The Templars and the Turin Shroud Author(s): Malcolm Barber Source: The Catholic Historical Review, Vol

. 68, No. 2 (Apr., 1982), pp. 206-225 Published by: Catholic University of America Press Stable URL: Accessed: 08/09/2009 12:39
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 to build trusted digital archives for scholarship. We work with the scholarly community to preserve their work and the materials they rely upon, and to build a common research platform that promotes the discovery and use of these resources. For more information about JSTOR, please contact

Catholic University of America Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Catholic Historical Review.

Malcolm Barber*

The disappearance of the relic known as the Turin Shroud between when the Latins plundered and seized Constantinople, and April, 1204, when it was put on display by Geoffroi de Charney, has been the 1389, the results of which were subject of a recent investigation by IanWilson, in The Turin Shroud m 1978 (revised edition, 1979). If one published grants that the cloth shown by the Charney family really was the same as today's "Turin Shroud," it still needs to be explained how the family came to possess it and to find reasons for the family's apparent reluctance to reveal the means by which it obtained that possession. If it is also con scientific evidence and historical research suggest older than the fourteenth century and thus un dermine those by Pierre d'Arcis, criticisms ?especially contemporary of Troyes?that the Shroud was a forgery, some other explanation Bishop needs to be sought for the behavior of the Charney family. In Chapters 19 and 20 of his book Mr. Wilson postulates that the relic had come into the possession of the Order of the Temple and thence, during or after the trial and suppression of the Order between 1307 and 1314, passed to the de Charney, Preceptor of the Charney family, possibly via Geoffroi inNormandy, who was burned to death as a relapsed heretic in Templars March, 1314. The Charney family was reticent about the Shroud's recent location, Mr. Wilson argues, both because it wanted "to suppress the association with a fallen order" and because the reigning Avi family's gnonese pope, Clement VII, to whom the Charney family was related by marriage, feared that if "French passions about the reputed innocence of the Templars" were stirred again, the pope's authority "would be worth

ceded that both modern that the Shroud ismuch

Mr. Wilson supports his theory with four main hypotheses: (1) that the cloth was taken to theWest after 1204 and then "went underground" in
the possession of the Templars, who, as a wealthy, exclusive, and secretive

*Mr. Barber *Ian Wilson,

is a lecturer in history The Turin Shroud'(rev

at the University of Reading. . ed.; Harmondsworth, 1979), p. 235.


for as he himself points out. E. p. The Conquest (New York. Wilson does not suggest who this might have been. These mistakes suggest that Robert was writ ing from report rather than personal observation. 3. (3) that the idols in the form of heads which. p.BY MALCOLM BARBER 207 order. and (4) that the Charney family was reluctant to reveal its origins. despite contemporary accusations of fraud. and that he has wrongly in the palace of Blachernae instead of the church of the Blessed church Virgin in the Great Palace. chap. McNeal. Ages (Princeton. Veronica) with the sindon identified their location as the (the Shroud). where was kept the sydoine in which Our Lord had been wrapped. And no one. Thefts 4Wilson. 112.4 back The account of the Cistercian G?nther of Pairis provides an example of contemporary attitudes. the Templars were ac cused of having adored at receptions and chapter-meetings were really the Shroud and a number of copies of it and that this had become the center of a secret Templar cult. The major Latin sources do not men what happened tion the presence of the Templars at the siege. and that its later possession by the Charney family was because of the con nection with the Temple through the Preceptor of Normandy.. Mr. 1978). of Constantinople. See Patrick J.. so if it did come into the it seems likely to have done so through a third party. ever knew what became of the sydoine after the city was taken. it was secretly taken away. .3 order's possession. either Greek or French. There is no evidence to support point one independently of points two and three. in the trial. Geary. In 1207-1208 he described what he presented as tr." Robert's translator. suggests that he confuses the sudarium (the sweat cloth or napkin. 199. cit. (2) that it was not found during the Templars' trial because during "fierce resistance" put up in the course of the arrests. which stood up straight every Friday so that the features of Our Lord could be plainly seen there. Furta relic thieves appear throughout Professional Sacra. This paper aims to examine the validity of these hypotheses. 192). Edgar H. p.2 Robert. Robert of Clari has a brief reference to the Shroud: ". H. cit.. nor why no news of this emerged at the time. the True Image of St. apparently had no idea to it after the sack. of Relics in the Central Middle op. . McNeal 2Robert of Clari. whether cor rect with the details of his identification or not. the Middle Ages. Mr. Wilson could serve as a rallying point for the Greeks under attack by the Crusaders (op. relics stolen were openly displayed once they had been brought from Constantinople to theWest. were able to resist the temptation to exploit it for monetary gain.there was another of the churches which they called My Lady Saint Mary of Blachernae. so that it to Blachernae that the cloth had been moved believes 1936).

