Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Economic and religious independence of the Knights Templar

"Independent and permanent, (made so by the papal bulls Omne datum optimum (1139), Milites Templi (1144) and Militia Dei (1145), TN)  the Templars needed the means to sustain themselves. As defenders of the goods of the Church it was appropriate to exempt them from the payment of tithes, while at the same time giving them the right to acquire them, provided that they had the assent of the bishops and their clergy.

Moreover, such a structure needed not only material resources, but spiritual guidance as well, and the bull granted the Order its own priests for the first time. Once in the Order, these priests were as much under the control of the Master as the knights and sergeants, despite the fact that the Master was not ordained. The Order was similarly allowed its own oratories, where divine office could he heard undisturbed by seculars, and around which they and their associates could be buried.

source text:  Malcolm Barber The New Knighthood: A History of the Order of the Temple (Canto) (New Ed) [Paperback]; illustration source

Friday, July 8, 2016

The militarization of the Hospitallers, mid 12th century

Blessed Gerard (source Wikipedia)
"Gerard, a native of Provence, was at this period (start of the 12th century; TN) at the head of the society (of the Hospital of St. John; TN), with the title of “Guardian of the Poor.”

He was succeeded (A.D. 1118) by Raymond Dupuy, a knight of Dauphiné, who drew up a series of rules for the direction and government of his brethren. In these rules no traces are discoverable of the military spirit which afterwards animated the order of the Hospital of St. John.

The Abbé de Vertot, from a desire perhaps to pay court to the Order of Malta, carries back the assumption of arms by the Hospitallers to the year 1119, and describes them as fiercely engaged under the command of Raymond Dupuy, in the battle fought between the Christians and Dol de Kuvin, Sultan of Damascus; but none of the historians of the period make any mention whatever of the Hospitallers in that action. De Vertot quotes no authority in support of his statement, and it appears to be a mere fiction.

The first authentic notice of an intention on the part of the Hospitallers to occupy themselves with military matters, occurs in the bull of Pope Innocent the Second, dated A.D. 1130. This bull is addressed to the archbishops, bishops, and clergy of the church universal, and informs them that the Hospitallers then retained, at their own expense, a body of horsemen and foot soldiers, to defend the pilgrims in going to and in returning from the holy places; the pope observes that the funds of the hospital were insufficient to enable them effectually to fulfil the pious and holy task, and he exhorts the archbishops, bishops, and clergy, to minister to the necessities of the order out of their abundant property. The Hospitallers consequently at this period had resolved to add the task of protecting to that of tending and relieving pilgrims.

A from 1168, after the failed expedition to Egypt in which te Hospitallers participated (whereas the Templars refused to do so), however, the character of the order of the Hospital of St. John was entirely changed; the Hospitallers appear henceforth as a great military body; their superior styles himself Master, and leads in person the brethren into the field of battle. Attendance upon the poor and the sick still continued, indeed, one of the duties of the fraternity, but it must have been feebly exercised amid the clash of arms and the excitement of war. "

source "The History of the Knights Templars, Temple Church and The Temple", by Charles G. Addison Esq (London 1842)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Foundation of the Hospitallers of Saint John at the end of the 11th century

"In the eleventh century, when pilgrimages to Jerusalem had greatly increased, some Italian merchants of Amalfi, who carried on a lucrative trade with Palestine, purchased of the Caliph Monstasser-billah, a piece of ground in the christian quarter of the Holy City, near the Church of the Resurrection, whereon two hospitals were constructed, the one being appropriated for the reception of male pilgrims, and the other for females.

Several pious and charitable Christians, chiefly from Europe, devoted themselves in these hospitals to constant attendance upon the sick and destitute.

Two chapels were erected, the one annexed to the female establishment being dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene, and the other to St. John the Eleemosynary, a canonized patriarch of Alexandria, remarkable for his exceeding charity. The pious and kind-hearted people who here attended upon the sick pilgrims, clothed the naked and fed the hungry, were called “The Hospitallers of Saint John.”

