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

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)


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.

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