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Thursday, January 13, 2011

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January 13th 1128, the Pope recognizes the Knights Templar.

Happy Official Birthday to the Knights!

by Ferdinand III


 




On this day, in 1128, Pope Honorius II officially blessed the organization of the Knights Templar, declaring them to be the 'army of God'. The Templars were founded 10 years earlier by Hugh de Payn and 6 or 7 other Knights, as a group dedicated to protecting Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land from the depredations of Moslem Turks and Arabs. Slaughters, single murders, brigandage and rape were common experiences for the travelling pilgrims. Infidels in Islamic theology are not 'equal' to Moslems. Ergo the 'divine right' to reduce them with violence and through unmitigated pilfering was a normal Muslim practice.


The Knights are perhaps the most important Christian organization during the medieval period. Certainly they were at the forefront in fighting off the Moslems in the Near East and keeping Islam disunited which bought Europe some 200 years in which to reorganize and recuperate from the endless Moslem Jihad, which had depopulated, devastated, and destroyed Christian-Jewish lands from the Levant to Spain, southern France and Sicily. The entire Western Mediterranean littoral was plunged into an economic and social decline thanks to Islam. Trade was suspended or distorted, North African societies were imploded, and post Romano Visigothic and Gallic states were decimated by the 400 years of Muslim Jihad. A benign era of Moslem tolerance, love and equality, the epoch between 636 AD and 1095 AD certainly wasn't. And this says nothing about the massive annihilation which occurred to Byzantium which by the 11th century had begun to recover its former strength, but was besieged and in danger of being overrun by Turkish Seljuk Moslem forces.


The Templars lived under strict monastic rules. Most were not Crusading fighters but administrators of property, wealth, and assets in Western Europe. No more than 5.000 Templars existed at any one time. Some 25.000 died over 200 years fighting the Moslem. Most of the membership was 'Frankish', emanating from the elite of Frankish and European houses, whose families desired a good education for their male offspring, in whom were inculcated the values of reflection, Christian duty, sin and penitence, and fighting against the infidel. Over time the Templars became the most powerful single organization in Western European history. They controlled farms, banks, urban enclaves, monasteries, and merchant navies. Kings and even Popes were funded by Templar assets and liquidity. 


Over 100 large structures, including forts, bastions and even towns were created by the Templars in the Near East. They were destroyed in 1307 by King Phillip of France in collusion with Pope Clement IV. Both were in debt to the Templars and the French state was in outright bankruptcy. With the loss of the Holy Land in 1291, the use of the international Templar order was minimized, making the confiscation of their liquid assets for secular reasons far easier. Lurid and untrue tales of sodomy, penis-kissing, devil worship and bizarre rituals were used by the French state in its propaganda war against the Order. No other nation state followed the French lead in destroying the Order or in stealing its assets. In Portugal and Spain the Order was simply renamed and continued on under a different guise until the 16th century.


A good overview of the Templar Order can be found here.

On the famous Friday October 13, in 1307, Philip the Fair, King of France, who was bankrupted by his wars against the Dutch, attacked and took over all of the Templar assets, commanderies and Temples. The state theft of the Templar assets occurred during this infamous one day, which is now celebrated in Western lore as a day of bad luck or Friday the 13th. Trumped up and extravagant charges were laid against the Order by the French despotic regime. None of them were of course true or even sensible. Philip needed the money and the Knights were a convenient target and the popular will was against them. In 1311 Pope Clement V dissolved the order and in Italy and France the Papacy and the French King divided the spoils. All of the Templars were tortured, and their leadership killed.

Thus ended the life of one of Europe's most important organizations.


Happy Birthday Knights! Those who covet our civilisation know your value and worth. God Bless the Templars.

 


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