5 distinct periods of
• The Crusades
• Growth and Power
• False Accusations
• An Underground Society
Although very complex with many events of note, our history can be classified into five distinct periods of time:
The Crusades - (1095—1291 A.D. were initiated by Pope Urban II. He gathered Christians from all over the world to battle Muslims for the purpose of recovering Jerusalem. During this period, The Knights Templar was formed in 1118 A.D. by Hugues de Payens with a primary goal of protecting the many pilgrims who made the journey to Jerusalem.
Growth and Power - The Knights became a formidable force throughout the Holy Land and Europe and were feared by all who challenged them. They amassed great wealth by virtue of noble grants and gifts received from nobility throughout the land. To manage these gifts and great wealth, the Knights were credited for the creation of what we now refer to as our modern banking system.
In 1128 A.D., the Knights were sanctioned by the Catholic Church. Pope Honorius II granted a papal sanction to them by declaring them to be an Army of God. Later, In 1139 A.D., Pope Innocent II granted the power of exemption to the Templars. They continued to fight through the remaining crusades throughout the Holy Land and were considered exempt from all local laws. Their only required obedience was to the Pope.
False Accusations & Downfall - An unscrupulous King Philip IV of France owed a great financial debt to the Knights and in order to avoid repaying this debt, he falsely accused them of heresy and blasphemy and unduly influenced Pope Clement V to dissolve the Templars in 1311 A.D.
On Friday, October 13, 1307, the Templars came under siege. They were ordered arrested. Accusations from King Philip IV were responsible for the deaths of many Templars by torture and burning at the stake. It was this day that many hold as the origin of Friday the 13th as an unlucky day.
Many Templars confessed to the heresy in order to avoid death while others escaped to distant lands. Notable among those tortured was Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay. In 1314, de Molay denied his former confession of heresy and blasphemy due to torture. He stated that they were false and was immediately burned at the stake. This was the final event causing the Templars to go underground for nearly 500 years.
An Underground Society - The Templars escaped to such lands as Scotland and Portugal and from there, some are believed to have sailed to America and Nova Scotia. Thus the Templars survived as an underground order after 1314, both on the continent of Europe and in Scotland. The Order came into semi-public view in Versailles, France in 1705, when a Convent General of the Order elected Philippe, Duke of Orleans, later Regent of France, to the Grand Mastership of the Order.
Restoration - In 1804, Dr. Fabre-Palaprat of France revitalized the Order with support from Napoleon Bonaparte. Palaprat was a Mason who originally embraced the true Templar tenets, but rejected Christ as the Son of God. Upon his death in 1838, the original Templar body rejected him and retained its original chivalric traditions and obedience to the Catholic Church.
In 1932, The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem (OSMTJ) was reestablished from the Belgian Grand Priory and this is who we are today.
While this is an extremely abbreviated overview of our history, the complete story is available through many publications and in particular, we encourage you to watch the videos available on YouTube. Here is an example of one of the videos worth watching:
We promise that you will be amazed, intrigued, riveted and will passionately want to learn more about The Knights Templar and its grand history.