Burg Lahneck – Centuries of warfare, tragedy, executions, and poetry come together in this 13th-century fortress
FROM ITS ORIGINAL CONSTRUCTION IN 1226, all the way up through the 20th century, Burg Lahneck has experienced many notable events that have led to it’s intriguing tale including several wars, political unrest, the tragic death of a young noble. The castle even inspired the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
The castle was built at the confluence of the Lahn and Rhine rivers by Siegfried III of Eppstein in order to protect the town of Oberlahnstein and a nearby silver mine. In subsequent years the castle became the setting for several battles and political strife. In 1309, the castle was stormed by King Albert I of Habsburgs after the Burgrave of Lahneck, Friedrich Schilling of Lahnstein who occupied the castle, participated in a conspiracy against Albert. Albert’s forces storming of the castle was successful, and Schilling was executed at the castle for his part in the conspiracy.
Another event of note would be the slaying of the last Knights Templar warriors. When Pope Clement V demanded the Knights Templar disband in 1312, the legend goes that the last 12 Templars barricaded themselves within the confines of Burg Lahneck. All perished in a desperate fight against the overwhelming forces of Mainz Archbishop Peter of Aspelt.
Several centuries later, in 1633 during the Thirty Years War, the castle was assaulted and left in relative ruin by the passing Swedish and imperial troops.
Burg Lahneck also holds a note of literary importance as it is was the inspiration for Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s poem, “Geistesgruß” or “Ghost Greetings”. It is said Goethe felt the need to pen the poem after spotting the castle during his travels along the river Lahn on July 8, 1774.
Goethe’s poem however, is not the only event concerning the castle that is remembered in writing. In June of 1851, a Scottish family visited the area of Burg Lahneck on holiday with their 17-year-old daughter, Idilia Dubb. The story goes that Idilia went out to sketch the Rhine river valley and its surroundings to keep as a keepsake when they returned to Scotland. In search of a breathtaking vantage point of the valley, Idilia entered the abandoned Lahneck Castle and climbed the wooden staircase to the top of the castle’s keep. Unfortunately, due to countless battles which left the castle in ruins and the lack of repair or upkeep, the wooden staircase leading to the top of the keep collapsed once Idilia reached the top. She was now trapped at the top of the ruined castle, and due to the high walls surrounding her, her cries for help were unable to be heard by anyone in the vicinity. Her family searched for her, but to no-avail, and eventually returned to Scotland. Nearly 10 years later in 1860, German workers repairing the castles keep found Idia’s skeletal remains at the top of the castle. It is said that her diary was found next to her body, documenting her trip to the area and the last moments of her life in the ruined castles keep.
Historians have been skeptical about the validity of the diary, however that has not prevented it from being printed in mass publication in 2002 under the title “Das verschwundene Mädchen : die Aufzeichnungen der Idilia Dubb” or “The Missing Girl: The Records of Idilia Dubb.”
The Templar Interpretation Center of Almourol (CITA) of Vila Nova da Barquinha promoted, on the weekend of November 13th and 14th, the III International Conference “Order of the Temple – Spiritual Chivalry – Templarism”.
The municipal auditorium hosted some of the best national and international experts on the subject, with speakers from countries such as Spain, the United States, Croatia and Portugal: Luis de Matos (Chancellor of OSMTHU), Carlos Trincão (Teacher and member of TREF), Álvaro Barbosa (Architect and former director of Convento de Cristo), Virgílio Alves (Philosopher and Senior Technician in Public Administration), João Pedro Silva (Researcher and member of OSMTHU), Ernesto Alves Jana (Historian and member of TREF), Jefferson Perry (former -military), José Miguel Navarro (OSMTHU’s Senescal expert in security systems), Lovro Tomasinec (Croatian Order of Knights Templar OSMTH) and Manuel J. Gandra (CITA Researcher and Curator).
The book “Almourol – 850th anniversary of its foundation, in the context of the Order of the Temple in Portugal”, was launched at the event.
