Templar Corps International is launched on Pentecost day 2020

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Amidst the impactful effects of the COVID19 pandemic, that prevents all international meetings, the OSMTHU has launched the Templar Corps Platform (templarcorps.org). The initiative has been in development ever since Master Antonio Paris resumed his term in office in 2018, as a technological tool to support international Templar cooperation in real world projects.

Under the motto “Ethics and Service for a new century”, the Templar Corps International (TCI) is a group of men and women with a Templar background, organized locally in units spread across the world, ready to put their energy, passion and intelligence at the service of mankind. Members come from a wide range of Templar Orders in over 20 countries, whose membership to a Templar structure is acknowledged and equivalent rank given. A significant number of members have come to the Templar Corps with no previous Templar connection of any kind – which is not required.

Unlike a traditional Order, vertical and highly hierarchical in nature, the Templar Corps International is an horizontal organization, managed as a network of highly motivated individuals run through nodes that roughly correspond to regional hubs.

These hubs run local projects, cooperate with projects run by other hubs and materialize in the real world, with real people, and real work, the conceptual aims of Spiritual Chivalry as inspired by the Order of the Temple and other traditional spiritual and historical sources.

These projects cover a wide range of traditional areas of interest, all with a Templar focus:

  • Charity, international aid and disaster relief
  • Historical research and publishing, scholarship, learning
  • Traditional crafts, professions and industries, including swordsmith, pottery, wood carving, …
  • Traditional arts, painting, sculpture, music, theater, literature, …
  • Farming, hospitality, pilgrimage support and aid, …
  • Ethical business, trading and technology
  • Entertainment, documentaries, film, digital media, …
  • Tourism, guided tours, spiritual retreats, …
  • Leadership training, self-improvement programs, advisory, …
  • Intellectual Property creation and management, …

A list of supported and affiliated local Projects is available. It includes humanitarian work in Europe, South America and Africa. A Global Forum event is held online monthly, where leading specialists discuss some of the most important issues related to the service Corps.

The Templar Globe welcomes the Templar Corps International to the Templar family of websites. We will be bringing to our readers the latest Corps announcements, events and news.

More information: templarcorps.org

VN Barquinha celebrates protocol with Templar order that will make CITA the “world’s most important repository on the Order of the Temple”

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The Vila Nova da Barquinha Municipality has entered into a protocol with two branches of the Templar Order – the Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolimitani Universalis (OSMTHU) and the Ordre Sovereign et Militaiire du Temple de Jerusalem (OSMTJ) – to declare the municipality and the Interpretation Center Almourol Templar (CITA) as an International Place of Templar Cultural Interest.

The proposal for the protocol came to the Municipal Chamber meeting on October 9 and deserved a positive opinion from the executive.

Councilor Marina Honório explains that the initiative results from the association of OSMTHU and OSMTJ who also wants Vila Nova da Barquinha to host “an annual event of the International Congress type and the recommendation that bibliographic collections and objects could be sent to the Center and enrich the CITA as an unavoidable international reference on the Order of the Temple and its cultural influences across the ages.”

As a starting point for this collaboration, Fernando Freire explained that both branches of the Order have already approved several initiatives aimed at encouraging collectors, archives and library owners to make donations and to make CITA by 2021 the “most important, complete and extensive”. repository and bibliographic collection on the Order of the Temple ”.

On the OSMTHU side, one of the initiatives is the negotiation of the passage of the Temple Archive, consisting of multiple original documentation concerning the International Chancellery and the International Federative Alliance Secretariat since 1988, as well as various objects and archives, on loan to the locality of Soria, Spain since 2007, for CITA in Vila Nova da Barquinha.

Another initiative to be taken by OSMTHU is to designate CITA as the “custodial institution to be handed over the update of the Order’s Archives, composed of the official documentation produced by the International Chancellery annually” as well as the “addition of historical documentary collections. bibliographic and objects of archaeological, academic or museological interest that can be donated ”.

The OSMTHU will also offer a forged replica, according to traditional rules, of the sword of the crusader Godofredo Bulhões, symbol of the historical context that gave rise to the Order of the Temple.

The OSMTJ will contribute with the deposit of a thematic bibliographic collection as well as an extensive documentary archive about the activity of the Order in the last half of the twentieth century.

In addition to the initiatives in terms of Archive and Library, the protocol also provides for cultural exchanges, through the loan and exhibition of specific pieces.

Finally, this collaboration also aims to hold an International Conference. An “annual international event taking place in 2020, 2021 and 2022”, as explained by the mayor of VN Barquinha, Fernando Freire.

The venue for the annual event will be CITA, whose organization, programming and promotion will be the responsibility of the two orders involved in the protocol.

It is recalled that the Templar Interpretation Center of Almourol was opened to the public in November 2018 and is a pioneer center for the Order of the Temple in Portugal, endowed with a relevant set of features including an exhibition space, auditorium and thematic library.

By Ana Rita Cristóvão, antenalivre.pt

Templar Corps draws on past experience

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The Templar Corps International website (templarcorps.org) is the latest initiative promoted by the Order in association with the Templar Globe and a few partners around the world. Despite being new and based on technology, the Templar Corps is also firmly based on the very ancient idea of serving God by serving mankind. And service to others has been at the center stage of Templar activities in many countries. The Templar Corps today draws on past experience and a determined will to help the less fortunate.

Speaking of “center stage”, Portuguese musical duo Anjos (brothers Nelson and Sérgio Rosado), with a career spanning over 20 years of raving success, approached the Templar Corps searching for computers for the “Instituto dos Ferroviários do Sul e Sueste”, an organization that provides aid, food and education to over 65 children of railway workers. With COVID19, general classes had to be taken online and homework submitted and discussed using digital tools. Many children do not have computers at home.

The Templar Corps, together with the Service of the Hospitalar Officer Fr+ Miguel da Fabiana and Grand Feytor Fr+ Ricardo Salum, manged to obtain, in record time 6 computers, that were submitted to all the necessary testing and completed with appropriate software and hardware (monitors, mouse, cables, etc.) and later delivered to the institution in need in Barreiro, Portugal. The children were delighted to receive the computers. Their wonderful drawings were the best “thank you” notes we could aim for. “Thank you Angles for your offer”, could be read across the table.

Just two months before the Service of the Hospitalar Officer Fr+ Miguel da Fabiana and D+ Vera Lúcia took the Templar Corps on another mission: to find a used fridge for the “Dom Maior” Association. The Association was founded over 10 years ago, after the parents of a very young boy were informed by their doctor that the child had a fatal very rare and incurable disease and would die within months. They organized, pulled help from friends, family and strangers and kept on looking for a cure. The boy celebrated his 12th birthday this year! Eager to share their experience and passion, “Dom Maior” seeks help and resources to go even further.

