Knights Templar: Portugal

Tomar - Portugal

Scotland appears to have been Freemasonic homeland; Portugal on the other hand represented the Templar’s commercial base, a source of revenue and headquarters.  Portugal is a country that had been founded by the Templar’s.

In 1128, the order of the Knights Templar settled in Portugal, and gradually took over the country’s military and commercial strength.

In that same year Teresa of Portugal endowed upon the knights, the region of Fonte Arcada, granting them many privileges.  In return the Templar’s supported her expansion of her then weak country.

In 1160, a Knights Templar castle was constructed in Tomar, and became the orders headquarters in Portugal.

King Alfonso of Portugal corresponded with Saint Bernard, welcoming his monastic order with open arms.  Monasteries and churches sprung up across the land, along with estates under Cistercian control.

In 1294, the initiative of the Templar’s, led to the signing of the “Treaty of Windsor,” between England and Portugal, and aimed at bestowing military power on both countries.

The anti-Templar movement which had grown in France had little effect in Portugal.

The order of the Knights Templar had been officially dissolved by Pope Clement V in 1312, and its knights, servants and monks considered outlaws.

King Denis of Portugal exonerated the Templar’s and with pressure and opposition to the order from France, came up with a plan which would be of benefit to both parties; King and Templar’s.

A plan was conceived; the order of the Knights Templar would disappear and be re-established under a new name affiliated to the Portuguese monarchy.  Templar assets could not fall into church hands, and they could continue to exist.

So it was the order of the “Knights Templar” faded into the distant past, and rose again as the “Order of Christ.”

The former Knights Templar now known as the Order of Christ could continue carrying out their illegal activities under the protection of the King of Portugal, no longer abiding by church rules.

Templar’s found a more liberal environment in Spain and Portugal under the Order of Christ, and the order received its official recognition in 1319 by Pope John XII, out of his desire to win the Templar’s back to the church.

The church was unwilling to lose the Templar’s who represented a major military, financial and logistical power.

In 1415, Prince Henry the navigator led his forces, in the conquest of Ceuta, in a creation of a Portuguese empire, which stretched out far beyond their coastline.  In 1417 he became Grand Master of the Order of Christ until 1460, undertaking works of evangelism for the Pope and Church.  Henry went on to colonise the Azores and Madeira islands, building two gothic cloisters in the Convent of Tomar during his time as grand master.

By 1492, the order was suffering from declining membership, based on its rules of poverty – chastity – obedience, and things had to change for survival.  Pope Alexander VI commuted vows of celibacy to conjugal chastity, and was withdrawn in 1496.  Poverty was withdrawn in 1505 by order of Pope Julius II.

The order was showing signs of becoming less monastic and more secular.  Brother Antonius of Lisbon, attempted a reform, which brought an end to a religious life among its knights.  Under these changes, the order became an organisation.  Its aim was to achieve commercial and political success, and to redraft the laws of the church in a manner compatible with capitalism.

It was about this time, a new society without religious image, but serving the same function was created.  This new organization had its roots in England, and had taken the name; Freemasonry.  Freemasons represented a most influential power which would survive to the present day.

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Knights Templar: Rise and Defeat

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On the 4th July 1187, Saladin defeated Christian forces at the “Battle of Hattin.”  Many Christian crusaders were slain, many wounded, many thrown into chains.

Guy of Lusignan, the King of Jerusalem, witnessed the fall of the “Cross of Salvation”, he was overcome with pity, rushing forward without thought, as he flung his arms around the cross.

Guy of Lusignan, along with fellow warriors, were taken prisoner, to await the victor’s will, as to their fate.

Saladin so ordered, that all Templar’s with the exception of their master, were to be beheaded.

Guy de Lusignan, became the prisoner of Saladin, and one year later on the anniversary of that battle, was freed after swearing an oath, never to attack Muslims.

England, France and Germany, made the joint decision, that Jerusalem had to be re-taken, and so the Third Crusade was launched.

It was essential they had a base of operations, which to land troops and supplies.  Acre was its harbour, proved to be the best option, and so it was, ships of King Philip of France and King Richard of England, set forth on their journey.