Fernando Freire, Mayor of the City Council, and Paula Pontes, Councilor for the Department of Culture, were present at the conference. The initiative also featured the musical animation of Fernando Espanhol, in a medieval music moment.
The Almourol Templar Interpretation Center is the first of its kind in Portugal. It has a permanent exhibition room, a space for temporary exhibitions and a projection room for films on the theme of the Templars. The Library – Templar Archives is also located in the same building, which has a vast literary collection dedicated to this theme, the result of donations from Teresa Furtado and Manuel J. Gandra.
Centro de Interpretação Templário de Almourol; Largo 1.º Dezembro; 2260-403 Vila Nova da Barquinha Tel.: 249720358E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Templar Grand Priory of Portugal (OSMTHU) has met in National Chapter to confer Knighthood. As the Grand Priory still performs the a very long and private ceremony, that follows traditional liturgy, including full vigil and final instruction, just a short glimpse is available in the form of a 1 minute clip. It is also a requirement of the Order that the names of those upon whom Knighthood was conferred should be named. We welcome to the Order Dame Maria de Lurdes Polainas, DTJ; Fr+ António Polainas, KTJ; Fr+ Fernando Miranda, KTJ; Fr+ Fernando Pereira, KTJ and Fr+ Luis Ferreira, KTJ. We wish to thank singer Helena Lourenço for lending a celestial dimension to an already unforgettable spiritual experience.
O Grão Priorado de Portugal da OSMTHU reuniu-se em Capítulo Nacional para conferir a Cavalaria. Uma vez que os Templários Portugueses ainda realizam a cerimónia seguindo a liturgia tradicional, muito longa, que inclui a vigília completa e instrução final, de carácter interior, apenas um breve vislumbre está disponível na forma de um clip de 1 minuto. É também um requisito da Ordem que os nomes daqueles a quem a Cavalaria for conferida sejam tornados públicos. Damos por isso as boas-vindas à Ordem aos novos Irmãos e Irmãs Dama Maria de Lurdes Polainas, DTJ; Fr + António Polainas, KTJ; Fr + Fernando Miranda, KTJ; Fr + Fernando Pereira, KTJ e Fr + Luis Ferreira, KTJ. Gostaríamos finalmente de agradecer à cantora Helena Lourenço por emprestar uma dimensão celestial a uma experiência espiritual já de si inesquecível.
CONCEALED IN A FARMYARD IN rural Lincolnshire, this rare 13th-century tower once bore witness to one of England’s richest Knights Templar preceptories, second only to The Temple in London. One of a pair, this sole surviving three-story southeast tower once flanked the chancel of a round church. Today, Temple Bruer it is one of very few Knights Templar preceptories still standing in Great Britain.
The Knights Templar were a religious military order established at the time of the Crusades in the late Middle Ages. Their role was to protect pilgrims and the shrines of the Holy Land. As their popularity grew, they quickly went from rags to riches. Powerful and wealthy, they were able to finance their work through a Europe-wide network of preceptories, of which Temple Bruer was one.
The Knights Templar remained rich and successful for almost 200 years, but after the last Christian stronghold in the Holy Land fell, their popularity declined, and they were accused of misconduct and corruption. In 1308, the Grand Prior of England was arrested and imprisoned at Temple Bruer in Lincoln. The order was suppressed not long after, and the Knights Hospitaller took its place. The Dissolution of the Monasteries around 1540 saw Temple Bruer granted to the Duke of Suffolk by King Henry VIII, who stayed there with his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, on the way to Lincoln. Over time, the church gradually became a ruin with only the southeast tower remaining, which can still be seen today.
Categorized as a scheduled monument, this present tower, constructed of limestone ashlar, was restored in both the early 20th century and in 1961. In 1833 an archaeological excavation carried out at the Temple Bruer site concluded in a report that the ruins exhibited many signs of violence including that of live burials and infant sacrifice. The existence of subterranean vaults containing human remains previously submitted to the operation of fire was also claimed. A subsequent excavation in 1908 largely discredited these findings, although two stairways descending to a crypt were discovered. Sections of stone pillar also discovered during the 1908 excavations can now be seen on display in the ground-floor chamber along with a damaged stone effigy slab in the form of a knight which was unearthed when a petrol pump was installed in the car park situated next to the tower.
