THE  KNIGHTS  TEMPLAR #2


by  Helen  Nicholson


THE ORIGINS OFTHE ORDER OF THE TEMPLE

After the forces of the First Crusade had captured the city of Jerusalem on Friday 16 July, 1099, and had defeated the Egyptian relief force which had arrived too late to prevent the fall of the city, most of the crusaders returned to Europe bearing tales of deprivation and danger, miracle and victory, some with holy relics acquired on their travels, but few with any wealth. Only a small proportion of the army remained in the newly conquered territory, not enough to dominate the land. The priest Fulcher of Chartres, writing as one of the first generation of settlers, recorded that only 300 knights and 300 foot soldiers remained in the vicinity of Jerusalem by 1100. This was not enough to protect the country.1    


The crusaders saw their conquests as a part of a Christendom that had been temporarily captured by Islam but was now restored to its rightful owners. Jerusalem, a walled city on a low hill surrounded by deep valleys and overlooked by higher hills all around, was and is the focus of the three great religions of the book: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. For Jews it covers the hill where the father of the nation, Abraham, nearly sacrificed his son Isaac — Isaac was saved when God sent a ram to be sacrificed in his place (Genesis 22). It is also the city first captured by King David, where David's son Solomon built a great temple to the only God; in the temple's inner Holy of Holies was housed the Ark of the covenant— the portable wooden casket enclosing the stone tablets on which were carved the laws which God gave to Moses on Sinai. Under the Roman Empire, Jerusalem remained a symbol of Jewish nationhood: Jews continued to live there, and it was a place of pilgrimage.


As the city where Christ had debated in the Temple, preached, was condemned to death and rose from the dead Jerusalem also became a place of Christian pilgrimage. In 326 the Empress Helena, mother of Constantine the Great (sole emperor 324-37) , came to Jerusalem, on pilgrimage and discovered the remains of the True Cross. [MADE  UP  ROMAN  CATHOLIC  SUDO-RELIGION - Keith Hunt]. The Roman Empire was now ruled by a Christian dynasty; Constantine had been converted to Christianity in 312. In Jerusalem, impressive Christian shrines were built-over the significant places of Christ's passion, death, burial and resurrection, with a great rotunda, the anastasis, over the supposed site of the empty tomb, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  These sites originally stood outside the old city but in AD 70, after the Jewish revolt against Rome in AD 66, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman conquerors. When the city was rebuilt, these sites formed the focus of the new city. Christian pilgrims travelled to Jerusalem to visit the holy places or to settle there permanently. This was relatively straightforward while Jerusalem remained a part of the Roman Empire.


The Roman Empire had been divided into West and East under the Emperor Diocletian (284-305), for more efficient administration. After Constantine the Great won control of the whole empire in 324, he made the city of Byzantium his capital and renamed it Constantinople. From that time the empire was sometimes governed by a single emperor but more usually by co-emperors, one in the West and one in the East. In the West, the administration fragmented, and by the second half of the fifth century the Western Empire was no longer a political reality. In 476 the last Western Emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was pensioned off by the Ostrogoth ruler of Italy, Odoacer. The Eastern Empire survived, ruled from Constantinople. In 614 the city of Jerusalem fell to the Persians under the Sassanid ruler Chosroes or Khusro II (591-628) who carried off the True Cross. [NOT  THE  TRUE  CROSS  AT  ALL  -  Keith Hunt]. Both city and cross were recovered by the Byzantine Emperor Herachus (610-41), but the city fell to the expanding forces of Islam in 638.


When the Muslim Caliph Umar I ibn al-Khattab (634-44) arrived in Jerusalem in 638, he was shocked by the state of the Temple Mount. To the Muslims, this is the place from which the Prophet Mohammad ascended to Heaven in his 'Night Journey', and is the third most holy site in the Islamic world after Mecca and Mdina in Arabia. The site was cleared, and between 688 and 692 the tenth Caliph, 'Abd al-Malik ibn Maruan, built the Dome of the Rock in the centre of the site. This has an octagonal plan, with a golden dome. In or after 709, al-Walid (705-15) built at the southern end of the site a small rectangular mosque. This mosque came to symbolize the farthest point from Mecca and Mdina that the Prophet reached on his Night Journey, and was called 'the Aqsa", 'the furthest away'.


Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem continued under Islamic rule, and for the most part the Islamic rulers, in accordance with the Prophet's instructions, were happy to allow their subject races to practise their religions without interference. There were some problems: in 1009 the Caliph al-Hakim Bi-amr Allah (996-1021) destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and persecuted non-Muslims. The church was rebuilt and pilgrimages continued throughout the eleventh century, but the journey to the East became more difficult as the Seljuq Turks advanced westwards from Central Asia. Previously, most of the journey to Jerusalem could be made by land through Christian territory, but as the Byzantine Empire suffered defeats at the hands of the Seljuq Turks the pilgrims found that they were travelling through frontier territory. It was necessary to travel armed. Such problems were one factor in Pope Urban II's call to western European warriors in November 1095, which became the First Crusade.


The crusaders claimed Jerusalem for Christendom, not only because it was the place where Jesus had lived, died and risen again but also because they saw themselves as the heirs of the Roman Empire. They identified the many holy sites in the Country they had conquered with places named in the Bible, in Jerusalem identifying the Dome of the Rock as the 'Lord's Temple' of the New Testament and the Aqsa mosque as 'Solomon's Temple'; not realizing that the original buildings had been destroyed centuries before. They set up lordships and established their own administrations; a king in Jerusalem, new Catholic patriarchs in Jerusalem and in Antioch alongside the Syrian Orthodox patriarchs, and a network of Catholic archbishops and bishops throughout their new territories. Four major secular lordships emerged, centred on major cites: the principality of Antioch (now Antakya), the county of Edessa (now Urfa), the county of Tripoli (now Tarabulus) and the kingdom of Jerusalem. Historians now call these 'the crusader States', although the people who lived there were not crusaders. The settlers and the original crusaders were known as 'Franks' because the original crusaders came from the areas of western Europe inhabited or controlled by the Germanic people known as the Franks: the Rhineland, northern, southern and central France, and Sicily. Because the chief-bishop (the pope) of their branch of Christianity was based at Rome, and their Christian faith was based on that adopted by the Romans and expressed in the Latin language, they called themselves Latin Christians.


The Franks' hold on their 'reconquest' was insecure, for they had come to an unsettled part of the world. One of the reasons for their relatively easy victories in Syria and Palestine was that the region was going through a political crisis. To the south, in 1094 the Fatimid caliph of Egypt, al-Mustansir, had died and was succeeded by his younger son, Ahmed, who took the title al-Musta'li (1094-1101), The succession was disputed and not all the Shi'ites recognized the new caliph. In the north, the grand vizier (the equivalent of a prime minister) of the Seljuq Empire had been murdered in 1092, followed soon after by the death of the Seljuq sultan Malikshah. The result was the break up of his great empire which had stretched from Asia Minor to Persia and south into Arabia. The upheaval and confusion that followed these deaths was made worse by the religious divisions in Islam, between the Sunnite caliphs of Baghdad and the Shi'ites of Egypt. The caliph of Baghdad (the religious leader of the Sunnis) had also died in 1094.