After a few weeks of local fundraising, the Grand Priory of Portugal managed to buy and deliver a brand new fridge, with a better energy efficiency than the one requested. Pulling their efforts together, the Commandery of Lagos and the Commandery of Arraiolos packaged and delivered 60 children’s games that were highly appreciated and helped to contribute to a fun, balanced education.

The Templar Corps International aggregates these initiatives of good will from Templars all around the world. It doesn’t make sense that volunteers work in isolation and unknown to each other. The needs of children in “Don Maior”, the computers for Ferroviários and the altruism of the Anjos band (of brothers) is multiplied ONE THOUSAND TIMES if we share the resources, share the burden and share the love.

Serving God by serving mankind. That’s it, really.

templarcorps.org

Templar Corps Academy starts second module of online Course next saturday

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The TEMPLAR ORDER FOUNDATION COURSE 2020 is the most extensive and comprehensive study Course about the Templars available. It gives students an organized and thoroughly researched and documented vision of the subjects at hand. Divided in five Modules, it methodically addresses five fundamental pillars that organize the basic themes, allowing for a clear overview and understanding of the different aspects of the Order.

MODULE II – THEOLOGY AND RELIGION
4 Sessions, 8h

> Main liturgical feasts: Cycle of light – Easter, Pentecost, Saint-John
> Main liturgical feasts: Cycle of darkness – Epiphany, Saint-John Evangelist
> Devotions and Sanctoral: The Virgin Mary, Saint John the Baptist, Saint John the Evangelist, Bethany (Mary Magdalene, Lazarus), others
> Templar Liturgy
> Beliefs and Influences: Old Testament References (Genesis, Psalms, Abraham, Solomon)
> Beliefs and Influences: Eastern Christianity, Copt Christianity, Early Christianity
> Beliefs and Influences: Focus on John’s Gospel
> The Primitive Rule and Religion
> Ecclesiastic organization and Privilege

More information here: Templar Corps International Academy

La commanderie de Paulhac, berceau des chevaliers de l’Ordre du Temple en Creuse

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La commanderie de Paulhac a été bâtie vers l’an 1200 par les chevaliers de l’Ordre du Temple, plus communément appelés Templiers. Cet édifice où séjournaient les moines-soldats était le plus important de la région limousine et il est possible de le visiter tous les jeudis de l’été.

“La commanderie de Paulhac est témoin du passage des Templiers en Creusesurtout par les messages qui sont inscrits sur les murs et taillés dans la pierre. Des messages d’abnégation pour les Templiers, pour les pèlerins ou pour le commun des mortels” explique Françoise Devernin, guide-conférencière à l’Office de tourisme Monts et vallées Ouest-Creuse. Tous les jeudis de l’été à 10h30, elle assure une visite de la commanderie de Paulhac à Saint-Etienne-de-Fursac (Creuse).

Une commanderie était la demeure de moines-soldats. En l’occurrence ici, celles Templiers. C’est là qu’ils venaient, quand ils n’étaient pas au combat, pour cultiver la terre notamment. Pour la visiter en compagnie de Françoise, il faut prendre contact avec l’Office de tourisme de Fursac pour réserver.

Des fresques murales témoins du passage des Templiers en Creuse

“Il y a un calendrier mural derrière l’autel, qui ressemble à une bande-dessinée. C’était le calendrier des champs” raconte Françoise devant un groupe de vingt passionnés. D’autres dessins sont représentés sur le mur comme la célèbre croix rouge propre à l’Ordre du Temple. Pour le reste, le Christ est mis en scène mais aussi des moment de la vie quotidienne.

Parmi les curieux du jour, il y a Simon, un retraité venu de Bonnat pour l’occasion. Alors que l’ensemble du groupe admire les fresques murales, lui n’a qu’une question à la bouche. “Elle est de quand cette échelle au sol ?”demande-t-il à Françoise, la guide avant d’enchaîner : “vous vous rendez compte de comment dresser ça ? Ça doit peser un âne mort !”. Et malgré le fait qu’il reste seulement une église et une chapelle sur le domaine, Simon est quand même content d’être venu. Il ironise : “c’est plus intéressant de venir ici que d’aller voir la Joconde en plein milieu de la foule”.  

Cette commanderie était l’une des plus importantes de la région limousine qui en comptait une quinzaine. Celle de Paulhac a été bâtie vers l’an 1200 et a été le théâtre de l’implication des Templiers dans notre département. Avant de disparaître au début du XIVe siècle après avoir été chassés par le roi de France, Philippe le Bel, et le Pape, Clément V.

Et si vous ne souhaitez pas vous en arrêter là avec l’histoire des Templiers en Creuse, vous pouvez également visiter la commanderie de Lavaufranche dans le Nord du département.

  • Pour les moins de 12 ans, la visite coûte 3 euros. Il faut ajouter un euro symbolique supplémentaire pour les autres.

Par Bastien Thomas, France Bleu Creuse

Alandroal vai recuperar integralmente capela com mais de seiscentos anos

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O município de Alandroal anunciou hoje o estabelecimento de um protocolo de colaboração com a Direção Regional de Cultura do Alentejo (DRCAlentejo), a Paróquia de Terena, S. Pedro e a Confraria de Nossa Senhora da Boa Nova, entidades proprietária e zeladora da Capela da Boa Nova, do século XIV, que vai permitir a intervenção de conservação, restauro e reabilitação daquele património histórico em três fases sucessivas.

A primeira, com projeto técnico já desenvolvido pela DRCAlentejo e cedido ao município, incide sobre a cobertura e todo o exterior do imóvel. A segunda e terceira, com projetos técnicos a desenvolver pela autarquia, correspondem, respetivamente, ao restauro do interior da capela e aos arranjos exteriores ao monumento.

O protocolo agora assinado será enquadrador de uma candidatura a fundos do PO regional com o objetivo da recuperação integral deste relevante Monumento Nacional, mas o município vai avançar já para a concretização da primeira fase devido à urgência da intervenção, uma vez que já neste ano, realizou, em colaboração com a DRCAlentejo, arranjos de emergência na cobertura que se revelaram insuficientes face à dimensão do problema.

O imóvel, que por estas razões está incluído na Carta de Risco do Património Cultural, é um dos mais relevantes santuários marianos no Alentejo e “apesar das múltiplas dúvidas que se colocam a respeito da (sua) origem, construção e funcionalidade (…) está para além de qualquer dúvida o estatuto desta obra como uma das mais importantes de quantas se realizaram em Portugal durante o século XIV. Com o grande monumento de Flor da Rosa e, parcialmente, com a fase gótica da igreja de Vera Cruz de Marmelar, a Boa Nova integra a tipologia de “igrejas-fortalezas”, categoria histórico-artística que pretende diferenciar entre as construções religiosas fortificadas (como Leça do Balio) e as verdadeiras fortalezas, cuja planimetria, volumetria e espacialidade obedece, em tudo, a pressupostos.”

in tribunaalentejo.pt

OSMTHU Elections 2020 – 2025

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The OSMTHU has announced today that the Electoral Procedure for the election of the Master and Magisterial Council for the period 2020 – 2025 is now opened. Current Master, HE António Paris resumed his term of office in 2018 in Arraiolos, Portugal. That term ends in 2020.

