18th March 1314: Jacques de Molay

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Jacques de Molay

The Grand Master of the Knights Templar was the spiritual, political and military leader of the order.  He ran the order from Jerusalem, then Acre, Cyprus and the final years from France.

Jacques de Molay was born in 1244 in Franche-Comte, a region within Burgundy, France and related to the Lords of Longwy.  Around 1265/66 entered the Order of the Knights Templar at the Preceptory of Beune, according to his Chinon confession, and was received by Humbert de Pairaud.

In 1291 fought at the siege of Acre which fell to the Saracens, and some two years later was appointed Grand Master of the Order, taking up his new post in 1293.

De Molay pushed for recovery of the Holy Land, and to this end visited Rome, Paris and London in 1294, gathering support for a new Templar force.  He sought an alliance with the Mongols and Arwad.  He purchased six war galleons from Venice with invasion in mind and re-established a Christian foothold in Syria.  However, his proposed operation was a failure.

In 1306 Jacques de Molay was summoned from Cyprus by Pope Clement V to meet with Fulk de Villaret, his opposite number in the Hospitallers, to discuss plans for a new Crusade and proposals to amalgamate the two orders. De Molay conceded that there were some advantages, but on the whole, it was a bad idea as such rivalry existed between the two orders.  Fulk de Villaret Grand Master of the Hospitallers agreed with Jacques de Molay, that such a merger was doomed to failure.

The Grand Masters of Knight Templar and Hospitallers agreed a large force could be successful in re-establishing the Christian kingdom in the Holy Land.

Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar travelled next to Paris.  For on the 12thOctober 1307 he acted as pallbearer to Queen Catherine of Valois funeral.

On the 13thOctober Jacques de Molay Grand Master of the Knights Templar along with 5,000 French Templars were arrested by order of King Philip IV of France and Pope Clement V, charged with blasphemous crimes and heresy.  He underwent interrogation and torture by Royal agents of the crown in the Templars own dungeons in the Paris Temple.

Finally, he confessed on the 24thOctober to some accusations; spitting on the cross and denial of Christ.  However, he would never confess to homosexual practices.

On the 25thOctober, Jacques de Molay had to make a public confession to the masters of the University of Paris, and urge his followers to do likewise.

Jacques de Molay, Raymbaud de Caron, Hugues de Pairaud, Geoffroi de Charney and Geoffroi de Gonneville were moved to Chinon Castle. It was here they confessed to three Cardinals sent by the Pope, who bestowed absolution upon them.  All except Raymbaud de Caron returned to Paris to testify before the Papal Commission.

Within months, Jacques de Molay retracted his confession which had been obtained through torture.  He was held in captivity before being brought before lawyers, theologians and the public on the 18thMarch 1314, to hear his sentence, one of never-ending imprisonment.

Jacques de Molay supported by Geoffroi de Charney stunned their prosecutors by making a passionate last-minute defence of the Order of the Knights Templar.

The rebellious Templars were flung back into jail to await their sentence.  King Philip IV in a rage ordered that these two Templars be condemned to death, burnt at the stake as heretics before the day was out, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

According to the Chronicler; Giovanni Villani friars and holy men gathered up the ashes of these two Templar martyrs, and carried them away for burial in holy places.

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Freemason: Paul Revere

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Paul Revere

Paul Revere was born on the 21st December 1734 in Boston to parents; Apollos Rivoire and Deborah Hitchbourn.  His father was a silversmith, and Paul was trained in the art, and when his father died in 1753, he carried on the family business.  He became one of America’s finest precious metal craftsmen.  He also practiced dentistry and developed an early form of orthodontics.

In 1760 Paul Revere became a Freemason, and shortly thereafter joined two political groups; “The Sons of Liberty” and “The North End Caucus.”  He would become an active member in the Sons of Liberty, a group consisting of American Patriots who sought liberty for the colonies.

In the August of 1765, Paul Revere took part in the Stamp Act riots, which saw mobs tear down government offices in protest, which forced Parliament to withdraw the impending Stamp Act.

In 1766, Parliament brought forth the “Declaratory Act” giving them the right to tax the colonies.

Paul Revere was not a man of words, but a silversmith and started producing engravings highlighting the British Government, and their unpopular laws in Boston.

On the 1st October 1768 a force of 2,000 British soldiers arrived in Boston.  Tensions quickly rose between occupying British forces, which led to the deaths of five Boston civilians on the 5th March 1770, a tragedy that was known as the Boston Massacre.