The political and religious differences in the region worked in the crusaders' favour. The Sunnis had for centuries waged religious war against the Shi'ites,-whom they regarded as heretics. Both the Sunnis and the Shi'ites sometimes viewed the Christians as useful allies against their Islamic religious rivals. One fanatical Shi'ite sect in Syria was to become notorious as the 'Assassins' who eliminated any political figure, of whatever religious belief, who threatened them. There were also various Christian communities within the area, who followed different versions of the Christian faith and did not recognize each other's faiths as valid: Syrian Orthodox, Armenian, Maronite and Nestorian. 

By allying with these various groups and playing them off against each other, the leaders of the First Crusade had been able to advance their campaign far more effectively than by military force alone. Yet, once they had achieved their goal and captured the holy city of Jerusalem, these various political and religious divisions meant that peace was difficult to achieve. Even if the crusaders could negotiate peace with one group, or defeat another group in battle, other opponents remained ready to attack the new allies or to assist the defeated to fight again. Over the next two centuries, the Catholic Christian settlers in the East would strive by arms and negotiation to maintain a balance of power, with themselves in a favourable position. Sometimes they were successful, and sometimes they were not. But it was obvious from the first that the newly won territory needed more personnel, both to settle the land and to defend it against all the other interests that claimed it.2


After the disastrous campaign of 1101, which was annihilated by the Turks in Asia Minor, there were no major international military expeditions from western Europe to the East until the Second Crusade set out in 1147. However, groups of pilgrims continued to come out each year by land or by ship. As shipping became more reliable, more and more pilgrims preferred to travel by sea rather than overland through Turkish-occupied Asia Minor. Typically, pilgrims would come out on a spring voyage from Italy or southern France, sailing via Sicily, Crete, Rhodes and Cyprus to pick up water and supplies (ships of this period could not carry enough water for more than a few days), 'island-hopping' across the Mediterranean as ships had done for centuries before them, and never far out of reach of land. Their final stage was to sail from Cyprus due east until they were in view of the Syrian coast, then to turn south and sail down the coast until they reached a convenient landfall. This could be Jaffa (also known as Joppa, now Tel Aviv Yafo), which was the nearest port to Jerusalem but which lacked a secure harbour; Acre (captured from its Muslim ruler in 1104: now Akko), a safe port further north; Beirut (captured 1110); or the isthmus port of Tyre, attached to the mainland by only a narrow peninsula (Stir, captured 1124). Wherever the pilgrims landed, they would travel down the coast road to Jaffa, and then across country to Jerusalem. Their first view of the holy city would be a glimpse of the golden Dome of the Rock from the hill of the monastery of Saint Samuel, known as 'Montjoie' - 'Mount Joy'-- because it offered the joyful sight of their journey's end.3 


They first arrived in the Holy Land in time to reach Jerusalem for the Easter services in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They then visited the other holy places, joined any military campaigns which were in progress, and sailed home at the end of the summer before the autumn storms began at the end of September.


Among the pilgrims arriving in the East during the first decade of the existence of the new crusader states was Hugh, count of Champagne in north-eastern France. Hugh set out for the East in 1104. He went back to Champagne in 1105, but returned to the East again in 1114. Ivo, bishop of Chartres, wrote to him, rebuking him for abandoning his wife and vowing himself to the 'knighthood of Christ' (militiae Christi) in order to take up that gospel knighthood' (evangelicam militiam) 'by which two thousand may fight securely against him who rushes to attack us with two hundred thousand'.4 This biblical allusion was used two decades later by Bernard, abbot of Clairvaux, writing in support of the new Order of the Temple; but Ivo did not mention any Templars. Perhaps he simply meant that Hugh had taken crusaders' vows to go to Jerusalem and defend it against the Muslims. Although there was no 'official' crusade in 1114, called by the pope, Hugh could have taken crusading vows as part of his vow of pilgrimage. Alternatively, possibly Hugh had vowed to join a confraternity of knights who had formed up to protect the holy places in the East.


Knightly confraternities were becoming common in western Europe during the eleventh century (that is, the century before the First Crusade). These were groups of warriors of a certain social status - not necessarily nobles, but wealthy enough to provide themselves with full military equipment: chainmail armour and helmet, a horse, sword and shield, and a lance. 'Confraternity' (Latin: confraternitas) literally means 'a brotherhood together'; that is, a group of people working closely together as equals towards a common aim. For the eleventh-century knightly confraternity, the aim was both military and religious. Groups of knights formed to defend churches or monasteries against bandits. Some knights on the First Crusade formed confraternities, promising to share their resources to help each other on the journey. These groups might seek the formal blessing of a priest, or might have no formal religious recognition. They believed, as many knights did, that a knight should use his sword in God's service to fight evil and promote God's will, and that God would reward him.5.

WE  SEE  HOW  THE  THOUGHTS  OF  SO-CALLED  "CHRISTIAN"  RELIGION  HAD  FORMED  BY  THEN….. PHYSICAL  FORCE,  BUT  NOT  SURPRISING  AS  CONSTANTINE  BACK  IN  THE  300s  A.D.  HAD  LITERALLY  WON  THE  ROMAN  EMPIRE  UNDER  THE  "CHRISTIAN  FLAG"  BY  THE  FORCE  OF  ARMS  -  Keith Hunt


Hugh of Champagne did not remain in the East in 1114. However, in 1125 he left his wife for good, went back to the East and joined the Order of the Temple. This group of knights, formed for a pious military purpose, had been given Church recognition at the Council of Nablus in January 1120.6 According to the prologue of the new Order's Rule, drawn up in 1129 at the Council of Troyes (in Champagne), the Order was called the 'Poor Knights of Christ of the Temple which is in Jerusalem', and one of the founders was Hugh of Payns.7 Scholars have deduced that Hugh had been one of the knights employed by Count Hugh of Champagne. Possibly Hugh had accompanied the count to the East in 1114 and remained behind when the count returned home. 


What became of the 'knighthood of Christ' and 'gospel knighthood' that Ivo of Chartres had referred to in 1114?


Perhaps Ivo was referring only to crusader vows. If Hugh of Champagne had formed a knightly confraternity to go out to the East, it would have broken up as soon as his expedition was over. It is tempting to see it as the first beginnings of the Order of the Temple, but before leaping to such a conclusion it is necessary to consider the evidence for the beginning of the Order.   


