HISTORY  OF  THE  KNIGHTS  TEMPLAR  #9



The course of the trial


The charges, then, were false. Yet all but four of the 138 Templars in Paris who were arrested on 13 October 1307 and interrogated, confessed to some or all of the charges. The reason for this was explained by a contemporary writer:


They were arrested without warning, suddenly, without right, and without any judgement being made against them. They were shamefully and dishonourably incarcerated with destructive rage, afflicted with taunts, the gravest threats, and various sorts of torture, compelled to die or produce absurd lies which they knew nothing about, wrongly given into the hands of their enemies, who force them through those torments to read out a foul, filthy and lying list which cannot be conceived by human ears and should not enter the human heart. But when the brothers refuse to produce these lies, although they know absolutely nothing about them, the torments of the attendants who press them daily force them to speak the lies, saying that they must recite them before the Jacobins [the Dominican friars who interrogated them] and assert that they are true if they wish to preserve their lives and obtain the king's plentiful grace.


According to this anonymous friend of the Order, writing in Paris in early 1308, thirty-six Brothers in Paris had died under torture rather than confess, while many others elsewhere in France had also died. He declared that these Brothers were martyrs  and now had their reward in Heaven. But the Dominican friars and others involved in the interrogation refused to listen to the Brothers' insistence that all the charges were false, and continued to torture them until either they confessed or died.


What is more, if they do not say these things, not only before but even after torture they are always held in dark prison cells, with only the bread of sorrow and the water of affliction, in winter time with the pressing cold, lying with sighs and grief on the ground, without straw or coverings. In the middle of the night, to increase their terror, now one and now another are taken from cell to cell. Those whom the investigators have killed in torture they secretly bury in the stable or in the garden, out of fear that such horrible and savage deeds should reach the royal ears, since they have told and tell the king that the aforesaid brothers did not confess their crimes by violence but of their own accord.


Anyone who is defeated by the tortures and produces the lies which the attendants and Jacobins want, although they ought to be punished for lying even though they did not want to lie, is raised up to chambers where they are happily provided with everything they need, so that they will keep up the lie. They are continually warned with threats, or with rough or flattering words. What is more, a certain monk - or more truly a demoniac - ceaselessly runs through the chambers at any hour, day and night, tempting the Brothers and extending warnings of what will happen to them. And if he discovers that anyone has repented of the said lies, he sends them straight back to the aforesaid afflictions and penuries.


What more is there to say? In short, I say that human tongue cannot express the punishments, afflictions, miseries, taunts, and dire kinds of tortures which have been suffered by the said innocents in the space of three months since the day of their arrest, because by day and night constant sobs and sighs have not ceased in their cells, nor have cries and gnashing of teeth ceased in their tortures. Is it amazing if they say what the torturer wants, since truth kills them and lies liberate them from death?


This writer makes the significant point that the king did not know what was happening to the Templars: the interrogators told him that they had confessed of their own accord, which was giving, Philip a false impression of the Order's guilt. Scholars are divided over whether Philip believed the charges himself. This writer indicates that he did, but that he was deliberately misled by his advisors.


OnThursday 27 November 1309, Ponzard de Gizy, commander of Payns, was questioned by the papal commissioners. Ponzard described his experiences after the arrests:


He was asked whether he had ever been tortured, and he replied that he had, three months before his confession made in the presence of the lord bishop of Paris: his hands tied behind his back so tightly that the blood ran down to his fingernails, in a certain pit in which he could only take one step; protesting and saying that if he was put to the torture again he would deny everything that he had said now and say whatever he was told to say. For a short time he had been prepared to have his head cut off, or to suffer fire or boiling for the honour of the said  Order, bur now that he had suffered imprisonment for the past two years he was not able to bear such long tortures as he had already been in. And because the same Brother Ponzard said that he was afraid that his imprisonment would be made worse because he  had put himself forward to defend the said Order, he begged that they would make sure that it did not get worse because of what he had said; and the said lords commissioner said to the said provost of Poitou and John of Gamville that they should not harm him in any way because he had put himself forward to defend the aforesaid Order. They replied that they would not harm him any more because of this.


So the Templars in France confessed because of torture and fear of torture, and knowing that the moment that they confessed - even though the confession was a lie - the agony would stop and they would be well cared for. They were also afraid to go back on their confessions because they feared that the torture would begin again.


Pope Clement V was furious that Philip had arrested the Templars without consulting him. Only the pope had the authority to order the arrest of a religious Order. He claimed that he had known about the rumours against the Order and had been planning an investigation, but as he had not yet done anything it is uncertain what steps he had planned to take. In any case, on 22 November 1307 he sent out letters to the kings of Catholic Christendom telling them to arrest and interrogate the Templars.