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The Boston Massacre

Paul Revere produced the engraving “The Bloody Massacre” showing the murderous act which took place in King Street, Boston.  His propaganda convinced the public that Britain’s Parliament was flawed in their colonial policies.  Revere and the Sons of Liberty kept the memory of the Boston Massacre alive in people’s minds.  For on the first anniversary of the massacre “5th March 1771.”  Revere staged a display of Boston Massacre engravings from his home windows.  This form of propaganda achieved the desired effect, persuading civilians that liberty was a just cause.

In the April of 1775, rumours spread that the British forces stationed in Boston were preparing to attack the Sons of Liberty and American patriots.  What the British didn’t know, the Sons of Liberty were watching them, so they could warn of an impending attack.

Patriot leader Dr Joseph Warren dispatched Paul Revere and William Dawes by separate routes to Lexington to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock.

Paul Revere put in place another warning system.  Robert Newman would set lanterns in the steeple of the Old North Church to alert colonists in Charleston.  One lantern meant the British were coming by land and two lanterns by sea.

Later Paul Revere would serve in the American Army as an artillery man and thereafter turn his attention back to his silversmith business, which led to his expansion with a sheet copper mill.  This gave the American navy the option to use copper in ship hull production.

In later years, he served as Grand Master of Boston’s Masonic Grand Lodge.  Paul Revere died on the 10th May 1818.

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Knights Templar: “Rex Deus” Treasure

Holy Land

Jewish elders feared, a Roman invasion led by Titus, would plunder the Holy Land, and seize their priceless treasure which included the Essene and Cabalistic scrolls.

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How right they were for, for Roman General and later Emperor, Titus son of Emperor Vespasian, campaigned in Judea, where he besieged and almost destroyed Jerusalem in 70AD.

These Jewish elders hid their treasure, and fled to Europe, where many married into noble families.  Twenty-four became patriarchs, known as the “Rex Deus” families.

Hundreds of years passed by, and the secret location of the Jewish treasure, was passed down through the families, until the First Crusade.  Knighted members of the “Rex Deus” joined holy warriors, with a dual purpose, defeating Moslems and recovering family treasure.

The original knights of the nine Knights Templar were either born or related to the Rex Deus families.  Godfrey de Boullion was one of these and a French General, who led his forces against the Saracens during the First Crusade.  King Baldwin II of Jerusalem cousin to Godfrey de Boullion, played his part in the retrieval of their family treasure, by granting the Al-Aqsa Mosque, to be used by the Knights Templar.

Information handed down, through the centuries, led the knights to the family treasure, buried under what was Solomon’s stables.  It took nine years to excavate four large trunks of treasure and scrolls.

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Heavenly Jerusalem Print

With the death of King Baldwin II, the knights left the Holy Land, bound for Europe.  They stopped off at St.Omer in Flanders, where the document known as the “Heavenly Jerusalem” was copied, and can now be found at the University of Ghent’s Library in Belgium.

Following a special ceremony taken by Pope Honorius III at the Council of Troyes in 1128.  Hughes de Payen and Andre de Montbard, delivered the four trunks of treasure to Kilwinning in Scotland, home of the Grand Lodge of Freemasonry.

The four trunks of treasure resided at Kilwinning for many years before being moved to Rosslyn Castle, near Edinburgh, home of the Sinclairs.  The Sinclairs were one of the “Rex Deus” families, and legend has it, they became entwined with the Knights Templar when Catherine de Saint Clair married Hughes de Payen, before he took the vows of a monk in 1128.  With a Sinclair Templar bond, one can understand why much knights, treasure ended up in Scotland, and when they fled France in 1307, more treasure made its way to Scotland, and into the coffers of the Sinclair clan.

Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel

When fire broke out at Rosslyn Castle, four trunks of Templar Treasure was moved to Rosslyn Chapel, which was under construction.  One has to ask, was Rosslyn Chapel its planned destination?

Historical information tells us, four large trunks from the Holy Land, have made their way into a vault within the chapel’s crypt.

Rosslyn Chapel’s construction is a copy of Solomon’s Temple.  As such, these trunks have been placed in a copy building which resembles Solomon’s Temple.

Templars: The Round Church

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

Jerusalem lies at the centre of all medieval maps, and became the centre of the crusader’s world.  This became known throughout the world, as the most sacred place in the most sacred city, the supposed site of the burial of Jesus: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

It was here, the Crusader’s inherited a round church, and it was the goal of every pilgrim, who came under the protection of the Knights Templar, to reach the holiest site of all, and give prayer to their God.  For this was the building of all buildings on earth, that must be defended at all costs from its enemies… Many would lay down their lives, defending it at all costs.

The Templar’s built many round churches across Europe, and recreated the sanctity of the most holy place: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  In their eyes they believed if one was buried in a round church, it was as though they had been buried in Jerusalem.

Tomb of William the Marshall

Tomb of William Marshal

One who would be honoured in this way was William the Marshal, Earl of Pembroke who died in 1219, he had been adviser to King John and Regent to the boy King: Henry III.