The beginnings of the Order of the Temple


The Order of the Temple was the first military religious Order founded in the Catholic Church, but twelfth-century writers did not agree on how it began. The Templars themselves did not write any histories. This lack of historical activity was unusual for religious Orders, but not surprising in one which emphasized warfare over all other pursuits and actively discouraged learning among its members.


Archbishop William of Tyre, composing his history of the crusader states between 1165 and 1184, wrote that the first Templars were a group of noble knights, 'devoted to God, religious and God-fearing'5, who entrusted themselves into the hands of the patriarch (Warmund of Picquigny, 1118-28) to serve Christ. They had intended to become regular canons — that is, priests following a religious rule and living a communal lifestyle in a religious house - and they took the three monastic vows of chastity (that is, no sexual, relations with anyone), poverty (no private property) and obedience (to their leader, under God). Their leaders were Hugh de Pagens, or Payns, and Godrey of St Omer. There was nowhere for them to live, so King Baldwin II of Jerusalem (1118-31) gave them his palace which was on the south side of the 'Lord's Temple' or Dome of the Rock (this palace was the Aqsa mosque, which the crusaders called 'Solomon's Temple'), while the canons of the Lord's Temple gave them an area around the palace. The king and his nobles and the patriarch and his prelates gave them some income which they could use to buy food and clothing. The patriarch and prelates told them that their duty as men under religious vows was to keep the pilgrim routes safe for pilgrims. For the first nine years they wore ordinary clothes like secular knights, but at a Church Council at Troyes in Champagne in the ninth year they were given a religious rule and a white habit (simply a light cloak or mantle): distinctive clothing that marked them out as people who had taken monastic vows. White symbolized purity. Later, Pope Eugenius III (1145-53) allowed them to wear a red cross on their white mantles, as a symbol that they were Christ's knights.8 The red cross on white was also a symbol of martyrdom. William of Tyre stressed the Brothers' initial poverty and the fact that recruitment was slow: he wrote that after nine years there were still only nine Brothers. He regarded the Brothers as religious, as the equivalent of regular canons or priests in a religious community, and he stated that their military vocation was the creation of the patriarch and prelates - in other words, that the concept of the first Military Order sprang from the Church.


Was William's interpretation correct? Earlier writers, writing closer to the original foundation of the Order, told a different story. One Simon, a monk of the abbey of St Bertin (near St Omer, in what is now north-east France) wrote in around 1135—7 that the first Templars were crusaders who had decided to stay in the Holy Land after the First Crusade instead of returning home. On the advice of the princes of God's army they vowed themselves to God's Temple under this rule: they would renounce the world, give up personal goods, free themselves to pursue chastity, and lead a communal life wearing a poor habit, only using weapons to defend the land against the attacks of the insurgent pagans when necessity demanded.9

Simon was writing within a generation of the beginnings of the Order. His view of the Order stressed its religious nature: although the first members had been warriors, they had given up their previous lifestyle and taken vows that involved chastity and poverty. He believed that the secular nobles in the kingdom of Jerusalem advised this move, and did not refer to any involvement by the patriarch of Jerusalem.


The Anglo-Norman monk Orderic Vitalis (1075--C.1141), writing in the Norman monastery of St Evroul, recorded in the 1120s or 1130s that Count Fulk V of Anjou (d. 1143) had joined the 'knights of the Temple' for a while when he was on pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1120. After returning to the West he continued to pay them an annual sum of money, thirty pounds of Anjou, to support them. Orderic called the Templars venerandi milites, knights who should be held in great respect or admiration, and wrote that they devoted their lives to physical "and spiritual service" of God, despised all worldly things and faced martyrdom daily.10 


He certainly admired them,but regarded them as very pious knights rather than as the equivalent of monks. Orderic said nothing about how the Order began, but
showed that it was in operation by 1120. Later writers' views of the Order were influenced by a short exposition composed by Bernard, abbot of the Cistercian abbey of Clairvaux, later St Bernard (d. 1153). Written before 1136 and addressed to 'my dearest Hugh, knight of Christ and Master of the knighthood of Christ', this claims to be a letter of encouragement to the Brothers of the Order of the Temple written on the request of Hugh de Payns. The letter was written in Latin, which most Templars could not understand, but Bernard probably intended it to be read to thern in translation. During the later trial of the Order one Brother stated that he used to own a copy of this letter, entitled 'In Praise of the New Knighthood', Bernard's letter also circulated among, other religious Orders, and was copied into manuscripts: owned by other religious houses - along with copies of the Latin version of the Templars' religious rule.11


Bernard set out the spiritual basis of the new religious Order. It was, he said, a new type of knighthood, which had arisen in the lands where Christ had walked on earth. Unlike secular knights, who took a pride in their appearance and were stimulated, to fight by prided irrationality, anger, a wish for honour and glory or greed for power, the new knighthood dressed austerely, with short hair and dirty skin darkened by their mailshirts and the sun, and fought for pure motives, to defend Christendom, against its relentless enemies and to destroy evil. Bernard delighted in elaborate word play: the secular knighthood was not a militia (knighthood) but a malicia (evil); the member of the new knighthood preserves himself (that is, his soul) when he is killed and preserves Christ (that is, Christendom), when he kills. The death he inflicts is Christ's gain; the death he receives is his own gain. Bernard painted a picture of the Brothers of the new Order living together in peace and tranquillity, gentle lambs at home and fiercer than lions in the field. 'Iam almost in doubt whether they ought to be called monks or knights; except that perhaps it would be more appropriate for me to call them both.' The Brothers possessed both the mildness of monks and the fortitude of knights.


Bernard's word-play and style, piling stanza upon stanza, combines to create a powerful effect: the new Order of the Temple is an exciting new development — knights who live like monks, knights, who dedicate themselves to die as martyrs for Christ's sake. The religious intention of his letter is expanded in the second part when he expounds the spiritual significance of the holy places where the knights lived and worked and which they defended. The letter was intended to educate the Brothers as well as to encourage them.12


This letter inspired a number of religious writers on the new Order in the 1140s and 1150s: Otto, bishop of Freising (d. 1158), writing in 1143-7, Anselm, bishop of Havelberg (a Premonstratensian canon), writing in 1150, and Richard of Poitou, a monk of the great abbey of Cluny, writing in 1153, all borrowed either directly or indirectly from Bernard's work as they described the new Order. They were not sure when it began: Anselm dated it to around the time of the First Crusade, referring to Pope Urban II (d. 1099) as giving approval to the new Order. Richard of Poitou dated it to the year Abbot Hugh of Cluny died, 1109, and the year Louis VI succeeded to the throne of France, 1108. Otto of Freising linked it to the Investiture Contest, which ended in 1122. Their uncertainty over how the Order was founded indicates that westerners did not notice the foundation of the new Order in 1120. It was only a generation later, after the publicity efforts of Abbot Bernard and the events of the Second Crusade (1147-9), that writers in the West began to take an interest in the Order. Richard of Poitou, writing after the Second Crusade, noted: 'There are some who say that, had it not been for them, the Franks would have lost Jerusalem and Palestine long ago.'13


Abbot Bernard had been present at the Council of Troyes in January 1129 when the Council established the Rule of the Order of the Temple and gave the Brothers a habit. The clerk Jean Michel, who recorded the Latin Rule of the Order of the Temple, wrote that it was Bernard and the Council who ordered him to do this. He also noted that Bernard's words were much praised by the others present at the Council.14 This suggests that Bernard played an important role in drawing up the Latin version of the Order's Rule. Jean Michel recorded that Hugh de Payns set out before the Council how the Order of the Temple began and its way of life, and the Council delegates praised what they thought was good and beneficial and set aside any practices which they did not approve.


