TEMPLARII CHRISTI REX

{ Templars of Christ the King }

 

The genuine Orthodox Catholic Benedictine Templarism has remained so private and discreet since the 14th century that many today mistakingly refer to Templarism as "occult." The many so-called "Templar" chivalric organizations and social clubs are what most people are thinking of when they speak of "Templars," and it is some of those clubs which have dabbled in the occult; the Order itself has never left Orthodoxy. The Templars of Christ the King are members of the continuing true Templarism. Included herein are both some basic information on the Templars and a series of articles on the Wisdom of the Temple, prepared to shed light on some subjects which are particularly confused in the public's mind these days. Furthermore, there is a provision to contact the Temple by e-mail, so as to ask specific questions which, depending on the subject, we may answer privily or publicly.

 

If there is anyone who reads these materials who feels called to the Templar life within the Orthodox Church and the Benedictine Order, he or she may contact the Temple and request further information. Only serious inquiries are invited. We do not request or accept any donations for investiture as many of the so-called "Templar" social clubs do - we do not want your money - don't offer it, please. On the other hand, if you are accepted, eventually we want you yourself, for ever - that is, Templars still take and keep perpetual vows. We are not trifling in our mission and apostolate as an Orthodox Catholic Benedictine religious order. We expect that no one will trifle with us.

BASIC INFORMATION ON THE TEMPLARS

Goals & Objectives

 

The central ideas of Christian chivalry are the royal Kingship of Jesus Christ and the militant and honorable approach to constant, resolute, faithful defense of the Holy Name of Jesus Christ, Who is our Sovereign Lord and King, and of all His Christian people. The virile, noble defense of all that is divine, holy, true, and good, and of all who are weak, sick, or in need, shall be the primary chivalric purpose of the Templars of Christ the King, who shall provide a means by which those who wish to do so may realize their militant loyalty to Jesus and their heroic, honorable approach to warfare against Evil and Deceit, guided by the rule of chivalry. The goals and objectives of the Templars are to defend the Holy Name of Jesus and His Christian people; and to enter into all such undertakings, publicly or privily, as will further all these purposes. Templars shall take a vow of obedience; they shall be bound to the Order and to observance of the rule of chivalry by such perpetual vow for the remainder of their earthly lives.

 

Rule of Chivalry

 

The rule of chivalry by which all Templars are bound consists in six chivalric virtues and ten chivalric orders. The six chivalric virtues are: Prowess at Arms (inquire about what is meant by this), Loyalty, Generosity, Moderation, Courtesy, Honor. The ten chivalric orders are:

1. You shall believe the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Christian Faith expressed in the Apostles' Creed (Symbolum Apostolorum), and pray thrice daily.

2. You shall defend the Holy Name of our Lord and King, Jesus Christ, and defend all His Christian people.

3. You shall respect and defend the weak, the sick, and the needy.

4. You shall patriotically love and protect your own country.

5. You shall not retreat from combat with Satan and his demons, nor from combat with those under their control or influence.

6. You shall ceaselessly oppose Evil and Deceit.

7. You shall perform scrupulously your civic duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.

8. You shall never lie, and shall remain faithful to your pledged word.

9. You shall be prudently generous to all and give alms and aid.

10. You shall be everywhere and always the champion of Right, Good, Love, and Tolerance against Injustice, Evil, Hatred, and Bigotry.

 

Membership

 

Only perpetually vowed Orthodox Catholic Benedictines may take the Templar vow. If invited to do so, such a Benedictine pledges on a sword of the Templars his or her fidelity to our King, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, receives the accolade, and is made a knight or lady Templar.

 

Beau Seant! - The Templar Banner and Battle Cry

 

Going by the testimony of the ancient Regle du Templiers, the Templars' banner (viz., our battle standard) which we call "Beau Seant!" changed form at least twice during our first two centuries (1118-1314). Unchanged over the centuries is that the banner always was piebald - white and black. The piebald scheme has a metaphorical meaning: the white represents the purity of life under the Rule while the black represents the evil life before entering under the Rule.

 

Looking to return to the ancient usages, the Templars first used the primitive form of the Beau Seant! which was a vertical banner with a black square above a white square. The original Order of the Temple, later in its history, changed to a white banner with an equal-armed black Cross in its center as the Beau Seant! which was still piebald but which was quite different in appearance. The final ancient form of the Beau Seant! was a piebald two-pointed pennant, that is, a swallow- tailed burgee, with the top half white and the bottom half black. Recognizing that we may best realize our unity in diversity, the Templars now permit the use of any of the three ancient forms of the Beau Seant!

 

Obtusely, there are those who waste their efforts on analyzing the name and spelling of the banner, and even imply silly and fantastic significances to it. Quite simply, the most correct Old French spelling of a generic banner is baucent [boh-sahnt']. Our standard anciently was referred to generically as a gonfanon baucent. Several other spellings have been used in scholarly works.

 

Realizing the confusion of names, we standardized the usage of "Beau Seant!" as a proper name for the banner and as our battle cry. Beau Seant [boh'-say-ahnt'] means "comely appearance" literally, but its colloquial meaning was "Be glorious!" and this has always been its meaning for the Order of the Temple.

 

Yes, as our ancient motto, "Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed Nomine Tuo, da gloriam" [Not unto us, Lord, not unto us, but to Thy Name give glory], plainly states, we do mean to bring glory to the Name of God. Hence, our battle cry is "Beau Seant!" and so is the name of the banner under which we sally forth in His Holy Name.

 

WISDOM OF THE TEMPLE

Published by authority of Stella Templum Sancto Claro.

Dedicated to the memory of Saint Jacques de Molay, Magister Templi, martyr, of Saint Geoffroi de Charney, martyr, and of all the Holy Templar Martyrs and Saints. Memory Eternal !!!

 

CONTENTS

 

Part I

Introductory Comments.

Wisdom - Its Value and Its Danger.

Meditation.

Occult No Longer.

A Brief Historical Note.

 

Part II

Saint Mary Magdalene, Apostle of the Resurrection.

The Holy Mandylion {Tetradiplon - Icon of Christ, Acheiropoietos - Sydoine - Shroud of Turin}.

The Ark of the Covenant.

The Holy Grail - Literal & Mystical.

Black Virgins.

Canonization of the Templar Martyrs and Saints.

Introductory Comments

 

Dear friends in Christ our King, this little book was written because there are so many lies and fantasies being published in books and films these days about certain important matters, that it has become important to let the truth be known. Also, the Temple kept much of its particular information secret in the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries because, in the violently anti-intellectual atmosphere of those days, any new information was, by definition, false and heretical and, therefore, worthy of condemnation and persecution. Eventually, the Templars were falsely accused by the King of France and Pope Clement V's Inquisition, and perverse fantasies were read into the official record as charges against the Order of the Temple. Most intelligent people today, inside and outside the Roman Church, recognize that the Temple was falsely charged on purpose, because King Philip le Bel envied them, coveted their wealth, and feared their power. We can only imagine what more the Inquisition would have done to the Templars if the Temple had divulged much of its information which was unknown in the Vatican and in the royal courts of the day! They very likely would have burned hundreds more innocent Templars at the stake. Ignorance has an inbred fear of knowledge. When institutionalized, ignorance is deadly dangerous.

