Chartres Cathedral: Black Madonna

Chartres Cathedral - Black Madonna

Chartres Cathedral – Black Madonna

The Black Madonna statue in Chartres Cathedral, France represents the pagan Egyptian goddess; Isis.  In her arms she’s not holding Jesus, but her conceived son, the Sun God; Horus.  Isis, just like Mary Magdalene was a virgin who gave birth to a son on the 25th December.

The event took place, four days after the winter solstice on the 21st, at the moment of the rebirth of the Sun.

Mary stands between two pillars of the Temple of Solomon inside a Vesica Pisces.  At the top the “All seeing eye of Horus,” is depicted.  The tracing board symbolizes the birth of the solar deity Horus at the Milky Way.

In the Freemasons tracing board, Mary’s Immaculate Conception is depicted.  She’s placed inside a Vesica Pisces in between the two pillars of the Temple of Solomon, with the All seeing eye of Horus watching over her.

The Virgin Mary in Chartrers is placed on a pillar in a Vesica Pisces shaped cavity.  The origin of this custom to place the virgin mother on a pillar in Christian traditions stems from the legend of ‘Our Lady on the pillar.’  The legend relates to the appearance of the virgin mother to the apostle James in the early days of Christianity on top of a column or pillar carried by angels.

In Masonic traditions this pillar represents the Milky Way.  The symbolism of placing the ‘Black Madonna’ with Jesus on a pillar must therefore be equated with the Sun (Horus) on the Milky Way.

Chartrtes Cathedral is well known for the Black Madonna veneration.  The Black Madonna however has nothing to do with Mary Magdalene.  In reality she represents the pagan Egyptian mother goddess.  In her arms she not holding Jesus, but the immaculate conceived son, the Sun God Horus!  Isis like Mary was a virgin who gave birth to a son on the 25th December.  Four days after Winter Solstice, at the moment of rebirth of the Sun in the annual cycle after the Sun has died on the cross of the zodiac at Winter Solstice.

Chartres Cathedral: Zodiac Window

Chartres Cathedral - Zodiac Window

The Zodiac Window

In the ambulatory stained glass window in Chartres Cathedral, France, one will notice it contains the twelve signs of the zodiac.  On the top is a four leaf clover, representing the cross and Christ between the Greek letters; Alpha and Omega. Christ’s birth is represented by alpha and the second coming by omega.  The zodiac letters alpha and omega mark the beginning and the end, of a time cycle.

Chartres - Scorpio

Scorpio within Zodiac Window

The four signs (Leo, Taurus, Aquarius, Scorpio) that are associated with the Galactic Cross are depicted similar to Christ in a four leaf clover.  All of the other signs of the zodiac are depicted in ordinary circles.  In this zodiac, Taurus of the Galactic Cross (Aquarius, Scorpio, Leo and Taurus) has been replaced by the sign Gemini.  The summer solstice of June 21st takes place during the last day of Gemini (May 22nd – June 21st).  By exchanging Taurus with Gemini, whereas Gemini must be associated with the summer solstice Sun, the summer Solstice Sun is placed on the Galactic Cross!

Chartres Cathedral: The Labyrinth

Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth

Labyrinth

As one gazes upon the beauty of the Gothic styled Chartres Cathedral, built in 12th century France.  One asks what mysteries, what holy designs, will one find?

Located within, upon the stone floor, is an ancient styled Labyrinth, which would have been used by monks for contemplation.

So what is a Labyrinth?

A Labyrinth is a path representing our spiritual journey, with many a twist or a turn, and the walker would find themselves, uncertain where the path was taking them, yet they were never lost.

The Labyrinth has the hand of God, gently guiding us, even though we feel lost or confused, we are being led forward.

As one walks the path to the centre, one walks the way of the world, asking as we walk step by step for God’s forgiveness, for our wrongdoings, and seeking to make amends for our acts.

Upon reaching the centre, it is for us to open ourselves to the love of God, before taking the path back, seeking to follow in the ways of Christ.

The walk of the Labyrinth, gives the walker a chance to seek out how to resolve problems in their lives.  Seeking guidance, times of personal bereavement, or just to walk hand in hand with God.

In its simplest form, a Labyrinth is a path of medication.  You just simply walk it, and allow the mind to be at peace, as the body takes over.

