≡ Menu

latin

Letter from Baldwin II to Bernard de Clairvaux: The Knights Templar need a rule

0 comments

Letter from Baldwin II to Bernard de Clairvaux [June 28, 1119 – October 15, 1126]

Baudouin_du_BourgBalduinus, miseratione Iesu Christi rex Ierosolymorum, princeps Antiochie, venerabili patri Bernardo, in regno Gallie degenti, totius reverentie digno, abbati monasterii Clarevallis, prompte voluntatis obsequium. Fratres Templarii,quos Dominus ad defensionem hujus Provincie excitavit et mirabili quodam modo conservavit, apostolicam confirmationem obtinere et certam vite normam habere desiderant. Ideo, mittimus ad vos Andream et Gundemarum, bellicis operibus et sanguinis stemmate claros, ut a pontifice ordinis sui approbationem obtineant, et animum ejus inclinent ad prestandum nobis subsidium et auxilium contra inimicos fidei, quiomnes uno animo parique consensu ad supplantandum subvertendumque regnum nostrum insurgunt. Et quia non me latet quanti ponderis sit intercessio vestra, tam apud Deum quam apud ejus vicarium et ceteros orthodoxes Europe principes, prudentie vestre utrumque hoc negotium duximus committendum, quorum expeditio erit nobis gratissima. Constitutiones Templariorum taliter condite, quod et a strepitu et bellico tumultu non dissentiant, et principum christianorum auxilio sint utiles. Sic agite, ut felicem exitum hujus rei, vita comite, videre possimus. Deo pro nobis preces fundite. Valete.

From Cartulaire Général de l’ordre du Temple, ed. Marquis d’Albon (Paris, 1913)

TRANSLATION

Baldwin, by the mercy of Jesus Christ king of Jerusalem and prince of Antioch, to the venerable father Bernard residing in the kingdom of France, worthy of every reverence, the abbot of the monastery of Clairvaux, with ready willingness to serve. Templar brothers, whom the Lord incited to defend this realm and whom he has somewhat miraculously preserved, wish to obtain an apostolic confirmation and to have a strict rule of life. For that reason, I am sending to you Andreas and Gundemar, distinguished in matters of war and in their bloodlines, so that they might obtain the approval of their Order from the Pope and incline his heart towards offering us help and reinforcement against the enemies of our faith, who are all rising up united with the goal of overthrowing and subverting our kingdom. Since it is not hidden from me of what weight your involvement would be, both in the eyes of the Lord and his vicar and in the eyes of other faithful European rulers, I decided that I should commit to your wisdom these matters, whose resolution will be pleasing to me. The principles of the Templars are such that they should not object to the uproar and the turmoil of war, and that they be of help to the rulers of Christendom. So, act that we may see a happy outcome of this matter, provided that we all live. Pray for me. Farewell.

‘Milites Templi’ – Papal Bull concerning the Knights Templar

0 comments

Celestinus episcopus servus servorum Dei. Venerabilibus fratribus, archiepiscopis, episcopis, abbatibus et universis ecclesiarum prelatis ad quos littere iste pervenerint, salutem et apostolicam benedictionem. Milites Templi Ierosolimitani, novi sub tempore gratie, Machabei, abnegantes secularia desideria et propria relinquentes, tollentes crucem suam, secuti sunt Xpistum. Ipsi sunt per quos Deus Orientalem ecclesiam a paganorum spurcitia liberat, et Xpristiani nominis inimicos expugant. Ipsi pro fratribus animas ponere non formidant, et peregrinos ad loca sancta profiscientes, in eundo et reundo ab incursibus paganorum defensant; et quoniam ad iam sanctum et pium opus explendum, proprie facultates non suppetunt, fraternitatem vestrem presentibus litteris exhortamur, quatinus, unde eorum suppleatur inopia, populum vobis a Deo commissum collectas facere moneatis. Quicumque vero de facultatibus sibi a Deo collatis, eis subvenerit, et in tam sancta fraternitate se collegam statuerit eisque beneficia persolverit annuatim, septimam ei partem injuncte penitentie, confisi de beatorum apostolorum Petri et Pauli meritis, indulgemus. Si vero excommunicatus non fuerit et eum mori contigerit, ei cum aliis Xpistianis sepultura ecclesiastica non negetur. Cum autem fratres ipsius Templi, qui ad collectam suscipiendam destinati fuerint, in civitatem, castellum vel vicum advenerint, si forte locus ipse interdictus sit, in jocundo eorum adventu, pro Templi honore et eorumdem militium reverentia, semel in anno aperiantur ecclesie et, exclusis excommunicatis, divina officia celebrentur. Que vero de non excommunicatis eorumdem militium fratribus ecclesiastice sepulture tradendis, et ecclesiis, in eorum adventu, excommunicatis exclusis, semel aperiendis, a nobis statuta sunt, mandando vobis precipimus, ut per vestras parrochias faciatis irrefragabiliter observari. Preterea fraternitati vestre rogando mandamus, quatinus personas eorum et bona, pro caritate beati Petri et nostra, manuteneatis et nullam eis irrogari lesionem vel injuriam permittatis. Datum Lat(eran)i v idus januarii.

