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Templar Interpretation Center opens in Portugal

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In the close vicinity of the Templar city of Tomar, Portugal, one of the most evocative Templar Castles in the world can be found: Almourol. Situated in a small island in the middle of the Tagus river, overseeing both margins and guarding secret Templar routes from all enemies, Almourol is the subject of legend.

In late 2018 the Municipality of Vila Nova da Barquinha opened right in the center of the village, the new Centro de Interpretação Templária (Templar Interpretation Center), a place where the Templar Order and its continuation in the Order of Christ (of Discoveries fame) is celebrated with dedicated exhibitions, conferences, a comprehensive library and multimedia displays available to the public to explore.

The Center had the major backing, apart from the Municipality and the Portuguese Army that currently has jurisdiction over the Almourol castle, of researcher, philosopher and historian Prof. Manuel J. Gandra, the most respected authority in Templar studies in Portugal – not only because of his strong academic background, but also because he has been the most prolific and consistent author on the theme in the last 25 years. The Center and Prof. Gandra’s work have been fully endorsed by the OSMTHU, that plans to promote a few cultural events in 2019 and 2020 and associate the Order to this beacon of Templar history that merits the attention and collaboration of the Templar world.

The Templar Globe is preparing an interview with Prof. Gandra about the TIC. Meanwhile, please take a look at a video about this remarkable place.

‘Knightfall’ – Tom Cullen Interview on Playing a Templar Knight on a Quest for the Holy Grail

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Tom Cullen Knightfall Interview:

Did you have to do any extra training or had you already known how to use the sword?

Tom Cullen: “In drama school in the UK we do a lot of fight training, and so I’d done a lot of sword training prior. And,I found that I had the propensity for killing people, ironically. (Laughing) So, I’d actually done extra exams and had some practice while studying in drama school but that was about eight years ago. I hadn’t swung a sword in about eight years, so it was all very new in many respects.

The stunt team that we had was led by an amazing Frenchman, Cédric Proust. He is a top stuntman and fight choreographer. He really put us through it and we had a great swordsman called Roman. The entire team wanted us to be at a very, very high level. Every day on set they would drill us and I did about three months of physical training beforehand to get myself and my body ready for the fighting portion of my character and the series.

We also did a two and a half week boot camp where we would walk in the morning and do some circuit training and then do fighting in the afternoon. Later, we’d go horse riding and do some more sword training and then we would go to the gym. When it came to the actual filming, because there were a lot of fight scenes I was filming 14 hours a day doing scene work and then I’d have to do my fight training either on my lunch breaks or on the weekends. Any kind of second in the day that I did have I would fill it by going up to the stables and ride.

Working on Knightfall was a full-on experience because the team wanted it to look authentic and real, and when you watch the fights they are absolutely incredible. I’m so proud of all of the actors who’ve participated in the battles because we’ve really done a great job. The stunt guys have really trained us well and they’re epic battles and muddy and gruesome. And they feel very real, which I think is something I’m very proud of.

There is an incredible battle sequence in the final episode which is the biggest thing I’ve ever been involved in. We had like 400 guys on a battlefield fighting for about two weeks. It’s epic and amazing. And the real geek, nerd in me – because I am one – just can’t believe that I’m in it. I’m extremely proud of it.”

How much research did you do?

Tom Cullen: “Whenever I have done a historical piece, I think it’s imperative that you have to bathe yourself in as much literature to understand the world as much as possible, so that when you get onto the set, the world is just vibrating inside you. I wanted to know as much about the Crusades and about the politics at the time. Not just the politics in Europe or in the Middle East, but also Mongolian politics because they had a huge influence.

You just need to immerse yourself in the world and know everything that these men would have known, understand every single permutation and the political permutation that is affected where they are at this point and what drives these men and women to do the things that they do. I think that’s something that you have to do, otherwise it’s just lazy and in a way unforgivable because at that point that’s where you make mistakes.

You take history for granted and history should never be taken for granted because it’s essential for us furthering ourselves as a society and as a culture, because the one thing that history teaches us is that it’s cyclical. And so, yes, I read a lot and we had a fantastic historian on set. His name is Dan Jones. He’s just released an amazing book that you must read called The Templars which is on the New York Times Bestseller’s List. It’s brilliant. He was there on hand at all times feeding into us and making sure that what we were portraying was as accurate as possible. Anything that would come up in the script that we didn’t know, we would use him as a source of knowledge and he would say, ‘Go and read this, go and read that,’ or just tell us because he’s a real fountain of knowledge.

And that wasn’t just the access that put me in the world of the Knights Templar. […] The costume design, the art direction, the production design, makeup, etc. it was all so dense and real that you feel like you’re right in it as soon as you turn up on set. It’s just all there for you, you know, and you can really immerse yourself into the world.

The days we spent on set were amazing. We filmed on the biggest sets in Europe at Barrandov Studios. They built Medieval Paris. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. In the show, I have to do this shot where I’m riding down this nearly 200-meter long street that they built. And there are 350 extras and each extra has a job, each extra has a name. And it’s live, real world and you just forget that the cameras are there because it’s so extraordinary.

Our costume designer, Diana Cilliers, was amazing. I remember the first time we did our screen test, which is where you put on the costume in front of camera and you kind of like pose and walk around so they can see what it looks like on camera with the makeup and the hair and all of that kind of stuff. I remember putting the costume on, the chainmail and everything, and it weighed 50 pounds which was like an insane amount of weight. I struggled to walk down the corridor to get to the studio to do the screen test.

I was like, ‘Guys, why is the costume so heavy? How are we supposed to move and fight in this?’ And the answer was that Diana tried out lighter material such as plastics and other materials but they just didn’t look authentic. And so they put us in the most authentic costume that they could and we just had to deal with it. We got bigger and we got stronger, and so very quickly we were able to run and jump, get on horses in the 50-pound costumes and do everything that we needed to do to play our parts. But, you know, you can see the difference in the way that the costumes move and the way that your body moves in them. It’s just authentic and I think it makes for a very real experience when watching the show.”

Can you talk about Landry’s relationship with Godfrey, played by Sam Hazeldine?