One could describe the Labyrinth, as having three paths:

  • Symbolic path of purgation.
  • Illumination, opening ourselves to the Divine in the centre.
  • Union, is our return path taking the benefits of what we have received, back into our lives.

During the time of the Crusades, Labyrinths were built to provide an alternative, as not everyone could make the pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  The centre of the Labyrinth represented the Holy City of Jerusalem, and became the substituted goal of the journey, for pilgrims.

Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth:

The Labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral, measures forty-two feet in diameter and was built between (1215-1235).  13th century churchmen instructed builders of Chartres, that numbers and symbols were to be used in its design.  The significance of which is drawn from Ancient Greek thoughts; Plato and St.Augustine reflections on the divine order of creation.

The path is laid out in eleven concentric circles intricately woven into a sacred geometric pattern.  It is then surrounded by twenty-eight semi-circular lunations per quadrant, creating a third of the year’s lunar calendar around the Labyrinth’s perimeter.

Knights Templar: St.Mary’s Church – Templecombe

St.Marys Church Templecombe

St.Mary’s Church – Templecombe

The 12th century St.Mary’s Church was part of the Abbas Combe Manor along with the Benedictine Nunnery of Shaftesbury, founded in 888 AD by Alfred the Great, whose second daughter Ethelgeda was its Abbess.

The stone church of St.Mary’s in Templecombe, dressed with Hamstone and a roof consisting of 500 year old clay tiles.  It contains a two-bay chancel with northern chapel and vestries.  A four bay nave with a northern aisle, a south chapel, a southern tower over the porch, and south transept.

St.Marys Church Nave Templecombe

Church Interior

Located at the churches southern end stands a two-stage 13th century tower, which stands upon Saxon foundations.  In the 15th century, when upper sections of the tower were re-built, buttresses were added.

The Church Bells:  The oldest bell dates back to 1420, and cast by the Salisbury foundry.  Two further bells were added in 1656, cast by Robert Purdue, and in 1736 two donated by Thomas Bilbie, with the last bell in 1891, making a peel of six bells.  What a wondrous sound to behold.

The church contains a 12th century Purbeck Marble Font, with a 19th century cover.

The Church plate includes a cup and cover dating back to 1628, two square salvers of 1725 by Anthony Nelson, and a flagon of 1845.

In 1721 a west gallery was added, renovated in 1846, and removed in 1864.

In 1834 the north aisle was added.  In 1864, the chancel was rebuilt, vestries added, new windows installed in the nave and south chapel.

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Knights Templar: Templecombe

Templecombe

The village of Templecombe according to the Domesday Book consisted of two estates:

  • Abbas Combe Manor: The Benedictine Nunnery of Shaftesbury, founded in 888 AD by Alfred the Great, whose second daughter Ethelgeda was its Abbess.
  • Abbas Combe included the 12th century St.Mary’s Church, which extended northwards, along the north-south route through the parish. The Abbey at Shaftesbury was its parent house, the major convent in England at the time.  Temple Combe included the Templar preceptory buildings, laying along the same route.  By the 1830’s the two settlements were linked by buildings along the main road.
  • Temple Combe Manor: This estate was originally held by the Earl Leofwine then passed to Bishop Odo of Bayeux and confiscated in 1088.
  • In 1185 the manor was held by Serlo Fitz Odo, who passed it to the Knights Templar. In 1307 the Templar Order was suppressed, and the estate passed to the Crown.  Templar lands and property passed to the Knights Hospitaller in 1332, and retained by them until the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
  • Following the “Dissolution of the Monasteries” ordered by King Henry VIII, the Manor passed to William Sherrington, and later purchased by Richard Duke around 1563. Much of the Templar Preceptory building was demolished, providing stone for a new Manor house.

The Preceptory served as an administrative centre for Templar lands in the south-western parts of England and Cornwall.  History tells us, that men and horses were trained in the area, before heading off on Crusades in the Holy Land.

In 1338, an inventory was taken of the Manor, showing it consisted of 368 acres, used for supporting cattle and sheep.

By 1700, it had become the seat of Sir William Wogan, who sold it to Peter Walter of Stalbridge Park, and in the early part of the 19th century passed to the Marquess of Anglesey.

