15 July 2008, JellyBean @ 4:16 am

There is much mystery and speculation surrounding the Order of the Knights Templar. Did they find and are they the guardians of the Holy Grail? Were they heretics?
Knights Templar
We may soon be able to get some answers to these and many other questions. The Vatican is about to release a new book, Processus contra Templarios, which will be published by the Vatican’s Secret Archive on Oct 25. It promises to restore the reputation of the Templars, whose leaders were burned as heretics when the order was dissolved in 1314.

The Knights Templar were a powerful but secretive group of warrior monks during the Middle Ages. The order was founded in 1099 by Hugues de Payns, a French knight, to protect pilgrims on the road to the Holy Land. Their headquarters were in the Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount – hence their name.

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Following the fall of Jerusalem to the Muslims in 1244, rumours abounded that the Knights were heretics who worshipped idols and held secret, evil initiation rites. In 1307, King Philip IV “the Fair” of France, in desperate need of money, ordered the arrest and torture of all Templars. Their leader Jacques de Molay was tortured and burnt at the stake.

In 2001, Professor Barbara Frale discovered a scrap of parchment in the Vatican secret archives. This document was the record of the trial of the templars held before Pope Clement V who had ordered the their arrest for heresy. The document ends with his absolution for all their heresies.

The document, known as the Chinon parchment, reveals that the Templars had an initiation ceremony which involved “spitting on the cross”, “denying Jesus” and kissing the lower back, navel and mouth of the man proposing them. The Templars stated that this was to mimick the humiliation they would go to if they ever fell into the hands of the Saracens. The kissing was a sign of their total obedience to their leaders and the order.

Pope Clement concluded that their rituals were not blasphemous, but he dissolved the Order anyway in order to keep the peace with King Philip and prevent any possible split within the church.

“This is proof that the Templars were not heretics,” said Prof Frale. “The Pope was obliged to ask pardon from the knights.

“For 700 years we have believed that the Templars died as cursed men, and this absolves them.”

AndhraNews: Vatican paper absolves Knights Templar
Telegraph: Vatican paper set to clear Knights Templar

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