History

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

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.

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)

Una productora alemana graba en València del 24 al 26 de octubre un documental sobre el Santo Grial

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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

The Mystery of the Our Father’s Ending

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Why do Christians say the Our Father (the “Lord’s Prayer”) slightly differently?

Catholics conclude with “deliver us from evil,” whereas most Protestants, following Matthew 6:13 in the King James Version, go on to say something like, “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”

Are Catholics leaving out this phrase from Jesus’ prayer, or are Protestants adding to it?

Neither seems to be a good idea for Christians (e.g., Deut. 4:2, 12:21; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:19). To some Protestants, the Catholic omission seems like a clear example of the Church “subtracting from Scripture” (due to some “tradition of men,” perhaps). However, the history behind this little phrase is a bit more involved—and it argues for the reliability of Church tradition, not against it.

The first thing to note is that the prayer differs even among the Gospels themselves. Although the form in Matthew is the one used by nearly all Christians today, a shorter version is recorded in Luke chapter 11, where it ends with “lead us not into temptation” (v.4). So technically, one would be completely biblically justified in simply ending the prayer there.

A second interesting thing is that the verse in question is not included in the “oldest and best” biblical manuscripts, and is therefore not considered by the majority of biblical scholars today, whether Catholic or Protestant, to be part of the original biblical text. The King James Version of the Bible is based on the Textus Receptus, which itself was not based on the oldest manuscripts we have today. Neither Codex Sinaiticus nor Vaticanus contains the verse—in fact, the earliest witness we have to the longer ending of the Our Father is a late fourth- or early fifth-century parchment called Codex Washingtonensis.

The English wording of the Our Father that Protestants use today reflects the version based on the English version of the Bible produced by Tyndale in 1525. Tyndale’s version was not found in the liturgical tradition of western Christendom until the 1637 Scottish Book of Common Prayer. And although the longer ending remains popular today, there are many Bibles that do not include it. Catholic Bible translations (e.g., the Vulgate, the Douay-Rheims, or the New American) have never included it, and most Protestant Bibles do not either.[1] Even modern versions of the King James includes a footnote stating that the phrase is omitted in older manuscripts.

Furthermore, although early Church Fathers such as Jerome, Gregory the Great, Ambrose, and Augustine wrote of the importance and beauty of the “Our Father” prayer, none of them included the phrase when they referenced it. The commentaries on the prayer by Tertullian, Origen, and Cyprian do not include it either. John Chrysostom did discuss the phrase in his fourth-century homily on Matthew (19:10).

When we turn from Scripture commentary to Church Tradition, we find this phrase (which resembles 1 Chronicles 29:11) in ancient liturgical use as a short doxology (praise response) to the Lord’s Prayer. The Christian manual known as the Didache (c. A.D. 95) has a short version of the doxology after the Our Father in chapter 8, and the longer reading is found in the fourth-century Apostolic Constitutions (7.24). From there it was incorporated into the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom as well. Thus, it seems that this phrase might very well have been a doxology—a conclusion to the original prayer that Jesus instructed his disciples to say.

Scriptural and traditional evidence points to a fourth-century addition of the phrase to the original prayer. It is likely that around this time, a scribe familiar with the liturgy added the doxology to Sacred Scripture while copying the Our Father passage, and it found its way into later translations of the Bible itself. These copies eventually outnumbered the more ancient documents, and the phrase was included in the Gospels in the majority of ancient Bible manuscripts from then on.

When early Protestants produced their own Bible translations in the sixteenth century, they used the majority text as their source. The result was that their translations included the phrase as if it were part of the original Gospel writings. In England, Tyndale’s translation included it, and when Henry VIII split from the Catholic Church, he decreed its inclusion in worship. Finally, the virulently anti-Catholic Queen Elizabeth had it included in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. Once it was brought over to America by the Puritans, the phrase’s addition was further solidified.

So, in conclusion, it seems that English Protestants added a traditional Catholic prayer to the Bible in order to distance themselves from what they thought were unbiblical Catholic traditions. Although Protestants have corrected many of their modern Bible translations, it seems their tradition(!) of adding a Catholic doxology to the scriptural Lord’s Prayer may take a bit more time to overcome.


[1]  The ASV, CEV, ESV, GWT, GNT, NET, NIV, NIRV, NLT, and TNIV do not include the phrase, and others such as the HCSB, NASB, and NCV often bracket the phrase to set it off from the original text.

by Douglas M. Beaumont, in catholic.com

World experts in “Templarism” in Vila Nova da Barquinha

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“Order of the Temple – Spiritual Chivalry and Templarism” is the theme of the event that will bring together, between October 11 and 13, 2019, in the Almourol Templar Interpretation Center, Vila Nova da Barquinha, Portugal, the world’s leading experts on this subject, with speakers from France, Italy, [Germany, Austria] the United States and Portugal.

Antonio Paris (OSMTHU Master, Italy), Barbara Frale (of the Vatican Archives), Nicolas Haimovici (OSMTJ Regent, France), John von Blauch (United States), Luís de Matos, Manuel J. Gandra, Ernesto Jana and Nuno Villamariz Oliveira (Portugal) are some of the confirmed speakers.

During the event a new temporary exhibition will be inaugurated in the Templar Interpretation Center of Almourol – “Santoral and Templar liturgy”. The catalog of the exhibition will be made available on opening day. The event will also be remarked by the signing of Protocols of Cooperation and Partnership with CITA and the reception of the replica of the sword of Godofredo de Bouillon.