None of the kings of western Christendom was in a position to refuse to obey the pope or to oppose Philip IV of France. The king of Naples was Charles II, a first cousin once removed of Philip IV, and ready to fall into line with his wishes. The kings of Aragon and England were enemies of the king of France, did not trust his motives in the arrests, made considerable use of the Templars in their own administration, and refused to comply. But these monarchs could not defy Philip IV and the pope completely. Edward I of England, crusader and patron of the Templars, had died on 7 July 1307 and his son and heir Edward II had many problems of his own: lack of money, a war in Scotland, and barons who wanted a share of royal wealth and authority. James II of Aragon was a great king, but he also had his own problems with his nobles and feared French military might on his northern frontier.


Germany was fragmented with no ruler in overall control. Sicily was ruled by Frederick of Aragon, younger brother of James II of Aragon, who had no interest in arresting the Templars, but was not strong enough to defy the pope. The ruler of Cyprus was the usurper Amaury de Lusignan. He did not want to arrest the Templars, because they were his supporters; at the same time, he could not afford to anger the pope, because his political position was weak. He tried to arrest the Templars, but they refused to be arrested. A short conflict in May 1308 was followed by the Templars' surrender. They were confined to their estates, but were not in heavy imprisonment.


The trial itself did not begin until May 1310 or 1311. Pope Clement V demanded that the case in France be turned over to the Church authorities. At this point, Jacques de Molay and the other high dignitaries of the Order in France revoked their confessions, saying that they had confessed out of fear of being tortured. Clement was not convinced that the Order was guilty, and in February 1308 he suspended the trial. Philip began to mobilize what we now call 'popular opinion' against the Order, just as he had done against Pope Boniface VIII. He argued that it had been his duty to arrest the Templars. He addressed seven questions to the doctors (learned scholars) of the University of Paris on the legitimacy of his action. These included: could the lay ruler act alone when heresy was clear? As the Order had been proven guilty, could he have the right to arrest them? Wasn't the Order really an order of knights, not of monks - so under the authority of the king, not of the Church? The doctors replied on 25 March 1308. They stated that the Order was a religious Order and so not under the king's jurisdiction. But because of the Templars' confessions, they said, there was a strong suspicion that all the members of the Order were heretics or guilty of heresy. This was not very satisfactory for Philip IV, but apparently he regarded it as enough to justify his action. The historian Sophia Menache has argued that Philip IV largely succeeded in convincing his own subjects in the early stages of the trial of the Templars that the Order was guilty, although the nobility and the bishops were not fully convinced. Outside France, however, Philip was not successful. Yet the trial could not be stopped while Philip wanted it to continue, because the Templars in France had confessed to the charges -despite the fact that the confessions were produced by torture.


In early May 1308 Philip called the representatives of the three estates of his kingdom the clergy, nobles, and bourgeois - to parlement at Tours. Representatives went with the king to Pope Clement V at Poitiers to put pressure on him to continue the trial, but the pope stood firm. In June 1308 King Philip allowed, the pope to hear the testimonies of seventy-two Templars, while in August at Chinon three cardinals heard the confessions of the leading Templars then in France. These hearings seem to have convinced Clement to continue the trial.


The Vatican archivist Barbara Frale, who discovered the document with the full record of these testimonies, has argued that the pope decided that 'the strange profession ceremony was simply an entrance ritual' and forgave the Templars. In fact, the pope made no reference to entrance rituals, but declared that the Templars had confessed 'horrible and dishonourable things'. As they were repentant, they had been absolved, but they would still have to perform penance; on 18 March 1314 they were condemned to lifetime imprisonment. Far from dismissing the charges, the pope issued a series of bulls setting out the procedure for the trial to continue under the supervision of the bishops. He also called a Church-Council to meet at Vienne in southern France in 1310 to decide the fate of the Order.


SECOND  WAVE  OF  INVESTIGATIONS


The second wave of investigations, supervised by the bishops, began in 1309. The pope also set up a papal commission to look into whether the Order as a whole was guilty; this first met in November 1309. Yet the Templars "were very unwilling to defend the Order - for the reasons that Ponzard de Gizy stated: they were afraid that their conditions of imprisonment would be made worse, or that they would be bullied in other ways. Jacques de Molay finally agreed to defend the Order, but stated that he: needed legal advisors because he did not have enough legal knowledge to defend it by himself; and he needed to have documents translated into French, as he could not read Latin. Then he went back on his undertaking and said that he would only give his testimony before the pope.


