This chapter will talk about the origin of the Templars--The pilgrimages to Jerusalem--The dangers to which pilgrims were exposed--The formation of the brotherhood of the poor fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ to protect them--Their location in the Temple--A description of the Temple--Origin of the name Templars--Hugh de Payens chosen Master of the Temple--Is sent to Europe by King Baldwin--Is introduced to the Pope--The assembling of the Council of Troyes--The formation of a rule for the government of the Templars Page.
"Yet ’midst her towering fanes in ruin laid,
The pilgrim saint his murmuring vespers paid;
’Twas his to mount the tufted rocks, and rove
The chequer’d twilight of the olive-grove:
’Twas his to bend beneath the sacred gloom,
And wear with many a kiss Messiah's tomb."
THE extraordinary and romantic institution of the Knights Templars, those military friars who so strangely blended the character of the monk with that of the soldier, took its origin in the following manner:--
On the miraculous discovery of the Holy sepulchre by the Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine, about 298 years after the death of Christ, and the consequent erection, by command
of the first christian emperor, of the magnificent church of the Resurrection, or, as it is now called, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, over the sacred monument, the tide of pilgrimage set in towards Jerusalem, and went on increasing in strength as Christianity gradually spread throughout Europe. On the surrender of the Holy City to the victorious Arabians, (A.D. 637,) the privileges and the security of the christian population were provided for in the following guarantee, given under the hand and seal of the Caliph Omar to Sophronius the Patriarch.
"From OMAR EBNO ’L ALCHITAB to the inhabitants of ÆLIA."
"They shall be protected and secured both in their lives and fortunes, and their churches shall neither be pulled down nor made use of by any but themselves." *
Under the government of the Arabians, the pilgrimages continued steadily to increase; the old and the young, women and children, flocked in crowds to Jerusalem, and in the year 1064 the Holy Sepulchre was visited by an enthusiastic band of seven thousand pilgrims, headed by the Archbishop of Mentz and the Bishops of Utrecht, Bamberg, and Ratisbon. † The year following, however, Jerusalem was conquered by the wild Turcomans. Three thousand of the citizens were indiscriminately massacred, and the hereditary command over the Holy City and territory was confided to the Emir Ortok, the chief of a savage pastoral tribe.
Under the iron yoke of these fierce Northern strangers, the Christians were fearfully oppressed; they were driven from their churches; divine worship was ridiculed and interrupted; and the patriarch of the Holy City was dragged by the hair of his bead over the sacred pavement of the church of the Resurrection, and cast into a dungeon, to extort a ransom from the sympathy of his flock. (Continued in our Warehouse)