Splendid Temple Era Street Found in Jerusalem

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Archaeological excavations being carried out in Ir David, near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, have uncovered what is said to be one of the most impressive finds in the site: a magnificent terraced street from the Herodian era, which served pilgrims and extended 600 meters from the Shiloah (Siloam) Pool to the Temple.

The store fronts and the splendid appearance of the remains have led researchers to conclude it was Jeruslem’s main street in the Second Temple era.

Drainage canals were exposed under the street. The excavators think these are the canals mentioned by contemporary historian Josephus Flavius, who said the Romans trapped the Jews who hid under the streets. The canals contained some cooking pots and remains of food, which may have served the Jews who hid out there in their final days.


Prior of Portugal dies peacefully this afternoon

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Dear Brothers and Sisters:

It hurts me deeply to have to communicate that Brother Luis Barros, Secretary to the Magisterial Council, recently elected as Prior General of Portugal, passed away in his sleep this afternoon peacefully at home.

Brother Barros joined the Order a few years ago in a ceremony he liked to remember quite often, in Rome. He became rapidly one of the most active and most loved members in the Order and the Magisterial Council saw fit to entrust him with the office of Secretary. His attendance to meetings, his interest in the development of the Order and personal commitment to Templar ideals have been unsurpassed in the last few years and become a beacon of light for Templars in all countries. We should celebrate Luis Barros and thank our Lord for having had his help and friendship. It is however now time to let him depart and fulfil his own destiny.

Brother Barros had just returned from the United States, from a meeting in the Commandery of New Jersey – that he founded and whose work he used to follow closely – and was preparing to enjoy the festive season with his family. Please, say a prayer for his family in this very difficult hour, this particular festive season to all families, pray for his lovely wife and two very young kids (both under 10) who couldn’t enjoy his always fun and loving company for as long as they rightfully would wish.

This is the communication I wished I would never had to do.

See you soon, friend and brother Luis

Luis de Matos

Non Nobis Domine Non Nobis Sed Nomine Tuo Da Gloriam


Querido Luis,

En este momento recibimos la triste noticia del fallecimiento del Hermano Luis Barros, a quien Dios tenga en su Gloria. Te rogamos de todo corazón tengas la amabilidad de transmitir nuestro más sentido pésame a su familia y a los Hermanos portugueses.

Un abrazo afectuoso y fraternal,
Fr. Fernando de Toro-Garland
Sor Patricia Oyarzun Pinto


Caro Luís Matos:

Ainda me parece irreal que esta notícia seja um facto consumado!

Parece ter sido agora que partiu daqui todo contente por ter sido investido no seu novo cargo já pensando no encontro de Tomar mas o tempo passou e neste que decorre Deus o terá em seu lugar e nada mais que em espírito poderá estar presente.

Não vai ser fácil encontrar substituto à sua altura. Ele era tangido por uma dedicação, provavelmente sem precedentes, ao serviço da nossa Ordem.

Se for possível, gostaria que fosse encomendada uma coroa de flores em nome da Comendadoria de New Jersey, para o seu funeral (…).

Aqui iremos mandar celebrar uma missa por ele, do sétimo dia.


Um abraço

Manuel J. Dantas


Dearest Bro.: and Friend,

I am in shock!
Please convey my deepest sympathy to his Wife and Children.
As you see, we are in a very complex time, and transition is most difficult when accompanied by personal losses.
My thoughts and prayers are with you, as well: as I do know how profoundly connected you and Fr. and Bro.: Barros were.
May the Light shine, despite the shadows of this material land…

JOHN [von Blaught]


Dear Brother Luis!

it was really a very unexpected and sad news! I have immediately informed about this unexpected and great loss also the Slovenian prior Marin Zen, who is at the moment traveling in Canada.

In his name and the name of all Slovenian Brothers and Sisters and also in my personal name I would like to present our condolences to the Order and please pass our condolences also to his family. I remember brother Barros from Ljubljana and I had a great admiration and friendship toward him. So young, so energetic, so full of life, friendly and always ready to help. And he has left us…

We were knowing brother Barros as a very respectful Brother and friendly Secretary to the Magisterial Council always ready to help. We were very glad and happy when we received the information that he has been elected as Prior General of Portugal. It is nearly incredible that he has left us! Our sadness is impossible to describe!

