Knights Templar 9th Grand Master: Arnold of Torroja

Arnold of Torroja Tomb

Tomb of Arnold of Torroja

Arnold of Torroja was born in the early 1100’s, served as a knight of the Crown of Aragon and Provence, and elected as the 9th Grand Master of the Knights Templar in 1181.  His appointment to the post, was more likely due to his links outside of the order, for his predecessor Odo de St.Amand was wrapped in Jerusalem’s politics.

During the Grand Master’s reign, the Order of the Knights Hospitaller reached a high peak in their influence.  Rivalry existed between the orders.  The two Grand Masters met with Pope Lucius III and King Baldwin IV, to resolve their issues.  Torroja was a skilled diplomat and mediator, successfully negotiating peace with Saladin.

In 1184, Torroja set forth, accompanied by Roger de Moulins, Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller and Patriarch Heraclius, gathering support for the Kingdom of Jerusalem.  They hoped to obtain the support of Henry II of England, he who was undertaking a penance, for the part he played in the death of Thomas Beckett.  Before reaching their destination Arnold of Torroja fell ill and died on route at Verona.

The discovery of a tomb in San Fermo Maggiore Church in Verona, was that of Arnold of Torroja… his final resting place.  Contained within was a stone sarcophagus with a cross pattee, containing within a human body, and would be the first known tomb of Knights Templar Grand Master.

Preliminary analysis proved that the remains were of a seven century old man, who suffered from back problems.