On the conquest of Jerusalem by the Crusaders (1199; TN), these charitable persons were naturally regarded with the greatest esteem and reverence by their fellow-christians from the west; many of the soldiers of the Cross, smitten with their piety and zeal, desired to participate in their good offices, and the Hospitallers, animated by the religious enthusiasm of the day, determined to renounce the world, and devote the remainder of their lives to pious duties and constant attendance upon the sick. They took the customary monastic vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty, and assumed as their distinguishing habit a black mantle with a white cross on the breast. Various lands and possessions were granted them by the lords and princes of the Crusade, both in Palestine and in Europe, and the order of the hospital of St. John speedily became a great and powerful institution."

source "The History of the Knights Templars, Temple Church and The Temple", by Charles G. Addison Esq (London 1842)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Papel bulls and the Knights Templar summarized


www.travelingtemplar.com summarizes the papal Bulls pertaining to the Knights Templar as follows:

"There are many important dates in the history the Middle Ages, but some notable ones were the issuance of the Papal Bulls and, in this instance, those issued for and against the medieval Knights Templar. A Papal Bull is a formal proclamation or order issued by the Pope and the use of "bull" is derived from the lead seal or "bulla" that is appended to the end of the order to authenticate it. Originally a Papal Bull was used for normal communications, but would evolve and used for formal and important occasions

The Knights Templar is said to have formed in 1118, but it did not have Papal recognition for another 2-decades. Initially the knights were received and formed by the permission of King Baldwin II of Jerusalem. In 1128, by the efforts of Bernard of Clairvaux the Council of Troyes convened and the Catholic Church officially recognized the Knights Templar. Following the Council of Troyes, three Papal Bulls were issued which further endorsed the Templars and defined them.

Omne Datum Optimum, Latin for Gift," was a Papal Bull issued by Pope Innocent II in 1139 which endorsed the Knights Templar. It allowed the Templars to keep their spoils of war, placing donations directly under papal protection,and exempting them from paying tithing. This proclamation added a priest class to the hierarchy as well as making the members of order answerable to the Grand Master.

Milites Templi, Latin for "Soldiers of the Temple," was issued by Pope Celestine II in 1144 gave ecclesiastical protection of the Knights Templar and further endorsed them by advocating that the faithful donate to the cause of the Templars. This along with the Templars annual collections and with the next Papal Bull laid the base for the Orders famous wealth.

Militia Dei, Latin for "Soldiers of God," was issued by Pope Eugene III in 1145. This was somewhat controversial as it allowed the Templar priests to take tithes, build their own churches, collect property taxes from their tenants, and bury their dead in their own cemeteries. Some speculate that this gave the Order's priests to take confession, but others believe this is a false assumption as no language exists within this Papal Bull that allows for such liberties.

On Friday, the 13th of October, 1307, the Templar suppression began by the French King with support by the Holy See. The French King had the Templars charged with heresy and many other trumped-up charges, most of which were identical to the charges which had previously been leveled by Phillip's agents against Pope Boniface VIII. The first papal bull dealing with the fall and dismantling of the Templars wouldn't come for another month and would begin with Pastoralis Praeeminentiae, but would include 9 others.

Pastoralis Praeeminentiae, Latin for "Pastoral Preeminence," was issued by Pope Clement V on 22 November 1307. This bull was sent to all Christian monarchs and ordered the arrest of all Knights Templar and the seizure of all their properties. In spite of this request not all monarchs complied immediately; some did not believe the accusations and required more force by the Church for the arrests, confiscation, and investigation to occur in places like England.

Faciens Misercordiam, Latin for "Granting forgiveness," was issued by Pope Clement V on August 12, 1308. This bull called for the creation of an Ecumenical Council as a part of the trials against the Knight Templars, the creation of commissions who ran investigations into the charges leveled against the Templars, and established formal structures for the confiscation of Templar property and possessions. This council was asked to be held in 1310, but would not be held until 1311, and is important because it vested the fate of the Templars with the Papacy and not any of the monarchs.

Regnans in Coelis, Latin for "Reigning in Heaven," was the 15th Ecumenical Council which was held in Vienne located in Southern France. They met between 1311 and 1312, and its principle purpose was to formally withdraw the papal support given to Knights Templar as well as dealing with the massive properties that they had accumulated over the centuries. The Templars were allowed to have representatives at this council; the Grand Master was requested to attend, but was imprisoned in Paris by the French king. Those attending the Council were 20 cardinals, 4 patriarchs, around 100 archbishops and bishops, plus several abbots and priors.

Vox in Excelso, Latin for "A Voice from on High," was issued by Pope Clement V in 1312. This bull formally dissolved and removed all Papal support from the Templar Order, but did not wholly condemn the Templars which goes along with his actions of secretly absolving the Templar Order with the Chinon Parchment. "

source travelingtemplar.com