Starting January 1st, 2016, Fr+ Roman Vertovec is ceasing functions as the Visitor General of the OSMTHU. It’s with a great sense of pride that the Magisterial Council acknowledges the high quality of its members, frequently chosen to lead Templar initiatives and groups elsewhere in the neo-Templar world. The Magisterial Council was informed that Fr+ Roman will lead a new group composed of the Priory of Italy (Napolitan branch), the Priory of Croatia and the Priory of Bulgaria, having already been installed as the group’s leader in Zagreb.
The OSMTHU and the Magisterial Council wishes Fr+ Roman Vertovec the best in this new courageous task. God, undoubtably, will bless all those who act with a pure heart.
Luis de Matos
Chancellor and Interim Master
For more information on the OSMTHU, please visit the official site at: templarsosmthu.wordpress.com
The morning sun was shining as bright as if it was Spring. But it wasn’t. Very, very close to the last days of Fall, we could see how the Tagus river carried the brownish fallen remains of dead leafs, broken ashen tree twigs and orange tanned grass leftovers tried by a few days of hard rain and sweeping winds. Winter was coming, the air was cold. But the sun was having none of it! And in that fine lit morning, towering above the river waters in an impossible island, the invincible walls of the 850 year old Templar Castle of Almourol stood up, proud and mysterious.
We had the good fortune to have been found by the boat owner, who, after having spotted us looking at the towers with a smile on our eyes, asked from a distance “Do you want me to take you to the island?”
HE Fr+ Bryant Jones, Grand Prior of the Grand Priory of the United States (OSMTJ – Lamirand/Haimovici branch), whom I had never met before, was visiting the Templar region of Tomar, in Portugal, and asked me if I would show him around. I was pleased to be his guide. Often some of our brethren, when they have a stopover in Lisbon in their travels, like to meet with me for a chat, a couple of beers or dinner. Sometimes they have time to go to Tomar. Sometimes they accept my invitation to visit Sintra. Many times, however, they are only educated tourists. They love to tour the places they have come to admire on the internet or their printed tour guides. But the real deal moves them no more than a 360º degree iPhone App with HD photos. They would hit the “Like” button, sure. But Fr+ Jones was hitting the “Love It!!!!” button for two straight days! His passion and knowledge for everything related to the Templar Order and its history was amazing. And uncommon. A real revelation. How I wish all High Officers of the Order in its several branches would show such knowledge and appreciation for Templar history, values and life lessons as Prior Jones does! The amount of problem that would be solved… And the drama that would not unfold…
Yes, we visited every corner of the Templar Castle and Convent of Christ that can be visited and spoke hours on end about every little subject that came to mind. Over the two days it took to visit Tomar and Sintra, I almost lost my voice, so much so that I was forced to cancel a class I was teaching that night. We belong to different branches in the Order and we have – and will keep – our commitments to our own branches. However, we struck a real friendship, firmly based on shared values and passions, shared objectives and visions for the future. So, don’t be surprised if ever see us crossing the gates of Jerusalem wearing the same white mantle!
Luis de Matos
Os tempos do rápido consumo das coisas mundanas levou ao rápido consumo das coisas que valem mais que o mundo. Num ápice, passamos por elas sem as experimentar verdadeiramente e sem nos determos o tempo suficiente para nos deixar seduzir nem pelo seu encanto, nem pela voz que evidenciam e não ouvimos. A vontade de ter e de chegar cobre e oculta os aromas suaves que só se experimentam no passar largo.