In the last two years the Order has worked for the unity of the Templar world, being in touch with a substantial number of autonomous branches and individual Grand Priories in an attempt to congregate efforts in true international Templar cooperation. Of the several Projects that should flourish in the next few years, the International Conferente on the Order of the Temple and Templarism is one of the most innovative and ground-braking. The new elected Master of the OSMTHU will be invested in office during the II Conference in October 2020.

For more details, please visit the OSMTHU official site.

*(foto: left to right – HE Nicolas Haimovici Regent OSMTJ; HE Antonio Paris Master OSMTHU; HE Fernando Freire Mayor of Vila Nova da Barquinha; HE Francisco Caballero Gran Prior de Toledo. Taken during the I International Conference on the Order of the Temple and Templarism, Vila Nova da Barquinha, Portugal, October 13, 2019)

In Remembrance

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Il Gran Maestro e il Consiglio Magistrale dell’Ordine Supremo e Militare del Tempio di Jerusalem si uniscono . al dolore di tutti i confratelli per la scomparsa di Sua Altezza Eminentissima, 80º Gran Maestro del Sovrano Militare Ordine di Malta Fr Giacomo della Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto

Magisterial Council Keeps on Working

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In times of exception, exceptional measures are taken. The Corona virus has completely disrupted our lives, confining most of us to our homes. However, the Order keeps its work and doesn’t stop. And like many organizations, the Magisterial Council of the OSMTHU, spread across several continents and time slots, met this pas 11 of April – Passover Saturday – online.

Just one year ago we were in Croatia, however this year confinement and traveling restrictions forced the Grand Priory of Croatia to postpone their yearly event. In June the Magisterial Council would travel to Bolivia to host a large south american meeting with the Grand Priories in amity, but the calendar is getting tighter and a decision about the event had to be taken.

Using Zoom, the Council has been working together, more often, more tightly together, more efficiently, cooperating and orchestrating the TRANSFORMATION that it has announced last year.

This may be the first crisis in history in which we are required to really work together and leave nobody behind. The virus respects no borders, it bestows no political favors, it distinguishes no races or religions, it doesn’t care about wealth or fame. It’s democratic and a leveler. MOAE. Mors Omnia Aequat. We will pull through together, with compassion, with commitment, with real work in the real world. Our actions as individuals do impact society as a whole. Indeed the distant flapping of a butterfly’s wing may cause a tornado on your back yard. Each Templar should do his/hers part.

In the next few weeks we expect to release a revised Calendar for 2020 and digital tools for International Cooperation. We want to ensure Templars all across the world that the Order is ready for the challenges ahead.

May God look upon our humble efforts with grace.

Estremoz – Alentejo’s Historic White City

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An appetising aroma of sheep’s cheese and smoked chorizo sausages wafted through the stalls of Estremoz’s famous Saturday market. This weekly extravaganza shows off the best of the Alentejo’s local produce, including olives, chutneys, honey, fruit, vegetables and colourful ceramics. It is also home to a superb ‘flea market’ with stalls offering everything from coin collections to cowbells! The market is held in the Rossio Marquês de Pombal, a vast square at the town’s centre.

Estremoz exudes a real feeling of elegance and wealth, because high-grade white marble has been extensively used in the construction of its churches, civic buildings, streets and squares. So plentiful is the availability of top quality marble from the many quarries in this part of the Alentejo, that Estremoz and the nearby towns of Borba and Vila Viçosa have even used it for the doorsteps of their humblest cottages.

Unseasonal rain and a chill wind cut short our perusal of the flea market so we scuttled away to visit another of Estremoz’s attractions, the celebrated Café Águias d’Ouro (Golden Eagles Café). Built early in the 20th century, this art nouveau coffee house has long been famed for political debate, so we were not surprised to be surrounded by men emotionally discussing the weighty matters of local politics. Here was a café with just the kind of atmosphere one reads about in Portuguese literature.

Next to the Rossio, there is a peaceful municipal garden and the picturesque Lago do Gadanha (Lake of the Scythe), named after its central scythe-wielding statue. Nearby are a couple of splendid churches – the Igreja de São Francisco and the Convento dos Congregados, the latter of which is also home to a museum of sacred art.

As the rain turned even heavier, we decided to cross the square to visit one of Portugal’s national monuments, the Convento das Maltesas. This historic building, once a hospital, has a charming cloister at its centre and houses Estremoz’s ‘Live Science Centre’ (Centro de Ciência Viva). It is a very impressive interactive and educational science museum, where children of all ages can learn about the wonders of our planet. Perfect for stimulating scientific curiosity!

The old city of Estremoz

The ‘Cidade Velha’ (old city), with its palace and castle, stands defiantly on top of the hill overlooking the new town far below. It is reached by following a labyrinth of narrow winding streets and through two sets of impressive medieval walls, the construction of which began in 1261. Estremoz Castle is the town’s classic landmark, built during the 13th century as a defensive fortress. Within this fortification, King Dinis later built a palace where he lived with his wife Isabel of Aragon. Queen Isabel was famously generous to the poor and gained the status of a saint amongst the local population. She even has a tasty almond-flavoured cake, the ‘Bolo Rainha Santa’, in her name.

The castle has an imposing 27m high tower made from white marble, and the palace next door has been converted into a luxurious Pousada. This majestic hotel was our comfortable home during our time in Estremoz and boasts two magnificent lounges and a stately dining room, all containing a fantastic array of period Portuguese furniture. The top of the tower is reached by access through the Pousada and has a wide-ranging view of the Alentejo landscape. There is a chapel to the saintly Queen Isabel behind the palace and her own skillfully carved statue stands in the square close to the base of the tower. However, she does look rather glum!

This same square also gives access to the Igreja de Santa Maria, built between the 16th and 17th centuries, and the fascinating Museu Municipal. Built in the Manueline style, the lovely Santa Maria church has tombstones emblazoned with coats-of-arms of many notable Portuguese families.

The museum has an eclectic display of Alentejana objects on show, from exquisitely carved figures in wood and cork depicting rural activities, to rooms depicting local life in the 19th century. But it is the colourful ‘Bonecos de Estremoz’ that catch the eye! Literally translated as ‘Dolls of Estremoz’, there are 500 of these colourfully-painted figurines made from clay. This original folk art is more than three centuries old and in 2017 was classified by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

We discovered that the restaurant A Cadeia Quinhentista (Old 16th Century Gaol), just behind the Santa Maria Church, had some great examples of the best of Alentejana cuisine. Its menu was stacked with interesting local dishes – from ‘Pézinhos de Coentrada’ (pork’s feet with coriander) to the famous dessert ‘Sericaia’ (egg pudding served with cinnamon and plum syrup).