 

Mayhap, the truth will not be so fatal to the teller today. In the late 20th century, despite all its other problems, western society does have something of an open market for information and ideas. One may be "pilloried in the press" for unpopular writings but probably will not actually be pilloried in person. So, the time is at hand to divulge some of the information that the Temple has so long known and understood, but about which it has maintained silence. The vacuum of truth in the public arena is, today, pulling in vast amounts of rubbish and fantasies, multitudes of perverse hypotheses and speculations. The time has come to set the record straight for those who sincerely want to know. Of course, we will not convince anyone with a partisan ax to grind, for no evidence is enough for those who will not believe. Those who will believe do not need the evidence; those who will not believe would not accept it. Therefore, we are simply giving the facts and are not trying to prove them by the weight of documented evidence. Any good doctoral candidate can accumulate a mountain of evidence to prove any crackpot theory that you could imagine. Discernment, not evidence, is the only sure proof of truth. The truth shall make you free. [John 8:32] Many false things excite the mind of man. It is better to know the truth.

 

Have mercy on us, O Christ our King, Holy Light!

Pray for us, Notre Dame de Lumiere, Vierge Marie Arche d'Alliance!

Pray for us, Holy Templar Martyrs and Saints!

 

Wisdom - Its Value and Its Danger

"He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." Mark 4:9

 

Templar persecution over the centuries has certain root causes; primarily, these have been the grossly distorted perception of the Order's secret (occult) wisdom, and the envy and fear which that perception engendered. The simple fact is this: There is no Templar wisdom, doctrine, belief, or practice which is inconsistent with the Holy Gospel, that is, the message of good news preached by Jesus Christ and recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. There is, on the other hand, much in our wisdom which informs and which enlightens those who have and hold the True Faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus is, Himself, The Light of the World [John 8:12]. Have mercy on us, O Christ our King, Holy Light! Pray for us, our Lady of the Light - Notre Dame de Lumiere!

 

Education is always worthwhile. Generically, "gnosis" is a good and godly thing, for it means "knowledge." Some of those who are now referred to as "Gnostics," however, perverted the full knowledge of Jesus and His ministry on earth by the addition of fabrications and distortions, and by syncretization of ancient pagan religious doctrines with Christianity, forming a dualistic new false religion now called "Gnosticism." The Temple was never Gnostic in this sense, and totally rejected heretical Gnosticism, although it treated persons who adhered to such beliefs with charity, as Christians are supposed to do, according to the only authority Who matters - Jesus Christ. While the Temple has certain special knowledge, there is no secret doctrine that is necessary for salvation.

 

Methods of Church governance remained relatively pure (i.e., evangelical) until the secular authority began to support the Church. When Constantine legitimized Christianity in Roman polity, he took firm control and had an influence over the Church which cannot be overstated, no matter how much hyperbole one uses. His method of governance was adopted wholesale and the Church has been "caesaro-papist" in polity ever since, governed by monarchical Bishops with hierarchical bureaucracies of clergy and monastics supporting them. This is as true of the Byzantine branch as of the Western branch of the Church. Only the most remote local Churches escaped the immediate grip of caesaro-papism, like the Church in the Sinai, the Ethiopians, the Celtic Church, etc..

 

Primary methods by which Constantine administered the empire so successfully included pursuit of absolute standardization of everything possible, from roads to laws to religions. He had the Bible prepared in a new edition, and collected every extant copy known to exist; only his revision survived this project (this is grossly simplified; the subject is worth close study). The archaeology of recent centuries has reconstructed some of what existed before Constantine. Under this form and style of government, Christian "orthodoxy" took on an ominous tone. Not only was it a matter of faith to believe the Gospels in the precisely worded and officially approved manner, it was a matter of civil law. One who violated this law was a criminal, and his crime was "heresy."

 

Loss of the evangelical manner of governing the Church was catastrophic, but is hardly even acknowledged today. This development in the Church was a permanent distortion which even today puts illegitimate constraints on the catholicity or universality of the Church. Thus, the Undivided Church itself was not pure, but was in fact adulterated by a new Christian pharisaism which labelled every dissenting voice as heretical. There were, in fact, many heresies which true Christianity had to combat, but not only those, but all dissenting voices were silenced. That is, their real crime was disobedience to the authority of the imperial Church's representatives. Any real Christian knows that making such independent decisions on the basis of Faith into a civil crime of heresy is not consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ. And therein lies one of the most important problems with the development of caesaro-papism in the Church -- that is, the Church lost credibility with many thoughtful, faithful Christians. From that time, the Church was forced to teach that obedience to the magisterium (teaching authority) of the Church was the highest duty of every Christian. That is, Christians had to be coerced into following the Church's official policies with respect to what is orthodox belief

and what is heresy, what are Holy Scriptures and what are apocryphal writings. So much for free will and consensus fidelium! Within one person's lifetime from the interference of Constantine, the Church first executed other Christians (Priscillian, et. al.) for the crime of heresy! So much for loving one another!

 

Ecclesiastical power was thereafter pursued as the greatest imperative of the ruling hierarchs of the Church; this was an inescapable result of the new caesaro-papist ecclesiastical polity. From that era, the many schisms which occurred in the Church were inevitable, as each Patriarch and Primate sought to exert power and control. These are the tap roots of the divisions which plague Christianity today; it is not doctrinal disagreements for their own sake that drive groups to splinter off, rather, such disagreements are used as a weapon, the "heresy weapon," in order to justify power plays and schisms. These developments did not take centuries to occur; as soon as there was an imperial Church, there were charges of heresy and all the partisan infighting that goes with such charges.

 

Work of the official, imperial, and caesaro-papist Church that it is, the composition of the New Testament is divinely inspired. It is our fervent belief that in this most important human endeavor (that is, editing a large number of texts into a brief selection (27) that are considered totally authoritative), the Holy Spirit guided the Council Fathers and kept them from making any truly monstrous errors. We believe that the Four Gospels, in the New Testament as it stands today, truly can be trusted to contain the Word of God which was revealed by Jesus.

 

If the Council Fathers had been satisfied with this accomplishment, much evil might have been avoided in future centuries. Of course, they were not satisfied; it was not enough to say that these 27 texts are the truth. They were compelled by the spirit of partisanship, honed to a knife edge by the policy of heresy, to then condemn everything they had not included in the New Testament as heretical. Since the Eastern Churches did not accept the Revelation (Apocalypse) of Saint John and the Western Churches did not accept the Letter to the Hebrews, these both would presently be condemned as heretical, apocryphal works, except that the Bishops finally compromised by each side accepting the other's book. (Even today, the Eastern Churches do not use the Revelation of Saint John liturgically!) A small number of non-selected texts were too well accepted for even the imperial Church to condemn, so these survive today as a small collection of non-canonical but accepted texts. Such books as J.B. Lightfoot's The Apostolic Fathers print this small collection together; it includes, for example, the letters of Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, and The Didache (Teaching of the Twelve Apostles), which many Church Fathers had considered Sacred Scripture, but which did not make the final cut of New Testament texts. The Temple highly respects and values these sacred texts, which are the most authoritative sources of certain practices.

