THE BEAUTIFUL ABBEY OF VALVISCIOLO (from the Italian “Valle dell’Usignolo”, Valley of the Nightingale) can be found between the gardens of Ninfa and the medieval town of Sermoneta, set against a backdrop of central Italy’s Lepini mountains.
Though we know very little about the earliest history of the abbey, it dates back to at least the 12th century, if not earlier. It was founded by Greek Basilian monks, and supposedly occupied by the Knights Templar in the 13th century. Legend has it that the Church’s architraves broke when the Templar Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, was burnt at the stake in 1314 (the Order had been suppressed and its members persecuted).
Traces of the abbey’s Templar past are believed to be subtle but very significant. A small templar cross is carved on the rose window on the façade, and the crack in the architrave is visible just underneath. More templar crosses have been spotted inside the church and on the ceilings of the cloister.
But one of the the abbey’s most interesting features is a very small carving on the wall that you walk past to enter the cloister. Sheltered by a transparent screen, you will find an unusual palindromic SATOR inscription. Its shape is not square, like those found elsewhere, but instead five concentric circles, crossed by five lines that divide the circles into five sectors that contain five letters. The palindrome is read in the following way in any direction: Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas. The exact meaning of the inscription is unclear.
If you look carefully, you might also spot several carvings of Solomon’s knot (which has been interpreted as a metaphor of one’s esoteric journey in search of the self and of truth) and of the omphalos, the sacred center of the world. All of these carvings were discovered during restorations of the cloister and they might provide a mysterious testimony of the presence of the Knights Templar and of their spiritual symbolism.
Today, the Romanesque-Cistercian style abbey is home to Cistercian monks. The church has three naves divided by pillars and columns and bare walls, as the Cistercian tradition that avoids architectural splendor to emphasize the importance of the spiritual over the material.
Caravaggio’s The Supper at Emmaus features a snag in a wicker basket that mirrors an underground Christian emblem, writes Kelly Grovier.
Sometimes a flaw isn’t a flaw at all but a flourish – a stroke of genius. Take, for example, the tiny fray in the weave of the wicker basket that teeters on the edge of the table at the centre of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio’s early 17th-Century masterpiece The Supper at Emmaus, among the greatest treasures in the rich collection of the UK’s National Gallery. Though countless eyes have marvelled at the mysterious drama unfolding in the shadowy interior of the inn in which the recently resurrected Christ has just revealed his true identity to a pair of dumbstruck disciples, the significance of an almost imperceptible imperfection has gone unnoticed in the four centuries since the painting was commissioned by the Italian nobleman Ciriaco Mattei in 1601. A loose twig, sticking out from the plait of the woven fruit bowl, is a dainty defect from which the work’s truest meaning can be unravelled. Alone among the countless symbols that punctuate the religious painting, this delicately described detail – half in shade, half in light – transforms Caravaggio’s celebrated canvas from a mere illustration of scripture scene into something active and daring – a spiritual challenge whose stakes could not be higher.
To appreciate the full implications of this easily overlooked detail, it is worth reminding ourselves of the contours of the bigger picture Caravaggio is conjuring. The source for The Supper at Emmaus – a subject that has inspired everyone from Rembrandt to Velasquez, Pontormo to Cavarozzi – is the New Testament’s Gospel of Luke, which tells the story of Christ’s intimate repast with two of his disciples, Luke and Cleopas, who have failed to recognise him after his return from the dead. As the bread has already been broken and blessed, the time has come, according to the gospel’s account, for Christ to “open” the eyes of his followers and for him to vanish “out of their sight”.
The painting, in other words, captures a mystical threshold, the millisecond before Christ, who is hauntingly haloed by a stranger’s shadow on the wall behind him, disappears from the world. In that immeasurable instant between revelation and evaporation, Caravaggio hatches a suspended, otherworldly world. To the left of the basket, Christ’s paternal uncle, Cleopas, pushes himself up from his chair in panicked astonishment at the disclosure – his sharp elbows poking through the worn-out sleeves of his coat. On the other side of the wicker bowl, to our right, Luke flings his arms out wide, mirroring the very posture on the cross into which Christ’s own limbs had been nailed at the time of his painful death. Meanwhile, the unfazed innkeeper, who stands beside Christ, gazes on uncomprehendingly – hearing the same words that Christ has uttered to his thunderstruck disciples, but unable to grasp their significance.