Muitos ramos das Ordens que derivam do reavivar dos valores Templários nos séculos XVIII e XIX desconhecem os graus de Noviço e Escudeiro. Entra-se na Ordem por cima. Da rua a Cavaleiro em poucos minutos. Passe de ilusionismo, capa na mão. Flup! Já está! Muitas vezes até ouvimos “Sr. Fulano é uma pessoa extraordinária e já era Templário ante de o ser”. Mas como é que se pode ser antes de ser? Estaremos a cumprir o nosso desígnio ao passar a Cavalaria com a facilidade de quem passa uma constipação? É que muitas vezes a vontade de “ser Templário” assemelha-se a uma febre rápida, mas passageira, que se apanha com os amigos. Um espirro aqui e ali: “Sim, juro! Sim, prometo!”, mas depois de passar só ficam para trás os lenços de assoar. Entrou e saiu com a velocidade de um tiro. Ala que se faz tarde. Templários quê? Já tenho… Já sou! Já fui…
Por isso, é de destacar a tenacidade daqueles que procuraram com igual curiosidade e desejo, mas em vez de se deixarem seduzir pela Via Rápida, se mantiveram atentos à Via Dolorosa, mais lenta mas, por ventura, mais segura. Hoje, pedir a alguém uma cifra elevada em Euros para o fazer rapidamente “templário” é mais fácil do que pedir a alguém mais de um ano de estudo e formação para (talvez…) chegar a ser Cavaleiro. Ninguém quer esperar meses para eventualmente ter o que, tudo indica, ser a mesma coisa, mas muito mais depressa. Ninguém quer perder tempo a estudar o que já leu nos livros que tem sobre a Ordem. A Via Rápida é ampla e sem obstáculos, com arrojados viadutos sobre o vale (nem é preciso lá descer), três faixas de rodagem e Via Verde. Já a Via Dolorosa, é longa e não se sabe mais nada. Só se sabe que demora muito tempo. Poucos vêem a necessidade de começar como Noviço. “Noviço, eu? Já ando a estudar isto há tanto tempo! Então agora é que vou ser Noviço?”. Poucos vêem no Escudeiro uma progressão. A poucos interessa a Via Dolorosa porque o que procuram não é ser, mas parecer (assumir a similitude, esperando que assim se dê a ilusão, literalmente que “o hábito faça o monge”). O que é instantâneo na Via Rápida é incerto e longínquo na Via Dolorosa. Ou, sendo porventura caridoso, tudo é longínquo e incerto na Via Delarosa ou Via De la Rosa.
A Ordem dá por isso os parabéns aos novos Escudeiros e Escudeiras, reconhecendo neles e nelas a dedicação e o desejo de progredir um pouco mais no seu trabalho de instrução e despertar espiritual. Não será demais dizê-lo: pelo serviço, a recompensa é certa.
Luis de Matos
A mystery sword made by the Vikings and engraved with the word Ulfberht has stumped archaeologists. The sword is forged in such a way that it looks to have been made by technologies that weren’t available until 800 years after the Viking era.
Around 170 of the swords have been found, all of which date from between 800AD to 1000AD, but the technology that would have forged them is from the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s and 1900s.
A television programme has looked into the mystery in more detail called, ‘Secrets of the Viking Sword’. Its researchers say that to forge the iron which the swords are made of, the ore needs to be heated to around 3000 degrees (F). It then liquefies and the impurities are removed. It is then mixed with carbon to strengthen the iron. However medieval technologies, which are what the Vikings would have been using, would not have been able to heat any metal or substance that high a temperature. In those days, the impurities would have been removed by hammering them out of the iron.
In contradiction to this, the Ulfberht contains almost no impurities at all and it has thrice the amount of carbon in it than any other metals that are known to have existed at the time. The metal the swords are made of is known as crucible steel.
Furnaces that could heat metals and substances to extremely high temperatures what not invented until the industrial revolution when the tools for heating iron to these temperatures were also developed.
A blacksmith has consulted with the television programme’s researchers and has said that to make a sword like the Ulfberht Is highly complex and difficult. The blacksmith is the only person who has the skills and tools available to try to reproduce the metal of the Ulfberht. He believes that whoever made the sword during the Viking era would have surely been thought to possess magic powers since the metal was and still is so special and unique, Ancient Origins reports.
The sword bends but doesn’t break, it stays razorsharp, and is very light weight, and so to soldiers it would have been thought of as almost supernatural.
The blacksmith spent many days working to try to recreate the Ulfberht using medieval technology, and finally did produce a similar metal with great skill and hard work. Researchers now believe it is possible that the knowledge to make the swords originated in the Middle East and that trade routes between there and Europe would have spread the knowledge and technologies. When those trade routes eventually closed, due to lack of use, so too did the Ulfberht ceased to continue being made.
Após dois anos de obras, Igreja de Santa Maria da Alcáçova abre as portas para mostrar as suas três naves, capela-mor profunda e um órgão com 640 tubos, datado do início do século XIX.
Fundada em 1154 por iniciativa de um mestre templário, a Igreja de Santa Maria da Alcáçova, capela do primeiro Paço Real de Santarém, vai reabrir no sábado depois de décadas de abandono e graças a recentes obras de restauro.
