as the supreme commander of the Peasants’ Rebellion on Friday, June 7, 1381, and left it as abruptly when his head was struck off eight days later on Saturday, June 15. Absolutely nothing is known of him before those eight days. That alone suggests that he was not using his real name...In Freemasonry the Tyler, who must be a Master Mason, is the sentry, the sergeant-at-arms...”
“Archbishop Courtenay, who became the leading churchman in England as successor to the archbishop whose head had been lopped off by Wat Tyler, identified the existence of the Lollard group in the spring of 1382, less than a year after the Peasants’ Rebellion. He drove them out of Oxford and attempted to crush the entire movement. Lollardy, however, survived his efforts, and those of other civil and church leaders, for the next two centuries by the expedient of going underground. The Lollards conducted business in ‘conventicles’, or secret meetings, in a network of cells throughout the country, and they somehow gained the support of certain members of the aristocracy, especially the knightly class.” - John J. Robinson, Born in Blood
“In the early 1300s John Wycliffe, a professor of Divinity at Oxford University, realized that the major problem with the Church in England was that the Bible could only be read by the educated clergy and nobility because it was written in Latin. Although the common man was generally illiterate, Wycliffe decided that if an English translation of the Bible was available, then general literacy might be stimulated as well. “As Wycliffe translated the Latin text, he organized a group called the Order of Poor Preachers. They began distributing the new Bible through-out England to anyone who could read. For the first time, it was possible for the common man to know what the Bible actually said. Suddenly, peasants flocked to the village greens and country parsonages to hear preachers read aloud from the new English translation.
“Opponents of Wycliffe’s Order of Poor Preachers called them and their followers ‘Lollards’, which means ‘idle babblers’. The Lollards grew so quickly, not only among the country folk, but even the artisans and noblemen that one opponent wrote: ‘Every second man one meets is a Lollard’.
“The Lollards made such an impact in Britain that eventually Wycliffe’s words were banned and the Pope ordered him to Rome to undergo trial. Although Wycliff died in 1384 of a stroke before he could undertake the journey, Lollardy continued to grow. By 1425, forty-one years after his death, the Roman Church was so infuriated with Wycliffe that they ordered his bones exhumed and buried together with 200 books he had written.” - William T. Still, New World Order
(5) Scotland: The Scots Guard
“The church at Kilmartin, near Loch Awe in Argyll, contains many examples of Templar graves and tomb carvings showing Templar figures; furthermore, there are many masonic graves in the churchyard.” “...There was a strong Templar connection with this area of Scotland from the time when Hugues de Payen married Catherine de St Clair. In fact the first Templar perceptory outside the Holy Land was built on St Clair land at a site to the south of Edinburgh now known as Temple. By the beginning of the fourteenth century the Templars had many estates in Scotland and a great deal of affection and respect from the people.”
The Templars reportedly provided assistance to William Wallace. “...There was a battle between the Scots and the English at Roslin in 1303 which was won with the support of Templar knights, led by a St Clair.” - Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus
“Scotland...was at war with England at the time , and the consequent chaos left little opportunity for implementing legal niceties. Thus the Papal Bulls dissolving the Order were never proclaimed in Scotland - and in Scotland, therefore, the Order was never technically dissolved.” - Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
“...Part of the Templar fleet made the decision to head to Argyll and the Firth of Forth, where they knew Robert the Bruce was engaged in a rebellion against England. The fact that Robert the Bruce was excommunicated combined with the long St Clair family links with Rosslyn was the greatest attraction of Scotland as a sanctuary - it was one of the few places on the planet where the Pope could not get at them. Because of the war with the English the Templars also knew that as skilled warriors, they would be received with open arms.”
“The Scots’ greatest triumph was the Battle of Bannockburn on 6 November 1314. The battle is recorded as going strongly against Bruce’s army until an intervention by a unknown reserve force quickly turned the tide of the whole battle and ensured victory for the Scots. Stories quickly spread that these mysterious warriors had carried the Beausant (the battle flag of the Templars).” The force was “led by the Grand Master of the Scottish Templars, Sir William St Clair.” - Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus
“According to legend - and there is evidence to support it - the Order maintained itself as a coherent body in Scotland for another four centuries.” - Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
“At the bloody Battle of Verneuil in 1424, the Scottish contingents had acquitted themselves with particular bravery and self-sacrifice. Indeed, they were virtually annihilated, along with their commander, John Stewart...”
“The new French army created by Charles VII in 1445 consisted of fifteen ‘compagnies d’ordonnance’ of 660 men each - a total of 9000 soldiers. Of these, the Scottish Company - the ‘Compagnie des Gendarmes Ecossois’...was explicitly accorded premier rank over all other military units and formations, and would, for example, pass first in all parades. The commanding officer of the Scottish Company was also granted the rank of ‘premier Master of Camp of French Cavalry’.”
“In 1474, the numbers were definitely fixed - seventy-seven men plus their commander in the King’s Guard, and twenty-five men plus their commander in the King’s Bodyguard. With striking consistency, officers and commanders of the Scots Guard were also made members of the Order of St Michael, a branch of which was later established in Scotland.
“The Scots Guard were, in effect, a neo-Templar institution, much more so than such purely chivalric orders as the Garter, the Star and the Golden Fleece.”
“The nobles comprising the Guard were heirs to original Templar traditions. They were the means by which these traditions were returned to France and planted there, to bear fruit some two centuries later. At the same time, their contact with the houses of Guise and Lorraine exposed them in France to another corpus of ‘esoteric’ tradition. Some of this corpus had already found its way back to Scotland through Marie de Guis’s marriage to James V, but some of it was also to be brought back by the families constituting the Scots Guard. The resulting amalgam was to provide the true nucleus for a later order - the Freemasons [Scottish Rites].” “As late as the end of the sixteenth century, no fewer than 519 sites in Scotland were listed by the Hospitallers as ‘Terrae Templariae’ - part, that is, of the self-contained and separately administered Templar patrimony.” - Baigent & Leigh, The Temple and the Lodge
“c.1560. When the Knights-Templars were deprived of their patrimonial interest through the instrumentality of their Grand-Master Sir James Sandilands, they drew off in a body, with David Seton, Grand Prior of Scotland, at their head.” - A History of the Family of Seton
(6) West to America?
“If you look at a map of the road network of France, which the Templars had built and policed, it is very noticeable that all the great long-distance routes meet at one point - at La Rochelle, on the Atlantic coast. The harbour of La Rochelle lies in a natural bay, is easy to defend, and it was laid out and developed by the Templars very early in their history. Furthermore, the Order owned a huge fleet, and other seaports in the north, for links with England, and in the south, as a starting-point for voyages to the Holy Land and the Mediterranean islands. La Rochelle, however, is far too far north to serve as a viable port of embarkation for Palestine, and the same applies to voyages to England. For this purpose, it was far too far south. There were other ports from which one could cross to Britain far more quickly and simply.
“For this reason, La Rochelle must have had some very special significance. The town was not merely the seat of a simple Commanderie, but also the capital of a Templar Province. Its population grew quickly over the years. In which direction did the Temple’s shipping lines lead, if it was neither to the north nor to the south? There can only be one possible explanation for the position of this seaport - the Order’s ships set course from it due west, to America.”