The interior walls of the tower and the spiral staircase are covered with a veil of graffiti, some dating from as early as the 17th century. A number of masons’ marks are visible, and it is speculated that apotropaic or witches’ marks can also be found. For centuries, symbols and marks were carved or scratched into the fabric of buildings, particularly near entrance points, to offer protection from witches and evil spirits. Due to the Templars being accused of devil worship, infanticide, and many other heinous crimes, it is possible locals added these marks after their arrest to ward off evil, but it is left up to the visitor to decide.
WHETHER OR NOT YOU’VE READ The Da Vinci Code and subsequent thrillers, you may have heard of the Knights Templar. A few facts can be confirmed about the Knights. A group of pilgrims traveled to Jerusalem in 1119, and some of them were armed and followed a strict, religiously inspired code. Here’s where the facts get muddy. According to the story, nine among them took vows to become monks and were trapped in the Temple of Solomon. Or so the story goes…
Named Knights Templar because of the Temple of Solomon (“templar” meaning of the temple) their group quickly blossomed as more pilgrims began traveling to Jerusalem from Europe. Muslim–Christian tensions in Jerusalem rose, and it became very expensive to protect the Christian pilgrims. Funds were raised from Europe as the Knights grew in number and prestige.
Back in London, the Knights began to influence politics. With wealthy friends and their Church in central London, the Templars became intertwined in the financial and domestic concerns of the burgeoning English nation. The Master of the Church was an ex officio member of Parliament: separation of Church and State was more than five hundred years away.
With a distinct round nave, the Temple Church was consecrated in 1185. The round church is modeled on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. (In a twist of fate, that church may originally have been a temple to Aphrodite in the second century.)
But by the late 1200s, the Crusades weren’t going so well, and, with other troubles in France, the clout of the Knights waned. When they eventually fell in 1307, their land was seized by the Crown. King Edward II used the land and buildings for law colleges that developed into the present-day Inns of Court.
During World War II, German firebombs damaged the roof of the Temple Church, but it has since been restored. Visit the website for details about when the sanctuary is open for services and musical performances.
Side note: the library at Middle Temple owns valuable antique maps. These maps depict land we now know not to exist, but they are fascinating, nonetheless. A 1570 edition Abraham Ortelius’ Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theater of the World). Check the Middle Temple Library website for times.
ON THE ISLAND OF SAN Simón (Pontevedra, Spain), Canarian palms grow alongside acacia and eucalyptus. A pathway lined with boxwood trees known as the Paseo de los Buxos welcomes visitors to the small island off the coast of Vigo, Spain.
The Isla de San Simón is part of the San Simón archipelago along with several other islets. These small spits of land are part of an estuary environment that supports important biodiversity.
Though it currently has no permanent residents, San Simón has seen a number of inhabitants over the years. The earliest records of inhabitance dates back to the 12th century when a monastery founded by the Order of the Temple was established on the island. The Knights Templar (…) were the island’s main residents until the 14th century, when it was abandoned.
Over the following centuries, San Simón saw a number of naval battles and was used as a hiding place for valuable cargo. From 1838 to 1927 the island housed a quarantine station for those with serious contagious diseases including cholera and leprosy.
Not long after the quarantine site shut down, its buildings were repurposed for use as a penal colony during the Spanish Civil War. Political prisoners from all over Spain were held at the camp, where they were subjected to inhumane living conditions and mass executions. The camp was shut down in 1948.
Today, the Spanish government has turned San Simón into an “Isla del Pensamiento” (“Island of Thought”), meant to honor the history of the island and inspire deep, creative thought. In addition to the historic buildings, sculptures scattered across the island memorialize different parts of its heritage. A partially submerged monument on the east shore commemorates San Simón’s appearance in Jules Verne’s 1870 novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
The island houses ancient graveyards, sculpture gardens, and surprises around every turn. It can only be accessed by boat.
in atlasobscura.com [edited]
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.