The program includes visits to Almourol Castle (Vila Nova da Barquinha) and the Convent of Christ (Tomar), as well as musical moments.

Registrations cost 15 € (with catalog offer), are mandatory and limited. The contact for more information and registration is +351 249720358.

Especialistas mundiais em “Templarismo” em Vila Nova da Barquinha

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“Ordem do Templo – Cavalaria Espiritual – Templarismo” é o tema da iniciativa que irá reunir, entre 11 e 13 de outubro de 2019, no Centro de Interpretação Templário de Almourol, Vila Nova da Barquinha, os maiores especialistas mundiais nesta temática, com oradores oriundos de França, Itália, Estados Unidos e Portugal.

António Paris (Mestre da OSMTHU, Itália), Barbara Frale (Arquivo do Vaticano), Nicolas Haimovici (Regente da OSMTJ, França), John von Blauch (Estados Unidos), Luís de Matos, Manuel J. Gandra, Ernesto Jana e Nuno Villamariz Oliveira (Portugal) são alguns dos oradores já confirmados.

Durante o evento terá lugar a inauguração da nova exposição temporária do Centro de Interpretação Templário de Almourol – “Santoral e liturgia templárias à roda do ano” – assim como a apresentação do respetivo catálogo. O acontecimento ficará também marcado pela assinatura de Protocolos de Cooperação e Parceria com o CITA e receção da réplica da espada de Godofredo de Bouillon.

Do programa fazem parte visitas ao Castelo de Almourol (Vila Nova da Barquinha) e ao Convento de Cristo (Tomar), bem como momentos musicais.

As inscrições tem um custo de 15€ (com oferta de catálogo), são obrigatórias e limitadas. O contacto para obter mais informações e inscrições é o telefone +351 249720358.

Por 

La fin des travaux de restauration du château de Quéribus

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Le chantier aura duré sept mois. Le château cathare de Quéribus, à la frontière entre l’Aude et les Pyrénées-Orientales, a subi une cure de jouvence. Un chantier indispensable pour ce site qui date du Xe siècle.

Les visiteurs ont pu redécouvrir ce mardi le château de Quéribus après sept mois de travaux. Un chantier périlleux en raison de la localisation du château cathare : en haut d’une falaise, à 728 mètres d’altitude.

Des maçons alpinistes !

Il a fallu utiliser des hélicoptères pour acheminer le matériel nécessaire (eau, chaux, sable, etc..) au pied de l’édifice. Parmi les travaux réalisés : le rejointoiement des murs. Pour Bruno Schenck, premier adjoint au maire de Cucugnan “c’était impératif. On pouvait passer la moitié du bras entre les pierres ! Cela n’avait jamais été fait depuis des siècles.” Il a aussi fallu s’occuper de plusieurs voûtes. Celle entre le corps de logis et le parvis du donjon a été refaite à l’ancienne, avec des moellons, et l’autre a été réalisée avec des pierres de taille travaillées sur place.

Le chantier a été compliqué techniquement. Un seul mot d’ordre: respecter l’architecture médiévale de l’époque. Ce sont des maçons spécialisés qui s’en sont chargés, des maçons alpinistes accrochés à la façade pour certains travaux, comme sur le donjon.

Bruno Schenck, l’adjoint au maire de Cucugnan est fier du résultat: “c’est un vrai bonheur d’avoir réalisé ce chantier, c’est essentiel pour le maintien du patrimoine. Le dossier en vue d’un classement au patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO continue, mais c’est très long !”

Par Isabelle Rolland, Sébastien Berriot, France Bleu Roussillon, France Bleu Occitanie

Templários e Templarismo em São Brás de Alportel

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Ação cultural aberta à Comunidade e todos os interessados na filosofia, cultura, espiritualidade, história, esoterismo e mística Templária medieval e contemporânea.

Entrada livre

Organização: Comenda de Laccobriga / Apoio especial: Câmara Municipal de São
Brás de Alportel

Dr. Timothy Wallace-Murphy has passed

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It is with profound sadness that we wish to announce that Dr Tim Wallace-Murphy, 89, has passed away at his home in the South West of France, having been in a ‘slow hurry’ with his battle with COPD. Dying as he put it ‘was not all it cracked up to be’. He was surrounded by loved ones.

A father, an inspiration and a friend to many, his death will be felt not just in Espéraza but around the world. He was born on 13 January 1930 in Galway to Timothy and Mae Murphy, later describing himself as a Franco-Irish Yiddisher boy with both feet firmly stuck in mid-air. After attending the University College Dublin from 1953 – 1958, he obtained a degree in Medicine and later one in Psychology. He then travelled across Europe and Africa for ten years before returning to England and beginning work as a clinical psychologist.

Through his work, Tim met author Trevor Ravenscroft with whom he co-authored his first book Mark of the Beast in 1988. Following this tome, Tim then devoted his life to the writing and research of the Knights Templar, Rex-Deus and pathways of spirituality.

Tim was a dedicated supporter of the restoration and preservation of Rosslyn Chapel, near Edinburgh, Scotland, undertaking excavations and field work with a team of like-minded people, whom would become lifelong friends. From this experience, he produced the book Rosslyn: Guardian of the Secrets of the Holy Grail. It is from this book that Dan Brown used as source material for his own work The Da Vinci Code. Tim found himself subsequently featuring in TV documentaries and began to settle in the South West of France or to Tim, ‘paradise’.