Elvas and Evoramonte

No visit to this part of the Alentejo would be complete without seeing something of Elvas and Evoramonte. Elvas is a wonderfully preserved fortress town located further east, close to the Spanish border, and justifiably popular with military historians. It was the first line of defence against Spanish invasion and its walls were designed so that no side was left unprotected – resulting in a unique star arrangement of battlements.

Essential for outlasting a protracted siege was a reliable supply of clean water, and this was ensured by construction of a long and impressive aqueduct. Elvas managed to fend off three separate Spanish sieges, only falling in 1808 during the Napoleonic wars. We spent a fascinating day exploring the town’s cobbled streets, churches, the ancient castle and the impressive battlements.

Evoramonte is one of the Alentejo’s lesser-known jewels. This ancient little town to the west of Estremoz has a medieval quarter straddling a ridge 481 metres in height. A good road winds its way to the top and we parked close to its pretty church and immaculately-kept cemetery. The 16th century castle, built in the Italian renaissance style, is perched at the other end of the settlement at the highest point and offers remarkable views.

It was a joy to stroll along the one and only street, deserted on a bitterly cold day, and we just couldn’t resist purchasing a bottle of the local wine at the village gift shop. This became the final part of our simple Alentejo lunch at home the following day – delicious smoked chorizo, tangy sheep’s cheese, olives and wonderful Alentejo bread followed by a tasty ‘Bolo Rainha Santa’. Happy memories!

By Nigel Wright
|| features@algarveresident.com

Nigel Wright and his wife Sue moved to Portugal 13 years ago and live near Guia. They lived and worked in the Far East and Middle East during the 1980s and 90s, and although now retired, still continue to travel and seek out new cultural experiences. His other interests include tennis, gardening and photography.

Evoramonte’s picturesque 16th century castle

Clean water used to be supplied to Elvas by an impressive aqueduct

The colourful ‘Estremoz Bonecos’ are a form of folk art
dating back over three centuries

The castle tower is constructed from white marble

Access to the old city is via one of the medieval gates

The splendid Convento dos Congregados is also home to the museum of sacred art

Estremoz Castle and Pousada are nicely seen from the picturesque Lago de Gadanha

Colourful Alentejo ceramics were on sale

The aroma of chorizo wafted through the market

III Jornadas Templárias para o Conhecimento Ecuménico em Lagos

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Decorreram em Lagos no dia 29 de Fevereiro as III Jornadas Templárias, que se vão já impondo como um momento alto no calendário de inciativas da OSMTHU em Portugal.

Organizadas pela Comenda de Laccobriga do Grão Priorado de Portugal, com o apoio da Câmara Municipal de Lagos e da Associação Grupo Coral da mesma cidade, as Jornadas visam ampliar o conhecimento e a cultura dos membros da Ordem e do público em geral, versando temas centrais à compreensão da Ordem do Templo, da Ordem de Cristo e da sua continuada relevância nos dias de hoje.

Desta feita, o desafio lançado aos oradores foi a reflexão sobre “Quinto Império… e a Saudade do Futuro”. Respondeu um conjunto de interessantes palestrantes, muitos já repetentes, recebidos por um número crescente de espectadores, sempre atentos e participativos.

O dia abriu com uma exposição de livros relativos ao tema, muitos da autoria de alguns dos oradores, o que proporcionou agradáveis momentos de diálogo entre autores e leitores, entre autógrafos e perguntas interessadas. De seguida o Grupo Coral de Lagos abrilhantou o evento com algumas peças de canto coral de uma encantadora beleza.

De seguida a Vereadora da Cultura da Câmara de Lagos, Drª Sara Coelho, procedeu à abertura das Jornadas com palavras que bem ilustram o apoio das entidades oficiais a todas as iniciativa culturais de relevo no Concelho, referindo o interesse do Município numa continuidade da já sólida colaboração com a Ordem.

O primeiro orador foi o Preceptor Geral do Grão Priorado de Portugal, responsável pelo programa de estudos e coordenação das acções de formação interna nos diversos graus. Tomando o tema de frente, fez uma recolha metódica das diversas fontes do mito do Quinto Império, desde as sucessões das Idades nos textos sagrados orientais, passando pelo Antigo Testamento, não esquecendo Joaquim de Fiora, Vieira, Pessoa e Agostinho da Silva. O seu texto pode ser consultado aqui.

Impossibilitado de estar presente, o empresário e antigo modelo Tó Romano, disponibilizou alguma literatura e um vídeo relativo ao seu projecto EVADREAM. Nascido em Lisboa e formado em Arquitectura em Belas Artes no início dos anos 80, Tó Romano ganhou reconhecimento pelo trajecto que fez na moda e que o levou a ser um dos primeiros modelos portugueses a trabalhar internacionalmente. Em 1989 fundou com a sua mulher Mi Romano a agência de modelos Central Models, que ainda hoje ambos dirigem e cujos modelos têm cada vez mais sucesso a nível mundial.

O vídeo, de 2015, mostra uma preocupação e uma ideia que antecipa esse Portugal do Quinto Império. Desde essa apresentação, o número de cidades que aderiram à proclamação “Vamos Florir Portugal” tem aumentado e é já um caso sério digno de case study.

Após um curto intervalo foi a vez da intervenção de Virgílio Alves, representante da recém-criada Associação Mar e Saudade, cujo trabalho notável se consubstancia, entre outras vertentes, no já inaugurado Museu Hermético Português, cito em terras de Almourol, em Vila Nova da Barquinha e único no seu género. Os propósitos da Mar e Saudade foram expostos e fez-se uma visita guiada pelo website, explorando-se alguns dos recursos já disponíveis. Na impossibilidade absoluta de estar presente, o seu fundador Manuel J. Gandra, que tem apoiado e participado nas Jornadas Templárias de Lagos desde a primeira edição, enviou o vídeo “Do Ser, do Estar e da Saudade”, que disponibilizamos de seguida.

A sessão da manhã encerrou com a intervenção do Prof. Fernando Casqueira que, na sua qualidade de Grande Preceptor da Grande Loja Soberana de Portugal, abordou, entre outros, o tema da perda do Império e da influência internacional como percursor da vertente de desencanto e desesperança da Saudade, traçando um périplo de uma rara erudição por todo o século XIX e XX, até desembocar na rememoração dos mitos por António Quadros, Dalila Pereira da Costa, Lima de Freitas e Agostinho da Silva. Terminou ainda abordando ao de leve os mitemas mais marcantes das questões ligadas ao Quinto Império, concordando com os oradores da manhã e antecipando uma tarde animada.