“After Napoleon conquered Rome in 1809, some files were brought back to Paris from the secret archives of the Vatican. Among these were a few documents relating to the Templar trials. In one of these records was the statement of Jean de Chalons, a member of the Order from Nemours in the diocese of Troyes.” - Johannes and Peter Fiebag, The Discovery of the Grail, translated from the German by George Sassoon
“On the evening before the raid, Thursday October 12th 1307, I myself saw three carts loaded with straw, which left the Paris Temple shortly before nightfall, also Gèrard de Villiers and Hugo de Chalons, at the head of 50 horse[men]. There were chests hidden on the carts, which contained the entire treasure of the Visitator Hugo de Pairaud. They took the road for the coast, where they were to be taken abroad in eighteen of the Order’s ships.” - Jean de Chalons
The Zeno Narrative tells of a mysterious ocean voyage west one hundred years later by a Templar descendent, Henry Sinclair, Earl of Orkney. Indian legends and a number of clues suggest that the landfall was Nova Scotia.
(7) Rosslyn Chapel
Rosslyn Chapel, constructed from 1441 to 1486, “is decorated inside with carvings of Masonic significance...and botanical significance. Arches, lintels, pillar bases and such like are mostly covered in decorative but highly detailed plant motifs, with many different species represented.” - Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus
Two of the motifs resemble the aloe cactus and maize cobs, plants indigenous to the New World and supposedly unknown to Europe before the sixteenth century.
“...Everywhere there were manifestations of the ‘green man’, the Celtic figure that represented fertility. Over a hundred ‘green men’ have been counted but it is believed that there are even more subtly peeping out of the vegetation.”
“the symbolism is Egyptian, Celtic, Jewish, Templar and Masonic in profusion. A star-studded ceiling, vegetative growth coming form the mouths of the Celtic Green Men, entangled pyramids, images of Moses, towers of the Heavenly Jerusalem, engrailed crosses and well as squares and compasses. The only certain Christian imagery was in later Victorian alterations: the stained glass windows, the revolting baptistery and a statue of the Madonna and child.”
Recalling the legend of Hiram Abif, “high up in the corner where the south and west walls meet, and level with the organ, is a head with a severe gash on the right temple and in the opposite side of the west wall is the head of the person who killed him.” - Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus
“...William St Clair himself masterminded the whole construction of the building from its inception to his own death in 1484, just two years before it completion; furthermore, he personally supervised every tiny detail of the work...William St Clair had brought some of Europe’s finest masons to Scotland for this great project, building the village of Rosslyn to house them.”
“From the outside, Rosslyn is a representation in stone of the Heavenly Jerusalem as depicted in Lambert’s copy, with towers and a huge central curved, arched roof. Inside the Rosslyn shrine, the layout is a reconstruction of the ruin of Herod’s Temple, decorated with Nasorean and Templar symbolism. In the north-east corner we found a section of the wall carved with the towers of the Heavenly Jerusalem complete with the Masonic compasses, styled exactly as they are shown on Lambert’s scroll.” “As we looked directly upwards from the organ loft, we could see that the arched roof had a running series of keystones down its length, just like the one the Royal Arch degree describes as found in the ruins of Herod’s Temple!” - Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus
“Early this morning on resuming our labors we discovered a pair of pillars of exquisite beauty and symmetry: proceeding with our work, we discovered six other pairs of equal beauty which from their situation, appeared to be the remains of the subterranean gallery leading to the Most Holy Place.” - Royal Arch Degree
“In Rosslyn, we observed that the fourteen pillars had been arranged so that the eastern eight of them including Boaz and Jachin, were laid out in the form of a Triple Tau. The formation and the proportions were exactly as the Royal Arch degree depicts today.” - Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus
“The Triple Tau, signifying, among other occult things, Templum Hierosolyma, ‘the Temple of Jerusalem’. It also means Clavis ad Theosaurum - ‘A key to a treasure’ - and Theca ubi res pretiosa deponitur - ‘A place where a precious thing is concealed’, or Res ipsa pretiosa - ‘The precious thing itself’.” - Royal Arch Degree
Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas believe that the small crypt of the Rosslyn shrine was the lower middle chamber where the masons received their wages. Before the vaults were sealed off when the chapel was completed, twenty Templar knights were buried there in full armor.
“Seemed all on fire that chapel proud,
Where Roslin’s chiefs uncoffined lie:
Each baron, for a sable shroud,
Sheathed in his iron panoply.” - Sir Walter Scott, “The Lay of the Last Minstrel”
“The vaults themselves may yet be far more than a simple tomb, other important artifacts may be contained therein. The one recorded action of the Lords Sinclair that apparently contradicts their well earned reputation for chivalry and loyalty may also be explained if the vaults are opened, for it is just possible that some clue as to the whereabouts of certain treasures of great historical interest may also be discovered.” - Tim Wallace-Murphy, An Illustrated Guide to Rosslyn Chapel
“The Companion’s Jewel of the Royal Arch is a double triangle, sometimes called the Seal of Solomon, within a circle of gold; at the bottom is a scroll bearing the words, Nil nisi clavis deest - ‘Nothing is wanting but the Key’, and on the circle appears the legend, Si tatlia jungere possis sit tibi scire posse - ‘If thou canst comprehend these things, thou knowest enough’.” -Royal Arch Degree
Knight and Lomas speculate that the reconstructed treasure vaults of Herod’s temple are located below the main floor of the Chapel. An Seal of Solomon (Star of David) can be constructed from the alignment of pillars between the entrance and Triple Tau formation.
“At the very center of this invisible Seal of Solomon, in the arched roof there is a large suspended boss in the form of a decorated arrowhead that points straight down to a keystone in the floor below. It is, we believe, this stone that must be raised to enter the reconstructed vaults of Herod’s Temple and recover the Nasorean Scrolls.” “Rosslyn is not a free interpretation of the ruins in Jerusalem; as far as the foundation plan is concerned, it is a very carefully executed copy. The unfinished sections of the great western wall are there, the main walls and the pillar arrangements fit like a glove and the pillars of Boaz and Jachin stand precisely at the eastern end of what would be the inner Temple. The spot we identified as being at the center of the Seal of Solomon turned out to correspond exactly with the center point of the medieval world; the middle of the Holy of Holies; the spot where the Ark of the covenant was placed in the Temple at Jerusalem.” - Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus
(8) Freres Maçons
“Jacques de Molay and his predecessors signed documents over the title Magister Templi, Master of the Temple. And that temple, taking its name from the Temple of Solomon, certainly was left unfinished upon the murder of its masters, who also had been tortured to reveal their secrets by three assassins who ultimately destroyed them. Not Jubela, Jubelo, and Jubelum, but Philip the Fair of France, Pope Clement V, and the order of the Knights of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.”
“What the secret society needed was men who would affirm their belief in God, with a desire for brotherhood strong enough to accept any man’s personal religious persuasion as secondary to their principal goal of survival.” - John J. Robinson, Born in Blood
“The Templars, or Poor Fellow-Soldiery of the Holy House of the Temple, intended to be re-built, took as their models, in the Bible, the Warrior-Masons of Zorobabel, who worked, holding the sword in one hand and the trowel in the other.