Tom Cullen: “So the relationship that Landry has with Godfrey runs throughout the entire first season. And so in episode one, Godfrey is Landry’s surrogate father. Landry was an orphan and Godfrey essentially took him in and saved him from this orphanage. And so because of the promise Godfrey saw in him, Landry became a Templar at the age of 11 which is very, very, very rare.

One of the Templar rules is that you must become a Templar of your own volition because it’s such a monastic lifestyle where you do things like eat your food out of the same bowl as another man. There’s no vanity, there’s no possessions. It’s completely monastic. And so it’s very rare for a young boy to join the Templars like Landry did.

So, Godfrey becomes Landry’s father and as the season goes on, in episode one there is a truth revealed to Landry about Godfrey that he didn’t know. And Landry, like a classic hero that we all know, as the protagonist, he hunts and searches for the truth at all costs. He is like a boar who gets physically beaten, emotionally beaten and he just gets back up by himself and charges towards the truth.

Godfrey is pivotal in that circle of truth that Landry is striving towards and it isn’t a very easy journey for Landry to go on throughout the first season. But, it’s a very satisfying journey for the viewers. Every time the scripts would come in there would be a new revelation and it would be a new shock and a new turn and it was very cool to read and really fun to play. I hope that the audience enjoys it as much as we enjoyed making it.”

Is any particular theme or aspect to Knightfall you think will really resonate with the viewers?

Tom Cullen: “Yes, sure. I think what I’m very proud of in the show is that you can kind of look at the show objectively from the outside having not seen it and say, ‘Oh, this is about guys swinging swords and that’s what the show is about,’ but the show is so much more than that. The show is about politics. We have a lot of stuff that takes place in the French Court at the time, dissecting and breaking down the politics and the machinations of political interplay, which I just love that kind of stuff.

It has a fantastic central spine through the show; an amazing love story which I’m surprised at how strong and moving that story was as we were filming it. It kind of grew into this thing that we had no idea it would become. The show talks about revenge and betrayal, brotherhood, loyalty, faith, humanity and mortality. I think that it raises really big questions about who we are whilst at the same time being really kind of fun and entertaining. So, that takes you on a really wild journey.

And, so I truly believe the show has something for everybody. I think that it is by no means a gendered show. I think that women would love it as much as men will love it and that is something I’m really proud of, too. It has fantastic, strong female characters. They are actually probably stronger than all of the male characters and they’re just as complex and rich as the male counterparts, and it’s very moving. I’ve watched the last episode three or four times now and I’ve shed many tears every single time. It’s a great rollercoaster.”

What do you like about the medieval time period?

Tom Cullen: “I’ve always been obsessed with the Medieval time period because I think it’s a time that we can look back on and learn from. And, actually, 800 years isn’t that long ago and that this is the time really when the world that we live in today was created and formulated. We’re still feeling the repercussions of the actions and choices the people made in the medieval period today.

It’s also a period that is grimy and dirty and dangerous. The line between life and death is so thin, it’s really interesting to learn about. And I think that’s a fantastic place to make a drama in. It’s a very rich world since life and death was so next to each other, and it’s world rich in terms of human wants and needs. Nowadays our lives are reasonably comfortable for certain people, especially in America. We typically don’t have that kind of life and death threat every single day where we are going to drop down with scurvy or have to go into battle.

So, our choices aren’t as drastic. But if you have a lifespan of 35 years, every choice you make is loaded. And so I think that the world of the Medieval period is one of very high octane and people making life and death choices every single move. And that, for me, is an exhilarating period of time to make a drama in.”

How do the scenes in Knightfall resonate in your own life? How do you draw on your own life to play the part of Landry?

Tom Cullen: “That’s such a good question. On the paper, it isn’t necessarily very easy to draw on myself, and I think that I like to work as an actor from the places of truth instead of drawing on myself as an empathetic being. Well, I’ve had some experiences personally that I put it into Landry but not many. I worked in an empathetic way, anyway where I try and put myself into the character’s body and some kind of lose myself as much as possible. And so my thoughts and my character’s thoughts were somewhat separate as opposed to my own.

I don’t really like to draw on my own experiences. I feel that’s confusing and muddied and I don’t think it’s very healthy. So, it wouldn’t have been very healthy for me to continue working in that way and it’s not why I’m an actor. But the themes that were very resonant with me in the show, that resonated with me as a reader and as a viewer and as an actor, are ones of brotherhood and loyalty, love and lust, and denying one’s own happiness, complexity in relationships with a father and feelings of abandonment. All of that stuff really resonated with me.”

Do you believe that because Landry became a Templar at such a young age that’s why he was able to rebel against that part of his vow and enter into a romantic relationship?

Tom Cullen: “I think that when we first meet Landry at the top of episode 1 he is 20, and he is brash and young. He is a maverick, incredibly cocky, and is kind of emboldened by the fact that he has God on his side and he thinks that he’s invincible, which I think a lot of 20 year-olds think, regardless of whether they have God on their side or not. I know I certainly felt like that.

But what we see at the top of episode one is his entire life flipped upside down when they lose Acre, the last Templar stronghold in the Holy Land and they lose the Holy Grail. And so we flash forward 15 years and when you’ve been brought up as a as a warrior, and that’s all you know, everything you know, it’s a tough reality to deal with. He’s like a caged animal, unable to fulfill what he thinks is his only purpose and duty which is to fight.

And so when we meet him, he is this very, very complex, pulled apart guy in episode one. He is battling with his humanity and he is secular yet he is also still mentally devout. He is very loyal to his brothers, his family, yet he is lying to them. He is having an affair with a woman yet he is a monk. He is the bravest, most fearless warrior, yet he’s starting to feel a sense of his own mortality. I think that’s why he kind of falls in love with this woman. It’s not that he’s doubting God or that he’s doubting the Templars or religion, but that he’s doubting himself. He is in a conflict, in a battle with himself, which are the stories that I love to watch where your hero is so full of contradiction and battle and personal complications. And throughout the first season, we see him work through that and battle through that and try and find out who he really is. It’s an awesome journey for me to play and to take viewers on.”

