The Bull Omne Datum Optimum, issued by Pope Innocent II in 1139 indicated the official approval of the Order by the Holy See. It granted many unique privileges and set some guidlines for the Order’s operations. This bull was soon followed by the bulls Milites Templi (Pope Celestine II, 1144) and Militia Dei (Pope Eugene III, 1145).
Omne Datum Optimum (Papal Bull)
[29 March 1139, Lateran]
Innocentius episcopus, servus servorum Dei. Dilectis filiis Roberto magistro religiose militie Templi quod Iherosolimis situm est, ejusque successoribus et fratibus tam presentibus quam futuris in perpetuum. Omne datum optimum et omne donum perfectum desursum est, descendens a patro luminum, apud quem non est transmutatio nec vicissitudinis obumbratio. Provide, dilecti in Domino filii, de vobis et pro vobis, omnipotentem Dominum collaudamus, quoniam in universo mundo vestra religio et veneranda institutio nuntiatur. Cum enim natura essetis filii ire et seculi voluptatibus dediti, nunc, per aspirantem gratiam, evangelii non surdi auditors effecti, relictis pompis secularibus et rebus propriis, dimissa etiam spatiosa via que ducit ad mortem, arduum iter quod ducit ad vitam, humiliter elegistis, atque ad comprobandum quod in Dei militia computemini signum vivifice cruces in vestro pectore assidue circumfertis. Accedit ad hoc quod tanquam veri Israelite atque instructissimi divini prelii bellatores, vere karitatis flamma succensi, dictum evengelium operibus adimpletis quod dicitur: majorem hac dilectionem nemo habet quam ut animam suam ponat quis pro animis [sic] suis; unde etiam, juxta summi Pastoris vocem, animas vestras pro fratribus ponere eosque ab incursoribus paganorum defensare, minime formidatis; et, cum nomine censeamini milites Templi, constituti estis a Domino catholice ecclesie defensores et inimicorum Xpisti impugnatores. Licet autem vestrum studium et laudanda devotio in tam sacro opere, toto corde et tota mente desudet. Nichilominus tamen universitatem vestram exortamur in Domino, atque, in peccatorum remissionem, auctoritate Dei et beati Petri, apostolorum principis, iam vobis quam servitoribus vestres injungimus, ut pro tuenda catholica ecclesia, et ea que est sub paganorum tyrannide, de ipsorum spurcitia eruenda, expugnandos inimicos crucis, invocato Xpisti nomine, intrepide laboretis. Ea etiam que de eorum spoliis ceperetis, fidenter in usus vestros convertatis, et, ne de his, contra velle vestrum, portionem alicui dare cogamini, prohibemus. Statuentes ut domus seu Templum, in quo estis, ad Dei laudem et gloriam, atque defensionem suorum fidelium, et liberandam Dei ecclesiam, congregati, cum omnibus possessionibus et bonis suis que inpresentiarum legitime habere cognoscitur, aut, in futurum, concessione pontificum, libertate regum vel principum, oblatione fidelium, seu aliis justis modis, prestante Domino, poterit adipisci, perpetuis futuris temporibus, sub Apostolice Sedis tutela et protectione consistat. Presenti quoque decreto sanctimus, ut vita religiosa que in vestra domo est, divina inspirante gratia, instituta, ibidem inviolabiter observetur, et fraters inibi omnipotenti Domino servientes, caste et sine proprio vivant, et, professionem suam dictis et moribus comprobantes, magistro suo aut quibus ipse preceperit, in omnibus et per omnia, subjecti et obedientes existant. Preterea quemadmodum domus ipsa hujus sacre vestre institutionis et ordinis fons et origo esse promeruit, ita nichilominus omnium locorum ad eam pertinentium caput et magistra in perpetuum habeatur. Ad hec adjicientes, precipimus ut, obeunto te, dilecte in Domino fili Roberte, vel tuorum quolibet successorum, nullus ejusdem domus fratribus