“Therefore it was that the Sword and the Trowel were the insignia of the Templars, who subsequently, as will be seen, concealed themselves under the name of Brethren Masons. [This name, Freres Maçons in the French, adopted by way of secret reference to the Builders of the Second Temple, was corrupted in English into Free-Masons].” - General Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma
“Thus the Order of Knights of the Temple was at its very origin devoted to the cause of opposition to the tiara of Rome and the crowns of Kings, and the Apostolate of Kabalistic Gnosticism was vested in its chiefs. For Saint John himself was the Father of the Gnostics, and the current translation of his polemic against the heretical of his Sect and the pagans who denied that Christ was the Word, is throughout a misrepresentation, or misunderstanding at least, of the whole Spirit of that Evangel.”
“Hence Free-Masonry, vulgarly imagined to have begun with the Dionysian Architects or the German Stone-workers, adopted Saint John the Evangelist as one of its patrons, associating with him, in order not to arouse the suspicions of Rome, Saint John the Baptist [the Johannite heresy], and thus covertly, proclaiming itself the child of the Kabbalah and Essenism together.” - “Allocution of Pio Nono against the Free Masons”
(1) “Come to Death”
“The knights also excelled in military architecture and their castles in Palestine were exceptionally well designed and virtually impregnable. Foremost amongst these imposing fortresses was Atlit (Château PŽlŽgrin or Castle Pilgrim) which...had been built in the year 1218 by the fourteenth Grand Master of the Templars, William of Chartres...” - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
“...Some of the nearest castles to the Assassin ‘state’ as it developed were the Templar castles of Tortosa (granted to the Templars in 1152) and Chastel Blanc.”
“The austere and spiritual Templars looking back to some imagined form of lost perfection, an exalted and nostalgic idea of an ideal order of chivalry, conscious themselves of their courage, loyalty and religious purpose, cannot have failed to recognize the goals and methods of the Assassins as close to their own. The same kind of men, not great noblemen but men from modest country manors who would have no role in the non-religious context, appear to have joined the Assassins and the Templars. There were essentially new men whose success derived from their search for personal and spiritual identity reinforced by the tight religious structure, rules and hierarchy of the two orders.”
“...The lay brothers, sergeants and knights of the Templars duplicate the lasiq (layman), fida’i (agent) and rafiq (companion) of the Assassins, while the knightly equivalent within the Assassins, the rafiqs, wore white mantels trimmed with red which correspond to the white mantle and red cross of the Templars.”
“The higher ranks of both orders, with priors, grand priors and Master, are also strikingly similar; prior, grand prior and Master correspond to da’i, da’i kabir and the Grand Master. In this context it is worth observing that while St Bernard provided the Rule of the Templars, the hierarchical structure seems to have come later and evidently from some other source.” - Edward Burman, The Assassins - Holy Killers of Islam
“It is unlikely hat there were very often more than three hundred heavily armed Templars in the Holy Land, even when knights and sergeants are counted together. But these shock troops were surrounded by squires, servants, Turkish mercenary troops and other dependents, so that in the greatest Palestinian castles fifty or sixty knights and sergeants would form the nucleus of a garrison of four or five hundred.” - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
“Assassin castles usually consisted of a walled compound with a keep built at its weakest point, designed as a fortified base for operations rather than to defend territory. Before sophisticated siege warfare, such as that used by Hulegu against Alamut over a century later they were in Syria relatively small and without the natural defense of remoteness of the Persian castles. It is this strategic, colonizing function of the castle which the Templars and other crusading orders may have developed from the Assassins, with no thought of territorial control, and no qualms about letting enemies pass between the castles.” - Edward Burman, The Assassins - Holy Killers of Islam
“The famous question of the three thousand gold pieces paid the by Syrian branch of the Assassins to the Templars is another matter which has never been settled. One opinion holds that this money was given as a tribute to the Christians; the other, that is was a secret allowance from the larger to the smaller organization. Those who think that the Assassins were fanatical Moslems, and therefore would not form any alliance with those who to them were infidels, should be reminded that to the followers of the Old Man of the Mountains [Rashid al-Din Sinan, Grand Master of the Syrian Assassins fron 1162 to 1193] only he was right, and the Saracens who were fighting the Holy War for Allah against the Crusaders were as bad as anyone else who did not accept the Assassin doctrine.”
Saladin “attacked nearby Hittin at dawn on Friday, July 3rd . Thirty thousand Crusaders were captured, including the King of Jerusalem. No Templar is mentioned in the detailed Arab account as asking for mercy on religious or other grounds, although all knew that Saladin had issued a war-cry: ‘Come to death, Templars!’ The Grand Master, Gerard of Ridefort, and several other knights were among those taken. Saladin offered them their lives if they would see the light of the True Faith. None accepted, and all these knights were beheaded except, admittedly, the Templar Grand Master.” Other accounts refer to “a body of Templars who went over to the Saracen side, and whose supposed descendants survive to this day as the Salibiyya (Crusader) tribe in north Arabia.” - John J. Robinson, Born in Blood
“...A poem written in Provençal dialect by; a troubadour who is thought to have been a Templar” refers “ to the disastrous fall of a number of the main cities and castles of the Crusader kingdom in 1265 (notably the town of Caesarea and the fortress of Arsuf)...” - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
“Pain and wrath invade my heart so that I almost think of suicide, or of laying down the cross I once assumed in honor of he who was laid upon the cross, for neither the cross nor his name protect us against the accursed Turks. Indeed, it seems clear enough that God is supporting them in our despite.
“At one stride they have captured Caesarea and taken by force the strong castle of Arsuf. O lord God, what a hard road have the knights, the sergeants and the burghers taken, who were harbored within the walls of Arsuf! Alas! the losses of the kingdom of Syria have been so heavy that is power is dispersed for ever!
“Then it is really foolish to fight the Turks, not that Jesus Christ no longer opposes them. They have vanquished the Franks and Tartars and Armenians and Persians, and they continue to do so. And daily they impose new defeats on us. for god, who used to watch on our behalf, is now asleep, and Mohammed (Bafometz] puts forth his power to support the Sultan.” - Ricault Bonomel
(2) The Fall of Acre
“...In March 1291 an enormous Mameluke army marched on Acre - 160,000 infantry and 60,000 cavalry. Their artillery was awe-inspiring, including not less than 100 mangonels [catapults]” In defense, “out of a population of fifty thousand, 14,000 were foot soldiers and 800 were mounted men-at-arms.”
“Turkish engineers were steadily undermining the towers, which began to crumble beneath a ceaseless bombardment from the sultan’s mangonels, a hail of enormous rocks and timber baulks. Lighter machines hurled pots of Greek fire or burning pitch which burst when they hit their targets and the sky was ablaze with naphtha arrows. Henri [III] tried to negotiate, but the implacable al-Ashraf would accept nothing but complete surrender. By 15 May the first wall and all its towers had been breached. Filling the moat with the bodies of men and horses as well as sandbags the Saracens swept through the main gate, encouraged by 300 drummers on camels. Charging on horseback down the narrow streets the Templar and Hospitaller brethren drove them out, but by evening the desperate Franks were forced to withdraw behind the inner wall. Next day many citizens put their wives and children on board ship for Cyprus, but unfortunately the weather was too bad to put out to sea.”