Following King Richard’s capture of Cyprus by his naval forces, the Knights Templar Grand Master; Robert de Sable made a proposal purchase of Cyprus from King Richard I (Richard – the – Lionheart).  The price was agreed, of 100,000 bezants (gold currency of Byzantium), commencing with a 40,000 deposit.

It proved that the Templar’s financial status was strong, being able to raise that amount, shortly after the “Battle of Hattin.”

Acre fell to the Muslims in 1291, bringing the Christian presence in Palestine to an end.

The Knights Templar, robbed of their role as defenders of the Holy Land, saw many take up residence in Cyprus, in the Mediterranean.  The Templar’s had sought their own Kingdom, but been pushed out by Muslim forces.

The Grand Master of the Knights Templar, located in France, had a status on par with European Kings.  These Templar’s owned much land across Christendom, with a warrior army to back their political position.  Europe’s ruling houses, found themselves indebted to these Templar’s, fearing their future was under threat.

The English throne was indebted to the Templar order, for King John had emptied the coffers of the treasury during his reign, to finance military operations.  King Henry III, was faced with similar financial problems, and had no option, but to take out loans with the Knights Templar.

The Knights Templar offices in Paris held the treasury of Templar’s and French government.  The Templar treasurer and the French King’s finance officer were one and the same.  France found itself under Templar control.

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Knights Templar: The Occult

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The Order of the Knights Templar was originally a Gnostic based order that maintained a secrecy of its occult collaboration.  These Templar’s weren’t your average Christians, who obeyed and were loyal to the Pope and Church.

The Templar’s practiced many of their occult practices underground, to avoid interference from the Church.  Saying that they were charged with the act of pagan worship at their trials in the 1300’s which led to thousands being executed, and some burnt at the stake.

As Templar’s became aware of their impending death sentence, some planned their escape, making their departure from the order, and becoming Masons.

Some charges brought forward at the trials of the Knights Templar were false whilst others were accurate.  Evidence was provided of idol worshipping.

Charges against the Order of the Knights Templar:

  • When a new Templar was received into the order, he denied Christ, the Holy Virgin and the saints, an act instigated by those receiving him. He was told Christ was not the true God, that he was a false prophet who had not been crucified for the redemption of the human race, but on account of his sins.  There was therefore no hope of receiving salvation through Christ.  The new member was then made to spit on the crucifix or image of Christ.

 

  • The Templar’s adored idols, with specific mention of a cat and a head of three faces. The head was worshipped as a saviour and venerated as a giver of plenty that could make trees flower and land germinate.  They touched or encircled it with small cords which they wore around their waists.

 

  • That they did not believe in the sacraments and that the Templar priests omitted the words of consecration during mass.

 

  • That they believed that the Grand Master and other leaders could hear their confessions and absolve them from sin, despite the fact that many of the leaders were laymen.

 

  • The Order’s receptors kissed new entrants on the mouth, navel, stomach, buttocks and spine, and acts of homosexuality were encouraged.

 

  • Templar’s sought gain for the Order; lawful or not. Donations to the Order were not used in approved ways, nor were they apportioned to hospitals.

 

  • Chapter meetings and receptions were held in secret at night under heavy guard, and only Templar’s could be present. Brother’s who revealed to an outsider what had occurred were punished by imprisonment or death.

 From “The Trial of the Templar’s” by Malcolm Barber (2006)

 During their time in the Middle-East the Order of the Knights Templar established and maintained contact with mystic sects of different religions and denominations, including sorcerers.

The orders higher echelons acquainted themselves and incorporated into the order beliefs based on mystic teaching of the Cabala, Bogomils and Luciferians, leaving Christianity behind.

In their eyes, Jesus ruled another world, with limited power in this one and Satan was the lord of our world.

The Templar’s revered the idol of Baphomet; a demon with the head of a goat, the symbol of “The Church of Satan.”

Baphomet, the deity worshipped by the Knights Templar, and in Black Magic, the source and creator of evil; the Satanic goat of the witches Sabbath.

During the trials of the Knights Templar, most mentioned worshipping Baphomet.  The idol with a scary looking human head and a long beard with shinning eyes.  Some mentioned human skulls, cat idols and objects of satanic worship.

The demon Baphomet, an object of satanic veneration; having a goat’s head with two faces, a winged body which is female above the waist and male below the waist.

After the confessions in the French Courts, the Pope interrogated seventy-two Templar’s.  They then knelt down before the Pope and asked for forgiveness.