proponatur, nisi militaris et religiosa persona, que vestre conversationis habitum sit professa, nec ab aliis, nisi ab omnibus fratribus insimul vel a saniori ac puriori eorum parte qui proponendus fuerit, eligatur. Porro consuetudines, ad vestro religionis et officii observantiam, a magistro et fratribus communiter institutes, nulli ecclesiastice seculariove persone infringere vel minuere sit licitum. Easdem quoque consuetudines a vobis aliquanto tempore observantas, et scripto firmatas, non nisi ab eo qui magister est, consentiente tamen saniori parte capituli, liceat immutari. Prohibemus autem et omnimodis interdicimus ut fidelitates, hominia sive juramenta, vel reliquas securitates, que a secularibus frequentantur, nulla ecclesiastica secularisve persona, a magistro et fratribus ejusdem domus exigere audeat. Illud autem scitoto quoniam, sicut vestra sacra institutio et religiosa militia, divina est providentia stabilita, ita nichilominus nullius vite religiosioris obtentu ad locum alium vos convenit transvolare: Deus enim qui est incomutabilis et eternus, mutabilia corda non approbat, sed pocius sacrum propositum semel inceptum perduci vult usque in finem debite accionis. Quot et quanti sub militari cingulo et clamyde terreni imperii Domino placuerunt, sibique memoriale perpetuum reliquerunt? Quot et quanti, in armis bellicis constituti, pro testamento Dei et paternarum legum defensione, suis temporibus, fortiter dimicarunt, atque manus suas in sanguine infidelium Domino consecrantes, post bellicos sudores, eterne vite bravium sunt adepti? Videte itaque vocationem vestram, fraters, iam milites quam servientes, atque juxta apostolum, unusquisque vestrum, in qua vocatione vocatus est, in ea permaneat; ideoque fraters vestros, semel devotos atque in sacro collegio receptos, post factam in vestra militia professionem, et habitum religionis assumptum, revertendi ad seculum nullam habere precipimus facultatem. Nec alicui eorum fas sit, post factam professionem, semel assumptam crucem Dominicam et habitum vestre professionis abicere, vel ad alium locum seu etiam monasterium, majoris sive minoris religionis obtentu, invitis seu inconsultis fratribus aut eo qui magister extiterit, liceat transmigrare nullique ecclesiastice secularive persone ipsos suscipiendi aut retinendi licentia pateat. Et quoniam qui sunt defensores ecclesie, de bonis ecclesie debent vivere ac sustenari, de rebus mobilibus vel se moventibus seu de quibuslibet que ad vestram venerabilem domum pertinent, a vobis decimas exigi, contra voluntatem vestram, omnimodis prohibemus. Ceterum decimas quas, consilio et consensu episcoporum de manu clericorum vel laicorum, studio vestro extrahere poteritis, illas etiam quas, consentientibus episcopis et eorum clericis, acquiretis, vobis auctoritate apostolica confirmamus. Ut autem ad plenitudinem salutis et curam animarum vestrarum nichil vobis desit, et ecclesiastica sacramenta et divina officia vestro sacro collegio commodius exhibeantur, simili modo sancimus, ut liceat vobis honestos clericos et sacerdotes, secundum Deum, quantum ad vestram scientiam, ordinatos, undecumque ad vos venientes, suscipere, et tam in principali domo vestra quam etiam in obedientits et locis sibi subditis, vobis habere. Dummodo si e vicino sunt, eos a propriis episcopis expetatis, idemque nulli alii professioni vel ordini teneantur obnoxii. Quod si episcopi eosdem vobis concedere forte noluerint, nichilominus tamen eos suspiciendi et retinendi auctoritate sancta Romane ecclesie habeatis. Si vero aliqui horum, post factam professionem, turbatores religionis vestre aut domus, vel etiam inutiles apparuerint, liceat vobis eos, cum