In preparation for the eve of Santiago and the commemoration of the Battle of Ourique, the OSMTHU’s Grand Priory of Portugal gathered in General Chapter in the good land of Alentejo, to welcome new brothers and sisters, receive the commitment of service from Squires and arm Knights who demand the Order.
Current Covid19 restrictions prevented many of those who wished to join the work from doing so. However there was a very significant number in attendance, ensuring two days of very fruitful work, in peace, serenity and harmony. Until the end of the year, un the hope for improvements in sanitary conditions, the Order will provide the opportunity for those who were forced not to attend, to resume their journey without delay. Their absence was felt.
As in previous years, we do not want to expose to the public ceremonies that are reserved and contain ritual procedures and moments of study and explanation rooted in the richest Tradition of Spiritual Chivalry, in many cases lost in the fog of collective memory and absent in the Templar inspired movements of the nowadays.
After a morning of remembrance of the precepts of Chivalry according to 13th century sources, in a study session led by the Preceptor of the Grand Priory, João Pedro Silva, KOTJ, there was a convivial lunch that allowed us to catch up on long-awaited conversations. since we had not met since the Ecumenical Journeys of Lagos in February 2020. Since then an intense work of online study has been developed in parallel with some initiatives already fixed in our annual Calendar, as was the case of the Conference on Templars and Templarism in October 2020 and the 2021 Ecumenical Journeys, both in a virtual environment.
The afternoon began with the ritual opening of the National Chapter, during which postulants in the degree of Novice were received and a large group of Novices who had already completed their degree passed to Escudeiro. Some of the Knights present contributed to consolidating the knowledge acquired, promoting the necessary reflection for progress in the understanding of Chivalry. A meditation on the Emmaus Way and its meaning was especially poignant, and the afternoon was completed with a reading of traditional texts, including an oral tradition tale of Chivalry fixated in text in the 12th century in Gascony in France, that always leaves a special mark, in the memory of the Squires.
The preparation work for the night vigil, essential for the armament ceremony, began at the end of Saturday afternoon, with the departure from the Convent in procession through the Alentejo countryside to a fountain where the traditional washings were carried out and the spirit was prepared for the long journey that was still ahead, as the ceremony takes place only on Sunday.
Rui Herdadinha, KCTJ, Commander of Arraiolos , was the kind host of a convivial snack that preceded the ascent to the Castle, a moment of interior silence that marks the end of the clear Alentejo day, with the disappearance of the sun, opening the night period during which, in the darkness and uncertainty of the black night, one proceeds to complete vigil, without abbreviation or subterfuge, in hope and anticipation of the desired dawn.
Little more can be added about what followed. The procession descended from the Castle to the Chapter, which resumed its work and proceeded to clarify many points about Chivalry and the Templars reserved only for the most diligent. In the morning, the armaments were carried out following the traditional Ritual, with the Order being enriched with 4 new Knights and 1 Dame. They are the Brothers Paulo Fernandes, KTJ; Virgílio Gomes, KTJ; Bruno Correia, KTJ; Miguel Pereira, KTJ; and Dame Joana Frade, DTJ. We congratulate them and wish that Chivalry, as a tree of firm trunk and roots, may become green again and bear fruit in them.
The 6th Commandery of the Grand Priory of Portugal was also created, the new Commandery of Lisbon – Sait Cathrin Hill, with Brother Commander João Pedro Silva, KCTJ being invested. Brother João took his oath in the traditional way and will begin work immediately.
Sunday’s work ended in a traditional way with the celebration of the Eucharist by the Grand Prior and Bishop Tau Flammula Veritatis.