The Rule itself was far from secret. The Latin manuscripts of the Rule which survived into modern times did not belong to the Templars, but were copied for other religious people outside the Order. Pope Clement V also owned two copies of the Templars' Rule in French translation. The Templars' Rule formed the basis of later Military Orders, such as the Teutonic Order and the Sword-brothers of Livonia. During the trial of' the Order on Cyprus, 1310-11, one of the lay witnesses said that he had read the Rule and was very impressed by it.15 In short, it was a public document and had the approval of other members of society.


Who was Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux, and why was he interested in the Order of the Temple? 


Bernard was a highly influential figure in the Catholic Church in the first half of the twelfth century. He was born from a noble Burgundian family, on the eastern frontier of France. As a young man he joined a new monastic Order based at Citeaux in Burgundy, on the central eastern French frontier. The Cistercians, named after their mother-house, were radical religious men in tune with the radical religious reform of their day They lived very simply and austerely, wearing simple white habits of undyed wool; they tried to cut themselves off entirely from the outside world. Unlike traditional monasteries, Cistercian monasteries were not independent units; they were linked together by a system of affiliation (mother and daughter houses) and every year each abbot was expected to travel to the general chapter at Citeaux, a sort of international-board meeting of executives. Unlike traditional monasteries, the Cistercians would not accept children, and would not allow women's houses in their Order; but non-noblemen were allowed to enter as lay brothers and earn their salvation by physical work. This was revolutionary, as traditional monastic Orders only accepted nobles who earned their salvation by prayer and meditation. The Cistercians claimed to be more spiritually pure than the other Orders, which upset many religious people, but others respected the Brothers' piety and gave them generous donations.


The Cistercians' austerity and white habits were mirrored in the lifestyle and habits of the new Order of the Temple that Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux wrote to support. The Templars also had plain, austere buildings; they were organized on a supranational basis with one central base and regular general chapter, meetings which all provincial commanders were to attend; their Rule stated that they did not admit children or women to their Order; the great majority of the Brothers were lay brothers, as there were only a small number of priest Brothers; and they earned their salvation by physical activity, fighting. These parallels between the two Orders point to a close relationship between the two and suggest that Bernard exerted a considerable influence over the original form of the Order.


The Templars' later tradition gave Abbot Bernard and the Cistercians an important role in the foundation of the Order. In July 1202 Brother Philip de Plessis, Master of the Order from 1201 to 1209, wrote to Arnold I, Abbot of Citeaux, about the Muslim attacks, sandstorms, plagues and earthquake which had struck the crusader states in the East. He asked for the Cistercians' prayers and added: 'And since our House took its institution from yours; and your predecessors, it seems to us that we are especially bound to love you and you similarly ought to love us.'16 During the trial of the Templars some Brothers stated that they wore woollen cords around their waists, over their shirts, because this had been ordained by the blessed Bernard (that is, Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux).17 At Poitiers one Brother Giraud Beraud, knight, believed that the blessed Bernard had founded the Order; at Lincoln, Brother John of Whaddon thought that he had composed the Order's Rule.18


Why was Bernard interested in the new Order? This is not clear. Certainly he was a friend of Count Hugh of Champagne, who was Hugh de Payns' lord. Count Hugh joined the Order of the Temple in 1125, although Bernard had hoped that he would join the Cistercian Order. A letter survives from King Baldwin II of Jerusalem (1118—31) to Abbot Bernard, asking him for his support for the new Order, and naming two Templars whom King Baldwin was sending to Bernard: Brothers Andrew and Gundemar. Andrew was presumably Bernard's uncle Andrew, a Templar; a letter sent by Bernard to his uncle in around 1152 survives.19 It is possible that Baldwin II's letter to Bernard is a forgery, drawn up to explain why Bernard supported the Order. It refers to the Brothers as Fratres Templarii., but the term 'Templar' does not appear elsewhere until the 1140s (the Brothers were initially known as milites Templi Salomonis, knights of Solomon's Temple). In short, Bernard may have favoured the Order because his uncle was a Brother, or because of his friendship for Count Hugh, or because of other personal connections now unknown.


However, Bernard's role was played only after the Order had come into existence. The survey so far has shown that contemporaries and near-contemporaries were not sure when the Order of the Temple began, or why it began, or who was responsible for its beginning. The general view was that it began on the initiative of a group of knights who were in the Holy Land, either on crusade or on a peaceful pilgrimage, and that the Order was approved by the patriarch and/or the king and/or the secular lords of the land.


Later writers had heard other stories. Walter Map (d. 1209/10), a secular clerk at the court of King Henry II of England (1154-89), told a number of anecdotes about the early days of the Templars. He probably heard these from William of Tyre or his fellow-delegates from the kingdom of Jerusalem at the Third Lateran Council of 1179. According to Walter, 'Paganus,' a knight of Burgundy, went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem and undertook the defence of a horse pool (that is, a pool used for watering horses) which was being attacked by the Saracens, not far from Jerusalem. He set up the Order of the Temple to carry on the work. Content with austere clothing and simple food, he spent all he had on his weapons and his horse, and recruited warriors to his cause by preaching and his personal approach, and in any other way that he could.20 


Walter saw the Order as the initiative of one pious man; and approved heartily of this. But no other account agrees with him. Walter's account was writterr late, no earlier than the 1180s. An even later version of the Templars' beginnings survives in the chronicle attributed to Ernoul and Bernard the Treasurer of Corbie Abbey in France. Ernoul, one version of this chronicle tells us, was a squire in the entourage of Baldwin of lbelin — the Ibelins being one of the greatest noble families in the kingdom of Jerusalem. According to this chronicle, the first Templars were a group of knights who had dedicated themselves to the Holy Sepulchre, after the First Crusade. They realized that the country needed warriors,, and criticized themselves for living an idle and comfortable life when they should be working. So they decided, with the permission of the prior of the Sepulchre, to elect a Master who could lead them in battle, as necessary. King Baldwin II gave his approval for the scheme, and called the patriarch of Jerusalem, the archbishops and the bishops, and the barons of the country together. After discussion the new Order was approved. King Baldwin gave them land, castles and towns and persuaded the prior of the Sepulchre to release them from their obedience to him. The Brothers still carry a part of the badge of the Sepulchre, a scarlet cross, whereas the sign of the Sepulchre is a cross with two scarlet arms. The chronicler adds: 'And so the Hospital threw out the Temple, and gave it its Rule and the standard which is called the Baucaut[piebald] standard.' He then explains that the Brothers asked the king to give them his palace in front of the Lord's Temple as a dwelling until they could have one built. He did so, and the Order used to entertain him there when he had a crown-wearing ceremony in Jerusalem. "Later they built a beautiful and luxurious dwelling next to it, which the Saracens demolished when they took the city….Thus the Templars were from then on called 'Templars'"21 

