Archive for July, 2013
The Knights Templar trace their origin too shortly after the beginnings of the FirstCrusade. In the early 1100’s, a French nobleman from the Champagne region; known as Hugues de Payens, collected eight of his knight relatives including Godfrey de Saint-Omer, and commenced the Order. Their stated mission was to protect pilgrim’s en-route to visit the Holy Places. The Knights Templars approached King Baldwin II of Jerusalem, who allowed them to set up their headquarters on the Temple Mount. The Dome of the very Rock, towards the center of the Mount, was understood to occupy the site the Jewish Temple. Known to Christians through the entire Muslim occupation of Jerusalem to be the Holy of Holies, the Dome Rock became a Christian church known as the Templum Domini, the Temple of the Lord. However; the Templars were housed within the Aqsa Mosque. The Aqsa Mosque was assumed to be at the site of Salomon’s Temple. Because of the fact that the Aqsa mosque was referred to as Templum Solomonis, it was actually not long until the knights had encompassed the association with their name. The Templars became referred to as Pauperes Commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici, otherwise known as the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, which was later shortened to “Knights Templars”.
The very first order of the Knights Templar consisted of Hugues de Payens and eight other knights, two of whom were brothers and every one of whom were his relatives by either blood or marriage: Godfrey de Saint-Omer, Payne de Monteverdi, Archambaud de St. Agnan, Andre de Montbard, Geoffrey Bison, and two men recorded only by the names of Rossal and Gondamer. The ninth knight remains unknown; however some have speculated that likely it was Count Hugh of Champagne himself; despite the fact that he joined the Knights on his third travel to the Holy Land in 1125.
Very little was heard about the Order for the first nine years; however in 1129, once they were officially sanctioned by the church for the Council of Troyes, they became famously known throughout Europe. Their fundraising campaigns requested donations of funds, land, or noble-born sons to be with the Order, to fulfill the implication that donations would likely help both to defend Jerusalem, and also to make sure the charitable giver place in Heaven. The Order’s efforts were helped substantially through patronage of Bernard of Clairvaux, the most important churchman of that time period, as well as a nephew of 1 of the original nine knights. The Order at its outset was the subject of strong criticism, especially considering the concept that religious men will additionally carry swords. Due to these critics, the influential Bernard of Clairvaux wrote a multi-page treatise entitled De Laude Novae Militae (“In Praise of the New Knighthood”), by which he championed their mission and defended the thought of a military religious order by appealing to the long-held Christian theory of just war, which legitimated “taking up the sword” to defend the innocent in addition to Church from violent attack. By so doing, Bernard legitimized the Templars, who became the first “warrior monks” of the Western world.
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