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The Rule of the Knights Templar

A Powerful Champion

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The Rule of the Knights Templar

A Powerful Champion

Bernard of Clairvaux.

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153) Abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Clairvaux, theologian, and preacher of the crusade. Born at Fontaines-les-Dijon in Burgundy 1090 into a family of the lower nobility, Bernard was educated by the canons of St. Vorles at Châtillon-sur-Seine. He entered the new monastery at Cîteaux in 1113 with numerous companions. In 1115 Abbot Stephen Harding sent Bernard to establish a new house at Clairvaux, Cîteaux’s third foundation, where he was installed as abbot by William of Champeaux, bishop of Châlons-sur Marne. He died at Clairvaux on 20 August 1153 and was canonized in 1174.– Beverly Mayne Kienzle & James Calder Walton - The Crusades; An Encyclopaedia

The key event in the transformation of a band of 'Poor Knights of Christ' protecting the pilgrims in the Holy Land into the financial and military powerhouse that was the Knights Templar was the Order's adoption by Bernard of Clairvaux.
The site of the abbey of Clairvaux had been donated to Bernard by Hughes of Champagne, before the latter went to the Holy Land where Hughes subsequently joined the Order of the Temple.
André de Montbard one of the founding members of the Knights Templar was the uncle of Bernard of Clairvaux.

In 1127 King Baldwin II of Jerusalem sent Hugh de Payn and several of his brother Templars to France as part of a diplomatic mission to offer the hand of Baldwin’s daughter Melisande in marriage to Fulke d’Anjou. A marriage which would make Fulke Baldwin’s heir to the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Following the success of this mission Hugh and his colleagues went on an equally successful recruiting drive for Baldwin across France, England, Scotland and Flanders. In addition to recruiting men for Baldwin Hugh encouraged donations for the Templars.

In 1128, Hughes de Payns arrived in Britain as part of a major “recruitment drive” for the Templars. He had been well received in France, and had gained numerous adherents and lands (he was similarly received in both England and Scotland). As The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states: 'He was received by all good men, and they all gave presents to him; and in Scotland in like manner. And moreover they sent to Jerusalem great wealth in gold and silver. And he invited people out to Jerusalem, and there went along with him and after him so many people as more had never done before since the first expedition during the days of Pope Urban.'--(As quoted in The Scottish Review, July 1898) - From the Templar Papers

In 1129 the church held a Council at Troyes, the capital of Hughes land. Bernard was invited to the Council and also to create a 'Rule' of behaviour for the Templars.
Bernard also enlisted an ex pupil from Clairvaux to the cause, when between 1139 and 1145, Pope Innocent II issued a series of three papal Bulls making the Order of the Temple answerable to no one save the Pope himself.

"Every brother who is professed in the Holy service should, through fear of the flames of Hell, give total obedience to the Master; for nothing is dearer to Jesus Christ than obedience, and if anything be commanded by the Master or by one to whom he has given his power, it should be done without demur as if it were a command from God . . . for you must give up your own free will." - The Rule of the Templars, as recorded by scribe John Michael at the Council of Troyes, 1128

"When the Knights Templar were founded in 1118-1119 in Jerusalem, it was a 'poor order' whose primary function was the protection of pilgrims along the main roads between the coast at Jaffa and the inland city of Jerusalem. But an important transformation took place when this nascent Order came under the patronage of St Bernard of Clairvaux, nephew of André de Montbard, one of the founding group of the Templars. Until his conversion at the age of twenty, St Bernard himself had been destined for a knightly career, and when he came to patronize the Knights Templar that Order was imbued with the ideals and convictions of the knightly class of Burgundy." - Edward Burman, The Assassins - Holy Killers of Islam

"It was Hugues of Champagne who donated the site of Clairvaux to Bernard, where he built his abbey and from whence he expanded his 'empire'. He became the official 'sponsor' of the Templars, and it was his influence that ensured papal recognition at the Council at Troyes, this being the capital of Hughes' land....It was a disciple of Bernard's, Pope Innocent II, (formerly a monk at Clairvaux) who freed the Templars from all allegiance to anyone except the Pope himself." - Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince, Turin Shroud - In Whose Image? The Shocking Truth Unveiled