Caravaggio must have been keenly aware in choreographing this extraordinary scene, poised as it is between our perishable realm and an eternal one that lies beyond, that the contrasting reactions of those present for the big reveal – the nonplussed innkeeper, on the one hand, and Christ’s stunned and speechless followers, on the other – were also those that his own painting had the power to elicit. It is one thing to illustrate a moment of revelation that others have experienced. It is quite another thing to make the observers of his work actually participate in the awe of that epiphany – to transform the canvas into the very stage on which a spiritual awakening is potentially and perpetually possible.
Caravaggio was keenly aware that a painting has the potential to exceed the limitations of a static surface and become a platform for transcendence
But how? “It is as if,” the art historian Andrew Graham Dixon mused in his searching biography of the artist, Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane, while discussing this same work, “the painter has asked himself a series of direct, straightforward questions about the story that he was given to depict. What happens to the world when a miracle takes place? How might it be possible to tell, should the risen Christ suddenly come among us? What do things actually look like at such moments?” A master of light and darkness who wielded his brush like a magician’s wand, coaxing from chiaroscuro a semblance of tangible form, Caravaggio was as keenly aware as any artist has ever been that a painting has the potential to exceed the limitations of a static surface and become a platform for transcendence.
Enter the wicker fruit basket. This anything-but-still Still Life in Caravaggio’s painting is the key prop in his ingenious effort to reach out to us, to ensure our interest in the scene he is portraying is elevated beyond the passive into something urgent and active. With virtuoso Trompe-l’œil sculpting of substance and shadow that creates the illusion that the object is projecting out of the canvas, the artist has carefully situated the woven vessel on the very edge of the table.
The basket is a precarious nudge away from tumbling out of the painting altogether and into our space, spilling into reality its contents of bursting pomegranates and swollen grapes, rotting russets and radiant quince, which the artist has filled with ripeness to the core. But it’s the interruption in the weave of straw that subliminally snags the eye of the mind – a fray consisting of two intersecting curves that the artist describes with calculating care – one swerving upwards, the other down, to form the unexpected, if irrefutable, shape of a stylised fish, or “Ichthys” in the parlance of ancient Christian symbolism.
According to early ecclesiastical tradition, the Ichthys emblem, which dates back to the 2nd Century as a sign of Christian belief, was employed as a kind of secret handshake by followers who feared persecution from non-believers. To ensure that one was in the company of a fellow adherent of the church’s precepts, a semi-circular arch was traced on the ground. If that seemingly innocuous gesture was joined by a mirroring arch drawn by the stranger, thereby forming the crude outline of a fish, the silent ritual of acknowledging the dominion of Christ was considered reciprocated.
The act, intended to help one acknowledge the presence of a Christian, is clearly relevant to a painting devoted to the very subject of spiritual recognition. By conscientiously accenting only a portion of the Ichthys outline by casting a sliver of light on one of the loose twigs while keeping the other, behind it, in relative shadow, Caravaggio approximates the rustic ritual of inscribing one half of the fish symbol. From there, an acceptance of the overture to recognise the miracle at hand is entirely up to the observer of his work. Whether we chose to receive the gesture is up to us.
Unconvinced that the artist intended to braid into his basket an encrypted Christian symbol? Look closely at the silhouette that the pile of fruit casts on to the shroud-like tablecloth to the right of the wicker bowl. There, an even more emphatic shape of a fish, with a sharp lunate tail fin forever flipping behind it, can be seen sailing headlong into the basket, pulling our gaze with it in its wake.
Nor is it the first time that Caravaggio found himself melting a shadowy still life into a display bursting with scaly surprises. Seven years before he painted The Supper at Emmaus, the artist created an edgily charming portrait of a young man recoiling from a reptile that has nipped his unsuspecting finger as he fiddles with the arrangement of flowers and fruit. It is as if Caravaggio, when he came to create The Supper at Emmaus half a decade later, has managed to contain and sublimate the unleashed intensity of Boy Bitten by a Lizard – a version of which is also in the National Gallery – and harness its energy into something spiritually subtler, expectant, and forever on the verge of snapping.
Five years after he completed The Supper at Emmaus, Caravaggio undertook the subject again for a version of the gospel story that now hangs in Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan. A much starker interpretation of the scene, whose shadows have thickened into an engulfing bleakness, this later canvas is far more sombrous in temperament than his initial vision. The basket of fruit, with its lyrical flourishes of unravelling wicker and finning shadows, has vanished entirely from the table. Rather than attempting to bridge the mystical world of the painting with ours, Caravaggio has begun instead to push us away and to seal us out from the dismal abyss into which he and his canvas seem to be sinking. No stranger to the darkness, which increasingly called to him in the stressful final years of his life – with routine run-ins with the law, homicidal brawls, and eventually his own mysterious death in 1610 under circumstances that remain murky to this day – Caravaggio seems less and less to have perceived his paintings as the mystical stages on which others can find their souls than a projection of the gathering gloom in which his own soul was shrouded.
by Kelly Grovier, bbc.com/culture
The phone box can be found near Temple station next to the River Thames
The classic red phone box is a familiar sight for anyone walking the streets of London.
