Ten accusations made against the Knights Templar

Templar artworkIn 1307, the Knights Templar were rounded up, imprisoned and tortured under secret orders issued by the King of France. The trials of top Templars would last for years and lead to many being burnt at the stake including the last Grand Master, Jacques de Molay. He was incinerated in public in front of Notre Dame cathedral.

A string of scandalous accusations were made against the Knights Templar to justify smashing the order. I recommend Malcom Barber’s detailed account of The Trial of the Templars if you want to learn a lot more.

MolayHere were some of the most noteworthy charges:

  1. New entrants to the Templar order had to deny Christ, the Holy Virgin and the saints
  2. Templars were told that Christ was a false prophet and there was no hope of receiving salvation through belief in him
  3. Knights were ordered to spit on a crucifix and even urinate or trample on it
  4. The order worshipped a head of some description, possibly that of a cat or with three faces or an idol called Baphomet
  5. This idol was encircled with cords, which the Templars then wore around their waists
  6. The Knights Templar rejected the sacraments of the Catholic church
  7. It was thought that the Grand Master and other leading Templars could absolve sins even though they were laymen and not priests
  8. New entrants were kissed on the mouth, the navel, the stomach, the buttocks and the spine and homosexuality was encouraged
  9. The Templars were only interested in financial gain and pocketed donations for their own use
  10. Chapter meetings and initiations were held in strictest secret with only Templars present and those that revealed any details to people outside of the order would be punished with imprisonment or death

A short film from the Smithsonian includes a reenactment of what the alleged initiation ritual looked like.


Via Dolorosa – what happened before the Crucifixion

Having had his face wiped by Veronica, Jesus then met the faithful women of Jerusalem and fell once more before being taken to the place where he was to be crucified. These last stages are marked on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem as you approach the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which marks the point of his execution and entombment.


Templar use of the Cross symbol

Emblem of the Military Order of Templars.
Emblem of the Military Order of Templars. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three years after the fall of Edessa to the Seljuk Turks in the Holy Land, the already well established Templars were given the papal thumbs up to emblazon their white mantles with a red cross.

This made them quite a dashing sight in battle as ranks of them charged forward, white mantles fluttering in the breeze and the scarlet crosses clearly on display – in contrast to the crescents of the Saracens.

The crosses though were not latin crosses, but Greek.  In other words, the vertical line did not extend downwards as the latin cross does but was equal to the horizontal.  This has always fuelled debate on whether the cross really represented the crucifixion or was a pre-existing ancient symbol used by religious groups pre-dating Christianity.

Some credence is given to this by the use of the Egyptian ‘ankh’ by Coptic Christians to this day and which clearly relates to earlier gods.  Apart from anything else, the crucifix like the circle is an obvious design to attract spiritual meaning in ancient cultures.

There wasn’t just one type of Templar cross but the most common is the cross with each arm flaring out in to two points – giving eight points in total.  However, that wasn’t the only cross the Order used but all of them conform to the Greek model unlike the Teutonic knights who insisted on using the latin cross.