 

Still, most of the non-selected texts did not fare so well; rather, they were attacked as heretical and condemned as completely false. A thoughtful Christian, reflecting on this turn of events, must have a few questions. If these books were candidates for inclusion in the New Testament, must they not have had much of value in them? Must they not have been mostly true, if Christian Bishops had been reading them from the pulpit? Must not their errors have ranged only from relatively minor to perhaps one or two serious errors, rather than being thoroughly heretical from front to back? Isn't it true that Satan's deceits are always engineered in the same way, that is, a little error is mixed with a large portion of truth? Wouldn't the Church Fathers have better employed their intellects and efforts by correcting these texts than by condemning them outright and virtually without exception? What vital knowledge was lost by censoring these texts? Because some of these texts were identified with the Gnostics (and heresy was indiscriminately imputed to all writings of Gnostics), it was seen to be essential to totally deny those texts and to dispute every content therein that was not identically stated in the imperially approved canon of the New Testament. This kind of censorship, we all know, breeds contempt for the censoring authority. Through the centuries there have been those who read these condemned texts and accepted them, errors and all, precisely because the imperial, official Church condemned them. Again, the Church's credibility was permanently damaged by this suppressive partisan censorship and by centuries of maintaining the condemnations against all facts and reason. The so-called Gnostic Gospels may be read to one's advantage if one is sufficiently knowledgeable to sort out the error from the truth; but, of course, we agree they ought not to be used in divine liturgy, and that they are dangerous in the hands of the ignorant.

 

Do not be misled; the Temple does not accept any gnostic heresies, and can discriminate between such heresies and the true gnosis in the main bodies of the non-selected sacred texts. Therefore, the Temple has long understood some matters which the whole Church originally understood, but which became taboo after the imperial canonization of the New Testament because the texts in which they were explained were not selected for the New Testament and then, in accordance with the policy described above, were condemned. So, if you reflect on this a while, you will realize how certain knowledge and understanding which, for a few centuries after Christ, most all Christians had and knew became, in the fourth century and afterwards, "secret, occult Gnosis."

 

Our great caesaro-papist Churches (now there are two, the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, plus a number of related bodies) continue today to condemn, as an involuntary reflex, almost any knowledge about Jesus and those with Him and His ministry which is not contained in the official text, the New Testament (the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is an example of an exception). Thoughtful people intuitively recognize the patent error of this policy, so the Church is not credible on this point for them. Tragically, they are, therefore, susceptible to genuinely heretical Gnostic fantasies and distortions, since they do not have an authoritative and credible basis for discrimination between the false and the real gnosis.

 

Meanwhile, We have accepted the charge to make known some of what the Temple knows. We are limited in what we can say as proofs thereof. We are not to argue, but to inform. We want you to know what we know; we do not seek after your agreement or your approval. What is told may be used as a guidepost to the complete truth, but no more than that, for it is not for us to proclaim that which each of you must seek on your own. The main purpose in making some of these matters known is to puncture and de-bunk some of the vicious fantasies and myths which, in the absence of the publication of the whole truth, have rushed into the vacuum and have filled it with deceits and errors. It is easy to be comfortable with unexamined beliefs. It is better to know the truth.

 

Meditation

 

So much blood has been shed for the wisdom which follows.

 

The Holy Church is the Body of Christ, of which only He is the Head and Ruler. Fidelity to Holy Church comes through fidelity to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not through obedience to any one or other of the many earthly organizations which lay claim to being The Church. True Christians, whether Orthodox, or Roman Catholic, or Anglican, or Protestant, or whatever, owe their first allegiance to Christ our King, not to any hierarch, pope, patriarch, or archbishop. Beware of any church leader who claims that the only path to Christ is through him or her. It is always a lie, no matter who it is who says it.

 

Already famous, the following excerpt is from a letter written to the Editor of the Syrian Worldon June 12, 1933, by His Eminence, the Most Reverend Saint Aftimios Ofiesh of America, the Archbishop of Brooklyn. (Memory Eternal!) The most senior and conservative Orthodox Bishop in America, St. Aftimios also was destined to be the most maligned, for a righteous man is a reproach to the wicked.

 

Read the following excerpt, which contains truly prophetic wisdom, and which is worthy of prayerful meditation.

 

"There are two churches, one that is man-made with man-made laws. It is corrupt, false and misleading. It denies the will of the Living God, that reveals itself to the heart of man. It makes slaves and bond-servants of those who choose to obey it. There is another church, the only one for me, for it is the Church of Jesus Christ, imbued with His Spirit, attentive to the Word and Will of God.

That is the Church I recognize."

- St. Aftimios Ofiesh of America

 

Occult No Longer

Most of the Secrets ("Occult Knowledge") of the Temple

are Today's Common Knowledge

 

Of all the many secrets which the Temple held at the time of the persecution in the 14th century, the vast majority are now common knowledge. As discussed previously, "the Temple kept much of its particular information secret in the 12th, 13th & 14th centuries because, in the violently anti- intellectual atmosphere of those days, any new information was, by definition, false and heretical and, therefore, worthy of condemnation and persecution." There are several major categories of Templar secrets: first, wisdom; second, historical and political knowledge; third, artistic and scientific knowledge and skills.

 

Part of the Temple's occult knowledge was what might truly be called wisdom, that is, deep, sagacious, erudite judgment, discretion and understanding of certain matters; an understanding of the theoretical, the conceptual, the symbolical, and the mystical dimensions of those matters. These were the most dangerous secrets; the ones for which publication would have brought certain and swift suppression. Most dangerous of all was the understanding of what, today, we call ecclesiology, that is, the theology of the Church itself. The Roman Catholic Church of that time had created an innovative ecclesiology so distinct and different from even early Roman church polity, that the several other Patriarchates of the imperial Church (Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria) had been separated from Rome; and they remain separated today over what are now called "the papal claims." The Protestant Reformation was a result of revolution against the papal ecclesiology as much as it was against any doctrinal differences. In this little book, we reveal only the broadest outlines of Templar wisdom about ecclesiology. Even today, we can expect to be vigorously attacked for what we know in this respect.

 

Even now, a matter of Templar wisdom which it is not timely to reveal or publish is that of the Eros of Christ. Our society is passing through a period of gross immaturity on all matters sexual, with far too many people at the opposite ends of the spectrum of errors, from puritanism to hedonism, and too few in the center where the truth lies. St. Mary Magdalene and St. John the Beloved understood this matter; so did St. Bernard of Clairvaux and St. Teresa of Avila, and other great saints. But this present hour is not a good one to broach this subject, for it is most apt to be totally misunderstood by those who are prudish as well as by those who are morally loose.

 

Nowadays, most interesting to those who study Templarism is the historical and political knowledge which the Temple kept secret. Some few bits of that historical knowledge are revealed herein, in discussions of such matters as the Holy Grail, the Ark of the Covenant, and the Holy Mandylion. These historical subjects also necessarily include a wisdom aspect as well; for example, the doctrinal implications of the importance of St. Mary Magdalene are enormous even today (or, especially today!). Much of the Temple's political knowledge is completely moot now, due to the passage of time and political revolutions in the various countries about which the Order was specially knowledgeable. The developments in the Arab world have been such that the Islamic geo-politics the Temple once knew no longer exists in the same form. Likewise, revolutions in European monarchies have changed even the Temple's own homelands beyond recognition. It is fair to say that the Temple holds no ancient political knowledge which is truly relevant today. Rather, the Temple's great strength is in political understanding of the current affairs of state, which acumen is always developing and yet always the same, century after century. It is this acumen which gives rise to so many paranoid theories of Templar conspiracies and geo-political ambitions - which theories are all just so much poppycock.