The Grand Priory is deeply grateful to all the Brothers and Sisters who worked tirelessly to make the Chapter a success, within the strict health regulations in place at the moment in Portugal. Special mention should be made to Sister Susana Ferreira, DTJ; to Brother Fernando Silva, KTJ who irrepressibly performed the position of Master of Ceremonies; to Brother Filipe Simões, KTJ and to the Commanders Rui Herdadinha, KCTJ; Paulo Valente, KCTJ and Victor Varela Martins, KCTJ as well as all those who participated and contributed to another unforgettable chapter in the history of our Grand Priory. Thank you all.
The Templar Corps Global Forum of April was dedicated to Education as the 4th Sustainable Development Goal of the United Nations. A recording of the full session, subtitled in English, will be available shortly.
The event was coordinated by Vincenzo Tuccillo, Knight General Director of Bolívia and Cono Sur Countries. As keynote speakers the Forum had Prof. Rocco Romeo, of the G. Marconi University in Rome and L.I.E. Roger Errejon Alaniz, Coordinator of the Central Altiplano Zone of the Bachilleres College of the San Luis Potosi State of Mexico.
Prof. Rocco Romeo told the Forum about the challenges COVID19 and remote learning brought to Italy, where some regions still don’t have a robust internet connection, capable of withstanding the increased load in data exchange. He also explained how Piero Calamandrei, one of the fathers of the modern day Italian State considered Education so important that it should have a constitutional framework. Since the 1950’s, at east 8 years of schooling is guaranteed and scholarships are available to help the most needed. Prof. Rocco published on this subject and on the problems Italians face with the Digital Revolution in this sector.
L.I.E. Roger Errejon talked about his experience in rural Mexico, in regions where there is no internet and where schools are vital for the local economy. Indeed many children still depend on school meals for their daily food and a situation of confinement and the suspension of classes has impact on much more then learning and literacy. He also presented the Forum with a short study on the actions that should be taken to make Education more universal and balanced.
Overall it was a very inspiring Forum on one of the most fundamental topics that come under the interest of the Templar Corps. There were attendees from Bolivia, Chipre, Spain, Greece, Italy, Malta, Mexico, Portugal, Turkey and Venezuela.
The next Global Forum will take place on May 16 under the title “Countering Disinformation and Resolving Conflict”.
Please visit the list of current SUPPORTED AND AFFILIATED PROJECTS of the Templar Corps. A new project in the Educational sector will be presented within the next few weeks by Pierre Bertrand N’Gondi, representative of the Templar Globe in Cameroon.
The OSMTHU, a branch of the Templar Order dating back to the early XIX century, was awarded the Bandarra Grand Cross this Saturday for the Templar Corps International initiative in recognition of “relevant services (…) on behalf of Mankind”.
The award was created by the Sovereign Grand Lodge of Portugal under Grand Master João Pestana Dias, as a way of recognizing non-masonic entities that excel in their work on humanitarian, charitable and philanthropic mission based projects. With a strong focus on the historical and philosophical Portuguese Tradition – that includes a 900+ years old association with the Order of the Temple and the world changing XV century endeavor of Discoveries planned and executed by the Order of Christ – the Sovereign GL bases most of their liturgical work on the Portuguese Rite, a re-work of the Scottish Rite blue degrees re-framed around Lusitanian mythological themes. The very name of the award, Bandarra, refers to a XVI century shoemaker who was famous for composing a set of messianic verse prophecies about the end times and the coming of a new age of peace and brotherly love blessed by the Holy Spirit. The motto of the award is in fact “Ens Gemma”, that could be translated as “[the future] being [or entity] [already present] in the egg”, as explained by XX century poet Fernando Pessoa.
Contacted by the Templar Globe, Luis de Matos, Chancellor of the OSMTHU expressed his surprise for the award. “We are only at the start of this ambitious and transforming project”, he said. “It’s very encouraging for everyone in the Order and to all hard working members of the Templar Corps International when our efforts don’t go unnoticed. We hope to be a center for international cooperation and effective work, since, as it’s often said, words are all worn out, now what we need is action. Acta non verba.”
