The Knights Templar is closely associated with the Crusades of the medieval period. They were created initially as a ‘Catholic military order’ by Bernard de Clairvaux and Hugues de Payens in 1119 to protect Christian pilgrims visiting the Holy Lands which was mainly under Islamic control and had become a dangerous place to visit.
Hugues de Payens was the first Grand Master of the Order, a later famous Grand Master was called ‘Jacques de Molay’.
The Knights Templar were also deployed as ‘Shock Troops’ in many famous medieval battles to break up enemy lines and scare the enemies’ front-line troops. They were considered to be one of the most skilled fighting forces of the Middle Ages.
Templar knights were a fearsome sight in their distinctive outfits, with their white mantles with red crosses they were easily recognized by enemy troops.
Official Recognition of the Knights Templar didn’t come until the year 1139 and arrived via the papal bull ‘Omne datum optimum’ A papal bull is a kind of public declaration that can be issued in various ways by a pope of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Templars became a favoured charity throughout Christendom and this helped their rapid rise in power, during this period of medieval history.
It is believed that King Phillip IV was indebted to the Knights Templar and that he wanted the templars killed so that he did not have to pay this debt.
King Phillip sent out an order to arrest prominent members of the order including the Grand Master Jacques de Molay.
The Templars were accused by King Phillip of being enemies of the Christian faith and amongst other things being guilty of denying Christ, corruption, Fraud, worshiping Baphomet, and homosexuality, and on Friday, 13 October 1307 they were arrested at dawn.
Pope Clement issued a Papal Bull on 22 November 1307 which was sent to all the Monarchs of Europe declaring that all Templars in Europe were to be arrested and their assets seized.
Later after forced confessions were obtained many important Templars were burned at the stake in Paris including the Grand Master Jaques Molay.