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 Muslim 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 Poor Knights Templar were called the ‘Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon’ and also became known as the Order of Solomon’s Temple.
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 a 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 Knights Templar were often deployed as shock troops that would attack and break up the enemies front-line forces, in this respect the fighting prowess of the Templars became legendary during key battles in the period of the crusades.
These heavily armored and armed knights were often hard at battle ahead of their main forces, trying to soften up the enemy for the main body of the army.
The Templars became a favored charity throughout Christendom and this helped their rapid rise in power, during this period they.
It is believed that King Phillip IV was indebted to the Knights Templar and that he had wanted to get them out of the picture, whether this is true or not 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 as being enemies of the faith and amongst other things being quilty of denying Christ, Corruption and Fraud, Worshiping Baphomet and homosexuality and on Friday, 13 October 1307 they were arrested at dawn.
Pope Clement then issued a Papal Bull on 22 November 1307 which was sent to 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.