Browse Designs

The Legacy of the Knights Templar

Portugal: The Knights of Christ

   Mystic Realms      The Knights Templar

Knight Templar Gallery

Knight Templar Shoppe

Browse Designs





Portugal: The Knights of Christ

"In Portugal, the Templars were cleared by an inquiry and simply modified their name, becoming the Knights of Christ. They survived under this title well into the sixteenth century, their maritime explorations leaving an indelible mark on history. (Vasco da Gama was a Knight of Christ; Prince Henry the Navigator was a grand Master of the Order. Ships of the Knights of Christ sailed under the Templars' familiar red patte cross. And it was under the same cross that Columbus's three caravels crossed the Atlantic to the New World. Columbus himself was married to the daughter of a former Grand Master of the Order, and had access to his father-in-law's charts and diaries.) - Baigent & Leigh, The Temple and the Lodge

"...The first and most active figure on whom any solid information is available was Prince Henry the navigator, Grand master of the Order of Christ and a man described by his biographer [Zurara] as possessing 'strength of hear and keenness of mind to a very excellent degree...[who] was, beyond comparison, ambitious of achieving great and lofty deeds." "Born in 1394, and actively involved in seafaring by 1415, Henry's greatest ambition - as he himself declared - was that he would 'have knowledge of the land of Prester John'. Chroniclers who were his contemporaries, as well as modern historians, are in full agreement that he devoted the greater part of his illustrious career to the pursuit of precisely this goal." "It is notable that he immersed himself in the study of mathematics and cosmography, 'the course of the heavens and astrology', and that he was constantly surrounded by Jewish doctors and astronomers - men in every was reminiscent of Wolfram's character Flegetanis who 'saw hidden secrets in the constellations [and] declared there was a thing called the Gral whose name he read in the stars without more ado' [Parzival ]." - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal

In Portugal, Dom Enrique, mestrat of the Knights of Christ became know as Enrique the Navigator and "exploited every modern method. At Sagres his staff included geographers, shipwrights, linguists, Jewish cartographers and Moorish pilots. The team studied map making and how to improve navigational instruments, the astrolabe and compass. Islam had conquered the Spains; Christianity would conquer Africa, then Asia. By 1425 his brethren had colonized Madeira and the Canaries. In 1445 they settled the Azores. The systematic exploitation of the west African coast began in 1434, made possible by the new caravels, the most seaworthy ships of their day. Rigged with many small sails instead of one or two huge spreads of canvas as hitherto, these new ships were much easier to handle - a smaller crew make provisions last longer." - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War

"Our knowledge of the Henrican voyages is inadequate, and this is largely due to the adoption of a policy of secrecy which included the suppression of facts...historical works...nautical guides, maps instructions to navigators and their reports." - Edgar Prestage, The Portuguese Pioneers

"Indeed, so great was the commitment to secrecy in Henry's time that the release of information on the results of the various exploratory voyages that were undertaken was punishable by death. Despite this, however, it is known that the prince was obsessed with the notion of making direct contact with Ethiopia - and that he sought to achieve this end by circumnavigating Africa (since the shorter route through the Mediterranean and then into the Red Sea via Egypt was blocked by hostile Muslim forces). Moreover, even before the Cape of Good Hope was rounded, the masters of Portuguese vessels venturing down the West African coast were instructed to enquire after 'Prester John' to see whether it might mot be quicker to approach his kingdom overland." "It was not until the early years of the twentieth century that certain secret archives pertaining to the last decade of his life came to light. Among these archives a brief note was found to the effect that 'an ambassador of Prester John visited Lisbon eight years before Henry's death'. It is not known what the purpose of this mission was, or what the prince and the Ethiopian envoy discussed. Nevertheless, two years after their meeting it can hardly have been accidental that King Alfonso V of Portugal granted spiritual jurisdiction over Ethiopia to the Order of Christ."

In 1487 "King John II of Portugal, then Grand Master of the Order, had sent his trusted aide Pero de Covilhan on a perilous journey to the court of Prester John via the Mediterranean, Egypt and the Red Sea. Disguised as a merchant, Covilhan passed through Alexandria and Cairo to Suakin and there, in 1488, he took ship in a small Arab barque for the Yemeni port of Aden. He then became caught up in various adventures which delayed him considerably. As a result it was not until 1493 that he finally succeeded in entering Abyssinia. Once there, however, he made his way immediately to the emperor's court where he was first welcomed but later paced under comfortable house arrest. One can only speculate as to why this happened, but...Covilhan's greatest skill was a spy (he had previously worked as a secret agent in Spain)..."