With him the Order and we all have lost a great person, a good friend and a marvelous Prior. But anyhow he will also in the future be and stay with us, lead and help us, as he will be with us in our mind and he will also in future be the beacon of light for all Templars around the world.

A Templar condolence greeting and comprehension to his family, we are in our prayers and thoughts with them and all of you, who have had brother Barros as Brother, Friend and adored leader.

Requiescat in pace!

fr. +Roman Vertovec
for the Slovenian Priorate
& personally as a friend & brother

Mayor wants town on Holy Grail trail

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DEBATE is raging over whether Hertford should cash in on its links to the Holy Grail to draw tourists to the town. Mercury stories about the town’s links to the Knights Templar, who are said to be the keepers of the Cup of Christ, have made international headlines and featured on several TV programmes.

But the town council has failed to use the publicity to boost Hertford’s economy, offering little help to a number of TV stations and other media organisations that were seeking access to the castle.

It was in the stronghold that four knights are said to have been jailed when King Edward II was hunting their “lost treasure” 700 years ago.

This week, town mayor Cllr Sally Newton declared that Hertford should seek to attract tourists with tales of its Templar heritage.

She said: “It’s a shame that we didn’t have the TV stations visit the castle.

“If we have another TV company wanting to film in the castle, I’ll take them there myself.

“It’s all good publicity and if it brings people to Hertford and they spend their money here, that can only be a good thing.

“Hertford is a fascinating place with a wealth of history which we should share with the rest of the world. I’m very proud of our town and want to show it off.”

She said the town’s new deputy clerk, Peter Butcher, was also keen to promote the town.

Australia’s 60 Minutes, a current affairs show with an audience of six million, and Germany’s public broadcaster ZDF both sought access to the castle following our stories.

Last week the Mercury reported that Channel 4 Radio and the BBC had also been given short shrift when they sought further information.

The town council said there was no official information to supply to the broadcasters as “nothing has been identified at the c.astle which can be linked to the Templars”.

Towns and cities on the Holy Grail trail have witnessed a growth in interest since the release of Dan Brown’s best-selling novel, The Da Vinci Code.

in “Hertfordshire Mercury

Javier Díaz Húder, especializado en novela histórica, habla de su nuevo libro

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«Conozco bien Galicia. Es un sitio donde a uno le gusta perderse». Javier Díaz Húder (Funes, Navarra; 1940), 65 años, recién jubilado, antiguo empresario, realizó sus primeros ensayos narrativos tardíamente, en el transcurso de la última década. No le gusta que lo definan como «escritor profesional», si bien admite que en la actualidad sí dedica todo su tiempo a su obra. Encadena ya más de media docena de títulos. El último, «El renacer del Temple» (semifinalista en el premio de novela histórica Alfonso X el Sabio en su edición de 2005), lo ha traído a Compostela.

Allí desmenuza las claves de su penúltima creación y analiza la salud del género histórico, que considera hipertrofiado por el éxito y plagado de hijos bastardos.

-Decenas de novelas y estudios al respecto han desdibujado la figura del caballero templario. ¿Quiénes eran realmente?

-La Orden del Temple empezó como unión de los Caballeros de Cristo, un grupo de religiosos acendrados. Formaban una organización religioso-militar fundada para defender los Santos Lugares y la ruta de los peregrinos a Tierra Santa. Como ocurre con el Opus Dei, el que ingresaba en la orden tenía que dejar sus bienes y donar todas sus propiedades a la Iglesia al morir… La organización se hizo riquísima y era un poder fáctico muy importante en la época. Recibían muchas donaciones, Con ellas llegaron a constituir un ejército de 15.000 hombres.

-¿Qué hay de cierto en su papel de iniciadores de un protosistema bancario?

