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Discover The Knights Templar & The Confraternity Templars Shock/Horror (Part 1)


Understanding ‘The Knights Templar’ is a daunting and perplexing task for non-academics. It is fitting, therefore, to devise a basic account of who the Knights Templar were so that the general reader is equipped with enough knowledge to unravel centuries of misinformation. So, for someone who is a fervent reader fascinated by “The Knights Templar,” this article and the next two in the series will be enough to supply adequate information concerning these mystifying and elusive characters.

During the Medieval period (401 C.E.-1498 C.E.) and after the birth of the Order of the Temple (1119 C.E.) establishment in January 1129 C.E. at the Council of Troyes in Champagne, France of the pauperum commilitonum Christi Templique Salomonici (The poor Knighthood of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon) made it possible to differentiate between two fundamental categories by the color of their clothes. The distinct color symbology, the ‘black’ and the ‘white’, unify the ‘two worlds’ of Templar spirituality; thus, it is feasible to recognize the colored symbolism within the Knights Templar flag or ‘Baucéant.’

In particular, the expressive combination of ‘black’ and ‘white’ indicates a division between the Knights of Christ (Knights Templar) to their various associates. For example, the depiction of men wearing a ‘black’ mantle may be considered a ‘Templar’ but cannot be labeled a ‘Knights Templar’ due to that accolade remaining solely with the ‘white’ wearing warriors. That critical difference was increased in the French rule for the French-speaking Knights when their Rules were translated from Latin. The great majority of the Knights Templars and ‘Templars” were not able to read or write the Latin language.

The Latin rule reveals who could be a Knights Templar and why they wore white.

There Were Two Steps to be a Knights Templar

1) Firstly, the Knights Templars were not common people; they were nobles. As nobles, they had been to be Knighted in the ‘secular knighthood’ before being able to ask to join ‘The Poor Knighthood of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon”  [1]. That ‘secular’ knighthood is just the knighthood of that time before the creation of the Poor Knighthood of Christ. That meant that the new knighthood had something beyond the world. It was the common language to distinguish the sacred from the profane world.

2) Second, by taking vows of perpetuity (poverty, chastity, and obedience), you will be part of the Poor Knighthood of Christ (Knights Templar). Those vows were the classical religious vows for monks denouncing the evil world of perdition. That was linked with the three temptations of Christ in the desert by the devil, the three answers of Christ, and the three monastic vows. The Knights Templar left the mundane or secularized world to the sacred world by that vow. Therefore, he wore white, unlike the others who did not take the vow as knights for perpetuity; hence they wore black.

All is explained in the prologue of the rule.

So I exhort you who up until now have embraced a secular knighthood in favor of humans only, and in which Christ was not the cause to hasten to associate yourself in perpetuity with the Order of those whom God has chosen from the mass of perdition and has assembled for the defense of the Holy Church.[2].

All Knights coming from nobility were part of one of the Tripartitions of Society that appeared in France after the Gregorian reform (1073 C.E.)[3]. It was a simplification of a view of society that was more complex in their reality. That tripartition of society helped the King to organize the Kingdom under his power.

Templarkey knight templar on a horse

The Tripartition of the Social Classes Under the King

  • Oratores: People who pray for others, the clergy, and the monks. Sacerdotal initiation
  • Bellatores: The secular knighthood,’ people who battle, go to war, and defend the others, the feudal lords, Knights, and Princes, under the King’s power. Associate with clergy to rule their subjects and to be kings under the Divine will. Knighthood initiation
  • Laboratores: People who work for the two other classes and who are under the protection of 80-90 percent of the population, made of peasants, merchants, and artisans[4]. They had work initiation under their congregations and Christian’ mysteries’.

The secular knighthood was made of trained warriors. Their way of living was to train, use weapons and be highly skilled in horsemanship. We know the Knights quoted to be present in the Council of Troyes were all nobles and warriors. Two nobles, Hugues II of Montigny (Hugues de Payns) and Geoffroy of Saint Omer decided after the first crusade (1096-1099 C.E.) to act as guardians of the parties of pilgrims. And to create an alternate society for a new spirituality experiment for the lay people coming from bellatores, “a part of the medieval society they were in.”

They were part of the middle or lower nobility [5]. They were not artisans working in the craft or companionship to build churches or cathedrals which were part of the laboratories, ‘see above. They were of the upper class and warriors searching for a path to salvation compatible with their status and the spirituality of that for being in the world but out of the world.

Before the Latin Rules, Knights Were Associates or Donates to the Hospitaller and Holy Sepulcher, not Knights Templar.