Along with the famous red London buses , the phone box is a recognisable nod to the city’s great history .
Tourists can often be seen posing for photographs outside these phone boxes to mark their trip to the capital.
However, there’s one phone box in the capital even more ornate and recognisable than all the rest.
Between Temple and Blackfriars Tube stations, on the bank of the River Thames , you will find London’s only stained glass phone box.
One side of the phone box has been embellished with colourful stained glass depicting a figure of a mysterious knight.
According to The Londonist , the phone box was first noticed in 2019, and has been catching the attention of passers-by ever since.
The most puzzling thing about this phone box is that no one knows who is responsible for installing the stained glass.
Historians have researched the phone box, such as David Hay from the Sainsbury Archives who investigated the installation and contacted a number of sources.
David was ultimately unable to find out where it came from.
David even contacted BT for comment, and they too have absolutely no idea where the knight came from or who put it there and said they did not give permission for the stained glass to be installed.
The knight could easily be a reference to the Templars, an ancient order of knights who used to reside in that area of London – with Temple Church just a stone’s throw away.
However, why the knight feels the need to watch over innocent people making a phone call is still unknown.
Although the stained glass phone box is certainly a source of mystery, it’s a talking point worth visiting and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face if you’re ever in the area.
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
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.”
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.
I International Conference of the Temple, Spiritual Chivalry and Templarism in Almourol available in video (full lenght, all conferences and visits, 9h30m)
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: email@example.com)
THE VIDEOS (Parts 1, 2 and 3)
El director de documentales Alexander Landsberger vendrá a Valencia los días 24, 25 y 26 de octubre para rodar un documental sobre el Santo Grial que se prevé emitir en la televisión pública alemana.
El documental incluirá en el relato la nueva aportación realizada por la doctora en Historia del Arte por la Universitat de València (UV) Ana Mafé que en su tesis doctoral concluye “por primera vez” que el Cáliz de Valencia es una copa “de factura hebrea” y que, por sus características, coincide con el relato del evangelio y con la época en la que se data la Última Cena de Jesucristo.
La idea de grabar el documental se gestó en marzo, tras conocer el resultado de la investigación, con el objetivo de dar a conocer a nivel internacional las nueva informaciones que ratifican el Santo Cáliz de Valencia como el origen del constructo medieval del conocido Santo Grial, según ha informado en un comunicado la productora Story House Productions GmbH encargada del proyecto.
La película del Santo Grial, que es parte de una serie documental de los mitos más grandes del mundo llamada “Mitos de la humanidad”, producida por la productora en nombre de la emisora de televisión pública alemana ZDFinfo, es un documental de 45 minutos que cuenta la historia de una de las reliquias más sagradas de la humanidad.
El equipo, que también filmará en San Juan de la Peña y Jacetania los días 22 y 23 de octubre con la presencia del historiador Michael Hesemann, seguirán el Camino del Santo Grial y explicarán el porqué de su inspiración para el poema medieval Parzifal de Wolfram von Eschenbach.
La serie se prevé transmitir en ZDFinfo en el verano de 2020 y la compañía distribuirá una versión internacional del programa en todo el mundo.
in Valencianoticias, por
VN Barquinha celebrates protocol with Templar order that will make CITA the “world’s most important repository on the Order of the Temple”
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
VN Barquinha celebra protocolo com ordens templárias que vai tornar CITA no “mais importante repositório mundial sobre a Ordem do Templo”
O Município de Vila Nova da Barquinha celebrou um protocolo com duas ordens templárias – a Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolimitani Universalis (OSMTHU) e a Ordre Sovereign et Militaiire du Temple de Jerusalem (OSMTJ) – a fim de declarar o município e o Centro de Interpretação Templário de Almourol (CITA) como Lugar Internacional de Interesse Cultural Templário.
A proposta de celebração de protocolo veio a reunião de Câmara no dia 9 de outubro e mereceu parecer positivo do executivo.
A vereadora Marina Honório explica que a iniciativa resulta da associação da OSMTHU e da OSMTJ e pretende também que Vila Nova da Barquinha seja sede de “um evento anual do tipo Congresso Internacional e recomendação de destino de acervos bibliográficos e objetos que possam enriquecer o CITA como referência internacional incontornável sobre a Ordem do Templo e suas influências culturais em todas as épocas”.