Após pausa para o almoço, a sessão da tarde foi aberta pelo conhecido autor e Professor Eduardo Amarante, fundador das Edições Apeiron, em cuja extensa obra a temática do Quinto Império e dos Templários tem tido lugar de destaque. Na sua comunicação discorreu acerca das origens da religião do Quinto Império, das dinastias de Borgonha e Avis e suas ligações, do Preste João bem como toda a problemática da Saudade. A sua comunicação pode ser lida aqui.

Seguiu-se a intervenção de Luis Natal Marques, Grande Conselheiro da Ordem Rosacruz AMORC em Portugal, que escolheu um tema pouco tratado, mas de grande interesse: “O Riso e as Religiões”. De facto, sendo uma das manifestações do Paráclito o brotar de uma incontrolável alegria, que se expande em riso e gozo, frequentemente designado por deleite, o papel do riso e da alegria é muitas vezes subalternizado nas religiões do Ocidente. Com muito humor e numa cativante apresentação, o orador soube prender o público e proporcionou a mais original e inesperada intervenção da tarde, que mereceu justos rasgados elogios pelos presentes.

Seguiu-se a apresentação do Rito Português por João Pestana Dias, Grão Mestre da Grande Loja Soberana de Portugal. Inserido no contexto do movimento da Nova Maçonaria Portuguesa assumido pela Soberana no último par de anos, o Rito Português teve a sua origem na Grande Loja Legal de Portugal/GLRP em 2015 tendo florescido desde então em outras Obediências, mantendo sempre a continuidade iniciática e proveniência maçónica, dando destaque à portugalidade e à exploração simbólica das fontes literárias e artísticas que se fundam no ideal do Quinto Império.

Explicando que o Rito Português é o Rito oficial da Grande Loja Soberana, João Pestana Dias foi expondo alguma da história e da especificidade litúrgica, desenvolvida tendo como matriz o Rito Escocês Antigo e Aceite. Foi de marcado interesse a memória descritiva dos símbolos adoptados (a cruz decorrente do estudo do quadrado e do octógono, com os seus cabos marítimos e inspiração nos traçados da Ordem de Cristo, os diversos paramentos de cada grau, os paramentos de Venerável Mestre e Grande Oficial, etc.).

Encerrou os trabalhos do dia Mons. Luis Fonseca, Tau Christophorus de Lusignan, Capelão do Conselho Magistral da OSMTHU e Bispo da Old Templar Church, que abordou o tema do “Quinto Império… e Saudade do Futuro” numa perspectiva muito directa e pedagógica, sempre com a preocupação de se fazer escutar como uma voz da Ordem e de falar em nome desta, devidamente credenciado para tal.

Por esse facto, evitou cuidadosamente discorrer sobre os assuntos abordados até esse ponto, procurando em alternativa entrar no mais profundo do tema pela intermédio da meditação activa e da contemplação. Assim, seleccionou algumas peças musicais que pudessem ilustrar por via dos sentidos o que as palavras não alcançam, elevando de forma palpável o entendimento da plateia, tocando uma corda especial no coração de todos. Segui-se quase uma hora de intervenções espontâneas dos presentes que, com muita elevação e gosto, prolongaram ainda mais a profunda impressão deixada pelo orador.

Apesar do memento ser irrepetível, deixamos aqui o texto de base que foi lido, o qual contém os links para os vídeos apresentados.

As III Jornadas deviam ser encerradas com uma apresentação pelo Grão Prior Geral do Grão Priorado de Portugal, Luis de Matos. Contudo, este, dirigindo-se à assembleia explicou que tinha ocorrido o mesmo que já se passara em outras ocasiões em relação ao Luis Fonseca. Sem se terem falado na preparação dos seus trabalhos, estes acabaram por ser tão irmãos nas referências e conteúdos que – disse o Grão Prior – na sua apresentação havia um vídeo com um fado cujo autor era o mesmo da apresentação de Luis Fonseca – o poeta e guitarra clássica Jorge Fernando – exactamente com o mesmo lineup musical: Filipe Larsen no baixo acústico e Custódio Castelo na Guitarra Portuguesa… A única diferença era a voz, em que despontava Jorge Fernando e numa outra peça, Mariza. Dada a coincidência inesperada e o efeito obtido pela apresentação de Luis Fonseca, o Grão Prior rematou dizendo: “Uso da minha prerrogativa de me remeter ao silêncio; convido-vos todos a regressar a casa também em silêncio e ainda com os ecos do que aqui ouviram no coração.”

Em resumo, está de parabéns a Comenda de Laccobriga do Grão Priorado de Portugal da OSMTHU bem com o seu Comendador Victor Varela Martins e todos os membros e família que o ajudaram a levar a cabo este duro trabalho, apreciado por todos. Torna-se já uma tradição nesta época do ano rumar a sul e desfrutar da amizade fraternal entre Cavaleiros e Damas, mas também entre um número cada vez maior de convidados, amigos e público. Mais uma vez se trabalhou de forma ecuménica, intergrupal, mostrando que a colaboração com outras Ordens, movimentos culturais e tradicionais, pesquisadores e autores, é possível e profundamente transformador.

Em 2021 as IV Jornadas serão uma realidade.

Atentos aos tempos.

Disaster Relief in Bolivia – Templar Help

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On 14 February 2020, the Bolivia Government Information Agency declared a disaster zone for Luribay Municipality, La Paz Department, due to heavy rain and river flooding that has affected 500 families, 30 households, and 1,050 hectares of agricultural land. In addition, media reported this rainy season overall has affected eight of nine regions of the country were 6,423 families suffered injuries. To date, 17 deaths have been registered.

The Priorato General del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia, headed by Grand Prior General Fr+ Vincenzo Tuccillo organized a Templar presence in the relief efforts, in cooperation with the main ONG’s in the country, including the International Red Cross.

Food, medicines, water and other essential goods were gathered by the Bolivian brothers and sisters, effectively kicking off the first real world action of the Relief organization of the OSMTHU – to be announced later in the year – the Templar Corps International, the service Corps of the Order.

The Grand Priory of Bolivia has been working on a steady development of Templar ideals in South America, in a leading role, alongside the Grand Priory of Colombia, a true beacon of Templar light in the region. An International Meeting with a focus on ecumenical cooperation and opened to all Templar lines and families in the Americas, is being prepared. More details on the work of the Grand Priory of Bolivia can be found by visiting the website.

The delights of the Duero River Valley

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There is a part of Spain, within a day’s drive of the Algarve, that you may have never heard of, let alone visited. If I’m right, you have been missing something interesting.

I’m talking about the Duero River valley. If you have driven north through Spain, heading for France or Britain, you have almost certainly driven from Salamanca through Valladolid and on to Burgos and Santander or Bilbao or France. You have driven right across the Duero River just south of Valladolid in the small town of Tordesillas.

The Duero River rises near Soria and runs from east to west through the provinces of Valladolid and Zamora before it forms the Spanish-Portuguese border for a while. When it enters Portugal, it changes its name to become the Douro and splashes on west to Porto and the Atlantic.