 

No longer do the secrets of science and technology which the Temple guarded so closely in the 13th and 14th centuries have any shock value or any surprise. The facts are disappointingly simple for those who imagine, with a purpose, that the Templars had some magical technologies. The Arab world was more scientifically and culturally advanced in those days than was European culture. It was the dissemination of Arab artistry, science, and technology from the Moors' sojourn in the Iberian states that triggered the European Renaissance. Simply being able to do arithmetic was a semi-magical skill to most Europeans of the Middle Ages. Certainly they could not even conceive of other Arab skills of the time (such as eye surgery).

 

Occult simply means "hidden, secret." It does not necessarily mean that something is evil, or heretical, or a demonic delusion. Modern man, however, still seeks for occult knowledge in the hope of discovering something magical. People still imagine that alchemy exists as a secret technology for turning base metals into precious metals. They entirely miss the plain fact that alchemy was and is primarily metaphorical rather than technological and that its primary aims are found in the transmutation of the human soul from its original evil condition into a purer state. True alchemy is to make a base man precious by the improvement of his moral and spiritual condition. And on the practical level, alchemy is precisely experimental chemistry. The occult knowledge of the Temple was never heretical, never magical, never demonic, never any such thing; it was secret because society had sunken to a level at which it could not receive such knowledge. Again, it cannot be overemphasized that the period of European history at issue here (i.e., the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries) was violently anti-intellectual and even the "high society" of France was barbarian in comparison to Arab society. Little was understood by the people, and what was not understood was branded witchcraft and demonic. There is really no need to rehearse the sad story of the witch-hunting Dark Ages here again. Suffice it to say that simple scientific knowledge, medicine, mathematics, engineering and design - these things comprised the vast majority of the awesome secrets of the Temple and, today, they are common knowledge.

 

Why then should anyone be interested in Templar wisdom? Because wisdom itself is timeless and is precious in every age, whether the society of the day is barbaric or sophisticated. Because it touches on the Christian Church with respect to matters which have been distorted or suppressed over the centuries by ecclesiastical power-brokers and their servants throughout every society; and these matters are of surpassing importance for our earthly lives and for our immortal souls. Because there is no more important information in existence than the Gospel preached by Jesus Christ our King, and any knowledge which can clarify that Gospel, which can tear away the accretions of error and custom and show the divine Truth as once preached for all time by Jesus, is worth more than the formula for making gold out of lead. Why should anyone believe what the Temple says? That is an excellent question. Two thousand years after Christ walked among us, there is no lack of official authorities on every relevant subject that you can imagine. There are multitudes of religious leaders and other men and women of charismatic appeal or impeccable credentials who are willing to tell you exactly what you should or must believe. In our times, it is customary for such leaders to present huge amounts of evidence to prove that their beliefs and programs are right and true and necessary. How can you know who is telling the truth? There is no authoritative answer, because every authority claims its own views are the truth. You must discover the truth yourself; here is how you do that. Study the Holy Bible and learn not just the commandments and prohibitions, but rather learn the mind of God. God reveals Himself in the whole Bible; Jesus explicitly reveals the mind of His Father to us in the Gospels. Learn God's will first and foremost, and then test everything else you ever study by that golden measure. Learn to listen to your own conscience and common sense; these are God's gifts to you which you are meant to use as His rational creature. Study not only the teachings of whatever Church body you belong to, but also those of whoever opposes your Church body, so that you have some idea of what the issues and unproven questions are. Consider history; look at who persecuted whom for their beliefs and ask yourself Why? What was so dangerous about what was being said and who stood to lose from the belief becoming widespread? Study the history of the arrest and trial of the Templars and ask the previous question. Read what we have to say in this little book and then put it all together and bring your faith, your conscience, your common sense, and your own knowledge to bear on the questions you still have. And pray to God that the Holy Spirit will lead you into the truth; for Jesus Himself is the Truth. It is better to know the truth.

 

A Brief Historical Note

 

The original order of Knights Templar [the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, la milice du Christ] was organized no later than 1114 A.D. by Hugues de Payen, Andre de Montbard, and other Christian men, as an order for warrior-monks. Because of the slaughter by the Saracens of three hundred pilgrims journeying from Jerusalem to the Jordan River on Easter Sunday in 1119, the Order of the Temple was formally reauthorized in 1119 by King Baldwin II of Jerusalem to protect pilgrims on the roads of Outremer. The Order received its first charter, in 1120, from the Council of Nablus, also to protect Christian pilgrims in Outremer. The Council of Troyes, in the Province of Champagne, France, in January 1128, formally approved and chartered the Templars as a sovereign and chivalric religious-military order and gave the order a Rule of poverty, chastity, and obedience, written by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (nephew of Andre de Montbard), which was a variant of St. Bernard's own Cistercian Rule. The Cistercians were a branch of the Order of Saint Benedict; hence, historically, the Benedictine Order and the Templars are necessarily connected. By definition, Templars are Benedictines.

 

The Templars wore a white surcoat and cloak, but clergy wore green. Their emblem was the red Cross pattee (adopted in 1146 A.D.). Their battle cry and battle standard was Beau Seant! They were required to cut their hair, but forbidden to cut their beards. Troyes remained their strategic center for two centuries. The Templars were the preeminent Crusaders for the Holy Land, which they called Outremer, the Land beyond the Sea; they left the Holy Land only after the final defeat at Acre. They then were centered at Cyprus, but wished to establish themselves in the Languedoc Province in the South of France. This ultimately was their undoing because, since they were the preeminent military force of their day and one of the wealthiest organizations in Europe, their plan to establish themselves on French soil (as the Knights Hospitaler of Saint John had on Malta and as the Teutonic Knights had in Prussia, etc.) inspired fear and greed in the heart of King Philippe IV of France. Philippe held Pope Clement V captive in Avignon. At Philippe's demand, the Pope withdrew his support of the Templars. Philippe ordered his seneschals to arrest all the Templars in France on

Friday, October 13, 1307 (from whence comes the Friday the 13th superstition). The King failed to seize the treasure of the Templars, which escaped along with the entire Templar fleet to Ireland and to Kilmory in Scotland. In order to justify attacking and suppressing the Templars, a number of sensational and untrue charges against them were made but, of course, they were never proven. In 1312, the Pope dissolved the Order of Templars within his own jurisdiction. In March 1314, the last Grand Master, Saint Jacques de Molay (memory eternal!), was martyred by burning at the stake, along with Saint Geoffroi de Charney (memory eternal!).

 

The Grand Masters of the First Order

 

1st Master (ruled 1118-1136), Sir Hugh de Payens, the leader of the Founder-Knights (d. May 24th, 1136 A.D.).

2nd Master (ruled 1136-1149), Sir Robert de Craon, the Burgundian, a Founder-Knight (d. January 13th, 1149 A.D.).