Como sinal de arranque desta colaboração, Fernando Freire explicou que ambos os ramos da Ordem aprovaram já diversas iniciativas que têm como objetivo encorajar colecionadores, arquivos e donos de bibliotecas a fazer doações e a tornar o CITA até 2021 no “mais importante, completo e extensivo repositório e acervo bibliográfico mundial sobre a Ordem do Templo”.
Da parte da OSMTHU, uma das iniciativas passa pela negociação da passagem do Arquivo do Templo, constituída por múltipla documentação original relativa à Chancelaria Internacional e ao Secretariado da Aliança Federativa Internacional desde 1988, bem como objetos e arquivo diverso, sob empréstimo à localidade de Sória, Espanha desde 2007, para o CITA em Vila Nova da Barquinha.
Outra das iniciativas a ser tomada pela OSMTHU é designar o CITA como a “instituição à guarda do qual será entregue a atualização do Arquivo da Ordem, composto pela documentação oficial produzida pela Chancelaria Internacional anualmente” bem como da “adição de peças documentais históricas, acervos bibliográficos e objetos de interesse arqueológico, académico ou museológicos que a esta possam ser doados”.
A OSMTHU vai também [convidar a Grão Priorado de Toledo da OSMTH a] oferecer uma réplica forjada, segundo as regras tradicionais, da espada do cruzado Godofredo Bulhões, símbolo do contexto histórico que proporcionou o surgimento da Ordem do Templo.
Já a OSMTJ contribuirá com o depósito de uma coleção bibliográfica temática de relevo bem como um extenso arquivo documental sobre a atividade da Ordem na última metade do século XX.
Para além das iniciativas em termos de Arquivo e Biblioteca, o protocolo prevê também trocas culturais, através do empréstimo e exposição de peças específicas.
Por fim, esta colaboração pretende também a realização de uma Conferência Internacional. Um “evento anual de âmbito internacional a decorrer em 2020, 2021 e 2022”, conforme explicou o presidente da Câmara de VN Barquinha, Fernando Freire.
O local escolhido para o evento anual será o CITA, cuja organização, programação e promoção será responsabilidade das duas ordens envolvidas no protocolo.
Recorde-se que o Centro de Interpretação Templário de Almourol foi aberto ao público em novembro de 2018 e é um centro pioneiro no que respeita à Ordem do Templo em Portugal, dotado de um conjunto relevante de recursos que incluem um espaço para exposições, auditório e biblioteca temática.
Por Ana Rita Cristóvão, antenalivre.pt
Manuel J. Gandra, o curador da exposição “O Império do Divino Espírito Santo no Médio Tejo”, fez algumas revelações inéditas sobre as suas investigações acerca do tema, durante a inauguração no Centro de Interpretação Templário Almourol (CITA), de Vila Nova da Barquinha, no dia 9 de junho.
O investigador revelou que 12 dos 13 concelhos da região do Médio Tejo “estão repletos de memórias do Império do Espírito Santo”. Excluiu apenas o Entroncamento por ser um concelho recente.
Para Manuel Gandra, a exposição sobre o Espírito Santo agora inaugurada “aparentemente é alheia à temática Templária”, mas “na realidade o tema Templário e a exposição são duas faces da mesma moeda”.
Na conferência de apresentação do catálogo que antecedeu a inauguração da exposição, o investigador sublinhou que “os Templários tinham objetivos materiais mas também espirituais que passavam pela criação de uma humanidade fraterna”.
“Este território, que era sobretudo Templário, tinha já essa componente espiritual presente mas tornou-se mais evidente quando entrou na história a Ordem de Cristo e adotou para si o Império do Espírito Santo”, explicou Manuel Gandra.
Já na exposição, que ocupa um dos corredores do CITA, os visitantes puderam apreciar medalhas, imagens, cartazes, livros antigos, entre uma série de objetos e documentos relacionados com o tema. Da região há referências a festas do Divino Espírito Santo em Sardoal, Alcanena e Meia Via, mas o destaque vai para a Festa dos Tabuleiros de Tomar.
Três das vitrinas estão preenchidas com objetos relativos ao culto do Divino Espírito Santo nos Açores, no Brasil e na América do Norte.
Manuel Gandra dispõe de muito mais peças sobre o tema mas dada a limitação de espaço teve de ser feita uma seleção criteriosa. No ar ficou a perspetiva de uma outra exposição.
