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Video: The Founding of the Knights Templar

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William of Tyre was born in the Holy Land, and, after a French education, appointed Archbishop of Tyre and Chancellor of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. He wrote towards the end of the twelfth century. Below, William of Tyre discusses the founding of the Templars:

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In this same year,[1118] certain noble men of knightly rank, religious men, devoted to God and fearing him, bound themselves to Christ’s service in the hands of the Lord Patriarch. They promised to live in perpetuity as regular canons, without possessions, under vows of chastity and obedience. Their foremost leaders were the venerable Hugh of Payens and Geoffrey of St. Omer.

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Since they had no church nor any fixed abode, the king, gave them for a time a dwelling place in the south wing of the palace, near the Lord’s Temple. The canons of the Lord’s Temple gave them, under certain conditions, a square near the palace which the canons possessed. This the knights used as a drill field.

The Lord King and his noblemen and also the Lord Patriarch and the prelates of the church gave them benefices from their domains, some for a limited time and some in perpetuity. These were to provide the knights with food and clothing.

Their primary duty, one which was enjoined upon them by the Lord Patriarch and the other bishops for the remission of sins, was that of protecting the roads and routes against the attacks of robbers and brigands. This they did especially in order to safeguard pilgrims.

For nine years after their founding, the knights wore secular clothing. They used such garments as the people, for their soul’s salvation, gave them.

In their ninth year there was held in France, at Troyes, a council at which the Lord Archbishops of Reims and Sens and their suffragans were present, as well as the Bishop of Albano, who was the legate of the apostolic see, and the Abbots of Citeaux, Clairvaux, Pontigny, with many others. This council, by command of the Lord Pope Honorius and the Lord Stephen, Patriarch of Jerusalem, established a rule for the knights and assigned them a white habit.

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