In the time soon after Christian forces captured and occupied the Holy Land around 1100, a small group of fierce fighters formed in order to protect travelers and help defend the new Christian states in the Middle East.
They were known as The Poor Knights of the Temple of King Solomon, and as the Order grew, it became known as the “Knights Templar.” Over the next two centuries, the Order became a powerful political and economic force all across Europe, becoming almost legendary.
The Knights Templar, with their white tunics emblazoned with a red cross, became the iconic symbol of the noble “Knight in shining armor”.
These Holy Warriors have been linked to many religious mysteries, including the location of the Holy Grail and the Lost Arc of the Covenant. The Templar Knights have been the basis of many conspiracy theories, and are commonly associated with other secret societies such as the Freemasons and the Illuminati.
How much of this is truth, and how much is fantasy? What do we really know about the Knights Templar?
In 1129, by Papal decree, the Catholic Church officially endorsed the Templar Order. The Knights Templar assumed the public disposition of a military order as well as a philanthropic charity, but in the minds of many historians, the agenda of this secretive brotherhood extended far beyond performing acts of charity or public safety. Many believed, then, as they do about most “secret societies” today, that the Templars were working on amassing great power and wealth under this unassuming facade of charitable deeds, in order to accomplish a more ambitious objective.
Grand Master Albert Pike, one of the most influential Scottish Freemasons of the nineteenth century, made reference to the Templars’ ulterior motive in his influential book, Morals and Dogma.
Pike claimed that “their secret object was the rebuilding of the Temple of Solomon on the model prophesied by Ezekiel.” Pike also mentioned that the Knights Templar were “devoted to opposition…to the crown of Rome and its chiefs.”
According to the extensive research of Masons Robert Lomas and Christopher Knight, authors of The Hiram Key, the Templars began conducting extensive archaeological excavations of the First Temple. Lomas and Knight assert that the Templars discovered some type of “secret” among the ruins of the Temple.
To this day there are those that believe what they found was either the Holy Grail, the Arc of Covenant – or both. Whatever it was, it was this discovery, that Lomas and Knight claimed dramatically changed the worldview and beliefs of the Templars, prompting them to reject Christian teachings in favor of black magic rituals and the occult.
Other more conventional historians, believe what they may have found in the Temple was not one of those mythical Holy Relics, but books and scrolls related to Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism.
In any case, shortly thereafter, the Templars attained an unprecedented level of wealth, power and privilege, and rapidly evolved into the most successful financial, military and industrial organization in existence during the Middle Ages.
Defeat and Disbandment
However, in 1291, the Order took a major blow when they lost the Holy Land to the Muslims during the Fall of Acre. Soon after this defeat, King Philip IV delivered the “death blow” to the Order. Based on their delving into the “Black Arts,” Philip levied several charges of heresy against the members of the Order, and on Friday, October 13th, 1307, he issued a decree to have all of the Templars within his realm arrested. This has contributed to the “bad luck” surrounding Friday the 13th.
Conventional historians point out that Philip had borrowed vast sums of money from the Templars to finance his crusades and ascension to the throne, and believe his renouncement of the Knights had less to do with their rejection of Christianity, and more to do with not having to repay his debt.
The Templars and Freemasonry
The remaining Templars who were not captured, arrested, and brutally tortured scattered, some say taking their secret Holy Treasures with them. They hid in the Alps, for a time, and then it is said they eventually sought refuge in the Masonic lodges of Scotland and Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries, and from there, they began to merge their practices with Freemasonry.
In modern Freemasonry practice, Knights Templar degrees are among the highest conferred in their practice, with the highest being known as “The Order of the Temple.”
Are the Knights Templar indeed hiding a vast store of wealth, including knowledge of the whereabouts of the Holy Grail and/or the Arc of Covenant?
Who can say for sure, but the organization continues to remain a source of speculation for esoteric researchers and conspiracy theorists the worldover.
What do you think the Knights Templar actually found in the ruins of the First Temple? Could they indeed know where the true location of the Holy Grail and the Arc of the Covenant? Reply in the comments below.