Depois de agradecer a “colaboração inexcedível” de Manuel Gandra na exposição, o presidente da Câmara de Vila Nova da Barquinha falou do “projeto arrojado” do CITA numa lógica de identidade do território transversal a todo o Médio Tejo.
Fernando Freire recordou que existem no concelho dois castelos templários: Almourol e Zêzere, sendo que deste último há apenas alguns vestígios.
“Já está feito o levantamento de uma muralha medieval que se encontra a nascente”, e “gostaríamos de, no próximo ano, fazer escavações arqueológicas no local”, anunciou o autarca.
Referiu-se ainda à existência de um cais Templário junto ao rio Zêzere, levando o edil a acreditar que foi ali “que se iniciaram os descobrimentos portugueses”.
Também para Manuel Gandra “a expansão marítima portuguesa começou a partir do Zêzere e de Almourol, portanto, do que é hoje Vila Nova da Barquinha”. Foi o Comendador de Almourol Frei Gonçalo Velho quem descobriu as Ilhas de Santa Maria e de S. Miguel (Açores) que inicialmente se chamavam Almourol e Cardiga, segundo o investigador.
E terá sido desta região do Médio Tejo e nessa altura que o culto ao Divino Espírito Santo chegou aos Açores e depois às Américas.
A exposição “O Império do Divino Espírito Santo no Médio Tejo” vai estar patente até ao final do ano podendo ser visitada de segunda a sexta-feira das 9h00 às 12h30 e das 14h00 às 17h30 e aos sábados, domingos e feriados, das 10h00 às 13h00 e das 15h00 às 18h00.
in mediotejo.net por José Gaio
Por Rádio Hertz
IMPÉRIO DO DIVINO ESPÍRITO SANTO – VILA NOVA DA BARQUINHA 2019
A few weeks ago, while leading a pilgrimage tour to Israel, I couldn’t wait to bring the group to one of the greatest museums in the world: the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Packed with artifacts from the biblical period, it’s a treasure trove for anyone interested in the material remains of salvation history.
The museum also houses one of the more important archaeological finds of recent years: an artifact that has bolstered our confidence in the veracity of the Old Testament accounts of the kingdom of David, his son Solomon, and their successors.
Biblical “minimalists” had long contended that King David did not actually preside over a kingdom that originated circa the tenth century B.C., as the Bible states. Indeed, these scholars alleged that David, Solomon, and in fact the entire line of Davidic kings chronicled in the Old Testament, are nothing more than fictional characters invented by the writers of the Hebrew scriptures.
In favor of the “minimalist” argument was the lack of any evidence of David’s existence outside the Bible.
But here’s where archaeology came to the rescue. During the 1993-94 excavations at Tel Dan, in northern Israel, a stele (a stone slab bearing an inscription) was unearthed. Made from basalt, a volcanic rock plentiful in the region, it bears an account of a military victory. Scholars have postulated that the inscription commemorates an Aramean king’s defeat of Israelite forces. It may have been commissioned by Hazael or Ben-Hadad III, his son (cf. 2 Kings 10:32, 13:3, 22; 2 Chron. 22:5).
The key line on the monument, the stunning find, is the mention of the “House of David.” There it was, written in stone—independent confirmation of David’s existence and of a line of kings so powerful that defeating armies from this “House” warranted a public brag of sorts on this stele, for all passersby to read and marvel at.
Analysis of the stele dates it to the mid-ninth century BC, right around the time when, according to Scripture, David’s dynasty would have been flourishing. It appears that the stele was broken by the Israelites after they recaptured the area some time later, and was eventually repurposed into building blocks for the city wall.
After this discovery, as chronicled by Craig Evans, the minimalists changed their approach. “Okay, okay,” they admitted, “maybe David existed after all. But he was a nobody. A local tribal chief, at best, certainly not the originator of the vast, Iron-Age kingdom described in the Old Testament.”
At this point, faced with what seems like special pleading, one is tempted to respond like Jerry Seinfeld: “Really? Really?”
But don’t despair—again, archaeology is our friend here.
First of all, if David had been merely a small-time local yokel, what on earth were his descendants doing fighting battles all the way up north, near the modern-day border that separates Israel and Syria, far from his allegedly tiny operation in Jerusalem?
Also, a vast, centralized complex of buildings—in all likelihood, a government compound—has been unearthed in the Old City of Jerusalem, and can be seen on tours today. It’s located in what’s known as the “City of David” and dates to approximately the tenth century B.C.; once more, the time when Scripture says that David and Solomon were establishing their empire. Again, this seems fairly excessive if we’re talking about an insignificant tribal chieftain, but it does fit the biblical narrative of David’s expansive realm.