In 1942, during the Second World War, the Templecombe railway line was bombed, and on that day thirteen people lost their lives, and others were injured.  The Parish Church, Congregational Church, two hotels and sixty houses were damaged.

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Knights Templar and Paris

Ancient Paris

Paris of the Past

Following the historical account of the Knights Templar, it was here on the French soil of Marais, much of their story was played out.

In 1137, King Louis VII of France gave the “Order of the Knights Templar” a house, in the swamp marshland area, in the northern parts of Paris, just outside the city walls.

Large stretches of marshland, remnants of the ancient branch of the River Seine, which once flowed down from Belleville, east of Paris.

Enclos du Temple

Enclos du Temple

In less than a century, these hardy knights had dried out the marshlands, and moved to its north-eastern edge, upon which they built, the “Enclos du Temple,” a fortified compound, consisting of crenellated walls, buttresses, watch towers and a drawbridge.  To accompany the tower, a gothic styled round chapel was built in stages, granted by a papal bull of Pope Honorius in 1217.  The church was consecrated to the Holy Mary, the burial place for Templar high dignitaries who died in Paris.

The church was aligned from west to east, comprising of three parts:

  • The gothic nave was characterised by a clerestory located on the ground floor.
  • The round was built on two floors, encompassed by a circular gallery. The round vault, leant on six pillars, laid out in a circle.
  • The chancel consisted of five bays with tall windows. Access to the bell tower was by way of the south-wall bay.

In the latter part of the 12th century and early 13th century, the preceptor grew larger, and additional buildings were erected, on the six acres of land set aside for the preceptor.  The area was protected by an eight – ten metre high crenellated wall, equipped with buttresses, and flanked by turrets and stone shelters.

The Knights Templar created an International Banking System, which contributed to their increasing wealth.  The Enclos du Temple, became home to their bank, and the European headquarters of the Templar’s.

It is said Philip Augustus made use of their services, by depositing much of his treasures with them in 1190, before departing on the Third Crusade to the Holy Land.

King Henry III

King Henry III

In 1254, King Henry III of England chose to stay at the Knights Templar temple on his visit to France and Paris, instead of the Royal Palace.  One has to ask, how the French King would have felt about that.

The war in the Holy Land had stretched France’s finance’s to breaking point, and the Templar’s had taken control of France’s finances.  In short France was under the control of the Knights Templar, with King Philip IV, nothing more than a puppet king to his people.

The Templar’s had created their own state in France, located within King Philip IV’s own borders.  Philip could no longer stand by watching these Templar’s wealth grow day by day.

During a mass uprising in 1306, King Philip IV accepted the offer of shelter, from the Templar’s.  What he was to discover were rooms full of treasures?  The King became so envious of their wealth; he devised a plan, spreading false rumours, which would lead to their downfall.

On the 12th October 1307, Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was one of the guests at the funeral of Catherine de Courtenay, the wife of Charles de Valois and sister-in-law of Philippe IV.

On the 13th October 1307, the King’s men sent forth to arrest all members of the Knights Templar and seize their assets.

Captured knights were tortured, and brought to trial on false accusations, rumours and slander, and those found guilty were burnt at the stake.

On the 22nd March 1312, the Papal Bull ‘Vox In Excelso’ issued by Pope Clement V, dissolved the Order of the Knights Templar.

On the 2nd May, the Papal Bull ‘Ad Providam’ issued by Pope Clement V, ordered that all assets, property and land to be turned over to the Hospitallers.

Over the next two centuries, the Hospitallers enlarged the church, filled in the ditch around the fortress, and replaced the drawbridge with a stone bridge.

Knights Templar Burnings

Burnt at Stake

On the 18th March 1314, Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was burnt at the stake, on false charges of heresy.

Jacques de Molay’s last words were to his God, claiming Pope Clement V and King Philip IV, his accusers should join him… thirteen months later, his accusers had died.

The Order of the Hospitallers stayed in the ‘Enclos du Temple’ until the days of the French Revolution, and were eventually disbanded by Napoleon in the 19th century.