“Just before dawn on Friday, 18 May 1291, the sultan ordered a general assault, announced by first one great kettle drum then by massed drums and a battery of trumpets and cymbals, ‘which had a very horrible voice’. Mangonels and archers sent an endless shower of fire bombs into the doomed city, the arrows ‘falling like rain’, while Mameluke suicide-squads led by white-turbaned officers attacked through the dense smoke all along the wall in deep columns.”
“Acre was now lost irretrievably. The terrified population, women, babies and old men, ran to the harbor in frantic despair, though many able-bodied citizens died fighting. King Henri had already sailed for home and there were too few ships. Horrible struggles took place on the crowded jetties and overloaded boats sank....To add to the horror a great storm blew up. The Saracens soon reached the jammed quays to butcher the screaming fugitives.”
The surviving Templars held out in the fortified Temple by the sea. “A large number of women and children had fled to them for protection and the Templars showed that they could be generous, putting as many refugees as possible aboard the Order’s galleys, and sending them off to join the king’s fleet. There was not enough room for everyone, and all the brethren, even the wounded, stayed behind. An eyewitness who saw the ships leave wrote afterwards that ‘when they set sail everyone of the Temple who remained raised a great cheer, and thus they departed.” After several days al-Ashraf offered good terms, which Fra. Pierre accepted and some Mamelukes were admitted. They hoisted the crescent flag of Islam but then began to rape the women and boys, whereupon the infuriated Templars killed them. The infidel flag was torn down and ‘Beau Seant’ hauled up again. That night the marshal sent sway the Commander, Tibald Gaudin, by boat with the Temple treasury, the holy relics, and some non-combatants. Next day the sultan once more proposed excellent terms, admitting that his men had got what they deserved, so Fra. Pierre when out to discuss surrender. He was immediately seized and beheaded. Some of the brethren were old men, most of them wounded and all exhausted, yet they decided to fight to the finish. They beat off assault after assault. ‘They can fight the battle of the Lord and indeed be soldiers of Christ. Let them kill the enemy or die, they need not be afraid’. But the brethren had no replay to mangonel fire and the tunnels which riddled the foundations. On 28 May, the mines were fired. Part of the massive wall collapsed and 2,000 Turkish troops poured in to meet a bloody reception. The weight was too much for the tottering building, which came crashing down and Saracens and brethren perished together in a flaming hecatomb.”
“The Poor Knights’ most lasting achievement, their contribution towards the overthrow of the Church’s attitude to usury, was economic. No medieval institution did more for the rise of capitalism. Yet the Templars deserve to be remembered not as financiers but as the heroes of Acre, that strange fellowship of death who died for Christ with such disturbing courage.” - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
(1) Rumors and Conspiracies
“They set about amassing great riches, becoming not only the greatest soldiers of the West, but its greatest bankers. They also became great builders of cathedrals, accomplished diplomatists, and the most reliable chamberlains at the courts of Europe.” - Peter Tompkins, The Magic of Obelisks
“The order’s possessions were divided into eight langues or linguistic regions according to nationality, and ten provinces which ignored state boundaries, especially in France. The chief house of each langue was called a grand priory, and was directly subordinate to the grand master. The langues in order of seniority were Provence, Auvergne, France, Italy, Aragon (which comprised Navarre, Catalonia, Roussillon and Sardinia), England (including Scotland and Ireland), Germany (a highly complex langue made up of Upper and Lower German, Hungary, Bohemia, Poland, Denmark and Sweden) and Castile (made up of León, Portugal, Algarve, Granada, Toledo, Galicia and Andalusia). The ten provinces mentioned in the French Rule, which had been drawn up in 1140 to supplement St Bernard’s Rule, are listed as Jerusalem, Tripoli in Syria, Antioch, France, England, Poitou, Anjou, Portugal, Apulia and Hungary. Each province had its own master and commander who headed the local hierarchy of commanders of individual houses.” - Noel Currer-Briggs, The Shroud and the Grail - A Modern Quest for the True Grail
“...Most Templar violations of the feudal code were of a kind very frequently committed by others. In devoting a lot of attention to plunder, as they did from the start, the Templars behaved like other feudal lords. In exacting large payments of tribute from Muslim and Assassin rulers they again (in company with the Hospitalers) only complied with normal feudal and Syrian practice. But in one respect the Templars offended against all feudal ideas: this was in lending money and in accepting money to keep on deposit....The Templars were no strangers to ‘largesse’: their Rule specifically defines the value of the gifts which the great officers of the Order could make to those whom they chose to honor.” - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
“By lending vast sums to destitute monarchs they became the bankers for every throne in Europe - and for certain Muslim potentates as well.”
“And the Templars traded not only in money, but in thought as well. Through their sustained and sympathetic contact with Islamic and Judaic culture, they came to act as a clearing-house for new ideas, new dimensions of knowledge, new sciences. They enjoyed a veritable monopoly on the best and most advanced technology of their age - the best that could be produced by armorers, leather-workers, stonemasons, military architects and engineers. They contributed to the development of surveying, map-making, road-building and navigation. They possessed their own sea-ports, shipyards and fleet, a fleet both commercial and military, which was among the first to use the magnetic compass. And as soldiers, the Templars’ need to treat wounds and illness made them adept in the use of drugs. The Order maintained its own hospitals with its own physicians and surgeons - whose use of mold extract suggests an understanding of the properties of antibiotics. Modern principles of hygiene and cleanliness were understood. And with an understanding also in advance of their time they regarded epilepsy not as demonic possession but as a controllable disease.” - Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
After the fall of the Holy Land “disillusioned anticlericalism was becoming almost universal. In such circumstances the Templars and Hospitalers who returned to the west, apparently unemployed and yet still enjoying their old moneys and privileges, seemed an offensive addition to the great class of clerical hypocrites and drones.” - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
“They waste this money which is intended for the recovery of the Holy Sepulcher on cutting a fine figure in the world; they deceive people with their idle trumpery, and offend God; since they and the Hospital have for so long allowed the false Turks to remain in possession of Jerusalem and Acre; since they flee faster than the holy hawk; it is a pity, in my view, that we don’t rid ourselves of them for good.” - Rostan Berenguier of Marseilles
“No sharper experience of alienation form God’s order could be had than the feeling that demons were threatening Christian people, and that the protection which the sacramental order had formerly given against these evil spirits was no longer effective..” - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
“For many years there had been strange rumors about the Templars, who had developed a mania for secrecy. Minds darkened by hostility were only to ready to credit sinister accusations; ‘suspicions among thoughts are like bats among birds - they ever fly by twilit’, and the brethren became enveloped in a miasma of poisonous gossip.” - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
Philip the Fair of France “probably looked at the Templars first of all as an element in crusading policy. In this respect the Templars, the Hospitallers, and the pope had all opposed an irritating passive resistance to his policies.”
“The French government had for some years been demanding the fusion of the two main Military Orders. It was discreetly silent in the diplomatic negotiations about what was to be done with the Orders when they had been merged, but from the writings of royal propagandists we know that the aim was to form a single Order headed by one of the sons of the King of France...The Catalan zealot Ramon Lull...had earlier launched the visionary idea of a Christian ‘Warlike King’ who would centralize and lead the whole Christian crusading effort.”
