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Templar Knights

Templar Knights

The birth of the Templar Order, which Knights were known as Pauperes commilitones Christi templique Salomonis ("Poor companions of arms of Christ and of the temple of Salomon"), better known as Knights Templar or simply Templars, were the best combat units trained and disciplined of their own time, precursors of modern special bodies or elite units, their origin is placed in the Holy Land around 1118-1119 with the aim of ensuring the safety of the many European pilgrims who continued to visit Jerusalem. The order was officially established in 1129, assuming a monastic rule, through Bernard de Clairvaux.

The dual role of monks and warriors, which marked the Templar Order, aroused division within the Christian world.

Over time, the Templar order also devoted itself to commercial, productive, agricultural and financial activities, managing the assets of pilgrims and becoming the most advanced and widespread banking system of the time. Thrived over the centuries in wealth and influence, the Order was targeted by the King of France, Philip IV of France, which culminated, through a process begun in 1307, with the final dissolution in 1312.

The birth of the Templar order is to be placed historically at the center of the wars between Christian and Islamic forces that broke out after the first crusade, called by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1096. At that time the streets of the Holy Land were invaded by marauders and muslim fanatics who attacked and looted pilgrims. In 1099 the Christians recaptured the Holy Land from the hands of the Muslims.

                             THE DISSOLUTION OF THE TEMPLAR ORDER

Innocent II's bull Omne Datum Optimum dated March 29, 1139, was of vital importance for the Order of the Knights Templar because it sanctioned the total independence of his work and being exempt from paying any kind of tax.

After the fall of St. John of Acre in 1291, three hundred German and French crusader barons landed in Cyprus and lived here as hermit monks. The Order, however, after the definitive loss of the Latin States in the Holy Land, started towards its twilight, the fundamental reason for which it was established ceased to exist. Its dissolution, however, did not take place by ordinary procedure from the Holy Church, but through a series of infamous accusations disputed by the King of France, Philip IV of France, with the intention of eliminating his debts and taking possession of the Templar heritage.
On September 14, 1307 the King sent sealed messages to all the bailiffs, seneschals and soldiers of the Kingdom ordering the arrest of the Templars and the confiscation of their property, which were performed on Friday 13 October 1307. The move succeeded as it was shrewdly initiated in contemporary against all the temples of France; the knights, summoned with the excuse of tax assessments, were all arrested and imprisoned.

The charges against the Order were among the worst possible: heresy, idolatry, sodomy. In particular, they were accused of worshiping a mysterious pagan deity, the Baphomet. In the prisons of the King, those arrested were tortured until they began to confess heresy. On November 22, 1307, Pope Clement V, faced with confessions, ordered the arrest of the Templars throughout Christianity with the Bull Pastoralis Præminentiæ.

On 12 August 1308, the Bull Faciens Misericordiam was promulgated by Pope Clement V in which the accusations brought against the Order of the Temple were defined.
Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Order, who at first confessed the charges, retracted them, being burned at the stake on March 18, 1314 in front of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, on the island of the Seine of the Jews.

In 2000, the Italian scholar and researcher Barbara Frale found a document in the Vatican Archives, known as Chinon parchment, which shows how Pope Clement V intended to forgive the Templars in 1314 by acquitting their Gran Master and the other heads of the order of the charge of heresy, and merely suspend the order rather than suppress it. The document belongs to the first phase of the process, in which the Pontiff still intended to save the order, even if at the cost of subjecting it to a profound reform.

                                              CLOTHING AND UNIFORM

The Templars were identifiable by their white, black, or gray (with a white cloak only for the knight brothers) surcoat, to which was later added a distinct red patent cross, embroidered on the left side.
Among the symbols of the Templars there was the beauceant, characterized precisely by the cross red license in black and white field.
Pope Innocent III, had granted the Order total independence from temporal power, including the exemption from the payment of taxes and gabelles, in addition to the privilege of being accountable only to the Pontiff himself and to the possibility of demanding tithes.

The presence of the Templars on the territory of both continents, Asian and European, was ensured by the various Templar headquarters: the Preceptories and the Fortress Houses, largely autonomous from the point of management view.


In the great capitals (Paris, London, Rome and others) there were the Houses, each of which had control of one of the seven great provinces from England to the Dalmatian coasts where the Templars had divided their monastic organization. At their peak, they presumably arrived at thousands of locations, spread across Europe and the Middle East, indicating their considerable economic and political influence during the Crusades.
From a structural point of view, four types of confreres could be summarized:

 - the knights, equipped as heavy cavalry

 - the sergeants, equipped as light cavalry, from the humblest social classes of the knights

 - the brothers of trade and the factors, who administered and operated in the properties of the Order.