It is possible that his jailers had put pressure on him to dissuade him from defending his Order.


DEFENDERS….BURNT  AT  THE  STAKE


In February 1310 fifteen Brothers came forward who were prepared to defend the Order. Others joined them, until at last over 600 Brothers had agreed to defend the Order. However, most of these had previously confessed to the charges they were now about to deny, and were therefore relapsed heretics. The punishment for relapsed heretics was burning at the stake. On 12 May 1310 Philip of Marigny, archbishop of Sens, brother of Philip IV's counsellor Enguerrand of Marigny, had fifty-four Brothers of the Temple who had agreed to defend their Order burned as relapsed heretics. The Templars continued to declare their innocence as they burned and the people watching were both impressed and surprised. Elsewhere in France, other Templars who had undertaken to defend the Order were burned, and this effectively ended the defence.


The leading Brothers in the movement to defend the Order were priest-Brothers Renaud or Reginald de Provins and Peter de Bologna, who had had some legal training. In December 1310 they abandoned their defence, and Peter disappeared— their jailers claimed that he had escaped. Modern historians have assumed that Peter was probably murdered by his jailers, but recently the Italian scholar Elena Bellomo has established that Peter de Bologna returned to Bologna, where he died in 1329.


The papal commission wound up on 26 May 1311 and its findings went to the Council of Vienne, which had been postponed by Clement and finally opened on 16 October 1311. Most of those present at the council wanted to hear the Order's case properly. But Clement was afraid of Philip IV of France, who would not allow the Order to be acquitted. A group of Templars who appeared at the council to defend the Order was arrested. Philip IV called the representatives of the three estates of France to parlement at Lyons in March 1312, and on 20 March he entered Vienne with his army. On 22 March the pope issued a bull, Vox in Excelso, in which he stated that although the Order of the Temple had not been proven guilty, it had been so defamed that it could not continue. He therefore dissolved the Order, not by way of judgement but as a provision and an apostolic decision: a politician's way of saying that the Order was not guilty but that he had no choice in the matter. This bull was read to the council on 3 April: a clerk then rose and forbad anyone to speak, on pain of excommunication. The delegates at the Council, many of whom did not believe that the Templars were guilty, were furious: they had expected to be able to debate the case, and yet no debate was allowed. Philip IV and his army would not have permitted it.


On 6 May 1312 Clement V declared by papal bull that the Brothers of the Temple who had been recognized to be innocent, or who had confessed and been reconciled to the Church, would receive a pension and could live in the Order's former houses or in a monastery. Their monastic vows were still valid, and they were not allowed to go back to their secular lives. Those Brothers who were known to be guilty but who had not confessed, or those who had relapsed, would be tried.


This last category included four of the chief officers of the Order in France, then in prison in Paris: the Grand Master Jacques de Molay; the Commander of Normandy, Geoffrey de Charney; the Commander of Aquitaine and Poitou Geoffrey de Gonneville; and the Commander of the lie de la France and Visitor Hugh Pairaud. (The Commander of the Auvergne was in England.) In late December 1313 the pope set up a commission to judge them. Jacques de Molay tried to defend the Order, and was amazed to hear the final judgement on 18 March 1314: the four were condemned to eternal imprisonment as relapsed heretics. Jacques de Molay and Geoffrey de Charney protested loudly, and were condemned to burn as obdurate heretics that evening.


The chronicle attributed to the contemporary commentator Geoffrey of Paris gives a description of the Grand Master's death. Written shortly after the events described, he claims to have seen what he describes, although in fact his account is not completely accurate because he does not mention Geoffrey de Charney. Instead he describes 'two brothers' who were there with the Grand Master. In any case, his description must reflect the stories in circulation in Paris at the time of writing; around 1316, two years after the Grand Master's death and the deaths of both Philip IV. and Clement V. The extract begins as Jacques de Molay has been brought to the island where he is to be burned. The Master contradicted the cardinal, and said to him that he believed in Our Lord and that there was no more loyal and better Christian than "he was; and if there happened, to be any evil Brother in the Order, that could well be the case, for he had often heard that there are evil people everywhere. But he did not know anything in the Order which did not originate in good faith and in the Christian law. He would not abandon his Order, but would suffer death therefor God's sake, and for justice and for right. No on present was so hard-hearted that they did not cross themselves many times [for pity] when they heard him speak about his Order like this."