and it is likely that in imitation. op. although not invari ably. secretive in their reception ceremonies and chapters. and unavailingly begged the Dalmatian the papal legate who was with the army at Venice to release him from his crusade vow.. 81. The only evidence that the Templars." Speculum. of Donald Queller. pp. 54-55. which necessarily involved for monks 5 G?nther Latina. See the comments 1201 -4 (Leicester. for he was later accused of see Swietek. in Migne. It cannot be disputed that the Templars were often.. but accepts that the work was written partly the Historia to authenticate some contemporary for the relics. Patrolog?a Captae a Latinis Constantinopoleos. for it made sense to allow information to pass freely to the enemy. Historia col. Britanniae Concilia Magnae see. for it was. G?nther justified the translation of the relics to Pairis as God's will. of Pairis. Nevertheless. 1737). cit. as he now saw it. p. However. Preceptor in England. 70-71. that "the whole world could not II (London. He also presents arguments and against Martin's action.6 Yet he was proud of the relics which he had collected. then the mystery of its concealment remains to be solved. some violations in the Auvergne. The Conquest 78. in snatching relics during the sack of such an action did not pass without criticism Constantinople." David Wilkins. Templar 7See. even if it is accepted that the Templars really did gain posses sion of the cloth. rests upon certain trial documents whose value in this context will be assessed below. 233-234. 1978). to argue that Martin's life was blameless. 232. con would have acted any differently temporary criticisms notwithstanding.5 Abbot Martin was no renegade clerk or unscrupulous adventurer. pp. the practice was also adopted in the western preceptories even as a preparation for recruits about to be transferred to perhaps at night and their Outremer. Although in the West. but denied et Hiberniae. he was horrified. during that anything occurred foolishly kept secrecy. made of alleged night assemblies. Swietek. pp. the witness of Imbert Blanke. op. who shows the weaknesses Constantinopolitana. . for impious Greeks were not fit to hold them. When he heard the to attack the Christian city of Zara on Venetian plan for the crusade army coast in 1202. p. cit. however. 1978). after all. The Templars also held chapter-meetings accusers made much of this.208 THE TEMPLARS AND THE TURIN SHROUD the triumphs of his abbot. of Constantinople. 212. He agreed that the Templars the proceedings had. as a source for the Fourth Crusade.7 There had little been good reason for such secrecy in the Holy Land. for it was a popular clich? that heretics held too much should not be orgies under the cover of darkness. This is not. "G?nther of Pairis and the Historia of LIII (January. col. Vol. of Cistercian practices. Martin. The Fourth 6Gunther of Pairis. 62-63. had they obtained such relics. a respected and respectable order. for example. 74. Vol. common practice to observe the canonical hours. 338. 49-79. Crusade. See Francis R.