Tim has had a proud career in community work and politics, having served as the Governor of South Devon Technical College, a TUC secretary, town councillor and a volunteer for the Leukaemia Research Fund. Tim dedicated his life in service to others and helping those who were also brought up spiritually confused on to a spiritual pathway.

A service for friends and loved ones will be held to remember Tim at a later date; however as in life and death, funds are limited. If you wish to help with the arrangements financially, please use the following link: https://www.gofundme.com/funeral-for-tim-wallacemurphy

Tim left many memories and many will be fondly remembered, such as his remarkable singing ability and razor sharp intellect. When asked shortly before his passing how he was feeling, he commented that “I will feel much better when this bloody thing is all over.” As we grieve, Tim’s humour lasted out to the last.

[From Tim’s Facebook]

Saint John the Baptist

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John the Baptist, Saint.—The principal sources of information concerning the life and ministry of St. John the Baptist are the canonical Gospels. Of these St. Luke is the most complete, giving as he does the wonderful circumstances accompanying the birth of the Precursor and items on his ministry and death. St. Matthew’s Gospel stands in close relation with that of St. Luke, as far as John’s public ministry is concerned, but contains nothing in reference to his early life. From St. Mark, whose account of the Precursor’s life is very meagre, no new detail can be gathered. Finally, the fourth Gospel has this special feature, that it gives the testimony of St. John after the Savior’s baptism. Besides the indications supplied by these writings, passing allusions occur in such passages as Acts, xiii, 24; xix, 1-6; but these are few and bear on the subject only indirectly. To the above should be added what Josephus relates in his Jewish Antiquities (XVIII, v, 2), but it should be remembered that he is woefully erratic in his dates, mistaken in proper names, and seems to arrange facts according to his own political views; however, his judgment of John, also what he tells us regarding the Precursor’s popularity, together with a few details of minor importance, are worthy of the historian’s attention. The same cannot be said of the apocryphal gospels, because the scant information they give of the Precursor is either copied from the canonical Gospels (and to these they can add no authority), or else is a mass of idle vagaries.

Zachary, the father of John the Baptist, was a priest of the course of Abia, the eighth of the twenty-four courses into which the priests were divided (I Par., xxiv, 7-19); Elizabeth, the Precursor’s mother, “was of the daughters of Aaron”, according to St. Luke (i, 5); the same Evangelist, a few verses farther on (i, 26), calls her the “cousin” (suggenis) of Mary. These two statements appear to be conflicting, for how, it will be asked, could a cousin of the Blessed Virgin be “of the daughters of Aaron”? The problem might be solved by adopting the reading given in an old Persian version, where we find “mother’s sister” (metradelphe) instead of “cousin”. A somewhat analogous explanation, probably borrowed from some apocryphal writing, and perhaps correct, is given by St. Hippolytus (in Nicephor., II, iii). According to him, Mathan had three daughters: Mary, Soba, and Ann. Mary, the oldest, married a man of Bethlehem and was the mother of Salome; Soba married at Bethlehem also, but a “son of Levi”, by whom she had Elizabeth; Ann wedded a Galilean (Joachim) and bore Mary, the Mother of God. Thus Salome, Elizabeth, and the Blessed Virgin were first cousins, and Elizabeth, “of the daughters of Aaron” on her father’s side, was, on her mother’s side, the cousin of Mary. Zachary’s home is designated only in a vague manner by St. Luke: it was “a city of Juda”, “in the hill-country” (i, 39). Reland, advocating the unwarranted assumption that Juda might be a misspelling of the name, proposed to read in its stead Jutta (Jos., xv, 55; xxi, 16; D.V.: Jota, Jeta), a priestly town south of Hebron. But priests did not always live in priestly towns (Mathathias’s home was at Modin; Simon Machabeus’s at Gaza). A tradition, which can be traced back to the time before the Crusades, points to the little town of Ain-Karim, five miles southwest of Jerusalem.

The birth of the Precursor was announced in a most striking manner. Zachary and Elizabeth, as we learn from St. Luke, “were both just before God, walking in all the commandments and justifications of the Lord without blame; and they had no son, for that Elizabeth was barren” (i, 6-7). Long they had prayed that their union might be blessed with off-spring; but, now that “they were both advanced in years”, the reproach of barrenness bore heavily upon them. “And it came to pass, when he executed the priestly function in the order of his course before God, according to the custom of the priestly office, it was his lot to offer incense, going into the temple of the Lord. And all the multitude of the people was praying without, at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zachary seeing him, was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him: Fear not, Zachary, for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John: and thou shalt have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice in his nativity. For he shall be great before the Lord; and shall drink no wine nor strong drink: and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And he shall convert many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias; that he may turn the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the incredulous to the wisdom of the just, to prepare unto the Lord a perfect people” (i, 8-17). As Zachary was slow in believing this startling prediction, the angel, making himself known to him, announced that, in punishment of his incredulity, he should be stricken with dumbness until the promise was fulfilled. “And it came to pass, after the days of his office were accomplished, he departed to his own house. And after those days, Elizabeth his wife conceived, and hid herself five months” (i, 23-24).