  • The Latin rule quotes the Five knights: (forefathers of the Knights Templars).
  • Hugues II de Montigny, called Hugues de Payns, from Champagne.
  • Godfrey de Saint-Omer, co-founder, from Picardy. (counts of Flanders)
  • Godfrey Bisol. (Possibly a count of Hainaut).
  • Payen de Montidier.
  • Archambaut de Saint-Amand.
  • Later we find Bernard Rolland, organizer of the Temple in Provence, will join in 1127 and was sent to the western lands to ask for help.

These secular knights, such as Hugues de Payns, were ‘donates’ to the Hospitaller[6]  to protect people on the pilgrim roads and bound to them by the rights to leftover food until 1120 C.E. The white coat was first given to the ‘Hospitallers’ whose duty it was to guard the ‘Col des Pèlerins’ (Pilgrims Trail). Hugues de Payns and Geoffroy de Saint Omer managed this route for nine years and received nine associates[7], and twenty-five donates to the Hospitallers.

It is clear, therefore, that when the Knights Templar order was dissolved, the Hospitaller Order, in all normal circumstances, received the Temple’s goods. We could understand there existed two founder knights and nine other associate knights with donates, which add up to twenty-five ‘Templars.’ The donates to the Hospital were, in fact, secularized knights or other donates to the Hospitallers, as are the later other secularized knights and lay people who were donates to the Poor Knighthood of the Christ. Furthermore, the former Templars would have also been able to join the Hospitallers or other monastic orders at the end of the Knights Templar Order. [8]

By the Ernoul Chronicle, the Poor Knights Templars of Christ are linked with the “Canons of the Holy Sepulcher.” In the beginning, under Godfrey de Bouillon, a secularized brotherhood, The Sancti Sepolchri Advocatus, “Order of Saint Sepulcher,” was created in July 1099 C.E. to protect the Holy Sepulcher –  as an army or ‘milites’ under the Canon of the Holy Sepulcher or Canonici whose goal was to help the Jerusalem Patriarch under the Gregorian reformation to organize and structure the spiritual life.

After the first crusade or after accomplishing their pilgrim’s vows, many knights and Knights Templar could return to their countries, although many did not want to return; therefore, they were donating their lands and properties to Religious Orders, such as the Holy Sepulcher or the Hospitallers. The Ernoul chronicles show us how the Knights, “from being simple pilgrims and protectors,” return to their first function as warriors after seeing what was happening in the Holy Land. These knights asked to serve and defend and to go into battle when it will be necessary[9].

It was Hugues II de Montigny, after the defeat of the Ager Sanguinis battle in 1119 C.E., who united these knights, who were initially hosted by the Knights Hospitaller, or ‘Knights of Saint John.’ They wanted to be an independent religious society. Therefore, they passed from the Holy Sepulcher prior to obedience to the command of King Baudouin and Gormond de Picquigny, the ‘Jerusalem patriarch,’ and took their vows under their rule.

They kept from this time, serving under the “Prior of the Holy Sepulcher” (the red cross given to them later by Pope Innocent III in 1147 C.E.) on their white cloak without the second arm of the cross. Therefore, reminding them of when they were defending the Holy Sepulcher and studying the Canon Holy Sepulcher spirituality.

Cross of the regular canon of the saint sepulcher.
Cross of the regular Canon of the Saint Sepulcher.

They went to see King Baudouin to be free from the Holy Sepulcher Prior, and in 1120 C.E., King Baudouin II gave Hugues and his companions part of his palace located in the Al Aqsa mosque. Here the ‘Poor knight of Christ’ became ‘The Poor Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon’ (Knights Templar); we can understand this in the Chronicle of Michael the Syrian.

They were now in the army of the King of Jerusalem[10], and they served for a time of three years which is similar to our modern-day military service. To serve kings other than the King of France would be one of their major problems under Philippe le Bel, King of France, as in his time, they were his subjects.

After joining King Baudouin II in Jerusalem, they were used, in fact, to help protect the Latin states and the settlement of different pilgrims from increasing the size of the population in the Holy Land as colonization. This was why they needed to protect the roads of the pilgrims. The Latin states could not survive without more people on their land. You could compare that with the creation of Jerusalem’s state nowadays in Palestine.

Moreover, this is one of the reasons why later, Baudouin II and the Jerusalem patriarch sent Hugues and five of his companions to search for help and to organize elite troops to battle in the Holy Land in 1127 C.E. Their mission was obviously to recruit and receive donations for their order and to organize the different Houses (Domus) as rear guards for logistics in the Holy Land.