We all know the wonderful Douro wines – but you may not be aware of the fact that, in Spain, this river nourishes some very excellent Spanish wines, too.

There are a number of DOs (Denominación de Origen) that depend on the special climactic effects created by the Duero. The best known are the Ribera del Duero (home of Vega Sicilia, which is arguably Spain’s greatest wine) to the east of Valladolid and Rueda to the south of Tordesillas, but excellent, though lesser known, wines are also produced in the DOs of Cigales, north of Valladolid, and in Toro, Zamora and Los Arribes, all in the province of Zamora.

The red wines of Valladolid province are primarily made with the Tempranillo varietal and the whites with Verdejo or, increasingly, Sauvignon Blanc. In Zamora province, Tempranillo (here often called Tinta de Toro or Tinta del Pais) is equally as important but Garnacha and Juan Garcia are gaining in usage. Almost all the wines produced in both provinces are single varietals rather than blends and it is only in the Rueda DO that white wines are produced in quantity.

The Toro wines were so prestigious that King Alfonso IX of Léon conceded privileges for their production in the 12th century and Columbus took Toro wine on his 1492 expedition, because it could survive long journeys due to its structure and body.

A group of us recently wanted to experience the various Duero wines in situ, so we used the harvest festival in Toro (Fiesta de la Vendimia) in mid-October as our excuse to spend a week tasting wines, eating some wonderful Castillian tapas and looking at the scenery and architectural wonders of the area.

Our base was the Hotel Juan II in Toro, overlooking the Duero and right next to the magnificent collegiate church of Santa Maria la Mayor, a really beautiful combination of Romanesque and Gothic architecture that was begun in 1160.

Not far away was the impressive Monasterio de Sancti Spiritus, founded in 1307 and home to a lovely collection of religious art and a beautiful Romanesque cloisters. More interesting, from our point of view, was the beautiful alabaster sarcophagus of Beatriz of Portugal, only child of King Ferdinand I and, in 1383, wife and Queen Consort of King Juan I of Castille.

Our tour took us to the Los Arribes DO, a long, narrow strip of rocky slopes along the eastern banks of the Duero on the Portuguese border (the name “Arribes” derives from the Latin ad ripam, which means “on the banks of”). The terroir is so hardscrabble and dry it is amazing that any wine at all can be grown, but, in fact, we tasted some quite drinkable ones. We also had the opportunity to take a cruise in the international waters of the ”Grand Canyon” of the Arribes del Duero. It was quite spectacular.

On our way back to Toro we stopped in Zamora for a walk around the old town, a look at the cathedral built in the mid-12th century, with its graceful cupola covered with scallop tiling, and an excellent dinner in one of the province’s finest restaurants, El Rincón de Antonio, the tasting menu of which was, of course, complemented by very tasty Rueda white and Toro red wines.

The Toro Fiesta runs over four days, and, during it, the town’s population swells from just under 10,000 to about 30,000, with the influx being almost entirely Spanish tourists.

The townsfolk are dressed in medieval costume and the celebrations are capped by the Gran Torneo de Justas Medieval on Saturday afternoon in the very rustic bullring. This is an hour long pièce de theatre, by four knights-errant and their pages, of (simulated) jousting, sword play and various pranks, all played for laughs to the vast amusement of the crowd. Of course, the knight representing Castille “won”, at the expense of the insipid (and probably drunk) knight representing Portugal and the mean and ugly black knight. Cheers all around.

On a political note, our visit was just after the “referendum” vote in Catalonia, and we were struck by the vibrant nationalist spirit in evidence all around us. There were many Spanish flags displayed prominently – a practice that, until now, had been rather frowned upon as being slightly fascist. It was clear that, while the illegal vote may have been divisive vis-à-vis Catalonia, it had certainly brought the rest of Spain closer together as a nation.

Our drive back home on the Sunday (with a boot full of good Spanish wine) was about 750km, all autoroute, and covered in about six hours – leaving time for a good tapas lunch on the way. Viva España!

By Larry Hampton

The mean and ugly black knight having a sword fight with the good knight (in red) representing Castille during the Gran Torneo Medieval in Toro’s bull ring

The Toro Clock Tower (Torre del Reloj), seen looking down on some of the revellers during Toro’s harvest festival

A view of the lovely cloisters in the Monasterio de Sancti Spiritus in Toro

The alabaster sarcophagus of Beatriz of Portugal in the Monasterio de Sancti Spiritus

The mid-12th century Zamora Cathedral

Ancient wine barrels in the vast cellars of the Menade winery deep underground in La Seca in Rueda

A view of the Duero River, with Portugal on the left and Spain on the right

The beautiful 12th Century Collegiate church of Santa Maria la Mayor in Toro

A typical display of the Spanish flag in the Plaza Mayor of Zafra

I International Conference of the Temple, Spiritual Chivalry and Templarism in Almourol available in video (full lenght, all conferences and visits, 9h30m)

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The Municipality of Vila Nova da Barquinha just released the full 9h30m of video that documents the full I International Conference of the Temple, Spiritual Chivalry and Templarism that took place  in Almourol, Portugal in October, where the milestone Protocol of Almourol was signed.

The I Conference was the first International Event organized by the CITA (here and here), an Interpretation Center for the Order of the Temple and the Order of Christ that complements the world famous Templar Castle of Almourol.

During the Event the OSMTHU and the OSMTJ, represented respectively by Master Antonio Paris and Regent Nicholas Haimovici-Hastier,  signed a Protocol with the Municipality, declaring the CITA and Almourol as an International Place of Templar Cultural Interest. Both branches of the Order also committed to the development of the library and archive available at the CITA and the organization of three yearly Conferences where members of the Order, the academic community, researchers and the general public can come together and celebrate the Templar heritage (here).

Short clip of how the collaboration came to be:

PROGRAM OF THE I CONFERENCE

The released videos extensively document the Guided Tours and the Conferences that took place along three days in October 2019. A large part of the content is in English. The footage will be edited shortly in order to make the conferences more accessible and subtitle in English those that are only available in Portuguese.