Now during the sixth month, the Annunciation had taken place, and, as Mary had heard from the angel the fact of her cousin’s conceiving, she went “with haste” to congratulate her. “And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant”—filled, like the mother, with the Holy Ghost—”leaped for joy in her womb”, as if to acknowledge the presence of his Lord. Then was accomplished the prophetic utterance of the angel that the child should “be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb”. Now as the presence of any sin whatever is incompatible with the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in the soul, it follows that at this moment John was cleansed from the stain of original sin. When “Elizabeth’s full time of being delivered was come, … she brought forth a son” (i, 57); and “on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they called him by his father’s name Zachary. And his mother answering, said: Not so, but he shall be called John. And they said to her: There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And demanding a writing table, he wrote, saying: John is his name. And they all wondered” (i, 59-63). They were not aware that no better name could be applied (John, Hebr.: Jehohanan, i.e. “Jahweh hath mercy”) to him who, as his father prophesied, was to “go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways: to give knowledge of salvation to his people, unto remission of their sins: through the bowels of the mercy of our God” (i, 76-78). Moreover, all these events, to wit, a child born to an aged couple, Zachary’s sudden dumbness, his equally sudden recovery of speech, his astounding utterance might justly strike with wonderment the assembled neighbors; these could hardly help asking: “What an one, think ye, shall this child be?” (i, 66).

As to the date of the birth of John the Baptist, nothing can be said with certainty. The Gospel suggests that the Precursor was born about six months before Christ; but the year of Christ’s nativity has not so far been ascertained. Nor is there anything certain about the season of Christ’s birth, for it is well known that the assignment of the feast of Christmas to the twenty-fifth of December is not grounded on historical evidence, but is possibly suggested by merely astronomical considerations, also, perhaps, inferred from astronomico-theological reasonings. Besides, no calculations can be based upon the time of the year when the course of Abia was serving in the Temple, since each one of the twenty-four courses of priests had two turns a year. Of John’s early life St. Luke tells us only that “the child grew, and was strengthened in spirit; and was in the deserts, until the day of his manifestation to Israel” (i, 80). Should we ask just when the Precursor went into the wilderness, an old tradition echoed by Paul Warnefried (Paul the Deacon), in the hymn, “Ut queant laxis”, composed in honor of the saint, gives an answer hardly more definite than the statement of the Gospel: “Antra deserti teneris sub annis … petiit …” Other writers, however, thought they knew better. For instance, St. Peter of Alexandria believed St. John was taken into the desert to escape the wrath of Herod, who, if we may believe report, was impelled by fear of losing his kingdom to seek the life of the Precursor, just as he was, later on, to seek that of the newborn Savior. It was added also that Herod on this account had Zachary put to death between the temple and the altar, because he had prophesied the coming of the Messias (Baron., “Annal. Apparat.”, n. 53). These are worthless legends long since branded by St. Jerome as “apocryphorum somnia”.

Passing, then, with St. Luke, over a period of some thirty years, we reach what may be considered the beginning of the public ministry of St. John (see Biblical Chronology). Up to this he had led in the desert the life of an anchorite; now he comes forth to deliver his message to the world. “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar … the word of the Lord was made unto John, the son of Zachary, in the desert. And he came into all the country about the Jordan, preaching” (Luke, iii, 1-3), clothed not in the soft garments of a courtier (Matt., xi, 8; Luke, vii, 24), but in those “of camel’s hair, and a leather girdle about his loins”; and “his meat “—he looked as if he came neither eating nor drinking (Matt., xi, 18; Luke, vii, 33)—”was locusts and wild honey” (Matt., iii, 4; Mark, i, 6); his whole countenance, far from suggesting the idea of a reed shaken by the wind (Matt., xi, 7; Luke, vii, 24), manifested undaunted constancy. A few incredulous scoffers feigned to be scandalized: “He hath a devil” (Matt., xi, 18). Nevertheless, “Jerusalem and all Judea, and all the country about Jordan” (Matt., iii, 5), drawn by his strong and winning personality, went out to him; the austerity of his life added immensely to the weight of his words; for the simple folk, he was truly a prophet (Matt., xi, 9; cf. Luke, i, 76, 77). “Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt., iii, 2), such was the burden of his teaching. Men of all conditions flocked round him.

Pharisees and Sadducees were there; the latter attracted perhaps by curiosity and scepticism, the former expecting possibly a word of praise for their multitudinous customs and practices, and, all, probably, more anxious to see which of the rival sects the new prophet would commend than to seek instruction. But John laid bare their hypocrisy. Drawing his similes from the surrounding scenery, and even, after the Oriental fashion, making use of a play on words (abanimbanim), he lashed their pride with this well-deserved rebuke: “Ye brood of vipers, who hath shewed you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of penance. And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham for our father. For I tell you that God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham. For now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that doth not yield good fruit, shall be cut down, and cast into the fire” (Matt., iii 7-10; Luke, iii, 7-9). It was clear something had to be done. The men of good will among the listeners asked: “What shall we do?” (Probably some were wealthy and, according to the custom of people in such circumstances, were clad in two tunics.—Joseph., “Antiq.”, XVIII, v, 7.) “And he answering, said to them: He that hath two coats, let him give to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do in like manner” (Luke, iii, 11). Some were publicans; on them he enjoined not to exact more than the rate of taxes fixed by law (Luke, iii, 13). To the soldiers (probably Jewish police officers) he recommended not to do violence to any man, nor falsely to denounce anyone, and to be content with their pay (Luke, iii, 14). In other words, he cautioned them against trusting in their national privileges, he did not countenance the tenets of any sect, nor did he advocate the forsaking of one’s ordinary state of life, but faithfulness and honesty in the fulfillment of one’s duties, and the humble confession of one’s sins.