The bull Milites Templi of January. p. including the Templars. When fitting came from the water of divine the co-operation clemency. Moreover. 28 (1978).8 Just as they were for Abbot Martin. relics would be both objects of pride and power and a means of attracting devotion and thereby gifts to the order. a certain and was said cross. 1913). An interesting illustration of the importance of relics in Templar possession does not." of the Royal Historical . 8Marquis d'Albon no. the Templar car ried out the said cross with by in this way. drought of the brothers that that cross should be carried in a procession of the Temple in I saw that whenever the patriarch of Jerusalem walked clergy of Acre. 1311. that. Bullaire. 89-93 Transactions Society. it does not follow that the Templars were secretive in all their activities or that they would neglect opportunities for raising money for the cause of the Holy Land. This is a pas sage in the deposition of Antonio Sicci di Vercelli." So impor tant was this function that when such brothers came to a city. Antonio Sicci described the role of relics as follows: had worked I saw many monetary bathed. even an interdict could be lifted once a year "for the honor of the and reverence of their knighthood" and the divine offices Temple celebrated. fol lowed the True Cross into battle with great devotion.BY MALCOLM BARBER 209 some worship in the chapels during the hours of darkness. or village. of The Case of the Kingdom Established: "Peace Never 9See Jonathan Riley-Smith. Papal privileges granted them extensive rights for such purposes. Cartulaire G?n?ral de l'Ordre du Temple. Jerusalem. (ed. ap before the papal commission inquiring into the guilt of the order. can be described as in consistent. The Christians in the Holy Land. 1144. and who.). I saw the land and tempered the heat of the air. VIII. to be which from at first the to be of no seemed sight in which tub or trough Christ and several times I saw treasury. an Italian notary who for the order for forty years. who have been appointed for the purpose of receiving a contribution. 381. Item. peared Inquisitorial investigations have to be judged in the light of accusations that were made and pressures employed to produce confessions. support this charge. when which times value. refers to "the brothers of the Temple. sky and moistened 27/9^-1150 (Paris. Also the said brothers heat or excessive processions of this kind with one of the knights of the order. were carried these processions devotion. which was confirmed many times afterwards. in March.9 for an order of Christian warrior monks to conceal an equally powerful relic such as the Shroud suggests behavior which. castle. but it does not follow that observations about everyday life need be rejected. however. at the very least. kept in their the people of Acre asked the occurred.

11 Mr." And sick persons. I. and sins. they shouted: seeing not stay here any longer. but nevertheless postulates Templar resistance so that the Shroud could be smuggled away. 1841]). Amalric Auger. 8. away. there needs to be positive proof as to in the case of the should have acted abnormally why the Templars Shroud. Bernard Gui. I. However. as well as in Latin. Le Proc?s des Templiers. but must go so that at length these in them. Hercule G?raud (Soci?t? de l'Histoire de France in Etienne Baluze. at length of the house of the Temple vexed by amalign When spirit. to some of in the vernacular saying they replied chaplains and speak?" the and clergy sometimes: sometimes: "You have "How committed can you. 360. pp.10 A relic powerful enough to bring rain during a drought and drive out evil spirits from the sick was assuredly powerful enough to attract offerings from a grateful populace. in Baluze. p. p. unheard of since ancient times. assent and clergy having this cross was brought before them. were afflicted by foaming "Lo the cross.210 THE TEMPLARS AND THE TURIN SHROUD to the church and women. we must thus the malign spirit as if lying completely from the malign spirits. I. chaplains given on oath.). bridge. armed themselves. Latine de Guillaume de Nangis de 1113 ? 1300 avec les Continuations de uChronique cette chronique de 1300 ? 1368. pp. sium. 646-647. Guillaume Mollat. both men many at Acre." when all the (ex improviso) captured Templars throughout France were unexpectedly on the same day. and freed lo the cross. . Occasionally in this deposition the witness seems to be referring to a house at Ancona. Most of the Templars were caught by surprise by the arrests. About two dozen escaped. at which "the whole world was astonished. Vitae Paparum Avenionen [Paris. I. having opened their sealed orders. The second point is based upon an inference drawn from amistake and backed by an assumption. but the context suggests that this is a mistake by the notary for Acre. spoke mouths dead. ed. although during I ("Collection de documents in?dits sur (ed. The Trial of the Templars (Cam 1978). 63. Jean de Saint-Victor. Wilson agrees that the ar rests were a surprise. and by night arrested all the Templars whom they could find. which occurred in the early hours of the morning of Octo ber 13. p. Bernard Gui calls it "an astonishing thing" and says that (inopinate sane). carried and brought sick persons. ed. 10Jules Michelet l'histoire de France" [Paris." the cross by them. The activities described by Antonio Sicci were normal procedure for the period. contemporary French chroniclers fail to mention any resistance. 95. of this issue see Malcolm uFor a discussion Barber. 1307. 1843]). in Baluze. For Jean de Saint-Victor it was "an extraordinary event. Flores Chronicorum. 46-47."12 Moreover. p. such who crimes are and such a son. Amalric Auger they were captured "very unexpectedly" describes how the royal officials.