O templo não apresenta qualquer vestígio da sua traça original, uma circunstância já sublinhada em meados do século XIX por Almeida Garrett, no livro “Viagens na Minha Terra”.
O restauro da igreja, cuja estrutura actual resulta da campanha realizada entre 1715 e 1724 por iniciativa do Conde de Unhão, deixou a descoberto detalhes das intervenções realizadas nos séculos XVI (como o arco do altar) e XIX (o cadeiral da Capela-Mor, a decoração e o órgão), mas também um capitel romano existente numa das colunas que separam as naves.
Eva Raquel Neves, da Comissão Diocesana para os Bens Culturais da Igreja, disse à agência Lusa que durante muitos anos a igreja serviu de arrecadação, sendo a informação relativa ao último cónego-mor datada de Outubro de 1904, altura em que a diocese pediu a extinção definitiva da Real Colegiada de Santa Maria da Alcáçova (criada em finais do século XII), dada a existência de um único cónego já octogenário.
Composta por três naves e capela-mor profunda, em abóbada de berço com caixotões de cantaria, o interior da igreja é revestido a pintura decorativa de tons vermelhos e amarelos, com relevos de grinaldas (que remete para uma decoração mais civil do que religiosa), tendo na base azulejos dos finais do século XVIII com temática alusiva às litanias (oração em ladainha) de Nossa Senhora.
O órgão que se encontra no coro-alto da igreja (o sétimo a ser restaurado no centro histórico de Santarém), com 640 tubos, está datado entre 1820 e 1822, tendo sido construído por António Joaquim Peres Fontanes, um trabalho português coincidente com a prática musical da época e que será tocado no sábado pelo organista Rui Paiva, durante a inauguração presidida pelo secretário de Estado da Cultura.
A obra de requalificação, iniciada em 2013 e agora concluída, resultou de uma parceria entre a Diocese de Santarém e a Direcção Regional de Cultura de Lisboa e Vale do Tejo (que deu lugar à Direcção-Geral do Património Cultural) e da candidatura a fundos comunitários, que financiou metade do custo global da intervenção (da ordem dos 210 mil euros).
De fora da intervenção ficou a sacristia, cujo tecto, datado de 1637 e exibindo as armas do Conde de Unhão, a Diocese quer ainda tentar recuperar, disse Eva Neves.
A tela existente na capela-mor (de Cyrillo Machado, século XIX) mostra D. Afonso Henriques a entregar o Eclesiástico de Santarém ao procurador dos Templários (um “prémio” pela participação da Ordem na conquista de Santarém, em 1147, que veio a ser contestado pelo bispo de Lisboa, obrigando o rei a anular a doação em 1159).
A igreja, que acolheu uma das Colegiadas mais importantes do país, com cerca de 20 cónegos, terá sido fundada em 1154 pelo mestre templário Hugo Martins e tido por construtor o frade Pedro Arnaldo, segundo a inscrição colocada sobre a porta principal.
Classificada em 1984 como imóvel de interesse público, foi ainda alvo de uma campanha nos anos 90 do século XX, que deu origem a alguns trabalhos arqueológicos.
A igreja situa-se junto ao actual Jardim da Porta do Sol, que preserva parte das muralhas de Santarém, e paredes meias com a Casa-Museu Passos Canavarro, que foi a residência de Passos Manuel, onde pernoitou Almeida Garrett na visita que lhe fez no verão de 1843 e que deu origem às “Viagens na Minha Terra”, onde deixou uma descrição demolidora do que encontrou naquela que fora “a quase catedral da primeira vila do reino”.
Templer tunnels under the Sarona complex in Tel Aviv were used to reconstruct ‘stolen’ planes in pre-state days.
Visitors to the restaurants and shops at the Sarona complex opposite the Kirya Defense Ministry compound in Tel Aviv are unaware of the secrets of the past that are concealed in the cellars. One of the secrets is the Templer tunnel that was opened before Independence Day, which connected the cellars of two wineries. The story is being told here for the first time by two veterans of the air force and civil aviation in Israel, who participated in the operation to dismantle, smuggle, renovate and reassemble 15 planes that were used by the pre-state Yishuv before and during the War of Independence.