In 1497 Vasco da Gama, also a Knight of the Order of Christ "devoted a considerable part of the expedition [to India] to African exploration and is reported to have wept for joy when, at anchor off Mozambique he was rightly told that Prester John lived in the interior far to the north." "...the first official Portuguese embassy to the court of Prester John landed at the port of Massawa in 1520 and made its way inland to meet with Lebna Dengel, the Solomic emperor who had been on the throne since 1508. One of the members of this embassy was Father Francisco Alvarez...who had been told by priests of the ancient tradition that the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela had been 'made by white men'....Carved into the roof of this great edifice [the church of Saint George], he said, was 'a double cross, that is, one within the other like the crosses of the Order of Christ." - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal


1319 The Order of Christ is established in Portugal, with the property of the former Order of the Temple.


From The Templars and the Freemasons

The Templars and Portugal
In the wake of the events in France, the
Templars now focused their activities
in two areas, of which Portugal was the
more significant. Although Scotland may
appear to have been the Freemasonic homeland,
Portugal represented the Templars’ commercial
base, source of revenue and headquarters.
In one sense, Portugal is a country that was actually founded by the
Templars. The order had begun settling and becoming influential in the
country ever since 1128, and had also began taking over the country’s
military and commercial strength. In 1128, Teresa of Portugal endowed
the Knights with the region of Fonte Arcada, granting them privileges of
all kinds there. In return, the Templars supported her expansion of her
then—‘weak country’. One portion of the lands occupied during this period
of expansion were granted to the order. The Castle of Tomar, built
in 1160 and surviving down to the present day, was the Order’s headquarters
in Portugal.
The King Alfonso of Portugal had a particular interest in not just the
Templars, but also in the Cistercian order. He corresponded with Saint
Bernard and welcomed his monastic order with open arms. He had large
monasteries and churches constructed and placed them, together with
wide-ranging estates, under Cistercian control. As we saw earlier, Saint
Bernard, one of the most powerful figures of the time when it came to
matters of religion, was affiliated with the Cistercian order, which had
very austere rules regarding poverty and solitude. It achieved renown as
an honest and upright order inside the corrupt institution of the Church,
and attracted many aristocrats into its ranks. Some of the Popes from this
period had also been educated within the Cistercian order. 28
In 1294, at the initiative of the Templars, the Treaty of Windsor was
signed between England and Portugal, with the aim of bestowing large
commercial and military power on both countries. The anti-Templar
movement that had begun in France had had much less effect in
Portugal. The Order was exonerated in Castille and in Portugal under
the rule of King Denis, and was thus able to survive throughout the
Iberian Peninsula. Nonetheless, there was still pressure on and opposi-
tion to the Order. The Knights therefore agreed on a plan with King
Denis in order to rid themselves of that pressure and opposition. Under
this joint plan, the Order would seem to disappear from view, but would
actually be re-established under another name and affiliated to the
Portuguese monarchy. This would prevent the assets of the Templars
falling into the hands of the Church and permit the Knights to continue
in existence.
Again thanks to this plan, the order would be affiliated to the king
rather than to the Church. From that time forward, the Templars in
Portugal changed their name to the Order of Christ. They would now be
able to carry out their illegal activities under the protection of the king.
Being under royal control represented a major advantage for the
Knights, since they no longer needed to abide by the rules of the Church
and could act with far greater freedom. Indeed, soon afterwards they
gradually began abandoning the rules of their old Order. In addition, a
large part of their revenue that was formerly made over to the Church
now remained in the Templars’ hands. Thus under royal protection, they
came to constitute a freer, richer and more perverted sect:
The Order of the Templars having been abolished in France by King
Philip IV, its property confiscated, and the members persecuted and expelled
with the sanction and authority of Pope Clement V; it was revived
in Portugal, where it flourished under the name of the
“Knighthood of ... Jesus Christ.” 29