saniori parte capituli amovere, ejisque tanseundi ad alium ordinem, ubi, secundum Deum vivere voluerint, licentiam dare et loco ipsorum alios idoneos substituere; qui etiam unius anni in vestra societate spatio probentur, quo peracto, si mores eorum hoc exegerint, et ad vestrum servitium utiles inventi fuerint, tunc demum professionem faciant regulariter vivendi et magistro suo obediendi, ita ut eundem victum et vestium vobiscum habeant necnon lectisternia, excepto eo quod clausa vestimenta portabunt. Sed nec ipsis liceat de capitulo vel cura domus vestre se temere intromittere, nisi quantum a vobis eis fuerit injunctum; curam quoque animarum tantum habeant quantum a vobis fuerint requisiti; preterea nulli persone extra vestrum capitulum sint subjecti tibique, dilecte in Domino fili Roberte, tuisque successoribus tanquam magistro et prelato suo, in omnibus et per omnia obedientiam deferant. Precipimus insuper ut ordinationes eorumdem clericorum qui ad sacros ordines fuerint promovendi a quocumque volueritis, catholico suscipiatis episcopo, siquidem catholicus et gratiam apostolice sedis habuerit, qui nimirum nostra fultus auctoritate quod postulatur indulgeat. Eosdem autem pro pecunia predicare aut lucro, vosque pro hujusmodi causa ad predicandum mittere prohibemus, nisi forte magister Templi, qui pro tempore fuerit, certis ex causis id faciendum esse providerit. Quicumque sane ex his in vestro collegio suscipientur stabilitatem loci, conversionem morum, seque militaturos Domino, diebus vite sue, sub obedientia magistri Templi, posito scripto super altare, in quo contineantur ista, promittent. Salvo quoque episcopis jure episcopali, tam in decimis quam in oblationibus et sepulturis, nichilominus concedimus facultatem, in locis sacro Templo collatis, ubi familia vestra habitat, oratoria construere, in quibus utique ipsa divina officia audiat ibique, si quis ex vobis vel ex eadem familia mortuus fuerit, tumuletur. Indecens enim est et animarum periculo proximum, religiosos fraters, occasione adeunde ecclesie, se virorom turbis et mulierum frequentie immiscere. Decernimus insuper auctoritate apostolica, ut, apud quemcumque locum vos venire contigerit, ab honestis atque catholicis sacerdotibus penitentiam, unciones seu alia quelibet sacramenta ecclesiastica suscipere liceat, ne forte ad preceptionem spiritualium bonorum vobis quippiam deesse valeat. Quia vero omnes in Xpisto unum sumus, et non est personarum differentia apud Deum, tam remissionis peccatorum quam alterius beneficeintie, atque apostolice benedictionis que vobis indulta est, etiam familias et servientes vestros volumus esse participes. Nulli ergo hominum liceat, predictum locum temere perturbare aut ejus possessions aufferre vel ablatas retinere, minuere aut alilquibus vexationibus fatigare, sed omnia integra conserventur vestris atque aliorum Dei fidelium usibus omnimodis profutura. Si quis igitur hanc nostre constitutionis paginam sciens, contra eam temere venire temptaverit, secundo tertiove commonitus nisi reatum suum congrua satisfactione correxerit, potestatis honorisque sui dignitate careat, reumque se divino judicio existere de perpetrata iniquitate cognoscat et a sacratissimo corpore ac sanguine Dei et domini redemptoris nostri Ihesu Xpisti alienus fiat atque in extremo examine districte ultioni subjaceat. Conservantes autem hec omnipotentis Dei et beatorum Petri et Pauli apostolorum ejus benedictionem et gratiam consequantur. Amen.
Rota. – Ego Innocentius catholice ecclesie episcopus ss.
+ Ego Egidius Tusculanis episcopus ss.
+ Ego Gregorius presbiter cardinalis tituli Apostolorum ss.
+ Ego Petrus presbiter cardinalis tituli Susanne ss.