“It was common practice among late medieval kings to obtain very large sums of money from the clergy by promising to take the cross, or by actually taking it, and persuading the pope to tax the clergy of their land for a crusading tithe. In many of not in most cases the king concerned would somehow get control of these moneys, which he had promised with more or less sincerity to use on Crusade. On very few occasions was the money actually so used: once it came into the direct control of the royal financial agents it was usually made to disappear on one pretext or another into the general stream of royal finances. Philip the Fair himself acquired a great deal of money in this way, as did his contemporary Edward I of England.” - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
“...It is difficult to believe that a king as scrupulous and conscientious in other respects as Philip demonstrably was would have attacked the Templars with such violence merely for financial gain. While Barber [The Trial of the Templars] attempts to link the Templars with other ‘outgroups’ and to consider all equally victimized by Philip’s extortionary practices, the effort remains unconvincing. It was one thing to harass the despised Lombards and the Jews, who operated on the border of permissible Christian behavior, but quite another to proceed against a monastic order, garnered with all the spiritual prestige, however momentarily tarnished. of the highest deals of Christian Europe. Surely a king of Philip’s acknowledged religious sensibilities would have understood the moral difference between these actions.”
“Barber himself shows that as early as 1305 Philip was receiving reports of scandalous practices among the Templars from informers such as Esquieu de Floyran, who approached the king after having failed to sell his rumors to James II of Aragon. Why Philip, unlike James, proved receptive to these reports is, in turn, best explained by the shift in Philip’s personal concerns toward a more religious bent, which Robert-Henri Bautier has recently argued took place after the death of this wife, Jeanne of Navarre, in April 1305 (See R.-H. Bautier, “Diplomatique et histoire politique: Ce que la critique diplomatique nous apprend sur la personalite de Philippe le Bel,” Revue Historique, 259 (1978): 3-27). Jeanne’s death struck Philip with great force and appears to have produced in him an almost fanatical desire to reform himself and his kingdom in the image of his holy grandfather, St. Louis.”
“In the end, the best evidence suggests that is was not the desire for specie but the weightier coinage of religious purity and personal righteousness that motivated Philip the Fair, a coinage potentially more dangerous to the rights of nonconformity and dissent than even Professor Barber fears.” - Gabrielle M. Spiegel
(2) Mass Arrest in France
“Avignon had been the seat of Pope Clement V - who had been crowned at Lyons in 1305 in the presence of King Philip of France...It also been Clement V who had order the arrest of the Templars throughout Christendom in 1307.”
“...There is evidence that he [Philip IV] began to plan his operation against the Templars about a year in advance of its implementation (i.e. in 1306) and there is also evidence that on several occasions during that year he discussed his plans with Pope Clement.” - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
“King Philip the Fair of France developed a similar idea of making himself ruler of a vast Christian empire centered at Jerusalem. He also needed money. First he seized all the Jews in his kingdom and forced them to give up their futures by removing one of their eyes and threatening to remove the other.” Then he moved against the Templars to seize their riches. - Peter Tompkins, The Magic of Obelisks
Jacques de Molay was the last Templar Grand Master.
“On the night of Thursday, 12 October 1307, Philip’s troops broke in to arrest Molay with sixty brethren, incarcerating some in royal prisons, others in the Temple’s own dungeons. By the morning of Friday, 13 October, 15,000 people had been seized: knights, chaplains, sergeants confratres, and retainers - even laborers on the Order’s arms. Probably not more than 500 were full members, less than 200 were profess brethren. By the weekend popular preachers were denouncing the Poor Knights to horrified crowds all over France.
“The arrest was illegal; the civil authority could not arrest clerics responsible only to Rome. But Philip hoped to substantiate certain charges: denial of Christ, idol worship, spitting on the crucifix, and homosexuality - unnatural vice was a practice associated with the Albigensians and all these accusations were the stock in trade of heresy trials. The French Inquisition staffed by Dominicans, ‘Hound of the Lord’, was expert at extracting confessions. The brethren, unlettered soldiers, faced a combination of cross-examining lawyers and torture chambers whose instruments included the thumbscrew, the boot, and a rack to dislocate limbs. Men were spread-eagled and crushed by lead weights or filled with water through a funnel till they suffocated. there was also ‘burning in the feet’. Probably the most excruciating torments were the simplest - wedges hammered under finger nails, teeth wrenched out and the exposed nerves prodded. The Templars would have resisted any torment by Moslems but now, weakened by confinement in damp, filthy cells and systematic starvation, they despaired when the torture was inflicted by fellow Christians.” - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
“...There were only fourteen knights among the 138 Templars heard by the grand Inquisitor, and only eighteen knights among the 546 prospective ‘defenders’ of the Order in 1310. Perhaps between fifty and a hundred knights were involved; this is a far cry from the army of 2000 knights which some supposed to have constituted a military danger to the French monarch.” - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
(3) The Case for the Prosecution
“The quarrel between Boniface VIII and Philip the Fair of France involved many long-standing disputes between the medieval Church and the State.” A French civil servant called Guillaume de Nogaret enlisted the help of a small private army attempted to arrest and seize the pope in Italy. “The intention was to take him back to France to face trial by a French-controlled Church Council, but this part of the plan miscarried. Boniface was after a few days freed by a counter-stoke of his supporters, although only a few weeks later he died, a defeated and disgraced man (12 October 1303).. His attackers were automatically excommunicated under canon law...”
“Although sanctions against the French king himself were soon lifted, the popes refused to lift the excommunication against Guillaume de Nogaret, the king’s chief minister...On the French side [the government] build up a huge dossier against the dead pope, representing him as a heretic, an unbeliever, a simoniac, and also as a magician and the patron of sorcerers. This most emphatically magical accusations were that Boniface had familiar converse with demons, whom he constantly called to his assistance and sometimes worshipped.”
“It was to be one of the great ironies of the Templar trials that the minister who was mainly in charge of their prosecution [Guillaume de Nogaret] was for the whole duration of the trials lying under the formal ban of the Church.” - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
“G. Legman, in The Guilt of the Templars, a composite work by five distinguished English academicians, says the Templars did not practice homosexuality faute de mieux but as a formal dedication, betrayed by the ritual nudity required at their secret initiation...” - Peter Tompkins, The Magic of Obelisks
“The obscene kiss, or osculum infame, was another of their pastimes which shocked contemporary opinion.” - David Conway, Ritual Magic
“Item, that in the reception of the brothers of the said Order or at about that time, sometimes the receptor and sometimes the received were kissed on the mouth, on the navel, or on the bare stomach, and on the buttocks or the base of the spine.
Item, [that they were kissed] sometimes on the navel.
Item, [that they were kissed] sometimes on the base of the spine.
Item, [that they were kissed] sometimes on the penis.” - The Articles of the Accusations
In contrast, St. Bernard, used the imagery of the holy “three-fold kiss” to depict the steps to spiritual perfection.