3rd Master (ruled 1149-1152), Sir Everard de Barres, who resigned as Master after three years and joined the Cistercian Order at Clairvaux (d. in 1176 A.D.).

4th Master (ruled 1152-1153), Sir Bernard de Tremelai, who was killed with 39 other Knights of the Temple at the battle of Ascalon on August 18th, 1153 A.D..

5th Master (ruled 1153-1156), Sir Andre de Montbard, the last of the Founder-Knights (d. January 17th, 1156 A.D.).

6th Master (ruled 1156-1169), Sir Bertrand de Blanquefort of Bordeaux (d. January 2nd, 1169 A.D.).

7th Master (ruled 1169-1171), Sir Philip de Milly of Nablus, a native Palestinian of Frankish stock, resigned as Master within two years and became the Ambassador to Constantinople of King Amalric of Jerusalem; the date of his repose is unknown.

8th Master (ruled 1171-1179), Sir Odo de St. Amand, died in Damascus, a prisoner of Saladin, on October 8th, 1179 A.D..

9th Master (ruled 1180-1184), Sir Arnold de Torroge, died in Verona on September 30th, 1184 A.D..

10th Master (ruled 1185-1189), Sir Gerard de Ridefort, died in Saladin's prison, after battle at Acre, October 4th, 1189 A.D..

11th Master (ruled 1191-1193), Sir Robert de Sable (d. September 28th, 1193 A.D.).

12th Master (ruled 1194-1200), Sir Gilbert Erail (or Haral, Roral, or Arayl) (d. December 12th, 1200 A.D.).

13th Master (ruled 1201-1209), Sir Philip de Plessiez, died in battle on February 12th, 1209 A.D..

14th Master (ruled 1210-1219), Sir William de Chartres, died in battle at Damietta, Egypt on August 25th, 1219 A.D..

15th Master (ruled 1219-1232), Sir Pedro de Montaigu of Aragon (died January 28th, 1232 A.D.).

16th Master (ruled 1232-1244), Sir Armand de Peragors, died in battle of La Forbie, Gaza on October 17th, 1244 A.D..

17th Master (ruled 1244-1247), Sir Richard de Bures (d. May 9th, 1247 A.D.).

18th Master (ruled 1247-1250), Sir William de Sonnac, died in battle at Mansourah, Egypt on February 8th, 1250 A.D..

19th Master (ruled 1250-1256), Sir Renaud de Vichiers (died January 20th, 1256 A.D.).

20th Master (ruled 1256-1273), Sir Thomas Berard of England (died March 25th, 1273 A.D.).

21st Master (ruled 1273-1291), Sir William de Beaujeu, killed at the siege of Acre on May 18th, 1291 A.D..

22nd Master (ruled 1291-1293), Sir Tibald Gaudin (died April 16th, 1293 A.D.).

23rd Master (ruled 1293-1314), Sir Jacques de Molay, martyred on March 18th, 1314 A.D..

 

After the martyrdom of the 23rd Master, the First Order came to an end as an exoteric Order of the Holy Roman Church. The Lords Sinclair and other Scottish nobility were Masters of the Templars for several centuries. A new Grand Master for the reformed exoteric continuation of the First Order was named and installed through a founding Charter of the Templars. His successor rules the exoteric Order today [1997].

 

In Portugal, after the martyrdom of Master Jacques de Molay, the Templars became the Knights of Christ. Many Templars in other nations joined the Knights Hospitaler of Saint John or the Teutonic Knights. The Templars survived longer in England, Wales, and Ireland, and for perhaps four more centuries in Scotland. Eventually, the Templar properties even in Scotland were put in the hands of the Knights Hospitaler of Saint John. In time, suppression of the Order was complete; the remaining members organized covertly in Scotland and abroad amongst the Jacobite partisans, and have persevered continuously to the present day.

 

Chivalry, invented by the Church in the Middle Ages, was designed to change, and succeeded in changing, an entire class of dangerous warriors, who were predators on their own communities and on neighboring lands, into an organized armed force. The chivalric forces focused their military might on confronting the enemies of medieval Christian society in Europe, on protection of Christian people in foreign lands, and on protection of the weakest members of society, the widows, orphans, and the sick. While, from our modern viewpoint, there was much to denounce in the excesses of the Crusades, nevertheless, this social development was very salutary and beneficial in its time. The importance of the great chivalric Orders of medieval Catholicism (the Templars, Knights Hospitaler of St. John, Teutonic Knights, Knights of Christ, etc.) in bringing on the Renaissance can hardly be overstated. Even though chivalry later went through a period of degeneration during which it became the center of a new romantic ideal of gallantry, courtesy, and honor, even this period had an extremely salutary effect on the role and treatment of women in society, promoting the chivalrous behavior which is still widely valued today.

 

The Wisdom of the Temple

 

 

Saint Mary Magdalene, Apostle of the Resurrection

 

Monstrous and slanderous deceits and blasphemy have been published about Jesus Christ, our King, and Saint Mary Magdalene, the Holy Myrrh-bearer and Equal-to-the-Apostles. St. Mary, the Magdalen, was not the bride of Jesus and did not bear Him a child. Certain very powerful interests have maintained the blasphemous "bloodline of Jesus" fiction for many centuries. Although Jesus cast seven demons out of Mary, she was never a prostitute; this ancient canard has its roots in envy and misogyny. She was a member of the family which accepted Jesus into its bosom, that of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. St. John the Beloved and St. Mary the Magdalen are the father and mother of all monastics, since they were the two disciples who were always closest to Jesus and since they gave up marriage for His sake. Both died still virginal, but far away from each other.

 

About fourteen years after the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ, a new persecution drove many Christians out of Israel into exile. One group included St. Mary Magdalene and her two attendants, Martilla and St. Sara Melania (Black) the Egyptian (who is the patron saint of the Romany), also St. Cedonius (the blind man healed by Jesus - Mark 8:22-26), St. Maximinus (later, 1st Bishop of Aix), St. Lazarus (later, 1st Bishop of Marseilles), Joseph of Arimathe' (later, 1st Bishop of Glastonbury, Britain), Mary and Lazarus' sister Martha, Mary Salome, Mary the mother of James, and St. Amador of Lucca (who was known before as Zacchaeus, of the sycamore tree, Luke 19:1-10). This group fled Israel by boat, stopped in Egypt, and landed in Europe at Ile de Ratis (afterwards named Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer [Saints Mary of the Sea] for them), on the Gallican coast. There is an apocryphal legend about St. Sara missing the boat's departure from Israel and pursuing the boat; another legend claims the voyagers were cast out to sea and miraculously sailed directly to Gaul. They actually left purposefully and went by way of Egypt, where St. Sara and others joined the party. It goes without saying that the voyage had the protection of God's holy Angels. St. Mary Magdalene was in active ministry for years. She spent the last 30 years of her life in the place in Gaul which was called St. Baume ("holy balm") for her after her repose, where she was an eremitic wonder-worker (known for levitation) and an inspiration to the faithful.