Marshal who had taken the cross as an old man, laid recumbent with effigies of his sons in defence of their father.

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Scottish Poet and Freemason: Robert Burns

Robert Burns

Freemasonry has no greater name in its ranks, other than that of Robert Burns (Rabbie Burns). Higher tribute there is none for any man to say, justly, that the world is gentler and more joyous for his having lived; and that may truly be said of Robert Burns, whose very name is an emblem of pity, joy and brotherly love.

Robert Burns was born on the 25th January 1759 in Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland in a two roomed cottage, the home of a tenant farmer. His parents being William Burnes and Agnes Broun, who ran a small market garden.

In 1766, William Burnes faced a dilemma, he could no longer earn enough to support his growing family. The family set up home at Mount Oliphant Farm, a few miles down the road. It was at this time, William saw to it that his gifted son Robert received some form of education. By the spring of 1777 the family left Mount Oliphant before William faced financial ruin, and moved to Lochlea Farm.

The problems faced by William Burnes and other farmers at that time, was the short lease system, granted to farmers. If a farmer improved his land, he would find the rent would increase when it was time to renew his lease. So it was, they attempted to scrape a living from the poor soil, as best they could. William Burnes was one of these farmers.

On the 4th July 1781, aged just twenty-two Burns was initiated into the mysteries of Freemasonry at St.David’s Lodge, Tarbolton as an Apprentice. The Second and Third degrees were conferred upon him that very night following his initiation.

In February 1781, peasant farmer William Burnes died. Robert and his brother Gilbert rented the farm of Mossgiel, from lawyer Gavin Hamilton. Robert would spend little time on the farm, he let his brother Gilbert take over the running of it, as he spent more time on his writing and love of women.

On the 27th July 1784, Burns was elected Depute Master of St.James Lodge at Tarbolton, a position he held until St.John’s Day 1788.

In 1785 Robert Burns had an affair with household servant, one Elizabeth Paton, which bore a child out of wedlock.

In 1785/86 Robert Burns had an affair with Jean Armour, resulting in the birth of twins in 1786, much to her father’s displeasure. The couple announced they be married, but Jean was forced into requesting an annulment by her father.

In 1786 Robert Burns released his book of “Kilmarnock Poems” which received much praise from his critics and public alike. In the same year he moved to Edinburgh as his fame as a poet grew, where he mingled within literary circles.

On the 26th October 1786, Burns was made an honary member of St.John’s Lodge, Kilmarnock, with the designation of being a “Poet.” Major William Parker master of the lodge, became a great friend of Burns, to the point of subscribing to thirty-five copies of his collection of poems.

In 1787 Burns was made a Royal Arch Mason in Eyemouth

With fame as a poet, Jean Armour’s Mason father consented to an official marriage between Robert Burns and Jean Armour in 1788.

Success was short lived, but Burns the poet had a family to support, and so in 1791 relocated to Dumfries to take up the position of an excise officer.

Burns had another love, collecting and composing traditional Scottish songs. He will always be remembered for his composition “ Auld Lang Syne” sung across the world, in celebration of New Year.

Robert Burns, famed Scottish poet died in Dumfries in 1796 at the age of 37. He lived for the day, his love was writing, women and drink, leaving behind a trail of illegitimate children and broken relationships.

Transformation: The Baltics

The Crusaders

The Baltic Crusades of 11th to 15th century formed the transformation of the Baltic region from pagan farming peasants paying tribute to which Lord prevailed to rule them, to the Christianized, market-oriental, foundation of modern Baltic society.

The rise and fall of the knighthood became indicative of the changes that occurred.  The knighthood institution represented Medieval European values, and the incursion of knightly orders into the Baltic countries, despite strong resistance from pagan people.  The Germans and Scandinavians who played their part in the Baltic Crusades, left critical political and social footprints, that affected historical Baltic events, that would evolve into the countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The Baltic Crusades; part of the Catholic crusading movement comprised of five main Crusades that took place between 1096 and 1221.  The Crusades; armed pilgrimages called for and blessed by the Pope, its main aim to reclaim Jerusalem and surrounding territory.  The enemies of Crusaders in the Holy Land were primarily followers of Islam.  In the 12th century, the balance of power shifted, the Eastern Orthodox Church in Constantinople and the seat of the Christian Byzantine Empire attracted Crusader interest.  In the Baltic Crusades in Europe, motivation was more about acquisition of land and power rather than holiness.  An incentive put forward to these Crusaders by the Pope, was eternal salvation.

Crusader success in the conversion to Catholicism was much higher in the Baltic Crusades.  By the 13th century, all but the Lithuanians had converted to Catholicism.