Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Chinon Parchment translation

W:. Phillipe Garver, Master of Lodge Vitruvian No. 767 and Eminent Grand Commander of Raper Commandery No. 1 Knights Templar of Indianapolis just passed along a website link for an English translation of the Chinon Parchment, thereby saving you about $8,000 off of the Vatican edition.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Damian Thompson's Holy Smoke

Damian Thompson's blog Holy Smoke on the the Telegraph.co.uk site has a good piece from Monday, Talking Nonsense About The Templars.

Speaking of Holy Smoke, apparently Polish Catholics have received a vision of Pope John Paul II from beyond the grave. The Vatican News Service is reporting that the vision appeared in a bonfire lit near the late pontiff's Polish birthplace, commemorating his death two years ago.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Update on Vatican Templar Book

More news has been released about the new book being published about Pope Clement V's exoneration of the Knights Templar. According to the Associated Press, "Only 799 copies of the 300-page volume, "Processus Contra Templarios," — Latin for "Trial against the Templars" — are for sale, said Scrinium publishing house, which prints documents from the Vatican's secret archives. Each will cost $8,377."

Reuters describes the edition in more detail:
A reproduction of the minutes of trials against the Templars, "'Processus Contra Templarios -- Papal Inquiry into the Trial of the Templars'" is a massive work and much more than a book -- with a 5,900 euros price tag.

"This is a milestone because it is the first time that these documents are being released by the Vatican, which gives a stamp of authority to the entire project," said Professor Barbara Frale, a medievalist at the Vatican's Secret Archives.

"Nothing before this offered scholars original documents of the trials of the Templars," she told Reuters in a telephone interview ahead of the official presentation of the work on October 25.

The epic comes in a soft leather case that includes a large-format book including scholarly commentary, reproductions of original parchments in Latin, and -- to tantalize Templar buffs -- replicas of the wax seals used by 14th-century inquisitors.

Reuters was given an advance preview of the work, of which only 799 numbered copies have been made.

One parchment measuring about half a meter wide by some two meters long is so detailed that it includes reproductions of stains and imperfections seen on the originals.

I hope their roll of the dice works on this special edition, or the Holy See will have a garage full of them for a long time. I'm afraid I'll have to wait for the paperback edition.

Knights Templar to Mark 700th Anniversary of Arrest, Torture, Executions

(Shelbyville, IN) On October 13, 2007 it will have been 700 years ago that the medieval Knights Templer, the richest and most powerful order of knights in the world, were arrested all across France by King Phillip IV.

Now a group of Indiana Freemasons known as the Knights Templar will commemorate the event in a ceremony on Saturday, October 13, 2007 in Shelbyville, Indiana, dressed in medieval chain mail, helmets and tunics, and brandishing broadswords like their medieval counterparts.

Many claim the arrest of the Templars is why Friday the 13th is considered to be unlucky – a phobia called by the unwieldy name paraskavedekatriaphobia.

Originally formed in Jerusalem at the end of the first Crusade by just nine French knights, within 200 years the Templars rose to become the first international bankers and the most powerful and influential force in Europe and the Holy Land. But on that fateful Friday the 13th in October 1307, the Order was destroyed.

France’s King Phillip IV ordered the Knights to be arrested and tortured into admitting to lurid accusations of heresy, while a weak pope, Clement V, looked on helplessly.

Most historians agree today that Phillip was simply out to steal the Templars’ vast wealth, and invented the charges of heresy as an excuse. That view seems to be shared by the modern-day Vatican.

The Vatican took this anniversary week of the Templars’ arrests to announce they would soon publish a book based on a long lost document that shows Pope Clement V secretly exonerated the order of heresy in 1308.

Renewed awareness of the Knights Templar has come from their mention in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and the 2005 film Kingdom of Heaven, but the Freemasons have had their own group called the Knights Templar since the 1700’s, according to Christopher Hodapp, co-author of The Templar Code For Dummies. Hodapp, who is a member of Levant Preceptory, says that new interest in the Templars and the Masons is growing among younger men. “Fans that have grown up with tales of Lord of the Rings and Jedi Knights are looking for something comparable in real life that is legendary, and mythical. You don’t get much larger than life than the true story of the Templars.”

The greatest mystery of the Templars is the whereabouts of their legendary treasure. Phillip claimed he never found it, and wild speculation has existed for centuries as to its whereabouts. Some say escaping Templars sailed to Scotland and formed what became the Freemasons, burying their treasure underneath legendary Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh. Others believe it may be at the bottom of a deep pit on Oak Island, Nova Scotia. The movie National Treasure claimed it was in a vault hidden beneath a churchyard off Wall Street.

The modern Templars of Levant Preceptory won’t be talking about treasure on this October 13th. “Concepts of chivalry, like faith, hope and charity, never really go out of style,” says Hodapp, “and that’s what we’re really celebrating.”

The event will be at the Messick Masonic Temple, 519 S. Harrison, Shelbyville, IN at 7:00PM. It is open to the public.

Levant Preceptory is a medieval reenactment group within Raper Commandery No. 1 Knights Templar in Indianapolis, and a part of the family of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Indiana.

- For more information about Levant Preceptory, see their website at www.levantpreceptory.com
- For more about the Knights Templar of Indiana, see www.knightstemplarindiana.com
- For more about the Freemasons of Indiana, see www.indianafreemasons.com
- For more about The Templar Code For Dummies, see www.templarcodefordummies.com

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Vatican To Publish Paper To Clear Templars

The Vatican has announced it will soon publish a book revealing documents from the Vatican Office of Secret Archives that will show Pope Clement V's exoneration of the Order.

On October 25, the Vatican office of the Secret Archives will unveil the book Processus contra Templarios, containing "a previously unpublished and exclusive edition of the complete acts of the original hearing against the Knights Templar," the Vatican has announced. Containing reproductions of the original parchment documents, the book is "the most elaborate and important publication yet undertaken" by the Archives, the Vatican states. The book will be a special collector's edition, with only 799 copies produced.

The material will come from Barbara Frale's research and rediscovery of what is known as the Chinon Parchment, a document known about for centuries, but "mis-filed" in the archives in the 17th century. Frakes found the parchment six years ago, and while it has been summarized in print, it has never been fully published before. It describes an inquisition by Clement V and members of the Inquisition of members of the Templar Order imprisoned at Chinon Castle in France. Based on questions put to the knights, according to reports, the Pope found the knights innocent of wrongdoing (although from my reading of the summary, it is unclear whether he pardoned ALL of the Order, or just those who were questioned). Of course, none of this made any difference, since the Templars were imprisoned by King Phillip IV, and Clement was a timid puppet of the king. The knights were tortured and executed, and Clement's pronouncement of their innocence was kept a secret. His opinion of the case addressed their immortal souls, but did nothing to spring them from Chinon's keep.

See also the BBC story.

An image and explanation of the parchment is available on the Vatican website here, but alas, no translation or even Latin transcription is available yet. That's what will be in those 799 books...