To this our minimalist might say, “I’ll grant you that David existed, and perhaps he did preside over a significantly large kingdom, but we still can’t trust what the Bible says about him. The people of David’s time would not have been significantly literate enough to record his exploits or those of his descendants”.
This last objection is at least partially answered by—you guessed it—yet another archaeological discovery. In 2008, an ostracon (an inscribed piece of pottery) dating to the tenth century B.C. was disinterred at the ancient fortress city of Khirbet Qeiyafa, which was the only fortified Judahite city during the reigns of David and his predecessor, King Saul (in fact, the Qeiyafa ostracon is the only extant relic that mentions Saul).
The famed French epigrapher Émile Puech regards the inscription as the earliest writing narrating the transition of Israel from a people ruled by judges into a kingdom. It shows that the people living around David’s time were literate, and in fact, more than capable of recording (and passing on) the annals of David’s dynasty, such as we see in the biblical books of Kings and Chronicles.
The Tel Dan stele and the Qeiyafa ostracon are just two examples from the multitude of archaeological discoveries in Israel that have bolstered our understanding of, and in many cases substantiated the reliability of, biblical records of history. Since only roughly five percent of all biblical sites have been excavated to date (which is unbelievable considering how much has already been found), It’s truly exciting to think of how many more such finds may be unearthed in the years to come.
by Cale Clarke, in catholic.com
When the magnificent Cathedral of Our Lady (Notre Dame) in Paris caught fire earlier this week, the world was mesmerized by the apparent destruction of such an historical and holy edifice—one of the most widely recognized and frequently visited structures in the world.
Although the soaring Gothic cathedral is well known, until recent events relatively few people knew that it has been home to the holy relic of the Crown of Thorns worn by Christ during his Passion. The destructive fire sharpened the world’s focus on the cathedral, Paris, and the Catholic Church at the beginning of the holiest week of the year and, in God’s own providential way, made more widely known the existence of this singular relic.
It has also aroused skepticism and questions. How did one of the central relics of the Passion end up in the capital of France? How do we know this relic is authentic? Isn’t it more likely some pious myth?
The story of the arrival of the crown in Paris is a dramatic tale of the sacking of a majestic city, a bankrupt empire, and a saintly monarch desirous of manifesting leadership of Christendom in medieval Europe.
Three of the four Gospel narratives record that Jesus, during his Passion, was crowned with thorns by Roman soldiers (Mark 15:17, Matt 27:29, John 19:2, 5). However, documentary evidence for the crown’s whereabouts after the Crucifixion are scarce until the fifth century, when the Gallo-Roman bishop St. Paulinus of Nola (354-431) referenced the relics of the crown and the cross in his writings. A century later, the Roman senator and later monk Cassiodorus (c. 490-585) mentioned the relic of the crown of thorns in his commentary on Psalm 86.
Another sixth-century reference is found in the travel diary of the anonymous Pilgrim of Piacenza, a Christian from Italy who went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, who wrote, “There is in that church [the basilica Church of Hagia Zion] also the crown of thorns with which the Lord was crowned.” From the sixth to the tenth centuries, there are reports of the distribution of thorns from the crown to various persons including St. Germanus (c. 469-576), the bishop of Paris; Charlemagne (742-814), king of the Franks and holy roman emperor; and the Anglo-Saxon king Æthelstan (894-939). It is believed that sometime in the mid-eleventh century the crown was transferred from Jerusalem to Constantinople, where it remained for nearly two centuries.
In the thirteenth century, Robert de Clari (1170-1216), a French warrior who participated in the Fourth Crusade (1201-1205), provided a description of his Crusade activities. He describes in his chronicle the multitude of precious objects and sacred relics contained within the majestic city of Constantinople:
Within this chapel were found… two pieces of the true cross… two nails that were driven through the midst of his hands and through the midst of his feet. And there, too, was found the blessed crown wherewith he was crowned, which was wrought of sea rushes, sharp as dagger blades.”
The Fourth Crusade, in 1204, resulted in the sack of Constantinople, which Pope Innocent III (r.1198-1216) condemned, and the establishment of a Latin Empire (called “this new France” by Pope Honorius III and colloquially known as “Romania”) that lasted until 1261. The Latin Empire faced significant challenges in its short existence, including the presence of exiled Byzantines, who wanted their imperial capital back, and a lack of western military manpower. Many westerners left the Holy Land and settled in Latin-controlled Constantinople, which ultimately weakened Christian-controlled territory in the Latin East (Acre, one of the last major Christian cities in the Holy Land, fell to a Muslim army in 1291).
