Well, it seems the Knights Templar were set-up and destroyed by King Philip IV of France in 1307. Just prior to this cause of affairs, he had initiated an anti-Jewish pogrom with the blessing of Pope Clement V (who was living in his palace in France)! Hundreds of thousands of Jews were expelled, with thousands murdered. This was very much a popular policy across Western Europe at the time. King Philip IV, however, wanted their wealth to boost his coffers – but the Jews were used to this oppression and had got very good at hiding and transporting their wealth. As a consequence, the King did not any like the amount of money he thought he would – although he got all their property. He wanted to impress Pope Clement V and single-handedly ‘self-finance’ a Crusade to the Holy Land which he could solely control with the Pope’s blessing! When Clement V was ‘elected’ in France – a riot broke-out between Italian migrants opposed to him ‘living’ in France, and Clement’s supporters! These riots spread all over France and had to be brutally put-down. Clement had some kind of stomach or intestinal issue that used to make him very ill in bed for months on end, and in the Autumn of 1307, he excused himself from all formal duties for about six weeks whilst he went away to recover and receive medical treatment. King Philip IV had turned his guns on the Knights Templar who were headquartered in France – as they had lost all their castles in the Holy Land and only had a presence on the island of Cyprus (the nearest Templar base to Jerusalem and the place of the Shrine of St Barnabas). Their membership had suffered thousands upon thousands of casualties of young, middle-aged and older men from all over the world (including Africa) in the name of Western Catholicism. They followed a very strict Monastic Rule which included celibacy, poverty, vegetarianism, fasting, literacy, Bible-study, contemplation, meditation, prayer and martial arts practice, etc. Probably about half its members were officially ‘warrior-monks’ – with the rest being incorporated laymen and ‘sergeants’ whose purpose was to provide the extensive administration required to run monasteries of this type (which included ‘horse’ husbandry veterinarian medicine). The Templars worked in conjunction with Hospitalier Knights of St John (the modern-day ‘St John’s Ambulance Brigade’) – who provided medical care, clothing and food, etc, to the pilgrims on the road and anyone else who need it. In the prescribed Order of Battle the Knights Templar led the Crusader Armies (vanguard), whilst the Hospitallers brought-up the rear (rearguard). The latter had to fight on occasion when the Crusader Armies were outflanked or manoeuvred and were brave fellows even though they usually never stood a chance by the time things got this bad! The Crusader Armies had been defeated by the elite slave-soldiers of the Islamic Mamluks – trained in and around Egypt but included captives from as far-away as Georgia, the Russian Steppe, Turkey, Africa and the occasional European. These were all Islamic converts who were brutal on the battlefield and not to be trusted in negotiations. Thousands of Templar Knights and the civilians they were protecting were ‘beheaded’ after surrender – despite the Mamluks promising safe-passage.
Anyway, I digress. King Philip IV had received reports of homosexuality amongst the Templars and the practicing of odd (freemasonry-like) rituals which involved men kissing one another on the mouth (the ‘kiss of piece’). Much of this was actually fabricated by Philip himself, with Pope Clement V stating that if this matter was not resolved by the time he returned from his six-week medical leave – then he would be inclined to make the Templars ‘Immune’ from worldly prosecution due to their history of heroic service. Philip ‘summoned’ the Grand Masters of the Templars and Hospitaliers from Cyprus – asking each to provide a ‘plan’ for a new Crusade and to consider the idea of merging the two Orders (to save money). When the Templar Grand Master arrived (Jacques de Molay), he was immediately arrested at the same time (Friday, October the 13th, 1307) as all the Templar Knights were dragged from their beds not quite sure what was happening. Noone resisted and the general atmosphere was one of ‘stunned’ bemusement. This is when the torturing began. Although there is no objective evidence that any of the allegations are ‘true’ (including the nonsense of worshipping Mary Magdalane), when Pope Clement V finally returned, he was provided with thousands of coerced confessions and literally ’threatened’ into agreeing with King Philip’s actions and decisions. As a consequence, the Pope dissolved the Templars in 1312 – but by this time thousands had been tortured or starved to death in French prisons, or publically executed. Grand Master Jacques de Molay was burned at the stake in 1314 for daring to ‘retract’ his confession and stating that the Order was ‘pure’. He added that the devil moved within the Catholic Church and was ruling France!