  

Although this account was written after 1187, when the Saracens captured Jerusalem, it does give a convincing account of the Orders beginnings. It combines the suggestions of the earlier accounts; the Order of the Temple was set up on the initiative of the knights themselves, and that these knights were pilgrims who had come to the kingdom of Jerusalem but who had settled in the city, and who saw that the-country needed warriors. The new Order was approved both by the king and by the patriarch. In addition, this account would help to explain why writers in the West were sometimes confused about the relationship between the Hospital of St John, set up in the 1060s or 1070s to care for poor sick pilgrims to Jerusalem, the Order of the Temple, and the canons of the Holy Sepulchre, the priests who lived and worked in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It also explains why the Hospitallers and the Templars in the Holy Land followed the liturgy of the Holy Sepulchre in their church services, and why the seal of the Master of the Temple bore the image of the dome of the Holy Sepulchre. According to 'Ernoul' all three groups were originally together. The Hospitallers and Templars had begun life as part of the religious community based in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.22 


The role 'Ernoul' gave to King Baldwin II is particularly interesting. While William of Tyre gave the patriarch the credit for creating the new Order, 'ErnouL' insisted that it was the king who first supported the Order. The Templars had very close connections with the kings of Jerusalem during the twelfth century, as they did with kings in western Europe much closer than their connections with the patriarch. This suggests that William exaggerated the Templars dependence on the patriarch, perhaps in order to heighten the contrast between the early Order (which he regarded as humble and useful to the kingdom of Jerusalem) and the Order of his own day (which he regarded as too independent and a danger to the kingdom).


In short, contemporaries disagreed over how the Order of the Temple began. 


They agreed that it was set up with the approval of the highest religious and/or secular authorities in the kingdom of Jerusalem, and that it was given approval quickly: since this happened in 1120, the Brothers probably formed the original group no earlier than 1119. 


Contemporaries also disagreed over the Order's original purpose: defending pilgrims visiting the Christian holy sites, or defending the territory of the new crusader states against Muslim raids. The first function was far more obviously 'religious' than the second. While defensive warfare could be justifiable holy warfare (more on this below), there was always a danger that it would become aggressive warfare, which could not be justified.


Reactions to the new Order


Contemporaries disagreed in their reaction to the new Order. The leaders of the Church at the Council of Troyes in January 1129 welcomed it, and when Hugh de Payns and his companions travelled around western Europe in 1127-9 before the Council of Troyes, secular and religious leaders welcomed them and gave them many donations.23 People making donations drew up a charter, which was witnessed by the donor, the recipient (Hugh de Payns and/or his Brothers in the Order) and the notable men present. At this period such charters often included a statement of why the donor was giving the gift. So a donation charter issued by Simon, bishop of Noyon, and the canons of his cathedral in 1130-1 states that they were giving thanks to God for restoring the lost order of society, the warriors.

PEOPLE  HAD  BY  NOW,  CENTURIES  INTO  ROMAN  CATHOLIC  CHRISTIANITY,  BELIEVING  IN  ARMED  FORCES,  TO  LITERALLY  FIGHT FOR  CHRIST  AND  WAS  ORDAINED  OF  GOD  -  Keith Hunt


For we know that three orders have been instituted by God in theChurch, the order of prayers, of defenders and of workers. The other orders were in decline while the order of defenders had almost completely perished. But God, the Fatherland, our Lord Jesus Christ, God's Son, had mercy on the Church. Through the infusion of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, in these most recent times he designed to; repair the lost order. So in the holy city where once the Church originated, the lost order of the Church began to be repaired…24


Bishop Simon was referring to the 'three orders', which some churchmen depicted as the natural divisions of society.25 The bishop and his canons were declaring that they regarded the new religious Order as God's method of revitalizing a whole order of society: the warriors, those who fight. This echoed the words of the Rule of the Order of the Temple: 'In this religious Order, the order of knighthood bursts into flower and is restored to life'.26 Other donors saw it in more mundane terms. Baldwin Brochet of Henin-Lietard declared simply:


How the knights of the Temple of Jerusalem abound in the heights of charity and the grace of laudable renown! They care for those who out of pious devotion assiduously visit the holy Jerusalem and the Lord's Sepulchre through the various dangers of sea and land. The aforesaid knights are ready to lead them there and back, so that they can proceed more safely to the aforementioned places which are consecrated by the bodily presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. Their glorious fame has become known to many people and has spread openly through every land, arousing many people to offer benefits generously to them, as is appropriate.27 LEADERS  AND  PEOPLE  WERE  DECEIVED  THAT  PEOPLE  HAD  TO  GO  TO  THESE  SO-CALLED  "HISTORY  POINTS  OF  JESUS"  AND  BE  GIVEN  PHYSICAL  PROTECTION;  AN  ORDER  SET  TO  LITERALLY  FIGHT  AN  ENEMY  -  Keith Hunt


Baldwin gave all his property at Planques near Flanders to the Templars.28 His donation charter shows that even early in its history the Order was famous for defending pilgrims.


The papacy gave donations of a different kind to the new Order: exemptions from the authority of the secular clergy, and certain rights which would enable the Order to use its resources exclusively towards the defence of the Holy Land. Pope Innocent II (1130-43), issuing a large bull or papal charter of privileges to Robert de Craon (Master of the Order of the Temple 1136-48), declared:


We praise the all-powerful Lord about you and for you, since your religious Order and your venerable institution is proclaimed throughout the whole world. For although you were naturally a son of anger given to the pleasures of the world, through the inbreathing grace of the Gospel, to which you have not turned a deaf ear, you have left the pomp of the world and your own possessions. Having left the wide road which leads to death, you have humbly chosen the narrow way which leads to life; and so that you might be regarded especially as part of God's knighthood you carry about constantly and laudably the sign of the life-bringing cross on your breast. It amounts to this: like true Israelites and warriors most equipped for divine battles, truly aflame with the flame of charity, your actions fulfil the Gospel saying that 'Greater love has no man than this, that a man should lay down his life for his friend'.29

HOW  SETTING  UP  AN  ARMY  TO  LITERALLY  FIGHT,  CAN  BE  JUSTIFIED  BY  SUCH  CLEVER  WORDS,  TO  MAKE  IT  LOOK  RIGHTEOUS  AND  GOD  ORDAINED;  OF  COURSE  CLAIMING  THE  RC  CHURCH  WAS  THE  CHURCH  OF  GOD,  MADE  IT  EASY  TO  TELL  THE  PEOPLE  THIS  WAS  FROM  GOD.  WHERE  "LOVE  YOUR  ENEMIES"  -  "DO  GOOD  TO  THOSE  WHO  DO  BAD  TO  DO"  -  "PRAY  FOR  THOSE  WHO  DESPITEFULLY  USE  YOU"  -  WHERE  HAD ALL  THAT  GONE….. WELL  IT  WAS  GONE…..  A  FIGHTING  FORCE  WAS  NOW  THE  RULE  -  Keith Hunt


This was the great bull Omne Datum Optimum, which established the new Order as an exempt Order of the Church, answerable only to the papacy.