The Comte Hugues de Champagne, in 1124 C.E., became a Knight in The Poor Order of the Christ and of the Temple of Salomon. Therefore, this is one of the most important events for the development of the Order and for his acknowledgment and their worldwide extent. The feudal and family relation between Hugues II of Montigny, and Hugues de Champagne, with the influence of Hugues de Saint Victor, will win the first reluctance of Bernard of Clairvaux about the Order.

A Religious Organization In and Out of the World, Through Two Colours (The Knights Templar)

As we have read all the above, the Latin rule did not say in the prologue it was for Oratores or Laboratores, but for Bellatores. Bellatores tried to create a union of Bellatores and Oratores, through their religious life and goal to be active in the world. They also saw the Knighthood as a ‘job,’ which created a link with the Laboratores.

The other main point is an association, in perpetuity (until death), with the Order of the Poor Knight of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon; that vow made them very different from the other Knights. The Order was organized as a religious order under the Latin and French rules. The Knights were chosen from the mass of perdition, which explains the difference in their way of living and dressing with the white color. We easily saw the opposition of the white for having chosen God and Christ, and the black color to represent the ‘Mundane,’ the ‘World,’ the ‘secular’ world, as a ‘devil’ they rejected.

By the comment on colors in the Latin rules, we see the intense controversy in 1124 C.E. (duration until 1146 C.E.) between Bernard de Clairvaux and Pierre le Venerable de Montboissier from the Abbey of Cluny regarding the two colors. The future Saint Bernard illiterates that black was the color of the devil and hell, while white was the color of purity, innocence, and all virtues. It was a debate about the monastic life by a criticism of the way of living that the great Abbots of Cluny with their luxurious life, and they wore black.

The Benedictines monks wearing white were seen to be too strict and living a much less luxurious life. Therefore, they were presumptuous to wear the white color. The rule gives you the sense of the Templars’ use of colors, also linked with their flag and their way of dress. That is one part of Knights Templar spirituality.

Latin Rule 19: Quality and Manner of Clothing for a Knights Templar

Clothing must be in one color, white, black, or donkey-brown, and it is suggested for the Knight who made the profession to wear white ‘because they have to put the dark life behind them, thus through the flowing whiteness they may recognize (…) What is whiteness if not pure chastity..? [11].

Rule 20 explains that Sergeants in the past wore “white,” which created extreme prejudice due to their bad behavior. The same damage was also done by married brothers and other secularized knights claiming to be from the Temple when they were not due to them not taking the vows of perpetuity. By these two rules, we understand at the beginning, people wore white clothes, but at the date of the writing of the Latin rule, it was necessary to stop this and to decide who could wear white and who could not, to create a bad reputation towards the order.

Templarkey knight templar on a horse 2

What was this teaching us? The Knight who made a profession of faith, ‘meaning pronouncing their vows for eternity, will wear white. Whiteness is said to be the color of innocence and chastity within the Knighthood of Christ. The Knights Templar renounced a sexual life completely, as Hugues II de Montigny,’ Hugues of Payns’ did. So, a question is why nowadays it is written that sexual teachings were coming from the Knights Templar? When it is evident in their rules, you could not be a Knights Templar without renouncing sexuality.

The answer is easy; all was invented since the revelations of investigations by the inquisition written by Jules Michelet. Sadly, for those sexual Knights Templar mysteries, the reading and the latest scholarly Templar research on the rules dismiss all the allegations of sexual mysteries and teachings.

The French rules, as the translation of the Latin rule, confirm.

Not all members of the Poor Knighthood of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon (Knights Templar) were reading Latin, so it was an obligation to translate into vernacular language the rule in the different houses of the Temple. It is why it will be spoken of the rule (the Latin version from 1129 C.E.) and of the statute (French or oil language translation completed around 1139-1140 C.E. under the Magister of Bernard de Craon. (It was a customary law of the Order). Some differences between the Latin rule and the French opened the supposed corruption and heresy of the Order.

Historians nowadays explain the difference by the difficulty of translating from Latin to French[12] and the different events or laws made before the final translation; see the Papal Bull, ‘l Omne Datum Optimum.[13] The ‘Retraits,’ in other words, the uses (written before 1187 C.E.), which define the rights and duties of the Templars and Knights Templars within the Order. The Egards synthesize the sum of internal litigation in the form of a treatise on Templar jurisprudence.