 - the chaplains, who were ordained priests and took care of the spiritual needs of the Order.

 - Various degrees of command and administration responsibility were attributed to the Grand Master, the Commanders, the Sénéchaux, the Marshals, the Gonfalonniers and other roles.

                                                           THE RULE


The Knights Templar, assumed a rule of monastic form, only with the Council of Troyes of 1129 blessed by the support of Bernard de Clairvaux, substantially based on some basic elements of the Benedictine Rule.

Of the original Templar Rule there are some written finds, written in Latin, which in that historical period is the official language used in formal, religious and lay texts; later versions favor the ancient French language instead.

The three classic vows of the monastic orders - poverty, chastity and obedience - are not explicitly expressed. The exhortation to chastity appears only in the chapters of the appendix and seems above all to discourage the coexistence between Fratres and Sorores, implicitly admitted however as a previous custom, to be avoided for the future. The consent to the entry of married men and to the possibility of a temporary adhesion to the Order, substantially irreconcilable with a permanent chastity, is evident; at the same time it discourages any kind of intimacy with women, be they relatives, mothers or outside the family. With regard to the vow of poverty, the knights are urged to donate all their assets (only half if married) in favor of the Order, allowing however the possession of land and the enslavement of men and farmers.

In other later texts the practice of war booty is admitted. In relation to the vow of obedience, the intent to preserve a strict collective and coordinated discipline appears clear, with limits especially directed to the ostentation of clothes and accessories, personal decorum, daily rules, prayer, food and collective solidarity. The ban on the practice of acts of superfluous or unnecessary violence, such as hunting, is severe and unequivocal. The successive versions of the rule received to date, are written in French and are much more detailed and full of instructions concerning above all military life, resulting more consistent with the functionality of a highly structured military Order.

Templar Knights - Priory of Sion

Restoration of the Order

Restoration of the Order - Priory of Sion

After 1314, with the condemnation to death of the last Grand Master of the Templars Jacques De Molay and the dissolution of the Order, there is no evidence that the latter survived clandestinely, which is why the only current subsidiary, which can try a certain connection with history, it could not go further back than the 1700s, even if, based on the documents arrived to date, they are from 1804 onwards and draw a succession that goes from Philip Duke of Orleans to the current Regent Dr. Nicolas Haimovici Hastier.

In 1804, Dr. Fabre-Palaprat, doctor and chiropodist, restored the Order of the Temple through a new foundation of the latter.

Under the leadership of Dr. Bernard Raymond Fabre’-Palaprat, the Order acquired new life and flourished again through the patronage of Napoleon Bonaparte. Fabre'-Palaprat was a protagonist of the Age of Enlightenment and saw Templarism as an expression of solidarity, decency, dedication and chivalrous behavior. He had considerable charisma and ability to communicate the romantic ideals of chivalry to other people and, as a result, many eminent citizens became members of the Order, which grew rapidly. At the same time, two interesting documents emerged. One was the Transmission Chart, with which an alleged successor of Jacques de Molay, Jean M. Larmenius, foresaw the secret survival of the Knights Templar. This document, written in figures, also included the signatures of the Grand Masters from Larmenius to Fabre-Palaprat. The second document was the Statute of 1705, written under the direction of Philip, the Duke of Orleans, who the founders of 1804 claimed as a restorer of the Templars.

For his own reasons, Napoleon Bonaparte approved this "restoration", also allowing a great ceremony in Paris, honoring Jacques De Molay and all the other Templar martyrs. Napoleon, having become emperor, created a new nobility.

In 1808, thanks to the successful recruitment, the new Order had established Priors and Commanders in much of the Great Empire, including Italy and Switzerland. The Order of the Temple proclaimed its adherence to the "Roman Catholic and apostolic religion". This promising beginning was quickly swept away by Fabre-Palaprat when he reviewed the Statutes of 1705 to justify the absolute assumption of power, a schism that lasted until 1814 broke out.