To confirm the good dispositions of his listeners, John baptized them in the Jordan, “saying that baptism was good, not so much to free one from certain sins [cf. St. Thom., “Summ. Theol.”, III, Q. xxxviii, a. 2 and 3] as to purify the body, the soul being already cleansed from its defilements by justice” (Joseph., “Antiq.”, XVIII, vii). This feature of his ministry, more than anything else, attracted public attention to such an extent that he was surnamed “the Baptist” (i.e. Baptizer) even during his lifetime (by Christ, Matt., xi, 11; by his own disciples, Luke, vii, 20; by Herod, Matt., xiv, 2; by Herodias, Matt., xiv, 3). Still his right to baptize was questioned by some (John, i, 25); the Pharisees and the lawyers refused to comply with this ceremony, on the plea that baptism, as a preparation for the kingdom of God, was connected only with the Messias (Ezech., xxxvi, 25; Zach., xiii, 1, etc.), Elias, and the prophet spoken of in Deut., xviii, 15. John’s reply was that he was Divinely “sent to baptize with water” (John, i, 33); to this, later on, our Savior bore testimony, when, in answer to the Pharisees trying to ensnare him, he implicitly declared that John’s baptism was from heaven (Mark, xi, 30). Whilst baptizing, John, lest the people might think “that perhaps he might be the Christ” (Luke, iii, 15), did not fail to insist that his was only a forerunner’s mission: “I indeed baptize you with water; but there shall come one mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to loose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in his hand and he will purge his floor; and will gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Luke, iii, 16, 17). Whatever John may have meant by this baptism “with fire”, he, at all events, in this declaration clearly defined his relation to the One to come.

Here it will not be amiss to touch on the scene of the Precursor’s ministry. The locality should be sought in that part of the Jordan valley (Luke, iii, 3) which is called the desert (Mark, i, 4). Two places are mentioned in the Fourth Gospel in this connection: Bethania (John, i, 28) and Ennon (A. V. Aenon, John, iii, 23). As to Bethania, the reading Bethabara, first given by Origen, should be discarded; but the Alexandrine scholar perhaps was less wrong in suggesting the other reading, Bethara, possibly a Greek form of Betharan; at any rate, the site in question must be looked for “beyond the Jordan” (John, i, 28). The second place, Ennon, “near Salim” (John, iii, 23), the extreme northern point marked in the Madaba mosaic map, is described in Eusebius’s “Onomasticon” as being eight miles south of Scythopolis (Beisan), and should be sought probably at Ed-Deir or El-Fatur, a short distance from the Jordan (Lagrange, in “Revue Biblique”, IV, 1895, pp. 502-05). Moreover, a long-standing tradition, traced back to A.D. 333, associates the activity of the Precursor, particularly the Baptism of the Lord, with the neighborhood of Deir Mar-Yuhanna (Qasr el-Yehud).

The Precursor had been preaching and baptizing for some time (just how long is not known), when Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan, to be baptized by him. Why, it might be asked, should He “who did no sin” (I Pet., ii, 22) seek John’s “baptism of penance for the remission of sins” (Luke, iii, 3)? The Fathers of the Church answer very appropriately that this was the occasion preordained by the Father when Jesus should be manifested to the world as the Son of God; then again, by submitting to it, Jesus sanctioned the baptism of John. “But John stayed him, saying: I ought to be baptized by thee, and comest thou to me?” (Matt., 14). These words, implying, as they do, that John knew Jesus, are in seeming conflict with a later declaration of John recorded in the Fourth Gospel: “I knew him not” (John, i, 33). Most interpreters take it that the Precursor had some intimation of Jesus being the Messias: they assign this as the reason why John at first refused to baptize him; but the heavenly manifestation had, a few moments later, changed this intimation into perfect knowledge. “And Jesus answering, said to him: Suffer it to be so now. For so it becometh us to fulfil all justice. Then he suffered him. And Jesus being baptized, forthwith came out of the water: and lo, the heavens were opened to him…. And, behold, a voice from heaven, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt.,15-17).

After this baptism, while Jesus was preaching through the towns of Galilee, going into Judea only occasionally for the feast days, John continued his ministry in the valley of the Jordan. It was at this time that “the Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and Levites to him, to ask him: Who art thou? And he confessed, and did not deny: and he confessed: I am not the Christ. And they asked him: What then? Art thou Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou the prophet? And he answered: No. They said, therefore, unto him: Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? What sayest thou of thyself? He said: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Isaias” (John, i, 19-23). John denied he was Elias, whom the Jews were looking for (Matt., xvii, 10; Mark, ix, 10). Nor did Jesus admit it, though His words to His disciples at first sight seem to point that way; “Elias indeed shall come, and restore all things. But I say to you, that Elias is already come” (Matt., xvii, 11; Mark, ix, 11-12). St. Matthew notes “the disciples understood, that he had spoken to them of John the Baptist” (Matt., xvii, 13). This was equal to saying, “Elias is not to come in the flesh.” But, in speaking of John before the multitude, Jesus made it plain that he called John Elias figuratively: “If you will receive it, he is Elias that is to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt., xi, 14, 15). This had been anticipated by the angel when, announcing John’s birth to Zachary, he foretold that the child would go before the Lord “in the spirit and power of Elias” (Luke, i, 17). “The next day, John saw Jesus coming to him and he saith: Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said: After me there cometh a man, who is preferred before me: because he was before me … that he may be made manifest in Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water…. And I knew him not; but he who sent me to baptize with water, said to me: He upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining upon him, he it is that baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and I gave testimony, that this is the Son of God” (John, i, 29-34).