Did you discuss what would happen moving forward with the series, where it might go in seasons two, three or four? Were you given an idea of Landry’s entire arc beyond the first season? And if so, to what degree does that influence your approach to the character? How much are you able to build into the character as the series goes on?

Tom Cullen: “We love the show and we really hope that we can continue making it for as long as possible because we’re a real family and we’re very, very proud of it and we love making it. There’s also still a lot of the Templar history that has yet to be told. We have an idea of where the show will go and where it will take us. But what actually happens is that while you’re making a show, it becomes this dialogue that happens between the writers, the actors, directors, the costume designers, the art director, the production designer, makeup artists, etc. where you’re constantly kind of feeding into this pot which is the show. It evolves and changes and moves in ways that you would never expect it to.

It’s like a living organism but that surprises you. And so though we have an idea of where this is going, actually the truth is that we don’t in many respects. We have the structure of history and what actually happened which we have to stay with but in terms of the characters, and their fuels and wants and needs and how they navigate their way through that history is something that we’re constantly being surprised by with the characters. And that’s a really exciting place to work with.

And especially as an actor, I don’t want to know where the character is going because in life I have no idea what I’m doing tomorrow or how it’s going to pan out. I can only be in the present and I can only make choices in the present, and so that’s what you want your characters to do. And so the writers actually withheld scripts from us and didn’t tell us what was happening later in this first season so that we could be surprised in the moments whilst we were making the episode, which is a really fantastic and authentic way to work. And then once we get the script, we kind of talk about them and collaborate on them.

Dominic Minghella is an incredible showrunner. He is a force of nature and an amazing man and a brilliant writer, and he really values the actors’ input. He is always very good at fielding ideas and whether he takes them or not is up to him, but it feels like a very collaborative process where everybody is feeding into it and we all have ownership over the show and that’s really exciting.”

in showbizjunkies.com by REBECCA MURRAY

KNIGHTFALL: “YOU’D KNOW WHAT TO DO” REVIEW

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History’s Knightfall delivers a fascinating story centered around the Knights Templar and their quest to find the Holy Grail in the early 14th century. Like the network’s flagship series Vikings, Knightfall proves why History needs to develop more original dramas.

Knightfall goes big and bold right from the beginning with a large-scale battle set in the city of Acre. For a TV budget, the assault on the stronghold looks great, but it’s the use of intricately placed cameras that make the sequence shine.

Typically, an actor that wears a helmet, like Thor, finds a reason to take it off, in order to better show the actor’s face. Studios don’t want to pay someone millions of dollars to hide beneath a helmet. Instead of taking the helmets off, Knightfall puts the cameras inside the helmets. It’s a brilliant choice because it creates a feeling of claustrophobia that adds to the intensity of the fights.

The combat is well choreographed and believable. It’s not as flashy as Vikings, but with warriors wearing armor that heavy, it must be difficult to move. The only complaint is the ineffective use of slow motion throughout the episode. It doesn’t ruin any of the skirmishes, but it is distracting. It feels like the show is trying to be overly stylized when it doesn’t need to be.

The characters that inhabit the story are remarkably realized. Landry (Tom Cullen) is one of the lead knights in the order. Cullen (Downton Abbey) brings all the good looks, charm, and toughness needed to carry a historical epic like Knightfall. Early on, Landry’s close relationship with the King is revealed to be a sore spot between Landry and the rest of his brothers. This conflict should make for a compelling story down the road — especially if you know a little bit of the history concerning the Templar order.

Knightfall takes place around the time of the Templars’ downfall, which according to some historical accounts, has to do with the troubled financial relationship between King Philip IV of France and the Templars. This version of the King, skillfully portrayed by Ed Stoppard (The Crown), doesn’t seem like the type of guy who would betray his friends. These are merely first-impressions, but I’m excited to see how it all plays out. History is a network that’s not afraid to toy with expectations, even in a historical setting (e.g. Vikings). Remember, this is a television show after all.

Some of the supporting characters based on their names alone add to the mystery surrounding the Grail legend. Parsifal (Bobby Schofield) is one such character. Schofield (Black Sea) effectively plays the wide-eyed farm boy who’s in over his head. What’s fascinating here is the historical significance of his name. In the legends about King Arthur, Parsifal (Percival) is one of Arthur’s most trusted knights and he’s also part of the Grail legend. It looks like the writers are using various legends and historical accounts to shape their story. This mixture of fantasy and history makes Knightfall all the more delightful.

It’s nice to have a series that gives the Templar’s a story from their point of view. Properties like Assassin’s Creed haven’t painted them in a good light and while there are reasons for that — having a different perspective on the ancient order is enjoyable to watch. Landry and his brothers are seen as protectors of the people, as opposed to cold-blooded killers.

THE VERDICT

Knightfall creates an engaging story centered around the Knights Templar and their search for the Holy Grail. With gorgeous costumes and wonderfully designed sets, Knightfall does a great job of bringing 14th century Paris to life. Backed by a strong performance from Tom Cullen, Knightfall should have enough staying power to see it through until the finale.

in ign.com by DAVID GRIFFIN


Note: This review is reprint from IGN. The OSMTHU has no official review of Knightfall. However, we should point out that Knightfall is a ficcional series with the Templars as a background. It’s not History. You should enjoy it as you enjoy any other great fictional story.

WANT TO ‘GET SWOLE’? TRY THE TEMPLAR KNIGHT WORKOUT, SUGGESTS KNIGHTFALL STAR TOM CULLEN

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If you’re looking to get fit, Tom Cullen, star of History’s Knightfall, has a suggestion for you: wear chain mail.

The actor stars as Landry, leader of the Knights Templar, in the newest scripted drama from the network home of Vikings — which meant wearing 50 pounds of armor nearly daily for the better part of a year.

“I didn’t want to weigh the costume early on, because otherwise it would just become a thing in my head. I have weighed it since and it has become a thing in my head,” Cullen, who played Lord Gillingham in Downton Abbey, told Rotten Tomatoes. “The costume weighed 50 pounds, which is a lot to be carrying for 14, 15 hours a day when you’re fighting and riding horses. My body changed shape. I went from fit and kind of slender to muscular and big, just from the fact that I was carrying this amount of weight, this heavy costume.

