The Vatican has published a slew of centuries-old documents about the Knights Templar, a Christian military order that operated in the Middle Ages and remains a source of endless fascination for conspiracy theorists, Holy Grail seekers, occultists, and Dan Brown readers. The documents are collected in a 300 page book published by Scrinium. The cover price is $8,377 and only 300 were printed. Tomorrow is the 700th anniversary of the day that King Philip IV ordered the Order's members in France to be rounded up, charged with heresy, tortured, and burned at the stake. Philip later insisted that Pope Clement V arrest all remaining members of the Order, take their money, kill many of them, and disband the group. From the Associated Press:
The publishing house said the new book includes the "Parchment of Chinon," a 1308 decision by (Pope) Clement (V) to save the Templars and their order. The document was misplaced for centuries in the archives and found again by researchers in 2001.
According to the Vatican archives Web site, the parchment shows that Clement absolved the Templar leaders of the heresy charge, though he did recognize they were guilty of immorality, and he planned to reform the order.
However, pressured by Philip, Clement later reversed his decision and suppressed the order in 1312.
Link to AP article, Link to the Knights Templar entry on Wikipedia
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