Among the many listeners flocking to St. John, some, more deeply touched by his doctrine, stayed with him, thus forming, as around other famous doctors of the law, a group of disciples. These he exhorted to fast (Mark, ii, 18), these he taught special forms of prayer (Luke, v, 33; xi, 1). Their number, according to the pseudo-Clementine literature, reached thirty (Horn. ii, 23). Among them was Andrew of Bethsaida of Galilee (John, i, 44). One day, as Jesus was standing in the distance, John, pointing Him out, repeated his previous declaration: “Behold the Lamb of God”. Then Andrew, with another disciple of John, hearing this, followed Jesus (John, i, 36-38). This account of the calling of Andrew and Simon differs materially from that found in St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke; yet it should be noticed that St. Luke, in particular, so narrates the meeting of the two brothers with the Savior, as to let us infer they already knew Him. Now, on the other hand, since the Fourth Evangelist does not say that Andrew and his companions forthwith left their business to devote themselves exclusively to the Gospel or its preparation, there is clearly no absolute discordance between the narration of the first three Gospels and that of St. John.

The Precursor, after the lapse of several months, again appears on the scene, and he is still preaching and baptizing on the banks of the Jordan (John, iii, 23). Jesus, in the meantime, had gathered about Himself a following of disciples, and He came “into the land of Judea: and there He abode with them, and baptized (John, iii, 22),—”though Jesus himself did not baptize, but his disciples” (John, iv, 2).—”There arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews [the best Greek texts have “a Jew”] concerning purification” (John, iii, 25), that is to say, as is suggested by the context, concerning the relative value of both baptisms. The disciples of John came to him: “Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond the Jordan, to whom thou gayest testimony, behold he baptizeth, and all men come to him” (John, iii, 26-27). They undoubtedly meant that Jesus should give way to John who had recommended Him, and that, by baptizing, He was encroaching upon the rights of John. “John answered and said: A man cannot receive any thing, unless it be given him from heaven. You yourselves do bear me witness, that I said, I am not Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, who standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth with joy because of the bridegroom’s voice. This my joy, therefore, is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above, is above all. He that is of the earth, of the earth he is, and of the earth he speaketh. He that cometh from heaven, is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth….” (John, iii, 27-36).

The above narration recalls the fact before mentioned (John, i, 28), that part of the Baptist’s ministry was exercised in Perea: Ennon, another scene of his labors, was within the borders of Galilee; both Perea and Galilee made up the tetrarchy of Herod Antipas. This prince, a son worthy of his father Herod the Great, had married, likely for political reasons, the daughter of Aretas, king of the Nabathaeans. But on a visit to Rome, he fell in love with his niece Herodias, the wife of his half-brother Philip (son of the younger Mariamne), and induced her to come on to Galilee. When and where the Precursor met Herod, we are not told, but from the synoptic Gospels we learn that John dared to rebuke the tetrarch for his evil deeds, especially his public adultery. Herod, swayed by Herodias, did not allow the unwelcome reprover to go unpunished: he “sent and apprehended John and bound him in prison”. Josephus tells us quite another story, containing perhaps also an element of truth. “As great crowds clustered around John, Herod became afraid lest the Baptist should abuse his moral authority over them to incite them to rebellion, as they would do anything at his bidding; therefore he thought it wiser, so as to prevent possible happenings, to take away the dangerous preacher… and he imprisoned him in the fortress of Machaerus” (Antiq., XVIII, v, 2). Whatever may have been the chief motive of the tetrarch’s policy, it is certain that Herodias nourished a bitter hatred against John: “She laid snares for him: and was desirous to put him to death” (Mark, vi, 19). Although Herod first shared her desire, yet “he feared the people: because they esteemed him as a prophet” (Matt., xiv, 5). After some time this resentment on Herod’s part seems to have abated, for, according to Mark, vi, 19, 20, he heard John willingly and did many things at his suggestion.

John, in his fetters, was attended by some of his disciples, who kept him in touch with the events of the day. He thus learned of the wonders wrought by Jesus. At this point it cannot be supposed that John’s faith wavered in the least. Some of his disciples, however, would not be convinced by his words that Jesus was the Messias. Accordingly, he sent them to Jesus, bidding them say: “John the Baptist hath sent us to thee, saying: Art thou he that art to come; or look we for another? (And in that same hour, he cured many of their [the people’s] diseases, and hurts, and evil spirits; and to many that were blind he gave sight.) And answering, he said to them: Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen: the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are made clean, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, to the poor the gospel is preached: and blessed is he whosoever shall not be scandalized in me” (Luke, vii, 20-23; Matt., xi, 3-6).

How this interview affected John’s disciples, we do not know; but we do know the encomium it occasioned of John from the lips of Jesus: “And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak to the multitudes concerning John. What went ye out into the desert to see? A reed shaken with the wind ? “All knew full well why John was in prison, and that in his captivity he was more than ever the undaunted champion of truth and virtue.—”But what went you out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Behold they that are in costly apparel, and live delicately, are in the houses of kings. But what went you out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say to you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written: Behold, I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee. For I say to you: Amongst those that are born of women, there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist” (Luke, vii, 24-28). And continuing, Jesus pointed out the inconsistency of the world in its opinions both of himself and his precursor: “John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and you say: He hath a devil. The Son of man is come eating and drinking: and you say: Behold a man that is a glutton and a drinker of wine, a friend of publicans and sinners. And wisdom is justified by all her children” (Luke, vii, 33-35).