“In 1943-44 I was very active in a flight club. We flew model airplanes, heard lectures and started gliding on Givat Hamoreh. Later we joined the pilots in Ramle – the location of the Royal Air Force headquarters and the planes that were used by the flight school. There were several planes, some of them Polish. That’s where the members of the Palmah, the elite commandos from nearby Kibbutz Na’an, trained. At the end of 1947 they were transferred to Sde Dov because they were afraid of the Arab gangs who controlled the area. They transferred six planes and one was undergoing repairs.
“After the Arabs discovered that they had transferred the planes they managed to burn them in Lod. Those planes were used by the Haganah (the pre-state undeground army) for reconnaissance above places controlled by Arab gangs, and to bring provisions to locations in the Negev. They would even throw 50-kilogram bombs from them because the plane was a two-seater,” Asher Gerson, 86, a graduate of the second Israel Air Force pilots’ course and later the chief pilot of Arkia Israeli Airlines, told Haaretz.
“At a certain point, early in 1948, because we were involved in volunteer work helping the teams of mechanics and loading bombs onto the planes, we were asked to come the next day with a few sandwiches and to tell our families that we would be gone for two or three days. The next day we came and they explained to us that in present-day Tel Nof, then called Aqir after the nearby Arab village, there were 15 Oster planes in the hangar – a three-seat British plane similar to a Piper.
“There are several theories, one that they bribed the commander of the British air base to disappear when we came and stole the planes. We arrived with the Rapid – a two-engine plane that held eight passengers.
“They picked us up from Sde Dov to Tel Nof. The plane made two trips – 15 people. They took us into the hangar that was secured outside by our forces. The place was a secret and they didn’t know that we were inside. We started to dismantle the planes – to remove the tail, wings, and then trucks came to transport them to the north. We worked there, none of the Brits approached. It was important for the Arabs not to find out. We dismantled what we needed and in the evening the trucks arrived. Since we didn’t finish all the work they loaded six planes onto trucks that drove toward Tel Aviv that same evening – to Sarona, to the winery, and dismantled them there,” he continued.
A second group stayed in the hangar and continued until midnight to dismantle and load so that they would set out in the morning with trucks to Tel Aviv again. At the exit from Tel Aviv there was a village, an area of Arab rioters who regularly attacked traffic going from Tel Aviv to the south. They saw that a lot of trucks left and only a few returned and realized that they would come back in the morning. They set up a big barrier at the exit from the village and then in the morning a van with watchmen – Jewish policemen – started out in order to break through the barrier. They encountered an ambush, a barrier through which we had to pass, and were all murdered. For that reason the community at the site was called Mishmar Hashiva (“the watch of the seven”).
“We were supposed to return and the road was closed. They brought us back via Nes Tziona and the coast. The trucks passed and we reached Sarona via [the agricultural school] Mikveh Yisrael. They put all the planes into the cellar that was the winery, and in effect my work was over. They brought experienced teams and mechanics who repaired the planes there at night. Each plane that was repaired was transferred in parts to Sde Dov, and there they were assembled and made usable. Every civilian plane has a registration number. In order to camouflage the 15 planes they all had the same registration number and that’s how they flew fictitiously. Those planes did all the work of the War of Independence until planes arrived from Czechoslovakia. They secured convoys and communities that were cut off. We continued to work at Sde Dov until we were drafted on May 13, 1948,” said Gerson.
Gerson participated in an air force course in Italy. “I was a pilot for a short time. I completed the course and then American Jews sent a gift to the flight club – 10 brand-new Pipers. They had to start a flight school. Because I was known and active they asked the army to release me in order to establish the flight school. Two years later I started working for Arkia. I was the first Arkia pilot and the second commercial pilot in Israel. I retired in 1995.”
His colleague, Yossi Gidoni, 85, who also participated in the secret operation, expands: “In January 1948 about 15-20 Oster planes were brought, with American engines from World War II, which were purchased from a junkyard. The planes were hidden in the cellar of the winery in Sarona. Upstairs there were workshops where we worked. We dismantled them and removed the fabric from the wings and body. The wings were made of wood. We repaired the planks, did carpentry work and stretched new fabric. They dismantled the engines and sent parts to workshops in Tel Aviv. We also had a department of instruments, engines and paint, which was run by two girls.
“They let us learn how to do the work. I was 18, a high-school student who left in my senior year, and I was drafted in March 1948. They let me travel home for the matriculation exams. The place itself was four times the size of today, and was reduced in order to build the highways below, the Begin Petah Tikva Highway, and that’s where all the wagons to unload were – where you see cafes today – they took up three halls. One cellar and Templer tunnels that connected the old winery to the distillery remained.”
