Templars as Guardians of the Church
The Templar Order as Guardians of the Church in the Modern Era

 

Official Heraldic Seal of the Ancient Catholic Church, continuation of the Ancient Priesthood of Solomon of the Knights Templar of 1118 AD

Official Heraldic Seal of the Ancient Catholic Church, continuation of the Ancient Priesthood of Solomon of the Knights Templar of 1118 AD

W (100) Knights Templar Illuminated Letters www.knightstemplarorder.orgWhile the Templar Order remains interfaith and non-denominational, it has dutifully fulfilled its original historical mission of preserving and restoring Ancient Catholicism, as part of its diverse heritage. Nonetheless, under the Templar Constitution all religious activities are separate from the chivalric side of the Order, and are thus optional for all Templars.

The Order of the Temple of Solomon was first established in 1118 AD, specifically as a mission for the Cistercian Order of Saint Bernard de Clairvaux [1] to recover the Ancient Priesthood of Solomon, which the first Templar Knights restored by excavating the historical Temple of Solomon [2] [3] for a nine year period [4]. That Ancient Priesthood, which the founding Templars recovered and restored from the historical Temple of Solomon, thus became known as the “Templar Priesthood”.

The Temple Rule of 1129 AD from Saint Bernard, as a Papal Decree ratified by the Vatican Council of Troyes, recognized the Templar Order as being founded within its own “religion” [5], and recognized the Templar Priesthood as being its own original denomination of Ancient Catholicism: It describes the Templars as “Disciples” under the Grand Master as a Pontiff (Rule 7), uses an obscure Old Latin phrase as subtle mention of the “Patriarchate of the Temple of Solomon” indicating its own Pontifical authority (Rule 8), and declares the Grand Mastery to be exercising its own ecclesiastical authority (Rule 62) [6].

The Papal Bull Omne Datum Optimum of 1139 AD was issued by Pope Innocent II, who rose to the Papacy despite adversity, supported by Saint Bernard [7], who had supported the original founding Templar mission to recover the Ancient Priesthood of Solomon [8]. This fact evidences, and the Papal Bull itself explicitly confirms, that the Vatican grant of statehood was specifically based upon the Order’s own inherent ecclesiastical sovereignty from the Templar Priesthood, and thus the recognition of the unique denomination of Ancient Catholicism was intentional:

This Papal grant highlights “the religious life… established in your house [Temple]… [by] divine grace… inviolably”, meaning that the Ancient Priesthood came from the Temple of Solomon, with inherent sovereignty as an original denomination of early Christianity. It emphasizes that “the house [Temple]… [is] the source and origin of your Holy institution and religious Order, so it shall be… forever the head and ruler” of its domain, meaning that because the Temple is the source of the Ancient Priesthood, precisely for that reason, it holds sovereignty. It mandates that “the customs [laws] instituted… by the [Grand] Master… of your religion… may not be infringed nor diminished by any ecclesiastical or secular person”, thus specifically meaning ecclesiastical sovereignty as a Pontifical denomination. [9]

The Templar denomination of Ancient Catholicism is the foundation of the 12th century Independent Church Movement created by Pope Eugene III, as part of the Templar missions of Saint Bernard de Clairvaux [10] [11] who had sponsored the founding Templar mission to recover the Ancient Priesthood of Solomon [12]. Such Independent Bishops created the 19th century Old Catholic Movement, declaring “Adherence to the Ancient Catholic faith… of the Ancient Church” [13], based upon the “historical primacy… of the Ancient Church” and “Ancient Catholic doctrine” [14], and created the related 19th century Reformed Catholic Movement [15]. This developed into the early 20th century Liberal Catholic Movement, as a revival of the Ancient Priesthood as preserved by the Templars, which became the most widely recognized tradition within Old Catholicism [16].

Ancient Catholicism is abundantly recognized by the Vatican, by five Papal Bulls, plus three Papal Decrees, and multiple provisions of Roman Canon law, such that its legitimacy, validity and inherent ecclesiastical sovereignty are indisputable. It is recognized directly as the Templar Priesthood [17] [18] [19], and additionally recognized as the origins and substance of the Old Catholic Movement [20] [21] [22].

Members of the Templar Order can experience the Templar Priesthood in one or both of two different ways, as alternative voluntary options. Because of the many millennia of history and heritage involved, the Ancient Catholic denomination is bifurcated into two separate and autonomous institutions supported by the Templar Order: (1) The Ancient Catholic Church, continuing the Priesthood of the Biblical Solomon, for the canonical 1st – 12th century classical Church experience; and (2) The Magi Priesthood of Melchizedek, continuing the Priesthood of the Biblical Magi, to experience the most ancient universal sacred doctrines of divine communion since the beginning of recorded history.

Order & Church are Separate – The Order of the Temple of Solomon historically carries and protects the Ancient Catholic Church, which is separate and independent.  The Templar Order has its own Chivalric Constitution and Grand Mastery, and is interfaith and non-denominational with its own Mystical spirituality, while separately supporting Ancient Catholicism.  Templars are not required to participate in the Church.  The Church has its own Ecclesiastical Charter and Pontificate, and its Faithful and Clergy are not obligated to join the Templar Order.

(Click for an Overview of the Ancient Catholic Church of the Templars.)

 

Academic Source References for this Topic

 

Color Coded Quotes Indicating Sources – Quotes directly from verifiable sources are color coded, for convenience of visual reference, as follows:  Brown quotes indicate historical sources; Blue quotes indicate scholarly sources; Purple quotes indicate Canon law sources; Red quotes indicate Royal sources.

 

[1] Michael Lamy, Les Templiers: Ces Grand Seigneurs aux Blancs Manteaux, Auberon (1994), Bordeaux (1997), p.28.