St. John languished probably for some time in the fortress of Machaerus; but the ire of Herodias, unlike that of Herod, never abated: she watched her chance. It came at the birthday feast which Herod, after Roman fashion, gave to the “princes, and tribunes, and chief men of Galilee. And when the daughter of the same Herodias [Josephus gives her name: Salome] had come in, and had danced, and pleased Herod and them that were at table with him, the king said to the damsel: Ask of me what thou wilt, and I will give it thee…. Who when she was gone out, said to her mother, what shall I ask? But she said: The head of John the Baptist. And when she was come in immediately with haste to the king, she asked, saying: I will that forthwith thou give me in a dish, the head of John the Baptist. And the king was struck sad. Yet because of his oath, and because of them that were with him at table, he would not displease her: but sending an executioner, he commanded that his head should be brought in a dish: and gave it to the damsel, and the damsel gave it to her mother” (Mark, vi, 21-28). Thus was done to death the greatest “amongst them that are born of women”, the prize awarded to a dancing girl, the toll exacted for an oath rashly taken and criminally kept (St. Augustine). At such an unjustifiable execution even the Jews were shocked, and they attributed to Divine vengeance the defeat Herod sustained afterwards at the hands of Aretas, his rightful father-in-law (Joseph., loc. cit.). John’s disciples, hearing of his death, “came, and took his body, and laid it in a tomb” (Mark, vi, 29), “and came and told Jesus” (Matt., xiv, 12).

The lasting impression made by the Precursor upon those who had come within his influence cannot be better illustrated than by mentioning the awe which seized upon Herod when he heard of the wonders wrought by Jesus who, in his mind, was no other than John the Baptist come to life (Matt., xiv, 1, 2, etc.). The Precursor’s influence did not die with him. It was far-reaching, too, as we learn from Acts, xviii, 25; xix, 3, where we find that proselytes at Ephesus had received from Apollo and others the baptism of John. Moreover, early Christian writers speak of a sect taking its name from John and holding only to his baptism. The date of John the Baptist’s death, August 29, assigned in the liturgical calendars can hardly be relied upon, because it is scarcely based upon trustworthy documents. His burial-place has been fixed by an old tradition at Sebaste (Samaria). But if there be any truth in Josephus’s assertion, that John was put to death at Machaerus, it is hard to understand why he was buried so far from the Herodian fortress. Still, it is quite possible that, at a later date unknown to us, his sacred remains were carried to Sebaste. At any rate, about the middle of the fourth century, his tomb was there honored, as we are informed on the testimony of Rufinus and Theodoretus. These authors add that the shrine was desecrated under Julian the Apostate (c. A.D. 362), the bones being partly burned. A portion of the rescued relics was carried to Jerusalem, then to Alexandria; and there, on May 27, 395, these relics were laid in the gorgeous basilica just dedicated to the Precursor on the site of the once famous temple of Serapis. The tomb at Sebaste continued nevertheless, to be visited by pious pilgrims, and St. Jerome bears witness to the miracles there wrought. Perhaps some of the relics had been brought back to Sebaste. Other portions at different times found their way to many sanctuaries of the Christian world, and long is the list of the churches claiming possession of some part of the precious treasure. What became of the head of the Precursor is difficult to determine. Nicephorus (I, ix) and Metaphrastes say Herodias had. it buried in the fortress of Machaerus; others insist that it was interred in Herod’s palace at Jerusalem; there it was found during the reign of Constantine, and thence secretly taken to Emesa, in Phoenicia, where it was concealed, the place remaining unknown for years, until it was manifested by revelation in 453. In the many and discordant relations concerning this relic, unfortunately much uncertainty prevails; their discrepancies in almost every point render the problem so intricate as to baffle solution. This signal relic, in whole or in part, is claimed by several churches, among them Amiens, Nemours, St-Jean d’Angeli (France), S. Silvestro in Capite (Rome). This fact Tillemont traces to a mistaking of one St. John for another, an explanation which, in certain cases, appears to be founded on good grounds and accounts well for this otherwise puzzling multiplication of relics.

The honor paid so early and in so many places to the relics of St. John the Baptist, the zeal with which many churches have maintained at all times their ill-founded claims to some of his relics, the numberless churches, abbeys, towns, and religious families placed under his patronage, the frequency of his name among Christian people, all attest the antiquity and widespread diffusion of the devotion to the Precursor. The commemoration of his Nativity is one of the oldest feasts, if not the oldest feast, introduced into both the Greek and Latin liturgies to honor a saint. But why is the feast proper, as it were, of St. John on the day of his nativity, whereas with other saints it is the day of their death? Because it was meet that the birth of him who, unlike the rest, was “filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb”, should be signalized as a day of triumph. The celebration of the Decollation of John the Baptist, on August 29, enjoys almost the same antiquity. We find also in the oldest martyrologies mention of a feast of the Conception of the Precursor on September 24. But the most solemn celebration in honor of this saint was always that of his Nativity, preceded until recently by a fast. Many places adopted the custom introduced by St. Sabas of having a double Office on this day, as on the day of the Nativity of the Lord. The first Office, intended to signify the time of the Law and the Prophets which lasted up to St. John (Luke, xvi, 16), began at sunset, and was chanted without Alleluia; the second, meant to celebrate the opening of the time of grace, and gladdened by the singing of Alleluia, was held during the night. The resemblance of the feast of St. John with that of Christmas was carried farther, for another feature of the 24th of June was the celebration of three masses: the first, in the dead of night, recalled his mission of Precursor; the second, at daybreak, commemorated the baptism he conferred; and the third, at the hour of Terce, honored his sanctity. The whole liturgy of the day, repeatedly enriched by the additions of several popes, was in suggestiveness and beauty on a par with the liturgy of Christmas. So sacred was St. John’s day deemed that two rival armies, meeting face to face on June 23, by common accord put off the battle until the morrow of the feast (Battle of Fontenay, 841). “Joy, which is the characteristic of the day, radiated from the sacred precincts. The lovely summer nights, at St. John’s tide, gave free scope to popular display of lively faith among various nationalities. Scarce had the last rays of the setting sun died away when, all the world over, immense columns of flame arose from every mountain-top, and in an instant, every town, and village, and hamlet was lighted up” (Gueranger). The custom of the “St. John’s fires”, whatever its origin, has, in certain regions, endured unto this day.

