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">The Templars ride alongside famous Crusaders such as "King Richard The Lion Hearted" of England and other newly formed monastic orders (including the, Knights of St. John of Jerusalem and Knights Hospitaller, Hosptallers of St Thomas of Canterbury Knights of St Lazarus, german Teutonic Knights, breteheren of the Sword, Spannish Knights of Santiago,Calatrava, Evra and Aviz, St. Julian and Acantara, our lady of Montjoie, St. George of Alfama, the Mercedarians, the knights of Our Lady of Montesa, the Italian order of St. James of Altopascio, Knights of Stefano of Tuscany, Knights of Santiago, etc) in the major battles, campaigns and skirmishes to defend Christendom against the Islamic Hordes. In 1128 Saint Bernard de Clairvaux establishes the written doctrine and regulations of the Order. Vows of chastity and poverty belie their tenacity on the battlefield and willingness to shed their blood for Christ. As their fame grows more and more men join the Templars. All truly believe that Mohammed is in fact the Antichrist of the New Testament, Book of Revelations and that the forces of evil (the Muslim Armies) must be defeated for Christ to return in the "Second Coming". They therefore fight with zeal and religious fervor, always first to lead the charge against the enemy, even against overwhelming odds! They are always the last to withdraw from the field of battle and usually only a handful of brothers survive any hard-fought engagement.
The Templars' downfall in Europe comes not at the hands of the Muslims but from King Phillip IV of France. His war against Edward I of England is desperately in need of funds and the Templars have just what he needs! Over two centuries the Templars have grown powerful through donations and the establishment of the first European banking system (which enabled pilgrims in the Holy Land to draw locally on funds which they had deposited with the Order in their home countries, before embarking on their Pilgrimage). So in 1307, the greedy King arrests all French Templars and accuses them of heresy and all manner of evil and blasphemous acts. With confessions extracted through torture, Philip convinces Pope Clement IV to order all assets of the order seized, throughout Christendom. On March 1, 1314 the Grand Master of the Order, Jacques de Molay is burnt at the stake, though not before denouncing the Pope and French king, inviting them both to stand with him before the Judgment throne of God, within a year (both the Pope and King of France are in fact dead within a few months of his Martyrdom)!
Throughout Europe, members of the Order go into hiding or assimilate into other Orders. As they are hunted down, many myths and legends are borne concerning the whereabouts of holy relics supposedly once owned by the order and now spirited away, including but not limited to: The Holy Grail, Arc of The Covenant and even the Skull of Christ! Occultists, mystics and authors of fiction are often drawn to the mysteries (if not the historical facts) associated with the Templars. Though the Monastic Order of Templars of the Holy Catholic Church is today no longer in existence, many churches and castles of the actual historical Order can still be seen. These sites should not be confused with the many subsequent non-monastic 'Templar' societies and structures can which be found in modern times (including those of the international society of Freemasons). Whilst not actually engaged in New Testament Christian Belief, Monastic living or Military Campaigns against Islamists, Modern 'Templar' groups are often inspired by the Crusader Knights of Olde to continue the charitable works of the original Brother-Knights.
Templar Knight, Israel, 1256 A.D. Medieval History Masterpiece Giclee Canvas Reproductions and Fine Art Prints (on quality paper stock) by artist Mark Churms are available for purchase from this website at MarkChurms.com.