[2] Keith Laidler, The Head of God: The Lost Treasure of the Templars, 1st Edition, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London (1998), p.177.

[3] Piers Paul Read, The Templars: The Dramatic History of the Knights Templar, the Most Powerful Military Order of the Crusades, 1st Edition, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London (1999), Phoenix Press, London (2001), Orion Publishing Group, London (2012), p.305.

[4] Malcolm Barber & Keith Bate, The Templars: Selected Sources, Manchester University Press (2002), p.2.

[5] Henri de Curzon, La Règle du Temple, La Société de L’Histoire de France, Paris (1886), in Librairie Renouard: “Holy Communion”, “this Religion” (Rule 2); “the Religion of knighthood” (Rule 14); “type of new Religion”, “Religion of Knights”, “Religion by armed knighthood” (Rule 57), “in every Religion” as including the Templar Order (Rule 71).

[6] Henri de Curzon, La Règle du Temple, La Société de L’Histoire de France, Paris (1886), in Librairie Renouard: “Disciples” of the Grand Master as a Pontiff (Rule 7); “Patriarchate of the Temple of Solomon” in subtle Old Latin phrase (Rule 8); “divine service… dressed with the crown” as ecclesiastical sovereignty (Rule 9); Grand Mastery exercising independent ecclesiastical authority (Rule 62); “servants of the Church” under Grand Master as a Pontiff (Rule 64).

[7] Malcolm Barber & Keith Bate, The Templars: Selected Sources, Manchester University Press (2002), p.8.

[8] Michael Lamy, Les Templiers: Ces Grand Seigneurs aux Blancs Manteaux, Auberon (1994), Bordeaux (1997), p.28.

[9] Pope Innocent II, Omne Datum Optimum (29 March 1139), translated in: Malcolm Barber & Keith Bate, The Templars: Selected Sources, Manchester University Press (2002), pp.59-64.

[10] Michael Horn, Studien zur Geschichte Papst Eugens III (1145-1153), Peter Lang Verlag (1992), pp.36-40, pp.42-45.

[11] Saint Bernard de Clairvaux, On Consideration, Letter to Pope Eugene III, Translated in: George Lewis, Saint Bernard: On Consideration, Oxford Library of Translations, Clarendon Press, Oxford (1908).

[12] Michael Lamy, Les Templiers: Ces Grand Seigneurs aux Blancs Manteaux, Auberon (1994), Bordeaux (1997), p.28.

[13] The Vatican, Catholic Encyclopedia (1911), The Encyclopedia Press, New York (1913), Volume 11, “Old Catholics”, p.235: “Adherence to the Ancient Catholic faith… of the Ancient Church”.

[14] Union of Utrecht of Old Catholic Churches, The Declaration of Utrecht (24 September 1889), Translated in: Paul Halsall, Modern History Sourcebook, Fordham University, New York (1999): Continuing the 1st century “primitive Church” as the original “undivided Church” (Articles 1, 4, 5, 7, 8); Recognizing the “historical primacy… of the Ancient Church” (Article 2) and “Ancient Catholic doctrine” (Article 6).

[15] Rev. Philip Schaff (Editor), New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 3rd Edition, Funk and Wagnalls Publishers, London (1914), Volume 9, “Reformed Catholics”; H.K. Carroll, Religious Forces of the United States, New York (1896), pp.82-83.

[16] William J. Whalen, Separated Brethren: A Survey of Protestant, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Other Denominations in the United States, 3rd Revised Edition, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc. (1979), p.153.

[17] The Vatican, The Code of Canon Law: Apostolic Constitution, Second Ecumenical Council (“Vatican II”), Enacted (1965), Amended and ratified by Pope John Paul II, Holy See of Rome (1983): “common and constant opinion of learned authors” (Canon 19); “immemorial customs” (Canon 26).

[18] Henri de Curzon, La Règle du Temple, La Société de L’Histoire de France, Paris (1886), in Librairie Renouard: “Disciples” of the Grand Master as a Pontiff (Rule 7); “Patriarchate of the Temple of Solomon” in subtle Old Latin phrase (Rule 8); “divine service… dressed with the crown” as ecclesiastical sovereignty (Rule 9); Grand Mastery exercising independent ecclesiastical authority (Rule 62); “servants of the Church” under Grand Master as a Pontiff (Rule 64).

[19] Pope Innocent II, Omne Datum Optimum (29 March 1139), translated in: Malcolm Barber & Keith Bate, The Templars: Selected Sources, Manchester University Press (2002), pp.59-64.

[20] The Vatican, The Code of Canon Law: Apostolic Constitution, Ratified by Pope John Paul II, Holy See of Rome (1983): Valid Apostolic lines “conferred by the imposition of hands and the prayer of consecration” (Canon 1009); “By the reception of [consecration] a person… is incardinated in the particular Church… for whose service he is ordained.” (Canon 266); Independent “competent ecclesiastical authority” (Canons 114, 116, 118).

[21] The Vatican, The Canons of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), Translation in: H.J. Schroeder, Disciplinary Decrees of the General Councils, B. Herder, Saint Louis (1937), pp.236-296: “The same law is to be observed in regard to those who have no chief rulers, that is, are independent.” (Canon 3); “Renewing the ancient privileges of the patriarchal sees… In all provinces subject to their jurisdiction appeals may be taken to them when necessary” (Canon 5); Autonomous “cathedral churches” (Canons 10-11); “cathedral churches” independently elect their own Bishops (Canon 23).

[22] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Dominus Iesus: On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church, Holy See of the Roman Catholic Church, published by Pope John Paul II (16 June 2000), republished by Pope Benedict XVI (August 2000), Article IV, Section 17.