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The Rule of the Knights Templar

Poverty and Brotherhood

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Poverty and Brotherhood

Based on the Cistercian rule, "first came the three basic monastic vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Chastity took count of both sexes. No Templar was to kiss or touch any woman, not even his mother or sister. Even conversation with any woman was discouraged, and often forbidden. Templars wore sheepskin drawers that were never to be removed. (The Rule ordered that Templars should never bathe, so the ban of the removal of drawers was seen as support for the prohibition of sexual activity.) No Templar was to allow anyone, especially another Templar, to see his naked body. In their dormitories, lamps burned all night to keep away the darkness that might permit or encourage homosexual practices, a constant concern in all-male societies, including monasteries." - John J. Robinson, Born in Blood

"An emphasis on silence, even to the extent of using signs in the refectory, came from the same source, while the simplicity of Cistercian altar furnishings was paralleled by the plainest weapons and saddlery possible, with no trace of gold or silver....Religious services alternated with military exercises. there were two main meals, both eaten in silence with sacred reading from a French translation of the Bible, special emphasis being placed on the Books of Joshua and the Maccabees. All found inspiration in the ferocious exploits of Judas, his brothers and their war-bands, in reconquering the Holy Land from cruel infidels. Brethren ate in pairs to see that the other did not weaken himself by fasting. Wine was served with every meal and meat three times a week; their mortification was the rigors of war. Each knight was allowed three horses but with the symbolic exception of the lion, hawking and hunting were forbidden. He had to crop his hair and grow a beard....His Master was not merely a commanding officer, but an abbot. For the first time in Christian history soldiers would live as monks." - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War

"The Templars' emblem was a horse carrying two knights, a symbol of poverty and brotherhood. Bernard clearly viewed his rough-hewed band more favorably than he did rich secular knights, noting that Templars were seen 'rarely washed, their beards bushy, sweaty and dusty, stained by their harness and the heat'. The Knights Templars wore white mantels emblazoned with a red cross and rode to battle behind a white and black banner called the Beauseant, after the piebald horses favored by the order's founders. The same word became their battle cry." - Ancient Wisdom and Secret Sects

"Instant obedience to his superiors was required of every Templar, and since the order was responsible to on one but the pope, it essentially created its own system of punishments, up to the death penalty, for disobedience....Templars were allowed no privacy, and if a Templar received a letter it had to be read out loud in the presence of a master or chaplain." "On the battlefield the Templars were not permitted to retreat unless the odds against them were at least three to one, and even then they had no right to retreat unless ordered to do so....Men who joined the Templar order fully expected to die in battle, and most of them did." - John J. Robinson, Born in Blood

"A Cistercian thinks of cutting down a tree as prayer, given the right conditions, and the Templar had a similar attitude towards a Moslem. In St Bernard's words 'killing for Christ' was 'malecide not homicide', the extermination of injustice rather than the unjust, and therefor desirable; indeed 'to kill a pagan is to win glory for it gives glory to Christ'....Death in battle meant consecration as a martyr, a road traveled by 20,000 Templars, knights and sergeants in two hundred years of war." "Bernard's genius had transformed a Germanic warrior cult into a religious vocation just as pagan gods had been metamorphosed into saints and fertility rites into Christian festivals. Christ had ousted Woden." - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War

 

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