In 1128, Bernard of Clairvaux "was just twenty-eight years old when the Council of Troyes asked him to help create a Rule for the Templars. He did more than that. He became their most vocal champion, urging that they be supported with gifts of land and money and exhorting men of good family to cast off their sinful lives and take up the sword and the cross as Templar Knights." - John J. Robinson, Born in Blood

"St Bernard, who took a strong liking to Hughes, recognized a means of channelling the feudal nobility's surplus energy which would convert 'criminals and godless, robbers, murderers and adulterers'. He promised Hughes that he would compile a rule and find recruits. 'They can fight the battle of the Lord and indeed be soldiers of Christ'. Military Christianity had found it real creator." - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War

"Indeed, the knights of Christ fight the battles of their lord in safety, by no means fearing to have sinned in slaying the foe, nor fearing the peril of their own deaths, seeing that either dealing out death or dying, when for Christ's sake, contains nothing criminal but rather merits glorious reward. On this account, then: for Christ! hence Christ is attained. He who, forsooth! freely takes the death of his foe as an act of vengeance, the more willingly finds consolation in his status as a soldier of Christ. The soldier of Christ kills safely; he dies the more safely. He serves his own interests in dying, and Christ's interests in killing!" - St Bernard

Bernard "urged young men to take up the Templar sword, comparing the Templar's holy way of life, so pleasing to God, to the degenerate ways of the secular knights, whose lives were dedicated to vanity, adultery, looting, and stealing, with many sins to atone for. The dedication to Christ, to a life of chastity and prayer, to a life that might be sacrificed in battle against unbelievers, was enough penance to atone for any sin or any number of sins. On that basis, Bernard appeared to sceleratos et impius, raptores et homicidas, adulteros, 'the wicked and the ungodly, rapists and murderers, adulterers', to save their own souls by enlisting as Kings of the Temple. That guaranteed absolution was also a way out for those suffering under decrees of excommunication. The taking of the Templar oath would evidence submission to the Church, and the supreme penance of a lifetime at war for the True Cross would satisfy God's requirement for punishment of the contrite." John J. Robinson, Dungeon, Fire and Sword (1991)

"The warriors are gentler than lambs and fiercer than lions, wedding the mildness of the monk with the valour of the knight, so that it is difficult to decide which to call them: men who adorn the Temple of Solomon with weapons instead of gems, with shields instead of crowns of gold, with saddles and bridles instead of candelabra: eager for victory -- not fame; for battle not for pomp; who abhor wasteful speech, unnecessary action, unmeasured laughter, gossip and chatter, as they despise all vain things: who, in spite of their being many, live in one house according to one rule, with one soul and one heart." - St Bernard

"Have I not been obedient to the Rule? The Rule is the bones of my body, it runs from my feet to my head, and it is in my arms; these fingers, ,,The Rule is my marrow. Am I not also garbed in the Rule, for it tells me what I wear. The Rule is within me and about me. It is my hand when I fight and tells me what my weapons are. Within and Without." - William Watson


Council of Troyes (1129)

A church council, held at Troyes in Champagne in January 1129 (not 1128, as often cited in earlier works), that was a pivotal moment in the early history of the Order of the Temple. The assembly marked the church’s formal approval of a rule (regulations for the observance of a religious life) for this group of knights, which had formed in the Holy Land in 1120 with the aim of protecting pilgrims to Jerusalem. Although initial recruitment had been slight, King Baldwin II of Jerusalem saw the knights as making an important contribution to the defence of his lands, and in 1125/1126 he wrote to Bernard, abbot of Clairvaux, to try to secure his endorsement for the Templars. In 1127 their leader, the Champenois knight Hugh of Payns, toured the West to seek backing for the order and also to recruit men for a planned crusade against Damascus, and he successfully solicited grants of land and money in Champagne, Flanders, and Anjou. In 1129 the papal legate Matthew of Albano presided over a council where Hugh set out the basic precepts for his men. Hugh proposed a community that attended the offices of the choir (or recited a set number of Paternosters), wore plain clothing, was celibate, but was also active in the outside world and had horses and servants. The order was to be governed by a master, under the jurisdiction of the patriarch of Jerusalem. The churchmen present dissected Hugh’s proposals, and, with the guiding hand of Bernard of Clairvaux, a rule of seventy-two clauses was drafted. This approval for the new order enabled it to attract substantial support over the next few years and laid the foundations for
its long-term existence. –Jonathan Phillips - The Crusades; An Encyclopaedia






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