“I couldn’t even get on a horse when I first started,” he confessed. “I had to have a stepladder because I didn’t have the power in my legs to get over the horse. But by the end of the shoot, I was leaping and running and jumping on horses. It was intense.”

So if you want to “get swole,” try the Chain Mail Workout!

“It’s where you wear 50 pounds of chain mail for seven months, every day, 15 hours a day,” Cullen said. “That’s all you have to do. And you’ll end up [muscular]. I’ve had to go to my wardrobe and buy all new trousers because my ass is so big. Honestly, if you want an ass like Kim Kardashian, become a knight.”

Knightfall takes place in the 1300s and follows the Knights Templar as they hunt to recover the Holy Grail in the final days of their reign, ahead of their eventual downfall. The series was shot in Eastern Europe on a Prague backlot — “they built medieval Paris, they built a temple, a palace, streets, a market, a moat, castle walls, a church, shops, alleyways, a pub — it was extraordinary,” Cullen said. The show tackles the later days of the Knights Templar’s reign of power.

“They were such a fascinating, clandestine sect,” Cullen said. “That the myriad of lies and layers that they bathed themselves in — it’s very difficult to unpack all of that. It was fascinating to learn about them. It was a real educational process for me.”

While, like most people, Cullen had a working knowledge of the group, he learned a lot while simply researching for his role.

“One of the things that really stuck with me was that they invented to first bank,” he said. “They created the banking system, and they created the first checks. They became the wealthiest fighting force in the world. And they answered to no country, no king, no queen. They only answered to God and to the Pope. No borders. You could cash your money in France, and you could take it out in Jerusalem. They were kind of untouchable. Fascinating guys. The thing that really surprised me was the level of their power. You learn about how they were in the battlefield. They were extraordinary. They would never leave. Even if they were losing, they would never turn their back and run. They would basically only surrender when the last man had been killed. That level of bravery and intelligence is an extraordinary combination, I think.”

Cullen’s character, Landry, was taken in by the Knights Templar as a 10-year-old orphan.

“All he’s known is war, fighting, and God. When we first see him in episode 1, he’s a very brash young maverick knight who ultimately loses the Holy Grail and loses Acre, the last stronghold in the Holy Land, which is the one thing that he understands himself through. The series is set 15 years after that event, and we find him questioning everything about himself. He’s questioning his faith and his own identity. He’s a very contradictory, very complex character. He is lying to his brothers. He’s having an affair with a woman. But he is immensely loyal. He is maybe the most fearless, brave knight. Yet he is starting to discover his own humanity and his mortality. He is a very pious man and is still a very faithful man, yet he is starting to discover who he is outside of his brotherhood.”

Yes, that’s right — there’s still plenty of sex on this show about religious monks, and Landry’s dedication to the Knights Templar only wavers when his chastity vow is involved.

“He’s very faithful to her,” Cullen said. “He’s a one-woman kind of guy.”

Except he’s supposed to be a no-woman kind of guy.

Added Cullen, “He’s a very complex guy, which is the kind of guy I’m interested in watching.”

The season will include major developments about Landry’s love — in the first episode, even — but his relationship will take a back seat to his main quest: to recover the Holy Grail.

“Landry goes on a pathological hunt to try and find the Grail, because I think that he entwines a lot of his own identity into that piece of pottery,” Cullen said. “I think that he hopes to find it not only to garner enough power to go back to the Holy Land, which is what he thinks that he should be doing, but also to return himself back to who he was — search for his identity before he became this very complex guy. What’s great is that on the way, we see his life fall apart, and as he discovers more about himself, he discovers more about the people around him and the lies that are entwined around his whole life and his whole existence.”

in rottentomatoes.com by Jean Bentley

Prior Bryant Jones – Conference – Dighton Rock (Video)

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Fr+ Bryant Jones, Prior of the United States OSMTJ sent us the link to his Conference at the Dighton Rock Museum. I hope you enjoy.

Secret orders and supposed traitors — TV’s ‘Dig’ and religious history

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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.

Flavius Josephus

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

Programa RTP 2 – Visita Guiada – Convento de Cristo

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O claustro principal do convento de Cristo está referenciado na história da arte universal como um dos mais belos exemplares da arquitectura renascentista europeia. Mas este claustro é mais do que um tesouro da arte do renascimento, é a construção que enterra de vez a Idade Média em Portugal e o alinha com o novo humanismo europeu.

Convidado: João Paulo Martins, arquitecto
Visita Guiada é um programa de televisão e de rádio sobre os tesouros do património cultural português. Tesouros com reconhecido valor universal, peças que qualquer país ocidental se orgulharia de integrar no seu património, e pouco conhecidos dos portugueses.

De um cálice de prata com decoração moçárabe e mil anos de idade a um claustro que está referenciado como obra-prima do renascentismo europeu, passando por uma colecção de arte africana classificada como uma das melhores do mundo, a natureza dos objetos, o seu contexto geográfico e o seu tempo histórico variam de episódio para episódio.
Conhecer o Património Cultural português

New Programs Explore Theories Put Forth in The Da Vinci Code

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The questions and theories put forth in The Da Vinci Code contradict old, accepted beliefs and have electrified debate around the world. Could Mary Magdalene have been the wife of Jesus, and did they have a child together? Was Mary’s reputation as a prostitute in fact a libel created by the early Church? What were the real circumstances of Jesus’ death? Were the Knights Templar founded to guard the secret of Jesus’ bloodline?

Secrets of the Cross, airing on the National Geographic Channel, is an exciting new four-part series, uncovering the tantalizing mysteries at the heart of the Christian tradition. Stories that have shaped Western culture are scrutinized in the light of compelling new evidence, as the series strips back the layers of history to reveal surprising and provocative truths.

At the heart of each program is new archaeological and historical evidence that explodes the myths embedded in the traditional tales. With the help of expert witnesses, they discover the conspiracies and cover-ups that have obscured the truth, and finally uncover the historical reality at each story’s heart.

Secrets of the Cross avoids the familiar reverential treatment of biblical history; it’s a fast-paced present-day quest. The subject may be the ancient past, but the investigation is in the here and now, amidst the tourists and traffic, the hustle and bustle of modern Jerusalem and Rome.