The latest compilation of Egards’ must have been written between 1257 C.E. and 1267 C.E. We will not develop the different French rules found by Friedrich Munter (Rome or Corsini manuscript); M. Girard (Paris manuscript), and the de Chambrure (Dijon manuscript). It is Henri de Curzon, curator of the National Archives, who published in 1886 C.E., a book of critical scientific research that will serve as the working basis for all further research.[14]

Part of Rule 27-28 Different Version (17-18 Curzon) Knights Templar

This concerns how a brother dresses. It is written that only the Knights can wear the White, no one else, as the sign to have renounced to the dark life in the world, white was sanctioned by chastity. The following paragraphs show the criticism of false brothers entering the Temple by interest or criticism of secular married brother knights and saying they were brothers of the Temple. The French rule clarifies that all other people will wear black or donkey-brown because they are not Temple’s brother but from the secular world. That confirms the Latin rule. All the other member’s squires, sergeants, servants, associates, donates, and other confraternities are not ‘Knights Templar,’ ‘brothers of the Temple”.

Part of Rule 673-674 Knights Templar

And if the brother is a knight, we do not ask him any of that, but we can ask him if he is the son of a knight and a lady, and that his fathers are of the lineage of knights; and if it is a loyal marriage…

The question is noticeably clear and confirms the prologue of the Latin rule. The first condition for being able to be a Knight of the ‘The poor Knighthood of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon’ (Knights Templar) is to be from the Bellatores, or Knight warrior, nobility and have a lineage by their father’s side.

Also, we see in Rule 674 it is asked to the knight or sergeant brothers if they are priests or a deacon. If they are, it is that fact they could be rejected from the Knights Templar house. Therefore, this is confirmation it was a Military Order but with a religious way of living. Never could a Knight brother be part of the Oratores (Priest, Deacons), as they did not have the right to kill or to fight. They were recruiting warriors to be knights or sergeants for battling in the war against the infidels.

That meant sergeants could be part of the nobility but were not Knighted, many nobles at that time stopped being Knighted. But for being a Knight in the Poor Knighthood of Christ (Knights Templar), you were obliged to be knighted previously. Therefore, to be a knight, it was necessary to have large amounts of money and horses for war; this is why it was reserved for Nobles.

The feudal system or legal system between Nobles and non-nobles was fully respected. The craft (the builders of churches or cathedrals) were in the Laboratores and not nobility people; hence, the Knights of the Poor Knighthood of Christ (Knights Templar) could never build cathedrals or churches. And craft never inherited that knowledge from them; their social status was clearly different from that of servants or people who never could wear the White Cloak and the Red Cross.


By reading the prologue and a few articles on the Latin and French rules, we see easily that our modern Templars are Neo-Templars and have no link with the medieval  Knights Templars or their way of living and spiritual conception. This means no Knights Templar traditions were transmitted from the Knights Templars rules in current Knights Templar Orders.


[1] Demurger Alain, Les templiers, Une chevalerie chrétienne au Moyen âge. Éditions du Seuil, 2008, PP122-123. At that time not all nobles have enough money to be a knight.

[2] Barber Malcolm and Bate Keith, The Templars, Selected sources translated and annotated, Manchester University Press, 2002, pp.31-32

[3] The latest research shows that ideas appeared before but were fully developed by the Gregorian reform. See E. Powell Timothy, ‘The Three Orders’ as society in Anglo-Saxon England, Vol. 23 (1994), pp. 103-132, Cambridge University Press.

[4] For example, in Paris, in 1292C.E., 132 trades were organized with a patron saint at their head, made of masters and companions. See Le livre des métiers from Etienne Boileau. The two real degrees you will find in Freemasonry came from that.

[5] Cerrini Simonettta, La révolution des Templiers, Edition Perrin, 2007, p.17

[6] Cerrini Simonettta, La révolution des Templiers, Edition Perrin, 2007, p.24. And we will see in other articles the different categories called ‘templar” who were not at all Poor Knights of Christ.

[7] Cerrini Simonettta, La révolution des Templiers, Edition Perrin, 2007, pp.75-76

[8] Demurger Alain, Les templiers, Une chevalerie chrétienne au Moyen âge. Éditions du Seuil, 2008,pp 373-479

[9] Cerrini Simonettta, La révolution des Templiers, Edition Perrin, 2007, pp.78-79

[10] Leroy Thierry P.F. Hugues de Payns, la naissance des templiers, BOOKELIS pp 26-27,

[11] Barber Malcolm and Bate Keith, The Templars, Selected sources translated and annotated, Manchester University Press, 2002, p.40

[12] As Alain Demurger about the transformation for the agreement of excommunicate Templars

[13] Dailliez Laurent, Règle et statuts de l’Ordre du Temple, Editions Dervy, Paris, 1996, p.10.

[14] De Curzon Henri, La Règle du Temple publiée pour la société d’histoire de France. Librairie Renouard, Paris 1886. En 1972, Laurent Dailliez proposera une traduction de la Règle en Français moderne.

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