Seeing the fire ready the Master took off his clothes. I say what I saw: he stood there in just his shirt, happily and in good spirits. He did not tremble, no matter how they dragged and prodded at him. They took hold of him to tie him to the stake; he agreed to this, happy and rejoicing; They tied his hands with a cord, but first he said to them: 'Sirs, at least, let me join my hands together for a little while and make my prayer to God, for now is the time and the season to pray I see here my judgement, the place where I must die a short time hence; God knows that my death is wrong and a sin. So in a short time evil things will befall those who have condemned us to death; God will avenge our death.' 'Sirs,' he said, 'you should know, without any argument, that all those who have acted against us will suffer for what they have done to us. I wish to die in this belief. See here my faith: and I beg you to turn my face towards the church of Our Lady from whom Our Lord was born.'


His request was met. He died like this, and met his death so sweetly that everyone was amazed.


The writer ends his account in a bewildered tone: 'There is great debate in the world over this, but I don't know what to say to you about it. Some speak out of jealousy, others otherwise; I don't know who is telling the truth and who is lying. He concludes: 'You can fool the Church, but you can't fool God. I won't say any more - draw your own conclusions.'


With even his own supporters uncertain as to whether the Templars were actually guilty, Philip IV of France had hardly won his case. It was a strange heresy in which not a single person who confessed to it was prepared to defend its beliefs, and many preferred to die rather than admit that they had believed any of it. Yet throughout the course of the trial in France it was clear that Philip was determined to convict the Templars by any means, and the question remains as to why he was so determined to do so.


CERTAINLY  ONE  MUST  GIVE  DUE  REGARD  FOR  PEOPLE  WHO  ARE  SINCERE  IN  THEIR  FAITH;  SO  MUCH  SO  THEY  WILL  GLADLY  DIE,  EVEN  BEING  BURNT  ALIVE  AT  THE  STAKE  -  Keith Hunt


WHY  DID  PHILIP  ACT  THIS  WAY?


Malcolm Barber has drawn attention to Philip's severe financial difficulties, and the way in which every individual or group who stood in the way of his financial policy or whose demise could assist his financial situation was charged with heresy and brought down, such as the Jews and the Templars. For the most part, contemporaries outside France and countries under French influence were convinced that Philip attacked the Templars in order to get their wealth. Certainly the Templars possessed a great deal of land, although they were always short of ready cash.


Some scholars have argued that because Philip IV was a very pious man he would not have attacked the Templars if they had not been guilty of heresy. Yet even the most devout king can commit crimes against the Church in the name of piety: Henry VIII of England, who split the English Church from the Roman Catholic Church, was a very pious man who wrote books on theology and a tract condemning the work of the Church reformer Martin Luther.


It is true that Philip IV was devout, and came from a long line of pious rulers. His grandfather, Louis IX, was canonized (recognised as a saint) in 1295, during Philip IV's reign. The kings of France depicted themselves and had been depicted as the 'most Christian king' since the twelfth century, but Philip and his ministers laid special emphasis upon this aspect of his kingship. 


As the most Christian king, it was his duty to destroy all unbelievers (for instance, by driving the Jews out of France in 1306) and to root out heresy wherever it might be found.


Philip IV's regime was constantly under threat: from the king of England, Edward I, in Aquitaine, and in the fact that Edward had led a crusade while Philip had not; from the kings of Aragon and their brothers in Sicily, and on his southern frontier; in Flanders, where his army was heavily defeated by the Flemish-infantry at Courtrai in 1302; from the pope, in the person of Boniface VIII, denying the king the right to tax his own clergy. This was also a time when the whole of western European society felt itself to be under threat. Western Christendom had lost the Holy Land; the climate was deteriorating, and harvests were failing; people wondered whether God was angry with them, whether evil magic was at work, or whether certain groups were out to destroy society. Against this atmosphere of fear and uncertainty, the king must prove that he was indeed the most Christian king and able to deal with such dangers. So it is not surprising that Philip and his ministers reacted violently against any hint of heresy. We might even suspect that they used any excuse to attack vulnerable persons on charges of heresy, in order to reinforce, the king's image as 'the most Christian king'.     


MARGUERITE  PORETE  ACCUSED…. AND  BURNT


Such an attack was made against Marguerite Porete, a laywoman from north-eastern France who wrote a book in French called The Mirror of Simple Souls. Even though three religious authorities had approved it, in 1306 the bishop of Cambrai, Guy de-Colmieu, condemned the book as heretical and burned it, ordering Marguerite to stop spreading her ideas and writings. Marguerite, believing "that Christ had authorized, her work, continued to circulate her book among the laity. She was arrested by the next bishop of Cambrai, Philip ofMarigny; (later archbishop of Sens, the same who had fifty-four Templars burned as relapsed heretics in May 1310), and by late 1308 she was in custody in Paris, under investigation for heresy. The Dominican William of Paris, inquisitor, was in charge of her case; at the same time he was also in charge of the investigation against the Templars. Marguerite firmly denied that she was a heretic, but her book was condemned as heretical. In May 1310 she was condemned as a relapsed heretic, handed over to the secular authorities and burned at the stake with her book on 1 June 1310. Her book continued to circulate and was translated into several European languages: Latin, Italian, Middle English.