The Mary Magdalene Conspiracy
The gospels say almost nothing about Mary Magdalene. The early Christian church branded her a prostitute and western art and literature have constantly reinvented her down the centuries. She remains one of the most mysterious women in history.

This program draws together a picture of the real Mary Magdalene. Was she the bad girl of the gospels or the wife of Jesus, perhaps even the mother of his child? Or do all the conspiracy theories hide an even greater truth of Mary Magdalene as the leader of the early church?

Trail of the Knights Templars
The rise of the Knights Templar had been rapid, and their fall was equally as swift. In the blink of an eye, the considerable wealth the Templars had amassed was also to disappear, giving rise to myths that have shrouded the order ever since. And it begged the biggest question: what was the real purpose of the Knights Templars?

Away from the celebrity glare of The Da Vinci Code, new light is now shed on the Knights Templars, based on fresh evidence. The truth starts to emerge about an idiosyncratic conglomerate of warrior-monks, ultimately leading to an extraordinary conclusion: corporate greed and until recently, the Vatican’s best-kept secret; The Chinon Parchment, revealing Templar confessions of taboo rituals.

Who Killed Jesus?
This program examines the conspiracy of silence that protected Pontius Pilate and the Roman Empire for two thousand years. Why was Rome’s real role in Jesus’ death covered up? What was the secret agenda of the early Christian writers who detailed the trial and execution of Jesus in the gospels? This show exposes their motives for pinning all the blame on the Jews and shows how this skewed accusation has resounded through the ages. The gospel version of Christ’s death is revealed to be fatally flawed, and finally Pontius Pilate stands alone in the spotlight as the man who killed Christ.

The Jesus Tomb
In 1980 an ancient tomb was unearthed on a building site in the Jerusalem suburb of Talpiot by archaeologists. Inside were a number of bone boxes dating from the 1st century CE. The inscriptions on the sides of these boxes were an archaeological bombshell–they included; Jesus son of Joseph, Mary, Mariamne, Jose, Matthew and Judah son of Jesus–all names potentially associated with the New Testament family of Jesus of Nazareth. This finding strikes at the heart of traditional Christianity which is based on the belief that Jesus was physically resurrected from an empty tomb near the Holy Sepulchre Church–the traditional site of crucifixion. Yet the archaeologist argues that it would have been easy for the disciples to simply remove Jesus’ body from the tomb at Golgotha and place him in a tomb at Talpiot.

David Carradine’s Last Movie is “The Night of the Templar”

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David Carradine’s legacy pinnacles in the soon to be released Paul Sampson film, Night of the Templar. Starring alongside an eclectic ensemble of Hollywood A-lister’s, Carradine offers his sword wielding brilliance in what may mark the final scenes of this Hollywood stars brilliant career.

With principle photography complete, Night of the Templar is set for a late autumn release. Carradine supports the film with his role as the cryptic Shopkeeper. Playing as a sword wielding and powerful character that appears mysteriously as the protagonist’s right hand, Carradine’s character returns with a wrath of vengeance from nearly seven hundred years of silence to fulfill his destiny in this chilling feature.

Sampson said in a press statement, “Since the picture wrapped, David and I became closer friends. We spoke often about the progress of the film. On days when I see his face in the editing room it’s bizarre, I’d like to call him with updates and I realize I can’t. It’s sad but I feel he’s here in spirit. David had a strong spirit.”

Sorvino gets physical

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Mira Sorvino plays the lead role in The Last Templar, a four-hour mini-series filmed in Montreal.

A rather mean-looking fellow comes striding out of the Lucky Luc Stables in St. Henri just north of the Lachine Canal, bumps into Mira Sorvino and roughly throws the Oscar-winning actress to the ground. The tough guy is Montreal actor Danny Blanco Hall and it’s all part of the action on the final day of filming in town on the $20 million mini-series The Last Templar.

Luckily for Sorvino, there’s a mat on the ground in the stable to help cushion her fall, but on one of the many takes, it looks like she was actually shaken up and director Paolo Barzman runs over to make sure his star is doing OK.

“It rattled my cage a little but I was fine,” Sorvino said in a chat a few minutes later. “I’ve done a lot of my stunts in this movie and it’s been fun. I’m kind of a daredevil. Throw me on a horse or have me do a fight scene and I want to do all of it myself. They have to pull me back because insurance doesn’t let you do the horseback riding. I can only get on the horse and ride in and out of shots very slowly, even though I used to have a horse when I was a kid. I said, ‘Wait, I can do all of this. I can gallop.’ But you can’t do it.”

In the scene, Tess Chaykin, the Manhattan archeologist played by Sorvino, arrives at a New York-area stable to meet one of four masked horsemen who had earlier stormed into the Metropolitan Museum and stolen one of the items at an exhibit of Vatican treasures. But the horseman is killed just before Chaykin arrives and the murderer, Plunkett, portrayed by Blanco, is the guy who man-handles her at the entrance to the stables.

The four-hour mini-series from local producer Muse Entertainment will air on Global and NBC sometime in early 2009. The local leg of shooting wrapped this past Tuesday with the scenes at Lucky Luc stables, but the cast and crew will be shooting in Morocco later this month.

Wednesday was a day-off for the Last Templar team, a brief pit-stop before scouting locations in Morocco, and a tired Barzman took a half-hour out of his down-day to talk about the production. He admitted he was a little worried for Sorvino during that scene at the stables Tuesday.

“Strangely enough, it’s sometimes these simple little things where you get hurt,” said the Cannes-born, Paris-raised, now-Montreal-based filmmaker. “It’s the simple things where you’re maybe not that cautious. But Mira is very physical. She goes for it.”

He talked of one of the bigger set pieces in the film, in which the masked horsemen, who are dressed as Templar Knights, flee the museum and gallop down the stairs outside the Met – a scene filmed on the steps of Mary Queen of the World on René Lévesque Blvd. Sorvino’s character steals a police horse and chases down the steps after the thieves, but the insurance company forbade Sorvino from getting on the horse for that sequence.