+ Ego Conradus Sab(inensis) episcopus ss.
+ Ego Theodewinus sancto Rufine episcopus ss.
+ Ego Pettrus presbiter cardinalis tituli sancti Marcelli ss.
+ Ego Albericus Hostiensis episcopus ss.
+ Ego Comes presbiter cardinalis tituli Eudoxie ss.
+ Ego Matheus presbiter cardinalis tituli Eudoxie ss.
+ Ego Gerardus presbiter cardinalis tituli sancte cruces in Iherusalem ss.
+ Ego Anselmus presbiter cardinalis tituli sancti Laurentii in Lucina ss.
+ Ego Lutifridus presbiter cardinalis Vestine ss.
+ Ego Luchas presbiter cardinalis tituli sanctorum Iohannis et Pauli ss.
+ Ego Grisogonus presbiter cardinalis sancte Praxedis ss.
+ Ego Martinus presbiter cardinalis tituli sancte Sable ss.
+ Ego Gregorius presbiter cardinalis tituli sancte Balbine ss.
+ Ego Gregorius diaconus cardinalis sanctorum Sergii et Bachi ss.
+ Ego Adenulfus diaconus cardinalis sancte Marie in Cosmidia ss.
+ Ego Guido diaconus cardinalis sanctorum Cosme et Damiani ss.
+ Ego Vass(alus) diaconus cardinalis sancti Eustachii juxta Templum Agrippe ss.
Datum Laterani per manum Imerici sancte Romane ecclesie diaconi cardinalis et cancellarii, iiii kalendas aprilis, indicione ii, incarnationis Dominice anno MCXXXVIIII, pontificatus vero domni Innocencii pape ii anno x.
Bishop Innocent, Servant of the Servants of God. To his beloved sons Robert, grandmaster of the religious order of the Temple which is situated in Jerusalem, and his followers and brothers, both present and in the future forever. Every good reward and every good gift is from above, descending from the Father of Light, with Whom there is no change and no overshadowing vicissitudes. Caringly, beloved sons in the Lord, we praise the omnipotent God for you and on behalf of you, because your religious order, your venerable institution is made known throughout the world. Although you were by nature sons of wrath, committed to the pleasures of this age, through inspiring grace you became attentive hearers of the Gospel, having forsaken worldly ostentation and private property, indeed having abandoned the wide path that leads towards death, you humbly chose the hard way that leads to life and in order to justify being considered among the knighthood of God you always bear on your chest the sign of the life-giving cross. In agreement with this is the fact that you, just as true Israelites and warriors most skilled in holy war, are indeed fired up by the flame of charity and fulfill by your deeds the words of the Gospel that says: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his souls [sic, the text has animis ‘souls’ where is should say amicis ‘friends’]”, whence, in accordance with the words of the great Shepard, you are not afraid to lay down your souls for your brothers and defend them from attacks of the pagans. Also, since you are known by the name of the Knights of the Temple, you were appointed by the Lord to be defenders of the Catholic Church and assailants of Christ’s foes. It is indeed lawful that may you exert in your pursuit and laudable devotion in such a holy deed with all your heart and all your mind. Nevertheless, we encourage your corporation in the Lord, and, for the remission of your sins, by the authority of God and St. Peter, prince of the apostles, we charge you, as well as your those serving you, that you intrepidly fight, invoking the name of Christ, against the enemies of the cross, in order to protect the Catholic Church and to secure that which is under the tyranny of pagans and ought to be rescued from their filth. As for the things that you will receive from the spoils, you can confidently put them to your own use, and we prohibit that you be coerced against your will to give anyone a portion of these. We establish that the house or “the Temple” in which you are gathered, for the praise and glory of God and the defense of his faithful ones, as well as liberation of the church of God, with all your goods and possessions that it is known to legitimately have at the present time or may acquire in the future through concessions of bishops, generosity of kings and princes, gifts of the faithful or in any other just away, with God’s help, shall be under the guardianship and protection of the Apostolic See for all time to come. We also establish in this present decree that the religious life that has been instituted in your house, inspired by divine grace, shall be observed inviolably and the brothers who serve the Lord therein shall live chastely without personal property, and, confirming their profession by words and morals, shall be subject and obedient to their master and to those whom he ordains. Moreover, since this house of your sacred institution merited to be the