360. Proc?s. I. p. see Barber. while if they had foreknowledge the impending action it seems strange that they took no other precau of Ponsard de Gizy and Jacques de Soci. 721-728. 53-54. pp. Nangis. no evidence for resistance here either. 69. tance and bloodshed at the time of the arrests. and fruit. 15Jacques Hillairet. in France in 1307 and the nature of their precep of the Templars l4For the age-structure See also Leopold Delisle. within which was a large keep. Molay had been one of it is accepted the pallbearers at a royal funeral.. especially with an unfinished papal inquiry in existence. Paris sous Philippe-le-Bel in?dits" [Paris. 212. p. and not military Evocation du Vieux Paris. Mollat (Paris. as a fortified enclosure. "granges" which establishments. de documents ("Collection l6Baluze. G?raud. while many others died elsewhere. Ill. wife of the king's brother. which it was hoped would satisfy the king. for the itself was a fortress. The Paris Temple was not quite so close to the Louvre as Mr. appears trary arrest. live the Templars These were predominantly farmed to produce mandy. For its location to the north of Philip H's walls. Jacques said that twenty-five brothers had died on account of torture and suffering. Etudes sur la condition tories. Jacques de Molay. I. stock. cit. ed. nor do the many other Templars who claimed that they had been tortured after the arrests.15 There is.. cit. see the map in Hercule p. xlCont.16 On the day before the arrests. I:Moyen Age et Renaissance (Paris.17 At this distance of time it is easy to underestimate the enormity of the step which the king took in instituting the arrests. I. that of Catherine. strong enough to keep out the mob in 1306 when building Parisians rioted against the king who was hiding there. describes the Temple pp. If the Templars had held the Shroud and its copies. neither of them refers to resis ibid. Wilson assumes. however.BY MALCOLM BARBER 211 the trial several Templars referred to deaths and injuries caused by tor ture. they said nothing of any losses sustained actually during the arrests. to have felt himself reasonably secure from arbi Grand Master. the statements that thirty-six brothers died through the effects of jail and torture in Paris. 1837]). at the Paris Temple. However. for he had persuaded the pope to begin an inquiry into alle gations circulating about the order." nor were they heavily armed. 295-298. estates in Nor of inventories who gives five examples taken on Templar pp.14 that the Templars were keeping the Shroud If. 60. fifteen meters square. p. October 12. then a case for defense can be made. Ponsard said 13See..13 In fact the trial depositions and the inventories of Templar property sug to offer gest that many Templars were not in any physical condition "fierce resistance. for instance. 1903). op. grain. 1951). it seems most unlikely that they would have had time to smuggle it away at the moment of of the arrests. never the theless. 1921). . 36. en Normandie au moyen-?ge de la classe agricole et l'?tat de l'agriculture (Paris. op. Before the event it would have taken considerable evidence to convince contemporaries that the king was prepared to go that far. p.