OPPOSITION  TO  THE  ORDER


Not all writers were so forthright in their approval of the new Order. Some were positive, but uncertain as to how to approach this military religious Order. Guigo, prior of La Grande Chartreuse, the mother-house of the Carthusian Order (whose members had individual houses within the monastic complex, and lived an almost completely solitary life of prayer and reading), wrote to Hugh de Payns, prior of the holy knighthood, shortly after Hugh's return to the East in 1129. He regretted that he had not been able to meet Hugh and talk with him while he was in France, and went on, 'It seemed to me ... that I could at least talk with you in a letter.' He continued:


I have no idea how to encourage you, dear friend, in physical battles and combats, but I desire at least to give you advice about spiritual battles, in which I am involved on a daily basis, although I am no better equipped to encourage you in this sort of battle either.30


He argued that in order to win physical battles, a person must first win the spiritual battle against their own bodily desires.


Therefore, my dearest friends, let us get control over ourselves first, so that we may attack our external enemies safely; let us purge our minds from vice first, and then we may purge lands of barbarians.


It was good spiritual advice, but of a general nature. Guigo clearly wanted to express his support for the new Order, but was uncertain as to what would be of most use to the Brothers. He went on to a problem that was particularly associated with knights and warriors in general: the problem of pride.


In this battle, a person will be tougher and have more glorious triumphs and throw down more numerous enemies under the direction and protection of God the more this person strives to be more humble in everything. For the more someone wishes to be proud, the weaker they become and less able to do anything...Let us follow the road of great humility, so that we may reach the glory of God the Father.


But there is no sign that Guigo had any personal knowledge of the Order and its problems. His advice was positive and favourable, but general.


Guigo's letter depicts the Brothers as fellow-fighters with monks-against evil, and he asks for their prayers: 'Dearest and most outstanding and most renowned Brothers, we wish you good health, and remember us in the holy places which you guard, in your-prayers.


A Cistercian monk named Gauchier or.Gaitier (English: Walter) at Clairyaux Abbey composed a letter to an anonymous Brother of the Temple which expressed similar views, but more intensely.31


Yet other religious writers were not so sure that a religious Order that used violence was a proper religious Order. In around 1150 Peter the Venerable (d. 1156), abbot of the monastery of Cluny, wrote with many expressions of affection and praise to Brother Evnrard des Barres (Master of the Temple 1149-52): 


I have had respect for your Order since it was first instituted, and I marvelled and rejoiced that it began during my lifetime, illuminating the whole world like the golden rays of a new star.32


He went on to state that all Christians should rejoice that 'a knighthood for the eternal King, an army for the lord of hosts' had been set up to attack the devil and the enemies of Christ, and that the Brothers of the new Order fought both spiritual battles against forces of evil and physical battles against physical foes. In the first, they performed the role of hermits and monks; in the second, they went beyond what was expected of religious people. You are monks in your virtues, but knights in the methods you use. You lay down your lives for your Brothers, you are true participants in that supreme and excellent love of which the Saviour spoke: 'Greater love has no one than this, laying down their life for their friends.'

AGAIN  YOU  CAN  MAKE  THE  BIBLE  SAY  ANYTHING  YOU  WANT  IT  TO  SAY!  READING  THE  GOSPELS;  WOULD  CHRIST  HAVE  FORMED  A  MILITARY  ARMY  TO  KILL  OTHERS?  DON'T  THINK  SO  AT  ALL  -  Keith Hunt


He then urged the Master to release from his vows a nobleman, HumbertIII deBeaujeu (d. c.1192), who had joined the Order of the Temple some time ago but had now returned to the Cluny region and was playing an important role in, keeping the peace by force of arms. Yet the Templars were: trying to force him to return to the Order. Peter argued that it is more important to attack Christians who act contrary to their faith than it is to attack pagans who do not know God. Cluny: was as much in need of defence from evil as the Holy Land. Humbert should be released to fulfil God's real calling for him to keep the peace in his home locality.  


Writing to Pope Eugenius III, Peter-expressed himself, somewhat differently. He pointed out that Humbert had left his wife illegally when he joined the Templars, What was-more, the Order of the Temple was only another group of knights. If Humbert had left a monastic Order and abandoned monastic vows, that would have been a serious matter, but he had only changed one sort of knighthood for another. 


If I might say what many of us think: if he had left an Order of canons, a monastic Order or an Order of hermits, or any ancient Order, it would be right for the censure of the Church to compel him to return to what he illicitly left but since his only change was from one knighthood to another, since he only transferred the sword he had taken up against Saracens; to fighting against false Christians, who are even worse than Saracens and since, what is more, as I have heard from many and ought to be believed, he left his wife illegally - I ask that your Wisdom may consider whether he should be forced to return or allowed to remain here until the truth of the matter is made clear, and this great investigation into this great man should be ended by papal judgement. 


Peter made two accusations against the spiritual validity of the Order of the Temple: first, that it was modern innovation; the second, that it was only an Order of knights not a valid religious Order. Considering what he had written to Master Evrard des Barres, he may not have meant his statements to be taken literally; he was arguing a case, and overstating it so as to make the maximum impact on the pope. But he was not alone in doubting the spiritual validity of a military religious Order. Isaac of Etoile (d. c.1159), a Cistercian philosopher and theologian who became abbot of the monastery of Etoile near Poitiers in 1147, composed a sermon in which he chided his audience for running enthusiastically after anything new. On the one hand, there are dangerous new doctrines. On the other,


There has sprung up a new monster, a certain new knighthood, whose Order as a certain man says neatly — is from the fifth Gospel because it does not come from the other four! because it is set up to force unbelievers into the Christian faith by lances and cudgels, and may freely despoil those who are not Christians, and butcher them religiously; but if any of them fall in such ravaging, they are called martyrs of Christ.34


Isaac went on to point out that these warriors had forgotten that we should do to others as we would like them to do to us, and that their violence was a bad example to others. He did not condemn them, but he clearly harboured serious doubts about their vocation. The Templars were not set up to convert non-Christians. Yet the reference to a 'certain new knighthood' and the fact that they were regarded as martyrs if they died in battle indicates that Isaac was talking about Templars.