Veritas vos liberabit

5 comments

229_001One of the weaker points in Raymond Khoury’s “The Last Templar” is the use of the phrase Veritas vos liberabit (The truth will set you free). This Bible verse from John 8 is enigmatically presented as a common Templar motto, because it can be supposedly seen on the walls of some Templar castle in France (Chateau de Blanchefort, to be precise). I was unable to find any references to this inscription. Seriously, if every Templar castle had this inscription prominently displayed… According to the novel, the markings are there, in plain sight. Why can’t I find any pictures with these words anywhere? The answer is probably quite simple. This phrase never was used as a motto by the legendary military order. If you are trying to find a Bible verse that defines this elite group of warrior monks, there is nothing better that the words from the book of Psalms: Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini Tuo da Gloriam. Not to us, not to us, O Lord, But to thy name give glory. There is irrefutable evidence that the Knights sang a hymn containing these words before going into battle. They were much less concerned about their own future than about glorifying the name of the Lord.

This phrase is also used as a motto by many schools and institutions. Most famously, the California Institute of Technology.

P.S. According to one of the comments I have received, the name of the castle is Chateau Blanquefort. The book clearly states Blanchefort. Perhaps it is a minor issue, because I would be sufficiently happy to see any Templar structure or document with this phrase.

The Knights Templar’s Prayer

13 comments

Vatican scholar: prayer proves Knights Templar not heretical

The Vatican has for the first time published the prayer the Knights Templar composed when “unjustly imprisoned”, in which they appealed to the Virgin Mary to persuade “our enemies” to abandon “calumnies and lies” and revert to “truth and charity”.

L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, said the prayer was further proof that the order, which was dissolved in the fourteenth century, was not heretical. The knights were innocent of the charges against them, which included the accusation that they worshipped idols such as a “monstrous statue, half man and half goat”.

The L’Osservatore Romano article, by Barbara Frale, the Vatican Secret Archives scholar who has made a special study of the knights, said it was untrue that the knights were guilty of “decadence, heresy and immoral practices”.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen … 579987.ece

This document has been already published before. I recovered the shortened version of the original Latin text from a 19th century edition, “Les Templiers” tragedy by François-Just-Marie Raynouard (1761-1836). It is somewhat puzzling in a few places, and I don’t know the actual source of this prayer. Anyway, here it is (followed by a translation):

Sancti spiritus adsit nobis gratia. Maria, Stella maris, perducat nos ad portam salutis. Amen.

Domine, Jesu Christe, sancte pater, aeterne Deus, omnipotens, sapiens creator, largitor, administrator benignus, et carissimus amator, pius et humilis redemptor, clemens, misericors salvator, Domine, te deprecor humiliter et exoro ut illumines me, liberes et conserves fratres Templi, et omnem populum tuum chistianum turbatum.

Tu, Domine, qui scis nos esse innocentes, facias liberari, ut vota nostra et mandata tua in humilitate teneamus, et tuum sanctum servitium et voluntatem faciamus ; contumelias iniquas, non veras, contra nos oppositas per graves oppositiones, et malas tribulationes et tentationes, quas passi fuimus, et pati ulterius non possumus.

Omnipotens, aeterne Deus, qui beatum Joannem evangelistam et apostolum tuum valde diligis, qui super pectus tuum in caena recubuit, et cui secreta caeli revelavis et demonstravis, et stante in ligno sanctae crucis, pro redemptione nostra, sanctissimam matrem tuam virginem commendavis, in cujus honore gloriose fuit facta, et fundata religio ; pro tua sancta misericordia liberes et conserves, prout tu scis nos esse innocentes a criminibus contra nos oppositis, et operas possideamus, per quas ad gaudia paradisi perducamur, per Christum dominum nostrum. Amen.

TRANSLATION

May the grace of the Holy Spirit be present with us. May Mary, Star of the Sea, lead us to the harbor of salvation. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Father, eternal God, omnipotent, omniscient Creator, Bestower, kind Ruler and most tender lover, pious and humble Redeemer; gentle, merciful Savior, Lord! I humbly beseech The and implore Thee that Thou may enlighten me, free me and preserve the brothers of the Temple and all Thy Christian people, troubled as they are.

Thou, O Lord, Who knowest that we are innocent, set us free that we may keep our vows and your commandments in humility, and serve Thee and act according to Thy will. (Dispel) all those unjust reproaches, far from the truth, heaped upon us by the means of tough adversities, great tribulations and temptations, which we have endured, but can endure no longer.

Omnipotent, eternal God, who hast so loved the blessed John the Evangelist and Apostle, that he reclined upon Thy bosom at the Last Supper, and to whom Thou revealed and showed the Mysteries of Heaven, and to whom, while suspended on the Holy Cross, for the sake of our redemption, Thou commended Thy most Holy Mother and Virgin, and in whose honor (our) Order was created and instituted; through Thy Holy mercifulness, deliver us and preserve us, as Thou knowest that we are innocent of the crimes that we are accused of, so that we may take possession of the works, by which we may be guided to the joys of Paradise, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

If you are interested in Templar spirituality, take a look at Salve Regina, chant of the Templars.