p. op. ceptor of the Templars belonged at the battle of Poitiers in 1356. in c. These headquarters were in Cyprus and had not been transferred to France as Mr. Among were the marshal. Ill. Wilson's assumption that Geoffroi de Charney. in this paragraph. 54-55. Finke.212 THE TEMPLARS AND THE TURIN SHROUD tions. In contrast. op. Baluze. chartered a ship in which to make their escape. although For Molay's efforts on behalf of the crusade after 1291. the turcopolier. This is possible. for the request to the Grand 1033. Pre to the same family as in Normandy. de Charney who exhibited the Shroud in 1389-22 und Untergang II (M?nster. itwas suspected. . 85. for if it was so important to the Templars that they had kept it secret for perhaps a century and had used it as the center of their own secret cult. (1972). the Templars in Aragon. 94-96. the latter is not extant. 121-122. and Geoffroi de Charney of Lirey. p. 226). The only action taken was the flight of a few individual Templars who may have been warned by friends among local royal officials or ac tually escaped at the moment of the arrest owing to local incompetence. in France. since they had seen what had happened changed goods into gold which could be more easily concealed and. Papsttum 1907). "James of Molay. 1308. itwould surely have been preserved at the order's headquarters. no. but is not directly rele widow. Wilson assumes. the governor of Cyprus. where such a powerful relic would have been most efficacious in the war against Islam. lord of Tyre.. Wilson's had seen the Shroud during chapters held in Paris. 212. possible that the Shroud was not kept at the Paris Tem ple or indeed even in France. . cols. See Clement V's account of a letter received from Amalric. of course. had only come to France at the request of Clem ent V on a short-term mission to discuss crusading projects. cit.cura et studio Monachorum Ordinis S. . Benedicti.18 It is.Wilson Geoffroi vant de Charney's to the argument believes that the Shroud had already been exhibited by Jeanne de Vergy. the draper. 1357 (p. 22Mr. but would hardly support the thesis that the Shroud was transferred to the argument that various Templars Charney family or indeed Mr. Master of the Hospital. killed This father of the Geoffroi 18Heinrich 52-53. 190-191. cit. fortified castles. Papae V. 20Clement. 60-63. V. This would certainly explain its absence from the inventories of Templar goods. Reges turn Clementis year I (Rome. the preceptor. which must have been similar to that received by Molay. the Templars arrested in Cyprus on the pope's orders 19Wilson.19 for who had worked hard to revive enthusiasm for the crusade after Molay." 14 S tudia Mon?stica. loc. 98-100. who did have advance warning. August pp. the loss of Acre in 1291. 1885). des Templerordens.20 It seems im probable that he would have brought the Shroud with him. 20. the Last Grand Master of the Order of the Temple. and the treasurer. cit. 2Wilson.21 leads to Mr. see Barber..

pp.26 According 'Viewing of the to his deposition.. 25Wilson. 16-24. near Ch?teau-Thierry (Aisne). 1308). 201-202. Between October. Proc?s. that itmade the trees flower and the land fruit ful. were charged with various heretical and and August. 202. pp. 295-296. that it had given the order its riches. 26Ibid. however.24 Mr. for it relates to existing historical documents. but does. 1923). for he suggests that "a province just to the Preceptor of Normandy originated from Anjou. among which was the worship of an idol in the form of a head.). a little more likely.23 Points one and two. This is really little different from saying that Somerset is just to the other side of London from Essex and is a fragile connection indeed for the trans mission of a relic the location of which is totally unknown during this period.25 This cult he finds contained in the articles of accusation (August 12." which probably means Geoffroi Ar. nard's Rule becomes tions. Graesse. Ber earth. Wilson. for the historian it is point three which must provide the foundation for the other arguments. Proc?s. wore around themselves. Geographical links are equally inconclusive. However.. and tr. articles 46-61. 92. op.. 210. there is also an Etampes-sur ed. This is nearer to Lirey (south of Troyes) than the Etampes (Seine-et-Oise. 1307. p. pp. Wilson is not inclined to believe most of the accusations. (ed. and that they encircled or touched the idol with cords which they to Mr. accept the validity of the charge that the Templars worshiped amagic head in nighttime activities of a secret cult. He believes that St. Proc?s. and so his argument is based on the coincidence of name. pp. 89-96. Bernard. de lAffaire des Templiers (Paris. the Templar II. the Templars obscene practices. pp. that they said that the head could save them." p. and he groups together those which are relevant so that its elements can be dis cerned: that they venerated the idols in the form of heads as their God and Savior. p." to enjoy a fleeting foretaste of the 'newness of life' upon as an elite. therefore. 211. the other side of Paris from Champagne" (where Lirey is to be found). This is the province of Anjou and perhaps makes a family connection in Orbis Latinas. 23Ibid. cit. 1308. who drew up the Rule of in the form of the tract "In Praise of the New the Templars and sent them encouragement the laid the basis for this cult in that he "may have intended unwittingly Knighthood. 216. I. According de Charney was received into the order "apud Stampas. Wilson According for this connection. identification although given Marne. Le Dossier 24Georges Lizerand I. are speculative. of any relevance and for this he is forced to use unreliable trial deposi . privileged Templars he must first prove that a later cult existed at all before St. Rambouillet).BY MALCOLM BARBER 213 no genealogical evidence has so far been found to Mr.