by Charles L. Souvay in catholic.com

VN Barquinha | Império do Espírito Santo está presente em 12 dos 13 concelhos da região

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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

Bible History Set in Stone

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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

Grão Priorado de Portugal – 25 anos

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A 27 de Março de 2019 comemoraram-se os 25 anos de actividade ininterrupta do Grão Priorado de Portugal da OSMTHU. Efectivamente, a memória ficou marcada por aquela apresentação em Montemor-o-Novo, no Convento de São Domingos, em que o Priorado se apresentou ao público, na Lua Cheia de Carneiro, após um ano de silencioso trabalho como grupo sob a orientação da Ordem no Brasil.

Nesse mesmo dia, o núcleo inicial dirigiu-se a Tomar onde, por absoluta fortuna, lhe foi facultado o acesso privado e fechado do Castelo de Almourol onde, ao por do sol, se iniciou a primeira cerimónia de armação do Priorado, que durou até bem entrada a madrugada sob uma abóbada celeste mais cintilante aquela noite, apesar da lua fulgurante que iluminava o pátio de armas como se fosse dia.

Fr+ Rui B e Luis de Matos (Prior) em Siguenza, Espanha, 1994

Muitos anos e muitas coisas acontecerem desde 1994. Não é este o memento de fazer historiografia de um grupo tão diminuto no contexto da linhagem de Fabré-Palaprat. Eu não sabia, ao ligar-me ao Grão Mestre Victor Franco, para responder à sua busca de encontro à fonte de Cavalaria que o tinha iniciado, iniciava eu uma demanda que me levaria a alguns dos locais e personagens fundamentais dos novos movimentos Templários na Europa e no mundo. Em busca dos que iniciaram Franco, passámos por Lyon, Paris, Londres, Roma, Santiago de Compostela e tantos outros lugares. No final não encontrámos os neo-Templários. Não. A seu devido tempo encontrámos a Ordem. Um dia essa história e todas as suas peripécias serão contadas. Ou talvez não seja necessário. Depressa percebi que o silêncio é o manto que melhor aconchega o Cavaleiro.

Luis de Matos

Prior do Priorado Geral de Portugal

Chanceler internacional da OSMTHU

O grupo dos 11 fundadores originais. Em memória de Fr+ Ilídio Henrique de Sousa; Fr+ Paulo Alexandre (Rebis) e Fr+ António Barcelos; Tomar 1994

Fr+ Luis de Matos (Prior) e Fr+ Victor Franco (Grão Mestre da OCMCT) em viagem a Lyon, em demanda do grupo original, 1995

Fr+ Luis de Matos (Prior) em visita ao Grão Priorado de Itália, com Fr+ António Paris (Prior e mais tarde Mestre da Ordem) no Mosteiro de Farfa di Sabina, Itália, 1997

Fr+ Luis de Matos (Prior) com D+ Patrícia Oyarzun (mais tarde Private Secretary to the Master) e Fr+ Fernando de Toro-Garland (Prior de Espanha e mais tarde Mestre), Castelo de Sant’Angelo, Roma, 1997

Cerimónia de tomada de posse de Fr+ Fernando de Toro-Garland como Mestre; da esquerda para a direita: Fr+ Nicolas Haimovici Hastier, Grande Comandante do ramo OSMTJ; Fr+ Giuseppe Bagnai, Prior de Itália; irmão sem identificação; Fr+ Luis de Matos, Prior de Portugal e Chanceler Internacional; Fr+ MacPhearson, Prior da Escócia; Fr+ Fernando de Toro-Garland, Mestre da Ordem ramo OSMTHU; Alcalá de Henares, Espanha, 1999

Comemorações da Batalha de Ourique e Homenagem a Afonso Henriques; Cerimónia conjunta entre a OSMTHU e a Ordem de São Miguel da Ala; presentes nas fotos, entre outros: Fr+ António Paris (Prior de Itália, mais tarde Mestre da Ordem); Fr+ Luis de Matos, Prior de Portugal e Chanceler Internacional; SAR D. Duarte de Bragança; Fr+ Fernando de Toro-Garland, Mestre da Ordem; Fr+ Nuno da Camara Pereira, Presidente da Mesa Mestral e Grande Comendador da Ordem de São Miguel da Ala; Ourique, Portugal, 2004

Malogrado Prior de Portugal, Fr+ Luis Barros com irmãos portugueses em visita aos Priorados de Inglaterra e de Itália; Londres e Roma, 2006

Entrevista à revista FOCUS, Lisboa 2008

Renovação da Carta Patente em 2010

Comemoração dos 25 anos do Priorado de Portugal da OSMTHU, Visita ao Convento de Cristo em Tomar, Tomar, Portugal, 2019