The last Latin emperor to rule in Constantinople was Baldwin II (r. 1228–1273), who was also the only Latin emperor born in the city. Faced with significant financial difficulties, Baldwin embarked on a tour of western Europe in a recruitment campaign for men and money. While in France, Baldwin received word that his barons had borrowed money from the Venetians and used the crown of thorns as collateral. He begged King St. Louis IX(1214–1270) to help him repay the loan to prevent the transfer of the precious relic to Venice. In return, Baldwin promised to gift the crown of thorns to Louis.
The saintly monarch envisioned France as a new Holy Land, and what better way to manifest that vision than with possession of the relics of the Lord’s Passion. The king earnestly believed that the offer from Baldwin was providential and agreed to provide the funds to the young emperor. King Louis sent two Dominicans (Jacques and André), one of whom had spent time in Constantinople and could verify the authenticity of the relic, with a royal letter to the imperial city. The royal messengers arrived on June 17, 1238, one day before the loan’s due date. The Venetians, disappointed that the prized relic would not permanently reside in their city, honored the king’s payment with the condition that Louis allow the crown to travel to Venice for a period of veneration by the inhabitants of the republic. Louis agreed to the request, and, in 1239, the crown was transported across the sea to Venice, where it was received with much adulation.
That same year, the relic began the overland journey to France. Miraculous occurrences were reported during its journey to Louis’s kingdom, including weather phenomena wherein no rain fell when the relic was transported by day but torrential rains when it was safely inside at night. The king planned to accompany the crown into Paris (along with his mother, brothers, several bishops, barons and knights), meeting it ninety miles away at the town of Villeneuve-l’Archevêque.
From there, the king and his entourage began a penitential procession to Sens, which welcomed the relic with great fanfare. Clerics brought out the city’s collection of saint relics to welcome the crown amid the ringing of church bells and the sound of organs. The relic’s journey of continued via the Yonne River from Sens to Vincennes over several days. As they neared Paris, Louis and his brother Robert carried the crown of thorns into the city barefoot, each wearing a single tunic. Once inside the city, the king took the crown to Notre Dame Cathedral for a brief period before its arrival at the royal palace, where it was placed in the Chapel of St. Nicholas.
Recognizing that such a holy relic should not remain in a small palace chapel, King St. Louis IX ordered the construction of a special chapel on the Île de la Cité, near Notre Dame. The Gothic style chapel, known as Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel), containing fifteen exquisite stained glass windows that depict 1,113 scenes from the Bible, was consecrated on April 26, 1248.
The crown of thorns remained in Sainte-Chapelle for over 500 years until the French Revolution, which saw the crown removed to the National Library for several years until the archbishop of Paris received it back with the signing of the Concordat of 1801 between Napoleon and Pope Pius VII. Subsequently, the crown was placed in Notre Dame. Encased in a jeweled rock crystal reliquary and containing only a circlet of rushes and no thorns, the relic was displayed on First Fridays of the month and Fridays during Lent, including Good Friday when the faithful were allowed to venerate it.
Although the fire destroyed the spire and wooden roof of the almost 900-year-old cathedral, a courageous priest, Fr. Jean-Marc Fournier, rescued the crown, along with other holy relics and the Blessed Sacrament, from the blaze. Let us hope and pray that the renewed interest and knowledge of Notre Dame Cathedral and the crown of thorns caused by the great fire of 2019 might bring a resurgence of faith to France—the Eldest Daughter of the Church—and the whole world.
by Steve Weidenkkopf in catholic.com
In the close vicinity of the Templar city of Tomar, Portugal, one of the most evocative Templar Castles in the world can be found: Almourol. Situated in a small island in the middle of the Tagus river, overseeing both margins and guarding secret Templar routes from all enemies, Almourol is the subject of legend.
In late 2018 the Municipality of Vila Nova da Barquinha opened right in the center of the village, the new Centro de Interpretação Templária (Templar Interpretation Center), a place where the Templar Order and its continuation in the Order of Christ (of Discoveries fame) is celebrated with dedicated exhibitions, conferences, a comprehensive library and multimedia displays available to the public to explore.
The Center had the major backing, apart from the Municipality and the Portuguese Army that currently has jurisdiction over the Almourol castle, of researcher, philosopher and historian Prof. Manuel J. Gandra, the most respected authority in Templar studies in Portugal – not only because of his strong academic background, but also because he has been the most prolific and consistent author on the theme in the last 25 years. The Center and Prof. Gandra’s work have been fully endorsed by the OSMTHU, that plans to promote a few cultural events in 2019 and 2020 and associate the Order to this beacon of Templar history that merits the attention and collaboration of the Templar world.