pp. charge that they worshiped August could make the trees flower and the land germinate. and to Deodatus." cannot this document accusations Lizerand. Denis. 28Wilson. are quoted were four Templars whose depositions not of the von Eschenbach's 27This idea derives (September or encircled adore which the Grand in Philip IV's order for the arrest of the Templars from an allegation 14. 28.. op. which Mr. (3) that a remark attributed by Mr. Etienne de Troyes. Wilson associates with the portrayal of the Templars as guardians of the grail in Wolfram Parzival\ (2) that "some accounts" speak of it being displayed just after the Feast of SS. and Robert of Oteringham. op. p. cit. 1308. 1307) that the Templars wore cords around their waists which had touched "an idol which is in the form of aman with a large beard" and that they kiss and this head in their provincial chapters. uses five depositions Mr.214 THE TEMPLARS AND THE TURIN SHROUD head was the privilege of only a special inner circle. . cit. together special copies. In addition he quotes article 3 from the against the Templars given in Les Grandes Chroniques de France. a serving brother from the diocese of Langres. independent Templars without convincing. "but this not all the brothers know. However. a serving brother who was preceptor of the and Sommereux.. Wilson from the trial to illustrate the exis tence of a head: those of Rainier de Larchant." which "is highly suggestive of the object of Templar adoration. 205-206. a serving brother from the diocese of Sens."27 He believes that in the "disem the "head" was none other than the Shroud. except for Master derive from and the older members. should be noted. which was that Templar priests had nothing to do but repeat the psalm for it "God be merciful to us" (Psalm 67) at the end of a chapter-meeting." for articles 56 and 57 of the accusations of an idol which they said 12. for the activities of the be accepted as evidence corroboration. a serving houses of Lagny-le-Sec a Francis brother from the diocese of Meaux. the line "and cause his face to shine upon us. Jean Taylafer de G?ne. Wilson believes is significant because the next medieval feast was that "dedicated to the Holy Face. Abbot of Lagny. celebrated just two days later on 1July". "Clues" to the identity of the head as the "divine likeness" are (1) that it was regarded as having "fertility properties. Raoul de Gizy."28 He backs this with evi in dence drawn from a painting in a Templar preceptory at Templecombe an "idol" supposedly found by the Mameluk Sultan Somerset and with contains Baibars The in the tower of the Temple at Jerusalem in 1277. Peter and Paul (June 29) which Mr. Wilson one of the papal inquisitors in the trial in England. eleven articles of accusation can. displayed with a number of bodied" form favored by the Byzantines. a ver nacular narrative emanating from the Abbey of St.

30 Raoul de Gizy made very full confes confessions 29Proc?s.BY MALCOLM BARBER 215 knightly de Gizy and had was no class. he could not have intended to take any risks with the early witnesses. The first had been a priest. and January 11. Folliaco seems to have Jean de Folliaco. I. either because of a grudge or because of bribes or intimi dation. 1311. They must have been chosen because they could be relied upon to confess the order's guilt. . The position of Rainier de Larchant in the hearings of Octo 1307. 78. 394-402. 115. 364. Only Raoul held a post of any importance. then the knowledge must have been wide spread in the order. II. retreated from this position following the burning of a number of Tem plars from the province of Sens as relapsed heretics on May 12. pp. Itwas imperative for Philip the Fair to obtain rapid confessions if the arrests were to be justi claimed fied. in the hearings which followed the arrests. who appeared on October been selected as the first witness because Philip the Fair's advisers had reason to believe that he would make an incriminating statement. for he that he had previously tried to leave the order because itwas "not pleasing to him" and that he had already spoken to the curia of the pr?v?t of Paris and to the Bishop of Paris before the arrests. his deposition de apostate who appears to have harbored a grudge against Hugues in the West. pp. 19. but made a series of between November 9. nor were they among the leaders of the order. If these men had seen it or even knew of it. 278-279.29 Raoul de Gizy was not even prepared to join the defenders. p. 283 II. 1307. pp. Guillaume de Paris. Rainier de Larchant was only the second Templar to appear before the inquisitor. His later conduct during the trial certainly suggests that he was suscep tible to pressure. The circumstances in which the depositions were made do not encour age any greater confidence in their validity. threats or no threats. These seem the Visitor and effective commander Pairaud. ber/November. to use as evidence for the existence of a head inappropriate witnesses which could only be viewed by a special inner circle. 36. I. puts him in the same suspect category. for he was preceptor of two houses acted as a royal tax-collector. and it is therefore inconceivable that security could have been maintained throughout the whole order for more than a cen tury. i0Ihid. for although he joined the defenders of the order at the 1310. therefore. 82. Etienne de Troyes claimed that he suggests that he was an longer even a Templar. when he stated that he in no way wished to retract his previous confession anxiously made before the bishop of Paris.. he rapidly height of Templar resistance in February and March.