“Much has been made of the supposed obscenity of the Templar initiation and of the kissing that formed part of it. In fact it differed very little from the everyday practice of the time whereby the bond between lord and vassal was affirmed by the ceremony of homage. Here the vassal knelt, placed his clasped hands within those of his master, and declared: ‘Lord, I become your man’, and took an oath of fealty. The lord then raised him to his feet and bestowed on him a ceremonial kiss. The vassal was thenceforth bound ‘to love what his lord loved and to loathe when he loathed, and never by word or deed do aught that could grieve him’.” - Noel Currer-Briggs, The Shroud and the Grail - A Modern Quest for the True Grail
“Of all the charges leveled against the Templars, the most serious were those of blasphemy and heresy, - of denying, trampling and spitting on the cross.” - Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
“In June of 1311, the English Inquisition came across some very interesting information from a Templar by the name of Stephen de Strapelbrugge, who admitted that he was told in his initiation that Jesus was a man and not a god. Another Templar by the name of John de Stoke stated that Jacques de Molay had instructed that he should know that Jesus was but a man, and that he should believe in ‘the great omnipotent God, who was the architect of heaven and earth, and not the crucifixion’.” - Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus
“These are the articles on which inquiry should be made against the Order of the Knighthood of the Temple.
Firstly that, although they declared that the Order had been solemnly established and approved by the Apostolic See, nevertheless in the reception of the brothers of the said Order, and at some time after, there were preserved and performed by the brothers those things which follow:
Namely that each in his reception, or at some time after, or as soon as a fit occasion could be found for the reception, denied Christ, sometimes Christ crucified, sometimes Jesus, and sometimes God, and sometimes the Holy Virgin, and sometimes all the saints of God, led and advised by those who received him. - Item, [that] the brothers as a whole did this. - Item, that the majority [of them did this].
Item, that [they did this] also sometimes after the reception.
Item, that the receptors said and taught those whom they were receiving, that Christ, or sometimes Jesus, or sometimes Christ crucified, is not the true God.
Item, that they told those whom they received that he was a false prophet.
Item, that he had not suffered nor was he crucified for the redemption of the human race, but on account of his sins.
Item, that neither the receptors nor those being received had a hope of achieving salvation through Jesus, and they said this, or the equivalent or similar, to those whom they received.
Item, that they made those whom they received spit on a cross, or on a representation or sculpture of the cross and an image of Christ, although sometimes those who were being received spat next [to it].
Item, that they sometimes ordered that this cross be trampled underfoot.
Item, that brothers who had been received sometimes trampled on the cross.
Item, that sometimes they urinated and trampled, and caused others to urinate, on this cross, and several times they did this on Good Friday.
Item, that some of them, on that same day or another of Holy Week, were accustomed to assemble for the aforesaid trampling and urination.” - The Articles of the Accusations
(4) “Spare No Known Means of Torture”
“The standard nature of the confessions bespeaks the standard application of a questionnaire, which as in most subsequent witchcraft trials guaranteed a remarkable uniformity in details.” - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
“The inquisitors had orders to ‘spare no known means of torture’ so they could let their wild imaginations run free. Some Templars had their teeth pulled out one at a time, with a question between each extraction, then had the empty sockets probed to provide an additional level of pain. Some has wood wedges driven under their nails, while others had their nails pulled out. A common device was an iron frame like a bed, on which the Templar was trapped with his bare feet hanging over the end. A charcoal brazier was slid under his oiled feet as the questioning began. Several knights were reported to have gone mad with the pain. A number had their feet totally burned off, and at a later inquiry a footless Templar was carried to the council clutching a bag containing the blackened bones that had dropped out of his feet when they were burned off. His inquisitors had allowed him to keep the bones as a souvenir of his memorable experience. The hot iron was a favorite tool because it could be easily applied again and again to any part of the body. It could be held a couple of inches away, cooking the flesh while the question was asked, then firmly pressed against the body when the answer came out incorrectly or too slowly.” - John J. Robinson, Dungeon, Fire and Sword (1991)
“Of 138 Templars questioned in Paris during October and November, 105 admitted that they had denied Christ during their secret reception into the order, 123 that they had spat at, on, or near some form of the crucifix, 103 that they had indecently kissed, usually on the base of the spine or the navel, and 102 implied that homosexuality among the brothers was encouraged (although only 3 admitted directly engaging in homosexual relations). This immediate and virtually unanimous confession of guilt on the part of the Templars, including the Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, and the Visitor, Hughes de Pairaud, cast a pall over the order from which it never recovered. Although the confessions were extracted by torture and later denied before papal inquisitors, the Templars had sentenced themselves out of their own mouths. “ - Gabrielle M. Spiegel
In France “it is not surprising that thirty-six brethren died, or, that out of 138 examined 123 confessed to the least nauseating charge, spitting on the crucifix, for medieval man was accustomed to swearing oaths under duress and then obtaining absolution once he was safe. Even Jacques de Molay stooped to this stratagem, humiliated by a charge of homosexuality which he furiously denied. However, though his ‘confession’ may have been politic it unnerved the brethren. Fra. Hughues de Peyraud frightened them still more by admitting every accusation; ‘made of the willow rather than the oak’ the wily Treasurer cooperated with gusto, declaring he worshipped an idol in chapter. At Carcassone two brethren agreed they had adored a wooden image called ‘Baphomet’ while a Florentine Templar named it ‘Mahomet’ and another brother said it had a long beard but no body. Royal agents hunted frantically for Baphomet and ‘discovered’ a metal-plated skull suspiciously like a reliquary. These avowals of idolatry only served to discredit other evidence for in extremities of pain and anguish man will say anything. Yet only three brethren would confess to homosexual practices, a refutation of ‘indecent kisses’. It was alleged that in the rite of profession, postulants were required to kiss their superior on the navel or the base of the spine - possibly a few preceptors indulged in mumbo-jumbo but it is highly unlikely. And intensive searches failed to find ‘the secret rule’.” - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
“The course of the trials in England, Aragon, Navarre (ruled by Philip the Fair’s eldest son, Louis), Majorca, Castile, Portugal, Italy and Germany demonstrates incontestably that only in France or in territories under French influence were there substantial confessions to the alleged crimes. In England and Aragon, whose laws of procedure forbade the use of torture, confessions came only after the papal inquisitors had taken over and introduced torture. The sole exception was the admission of the English Templars to a belief in the power of absolution exercised by the Grand Master and regional preceptors in chapter, which Barber [The Trial of the Templars] convincingly explains as a consequence of Templar confusion over the changing definition of absolution in the thirteenth century, to which Templar practice did not conform. The sharp distinction in obtaining confessions between countries that did and did not employ torture makes entirely plausible Barber’s conclusion that ‘it would now be difficult to argue, as some nineteenth-century historians did, that the Templars were guilty of the accusations made against them by the regime of Philip the Fair’.” - Gabrielle M. Spiegel
In England, “if the Templars would confess to the sin of a layman granting absolution and swear their own condemnation of the Templar heresies charged in the papal encyclicals, they could perform a minor penance and be free men, back in the bosom of the Church. That was too good a bargain to pass up, and most of the English Templars agreed.