John of Salisbury (d. 1180), friend of Thomas Becket and later bishop of Chartres, wrote his Policraticus in 1159. This, a commentary on contemporary society, included a section on religious Orders. John praised the Templars for following in the footsteps of the Maccabees, the Jewish warriors led by Judas Maccabeaus (d. 161 bc) who had defended the Temple against pagans before the time of Christ. The Templars laid down their lives for their brothers; they were almost alone in waging war for the right reasons. Yet this did not allow them to usurp the rights of ordained priests.35 Being holy warriors gave them some status, but not as much as priests.


After 1187 the secular cleric Walter Map made a few remarks on the Templars' vocation. Christ taught St Peter to pursue peace, but the Templars used force; and whereas the apostles won Damascus, Alexandria and much of the world by preaching, the Templars had lost these territories by fighting. Map had heard, stories that showed that the Templars did not want peace or to convert Muslims; they wanted only to fight.36


Such views show that there _ was some debate among theologians as to whether Christians could validly fight, whether the shedding of blood made a Christian less worthy in God's eyes tha  one who did not shed blood. Although Christians had fought from the early years of Christianity, the New Testament was ambiguous on the question of whether or not Christians could fight. On the one hand, Jesus told Simon Peter to put away his sword: call who draw the sword will die by the sword (Matthew 26: 52). Yet on another occasion, Jesus, declared that a Roman centurion had more faith in God than anyone He had met, even in Israel (Matthew 8:10 and Luke 7: 9). Clearly, being a soldier and using violence did not prevent a man from being pious and pleasing God. 

JESUS  WAS  NOT  ADDRESSING  ANYTHING  BUT  THE  MAN'S  FAITH  FOR  HEALING;  KILLING  IN  A  NATION'S  WAR  MACHINE  NEVER  CAME  UP.  DO  NOT  READ  INTO  THINGS  THAT  ARE  NOT  THERE.  AT  ANOTHER  TIME  JESUS  WAS  ASKED  BY  SOLDIERS  WHAT  THEY  WERE  TO  DO,  AND  HE  REPLIED  FIRST,  "DO  NO  VIOLENCE  TO  ANY  MAN"  -  Keith Hunt


The great Christian writer Augustine (d. 430), bishop of Hippo Regius in North Africa (now Annaba or Bone in Tunisia) condemned war in his immensely influential work City of God, but saw that violence: had to be met by violence in order to keep the peace. He believed that war is justifiable provided it is waged to enforce the peace.37 According to Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux, this was the sort of war which the Templars were fighting, and therefore it was justified war.

NO,  NATIONS  HAVE  WAR  MACHINES;  NATIONS  WHO  ARE  NOT  GOVERNED  BY  GOD  AND  HIS  POWER  TO  FIGHT  FOR  THEM.  CHRISTIANS  ARE  NOT  NATIONS,  AND  THEY  ARE  TO  COME  OUT  OF  THE  WORLD  AND  ITS  CARNAL  WAYS  -  Keith Hunt


Augustine, however, saw war in the context of the emperor's divinely imposed duty to protect the people who had been entrusted to him by God. As supreme military commander of the empire, the Roman emperors were responsible for initiating and carrying on warfare; the soldiers need only obey their commands. From the conversion of Constantine I in AD 312, the emperor, as God's representative, fought in God's name. Even after the disintegration of the Western Empire, theprotection of the people and leading … the army in battle remained the Christian responsibility of western European secular rulers.

POPULAR  CHRISTIANITY  HAD  BECOME  POLITICALLY  IN  BED  WITH  THE  STATE  -  Keith Hunt


This was a sort of holy war, warfare on God's behalf, in that the ruler was performing the duty to which God had appointed him. After the creation of the papal states in central Italy in the eighth century the papacy also depicted its wars against its neighbours, be they Christian or Muslim, as holy wars. In the second half of the eleventh century the papacy became more proactive in war, promising warriors forgiveness of sins if they fought in papal wars; and the crusade itself was a development of this concept.38

AND  NONE  OF  THAT  WORKING  MEANS  IT  WAS  FROM  GOD;  NO  IT  WAS  FROM  MEN  WITH  BLIND  EYES  TO  THE  TRUTHS  OF  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT.  THE  RC  CHURCH  HAS  ADMITTED  IT  DID  NOT  SPEAK  UP  AGAINST  HITLER  AS  IT  SHOULD  HAVE  IN  WW2;  NOR  CAME  TO  THE  DEFENCE  OF  THE  JEWS [SOME  INDIVIDUAL  ROMAN  CATHOLIC  DID]  -  Keith Hunt


By the twelfth century, the concept of warfare being a religious activity that could be a service for God was well established. Yet clearly some ecclesiastics were anxious about this concept, and this would have affected the fortunes of the new Order of the Temple.


A letter survives, written by a writer calling himself 'Hugh Peccator', that is, 'Hugh the Sinner', to the 'knights of Christ in the Temple at Jerusalem'. It has no date, and the identity of 'Hugh' is unclear. Originally identified as the theologian Hugh of St Victor, many scholars now believe that 'Hugh' was Hugh de Payns himself, first Master and founder of the Order of the Temple.39 He writes in simple Latin, too simple for a great theologian; and although scholars believe that many knights from the lesser nobility could not read Latin, Hugh de Payns might have received some training in Latin and in the Bible if his family originally intended him to have a career in the Church. Alternatively, 'Hugh' might have dictated his letter in French to a professional clerk who wrote it down in Latin.


The picture he painted was a sad one: outsiders were telling the Templars that their vocation was very humble in spiritual terms, that fighting was not allowed for Christians and that Christians should not hate their enemies or take plunder. Outsiders said that if the Templars wanted to serve God and win His approval they ought to leave their humble little Order and join a more spiritual Order where the members spent time praying and meditating, the 'contemplative life' traditionally followed by monks. These opponents of the Order were telling the commanders of the Order that because they held positions of authority they could not win salvation, since worldly authority is the enemy of spiritual progress. 


At the same time, those who were under the command of others resented being in a lowly position in the Order. Yet again, the Brothers were depressed because they were, they thought, forgotten by Christendom. They were not receiving many gifts of money or land; Christians were not praying for them. They encountered a great deal of physical labour and danger in defending Christendom, and received no thanks for it.


Hugh replied that even though the Order was humble, it was essential. If it were not for the Brothers of the Temple, Christendom would be damaged by the storms that assail it. The Brothers lived a spiritual life when they were not fighting; they fasted and prayed. They had a fair reason to hate because they hated wickedness, not humans; they had a fair reason to take plunder because it was their just payment for their fighting. Their Order was as good a place to serve God as any Order; although they had to work rather than resting in prayer, their work was essential for the survival and expansion of Christendom. They should be content with their lot, and commanding or being commanded was all part of humility and obedience, which would win them a reward from God. Finally, although Christendom seemed to have forgotten them, God had not, and the fact that their work was done in secret would win them a greater reward from God.