source and origin of the order, it shall likewise forever be considered the head and principal of all the places that belong to it. In addition, we command that, upon your, Robert, our beloved son in the Lord, or any of your successors’ death, no brother of this house shall be put forward unless he is a military and religious man who had professed the habit of your order, and if the proposed man is elected by none other than all of the brothers or by a better and purer part of them. Moreover, no ecclesiastic or layman may infringe upon or diminish the customs jointly instituted by the master and the brothers for the purpose of observing their duty and religion. Those same customs, that have been observed by you for some time and have been fixed in writing, cannot be changed by anyone other than a master, at the consent of at least the better part of the chapter. Also, we prohibit and forbid in all possible ways any ecclesiastic of layman to exhort from the master and the brothers of this house any fealty, homage, oaths or other securities, often employed by seculars. Be also aware that, as your holy institution and religious knighthood has been established by divine providence, it is not at all fitting for you to relocate to any other place under the pretext of a more religious life, because God who is indeed unchangeable and eternal, does not approve inconstant hearts, but rather wishes that you carry out the sacred plan, once intended, to the very end of the due action. How many great men in a military garb of worldly power pleased the Lord leaving him an eternal memorial? How many and how great men in battle armor, in their time, bravely fought in God’s witness and in defense of the laws of their fathers, consecrating their hands to the Lord in the blood of infidels, and after laboring in combat received the reward of eternal life? View your calling accordingly, brothers, both knights and servants, and, as the apostle says, “let each one of you abide in the calling wherein he was called.” Therefore we deny your once brothers, once dedicated and received into the holy order, any ability to return to secular life after making profession of your knighthood and assuming the religious habit. And it is not lawful for anyone, after making profession, to reject the Lord’s cross and the habit of your profession, once taken up, nor may he change residence to another place or even a monastery, under the pretext of a more or less religious life, if the brothers or the acting master have not agreed to it or have not been consulted, and no ecclesiastic or layman should have a permission to accept or retain them. And because those who are defenders of the Church should live and be sustained from the goods of the Church we by all means prohibit the exaction of tithes against your will from all moveable and unmovable possessions and anything that belongs to your venerable house. But we confirm with apostolic authority the tithes that you might extract by your zeal, with the advice and consent of the bishops from the hands of clerics and laymen, and even those that you obtain with the consent of bishops and their clerics. And, so that nothing would lack for they fullness of your salvation and the care of your souls, and so that sacraments of the church and holy services are more conveniently held within your holy order, we sanction, in a similar fashion, that it is permitted to you to receive honest priests and clerics, who had received ordination in God, to the best of your knowledge, wherever they arrive to you from, and to keep them both in your headquarters and in other locations subordinate to it — provided that, if they are from the neighborhood, you ask their bishops for them, and that they are not considered hostile to any other profession or order. But if the bishops happen not to be willing to concede them to you, in no way you have the right to receive and retain them by the authority of the holy Roman Church. If, however, some of them, after making the profession, appear to be troublemakers in your order or house, or simply not useful, you, along with the better part of the chapter, are allowed to remove them and give them the license to transfer to a different order where they wish to lead a godly life, replacing them with other suitable men. These, however, shall be tested within your community over a year’s term, after which, if their conduct measures up, and they have been found useful for your service, then they shall finally make the profession of living according to the rule and obeying their grandmaster, so that they may have the same food and clothing as you, as well as their bedding, except for what they wear