by Scott Higginbotham
The Knights Templar were many things, some true and some otherwise. They are an enigma to many, owing to their secret rites of initiation, their use of ciphers and codes for communication, and their communal living.
Their ultimate earthly master was in the person of the pope, who resided at the top of their chain of command and these knights had a host of rules that governed their everyday lives. Some were outrageous by modern standards, while some were rather humorous.
Charles G. Addison writes, “’The rule of the poor fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ and of the Temple of Solomon,’ arranged by St. Bernard, and sanctioned by the Holy Fathers of the Council of Troyes, for the government and regulation of the monastic and military society of the Temple, is principally of a religious character, and of an austere and gloomy cast. It is divided into seventy-two heads or chapters, and is preceded by a short prologue, addressed ‘to all who disdain to follow after their own wills, and desire with purity of mind to fight for the most high and true king,’”.1
Following these seventy-two rules would take singularity of mind and constant vigilance, but these same qualities are what made these knights such fearsome warriors and these facets are what make modern soldiers what they are today. However, despite the harsh discipline and consequences for breaking faith, young men clamored to join their ranks.
And further, “The rule enjoins severe devotional exercises, self-mortification, fasting, and prayer, and a constant attendance at matins, vespers, and on all the services of the church, ‘that being refreshed and satisfied with heavenly food, instructed and stablished with heavenly precepts, after the consummation of the divine mysteries,’ none might be afraid of the fight, but be prepared for the crown.”2
Templars were not allowed to flee from a fight and neither was capture an option for a ransom was out of the question. Metaphorically speaking, a young man would be forged between an anvil and a blacksmith’s hammer into the pinnacle of knighthood when these rules were embraced.
It becomes clear that induction into this order was one of strict military regimentation, monastic vows, and austere living. Further study of The Rule provides a deeper look into their lives and how the regulations apply in practical situations. However, humor can be found when one stops and considers these ideals and a very brief test based on The Rule will help you determine two things: Are you already a Templar? And, if not, do you have what it takes?
Enjoy the humorous pokes, while adding some specific knowledge of these warrior monks known as the The Order of the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon.
You just might be a Knight Templar if:
1. You have never changed your undergarments. Once inducted into the order a wrapping of lamb skin was worn like an undergarment and was never to be removed. Addison writes concerning this part of The Rule, “XXIII. We have decreed in common council, that no brother shall wear skins or cloaks, or anything serving as a covering for the body in the winter, even the cassock made of skins, except they be the skins of lambs or of rams....”3
2. You would never say to a fellow Templar of the order, “I kissed a girl. Verily, brother, I liked it.” As Addison puts forth, “They are, moreover, to receive no service or attendance from a woman, and are commanded, above all things, to shun feminine kisses.”
3. If your wardrobe consists of red and white contrasts, you just might be a Templar. “XX. ... To all the professed knights, both in winter and summer, we give, if they can be procured, white garments, that those who have cast behind them a dark life may know that they are to commend themselves to their Creator by a pure and white life. For what is whiteness but perfect chastity, and chastity is the security of the soul and the health of the body. And unless every knight shall continue chaste, he shall not come to perpetual rest, nor see God, as the apostle Paul witnesseth: Follow after peace with all men, and chastity, without which no man shall see God....”5
And lastly, if you should ever stand in awe beneath the centuries-old olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane, gazing toward the walls of Jerusalem, wondering if Christ Himself was betrayed in that very spot, you might not be a Knight Templar; you just might be a person who ponders what words the walls could speak and finds inspiration in the echoes of history.
1Addison, Charles G. (2012-01-17). The History of the Knights Templars, the Temple Church, and the Temple (p. 7). Kindle Edition.
2Addison, Charles G. (2012-01-17). The History of the Knights Templars, the Temple Church, and the Temple (p. 7). Kindle Edition.
3Addison, Charles G. (2012-01-17). The History of the Knights Templars, the Temple Church, and the Temple (p. 9). Kindle Edition.
4Addison, Charles G. (2012-01-17). The History of the Knights Templars, the Temple Church, and the Temple (p. 7). Kindle Edition.
5Addison, Charles G. (2012-01-17). The History of the Knights Templars, the Temple Church, and the Temple (p. 9). . Kindle Edition.
Scott Higginbotham is the author of "A Soul’s Ransom", a novel set in the fourteenth century where William de Courtenay’s mettle is tested, weighed, and refined, and "For a Thousand Generations," where Edward Leaver navigates a world where his purpose is defined with an eye to the future. His new release, "A Matter of Honor" is a direct sequel to "For a Thousand Generations"