“That was a major choreography,” said Barzman, whose previous film, the Holocaust-themed, Quebec-set drama Emotional Arithmetic, recently played local cinemas.

The Last Templar is set in present-day Manhattan, Turkey and the Greek islands, but it also flashes back to 13th-century Europe to follow a young Templar Knight who disappears with a chest carrying a secret that – in a Da Vinci Code-like twist – is still wreaking havoc several centuries later.

The other lead actor in the mini-series is Scott Foley, best-known for the TV series Felicity and The Unit. He plays FBI agent Sean Reilly, who, like Sorvino’s Chaykin, is in hot pursuit of these horsemen.

Foley cautions against taking The Last Templar too seriously.

“Growing up, I really enjoyed Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile, with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner, and that’s what resonates here, with the chemistry between the two of us,” said Foley. “This has its heavy moments with regards to religion and the belief in God, but for the most part it’s kind of a light romp. It’s fun – we’re going to solve a mystery, to find the hidden treasure.”

For Sorvino, this is her fourth project shot in Montreal, following the 1998 Marlon Brando oddity Free Money, the 2000 TV version of The Great Gatsby, and the harrowing 2005 mini-series Human Trafficking (another Muse production).

“I like shooting in Montreal,” said Sorvino. “I prefer Montreal to Toronto. Maybe it’s because of the French element.”

Sorvino is fluent in the language of Molière, having studied it throughout high school and also spent some time in France when she was dating French actor Olivier Martinez several years back.

Turns out she also prefers Montreal to Paris because she finds the francos here “nicer and more courteous than the French.”

It looks like the only local not making nice with Sorvino is the thug who keeps pushing her to the ground at the stables.

bkelly@thegazette.canwest.com

HOLLYWOOD, UFOS AND THE OCCULT: THE IMPENDING SOMETHING

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Out-there researchers discuss the impending … something

The broadcast-quality lilt of Coast to Coast AM radio host George Noory wafted over a packed conference room at Beverly Garland’s Holiday Inn last Saturday night as he a moderated a panel of out-there researchers engaged in a radical examination of Hollywood’s covert use of occult symbolism and alien agendas — the same week that the Vatican’s chief astronomer told an interviewer that belief in alien life does not contradict belief in God. As Noory told the audience, “There’s definitely a sense of an impending … something.”

Noory is the successor to radio’s legendary Art Bell, who stoked a particular millennial Zeitgeist with his fireside chats on UFOs, the paranormal and all manner of conspiracy theories with his syndicated radio program, before passing the mike to Noory in 2002. Coast to Coast AM remains a cultural touchstone, and Noory — personable and mustachioed — continues to bring so-called fringe ideas front and center.

We’re at “an extraordinary crossroads, with the way life is unfolding,” commented panelist Whitley Strieber, whose most recent novel is based on the doomsday/consciousness-shifting 2012 mythos, and who believes he was “implanted” with a device by his “visitors.” He recalled a bit of the aliens’ verbiage: “We will come from within you.”

According to panelist/abduction therapist Yvonne Smith, 17 functional-growth characteristics in humans born between 1947 and 1987 have been accelerated by 60 to 80 percent. “It’s not environment, it’s not evolution,” she asserted.

A “mutation of society” is under way, and “the skeptic community is getting quieter and quieter,” remarked Dr. Roger Leir, a Valley-based podiatrist, who removes alleged alien implants.

Jordan Maxwell, an expert in occult symbolism and secret societies, likened Americans to Alec Guinness’ blindly megalomaniacal lieutenant colonel in The Bridge on the River Kwai once he realizes he’s been working for the enemy: “What have I done? There is no way out.”

“Jordan’s been looking down the barrel of the New World Order for nearly 50 years,” Noory said.

Maxwell, expounding upon the secret fraternal orders to which our government and religious leaders are bound, remarked, “The Da Vinci Code and National Treasure are teasers. The powers behind Hollywood are Knights Templars, showing you what they can do.”

“What does Hollywood know that we don’t?” asked panelist Jay Weidner, producer of the documentary 2012: The Odyssey. Was Eyes Wide Shut a representation of a sex cult for rich perverts, or a portrait of the Illuminati? Subversive director Stanley Kubrick died two hours after bringing a rough cut of the film to Warner Bros. “Like the Zapruder film, you can see what he was trying to say by what’s missing,” said Weidner, who believes Kubrick fled for England in the ’60s after experiencing events depicted in the film. (Scientologists Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, he said, were simply cast as part of “an inside joke.”)

In Rosemary’s Baby, John Cassavetes’ character eagerly permits the devil to impregnate his wife to ensure his Broadway stardom. “He’s the spitting image of Jack Parsons [black magician and co-founder of Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory],” claimed Mike Bara, co-author with Richard C. Hoagland of the recent best-seller Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA. “It’s the magical ritual known as the Babylon Working. Rosemary becomes the mother of the antichrist.”

A question came from the audience: “There’s so much to dissect from entertainment now — Iron Man, Battlestar Galactica, The Mist, Marvel’s Sons of the Serpent. There’s even a conspiracy theorist in Justice League of America.” The bearded young man echoed the sentiments of many assembled: “Why now?”

“They release little bits of truth, so that in the future they can say, ‘We said that years ago,'” Maxwell answered. “You’ve got to read between the lines.” Entertainment is used to indoctrinate or spread disinformation. Case in point: Universal’s recent optioning of the “period” action script The Knights Templar. “Each time you get a bigger sense of how the game is being played, you are less manipulated by it.” Maxwell asked the audience to verify his contentions — Rome is still in control, a powerful occult system has dominated consensus reality for thousands of years — by forcing us to pay attention to “their” symbols: words, flags, coats of arms. “Once you see [it] organized, it’s frightening.”

“The Gnostic belief is that we must have an apocalypse to bring about the golden age,” Weidner commented. “But is that apocalypse the death of all of us, or the death of consciousness as we know it?”

The Mayan calendar, which runs out at midnight on December 12, 2012, is expected to take us out, whether by mass extinction, interplanetary invasion or a total paradigm shift — a metaphysical bang or a cosmic whimper. With four years and counting, Maxwell advised, “always trust those who are looking for the truth.”