 

Ridiculous and blasphemous is the claim that the Magdalen was pregnant with the child of Jesus when she arrived at Les

Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. Those who make this claim cannot explain how that could be possible 14-15 years after His Resurrection and Ascension into heaven, except by that vicious Gnostic lie - viz., that Jesus faked His death on the Cross and lived many years afterwards. No one who believes the Holy Gospels, who believes that Jesus died, was buried, and rose on the third day, can possibly believe that St. Mary Magdalene was carrying His child a decade and a half later. Most Christians are so repelled by the Gnostic lie about Jesus and Mary Magdalene (because they believe, erroneously, that sex is inherently sinful), that they close their minds to all the facts around the case, which leaves the field free for the Gnostics and their lies. It is better to know the truth.

 

Yes, it is true that veneration of St. Mary Magdalene is particularly dear to the Temple. She was in Jesus' inner circle of disciples; she was virtually "family" to Him. Furthermore, she was the Apostle of the Resurrection, something too often forgotten by the Church. Those who pursue feminist ideals within a pure Christian heart would do well to turn to the Magdalen for instruction, for there was no other woman like her and hers is an ideal to strive towards. When our society eventually matures out of its current adolescent attitudes about love and sexual relations (which attitudes are the result of erroneous teachings of the Roman Church for many centuries), then it can rediscover the Eros of Christ, which only the greatest saints, like St. Bernard of Clairvaux and Saint Mary Magdalene have fully understood. Again, by failing entirely to deal orthodoxly with that particular matter (the Eros of Christ), the Church has left the field free for the Gnostics and their gross, disgusting distortions thereof. In such matters touching on doctrine, it is essential to know the truth.

 

 

 

 

 

The Holy Mandylion

{Tetradiplon - Icon of Christ, Acheiropoietos - Sydoine - Shroud of Turin}

 

Fantastic and utter rubbish has been published in recent decades about the so-called Shroud of Turin. The truth is simple. King of Edessa, Abgar V, wrote to Jesus asking healing for his illness and offering sanctuary in Edessa from the Sanhedrin. In His only recorded letter, Jesus wrote back to Abgar thanking him and declining the offer, because His mission was to Israel. Abgar was healed by the letter's touch. After the Resurrection, St. Thaddeus sent the burial shroud of Jesus, which has His image burnt onto it, to Abgar V. We call this cloth The Holy Mandylion. There is an apocryphal story that Jesus sent Abgar a handkerchief which healed Abgar, and which had Jesus' face imprinted on it by Jesus' use of it as a handkerchief. This tale is so all pervasive that all Orthodox icons of the Mandylion show a handkerchief, and all prayers touching on it describe it as such. The Order of the Temple particularly venerates such Icons, despite that error. The shroud was actually sent after Jesus' Resurrection (it could only have been sent later, obviously) and was twice full-length and folded four times in half so that only Jesus' face showed on one side. The 6th century Acts of Thaddeus refer to the Mandylion as the Tetradiplon ("doubled-in-four"), which proves this fact. Icons of the Mandylion are called Acheiropoietos, a Greek word which means not-made-by-human-hands. Some writers miss the point entirely and point out that the icons are obviously hand-painted, so the name is a fraud. Such ignorance informs much of the rubbish written on the subject of the Shroud. Every Orthodox child knows Acheiropoietos refers to Jesus as only-begotten Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, not to the making of each icon.

 

After Abgar's death, his successors reverted to paganism so the Christians of Edessa bricked up the Mandylion in the city walls over the High Gate where it remained for nearly 500 years. There was a natural disaster in Edessa in 525 A.D., and in making repairs to the walls, the Mandylion was found. It was displayed in 544, by which the Persian attack on Edessa was turned away. It remained in Edessa until 944 A.D., when it was taken to Constantinople and placed in the Emperor's relic treasury, the Pharos Chapel. There, the Mandylion was sometimes called the Sydoine. It was sometimes displayed in the Church of St. Mary Blachernae and was seen there just before its disappearance in the 4th Crusade.

 

Crusader Sir Boniface, Marquis de Montferrat, the leader of the 4th Crusade, had family connections to the Templars and to the Savoy and de Charny families. That crusade sacked Constantinople (one of the Western Church's darkest moments) in 1204 A.D.; the Emperor of Constantinople died and his widow, Mary-Margaret, married Boniface. Boniface confiscated the Mandylion; upon his death in 1207 it passed to Mary-Margaret, who thereupon married Nicholas de St. Omer, who was descended from the second of the original nine Templar Knights. Nicholas brought the Mandylion to the Temple in Paris, from whence it, with a number of other major relics in the Temple's possession, regularly went on tour to the Templar commanderies in other lands, to be venerated and to be studied. It is the veneration of the holy Face of Christ on the Mandylion which the Inquisition perverted into a fantastic and slanderous charge, that of worshipping a "head-idol" called Baphomet. In fact, Baphomet was simply the name of Mohammed then in current Gallican usage, and was used for general-purpose charges of heresy whenever the Inquisition needed to invent charges against the innocent.

 

Escaping with his life from the arrest of the Templars on October 13, 1307, one of the very few senior knights to do so, was the Commander of the Paris Temple, Gerard de Villiers, who saved the Treasury for transport to Scotland. He took the Mandylion from the Templar Treasury in Paris and he gave it to Geoffrey de Charny of Lirey, France in gratitude for his rescue (the de Charnys and a few related families engineered the escapes of about 17 knights). Geoffrey de Charny was the nephew of Geoffroi de Charney, the Preceptor of Normandy who was burned at the stake with Jacques de Molay. Significantly (for those who understand), Geoffrey de Charny was the owner of Rennes-le-Chteau in the Languedoc. Geoffrey de Charny founded a local collegiate church, Notre Dame de Lirey; he died at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356, along with many of his family members.

 

Jeanne de Vergy, the widow of Geoffrey de Charny, first displayed the Mandylion publicly in Notre Dame de Lirey in 1357. Eventually, the de Charnys turned the Mandylion over to their relatives, the Savoys. It eventually came into the possession of the Roman Catholic Church. The history from 1357 to the present is fairly well known and documented and there is no point in rehearsing it here.

 

Certainly, the Mandylion has been subjected in the 20th century to the most intense scientific examination ever mounted, which cannot prove that it is anything but what it so clearly is, the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. A few authors have published theories on how it could have been forged. However, their forgery hypotheses are stretched to the fullest limit of credibility and do not stand the simple test of common sense. One forgery hypothesis would require a well-known genius, a Renaissance master artist, both to have invented an amazing process and then to have used it with absolutely moronic incompetence. There is perhaps no other object known which, having been so examined and proven, would not have been universally accepted as genuine. This pathological incredulity is, of course, because there are so many non-believers who cannot stand the thought that such a piece of physical evidence of the death and Resurrection of Jesus could still exist. Such non-believers torture themselves and twist scientific knowledge and historical realities into knots trying to invent a scenario in which the Holy Mandylion is not anything holy, not anything connected with Christ our King. It is mildly amusing (when one is not outraged at their willful disregard for the truth) to read the fantastic revisions of history which they imagine and invent. It is better to know the truth.

 

The Ark of the Covenant

 

There are objects which, if they were publicly given levels of examination and proof similar to that accorded the Holy Mandylion, would likely generate similar levels of controversy and denials by non-believers. The implications of such objects are similarly unacceptable to too many non-believers to allow them to be publicly acclaimed as what they are. One such is the Ark of the Covenant. It was taken from Israel after the apostate Manasseh brought idols into the Temple. It was taken from the Temple, by the will of God and through the offices of the son of the high priest Zadok; it could not have been removed otherwise than by the will of God.