The Templar Globe is preparing an interview with Prof. Gandra about the TIC. Meanwhile, please take a look at a video about this remarkable place.
The Order of Santiago is a Christian religious-military order of knights that was founded in Spain during the Middle Ages. Like the Templars and Hospitallers, the order was established to protect pilgrims and to fight against the Muslims. Instead of the Holy Land, however, the Order of Santiago carried out their duties in Spain. The order continues to exist today though as a civil association.
One of Four Spanish Military Orders
The Order of Santiago (known also as the Order of Saint James of the Sword) is one of the four Spanish military orders, the other three being the Orders of Calatrava, Alcántara, and Montesa. According to legend the order was founded by Ramiro I, the king of Asturias, during the 9 th century. The king had won a great victory over the Moors during the Battle of Clavijo in 844 AD. This battle had a great impact on Spain’s national identity. For instance, the triumph of the outnumbered Christians was attributed to the apparition of Saint James, thus contributing to his adoption as the patron saint of Spain. Additionally, the site of Santiago de Compostela developed into an important pilgrimage center and the pilgrims were protected by cavalry.
When Was the Order of Santiago Founded?
The Battle of Clavijo, however, is considered by historians to be fictional and therefore the Order of Santiago is very unlikely to have been founded during the 9 th century. Instead, it is generally accepted that the order was established around the middle of the 12 th century. The exact details surrounding the founding of the order, however, are obscure as there are two rival claimants for the honor.
According to one account, the order had been founded by Ferdinand II, the king of León, in 1171. While on his way back to León from Badajoz, the king took control of the city of Cáceres. It was there that he, the bishop of Salamanca, and 13 knights established the Order of the Fratres of Cáceres. In the same year, the order received its first rule from Cardinal Jacinto, the legate of Pope Alexander III in Spain. Pedro Fernández de Castro served as its first grandmaster. De Castro was a veteran warrior who had gone on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where he encountered the Templars and was inspired to establish a similar order in his homeland.
Why Was the Order of Santiago Founded?
In 1173, the Almohads launched an attack on Cáceres to retake the city. Although the city was captured, the knights refused to surrender and continued to fight. After the battle, the knights were decapitated, and their heads displayed as trophies as a warning to the Christians. The remaining members of the order formed an alliance with the regular canons of Saint Augustine (as the knights themselves followed the Rule of Saint Augustine) and were now responsible for protecting the Sepulchre of Saint James at Santiago de Compostela and the pilgrims who journeyed there.
Who Was the Founder of the Order of Santiago?
In the meantime, the knights had lost their patron, as they had been expelled from Cáceres and were not on good terms with Ferdinand II. As a consequence, they began looking for a new patron and found one in Alfonso III, the king of Castille. In 1174 Alfonso III granted the knights the castle and village of Uclés (in Cuenca) which would serve as their new headquarters. Moreover, using his influence, Alfonso III had the pope, Alexander III, issue a bill recognizing the Order of Santiago as a religious order. Therefore, Alfonso III sometimes considered to be the founder of the order, as opposed to Ferdinand II.
The Growth of the Order of Santiago
The Order of Santiago grew rapidly and at its height had more possessions than the two older orders of Calatrava and Alcántara combined. An important turning point in the history of the order occurred in 1499. The Reconquista had been completed by then and Spain was unified under the rule of the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. In order to strengthen their own position, the rulers obtained permission from the pope to assign to them the administration of the three major Spanish orders – Santiago, Calatrava, and Alcántara.
The Continuation of the Order of Santiago
The power of the Spanish military orders came to an end during the reign of the Holy Roman emperor Charles V (who ruled the Spanish Empire as Charles I) when the orders were incorporated into the Spanish Crown. Although the orders were united under one government, they still had the right to hold their possessions, titles, and functions separately. Additionally, a Council of Orders was formed to oversee the administration of the orders. Nevertheless, the orders retained their prestige and many figures involved in the conquest and governance of Spain’s possessions in the New World hailed from these orders.
As the Order of Santiago was part of the Spanish Crown it was suppressed in 1873 when Spain declared itself a republic for the first time. After the fall of this republic, the order was re-established though as a nobiliary institute. The order was once more suppressed following the proclamation of the second republic in 1931, which was followed by the Spanish Civil War and the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. Democracy was restored in 1976 and with it the monarchy and the Order of Santiago. The order continues to exist till this day.
By Wu Mingren in ancient-origins.net