Gidoni didn’t participate in transferring the plane parts, but he did help to build and renovate them. Eventually, when the Air Service became the Israel Air Force, “I was in a unit with nine soldiers that was transferred to Tel Yosef. We were the first mechanics who flew the planes from Czechoslovakia that arrived with the first light. In 1948 I attended the fourth pilots’ course. I was in the first course taught in Israel. I stopped and returned three years later.”
After serving in various capacities, Gidoni decided that he had had enough. He flew Dakotas until the age of 48 and then transferred to the Hawkeye as a reservist. After his discharge from the army he studied at the Technion-Israel Technological Institute and worked for Israel Aircraft Industries.
The pieces of the religious puzzle that make up the USA Network’s biblical conspiracy action series “Dig” are beginning to fall into place, and the picture they are revealing is one of history — highlighted by a colorful streak of fiction.
Here be spoilers! Read on only if you are up-to-date with the 10-part series, or want to ruin it for yourself and others.
“Order of Moriah”
This secret religious order, supposedly dating from the Crusades, seems to be a product of the “Dig” writers’ imaginations. But, like many of the show’s fictional aspects, it is based on historical fact.
The Crusades, which mainly took place from 1095 to 1291, were an attempt by the Rome-based Catholic Church to retake the Holy Land — Jerusalem and its environs — away from its Muslim rulers.
During that time, the church founded several monastic religious orders whose members traveled to Jerusalem. Some fought with the armies; some cared for the wounded and sick. The most famous of these orders were the Knights Hospitallers, the Knights Teutonic and the Knights Templar.
It is perhaps the Templars that the Order of Moriah is based on. Officially named “The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon,” the Knights Templar were anything but poor. They owned land from Rome to Jerusalem and were involved in finance throughout the Christian world. They loaned money to King Philip IV of France and the church.
That’s where they got into trouble. When the king didn’t want to pay them back, he pressuredPope Clement V to disband the knights. The resistant knights were charged with heresy and many members were arrested, tortured and burned at the stake. Legend holds that some members went into hiding — and took a lot of loot with them.
Writers have been making fictional hay with the Knights Templar and other so-called “secret” religious orders since Sir Walter Scott’s “Ivanhoe” in 1820. The most famous example is Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code,” in which a Templar-like order called the “Priory of Sion” keeps a really, really big secret about the nature of the “Holy Grail.”
Enter “Dig,” whose evil archaeologist, Ian Margove (Richard E. Grant), is after the “treasure” the Order of Moriah is supposed to have buried somewhere in Jerusalem.
Archaeologist Margrove says that “according to Flavius Josephus,” the breastplate will pinpoint the location of the treasure.
Flavius Josephus was a first-century Jewish historian. Contemporary Jews are most familiar with him for his firsthand account of the revolt of the Maccabees, a Jewish sect that rose against Roman rule, while Christians know him for his description of Jesus’ early followers.
But Josephus’ own biography is as fascinating as his historical works. He was born to well-to-do and noble Jews in 37 C.E. in Jerusalem. At 16, he went to live with a desert hermit — perhaps an Essene — but returned to Jerusalem at age 19 and joined the Pharisees, a Jewish priestly sect. During the First Jewish-Roman War, he was in charge of a section of Jerusalem’s forces.
At one point, Josephus and 40 of his followers were trapped in a cave. Rather than surrender, Josephus persuaded them to commit group suicide, with each man drawing lots and killing a companion, so no one would have to kill himself. For whatever reason — an act of luck or the hand of God — by the time the lots got around to Josephus, he and another soldier were the last ones standing. And they surrendered to the Romans. Josephus went on to become a friend of the Emperor Vespasian and the recipient of a Roman pension.
For this reason, many have considered him a traitor — he’s been called the “Jewish Benedict Arnold” by some scholars. But in the past few decades, some scholars are rehabilitating his image, claiming he joined the Romans out of a sense of deference or even unwillingly.
Whatever the truth, the characters of “Dig” are right to turn to Josephus for information about early Jewish rituals and practices. His book “Antiquities of the Jews” describes first-century Jewish religious garments and ritual items, including a priest’s breastplate that is critical to the “Dig” plotline.
But using such a breastplate as a treasure map is fictional — not historical — at all.
YS/MG END WINSTON