The present uncut release is, however, very useful for all those who were not able to attend and want to have access to all the discussions and groundbreaking research presented. Reviewing the videos will also provide almple reason not to miss the II International Conference to be held in Almourol in October 2020. (more info: osmthu@mail.com)

THE VIDEOS (Parts 1, 2 and 3)

Yes, the light remains in the East

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Nicholas Haimovici-Hastier, Regent of the OSMTJ and Antonio Paris, Master of the OSMTHU

Following a few requests for information and clarification, after the new year started with one more of the many ill advised and irregular “coups d’etat” that recurrently affect fraternal groups, this one resembling the Wild West of fearless cowboys and bandits, we are pleased to make the following DECLARATION:

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Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem Universal (OSMTHU)

Having started an unstoppable movement of International Cooperation between all good willing legitimate Templar Branches of the Order, announced in October 2018, confirmed by the OSMTHU and the OSMTJ in June 2019 and signed in an Agreement with the creation in October 2019 of the International Conference of Almourol between the Municipality of one of the oldest and most significant Templar locations in Europe and the OSMTHU and the OSMTJ, that will take place again in 2020, 2021 and 2022, becoming the most important single Templar location for cultural, academic and fraternal Templar exchange in the world, we declare that:

a) The Agreement Signed in Almourol, Portugal the 13 of October 2019 between the Municipality, the OSMTHU and the OSMTJ is valid until the year 2022

b) On the OSMTJ side, the Agreement was signed by Regent Nicholas Haimovici-Hastier, binding the Order and his International Council

c) Regent Haimovici-Hastier maintains his position as Head of the OSMTJ, maintaining regular status regarding the OSMTHU, the Municipality and all matters relating to the Agreement and Conferences

d) The recent mutiny perpetrated by rogue groups that had past associations with the OSMTJ is not recognized as legitimate by the OSMTHU and has no bearing in the Agreement or future efforts of International Cooperation

e) The OSMTHU recognizes that misguided ambitions and an empty hearted hunger for fragmentation frequently find safe harbor within the Order; when such forces become visible, leaving the dirt behind has been the best way to carry on with the good work

f) Since the determination to Cooperate and Converge at an international level is the scope of our work in the next few years, the Order rejects any association with irregular illegitimate movements that seek to hinder that purpose

g) We take this opportunity to invite all Templars of good faith and provenance to converge in Almourol, Portugal in October 2020 for the Second International Conference and partake the friendship and fraternal welcome extended to all men and women of heart

h) Yes, the light remains in the East

Luis de Matos

Chancellor, OSMTHU


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We would like to wish Regent Haimovici and his International Council a great year of 2020.

Saint Thomas Becket

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Martyr, Archbishop of Canterbury, b. Dec. 21, 1118 (?); d. Dec. 29, 1170

Thomas Becket , Saint, martyr, Archbishop of Canterbury, b. at London, December 21, 1118 (?); d. at Canterbury, December 29, 1170. St. Thomas was born of parents who, coming from Normandy, had settled in England some years previously. No reliance can be placed upon the legend that his mother was a Saracen. In after life his humble birth was made the subject of spiteful comment, though his parents were not peasants, but people of some mark, and from his earliest years their son had been well taught and had associated with gentlefolk. He learned to read at Merton Abbey and then studied in Paris. On leaving school he employed himself in secretarial work, first with Sir Richer de l’Aigle and then with his kinsman, Osbert Huitdeniers, who was “Justiciar” of London. Somewhere about the year 1141, under circumstances that are variously related, he entered the service of Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, and in that household he won his master’s favor and eventually became the most trusted of all his clerks. A description embodied in the Icelandic Saga and derived probably from Robert of Cricklade gives a vivid portrait of him at this period. “To look upon he was slim of growth and pale of hue, with dark hair, a long nose, and a straightly featured face. Blithe of countenance was he, winning and loveable in his conversation, frank of speech in his discourses, but slightly stuttering in his talk, so keen of discernment and understanding that he could always make difficult questions plain after a wise manner.” Theobald recognized his capacity, made use of him in many delicate negotiations, and after allowing him to go for a year to study civil and canon law at Bologna and Auxerre, ordained him deacon in 1154, after bestowing upon him several preferments, the most important of which was the Archdeaconry of Canterbury (see Radford, “Thomas of London”, p. 53).

It was just at this period that King Stephen died and the young monarch Henry II became unquestioned master of the kingdom. He took “Thomas of London”, as Becket was then most commonly called, for his chancellor, and in that office Thomas at the age of thirty-six became, with the possible exception of the justiciar, the most powerful subject in Henry’s wide dominions. The chroniclers speak with wonder of the relations which existed between the chancellor and the sovereign, who was twelve years his junior. People declared that “they had but one heart and one mind”. Often the king and his minister behaved like two schoolboys at play. But although they hunted or rode at the head of an army together it was no mere comradeship in pastime which united them. Both were hard workers, and both, we may believe, had the prosperity of the kingdom deeply at heart. Whether the chancellor, who was after all the elder man, was the true originator of the administrative reforms which Henry introduced cannot now be clearly determined. In many matters they saw eye to eye. The king’s imperial views and love of splendor were quite to the taste of his minister. When Thomas went to France in 1158 to negotiate a marriage treaty, he travelled with such pomp that the people said: “If this be only the chancellor what must be the glory of the king himself?”

In 1153 Thomas acted as justice itinerant in three counties. In 1159 he seems to have been the chief organizer of Henry’s expedition to Toulouse, upon which he accompanied him, and though it seems to be untrue that the impost of “scutage” was called into existence for that occasion (Round, “Feudal England”, 268-73), still Thomas undoubtedly pressed on the exaction of this money contribution in lieu of military service and enforced it against ecclesiastics in such a way that bitter complaints were made of the disproportionately heavy burden thus imposed upon the Church. In the military operations Thomas took a leading part, and Garnier, a French chronicler, who lived to write of the virtues of St. Thomas and his martyrdom, declares that in these encounters he saw him unhorse many French knights. Deacon though he was, he led the most daring attacks in person, and Edward Grim also gives us to understand that in laying waste the enemy’s country with fire and sword the chancellor’s principles did not materially differ from those of the other commanders of his time. But although, as men then reported, “he put off the archdeacon”, in this and other ways, he was very far from assuming the licentious manners of those around him. No word was ever breathed against his personal purity. Foul conduct or foul speech, lying or unchastity were hateful to him, and on occasion he punished them severely. He seems at all times to have had clear principles with regard to the claims of the Church, and even during this period of his chancellorship he more than once risked Henry’s grievous displeasure. For example, he opposed the dispensation which Henry for political reasons extorted from the pope, and strove to prevent the marriage of Mary, Abbess of Romsey, to Matthew of Boulogne. But to the very limits of what his conscience permitted, Thomas identified himself with his master’s interests, and Tennyson is true to history when he makes the archbishop say:

I served our Theobald well when I was with him: I served King Henry well as Chancellor: I am his no more, and I must serve the Church.

Archbishop Theobald died in 1161, and in the course of the next year Henry seems to have decided that it would be good policy to prepare the way for further schemes of reform by securing the advancement of his chancellor to the primacy. Our authorities are agreed that from the first Thomas drew back in alarm. “I know your plans for the Church”, he said, “you will assert claims which I, if I were archbishop, must needs oppose.” But Henry would not be gainsaid, and Thomas at the instance of Cardinal Henry of Pisa, who urged it upon him as a service to religion, yielded in spite of his misgivings. He was ordained priest on Saturday in Whitweek and consecrated bishop the next day, Sunday, June 3, 1162. It seems to have been St. Thomas who obtained for England the privilege of keeping the feast of the Blessed Trinity on that Sunday, the anniversary of his consecration, and more than a century afterwards this custom was adopted by the papal Court itself and eventually imposed upon the whole world.