-Ellos decidieron crear una red de encomiendas por toda el área geográfica sobre la que se extendieron. Por aquel entonces un caballero necesitaba de 6 mozos, caballos…Trasladar todo esto a Palestina era muy complejo, por lo que deciden crear este sistema fiduciario. No lo inventaron propiamente: los griegos, los romanos y los judíos tenían algo parecido. Los templarios sí fueron precursores en el uso de los pagarés y las letras de cambio. Era un sistema más importante que las postas del medievo. En lugar de llevar el dinero, portaban recibos en los que podían ir descontando.

-¿Por qué ha crecido su mito literario en la actualidad?

-En aquellos tiempos no tenían el misterio que tienen hoy. Todo se remonta a la época en que Felipe IV de Francia y I de Navarra decide acabar con la Orden, punto de partida del libro. El monarca destruye esta organización en Francia, pero su decisión no tiene el mismo efecto en los diferentes países. Si en Francia son borrados del mapa, en Alemania se transforman, y en Inglaterra comienzan a disminuir poco a poco. La clave está en que cuatrocientos años después, en el siglo XVIII, los templarios escoceses terminan uniéndose a la masonería. Y de eso habla «El Código Da Vinci». La mentira de ese libro es que no habla de los templarios, sino de su posterior simbiosis.

-¿Han afectado esas «mentiras» a la novela histórica como género?, ¿Cree que lo han devaluado?

-La mía es una aventura sobre los templarios, pero no recurro al esoterismo. La calidad de la novela histórica se ha visto resentida por muchos motivos. Uno es la cantidad de títulos que inundan las librerías tras el auge de «El Código Da Vinci». Hay demasiados. También existen muchos arribistas que bajo el título de novela histórica han publicado semblanzas de monarcas u otro tipo de creaciones que escapan al propio género. El propio «Código da Vinci» es un pastiche.

-¿Hasta qué punto le está permitido al autor de novela histórica cruzar de la historicidad a la pura invención, dónde debe parar, a qué límite puede agarrarse entonces?

-Es lo que más claro tengo al escribir: el contexto histórico es sagrado. Intento asignar a las diferentes figuras históricas el lugar que se han ganado en la Historia, sin buenos ni malos. Discrepo de esos escritores «de casa» que describen a sus reyes como buenos… Las situaciones ficticias deben ayudar a contar una historia que sucede en otro tiempo de manera verídica.

-¿Qué nos ha quedado en Galicia del Temple?

-Galicia en aquellos tiempos no estaba constituida como un reino independiente, su nobleza era bastante autodidacta y estaba al margen del movimiento europeo. Sólo el Camino de Santiago la unía al mundo. No había muchas iglesias templarias, pero León estaba muy cerca. Por ejemplo, el castillo de Ponferrada es templario. En Galicia la influencia de la orden era menor.

-En la novela hace una interpretación muy personal del motivo bíblico del Arca de la Alianza…

-El Arca de la Alianza existió efectivamente. Pero no me refiero a la bíblica. Los judíos sí tenían un arca, en la que portaban objetos sagrados de la religión judía: las velas del templo, el candelabro, las Tablas de la Ley… Los filisteos se la arrebataron en tiempos del Rey David, un trauma muy difícil en aquella época para el pueblo hebreo. Pero los filisteos comenzaron pronto a padecer enfermedades cutáneas, muy parecidas a las que provocaron el desastre de Chernobil o la bomba de Hiroshima. Pensaron que el arca estaba maldita y la enterraron en un descampado. Los judíos lograron recuperarla, pero tras el hallazgo sufrieron los mismos horrores. La llevaron de vuelta a Israel.

-Más o menos directamente, el territorio y la historia de Navarra está muy presente en su obra. ¿Por qué?

-Geográficamente, Navarra es una zona de cruce y de paso. Muchas de las invasiones que sufrió la península llegaron por ahí. Una novela no forma parte de una geografía, es parte del interior de los personajes. Lo que más conoce un autor es lo que está a su alrededor. Muchos desconocen que el propio Felipe IV de Francia, que no tuvo ningún papel importante en la política española pero sí fue un rey con peso en aquel país, tuvo ese atributo de monarca navarro. Y me parece importante contarlo. Él provocó el cisma papal de Avignon. Allí le llaman el «rey de hierro».