When the constitutional monarchy was established in France, the Order supported the restored Bourbon king, Louis XVIII, and the king in return obtained the recognition of the Templars. When Charles X tried to restore real absolutism, the Templars supported the 1830 uprising and the return of the constitutional monarchy. Once again Fabre-Palaprat became the source of contention. Previously he had formed the first church of Christian primitives. When, in 1833, he tried to impose his Johannite beliefs on the Templars, the result was once again a schism. One faction maintained its knightly traditions and obedience to the Roman Catholic Church.

A bright period for the Order of the Temple took place in 1853, when, by royal decree, Emperor Napoleon III recognized the Ordre du Temple ("Palaprien", those that followed in the line of Palaprat) with the right to wear his insignas and decorations in France. Within France, the Temples of Palaprat continued to choose the Regents until the defeat and capture of Napoleon III by the Prussians in 1870, causing the Ordre du Temple to lose its strongest protector. The centrally organized Templars of Palaprat soon faded even though many of their previous convents continued on their own.

The years of the Regents (1930 - Today)

The revival of the Templars in the 20th century owed its existence to developments within the Grand Priory of Belgium, which had been founded under the regency Dr. Fabre-Palaprat in 1825. Conflicts between Catholic and Masonic members, along with developments of European politic, led to his suspension for several years. In 1932, several former members re-established the Grand Priory of Belgium, taking the name "Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem" O.S.M.T.J. , in the hope of re-establishing this Temple Order as an international organization, a Regency was established and the idea behind this Regency was that it would function as a temporary guide to the Order until a new Grand Master could be elected.

Emile Isaac, who later took his wife's surname, "Vandenberg", to hide his Jewish ancestors from the Nazis, was a key figure at the time. As regent of this Belgian Grand Priory, Emile has devoted much of his energy to the revitalization of the Templar Priories throughout Europe, including France, Italy, Portugal and Switzerland. Such a promising development was interrupted by the Second World War. Observing the German occupation of Belgium as a danger to the survival of the Templars, Vandenberg made a temporary transfer of the Order's leadership and archives to the care of the Portuguese Grand Prior, Antonio Campello de Sousa Fontes.

After the war, Emile requested the return of the archives. Then, de Sousa Fontes took advantage of Emile's sudden death to take the title of Regent. Once again there was the schism, with some Priors refusing his leadership.

In 1960 Antonio Campello de Sousa Fontes died and left in his will that his son should succeed him as Regent of the order and when Fernando Campello de Sousa Fontes tried to succeed his father, attributing to himself the title of Prince Regent, he encountered a hard resistance. From the beginning of the Order in 1118, the Grand Masters had always been elected and the hereditary succession of the Grand Master's seat is unprecedented. Therefore many of the Priors did not accept the son of Sousa Fontes as the legitimate leader of the order.

In 1969, Regent de Sousa Fontes issued a magisterial edict convening a general convent that would meet for the first time in Paris in September 1970, in order to elect a new Grand Master. In that historic convent in Paris, the participants democratically elected General Antoine (originally Andrzej) Zdrojewski (the Grand Prior of Europe and France) as the next Grand Master.

Zdrojewski had been the head of Polish military operations in France. The relationship between the French and the Poles, fighting a common enemy, was very friendly. The exiled Polish government was also secretly regrouping the remnants of army units (which would have been the 3rd and 4th Polish infantry division) for direct military contact to destabilize the German occupation of France. General Juliusz Kleeberg gathered one of the largest secret armies in France. The unit became known as the Polish Organization for the Struggle for Independence (POWN) and was later commanded by Colonel Zdrojewski. Zdrowjeski became a war hero distinguishing himself as commander of this secret army and in 1944, after becoming a French citizen, the French government promoted Zdrojewski as a general. (9) (6) (1)

At the end of 1973, Grand Master Zdrojewski performed a reorganization of the OSMTJ and a reform of the Statutes. He approved the Grand Priories by reaffirming the independence of the International Federation of OSMTJ Grand Priories (each Grand Priory member was recognized as autonomous). The Swiss Grand Priory accepted these reformed statutes in 1973, while the Belgian and US Grand Priories accepted them in 1975.