A great change took place in the saint’s way of life after his consecration as archbishop. Even as chancellor he had practiced secret austerities, but now in view of the struggle he clearly saw before him he gave himself to fastings and disciplines, hair shirts, protracted vigils, and constant prayers. Before the end of the year 1162 he stripped himself of all signs of the lavish display which he had previously affected. On August 10 he went barefoot to receive the envoy who brought him the pallium from Rome. Contrary to the king’s wish he resigned the chancellorship. Whereupon Henry seems to have required him to surrender certain ecclesiastical preferments which he still retained, notably the archdeaconry, and when this was not done at once showed bitter displeasure. Other misunderstandings soon followed. The archbishop, having, as he believed, the king’s express permission, set about to reclaim alienated estates belonging to his see, a procedure which again gave offense. Still more serious was the open resistance which he made to the king’s proposal that a voluntary offering to the sheriffs should be paid into the royal treasury. As the first recorded instance of any determined opposition to the king’s arbitrary will in a matter of taxation, the incident is of much constitutional importance. The saint’s protest seems to have been successful, but the relations with the king only grew more strained.

Soon after this the great matter of dispute was reached in the resistance made by Thomas to the king’s officials when they attempted to assert jurisdiction over criminous clerks. The question has been dealt with in some detail in the article England (V, 436). That the saint himself had no wish to be lenient with criminous clerks has been well shown by Norgate (Angevin Kings, ii, 22). It was with him simply a question of principle. St. Thomas seems all along to have suspected Henry of a design to strike at the independence of what the king regarded as a too powerful Church. With this view Henry summoned the bishops at Westminster (October 1, 1163) to sanction certain as yet unspecified articles which he called his grandfather’s customs (avitoe consuetudines), one of the known objects of which was to bring clerics guilty of crimes under the jurisdiction of the secular courts. The other bishops, as the demand was still in the vague, showed a willingness to submit, though with the condition “saving our order”, upon which St. Thomas inflexibly insisted. The king’s resentment was thereupon manifested by requiring the archbishop to surrender certain castles he had hitherto retained, and by other acts of unfriendliness. In deference to what he believed to be the pope’s wish, the archbishop in December consented to make some concessions by giving a personal and private undertaking to the king to obey his customs “loyally and in good faith”. But when Henry shortly afterwards at Clarendon (January 13, 1164) sought to draw the saint on to a formal and public acceptance of the “Constitutions of Clarendon”, under which name the sixteen articles, the avitoe consuetudines as finally drafted, have been commonly known, St. Thomas, though at first yielding somewhat to the solicitations of the other bishops, in the end took up an attitude of uncompromising resistance.

Then followed a period of unworthy and vindictive persecution. When opposing a claim made against him by John the Marshal, Thomas upon a frivolous pretext was found guilty of contempt of court. For this he was sentenced to pay £500; other demands for large sums of money followed, and finally, though a complete release of all claims against him as chancellor had been given on his becoming archbishop, he was required to render an account of nearly all the moneys which had passed through his hands in his discharge of the office. Eventually a sum of nearly £30,000 was demanded of him. His fellow bishops, summoned by Henry to a council at Northampton, implored him to throw himself unreservedly upon the king’s mercy, but St. Thomas, instead of yielding, solemnly warned them and threatened them. Then, after celebrating Mass, he took his archiepiscopal cross into his own hand and presented himself thus in the royal council chamber. The king demanded that sentence should be passed upon him, but in the confusion and discussion which ensued the saint with uplifted cross made his way out throughthe mob of angry courtiers. He fled away secretly that night (October 13, 1164), sailed in disguise from Sandwich (November 2), and, after being cordially welcomed by Louis VII of France, he threw himself at the feet of Pope Alexander III, then at Sens, on November 23 The pope, who had given a cold reception to certain episcopal envoys sent by Henry, welcomed the saint very kindly, and refused to accept his resignation of his see. On November 30, Thomas went to take up his residence at the Cistercian Abbey of Pontigny in Burgundy, though he was compelled to leave this refuge a year later, as Henry, after confiscating the archbishop’s property and banishing all the Becket kinsfolk, threatened to wreak his vengeance on the whole Cistercian Order if they continued to harbor him.

The negotiations between Henry, the pope, and the archbishop dragged on for the next four years without the position being sensibly changed. Although the saint remained firm in his resistance to the principle of the Constitutions of Clarendon, he was willing to make any concessions that could be reasonably asked of him, and on January 6, 1169, when the kings of England and France were in conference at Montmirail, he threw himself at Henry’s feet, but as he still refused to accept the obnoxious customs Henry repulsed him. At last in 1170 some sort of reconciliation was patched up. The question of the customs was not mentioned and Henry professed himself willing to be guided by the archbishop’s council as to amends due to the See of Canterbury for the recent violation of its rights in the crowning of Henry’s son by the Archbishop of York. On December 1, 1170, St. Thomas again landed in England, and was received with every demonstration of popular enthusiasm. But trouble almost immediately occurred in connection with the absolution of two of the bishops, whose sentence of excommunication St. Thomas had brought with him, as well as over the restoration by the de Broc family of the archbishop’s castle at Saltwood. How far Henry was directly responsible for the tragedy which soon after occurred on December 29 is not quite clear. Four knights who came from France demanded the absolution of the bishops. St. Thomas would not comply. They left for a space, but came back at Vesper time with a band of armed men. To their angry question, “Where is the traitor?” the saint boldly replied, “Here I am, no traitor, but archbishop and priest of God.” They tried to drag him from the church, but were unable, and in the end they slew him where he stood, scattering his brains on the pavement. His faithful companion, Edward Grim, who bore his cross, was wounded in the struggle.

A tremendous reaction of feeling followed this deed of blood. In an extraordinarily brief space of time devotion to the martyred archbishop had spread all through Europe. The pope promulgated the bull of canonization, little more than two years after the martyrdom, February 21, 1173. On July 12, 1174, Henry II did public penance, and was scourged at the archbishop’s tomb. An immense number of miracles were worked, and for the rest of the Middle Ages the shrine of St. Thomas of Canterbury was one of the wealthiest and most famous in Europe. The martyr’s holy remains are believed to have been destroyed in September, 1538, when nearly all the other shrines in England were dismantled; but the matter is by no means clear, and, although the weight of learned opinion is adverse, there are still those who believe that a skeleton found in the crypt in January, 1888, is the body of St. Thomas. The story that Henry VIII in 1538 summoned the archbishop to stand his trial for high treason, and that when, in June, 1538, the trial had been held and the accused pronounced contumacious, the body was ordered to be disinterred and burnt, is probably apocryphal.

by Herbert Thurston in catholic.com