Two Top Templar Sites Reach Final of New 7 Wonders Portuguese Election

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Following the UNESCO initiative to elect the World’s New Wonders that will be announced in a ceremony in Lisbon July 7, 2007, the Portuguese government set out to elect their national wonders. And out of 77 nominees, the two top Templar sites in the country reached the final stage, competing with 19 other Portuguese Wonders.

You can vist the site (all in Portuguese) if you wish to vote.

Finalists include the Convent of Christ in the Templar city of Tomar (100 km north of Lisbon). The Convent is situated in the heart of the Templar Castle founded in 1160 by Master Gualdim Pais, overlooking the beautiful valley of Nabão river and the city of Tomar. It was the main seat of the Templars during the Reconquista, the period in which Christian kings repossessed the lands in the Iberian Peninsula that had been taken by the Moors since the VIIIcentury. After the Templar Order was persecuted in many parts of Europe and eventually extinct by Pope Clement V, a fleet of Templar ships came ashore near the Óbidos Castle (one of the finalists in the vote as well) and found sanctuary under the protection of King Dinis who later converted the Templar Order in the new Order of Christ with full papal blessing giving them Castro Marin Castle as seat. Not long after the Order of Christ was founded and took official possession of all Templar properties and brethren, King Dinis promoted the return to Tomar, where a new Convent was established and successively expanded along the following centuries as the Order of Christ played a major role in the XV century Discoveries, including African routes, the route to India, the search for Ethiopia (and the Kingdom of Prestes John), Brazil and the Americas.


Also the iconic Castle of Almourol is one of the finalists. The castle was also built by Master Gualdim Pais in 1160, as a strategic defense post in the middle of the Tagus river, the most disputed frontier of the time. Almourol played a very significant part in the advanced defense system of the Templars. It is situated in the vicinity of Tomar and the fact that is stands as a proud mighty ship in a small island in the middle of the river has sparkled the imagination of many visitors that often summon the image of Avalon as one of the mythic references in popular culture related to Knights and Knighthood.

Other sites among the finalists, such as Alcobaça Monastery (founded by the Order of Cister under direct guidance of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux), Óbidos Castle and the Palace of Pena have peripheral, yet interesting connections with the always surprising history of the Order of the Temple and the Order of Christ in Portugal.

Edição portuguesa divulga documento secreto sobre templários

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Os cavaleiros templários, acusados de blasfémia e heresia, foram declarados inocentes no início do século XIV, segundo um documento secreto do Vaticano que vai ser divulgado integralmente esta semana, pela primeira vez, por investigadores portugueses.O documento faz parte do livro «O perdão dos Templários», da editora Zéfiro, que inclui também textos de vários especialistas nesta área, nomeadamente Eduardo Amarante, José Medeiros, Luís-Carlos Silva, Pinharanda Gomes, Rainer Dae hnhardt e Sérgio Sousa-Rodrigues.

Trata-se de um documento descoberto em 2002 no Arquivo Secreto do Vaticano por uma investigadora italiana, Barbara Frale, e assinado, entre outros, pelo cardeal Berenguer, legado do Papa.

«É a primeira vez que ele é totalmente transcrito do latim medieval e traduzido para português», realçou à Agência Lusa Alexandre Gabriel, editor da Zéfiro.

A tradução e transcrição do documento em latim, conhecido como «Pergaminho de Chinon», são de Filipa Roldão e Joana Serafim.

Segundo Alexandre Gabriel, esta edição «reveste-se de grande importância, obrigando a uma reavaliação e revisão do processo de condenação dos cavaleiro s templários» que levou à extinção da ordem religiosa e militar em 1312 pelo Papa Clemente V.

O referido documento, que considera os monges-cavaleiros «inocentes» das acusações de blasfémia e heresia, foi lavrado em 1308, um ano depois do início do processo templário.

