Saturday, October 13, 2007

A 700 Year Old Vindication

Today commemorates the 700 year anniversary of the downfall of the famed organization known now as the Knights Templar. It was Friday, October 13, 1307 that the Vatican conspired with King Philip IV of France to draw the Templars into a noose, leading eventually to the burning at the stake of Jacque de Molay and the retreat of remaining Templars and their secrets to Scotland and the greater British Isles.

The level of speculation surrounding this band of medieval warrior monks has become a kind of budgie-jumping historical sport, the rock-climbers version of academic fun. We have the Da Vinci Code and Holy Blood, Holy Grail to convince us of its continued and presently heightened popularity. But nothing reaches the justifiable ground wire like the news coming out of the Vatican these past few days...

From Thursday's edition of the Guardian Unlimited:
A couple of years ago, one wintry morning in Hertford, I met a mysterious man who claimed to belong to the Knights Templar. As readers of The Da Vinci Code will know, this secretive Catholic organization had been officially disbanded in 1307 by Pope Clement V, who had accused them of being heretics and devil-worshipers; their leader, Jacques de Molay, was burned at the stake. This Saturday, October 13, marks the 700th anniversary of the day their persecution began: Friday October 13, 1307, which may be the origin of the idea that Friday 13 is unlucky. But the Templars didn't go away. Instead, they went underground - taking with them, it was whispered, the Holy Grail itself, the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper. Then, in late 2004, they resurfaced. A letter arrived at the Vatican, purportedly from the Templars' grand master, insisting on the knights' innocence, and demanding an apology. The Vatican said it would give the matter "serious consideration" - but for Templar-hunters, the exciting aspect was that the letter bore a Hertford address.

A reporter at the Hertfordshire Mercury tracked down a local Templar, who explained that treasures of "immense importance" were hidden in a secret network of tunnels beneath the city, extending from the council offices, via Threshers, to Monsoon and Accessorize. Which was how I came to visit. Was the most fabled relic of Christ hidden underneath two boutiques on Market Place in Hertford?

I never found out, despite the best efforts of Gemma, the manager. But the other part of the tale has a happy ending: later this month, the Vatican will publish a book based on the Chinon parchment, a rediscovered fragment of the trial proceedings against the Templars. According to Professor Barbara Frale - who found it in the Vatican's secret archive, where it had been misfiled - it absolves the Knights Templar.

Just after the 700th anniversary of the day their troubles began, the Templars will get their apology. "We pray that, at the end of seven centuries, the soul of Jacques de Molay may now rest in peace for ever," says Ben Acheson, who describes himself as a Templar. "The Temple now considers the matter closed."

Now all that remains is to find the Holy Grail. If you need me, I'll be underneath Accessorize.
So, after 700 years of supposed Templar heresy, they will finally be absolved. Fascinating how justice works inside the halls of the faithful.


Update: (From the Times Online)
VATICAN CITY The Knights Templar, the medieval Christian military order accused of heresy and sexual misconduct, will soon be partly rehabilitated when the Vatican publishes trial documents it has closely guarded for 700 years.

It is publishing only 799 copies of the minutes of trials against the Templars, Processus Contra Templarios - Papal Inquiry into the Trial of the Templars, which will sell for €5,900 (£4,115).

The giant work will come in a soft leather case, with detailed reproductions of original Latin parchments and the wax seals used by the 14th-century inquisitors.

“Nothing before this offered scholars original documents of the trials of the Templars,” said Professor Barbara Frale, a medievalist at the Vatican’s Secret Archives.

The Templars were founded in 1119 by knights sworn to protect Christian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land. Legends of their hidden treasures and secret rituals and power have featured in films and bestsellers such as The Da Vinci Code. (Reuters)


kdog said...

all is to be revealed soon.thats why the apology.the nights templar/knights of malta,have always been right in our faces since their birth.only the few would realize its never been an underground society.


Mental Produce said...

I don't know about that kdog.

"All is to be revealed soon" sounds like a new-age myth, likely to keep people less empowered than anything else.

It means that there are a select few who have the knowledge that enlightens the rest of us, and I cannot accept that. More likely it is that the Templars have some "sensitive" information, but are as clueless as the rest of us as to the nature of reality, and where exactly all those damn fish have gone.


Anonymous said...

This is in response to the annual campaign by modern-day followers of the Templar tradition.

A letter to the Pope from living descendents of the Templars appeared in the press in 2004. "We shall witness the 700th anniversary of the persecution of our order on 13th October 2007," the letter said. "It would be just and fitting for the Vatican to acknowledge our grievance in advance of this day of mourning."

On 25 October 2007, exactly 13 days from the morning of the anniversary, an official document will be released by the Vatican absolving the Knights Templar and confirming their innocence. The announcement was reported in the press 7 before the anniversary.

Friday, 13 October 1307, that infamous day that made the number 13 unlucky, is somehow balanced at last by the lucky number 7 on the 7th centenary of the event.

Full story with additional sources and links for further information:-

Mark said...

Fascinating. Both that there is a person out there named kdog who believes in the Templar's and about the Templar's themselves. The entire affair so long ago is so shrouded in the mystical past without primary sources it seems hard to unravel. It'd be interesting to read a good book on the archives.