History

Vision and mission of the Knights Templar in the 21st Century

Considering the religious zealously of the Middle Ages, the Holy Land was a prominent, if not the most prominent, focal point of political change, both in Europe and the Muslim Middle East. The conquest of the Arabs provided the Pope Urban II to make a rallying call to all European nations to embark on the Holy Crusades. The First Crusade resulted in the capture of Jerusalem in 1099, and this prompted an increase of the already substantial number of pilgrims that came to visit the sacred Christian places in the Holy Land. However, even though the large city centers, like Jerusalem, were secure from local criminals, the Outremer, the territory between these city centers was heavily plagued by robberies and murders. Hugues de Payens and Godfrey de Saint Omer in 1119 proposed the creation of a monastic order with the purpose of protecting the pilgrims. Therefore, The Knights Templar was created, which in 1129 was officially endorsed by the Catholic Church at the Council of Troyes. The purpose of the Knights Templar, was therefore, closely linked to the Christian control of the Holy land and this purpose did not change in the three century history of the Order. The unchanging purpose of the Order, however, did not reflect the status, structure and grandeur of the Order. Beginning as poverty-stricken order consisting of only a few knights, it quickly developed into one of the most successful military and monastic orders of the Middle Ages. Its members were sworn to poverty, but accumulated and controlled a vast wealth, consisting of the estates of members which were nobles and the growing interest in the new system of protection, which consisted of pilgrims placing their finances with the Templars in Europe and retrieving their finances from Templars in the Middle East. The relative successes of the Crusades and the Templar’s contribution further improved their wealth and status.
It must be emphasized that the major contributions of the Knights Templar to society of the Middle Ages, as well as the Modern Age, such as the early forms of banking and the many building projects consisting of towers, public buildings and especially castles revolved around the basic purpose of the order- protecting the pilgrims in the Middle East. The failure of the several crusades had a detrimenting effect on the support for the order, and the political influence of some of the more powerful European leaders which were seriously in debt to the order, led to their decline and eventual demise.
It is from this point that the influence of the Order on modern chivalric orders must be considered. Many of the symbols of the order were adopted by various masonic and charitable chivalric organizations, which take into account the fact that the main purpose of the Knights Templar cannot be resurrected and preserved considering the political and social situation on a global scale. Instead there is a more humane and charitable alteration to this purpose, which is more or less present in the statuses of all orders that bear the name and symbols of the Knights T

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