The production and filming of a new documentary on “The Civilization of Fear” for the History Channel is currently under way. This week the filming crew landed in Vila Nova da Barquinha, Portugal, where the Portuguese Hermetic Museum was a graceful host for a day long recording session.
The documentary explores the many faces of fear, how it influenced the development of civilization, how it has been used in social, political and religious manipulation and control. how it manifests in every day life and how the future and all the uncertainties of a distopic technological world dominated by algorithms and non-human “intelligence” may become a living nightmare.
Luis de Matos, Executive Head of the Templar Corps spoke about the element of fear in the Middle Ages and how Chivalry traditionally distinguishes between fear and awe, both important for the understanding of the Templars in their crusader context. Professionally linked to technology development, he also made a few remarks on Artificial Intelligence, Deep Web and how Social Media captures user’s attentions and turns it into a commodity.
Prof. Manuel J. Gandra, Director of the Portuguese Hermetic Museum and João Pestana Dias, Grand Master of the Portuguese Sovereign Grand Lodge were also interviewed and gave very insightful and provocative testimony on the theme.
The Templar Corps would like to acknowledge the essential role of member Francisco Mourão Corrêa in organizing the event.
Results for the OSMTHU Electoral Procedure have been certified and are now out. Master Antonio Paris is confirmed for a new term with a new Magisterial Council.
The elections took place between May and July 2020 and the Master and Magisterial Council will be invested in office in October.
This is the composition of the new Master and Council for the period 2020 – 2025:
Master – Fr+ Antonio Paris
Chancellor – Fr+ Luis de Matos
Seneschal – Fr+ José Miguel Navarro, Spain
Cabinet Secretary: S+ Patricia Oyarzun, Spain
Treasurer – Fr+ Valter Tacconi, Italy
Chaplain – Fr+ Luis Fonseca, Mons. Christophorus de Lusignan, Portugal
Visitor for Latin America – Fr+ Francesco Cavalli, Colombia
Advisor – Fr+ Vinko Lisec, Croatia
Advisor – Fr+ Vincenzo Tuccillo, Bolivia
Advisor – John von Blauch, United States of America
Since 1999, with the election of I Master HE Fernando de Toro-Garland, the OSMTHU follows a rigorous protocol when it comes to voting and certifying the election. By retaining the services of an independent auditor, the Order ensures transparency and fairness in the proceedings and fully certified results.
You can download the certification of the present election here.
Tomar is a historically outstanding town in the Ribatejo region of central Portugal. Straddling the banks of the River Nabão, Tomar has narrow cobbled streets and a whole host of appealing buildings. It is also home to one of the most important architectural and religious monuments in the country – the Convento de Cristo, former headquarters of the Knights Templar. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this magnificent monastery and its associated castle sit in a commanding position on a wooded hill overlooking the town.
The Knights Templar was an elite fighting force and semi-religious order that was founded in 1119, during the Crusades. Under the guidance of Gualdim Pais, the visionary Grand Master of the Portuguese Knights, the order began construction of a castle on the hill overlooking Tomar around 1160. The design of the castle’s famous ‘rotunda’ church was inspired by similar structures in Jerusalem. Each knight took a vow of poverty and chastity and wore a white coat emblazoned with a red cross. Over the years, the Templars spread across Europe, gaining extraordinary wealth in the process – and also many powerful enemies!
By the early 1300s, amid accusations of heresy, the order was finally suppressed. However, in Portugal, the Templars re-emerged again in 1320, reincarnated as the ‘Order of Christ’, but now under the control of the throne. It was thanks to the wealth of this new order that Prince Henry the Navigator (who was Grand Master from 1417-1460) was able to fund Portugal’s legendary maritime voyages. The order’s proud symbol – the Cross of Christ – became the distinguished banner for the country’s great age of exploration and discovery. From the 13th to the 17th century, the Convento de Cristo underwent continuous expansion to become the superb monument it is today.