The interrogation of the Templar’s culminated in their dissolution in 1312, and Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Order, was burned at the stake in 1314 on charges of heresy.

Templar’s fled for their lives throughout Christendom, some were captured crossing France, Germany and Italy, and others were more fortunate, reaching countries who offered refuge.

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Structure of the Knights Templar

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One of the interesting features of the Templar’s was their emphasis on discretion.  From their founding to liquidation, they never compromised on their need for secrecy.  If they were truly devoted to the Catholic Church, there was no need for secrecy, as all of Europe came under the sovereignty of the Papacy.

If they were merely following the true Christian teaching, then they had nothing to hide, and no need for secrecy.

Then why did they adopt secrecy as a fundamental principle of the order, unless they were engaged in activities which were alien to the beliefs of the Church?

Discipline within the order, was based on a chain of command.  If anything be commanded by a Master, it should be done without question, as if it were a command from God.

The Templar’s were not allowed personal possessions, and all property belonged to the order, upon their acceptance as a member of the order.  They had their own dress code; a white mantle emblazoned with a red cross, over their armour.  The symbol of the Red Cross was assigned to the order by Pope Eugene III, he who had been tutored by St.Bernard of Clairvaux.

Three classes of Templars existed: Knights – Warriors – Servants

  • Marriage was prohibited.
  • Correspondence with relatives forbidden.
  • No private life.

According to the Knights Templar seal, it depicts two knights on a single horse.  They travelled in pairs, sharing everything even to the point of eating from the same bowl, and addressed each other as “my brother.”

On one hand they were there to offer protection to pilgrims in the Holy Land, and some of their number, learnt much from the Jews and Arabs; sciences of geometry and mathematics, which can be seen in their buildings.  They learnt about navigation and were given maps enabling them to navigate European and African coastlines.

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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The Face of the Templars

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The Templar’s presented themselves as missionaries and God’s warriors to Christian pilgrims and the Pope.  They were perceived as saints, offering aid to the poor and needy.

On one hand, these Knights Templar appeared to be following God’s teachings.  In truth, one observed an order whose wealth grew through donations, trade, looting and piracy.  No longer were they humble men of God…

The few who discovered the true identity of the Knights Templar, dare not speak out, against such a powerful order, which had the backing of the Pope.

As the years passed by, the Templar’s wealth grew and grew, even to the point of controlling governments.  Questions were being asked, what they did behind closed doors, by many a monarch, clergy and local people.

In the early 1300’s, it reached a time when the Papacy were convinced in their mind, that these Templar’s did what they pleased, and could be a danger to the church.  They abused the privileges granted them by the Papacy.

Rumours began circulating about these Templar’s, leading to accusations, that they be performing rituals of Satanic worship, in their palaces, behind closed doors.

The Papacy faced a new enemy from within, and it fell upon Pope Clement V, to calculate what damage the Templar’s could cause to Christianity, and the Vatican.  Pope Clement V also faced much pressure, on what to do with these Templar’s from the King of France.

As we know, King Philip IV of France, ruler of a country heavily in debt to these Templar’s, he could see these men of God, taking control of France.

In 1307 King Philip was forced into a situation, where he had to go cap in hand, before the Templar’s, and ask for a loan.  Philip was stunned, that his request was denied.

Philip could take no more, these Templar’s had to go, and so it was on the 13th October 1307, the King’s men arrested these Templar’s, seizing their assets across France.

They were put on trial and accused of the following:

  • That during the reception ceremony, new brothers were required to deny Christ, God, The Virgin or the saints on the command of those receiving them.
  • That the brothers committed various sacrilegious acts either on the cross or on an image of Christ.
  • That the receptors practised obscene kisses on new entrants, on the mouth, navel or buttocks.
  • That the priests of the Order did not consecrate the host, and that the brothers did not believe in the sacraments.
  • That the brothers practised idol worship of a cat or a head.
  • That the brothers encouraged and permitted the practice of sodomy.

Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar Order was burnt at the stake on the 18th March 1314, in the shadow of the Notre Dame in Paris, on trumped up charges of heresy.

Jacques de Molay cried out to his God, as flames burned around him, that King Philip IV of France and Pope Clement V, his accusers should join him… Within a year, both had died.

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