O pergaminho, escrito em latim, é assinado por Berenguer e dois outros cardeais, também legados pontifícios, quatro notários públicos, quatro testemunhas, tendo sido inquiridos cinco superiores da ordem e o Grão-mestre Jacques de Molay, que morreu queimado vivo em Paris.

«Houve a preocupação de enquadrar o documento na problemática da época, no seu contexto político-social e por outro lado relacionar com Portugal, na medida em que acção da Ordem foi fundamental na formação do nosso país e na expansão marítima», disse Alexandre Gabriel.

Após a extinção da ordem, o Rei D. Dinis conseguiu que todos os bens dos Templários passassem para a posse de uma nova ordem, a de Cristo, sob a égide da qual se empreenderá a expansão marítima.

Esta obra surge nos escaparates livreiros na próxima semana, quando são também publicados outros títulos sobre a mesma temática.

«A regra secreta dos Templários – O livro do baptismo de fogo», transcreve e traduz para português, pela primeira vez, um documento encontrado em 1780 na Biblioteca Corsini dos Arquivos do Vaticano pelo bispo de Copenhaga, Friedrich Münter.

Este livro obra tem também textos complementares, nomeadamente uma introdução de José Medeiros, e um comentário de Carlos Raitzin sobre os aspectos históricos e místicos da Ordem do Templo.

Do investigador Eduardo Amarante, que colabora em «O perdão dos Templários», é editado o primeiro volume de «Templários – De milícia cristã a sociedade secreta».

Um outro título, «A grande aventura dos Templários – Da origem ao fim», do professor francês Alain Demurgerm, será lançado pela Esfera dos Livros.

O livro, com 679 páginas, traça o percurso da Ordem religiosa e militar fundada por sete cavaleiros em 1120, que se albergaram nas caves do templo de Salomão, em Jerusalém.

Em 1307 por iniciativa do Rei de França, Filipe, o Belo, é movido um processo contra os Templários, acusando-os de vários crimes contra a Igreja e Fé católicas.

Diário Digital / Lusa

press clips:



Tourist office snubs Holy Grail podcast

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THE BBC and Channel 4 Radio are making shows about Hertford’s links to the Holy Grail, despite a lack of information from the town council and tourist office. Comedian Danny Robbins, the presenter of BBC2 programme The Culture Show, visited the county town to investigate its links to the Knights Templar, who some believe hid the cup of Christ. But when his producer, Tom Wright, spoke to the tourist office, he was left disappointed.

Mr Wright, who produced the show to go out as a podcast on Channel 4’s online radio station on November 30, said: “It was a surprise really that Hertford’s tourist office was so reticent in the making of our programme as there are loads of things to recommend to tourists. “I thought that Hertford was surprisingly pretty and without that feeling you get in so many English towns of the same chain stores ruining every local business.”

He was drawn to the town by the Mercury‘s stories about Hertford’s Templar heritage. Four of the ancient warrior monks were imprisoned in Hertford Castle over some missing treasure, which some have speculated could even include the grail. We have shown how the Templars used a series of tunnels beneath the town.

“It would be fascinating to see what an exploration of Hertford’s tunnels would reveal,” said Mr Wright, who also visited Royston Cave, which has Templar links too.”

This week, it emerged that the BBC also received a cool welcome when it told the town council about its plans for a TV grail hunt in Hertford. Nicola Colley, a producer for the BBC’s factual and learning department, said: “When we asked the council about filming in Hertford and for some information on the Templars they said, ‘We don’t do that sort of thing here’. I was amazed.” Last year, the town council rejected requests from current affairs programme 60 Minutes, in Australia, and Germany’s ZDF TV, which were following up the Mercury’s stories.

Marketing and promotions manager Susanne Mead said the town council and tourist office had no information to supply to the broadcasters, as “nothing has been identified at the Castle which can be linked to the Templars”. But she said: “When the town council’s promotional literature on Hertford’s history is next updated, consideration will be given to including any factual information available on the Templars’ place in the town’s history.”