ONCE  MORE  HUMAN  REASONING  TO  NOT  FOLLOW  THE  FULL  EXAMPLE  OF  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT;  WHERE  PHYSICAL  FIGHTING  IS  THE  OPPOSITE  IN  MANY  VERSES,  OF  SUFFERING  IF  NEEDS  BE,  OF  FLEEING  IF  NEEDS  BE,  OF  PERSECUTION  IF  NEEDS  BE,  OF  LOVING  YOUR  ENEMIES.  IN  ALL  OF  THE  INSTRUCTION  IN  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  NOT  ONE  VERSE  IS  GIVEN  FOR  CHRISTIANS  TO  FORM  PHYSICAL  FIGHTING  MACHINES,  TO  DELIBERATELY  MAKE  WAR  AGAINST  OTHERS;  CONQUER  LANDS  OR  CITIES  FOR  CHRIST.  NOR  DID  THE  APOSTLES  SET  UP  "HOLY  PLACES  OR  SHRINES"  AND  ARMED  SAINTS  TO  FIGHT  AND  KILL  TO  KEEP  THEM  SAFE  FOR  VISITING  TOURISTS,  OR  SHRINE  WORSHIPPERS  -  Keith Hunt


Hugh valued the active religious life much higher than the contemplative religious life. This attitude was very unusual among clerics in this period, when the contemplative life was the Christian ideal.


'Look, Brothers' (Hugh writes): 'if you were supposed to seek rest and quiet like this, as you say, there would be no religious Orders left in God's Church. Even the desert hermits we're not able to escape work altogether; they had to work for food, clothing, and the other necessities of this mortal life. If there was no one ploughing and sowing, harvesting and preparing food, what would the contemplatives do? If the Apostles had said to Christ: 'We want to be free and contemplate, not run about or work; we want to be far from people's objections and disputes; if the Apostles had said this to Christ, where would the Christians be now? 


This attitude reflects the views of the secular warriors of the twelfth century, most famously expressed in the epic poem La  Chanson de Roland, 'The Song of Roland'.


The archbishop said, 'Watching Roland, cut the Muslims to pieces: You're doing Well. A knight who bears arms and sits a horse ought to act like this. He should be fierce and strong in battle, otherwise he's not worth four pence and should be a monk in one of those churches and pray all day for our sins.'40   

ONCE  MORE  ATTITUDES  THAT  CHRISTIANS  SHOULD  FORM  FIGHTING  MACHINE  -  Keith Hunt


The attitude is also expressed in the epic poems about William 'Shortnose', lord of Orange in the south of France, historically Duke William of Toulouse (d. 812), in particular Le montage Guillaume or 'How William became a monk'. According to this humorous story, written down in the late twelfth century, this noble warrior and scourge of the Muslims decides that he must do penance for his many sins and so becomes a monk. His abbot decides to send hm to buy fish and warns him that if he is attacked by bandits he may not defend himself because monks must not use violence. When William heard this, he was enraged. 'Master he said, 'the rules of your Order are too harsh. Such an Order could come to a bad end; may God burden the person who set it up! The order, of knighthood is much more worthwhile: they fight against; Turks and pagans, and allow themselves to be martyred for love of God. They are often baptized in their own blood, in order to conquer the Kingdom of Right. Monks only want to drink and eat, read and sing and sleep and snore. They are cooped up like hens, fattening up, day-dreaming in their psalters…"

William said: "'May God bring shame on this Order, and Jesus curse whoever set it up, because he was a bad. man and full of cowardice. The order of knighthood is more worthwhile because they fight the Saracen race, take their lands and conquer their towns, and convert the pagans to our law. Monks only want to stay in the abbey, and eat and drink wine to the dregs, and go to sleep when they've said compline. 41 

AGAIN  IT  SHOWS  HE  WAS  NOT  BASING  ANY  OF  THIS  ON  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT;  DIRECT  WORDS  CONTRADICTING  HIS  IDEA,  AS  WELL  AS  NO  TEACHING  OR  EXAMPLES,  THAT  CHRISTIANS  FORMED  ARMED  FIGHTING  GROUPS  AGAINST  THE  ROMANS;  THE  JEWS  DID,  BUT  CHRISTIANS  DID  NOT.  YES  A  CHRISTIAN  CAN  USE  SELF-DEFENCE  IN  DEFENDING  HIS  WIFE  AND  CHILDREN,  IF  THEY  CANNOT  ESCAPE  BY  FLEEING  -  Keith Hunt


William represents the hero of the twelfth century: a huge, muscular warrior, generous to his servants and followers, extravagant in his dress and with an enormous appetite. None or these characteristics endears him to the austere, penny-pinching and peace-loving monks. The author sees the monks' love of peace as cowardice, while knights serve God better than monks, because God needs men who are prepared to fight for Him more than He needs people who can pray.   

JUST  NOT  SO  AT  ALL.  GOD  CAN  FIGHT  FOR  HIMSELF;  THE  BIBLE  CLEARLY  SHOWS  THAT  WITH  MANY  EXAMPLES.  CHRISTIANS  UNDER  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  DO  JOIN  PHYSICAL  FIGHTING  FORCES.  ALL  EXPOUNDED  IN  MY  STUDY  CALLED  "CHRISTIANS  AND  WAR"  ON  THIS  WEBSITE  -  Keith Hunt


As the writer 'Hugh the sinner' shared these knightly views, he was probably a knight, and it is reasonable to Conclude that he was Hugh de Payns himself. His letter did not circulate widely, as only one copy is extant; but this one copy survives in a manuscript that did not belong to the Templars, showing that the letter was also known outside the Order. It reveals that the early Brothers had to face some fierce criticism for their interpretation of God's service. The picture it gives of the early Order supports William of Tyre's account of the Order's humble early years. In the 1250s,- Matthew Paris (cL 1259), chronicler of St Albans Abbey in England, expressed the Order's early financial problems in visual terms:


At first although they were active in arms they were so poor that they only had one war horse between two. As a result, and as a record of their early poverty and as an encouragement to be humble, there are inscribed upon their seal two men riding One horse.42


The memory of their Order's early poverty remained a powerful image for the Templars throughout the Order's history. Certainly it reminded them of the need for humility, but it also encouraged them to believe that the Order could easily slip back into poverty, and that there was a constant need to gather and guard wealth and to economize in small matters wherever possible. This fear of poverty and need for careful use of resources pervades the pages of the Order's customs and statutes, and brought the Order a reputation for greed - and thus ultimately contributed towards its downfall.

……….


TO  BE  CONTINUED