But what the bleep is it?

BY SKYLAIRE ALFVEGREN

________________________________________________________________

Note: the OSMTHU does not endorse said “conspiracy theories”, but our editors tought that the article was interesting and provocative enough to be brought to the attention of our readers.

Candelora – Festivitá Templaria

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Questo é il video preparato por il Priorato de Italia in occasione della Festività della Candelora lo scorso 2 febbraio 2008.

Il termine Candelora (o Candelaia) deriva dal tardo latino “candelorum” o “candelaram” cioè benedizione delle candele ed indica una festività collocata, nel tempo astronomico, a mezzo inverno e coincidente, nel ciclo agreste/vegetativo, con la fine dell’inverno e l’inizio della primavera; il più famoso detto popolare a riguardo infatti recita: “Quando vien la Candelora, de l’inverno semo fora; ma se piove o tira il vento, de l’inverno semo dentro” suggerendo che se nel giorno della Candelora non si avrà bel tempo, si dovranno aspettare ancora diverse settimane prima della fine dell’inverno e dell’arrivo della primavera. Si tratta di un momento di passaggio, tra l’inverno/ buio/ fine e la primavera/ luce/ nascita: passaggio che viene celebrato attraverso la purificazione e la preparazione alla nuova stagione.

Per la Chiesa Cattolica, la Candelora è la festa della purificazione di Maria, celebrata dalla Chiesa e dai fedeli il 2 di febbraio in simultanea con la presentazione di Gesù al Tempio che non poteva avvenire prima dei 40 giorni,cioè del tempo previsto dalla legge ebrea per la purificazione di una puerpera dopo il parto di un maschio.

La prima testimonianza della festività in Terra Santa é raccontata da Eteria che la descrive come una grande festività pubblica. Successivamente, da Gerusalemme, la festività si diffuse in tutto l’Oriente e in particolare a Bisanzio. Con l’imperatore Giustiniano I divenne giorno festivo e assunse il nome di Ypapanté (= incontro del Signore). Le origini della Candelora, però, hanno radici lontane nel tempo.

In Italia, a Roma, risaliamo ai Lupercalia che si celebravano alle Idi di febbraio, ultimo mese dell’anno per i romani, che servivano a purificarsi prima dell’avvento dell’anno nuovo e a propiziarne la fertilità. In questa celebrazione, dedicata a Fauno Lupercus, due ragazzi di famiglia patrizia venivano condotti in una grotta sul Palatino, consacrata al Dio, al cui interno i sacerdoti, dopo aver sacrificato delle capre, segnavano loro la fronte con il coltello tinto del sangue degli animali. Il sangue veniva poi asciugato con della lana bianca bagnata nel latte, e subito i due giovani dovevano sorridere. A quel punto i due ragazzi dovevano indossare le pelli degli animali sacrificati; con la medesima pelle venivano quindi realizzate delle striscie (dette februa o anche amiculum Iunonis) da usare a mo’ di fruste. Così acconciati e con le strisce in mano, i due giovani dovevano correre attorno alla base del Palatino percuotendo chiunque incontrassero, in particolare le donne che si offrivano volontariamente ad essere sferzate per purificarsi e ottenere la fecondità. Altro momento particolare della festa era la ‘februatio’, la purificazione della città, in cui le donne giravano per le strade con ceri e fiaccole accese, simbolo di luce.

L’uso di fiaccole e candele accese durante la processione sacra aveva due funzioni: la prima, di natura spirituale, indicava la vittoria della luce sulle tenebre, la presentazione sociale del Divino in terra; l’altra di natura pratica, derivava dalla necessità di avere visibilità nell’attraversamento notturno delle città in cui avvenivano i festeggiamenti. La benedizione dei ceri, allora come oggi, è un momento significativo e la grande processione chiamata Cerorum luminibus coruscans (ovvero “risplendente mediante ceri e lumi”), è un grado di generare nei cuori dei partecipanti un forte senso di congiunzione con la madre di Gesù. Ancora oggi, l’offerta dei ceri al Papa viene fatta in forma solenne ed in molte altre città italiane, come a Trapani, si celebrano rappresentazioni popolari che rievocano la purificazione di Maria, o si mettono ceri, torce e fiaccole alle finestre, come si faceva anticamente anche a Napoli. I ceri benedetti sono poi conservati in casa dai fedeli e vengono accesi, per placare l’ira divina, durante violenti temporali, aspettando una persona che non torna o si ritiene in grave pericolo, assistendo un moribondo, e in qualunque momento si senta il bisogno d’invocare l’aiuto divino.

Il carattere mariano della festa fu introdotto da papa Sergio. Ma sarà la mistica orientale a cantare più profusamente nella sua liturgia il gesto della Vergine soprattutto nell’antifona “Adorna, o Sion, la stanza nuziale, accogli Cristo tuo Signore…” che si canta nel responsorio alla prima lettura nell’ufficio delle letture. Questa intuizione mistica è possibile seguendo questo passaggio: a Natale ecco affacciarsi lo “sposo” (antifona al Magnificat dei primi Vespri e seconda antifona all’ufficio delle letture) come sole che si leva all’orizzonte; all’Epifania è la Chiesa che si presenta come una sposa adorna delle sue gioie: è la festa delle nozze della Chiesa con Cristo. La festa della Presentazione del Signore al Tempio, anche se celebrata nel tempo “durante l’anno”, è il punto conclusivo del tempo di Natale. La stessa antifona, che abbiamo ricordato sopra, colloca Maria nella posizione giusta cantando: “… (o Sion) accogli Maria, porta del cielo, perché ella tiene fra le sue braccia il re della gloria, la luce nuova. La Vergine si ferma, presentando il Figlio, generato prima della stella del mattino. Simeone lo tiene fra le braccia, e annunzia alle genti che egli è il Signore della vita e della morte, il Salvatore del mondo”. Verso il secolo undicesimo nasce l’antifona Lumen ad revelationem gentium che caratterizza la fede e la preghiera della Chiesa in questa circostanza, e viene intercalata al cantico di Simeone Nunc dimittis.