One of the most important leaders of the OSMTJ at this time was the Grand Prior of Switzerland, Alfred Zappelli. Zappelli moved to Geneva where he was a banker and financial advisor (3). It became the Grand Prior of Switzerland from 1967 until the mid-1990s, except for a brief fall with the Grand Master, with subsequent expulsion in 1971 and reintegration the following year. The OSMTJ has suffered some tumultuous years since 1974, until the end of the 1970s, when it was necessary for the Grand Master Zdrojewski to maintain a low profile due to the changes in the political powers of France (the election of the new French president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in 1974). Some repercussions have been addressed in the form of "investigations" (witch hunts) on the high-profile supporters of the former French president Charles de Gaulle, as well as against former members of his SAC. General Zdrojewski had been one of de Gaulle's most staunch supporters. During these years, the Grand Prior Alfred Zappelli joined to hold the OSMTJ together. Zappelli recruited and introduced Philip A. Guarino to Grand Master Zdrojewski who named Philip Grand Prior of the United States on February 15, 1973 (TheKnightsTemplar.org) (8). Zappelli founded several other Grand Priories, including one in Italy with Pasquale Gugliotta, who was named Grand Bailli of Italy on 16 June 1976 (2). Alfred continued to lecture on the Knights Templar and recruitment for the OSMTJ around the world. Despite his important position, Zappelli was a humble man and the Grand Priory he founded exists today: http://Templiers.ch

 General Antoine Zdrojewski remained Grand Master until his death in 1989. Before his death in 1986, he issued a Transmission Charter which gave authority to Georges Lamirand, the Great Seneschal, and appointed him his successor. Lamirand, the director of the Billancourt Renault factory, had been the Grand Prior of France. As Zdrojewski had desired, Georges Lamirand succeeded Zdrowjewski as Regent (Custodian) of the order, and was then elected Grand Master. Lamirand had started the war as an artillery officer in 1939, but was quickly promoted to the ranks to become Vichy's youth general secretary from September 1940 to March 1943. Beginning in 1943, he began secretly working for the French Resistance and after 1943, he openly worked against the Vichy government. Lamirand was also mayor of La Bourbole, Puy de Dome, from 1955 to 1971. In the last decade of his life, Georges Lamirand was in poor health and appointed Dr. Nicolas Haimovici Hastier in the office of the Grand Commander and Guardian of the Faith (11).

When Lamirand died on February 5, 1994, his Grand Commander and Guardian of the Faith, Dr. Nicolas Haimovici Hastier, became the Regent of the Order. Dr. Nicolas was a naturalized French citizen, married to a German wife, and had lived a long time in Nice, France (on the Côte d'Azur), before moving to Sanremo, Italy (11) (3).

Dr. Nicolas Haimovici Hastier was a distinguished doctor with more than 100 scientific papers published in peer-reviewed medical journals, as well as a consultant to the American Administration (serving as a medical supervisor on several Navy ships including the USS Enterprise). He has taught at various universities in France and for 12 years has taught at the New York Medical College (Paramus, New Jersey). He was district governor of Rotary in France and an official in many other humanitarian organizations. Dr. Nicolas Haimovici Hastier was a brilliant author and in 2001 he wrote the book, The Rule of the Order of the Templars. It took about 15 years to write this book and it is considered a masterpiece. http://www.sartori.com/osmth/osmth4/book/ 


The website of the actual Templar Order arrived to our days







(1) Zdrojewski promoted to General:http://www.swordforum.com/forums/showthread.p



(2) SAC (French: Service d’Action Civique; or Civic Action Service https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_d’Action_Civique


(3) Alfred Zappelli http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1291&dat=19771002&id=lidUAAAAIBAJ&sjid=B40DAAAAIBAJ&pg=482



(4) Pasquale Gugliotta named Bailli of Italy http://books.google.com/books?id=x-uhAgAAQBAJ&pg=PT36&lpg=PT36&dq=Pasquale+Gugliotta+B







(6) Background on General Antoine (or Antoni) Zdrojewski about http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoni_Zdrojewski


(7) See Lawsuit: SMOTJ Inc. v. de Sousa Fontes, case No. U.S.D.C. Texas No. 3-995CV-0890G


(8) History of Philip A. Guarino: http://www.TheKnightsTemplar.org/Philip-Guarino/


(9) History of Colonel Zdrojewski in WWII: http://www.PolandInExile.com/exile4.htm


(11) Venceslai, Stelio. L’Utopia Templare. Rome: Laris Editrice, 2011 . Print. Pages: 109-112.


(12) See the history leading up to this meeting and what took place: http://www.theknightstemplar.org/forums/topic/fontes-versus-smotj-osmth-kti/ ).


The years of the Regents (1930 - Today) - Priory of Sion

Documents (Palaprat's)

Documents (Palaprat's) - Priory of Sion

Documents (Palaprat's) - 2

Documents (Palaprat's) - 2 - Priory of Sion