Many manuscripts of these translations survive, indicating that it was widely, read; In 1927 it was published with "tut imprimatur'', which meant that it had been approved by the Roman Catholic Church as reading material for good Catholics. No one realized that it had been burnt as heretical in 1310 until in 1946 Romana Guarnieri demonstrated that it was in fact Marguerite's book. The work is now attracting much favourable attention from; scholars, and several modern translations have appeared.

  

In short, Marguerite's book was not heretical, but Philip IV's regime interpreted it as such. Marguerite - a laywoman without powerful friends - was an easy target for a king who needed to keep proving himself "the most Christian" king by destroying heresy. The king whose administration burned an unimportant woman for writmg: a good Catholic book, arrested Pope Boniface VIII for insisting on his supremacy over the Church and Bishop Guichard of Troyes on trumped-up charges, would not have held back from arresting a religious Order if it was in his interests to do so;  Philip's most obvious interest in the Templars was their lands, because land equalled wealth and Philip needed money badly. 


But contemporaries also saw another motive. There was more to Philip's view of himself as 'most Christian king' than simply keeping the Church in France clear of heresy. He also wanted to launch a new crusade. James II of Aragon's reaction to Philip's arrest of the Templars was that this was part of a plot by Philip to take over the crusade. He and his ministers had heard reports that Philip wanted to use the Templars' possessions to form a new Military Order which would then go to recover the Holy Land. This would be under his command, or the command of one of his sons. James's fear was that in this way the numerous important fortresses held by the Templars in Aragon would fall into French hands. He initially opposed the abolition of the Order, but when he saw it could not be saved he was determined to secure its property for himself. He agreed finally to the Hospital receiving the Templars' possessions in Aragon itself only on condition that the Templars' and Hospitallers' fortresses in Valencia, a frontier zone, were given to a new Military Order, which would be under his own control.


From the safe distance of seven centuries James's fears might seem ridiculous, but he knew Philip IV better than we do. Philip IV was heir to a long tradition of crusading by the French kings. His grandfather Louis IX had led two crusades; Philip had led none. What was more reasonable than that he should make plans to take over the greatest Military Order and lead it to victory?


The trial of the Temple can also be seen as a result of Philip's feud with the papacy. By destroying a religious Order that had been one of the exempt orders of the Catholic Church, under the direct jurisdiction of the papacy, the French king demonstrated that the papacy was no longer independent but controlled by the French king.


Other motives were suggested by contemporaries: some said that Jacques de Molay and Philip IV had quarrelled over money. The charges against the Templars may also reflect the scorn which Philip IV's ministers felt for the old-fashioned, under-educated Templars who were still performing so many duties in royal finance the trial was a rather violent way of "getting rid of the old regime." Clearly, the Order of the Temple was vulnerable to attack; it had failed in its basic vocation, the defence of the Holy Land.


The other politically inspired witchcraft and heresy trials of this period show that many people were prepared to use accusations of witchcraft and heresy to destroy a potential rivalor get rich. All three leading; Military Orders came under attack to some extent. The Temple was the most vulnerable in that it had been the most prominent in the defence of the Holy Land. The simplest explanation for Philip IV's attack on the Templars is that he wanted their wealth. Yet other motivations — his piety, the-crusade, the papacy and his ministers' dislike of the 'old regime' - worked together "to encourage him to take Esquiu de Floyran's accusations seriously in 1307. 


Outside France, the trial went rather differently.


In England, Edward II did not believe the charges, but-in late-December 1307 was forced to agree to the arrest of the Templars because he needed papal support for his war in Scotland, and he was about to marry Philip IV's daughter, Isabelle. 


Initially the Templars were treated well, no torture was used and no Templars confessed. The investigators of heresy, sent by the pope from France, put pressure on Edward to allow them to use torture in order to force the Brothers to confess, but even when Edward finally agreed in December1309, no one was prepared to torture them. At last, at the end of June 1311, with the encouragement of torture three Templars imprisoned in London confessed to some of the charges. In the diocese of York no torture was used and no Brothers confessed. All the Templars in Britain were allowed to swear off or abjure all heresy, and were sent to monasteries to do penance for the sins they might have committed. 


