Monday, August 04, 2008

Knights Templar Heirs Sue The Catholic Church

I've long found the Order of the Knights Templar fascinating and couldn't let this go by:

The Association of the Sovereign Order of the Temple of Christ, whose members claim to be descended from the legendary crusaders, have filed a lawsuit against Benedict XVI calling for him to recognise the seizure of assets worth 100 billion euros (£79 billion).

They claim that when the order was dissolved by his predecessor Pope Clement V in 1307, more than 9,000 properties as well as countless pastures, mills and other commercial ventures belonging to the knights were appropriated by the church.

Who were the Knights Templar?

They were a Western Christian monastic military order that existed for around two hundred years during the Middle Ages. They were founded originally after the First Crusade in 1096 to ensure the safety of the Christians who made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem after its conquest, and were made an official monastic order by the Church around 1129. Templar knights, in their white mantles quartered by a red cross, were among the most feared and successful fighting units of the Crusades, and as their popularity grew, so did their royal patronage and their wealth. Along with its military function, the Order had a huge economic infrastructure that included an early form of banking.

To sum up, in their non-combat role they fulfilled a function in Medieval Society much like the Jews.

And like the Jews,it was that wealth that caused them problems,particularly with King Philip IV of France, who was deeply in debt to the Order. He was able to 'convince' Pope Clement V to take action against the Knights Templar, most likely fo ra share of the not inconsiderable booty. In 1307, almost all of the Order's members in France were rounded up and arrested for heresy with the complicity of the Church. Most were tortured into giving false confessions and then burned at the stake, including the Grand Master Jacques de Molay pictured above. Other nations in Europe followed suit.The Templar's properties and wealth were confiscated and divided up between the Church and various Kings, many of whom also owed the Templars money. Pope Clement disbanded the Order in 1312 and the few remaining Templars who escaped the stake died in poverty.

In short, one of the most successful heists in history.

This latest episode comes as a direct result of the Vatican finally releasing copies of parchments recording the trials of the Knights between 1307 and 1312.

The Church claimed the papers were "misfiled" within the papal archives until they were discovered by an academic in 2001.

The papers revealed that Clement V had declared the Templars were not heretics but disbanded the order anyway to maintain peace with King Philip IV of France...and of course, to hold on to the Church's share of the swag.

The Order's heirs claim that they are not out to bankrupt the Church but to restore the orders good name.

I'll be interested to see how this plays out...and what bearing it might have on the Vatican finally allowing access to the Church archives from the Holocaust era.


Anonymous said...

hi my name is chin and im a member of the under jacques de molay or as also known as Int'l Order of Demolay. ive been looking for archives or other histories about my brotherhood and your blog made me even search for more. we ahave archives in our library were our masonic temple is also located but there are whom i want to know more. places to go to.. anyway, thank you for this blog..another info has been noted:)

hope to see more updates:)

thanks josh

Freedom Fighter said...

I did a quick search,but apparently there's nothing new on this. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.