Knights Templar: Holy Grail
Who Were the Knights Templar
The Knights Templar’s history begins in the aftermath of the First Crusade near the end of the 11th century. The order was founded out of a presumed need to protect the large number of Europeans who were making pilgrimages to Jerusalem after its conquest. The Templars combined monastic and military principles to become what is now often referred to as, “warrior monks.”
Although at first the Order was small, it quickly grew in popularity – and was even sanctioned by the church in 1128; it is speculated that at its peak it comprised thousands of knights across Europe. However, their honeymoon quickly came to an end after their Muslim counterparts started becoming increasingly organized and united under such leaders as Saladin, to whom Jerusalem was again lost in 1187. Although they were able to maintain influence, it was quickly waning both figuratively and literally, as their claims of territory receded rapidly.
At the same time, the support of the populace was also being strained, as their previously widespread influence had led them to become largely unpopular amongst the ruling class, who were indebted to them. In addition, rumors surrounding their questionable initiation rituals forced the church to reexamine their true objectives.
In 1285, under the reign of King Philip IV of France (also known as “Philip the Fair”) – who himself was deeply indebted to the Templars – pressured the church to take action against the Order. And, on October 13, 1307, members of the Knights Templar were arrested and tortured until they “admitted” to committing the sin of blasphemy. Even then some were still persecuted. Finally, in 1312, the Order was officially disbanded, and its leaders, including Jaques de Molay, were burned alive.
Although the above is the most common retelling of the Templar’s demise, many others assert that Philip’s desire for debt absolution was not the only, or even primary, reason for the Order’s persecution. Indeed, over the years many theories have been put forth describing the Knights as the so-called “Guardians of the Holy Grail.” Why else, they say, would the church have dedicated so much of their time and resources to purging any evidence of the society’s existence?
According to such theorists, it was the Holy Grail that the Knights Templar were really trying to “recapture” during the Crusades. The church, sensing their increasing power and fearing the revelation of their knowledge, subsequently persecuted them with the objective of destroying all evidence of the Grail and the secret knowledge that the Order possessed. Little did they know that the knowledge would be carried on in secret, known only to a very privileged few.
What exactly this knowledge was, however, still remains somewhat of a mystery. Some assert that the Holy Grail contained knowledge surrounding trade between the Old and New World that dated as far back as the Neolithic Era, while others say that the Grail was something else – something far more lucrative to the church.
As has been popularized by many works of fiction, including the Da Vinci Code, Foucault’s Pendulum and Holy Blood, Holy Grail, this theory asserts that the Holy Grail was a person – namely, Mary Magdalene. They say Mary was actually Jesus’ wife, and moreover she was the mother of his children, whom she raised in secret in France. It was this knowledge, they state, that the Knights had to keep secret, as its revelation would have posed a huge threat to the validity of the Church.
According to this postulation, the Holy Bloodline was carried on in one of two families: the Saint Clair’s or the Merovingians.