The history of the Knights Templar is comprised of events that span 200 years. It is covered in excellent books that tell the whole story from different perspectives, and I encourage you to delve deeper into this subject — well worth it. But if you want to get a very brief education in the main historic events that involve the legendary order of warrior monks, this page was put together to help. If you are also interested in numerous tales and stories that surround the ancient order, be sure to check out Legends of the Knights Templar.
Jerusalem captured during the First Crusade. Godfrey de Saint-Omer, one of the future founders of the Knights Templar order, most likely came to the Holy Land at this time.
The Order of the Knights Templar was established in Jerusalem by nine knights, including Hugues de Payens, the order’s first Grand Master. Their main stated purpose was to protect Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land. King Baldwin II (pictured) granted the knights the use of the Al Aqsa mosque on Temple Mount.
The Knights Templar were officially recognized by Pope Honorius II at the Council of Troyes. The Latin Rule, written by Bernard de Clairvaux, was approved as guidelines for this first religious military order.
Papal bull Omne Datum Optimum (Latin for “Every perfect gift”, James 1:17), issued by Pope Innocent II, made the Knights Templar exempt from tithes and taxes, allowing them to use the spoils of war at their own discretion.
The Paris Temple was built, to serve as the global headquarters for the Knights Templar.
On July 4, Saladin defeated Crusader forces at Hattin. Templar Knights captured in the battle were beheaded. On October 4, Jerusalem fell to Saladin.
The Knights Templar established their new Outre-mer (“Overseas”) headquarters in Acre.
Castle Pilgrim (Atlit) was built.
Jerusalem was regained by crusading forces through diplomatic efforts of Frederick II.
In Southern France, papal forces brutally suppressed the Cathars, a powerful heretical group. Jerusalem surrendered by Crusaders for the final time.
Fall of Acre. The Syrian citadel of Tortosa and Castle Pilgrim abandoned by the Templars.
Fall of Ruad, the last Christian stronghold in Outre-mer.
Philip the Fair, King of France, orders massive arrests of the Knights Templar on charges of heresy, sodomy, corruption and apostasy. Torture was used to extract confessions, eventually resulting in executions. Outside of France the fate of the Knights Templar varied greatly, allowing many to escape persecutions.
On March 22, the Order of the Knights Templar was officially dissolved in the bull Vox in Excelso, issued by Pope Clement V. The order’s possessions were transferred to the Knights Hospitaller.
Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was burned at the stake in Paris on March 18.
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