 

Having conceived a son by King Solomon, Queen Sheba returned to Ethiopia (Axum), not to Yemen as is so often claimed by ignorant academics. King Menelik I was conceived in Israel but was born in Ethiopia; his conception was the occasion for Sheba's departure home. As an adult, he returned and was recognized immediately by his father, Solomon, and welcomed. Sheba herself had converted to Judaism and converted her kingdom also; the Falasha Jews are the remnant of those Jewish Ethiopians. The Ark of the Covenant left Israel about 650 B.C., when Zadok's son accompanied Menelik I on his homeward journey to Ethiopia.

 

Elephantine, on the Nile River in Egypt, had a Jewish Temple of Yahweh, in which the Ark was placed. This was not a synagogue; temple worship and sacrifice were continued. That Temple was destroyed in 410 BC and the Falasha Jews took the Ark to Ethiopia, to Lake Tana, where it stayed in the Tent for about 800 years on Tana Kyrkos, the island, Djebrah Sehel (this Mountain of Forgiveness, not Montserrat in Spain, is von Eschenbach's Munsalvaesche). Saint Frumentius converted the vast majority of the Falasha Jews to Christianity circa 332 AD, and the Ark became the greatest relic of the Ethiopian Church. At the end of the 4th century, the Ark was taken to Aksum (Axum), the ancient royal capital, in northern Ethiopia, where is remains today, in the fenced chapel of St. Mary of Zion Church.

 

After decades of searching, the Order of the Temple had determined that the Ark was not hidden anywhere on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Our involvement with the Ark began when the half-brother of King Harbay of Ethiopia, named Lalibela, was exiled in Jerusalem and we learned of the tradition that the Ark was in his capital, Axum. In 1185 AD, a company of Templars accompanied Lalibela to his homeland and quickly and easily placed him on the throne. Very shortly, they were shown the Ark of the Covenant and, in the proper season, they released a number of birds which each carried the same single word. Several of those birds returned to a commandery in Outremer, outside Jerusalem, and a party of masons and other workers soon left for Axum. In the next few decades, we carved a number of churches for the king out of stone - they are subterranean churches with their tops at ground level, and they still are in use today. We participated in expositions of the Ark, and accompanied that most sacred object as an honor guard (since no real guard is at all needed). Templars rotated in and out of the country on a regular basis, for we established a permanent commandery with several houses there, as we had certain hopes.

 

Remarkable references to our Ethiopian mission may be found in a work of art, Parsifal by Wolfram von Eschenbach, resulting from information about the mission which early on was leaked out. Von Eschenbach was, himself, closely connected to the Temple. He chose to refer to the Ark as the Holy Grail, referring to it as a stone, by which he meant the Tablets of Moses within the Ark.

 

Kings of Ethiopia, succeeding one after another, began to fear our strength and our intentions, even though we Templars had served them for more than a century. We became less welcome and, eventually, we received great harm from the Ethiopians in recompense for all that we had done for their kings. The king sent an embassy in 1306 to Pope Clement V (of sorry memory) in Avignon, which suggested that we were about to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Europe. In the social context of those days, for the Temple to have done so would have most likely have brought massive public support to the Temple, and given the Temple the even greater power which such public support creates. We believe now that this apprehension about the potential increase in our power was one of several motives for Pope Clement's utter betrayal and abandonment of the Temple a year later. The mission in Ethiopia never returned to France. We closed the mission down and began our return home, but hearing of the great persecution of the Temple, we went, in accordance with longstanding orders, directly to western Ireland and thence to Kilmory in the Argyll of Scotland to rejoin

the main force. The Temple has no designs upon the Ark today. We know full well, better than most, that it cannot be taken anywhere except by the will of God. Much foolishness has been published about theories of the location of the Ark of the Covenant and about theories that it no longer exists at all. It is better to know the truth.

 

 

 

The Holy Grail - Literal & Mystical

 

Generating a great deal of controversy and denial by non-believers is the Grail Cup, viz., the Chalice of Christ, which is most properly called the Holy Grail. If the Grail Cup could be publicly examined and proven, as the Holy Mandylion has been, non-believers would again suffer from pathological incredulity. This sacred object was a plain chalice - not fabulously jeweled as is claimed in legends, although it is precious beyond price, made precious by our Lord at the Last Supper. Saint John the Beloved kept the Grail and then gave it to Saint Mary the Mother of God because she, in divine truth, was the original chalice of Jesus, Whose Body and Blood she contained in her virgin womb; Saint John perceived its deeper meaning in that light. It is confidently believed that this chalice disappeared with Mary at her bodily Assumption. At least, the physical chalice itself has never been seen since, to our knowledge. The Order of the Temple knows this one chalice, by the mystery of which the miracle of theosis in true communion with God is made possible, to be the quintessential Holy Grail nonpareil.

 

Regarding the wisdom of the Temple, the true mystical Holy Grail is the Holy Theotokos, Mary, who is also the new Ark of the Covenant. She is both Grail and Ark, in that she contained God's covenant, the promised Messiah, the Holy Light (like the Shekinah glory of the first Ark). She contained Christ's Body and Blood; she contained the Light of the World. We venerate her, therefore, not only as "our Lady of the Light - Notre Dame de Lumiere," but also as "the Virgin Mary, Ark of the Covenant - la Vierge Marie Arche d'Alliance."

 

Are there other objects than Christ's chalice which are believed to be the true Holy Grail? (The underlying assumption is that there is only one Grail.) If Christ's chalice is the Grail and the Grail is defined thereby, then there must be only one Grail. If "Holy Grail" is used to describe certain extremely sacred objects and persons worthy of deep veneration (which is, in fact, the case), then there really are a number of Holy Grails. Wolfram von Eschenbach, in his Parsifal, chose to refer to the Ark of the Covenant as the Holy Grail, referring to it as a stone, by which he meant the Tablets of Moses within the Ark, inscribed on meteorite stones. The Ark, however metaphorically described and thus disguised, is the Grail of Parsifal. A silver basin used to collect the Blood of Christ crucified is also called the Holy Grail, which the Temple does not dispute. This particular sacred item came to the Ile de Ratis in Gaul (later renamed Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer) with St. Mary Magdalene, St. Joseph of Arimathe', and others, about 15 years after the Crucifixion. We believe it is still in Scotland today. And there are other sacred items which, in their piety, writers and

saints have called Holy Grail over the centuries.

 

It is the simple truth that the literal Holy Grail is Christ's chalice which we are certain is no longer extant, and the mystical, symbolic Holy Grail is the Blessed Virgin Mary. The special Holy Grail of our Order was the Ark of the Covenant, which it was our honor to serve before for over a century, but the Ark is the Ark, sufficient unto itself. The additional sacred items which are also called Holy Grails, such as the basin mentioned above, the lance, the candlestick, etc., comprise a separate subject, which we are not to speak of at this time.