We entered the castle grounds through the main gate and stopped to admire the outside of the circular 12th century church. After entering the monastery, we realised that there was a surprise around every corner. We counted eight cloisters, the largest of which is regarded as a renaissance masterpiece. There are charming terraces with great views over the countryside, an infirmary, a pharmacy and some gloomy monks’ living quarters.
The interior of the beautiful round church, known as the charola, is the chief attraction. The aisle is circular with a high altar enclosed within a central octagon, and the surrounding walls are decorated with murals of sacred art from the 16th century. This was the knights’ private oratorium and they attended services here whilst seated on horseback!
Just outside the church, the tiny Santa Bárbara cloister has a grandstand view of the chapter house’s amazing ornate Manueline window. This bizarre masterpiece is structured around two carvings of ships’ masts, adorned with knots, cork, coral and seaweed. Although covered in lichen and clearly in need of renovation, these somber blemishes just add to the window’s extraordinary appeal.
A secure supply of water to the complex was provided in the early 17th century by means of a six-kilometre aqueduct. This supreme engineering structure is most impressive where it crosses the steep Vale da Ribeira dos Pegões just outside Tomar. It has two magnificent 30m high tiers of arches and there is a tempting high-level walkway along the top of the conduit – but a painful drop should you stumble and fall!
The ordinary town residents have always been able to enjoy a plentiful water supply from the River Nabão itself.
From Roman times onwards, waterpower was used to drive mills, oil-presses and water wheels for irrigation and industry. The Roda do Nabão is a modern and much-admired water wheel located next to the town’s lovely central Parque de Mouchão. Constructed of pinewood, it is a perfect example of how the force of the River Nabão was used for local economic benefit.
Tomar has many other noteworthy attractions and we began our exploration on the east side of the river at the Santa Maria do Olival, a simple church dating from the 12th century and home to many Templar tombs, notably Gualdim Pais, the Grand Master himself. Plain on the outside and plain on the inside, this is a church with considerable charm and overlooked by most visitors.
Crossing the river using the scenic ‘Old Bridge’ and turning left, we found the Match Box Museum in a shady courtyard of the Convento de São Francisco. It has a mind-boggling collection of 43,000 matchboxes from 120 countries displayed like colourful tapestries.
The medieval heart of Tomar lies nearby and we wandered through its cobbled lanes to visit Portugal’s oldest surviving medieval synagogue. Many Portuguese have Jewish ancestry and Tomar was once the home of a thriving Jewish community. This 15th century Hebrew temple has variously been used as a prison, a hayloft and a grocery warehouse during its long history, but has now been splendidly renovated and is home to an interesting small museum. There are strange upturned earthenware jars set high in its walls to improve acoustics!
The spacious Praça da República, surrounded by attractive 17th century buildings is at the very heart of the old town, and overlooked by the lovely Igreja de São João Baptista. The church has an octagonal spire and two superbly ornamental Manueline doorways. The handsome city hall lies directly opposite and between the two, in a befitting place in the middle of the square, stands an imposing statue of the city’s illustrious founder, Gualdim Pais.
Every four years, the square becomes the centre of activities for Tomar’s most famous cultural event – the Festa dos Tabuleiros. This ancient celebration, associated with the Feast of the Holy Spirit, is actually thought to have its roots in earlier pagan fertility rites. Its highlight is a procession of hundreds of local girls (traditionally virgins) carrying tall ‘tabuleiros’ on their heads. These unusual headdresses are built from loaves of bread, decorated with flowers, and have a white dove at the top to symbolize the Holy Spirit. A local boy helps each girl to support her enormous ‘hat’ as it can weigh up to 15kg. However, these male attendants are not apparently required to be virgins!
One wonders exactly what Gualdim Pais would think about modern Tomar if he were alive today – international tour groups tramping through his beautiful church and young ladies walking the streets with stacks of loaves on their heads? However, he and his fellow Templar Knights would no doubt have been very happy to collect the considerable tourist income for their charitable coffers!
by Nigel Wright in portugalresident.com