By the early years of the 17th century, the area known as Marais, had become an aristocratic neighbourhood of Paris.  The Palace of the Grand Prior of the Temple had become the court of the illegitimate sons of royalty.  Philip the Duke of Vendome, grandson of Henri IV and mistress Gabrielle d’Estree, led a life of debauchery, along with literary and artistic brilliance.

The Comtesse de Boufflers mistress of Horace Walpole, reigned supreme over the court.  It was here the ten-year-old Mozart performed in the drawing room, playing the harpsichord.

On the 13th August 1792, the drawing room played host to a dinner where all the guests were the Royal family and their retinue.  They were the prisoners of the Commune of Paris.  Following the meal, the royal couple, two children and King’s sister were locked up in the Tower of the Temple, and the other women transferred to the Prison of La Force.

Execution of Louis XVI

Execution of King Louis XVI

King Louis XVI and his Queen; Marie Antoinette were imprisoned at the Temple, awaiting their execution at ‘Place de la Revolution;’ King Louis XVI on the 21st January 1793 – Queen Marie Antoinette on the 16th October 1793.

Exécution of Marie Antoinette

Execution of Queen Marie Antoinette

The seven-year-old Dauphin, was taken from his parents, and locked in a cell, until his presumed death in June of 1795.  His body was buried at Sainte Marguerite Cemetery.  As far as anyone was concerned, the body in the grave should have been King Louis XVII (1785-1795), the body of the ten-year-old boy.  In 1894 his remains were dug up, and examination of the body, proved without doubt, the remains were those of an eighteen-year-old boy.  So what happened to the young King, the last of an ancient regime?

French and Austrian authorities did an exchange, the French Princess Royal for five Republican prisoners.

In 1796, the Temple became a state prison, and in 1805 was bought by royalists.  On the 16th March 1808, Napoleon ordered its destruction.

In 1823, the Palace of the Grand Prior became the Benedictine Church of the Perpetual Adoration of the Holy Sacrament.  In 1853, Napoleon III ordered its destruction, and with it, the last remnant of Knights Templar died…

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Knights Templar: Gothic Architecture

Gothic Cathadral - PI

Design of Gothic Cathedral

Gregorio Papareschi, was appointed to the post of Pope Innocent II, in the year 1130, supported to the Papal throne by Bernard of Clairvaux.

Pope Innocent II

Pope Innocent II

Following his appointment, to the Papal throne, Pope Innocent II, approved the request made by the Knights Templar, granting them the right, to build and run their own churches.  Overnight the Templar’s became answerable to only one person; the Pope, and out of reach of most authorities.  They could hold their own court, impose taxes, and no longer did the church hold any pressure over them.  They were their own men, and becoming a powerful order.

They planned and developed their own style of buildings, one which was French Gothic by design.  This new style was born in 1134.

The Templar’s mentor and spiritual leader; St.Bernard of Clairvaux, showed his flair, and his designs were used for the building of the north tower at Chartres Cathedral.

Gothic architecture dates back to the 12th century, it was to be an exciting time in Medieval European history, with the development of a new style of buildings.  Many a knight had served in the Holy Land, on the Crusades, and many had been influenced by the buildings and engineering styles used.

Gothic architecture evolved over a 300 year period, with bright and airy interiors, pointed arches to emphasize light and soaring spaces, ribbed vaulting, flying buttresses, tall spires and gargoyles.

The early forms of Gothic architecture was predominately used for the building of cathedrals, and later used in the building of castles, palaces and bridges.

Gothic architecture first emerged in northern France around 1140.

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

The Gothic style of building was soon taken up by the English, and used in Canterbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.

Gothic architecture in Medieval England was developed from Norman building styles, which related to buildings from 1200 – 1500.

Early English Style: 1200 – 1300

Decorated Style: 1300- 1400

Perpendicular Style: 1400 – 1500

Gothic churches and buildings were different to Normans, on their style and way of construction.

  • Stone blocks lined side by side was the choice of Normans, but Gothic buildings used many a shaped stone.
  • Hollow walls favoured by Normans, became solid under Gothic builds, thus they could handle far greater weight.
  • The use of pointed arches strengthened buildings, compared to Normans round arches.

Cathedral roofs were much larger, and buttresses were installed to take extra weight, alongside the nave and into the foundations.  These changes spread additional weight around the building, creating additional strength.

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