In Germany the archbishop" of Magdeburg was hostile to the Templars and besieged one of their castles, but the bishop-of Halberstadt, an ally of the Order, excommunicated him and the Templars escaped. At Mainz in May 1310 a group of armed Templars burst into the provmcial council declaring themselves ready to defend the Order, and the nobles who had accompanied them stood up for the Brothers' innocence. The Templars were set free. In the Mark of Brandenburg, the margrave took over the Templars' property but let the commanders remain in office as his officials.


In Italy, procedures varied from place to place. In the kingdom of Naples, torture was used - King Charles II was related to Philip IV of France - and some Brothers confessed. The archbishop of Ravenna was favourable to the Order, did not use torture, and declared the Brothers innocent. In Venice the state ran the investigation and the Templars were not even arrested. In Florence, where torture was allegedly not used, six out of thirteen Brothers made confessions and the other seven did not.


In Aragon the Templars took refuge in their castles, appealed to the king and pope and declared their innocence. James II besieged and captured the castles and imprisoned the Templars. Some torture was used, but none of the Brothers confessed to the charges. In 1312 the Church council of Tarragona released them all and gave them pensions.


In Castile, the Templars initially resisted arrest, and maintained their innocence with such success that a Church Council at Salamanca in October 1310 declared them innocent of all the charges. It is not clear what became of the Templars after this; they may have entered other religious houses. 


Clive Porro has shown that in Portugal, no trial took place. In August 1307 King Dinis brought a legal case against the Templars in Portugal to recover from them properties which his ancestors had allowed them to hold in return for serving the king. Unlike the king of France, King Dinis was able to take over Templar property and establish his control over the Order without resorting to charges of heresy. He later used the Templars' former properties to set up a new Military Order in Portugal, the Order of Christ.


Most of the leading officials of the Templars and the central convent were still on Cyprus. If the ruler of Cyprus had supported the Order, it would have been difficult for the pope to dissolve it. However, the trial in Cyprus was interrupted in June 1310, when the usurper Amaury was murdered by one of his household knights. King Henry II returned to power and put the Templars into close imprisonment in Famagusta - not so much on papal orders as because the Templars had assisted Amaury. In 1311 the king uncovered an alleged conspiracy to take over the kingdom from him, give the crown to Amaury's eldest son, release Amaury's supporters and put Brother Aimo of Oiselay, marshal of the Temple, in control of the government. King Henry exiled some of the plotters and sentenced the four ringleaders to death by drowning. Brother Aimo, many other Templars and other leading opponents of Henry were imprisoned in Kyrenia Castle, where they died in 1316 or 1317. Although the trial of the Order gave Henry an excuse to destroy the Order, he would probably have destroyed it in any case, as a dangerous political rival.


It is not known what became of the Templars in the Morea (Achaea, Greece), Croatia, Hungary, Austria, Bohemia and Poland.


The aftermath of the trial


After announcing the dissolution of the Order of the Temple, on 2 May 1312 in the bull Ad Providum Clement V gave the Templars' possessions to the Order of the Hospital - with the exception of those in the Iberian Peninsula. The Hospital was to compensate Philip for his expenses in arresting and interrogating the Templars.


Philip IV was probably not happy with this decision, which also met with a howl of protest from the Council of Vienne. The representatives accused the Hospital of evil deeds (mali) and vices (vizi), and of spending their wealth on fair halls and palaces rather than on the war against the infidel. The Aragonese representatives said that the Hospital was guilty of fraud and had no intention of carrying on a crusade in the East but only wanted to capture the island of Rhodes, which was a 'Greek island and therefore Christian already.'


On 6 May the Council issued many ordinances concerning the Hospital: all its privileges were suspended except its exemption from the jurisdiction of the bishops, and the Order was to send all its knights to the East, leaving only a few Brothers to administer its lands in the West. Chapels and parish churches in the West were to be handed over to the local bishops. Only when it had done this could the Hospital of St John receive the Templars' lands. Philip IV agreed to this decision: But none of this reform took place. Philip IV and Clement V died in 1314, before anything had been done to reform the Hospital. When the  next pope John XXII, was elected in 1316, he set about reforming the Hospital's financial situation, but did nothing about the complaints against the Order in 1312.