Per questo il Vaticano II invita a cogliere l’intima natura della festività: “L’unione della Madre col Figlio nell’opera della redenzione si manifesta dal momento della concezione verginale di Cristo fino alla morte di lui. E quando lo presentò al tempio con l’offerta del dono proprio dei poveri, udì Simeone mentre preannunciava che il Figlio sarebbe divenuto segno di contraddizione e che una spada avrebbe trafitto l’anima della madre, perché fossero svelati i pensieri di molti cuori” (LG 57).

SPIGOLATURE SULLA CANDELORA
La Candelora in alcuni luoghi viene chiamata “Giorno dell’orso”. In questo particolare giorno, l’orso si sveglierebbe dal letargo e uscirebbe fuori dalla sua tana per vedere come è il tempo e valutare se sia o meno il caso di mettere il naso fuori. Un proverbio piemontese in questo senso recita: “se l’ouers fai secha soun ni, per caranto giouern a sort papì”. Ovvero, se l’orso fa asciugare il suo giaciglio (cosa che starebbe a indicare tempo bello per quel giorno) per quaranta giorni non esce più. Un altro proverbio simile al primo, ma meridionale in questo caso, sostiene che se il 2 Febbraio il tempo non è buono, l’orso ha la possibilità di farsi il pagliaio e quindi l’inverno continua.

L’orso era anche protagonista di alcuni riti rurali del mese di febbraio, collocati nel ciclo agreste/vegetativo: al termine di una caccia simulata, l’orso viene catturato e portato all’interno del paese dove viene fatto oggetto di dileggi e di scherzi. L’epilogo può variare dall’uccisione dell’orso alla sua liberazione/fuga e ritorno alla natura. La figura dell’orso è rivestita da qualcuno del luogo che non deve essere riconosciuto fino alla fine della rappresentazione rituale.

A Urbiano si celebra la “festa dell’orso”: qualche giorno prima della ricorrenza, i cacciatori con il volto annerito, andavano alla ricerca dell’orso, che (rappresentato da un uomo travestito) veniva immancabilmente trovato la sera della vigilia. Cacciatori, “orso”, e domatore visitavano le stalle e le osterie con il pretesto di spaventare la gente (e le ragazze) si lasciavano andare a trasgressive bevute. Il giorno dopo, l’orso compariva in paese e, dopo aver fatto il giro della borgata, ballava con la ragazza più bella prima di scomparire per ritrasformarsi in uomo.

Questa festa ricorre non solo in Piemonte e nelle zone dell’arco alpino, ma anche in altre regioni (e nazioni); in tempi più remoti l’orso della festa era vero, portato in giro da un montanaro/domatore che andava da un paese all’altro facendo ballare l’orso nelle piazze. In seguito questo uso scomparve e in alcuni paesi, per mantenere la tradizione, l’orso fu sostituito da una persona appositamente mascherata che ripeteva la stessa pantomima.
A Putignano, in Puglia, chi impersonificava l’orso girava per le vie del paese, fermandosi nelle piazze: lì, al suono di tamburi, si metteva a ballare la tarantella, tra i presenti disposti in cerchio che battevano le mani a tempo e lo punzecchiavano e colpivano con qualche sberla. A volte, a seconda del tempo, l’orso imitava o no l’atto del costruire il suo rifugio (u pagghiar’).

Questi riti riproponevano comunque una tradizione antica che celebrava la festa del ritorno della luce e della bella stagione, con la sconfitta delle forze del buio e del freddo. Nello svolgimento di questi riti traspare la simbologia dell’orso (che con l’inverno va in letargo e si risveglia a primavera), interprete della forza primitiva della natura. L’orso può anche essere accostato alla figura dell'”uomo selvaggio”. In entrambe le raffigurazioni rappresenterebbe comunque il binomio natura – uomo.

IL NUMERO “QUARANTA” NELLA BIBBIA
Il giorno della Candelora fa riflettere sul numero 40, un numero che ovviamente rappresenta la purificazione così come ricorda il libro della Genesi quando racconta che il diluvio è durato quaranta giorni e quaranta notti. (7,12), oppure, come dice Matteo al capitolo 4,2, quando racconta del digiuno di Gesù nel deserto per altrettanti giorni ed altrettante notti. Che dire poi dei ricordi di san Paolo, quando, scrivendo ai cristiani di Corinto, racconta loro di avere ricevuto 40 frustate dai giudei. (2Cor. 11,26)

Nella Bibbia il numero 40, ovviamente col suo preciso significato religioso, ricorre molte volte: Abramo implora Dio di salvare Sodoma se vi avesse trovato almeno 40 giusti (ma dovette scendere a meno di dieci che non furono trovati); e per salvarsi da Esaù dovette offrirgli 40 vacche. In Egitto, Giuseppe impiegò 40 giorni per imbalsamare il corpo del padre; e usciti dall’Egitto, Mosè rimase sul Sinai per 40 giorni e 40 notti; e quando fu costruito il tabernacolo occorsero 40 basi d’argento. Peggio se la videro gli esploratori della terra di Canaan all’arrivo verso la terra promessa: impiegarono 40 giorni, durante i quali se la spassarono, ma ebbero in cambio 40 anni di punizioni. Il giudice Abdon ebbe 40 figli, e il filisteo perseverò nell’insistenza per 40 giorni, come ricorda Samuele (1 Sam. 17,14).

Anche il grande profeta Elia rimase sul monte Oreb per 40 giorni e 40 notti e Giona predicò la penitenza agli abitanti di Ninive per 40 giorni e fu ascoltato. Quaresima dunque davvero 40 giorni (e 40 notti) di vera interiore penitenza, un digiuno non semplicemente corporale ma soprattutto spirituale.

Fr. Vincenzo TUCCILLO KCT, Priorato de Italia

Temple Mount

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Interesting YouTube clip from the History Channel about the Temple in Jerusalem

The Templar Castle of Almourol

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Great video by Hugo Almeida you can find on YouTube. Hugo sent as an email with a link to this 4min clip about the Templar castle of Almourol, in  a small island in the middle of the Tagus river, just a few miles from Tomar and we think this is something you should look at. The voice over is in Portuguese, but there are subtitles in English.

Thanks Hugo!