Despite the oppression they were subjected to in France, the
Templars found a more liberal environment in Spain and Portugal under
their new name and management, and began to expand upon these possibilities.
Under these suitable conditions, Pope John XII recognised the
Order of Christ in 1319, out of his desire to win the Templars back to the
Church. The Order thus acquired the essential conditions to be able to
spread itself throughout Spain, Italy, Germany and even its former home-
land, France. The Church was unwilling to
lose the Templars, who represented a major
military, financial and logistical power,
and was at the same time preparing
for war against the Muslims in Spain. A
simple ceremony of regret was sufficient
for the Templars to return.
The Knights made over all their assets,
including those in Tomar, to the Order
of Christ, the grand mastership of which was
given to Gil Martins, former Templar master
in the Avis region. From then on, the
Templars added to their wealth while also looking for new sources of
revenue. Thanks to their seafaring knowledge and the connections they
had established over hundreds of years, the Knights transformed
Portugal into a major maritime power and established the infrastructure
necessary for their own colonizing activities. These maritime activities
accelerated still further under the reign of King Henry, known as the
“Navigator.” Henry, a Templar and a leader of the Order,
began the tradition of Portuguese kings also being
Templar masters. 30
From then on, Portugal—a small and newly established
kingdom—became one of the most powerful
nations of the time, effectively run by the Knights.
Thanks to their colonialist activities, a huge colonial empire
came into being, extending from Africa to India,
China to Malaysia and from the Canary Islands to
Brazil. Under the leadership of Templar explorers such
as Vasco de Gama, new lands and new trade routes were
discovered. And the knights acquired enormous wealth
at the same time
As an encouragement to further conquests
and discoveries, they were finally promised, also,
the independent possession (under, however,
Portuguese protection), of all the countries which
they might happen to discover.” 32
The money in question was the illegitimate
funds with which the order was so familiar. The
Templars either killed or enslaved innocent, defenceless
local populations, and then seized all
the wealth of the area concerned, making money
by selling these assets in Europe. The Knights
had no qualms about engaging in the drugs
trade, and so highly organized were they that
they eventually established a crime cartel the like
of which has seldom been seen since. In return for bribes, the Templars
acquired the right to marry and own property, and thus laid the groundwork
that the order desired:
While these foreign expeditions kept alive the military spirit of the order,
its religious discipline was declining. Pope Alexander VI, in 1492,
commuted the vow of celibacy to that of conjugal chastity, alleging the
prevalence among the knights of a concubinage to which regular marriage
would be far preferable. The order was becoming less monastic
and more secular, and was taking on more and more the character of a
royal institution. . .Brother Antonius of Lisbon, in attempting a reform,
succeeded in bringing about the complete annihilation of religious life
among the knights of the order. 33
Under these new reforms, the order became an organization whose
free enterprise was known only to the rich and aristocrats: Its aim was to
achieve commercial and political success, and to redraft the laws of the
Church in a manner compatible with capitalism. (These ideas, whose es-
sentials had emerged hundreds of years before in
the Holy Lands, also determined the general intellectual
framework of Freemasonry.)
Using their experience in Portugal, the
Templars reached the peak of their power by
adopting a capitalist lifestyle. At the same time,
and particularly in the wake of the Reformation,
the Knights—aware that the Church had been
seriously weakened and had played a considerable
role in this process—attached ever-greater
importance to the relations they had established
with royal institutions.
The Templars also observed that the knightly orders under the control
of Church had been weakened along with it. At this point, they decided
to set up an equivalent society
with no religious image but which
actually served the same function.
They were thus able to maintain
their commercial means and commercial/
political relations by way of
this new organization which functioned
under the supervision of aristocrats
and to spread their ideology
with even greater ease.
This organization, whose foundations
were laid in England, adopted
the name of “Freemasonry” and
represented one of the most influential
and dangerous powers to survive
down to the present day.