John tried to ensure that all the Templars' properties outside the Iberian Peninsula passed to the Hospital. In Cyprus, this had already been done: in November 1312 the Hospitallers received not only the Templars' lands but also their treasury, including their relics, which they took to Rhodes. The Templars' central archive was left on Cyprus, where it probably remained until the loss of the island to the Ottoman Turks in 1571. The Templars' relics, however, went with the Hospital to Malta in 1530, and remained until the Order was evicted from Malta by Napoleon in 1798, when.they were either looted by Napoleon's soldiers or abandoned by the Brothers.


Elsewhere, the transfer of property to the Hospital was patchy. In England the Templars' properties had been seized by King Edward II or by the noble families who had originally given them to the Temple. Edward used the lands to reward his friends and to finance his Scottish campaigns, and was reluctant to hand them over to the Hospital. The legal disputes dragged on for years: in England, some lands were never handed over; in Germany, some passed to the Hospital but many returned to the families of the original donors.


John XXII also settled the problem of the "Templars' properties in the Iberian Peninsula. In 13I7 he approved the creation of two new Military Orders: in Portugal, the Order of Christ, which would receive the Templars' lands there, and in Valencia in the kingdom of Aragon, the Order of Montesa, which would receive both the Templars' and the Hospitallers' lands. In compensation, the Hospitallers, would receive the former Templar lands in the rest of the kingdom of Aragon. Both Portugal and Yalencia were frontier areas where a Military Order could still play an active role against the Muslims. Neither of these new Orders, however, were replacemenfs for the Order of the Temple. Although they were religious Orders, they were also royal orders, and their function was to serve their respective kings as well as serving God.  


The Order of Montesa was actually set up in July 1319, when James II of Aragon ceded the Order; the castlej of Moritesa. Other properties were also given to it. The Order had some initial difficulties: there was disagreement over; which properties it owned, and the first Master, Brother Guillem de Eril, fell ill: and died a few months after his election. However, the Order survived and went onto perform Royal service of the king. It was involved in the conquest of Sardinia; it supported the king during civil wars. The Order of Christ in Portugal, set up by King Dinis in 1319, performed the same sorts of roles. It was also involved in the exploration and missionary activities of Portuguese princes and explorers from the fifteenth century. Prince Henry 'the Navigator' became administrator of the Order in 1420 and used the Order and its revenues in his exploration and colonization policies, which he depicted; as crusading and missionary operations. In 1455 Pope Nicholas V (1447-55) granted it power, dominion and spiritual jurisdiction over all overseas lands from Gape Bojador, all through Guinea and the southern coast of Africa to the Indies: the East Indies were meant, but this would later be interpreted as the West Indies. The explorer Vasco da Gama was a member of the Order of Christ.


The Order of the Temple was not destroyed because it had outlived its purpose, because it was corrupt, or because it was in decline. The loss of Acre in 1291 had been a heavy blow, but the Templars were rebuilding and realigning their Order. Like the Hospitallers, they were beginning to develop naval operations, while Jacques de Molay was busy campaigning for a 'new crusade,' which was why he was in France in 1307. Jacques was convinced that only a large military expedition led by the kings and high nobility of Europe had any chance of making significant military gains in the East, and he would settle for nothing less. By supporting the overthrow of King Henry II of Cyprus in 1306 the Order also had a ruler in Cyprus (Amaury de Lusignan) who would support it, and a strategically placed island to use as a base. As ever, the Order put its trust in kings and princes. If these had supported it as Jacques de Molay hoped, the Order could have survived and continued its military activity in the East, as the Hospital of St John did. But in the West these kings and princes were either unable to save it (as in England and Aragon) or decided that more could be gained by attacking the Order than by supporting it (in France); and in Cyprus, the murder of Amaury de Lusignan left the Order without a protector and open to the wrath of the returning King Henry II.


The Order's central convent on Cyprus was destroyed by King Henry in 1310 in retaliation for the Order's support for Amaury. The Order could not continue to operate without its chief officials. Trial or no trial, once Henry II of Cyprus had destroyed its centre of operations, the Order would have ceased to exist in the East whatever was happening in Europe. In a sense, the trial of the Templars was a sideshow. It was the Templars' involvement in the political affairs of Cyprus in the early fourteenth century that directly brought about the destruction of the Order.


The Hospital of St John, in contrast, struck out on its own. Fulk de Villaret, Grand Master of the Hospital, settled for a small campaign to capture Rhodes, where his Order could continue its existence away from the political upheavals of Cyprus. He convinced Pope Clement V to give his Order the Templars' lands, and he managed to survive the Council of Vienne's attempts to reform his Order. Fulk's schemes were less ambitious, but they relied less on the help of kings and princes, of great political powers who had their own agendas. The Templars had always been close to kings. It was the king of Jerusalem, Baldwin II, who had given the first 'poor knights of Christ of Jerusalem' his palace and made them the knights of the Temple. It was also the kings of Christendom who brought about the Order's end.

