Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Militant Monks Essay -- essays research papers fc

The Knights Templar, a military order of monks answerable only to the Pope himself, were founded in 1118. Their primary responsibility, at least initially, was to provide protection to Christians making pilgrimages to the Holy Land. They rose in power, both religious and secular, to become one of the richest and most powerful entities in Christendom. By the time of their disbandment in 1307, this highly secretive organization controlled vast wealth, a fleet of merchant ships, and castles and estates spanning the entire Mediterranean area. When the crusaders captured Jerusalem from the Muslims in 1099, the Church encouraged all faithful Christians to visit that holy city in order to affirm their faith. The area, however, was still subject to sporadic attacks from various non-Christian factions. A small group of knights, led by Hugh de Payens, vowed to protect the pilgrims. The group was granted quasi-official status by King Baldwin II of Jerusalem, who allowed them quarters in a wing of the royal palace near the Temple of Solomon. It is from this initial posting that the order derived its name. They took the standard vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and were bound to the rules of the Augustinian order. [Upton-Ward 1] The order languished in near-anonimity for several years, despite generous contributions from various European personages. In 1126, Count Hugh of Champagne, having donated his estates to Bernard of Clairvaux for use in building a monestary for the Cistercian order, arrived in Jerusalem to join the Templars. This action indirectly obligated Bernard to support the newly chosen advocacy of his benefactor. He wrote to the count, "If, for God's work, you have changed yourself from count to knight and from rich to poor, I congratulate you." [Howarth 49] In the year 1126, King Baldwin found two reasons for wanting official recognition of the order. First, he had, perhaps prematurely, bestowed upon Hugh de Payens the title of Master of the Temple. Second, the king had the opportunity to launch an attack on the city of Damascus, but he needed more knights. Papal recognition would allow open recruiting in Europe for the order. King Baldwin sent a letter to Bernard of Clairvaux, the order's primary patron, later known as Saint Bernard, asking him to petition the Pope for official recognition of the order. [Howarth 50-51] The King's letter ... ...ghts Templar. The final blow, however, was probably three-fold: a general unpopularity of the order among the European aristocracy, due in part to jealousy; a chronic shortage in the French treasury, despite heavy taxation; and Master de Molay's refusal to consider a merger of the Templars with the Hospitallers, as suggested by the Pope. The fact remains, however, that no evidence of heresy was ever found. [Burman/Templars 180] An order founded by nine knights in Jerusalem came to amass great wealth and power, which speaks well of their integrity and discretion. They became the "shock troops" of the Holy See. When they lost their original mission of protecting pilgrims upon the fall of Jerusalem, their downfall became inevitable. [Sinclair 37] Works Cited: Burman, Edward. The Inquisition. New York: Dorset, 1984. --. The Templars. Rochester, VT: Destiny, 1986. « Howarth, Stephen. The Knights Templar. New York: Dorset, 1982. Payne, Robert. The History of Islam. New York: Dorset, 1987. Robinson, John J. Born in Blood. New York: Evans, 1989. Sinclair, Andrew. The Sword and the Grail. New York: Crown, 1992. Upton-Ward, J. M. The Rule of the Templars. Suffolk: Boydell, 1992.

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