as closed garments. But even these should not be permitted to become involved in the administration of your chapters or your houses other than so much as you would lay upon them. They shall also only have as much care of your souls as you have charged them with. Moreover, they shall not be subject to anyone outside of your chapter and they shall offer obedience in all and by all to you, Robert, my beloved son in the Lord, and your successors, as their masters and prelates. In addition, we command that you leave ordinations of the clerics, whom you might wish to be brought forth into the holy orders, to a Catholic bishop, if indeed he is Catholic and has the grace of the apostolic See, who, doubtlessly supported by our authority, bestows what is required. We also prohibit these clerics to preach for money or profit and you to send them to preach for the same purpose, unless it happens that the grandmaster of the Temple at the time makes a provision for this, for specific reasons. And whoever of these is accepted into your company, he shall promise to maintain permanency of residence, to change his habits and to fight for the Lord every day of his life, with obedience to the grandmaster of the Temple, having placed a written assurance thereof upon the altar. While also reserving for bishops episcopal rights, in regard to tithes, as well as religious services and burials, we likewise grant permission to build places of worship in locations given to the Holy Temple, where your community resides, in which religious services would certainly be held and where, if any one of your or your community should die, they may be buried. For it is not unbecoming and constitutes clear danger to the souls if the brothers of the order commingle with multitudes of men and crowds of women, under the pretext of going to church. In addition, we decree by apostolic authority that, in whatever place you happen to arrive, you should receive the sacraments of confession, unction and all others from honest and Catholic priests, lest something be lacking in the partaking of spiritual gifts. Because indeed we are all in one Christ, and there is no distinction of faces with God, both in the remission of sins and in other beneficences, and we wish both your communities and your servants to be recipients of the apostolic benediction that has been granted to you. Therefore, nobody is permitted to rashly trouble the aforesaid place or to take out its possessions or to retain the possessions that had been taken out, as well as to diminish them or to wear them out by any ill-treatment, but they should be kept untouched and be used for the good of your order and God’s other faithful, in every possible way. Therefore, if anyone, with the knowledge of this our decree, rashly attempts to act against it and, having been warned for the second and third time, and does not suitably correct his fault, he shall lose the dignity of his power and honor. He will find himself accused of the perpetrated injustice before the divine court and be unworthy of the most holy body and blood of our God, Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and also be subject to severe vengeance at final judgment. Those, however, who maintain these precepts shall obtain the benediction and grace of the omnipotent God and his blessed apostles Peter and Paul. Amen.
Rota. – I, Innocent, bishop of the Catholic Church.
+ I, Egidius bishop of Tusculanum.
+ I, Gregory, cardinal priest of the SS. Apostols
+ I, Peter, cardinal priest of St. Susanna
+ I, Conrad, bishop of Sabina
+ I, Theodewinus, bishop of Rufina
+ I, Peter, cardinal priest of St. Marcellus
+ I, Aberic, bishop of Susa
+ I, Comes, cardinal priest of St. Eudoxia
+ I, Mathew, cardinal priest of St. Eudoxia
+ I, Gerard, cardinal priest of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem
+ I, Anselm, cardinal priest of St. Laurence in Lucina
+ I Lutifridus, cardinal priest of Vestina
+ I, Luke, cardinal priest of SS John and Paul
+ I, Grisogon, cardinal priest of St. Praxedis
+ I, Martin, cardinal priest of St. Sabel
+ I, Gregory, cardinal deacon of SS Sergius and Bachus
+ I, Adelulf, cardinal deacon of SS Mary in Cosmidia
+ I, Guido, cardinal deacon of St. Cosmas and Damian
+ I Vassal, cardinal deacon of St. Eustachia by the temple of Agrippa
Given at Lateran, by the hand of Imeric, cardinal deacon and chancellor of the Roman Church, on the 4th day before the Kalends of April, second indiction, in the year of incarnation of the Lord 1139, tenth year of the pontificate of our Lord Pope, Innocent II.
History of the Knights Templar at a glance Knights Templar cross
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