 

Lies and fantasies about the Holy Grail proliferate endlessly. Do not believe the fantastic hypothesis that the Holy Grail (Saint Graal) is really the Sang Real or Royal Blood. This clever invention playing on the language is nothing but a word-game, meant to support the fantasy of a surviving bloodline from Jesus and the Magdalen. Hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of academics have earned their doctorates by weaving casuistical fantasies about what the Holy Grail is, or whether it ever existed. Many prefer to believe it was invented out of pre-existing Celtic mythology by Chretien de Troyes who wrote the first Grail-tale. Many prefer to hold that the Grail is mythical so that they can attach to it their preferred psychological theory de jour. Anyone who reads any of the multitudinous books and articles which treat of these subjects should keep the above discussions in mind as they read, and judge by them whether the author is accurate or is just repeating fantasies, hypotheses, gossip, rubbish, disinformation, and outright lies. It is better to know the truth.

 

 

Black Virgins

 

Virgin and Child statues and icons are called "Black Virgins (Vierges Noires)" when the Virgin and Child have dark faces, hands, and feet, ranging from simply darker than usual to coal black. The Order of the Temple created this special form of Madonna and Child image early on during our mission (1185-1308 A.D.) in Ethiopia, both to honor, and to convey metaphorically a reference on the first level to, Queen Sheba & Menelik I (who was her son by King Solomon), because of the Ark of the Covenant and their connection thereto. In this case, the blackness is a reference to the race of Sheba and Menelik, not to that of Saint Mary and Jesus. The blackness of the Vierge Noire Madonna is also a reference on a deeper level to Saint Mary, Theotokos as the Ark of the Covenant ("Vierge Marie Arche d'Alliance") and as our Lady of the Light ("Notre Dame de Lumiere"). In this case, the blackness of her face is in apposition to the immeasurable light of God; that is, with the Uncreated Light of God behind her and blinding us, her face would be very dark indeed. Since the Child is Christ the Light, there are problems with this idea if it is approached in a rationalistic, pseudo-scientific manner; but our meaning was and is mystical and we have always known what we mean by this image.

 

No other Templar meaning for Vierge Noire statues and icons which writers might suggest should be believed. The whole meaning, so far as we are concerned, is given above. There were dark-countenanced mother-and-child statues in existence before our Vierges Noires, but they have nothing to do with us and we will not comment upon them. There have been new "Black Virgins" created since we brought our Vierges Noires home to France, with which we also have nothing to do and no comment to make, except that, in some cases, persons are creating this type of image to fulfill the New Age fantasies about our Vierges Noires which have appeared in academic writings and speculations. The Temple knows that genuine Vierges Noires do not refer at all to Saint Mary Magdalene, as vigorously suggested by some of those who support the fantasy of a surviving bloodline from Jesus and the Magdalen. Such ideas as that tickle the restless minds of the ignorant. It is better to know the truth.

 

Pray for us, Notre Dame de Lumiere, Vierge Marie Arche d'Alliance!

 

 

Canonization of the Templar Martyrs and Saints

 

The following is the text of the tomos of canonization which was enacted by the General Chapter of the Military Order of Knights of the Temple of Solomon, in session covened at Templum Sanctus Hermannus on the 3rd day of the month of May in Anno Domini 1997. It says plainly the truth about the vicious betrayal and violent suppression of the Order from 1307 through 1314.

 

WHEREAS, the Order of the Temple, in its innocent loyalty to Holy Church, was treacherously betrayed by King Philip IV (le Bel) of France and Pope Clement V by the wholesale arrest of the Templars in France on Friday, October 13th, 1307 A.D., which resulted in the cruel imprisonment, false accusations, slander, torture, and death of hundreds of Templars, and ultimately resulted in the papal suppression of the victimized Order; and

 

WHEREAS, the Archbishop of Sens, Philip Marigny, an ally of King Philip IV, martyred 54 innocent Templars by burning them at the stake on May 12th, 1310 A.D., just outside Paris; and yet another 13 innocent Templars were subsequently martyred by burning at the stake shortly thereafter in 1310 A.D., in the same locale; and

 

WHEREAS, in all, hundreds of innocent Templars were martyred by inhuman torture, mutilation, and criminal neglect, as well as by outright execution, at the hands of the corrupt and heterodox Inquisition from 1307 - 1314 A.D.; and

 

WHEREAS, the Grand Master of the Temple, Sir Jacques de Molay, and the Preceptor of Normandy, Sir Geoffroi de Charney, were martyred in a most vicious manner, by order of King Philip IV, by slow roasting at the stake on Ile des Javiaux on the Seine in Paris on March 18th, 1314 A.D., because they dared to protest aloud their true and orthodox innocence to the Parisian public; and

 

WHEREAS, the civilized world then confidently suspected and now knows full well that the slanderous charges and accusations against the Temple were completely false and baseless, were supported only by suborned perjury and by professional liars of the French royal court, and could be pursued only because of the corrupt state of the papacy and the tyranny of the French royal court;

 

WHEREAS, the erroneous belief of the papacy and the French royal court in witchcraft, sorcery, and magical attacks, which motivated them to persecute the Templars (whose imagined powers of magical attack they feared) and which evolved thereafter into the monstrous and demoniacal witch-hunt pogroms of the Inquisition, constituted a false and heterodox doctrine, against which the innocent and orthodox Templars witnessed and protested, and whereas the other motives of these heretical persecutors were equally un-Christian: to wit, envy, greed, injured pride, and a craven, misplaced, fear of the military and popular power of the Temple;

 

NOW, THEREFORE, we, the General Chapter of the Military Order of Knights of the Temple of Solomon, in session covened, hereby witness and proclaim, for all Christ's Holy Church, that these many victim Templars were indeed martyrs for the orthodox true Christian Faith, entirely innocent of the charges against them, and that they were slaughtered by the demonically-inspired forces of heresy, superstition, corruption, and avarice within the court of King Philip IV and the court of Pope Clement V; and furthermore, that those Templars shall be commemorated as Martyrs of Holy Church, whose intercession may be sought in prayer. Furthermore: 1st, The Calendar of the Temple of the Templar Field Missal, which contains a number of especial commemorations of the Templars, shall be normative in that respect in the Order of the Temple throughout the world. 2nd, on March 18th, the Martyrdom of St. Jacques de Molay and St. Geoffroi de Charney shall be commemorated, and that day shall also be the Feast of all Templar Martyrs

and Saints, including all of those who were martyred in combat with the Saracens. 3rd, on May 12th, the Martyrdom of the 67 Templar Martyrs of 1310 A.D., and of all those Templars martyred at the hands of the Inquisition from 1307 through 1314 A.D., shall be commemorated. 4th, October 13th, the anniversary of the arrest and betrayal of the Temple, shall be commemorated as a Templar Fast Day. 5th, the making and veneration of sacred images (pictures, icons, etc.) of the Templar Martyrs are hereby authorized. 6th, on each Easter Sunday, commemoration shall be made of the "300 Pilgrim Martyrs of Jerusalem," who were slaughtered by the Saracens as they journeyed from Jerusalem to the Jordan River on Easter Sunday in 1119 A.D., which tragedy resulted in the formal reauthorization in 1119 of the Order of the Temple by King Baldwin II of Jerusalem and in its first charter, in 1120, by the Council of Nablus, as a force to protect Christian pilgrims on the roads of Outremer.

 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF: {Signed by all the Templars in attendance from the Grand Priory of North America and the Grand Priory of Africa.}