Anyone taking a stroll down Zagreb’s main plaza last Saturday afternoon, could think the city was being invaded by Templars. Indeed a large number of knights and dames in full uniform, white mantles flying in the wind like peace flags, paraded on their way to the Cathedral where the Rector was expecting the group.
This was not an ordinary event. The Grand Priory of Croatia, headed by Prior Vinko Lizec, had a very busy day planned. After a long evening on Friday where the Magisterial Council of the Order, presided by Master Antonio Paris from Italy and headed by Chancellor Luis de Matos from Portugal, discussed current Templar cooperation efforts and the new projects being launched in 2019, every delegation was pleased to gather at the lobby of the Dubrovnik Hotel on Saturday morning.
The scholar explains some of the events of Croatia Templar history to Dame Patricia (Spain) and Prior Leif Pedersen (Denmark)
Prior Leslie Payne (England) and Dame Susana Ferreira (Portugal)
The first point of call was the headquarters of the Croatian Priory, where an exhibition on the Templar history of the country was guided by historians of the National History Academy. There were maps signaling, for the first time, the many Templar possessions in Slavonia (ancient name of the Province), alongside photographic reproductions of many of the original documents, some presented to the public for the first time. The scientific quality of the work undertaken is unquestionable. The Order is proud of this work.
Some of the manuscripts and documents reproduced in the exhibition
The delegations were then taken to the Church of Saint John the Baptist an 18th century building that stands on the site of the last templar church in Zagreb. The Master lead the ceremony in which he installed Fr+ José Miguel Salazar as Prior of Spain and Fr+ Angelo Nappo as Grand Prior of Italy, confirming Fr+ Vinko Lisec as Grand Prior of Croatia of the OSMTHU. The beautiful pipe organ was masterfully played by an invited musician and a choir sang an inspiring arrangement of the “Non Nobis” hymn by Simon Rattle that left everyone in the church in a state of elevated admiration.
A comprehensive and delicious meal preempted the Conference in the afternoon. The invited delegations presented their salutations. Hosted by the Grand Priory of Croatia and the Magisterial Council of the OSMTHU, present were the Grand Priory of Portugal, the Grand Priory of Spain, the Grand Priory of Italy, the Grand Priory of Slovakia of the OSMTH – Regency, the Grand Priory of England and Wales, the Grand Priory of Denmark and the Grand Priory of Croatia of the OSMTJ, with a special message from Regent Fr+ Nicolas Haimovici Hastier.
Master Paris, Prior Lisec and Chancellor Matos underlined the need for cooperation between all Templar groups, highlighting some of the most important events in the last year. The Chancellor also said that one year ago this convergence was impossible and that, looking to the horizon, all Templar lineages meet in one point, inviting everyone to work on a convergence of efforts right now instead of just hopping for the infinite to come to us instead. Finally he presented the Templar Corps as a genuine structure that can show the leadership and service needed to set service standards to the Order worldwide.
The group then was conducted to the Catedral of Zagreb, parading in full dress. The only exception was Dame Patrícia Oyarzun, Private Secretary to the Master and Chancellor Matos, because Dame Patrícia had difficulties to walk uphill and Fr+ Matos is an opportunist and doesn’t like to walk!
Chancellor Matos accompanies Dame Patrícia in the Taxi, in full dress. The driver insisted in taking the picture
In the Cathedral the large group was received by the Rector and entered the temple, that was filled with people, in silence and taken to seats reserved for the ordained. The celebratory mass was very moving. Not only the cathedral is a beautifully preserved and in places very well restored 12th century Gothic building, but the liturgy was also tastefully interwoven with musical moments, with traditional vocals and modern instrumental sounds. Beautiful Kyrie. When the group was lead in a ceremonial procession to the plaza in front of the Cathedral, the sun was setting and the hearts were filled.
The event concluded with a Gala Dinner, during which a treaty was signed between the Magisterial Council of the OSMTHU and the International Templar Confederation – Saint Bernard de Clairvaux, that joins over 30 Templar organizations in charity projects based on the Church of San Rocco of Rome managed by the Templars of San Rocco.
Signature of the Protocole with Fr+ Renato Parlato, on the upper left, representing the Confederation
Yes, that day the Templars took over Zagreb. For two days of intense work, fun, relaxation and cultural discussions, brother and sisters from all over Europe were able to forget their different origins, traditions and lineages and live the true brotherhood of Templar ideals.
Next stop: South America and Rome before the end of the year. Do follow us!