They made their confession in public, then were sent into monasteries to perform their penances. With that done, a few went into the Hospitallers, but most returned to secular lives, with meager pensions based on what the Church felt was the minimum amount required by a monk for food and clothing.” - John J. Robinson, Dungeon, Fire and Sword (1991)
(5) The Papal Bans
“When one considers how the Templars fought and died throughout the crusades it seems hard not to believe in their innocence...It is surely more than coincidence that the most strident accusations came from the heartlands of the Albigensian heresy; Nogaret was a Provençal, Fra. Esquiu a Catalan. Local brethren in these regions could well have turned isolated perceptories into Cathar cells during the previous century when the heresy was at its height, while the Order’s bankers would have been quite capable of protecting fugitive heretics to obtain the Cathar treasure which disappeared just before their last stronghold fell in 1244. Admittedly Catharism was almost extinct by 1307. But vague memories from years before of heresy hunts within the Order, kept secret to avoid scandal, may have been the origin of tales of devil worship, secret rites and sodomy which were all charges which had been made against the Cathars.” - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
“...The supposed adherence of the Templars to Catharism [is] nonsense. This belief is to some extent based on the erroneous identification of Bertrand de Blanquefort, a Templar Grand master, with a Cathar nobleman called Bertrand de Blanchefort. It is true that both names appear as ‘Blancafortis’ in Latin texts, but the Templar came from Guyenne, not Languedoc, and had nothing whatever to do with the Cathars. In any case, there are three towns in France called Blanquefort and one called Blancafort, apart from the Blanchefort from which the Cathar took his title. Since French noblemen were invariable known by the names of their estates and not by hereditary surnames, nothing can be deduced form the coincidence of two men with similar names.” - Noel Currer-Briggs, The Shroud and the Grail - A Modern Quest for the True Grail
“Clement V...who became pope in 1305, moved the papal court to Avignon where it remained for over seventy years - ‘the Babylonish captivity’. This new Vicar of Christ, weak, racked by ill health, was desperately afraid of his former sovereign who had secured his election by heavy bribes.”
“At first the pope had protested vigorously, suspending the Inquisition in France on 27 October 1307. But by now Philip was announcing sensational ‘discoveries’, including a letter of confession from Fra. Jacques, and so, at the end of November, Clement issued a second bull ordering the arrest of all Templars. Courts of enquiry were set up throughout Christendom. In January 1308, with some reluctance, England arrested its Templars. There were not more than 135 in the country - 118 sergeants, 11 chaplains, and only 6 knights....Irish and Scottish Templars were also rounded up. All but two Scottish brethren escaped; shrewd politicians, they may well have found refuge with the Bruce’s guerrillas - certainly King Robert never legally ratified the Scottish Temple’s dissolution.”
“From Spain and Cyprus came news that the Templars were innocent, while investigations in the empire too found them guiltless. Pressure could be brought to bear on England, but here many prisoners had escaped, and when the remaining fifty were interrogated nothing could be extracted; a second enquiry in 1310 examined 228 brethren with no more result. Finally Clement ordered Edward II to use to torture. Eventually King Edward agreed, stipulating that there must be no ‘mutilations, incurable wounds or violent effusions of blood’.” - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
“The prime responsibility for the ‘discovery, punishment and prevention of heresy’ had been bestowed on what by now was known as the congregation of the Holy Office but was still referred to as the Inquisition. Its functions were largely in the hands of the Order of Preachers, the Dominicans, founded by the Spanish priest Dominic Guzman (later St. Dominic), who had made his name by his extraordinary zeal against the Albigensian heretics in southern France.” In 1311 in England, the ten professional torturers provided by the pope “were only able to get admissions that to preserve their secrets Templars were told to go only to their own priests for confession, that they might have occasionally absolved each other of sin in special situations, and that the wore a cord next to their skin, although they didn’t know why.” - John J. Robinson, Born in Blood
In England, “out of more than 200 Templars including confratres and retainers, examined in 1310 and 1311 all of whom were subjected to excruciating agonies, only four admited to spitting at the cross.” In Paris “by the end of May , 120 Templars had been burnt.”
“Perhaps the Templars’ worst anguish was spiritual - it must have seemed that God Himself had died - and probably many brethren went mad. Yet the wildest rumours circulated, for French public opinion undoubtedly believed in the brethren’s guilt. They were supposed to hve summoned devil women from hell and slept with them, whole bastards were roasted in front of images smeared with chldren’s fat, and cats were worshped.”
“Some Castilian Templars were so horrified that they fled to Granada and turned Moslem.”
“In February 1312 the French Estates’ General demanded the Order’s condemnation. Finally, in March, Clement, in private consistory (that is, with his advisers in camera) formally pronounced the Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon to be guilty of all charges made against them. When the council [General Council of the Church] reassembled on 3 April they were presented with a fait accompli, the bull Vox in excelso, declaring the Order dissolved. The pope explained his reasons; canonically the Templars could not be convicted on the evidence, but he himself was convinced of their guilt and had therefore exercised his prerogative to condemn them. The General Council accepted his decision without demur. On 2 May a further bull disposed of the brotherhood’s lands which were given to the Hospitallers. Those brethren who had retracted confessions - or refused to confess at all - received life imprisonment, while those who had stuck to their confessions were released on a minute pension, most of them ending up as beggars.”
“...This was an immense accession of wealth for the Hospitallers. In Germany the vast estates of the Templars enabled the Herrenmeister of the Brandenburg Ballei of the ‘Johanniterorden’ to become semi-autonomous. English commanderies had to be drastically reorganized to absorb new lands; sometimes the commandery itself was transferred to a former receptory, as at Egle in Lincolnshire.” - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
“On 14 March 1314 the four Templar great officers were paraded on a scaffold outside Notre-Dame to hear their sentence life imprisonment.” - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master of the Order unexpectedly recanted his confession.
“I think it only right that at so solemn a moment when my life has so little time to run [he was nearly seventy] I should reveal the deception which has been practiced and speak up for the truth. Before heaven and earth and with all of you here as my witnesses, I admit that I am guilty of the grossest iniquity. But the iniquity is that I have lied in admitting the disgusting charges laid against the Order. I declare, and I must declare, that the Order is innocent. Its purity and saintliness is beyond question.” - Master fra. Jacques de Molay
“Two of his brethren listened fearfully, but the Preceptor of Normandy, Fra. Geoffroy de Charnay, rallied to the Grand Master, speaking with equal defiance. Next morning the two brothers in religion were burnt alive over a slow charcoal fire on an island in the Seine, shouting their innocence through the flames. The crowd was inclined to think them martyrs. A legend grew up that Fr. Jacques had summoned Philip and Clement to come before God for judgment; certainly the pope was dead within a month, the king by the autumn, and his three sons and successors all died young.” - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
“There were no Templar martyrs, as has often been observed. The aim of the examination of the Templars was to obtain confessions of guilt; so far as we know, once these had been obtained no Templar was ever made to suffer capital punishment on their account unless he went back on the confession. Both the fifty four Templars burned in 1310 and the two Templar leaders burned in 1314 died while asserting their religious orthodoxy and Catholic loyalty.”
“Convincing or specific evidence that the Templars were Cathars cannot have existed, or the prosecution would have used it, as it did use the rather technical charge that the officers in chapter absolved the brothers after their confession of sin as though the officers had been priests. It seems unlikely that the Templars would have pursued a way of salvation other than that offered by the Church, when the path to their life’s end which was laid down by the official Order seemed to promise just that certainty of salvation for which men craved. Perhaps, particularly after the return from the Holy Land which deprived them of the chance of a martyr’s death in battle against the infidel, some Templars strayed into unorthodox ways. But the evidence of the examinations outside France suggests that if there were such men, they were only a few, and that though there may have been irregularity, there was no real heresy.”