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NEXT  THE  "CONCLUSION"


SO  WE  SEE  THE  MAKING  OF  MAN'S  IDEAS,  "RELIGIOUS"  OR  "FIGHTING  GROUPS"  ARE  INDEED  MAN  MADE;  HENCE  CAN  BE  DESTROYED  BY  MEN.


NO  WHERE  IN  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  DID  JESUS  OR  THE  APOSTLES,  GIVE  ANY  INSTRUCTION  TO  ESTABLISH  "GROUPS"  OR  ARMIES  UNDER  THE  NAME  "CHRISTIAN"  TO  FLIGHT  ISLAMIC  RELIGION,  OR  PRESERVE  TOWNS  OR  CITIES  [I.E. JERUSALEM]  OR  SO-CALLED  "SHRINES"  OF  THIS  AND  THAT;  IN  THE  NAME  OF  "CHRIST"  -  HENCE  HAVING  TO  FORM  "FIGHTING  MACHINES"  CONSISTING  OF  KNIGHTS  IN  ARMOR  FLYING  THE  "CHRISTIAN  FLAG."


NO  WHERE  IN  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  DID  CHRIST  OF  THE  APOSTLES,  TEACH  THE  FORMING  OF  "RELIGIOUS  CHRISTIAN  GROUPS"  THAT  WENT  OUT  OF  SOCIETY  INTO  CASTLES  OR  CONVENT  STRUCTURES,  THAT  DEVOTED  THEMSELVES  TO  PRAY  AND  MEDITATION.  THOUGH  SOME  SUCH  GROUPS  MAY  HAVE  SERVED  OTHERS  IN  CERTAIN  PHYSICAL  WAYS;  THE  FACT  THAT  THEY  PULLED  AWAY  INTO  CLOSED  RELIGIOUS  STRUCTURED  GROUPS,  THAT  OUTSIDERS  COULD  NOT  JUST  "COME  INTO"  AND  DISCOVER  WHAT  WAS  GOING  ON  "INSIDE"  THE  GROUP  -  A  KIND  OF  "SECRET  SOCIETY"  -  IS  AGAINST  EVERYTHING  THE  NEW TESTAMENT  TEACHES.


JESUS  EVEN  PRAYED  TO  THE  FATHER  (JOHN  17)  THAT  THE  FATHER  WOULD  NOT  TAKE  THEM  OUT  OF  THE  WORLD,  BUT  KEEP  THEM  FROM  THE  EVIL  OF  THE  WORLD.


TRUE  CHRISTIANITY  IS  OPEN  -  NONE  SECRETIVE  -  LIVES  IN  THE  WORLD,  BUT  NOT  PART  OF  THE  WORLD.  IT  IS  EVER  EVANGELIZING,  PROCLAIMING  THE  TRUTHS  OF  GOD  AND  CHRIST,  FREELY  AND  OPENLY.  TRUE  CHRISTIANITY  NEVER  DELIBERATELY  FORMS  FIGHTING  MACHINES  OF  MEN,  THAT  LITERALLY,  WITH  THE  SWORD,  KILL  OTHERS.  INDIVIDUAL  CHRISTIANS  ARE  ALLOWED,  IF  CORNERED,  TO  USE  SELF-DEFENCE,  IN  PROTECTING  WOMEN  AND  CHILDREN.  NO  CHRISTIAN  MAN  CAN  SIT  BY  [IF  NOT  BOUND]  AND  WATCH  WOMEN  AND  CHILDREN  BE  ABUSED  IN  ANY  PHYSICAL  WAY.


THE  TEMPLARS  MAY  HAVE  BEEN  SINCERE  IN  MANY  WAYS,  BUT  THE  OVERALL  OF  THEIR  ORDER [AS  LIKE  OTHERS  ORDERS]  WAS  SINCERELY  WRONG!  INDEED  YOU  CAN  BE  SINCERE  BUT  SINCERELY  WRONG.  NOTICE  IN  THE  WORD  SINCERELY  IS  THE  WORD  "SIN"


POPULAR  LARGE  CHRISTIANITY  OF  THE  MIDDLE  AGES  WAS  FULL  OF  SIN  IN  MANY  FORMS.  THE  SHOCKING  REALITY  OF  THAT  TRUTH  IS  BROUGHT  OUT  IN  THE  SERIES  OF  STUDIES  IN  THIS  SECTION  CALLED  "THE  DARK  HISTORY  OF  THE  POPES."


Keith Hunt