Christ, Order of

A Portuguese military religious order, established by the bull
Ad ea ex quibus (14 March 1319) of Pope John XXII after
long negotiations concerning the assets of the Order of the
Temple in Portugal after its dissolution.
King Dinis of Portugal (1279–1325) initially opposed the
arrest of the Templars and the confiscation of their patrimony,
and after the dissolution of the order, he prevented
the annexation of its properties in Portugal by the Hospitallers.
Probably influenced by the solution achieved in

Aragon through the creation of the Order of Montesa, Dinis
petitioned the papacy for the foundation of a new Portuguese
order (1318), to be based at Castro Marim in the
southernmost part of the country, with the aim of protecting
the kingdom and fighting the enemies of the Christian
faith. Once the papal letter of foundation was made public
(April 1319) and translated into Portuguese by a royal decree
(May 1319), the establishment of the Order of Christ was celebrated
in November 1319. As the new order adopted the
rule of the Castilian Order of Calatrava, its first master was
chosen from the Portuguese Order of Avis.
The new order took over the Temple’s assets in the kingdom
of Portugal and also received many of its former
brethren into its ranks. It adopted the Templar cross (with
minor modifications) as its insignia and ensured the conservation
of the archives of the Templars in Portugal. The
new brethren of Christ even reoccupied the former Templar
headquarters in Tomar, having abandoned Castro Marim by
the middle of the fourteenth century........expectations, the brethen only became
more involved in overseas projects at the end of the fifteenth
century, when the governor of the order was made
king of Portugal and was able to use its men and resources
for the Crown’s policies. The papacy soon recognized the
king’s control over the order (1551), thus combining the
profession of the brethren with royal service, a situation
that lasted until the order was finally extinguished in the
first half of the nineteenth century. –Luís Filipe Oliveira
- The Crusades; An Encyclopedia

1190 The castle of Tomar, headquarters of the Portuguese Templars, besieged.

The Templars were the first such order to appear in Portugal, documented
since 1128, when they received the castle of Soure. The order’s military activity increased in 1145, when the post of
proctor was created (Hugh of Martonio), and again in 1156,
when the first master is documented (Gualdim Pais).
Between 1160 and 1170, the order built Tomar, the most
remarkable of Portuguese castles. By the end of the century,
the Templars owned twenty castles, almost a tenth of Portuguese
fortifications.............The Templars were especially vital in the second half
of the twelfth century, particularly while Gualdim Pais was
master, and they played a decisive role in consolidating the
Tagus frontier. They were the only order to be active militarily
in Portugal until 1172–1175...........the dissolution of the
Templars gave rise to the Order of Christ, created by Pope
John XXII’s bull Ad ea ex quibus (14 March 1319). This new
order inherited the Templars’ property in Portugal and
played a decisive role in Portuguese expansion in the fifteenth
century. - The Crusades; An Encyclopaedia

The nobleman Gualdim Pais made his journey specifically
to take part in the Second Crusade. He spent five years
in the East, taking part in the siege of Ascalon (mod. Tel
Ashqelon, Israel) and the defense of the principality of
Antioch (both in 1153). He returned in 1156, just in time to
be elected master of the Templars in Portugal. He led the
order from 1156/1157 until his death on 13 October 1195.
His epitaph is in the Church of St. Mary of Olivais, in
Tomar. During the thirty-eight years during which he was
master, the Order of the Temple experienced its greatest
prestige and expansion in Portugal. The castles he built
(Tomar, Pombal, Almourol, and others) are among the best
Portuguese castles of the time and reflect direct influence
from military architecture of the crusaders in the East.
Some of these Portuguese castles used a glacis, a military
feature that was not known in the peninsula but was widely
used by the Franks in the East. - The Crusades; An Encyclopaedia


Part of the Reconquista and the Second Crusade. Iberian Christians under Afonso I of
Portugal besieged Muslim Lisbon from 28 June. They were joined by northern crusaders,
including English, headed for the Holy Land. On arrival the crusaders built a 95 feet high
belfry and siege engines. The Christians mined but the Muslims countermined. The
Christians made a device like a large mousetrap with food inside to trap hungry Muslims.
After 17 weeks the attackers entered on 24 October using a belfry to cross the wall.
Lisbon surrendered to become the capital of Christian Portugal.
- The Routledge Companion to Medieval Warfare





Browse Designs
Rockabilly Rules

Free Tarot Readings by Alison Day

Mystic Realms has linked up with Lotus Tarot, probably the best Tarot Reading site on the internet today.

click here for a tarot reading for free at lotus tarot


Browse Designs



Join the biggest crew ever to save the whales

Lundy, Isle of Avalon Site Design & Contents ©Les Still 1998-2013 Motorpsycho Realms   Contact