In the eighteenth century “the German Masonic bookseller, Friedrich Nicolai, produced an idea that the Templar Masons, through the medieval Templars, were the eventual heirs of an heretical doctrine which originated with the early Gnostics. He supported this belief by a farrago of learned references to the writings of early Fathers of the Church on heresy, and by impressive-looking citations from the Syriac. Nicolai based his theory on false etymology and wild surmise, but it was destined to be very influential. He was also most probably familiar with Henry Cornelius Aggripa’s claim, made in the early sixteenth century, that the medieval Templars had been wizards.” - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
“It is known that the Templars fled to Scotland, too, after the dissolution of 1312, and it is known that some found refuge among the Saint-Clairs of Rosslyn in Midlothian. There is a Templar cemetery there.” -Michael Bradley, Holy Grail Across the Atlantic
“No family in Europe beneath the rank of royalty boasts a higher antiquity, a nobler illustration, or a more romantic interest than that of St. Clair.” -Sir John Bernard Burke, Vicissitudes of Families and Other Essays
“...We encountered repeated references to the Sinclair family - Scottish branch of the Norman Saint-Clair/Gisors family. Their domain at Rosslyn was only a few miles from the former Scottish headquarters of the Knights Templar, and the chapel at Rosslyn - built between 1446 and 1486 - has long been associated with both Freemasonry and the Rose-Croix. In a charter believed to date from 1601, moreover, the Sinclairs are recognized as ‘hereditary Grand Masters of Scottish Masonry’. This is the earliest specific Masonic document on record.” -Baigent and Leigh, The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail
“The famous Grail Seeker Trevor Ravenscroft claimed in 1962 that he had finished a twenty year quest in search of the Grail at Rosslyn chapel.....His claim was that the Grail was inside the Prentice Pillar (as it is known) in this chapel. The chapel is often visited now by Grail Seekers and many references to the Grail can be found in its stonework and windows. Metal detectors have been used on the pillar and an object of the appropriate size is indeed buried in the middle. Lord Rosslyn adamantly refuses to have the pillar x-rayed.” - Chris Thornborrow, “An Introduction to Current Theories about The Holy Grail”
Henry Sinclair, Earl of Orkney, “was born about 1345, about a generation after the Templar dispersal.... Henry’s ancestor and namesake, Henri de Saint-Clair fought beside Godfroi de Bouillon at the taking of Jerusalem. Several Saint-Clairs became Templars themselves.”
“In the confusing and purely familial pattern of the Middle Ages, Henry Sinclair held Rosslyn as a vassal of the Kings of England and Scotland, but held Orkney as a vassal of the King of Norway.”
“By 1390, Henry’s fleet numbered 13 ships: two undecked oared galleys of Mediterranean type useful for maneuvering in the narrow channels of the Orkney and Shetland island groups (and a favored labyrinth for pirates and discontented island smugglers); one decked longship for battle, based on the old Viking lines; and ten decked sailing barks suitable for oceanic patrols around the island groups.”
“In 1391 a Venetian ship entered the Orkney earldom. Aboard was Nicolo Zeno, brother of Carlo Zeno [the “Lion” of Venice] who had pioneered the use of cannon for Venice at the Battle of Chioggia. After spending some time with Sinclair, Nicolo Zeno wrote home to Venice and instructed his brother, Antonio, to join him in the Orkneys. Nicolo and Antonio together supplied the expertise that Henry lacked. They knew how to forge the new lightweight cannon for shipboard use, and they were familiar with the latest navigational theories and cartographic skills. They stayed in the service of Sinclair until death.” -Michael Bradley, Holy Grail Across the Atlantic
Unable to take in wood and water in Iceland because of a hostile reception by the inhabitants,
“Sinclair, seeing he could do nothing, and that if we were to persevere in this attempt, the fleet would fall short of provisions, took his departure with a fair wind and sailed 6 days to the westwards; but the winds afterwards shifting to the southwest, and the sea becoming rough, we sailed 4 days with the wind aft and finally sighted land.”
“As the sea ran high and we did not know what country it was, we were afraid at first to approach it, but by God’s blessing the wind lulled, and then there came on a great calm. Some of the crew pulled ashore and soon returned with great joy with news that they found an excellent country and a still better harbor.”
“After eight days the 100 soldiers returned, and brought work that they had been through the island and up to the hill, and that the smoke was a natural thing proceeding from a great fire in the bottom of the hill, and that there was a spring from which issued a certain substance like pitch, which ran into the sea, and that thereabouts dwelt a great many people half wild, and living in caves. They were of small stature and very timid. They reported also there was a large river, and a very good and safe harbor.” - The Zeno Narrative
Apparently in 1398, Harry Sinclair, the Earl of Orkney, sailed to Nova Scotia, accompanied by the Zeno brothers of Genoa (one of whom mailed an account home to another brother left in Italy). He started a settlement where the “royal family” took refuge. -Timothy C. Green (tgreen@PUCnet.com)
“Burning pitch deposits at Stellarton [Nova Scotia] behind Mt. Adams were responsible for the ‘burning hill’ Sinclair’s explorers first thought they saw. The description confirms Cape Caruso as the area of landfall on June 2, 1398.” -Michael Bradley, Holy Grail Across the Atlantic
Sinclair’s castle was built “in the middle of the peninsula, at the headwaters of both the Gold and the Gaspereau Rivers, the mouth each of which is indicated by an Oak Island (the one at the mouth of the Gold is THE Oak Island of treasure fame...These are apparently the only two islands with oak trees growing on them in all of NS, and acorns don’t float. All that is left of the castle are footings of walls (partial plan in book) level with the ground, and to the author, these are very similar to rubble wall constuction in Scotland, and unlike anything else in the area. There were also some small artificts picked up the the owner of the site, who was an avid gardener. -Timothy C. Green (tgreen@PUCnet.com)
“Glooscap was the first,
First and greatest,
To come to our land -
Into Nova Scotia...
When the Master left Ukakumkuk,
Called by the English Newfoundland,
He went to Pictook or Pictou,
Which means the rising of bubbles,
Because at that place the water is
Ever strangely moving,
There he found an Indian Village
A town of a hundred wigwams.”
- Frederick Pohl, Prince Henry Sinclair
In the body of Micmac legends, “Pohl was the first to identify Gooscap as Henry Sinclair. Pohl was able to make a list of 17 specific similarities between Glooscap and Sinclair, including the fact that they each had three daughters.” -Michael Bradley, Holy Grail Across the Atlantic
Glooscap “invited all to a parting banquet
By the great lake Minas shore
On the silver waters’ edge.
And when the feast was over,
Entered his great canoe
And sailed away over the water,
The shining waves of Minas.”
- Frederick Pohl, Prince Henry Sinclair
“And, in memory of this parting, the Micmacs traditionally chanted: “Nemajeeck, Numeedich.” This, as Frederick Pohl noted, sounds like the words of an old Norse sea-chantey sung when weighing anchor. “Nu mo jag, nu mo deg.” -Michael Bradley, Holy Grail Across the Atlantic
“Samuel de Champlain was in on the scheme for when he showed up 200 years later, he did what he could to hide the existence of the refuge (his normally detailed maps became vague in the area, his reports were deliberately false with respect to prospects for settlers). As a result, colonization of the area was slowed down for about a generation until the family could be moved to Ville Marie (Montreal), not hidden this time, but disguised as the Sulpician religious order.” -Timothy C. Green (tgreen@PUCnet.com)