to know something of the activities of the Templars inYorkshire. His ob servations are of little relevance as proof of the existence of an idol or the Shroud or its copy. 1310. about twenty he had heard that." or similar words. Secondly. with the in tention of countering the effects of the Templar defense which was at its height during April. The witness had later heard noise coming from the chapel and. He claimed that he had already confessed before the arrests to the king and his con fessor. together with some hostile outside witnesses. the brother had turned pale." a Templar fac ing west with his posterior turned toward the altar. op. I.. one evening.31 Moreover. cit. . together with Jean de Folliaco. hear ing a tumult. "fearing that he had seen something of their 31Finke. Etienne de Troyes is a similar case to Jean de Folliaco. clinging to the hope that he might ingratiate himself with his ac cusers. "as if stupified" and. He can be placed within a group of Templars brought forward by the French government. he was among a group of seventy-two Templars picked by Philip the Fair to appear before the pope during the meeting between the pope and the king at Poitiers between May and July. and. who claimed The fifth witness is Robert of Oteringham. He had heard at Ribston a Templar chaplain loudly rebuke some brothers saying. The seventy-two Templars were selected from the many hundreds in royal cus tody to appear between June 29 and July 2. p. 336. pp. When. a grand precep years before atWetherby tor of the order intended to show to the brothers various relics which he had brought from the East. He was simply one of sixty outside witnesses called during the trial in England in an effort to offset the denials of guilt by the from the English preceptories. The pope had suspended the hearings against the Templars earlier in the year and the Poitiers meeting was the culmination of the pressure being brought by the French crown for them to be reopened.216 THE TEMPLARS AND THE TURIN SHROUD sions. peering through the keyhole.32 a Franciscan. He had three main stories Templars against them. "as far as he could remember. had seen a great light from a fire or candle. Jean Taylafer de G?ne appeared before the papal commis sion inquiring into the guilt of the order as a whole on April 14. 1308. II. he had seen. the next morning. and again to the bishops of Bayeux and Coutances. he had asked a certain brother whose feast they had been celebrating. 52Proc?s. These were the men whom the king hoped would make the most sweeping confessions and thus pro vide Clement V with an ostensibly respectable reason for reopening the proceedings. "The devil burn you. 187-193.

. strong motivation not actually mention an idol at all. which postulated For instance. The brother replied: "Put aside the cross and depart in peace. a the altar and he had told one of the brothers that it it should be lying in that way and should at least be stood up. "as you love me and your life. in Heresies haereticos. de France. Wakefield Walter seems a more the Grail.BY MALCOLM BARBER 217 acts. the witness had seen. at Ribston again. 359. These docu Chroniques ments make very insecure foundations upon which to base the existence of a mystery cult centered on the Shroud which had been kept secret for more than a century. 35James Capelli. In this case. p. L. Ages. cit. the Franciscan.34 To sum up: all four Templar witnesses had. The accusation of belief in an idol which could make the trees flower and the land germinate comes from the articles drawn up against the order. likely origin is unique which tr. Summa contra and Austin ed. Material included in them should therefore be examined in the light of Capetian propaganda rather than viewed as a possible source for the Shroud." it. 305. 1240. Denis with the French kings sug gests that their contents emanated from sources near to the French gov ernment and not from the members of the Temple. of the High Middle P. Finally. Evans (New York and London. inter things. p."35 The 33Wilkins. 274. preted this Cathar belief to mean that "they believe the devil divided the elements and gave fertility to the earth so that itmight bear fruit. i4Les Grandes Chroniques 8 [Paris. This von Eschen bach 'sTemplars guarding for this idea than Wolfram toWolfram. op. The accusations against the Templars have strong links with past and contemporary beliefs about heretics which colored the outlook of the inquisitors. 1969). James Capelli. while the Franciscan does trial. Vol. 1934])."33 Such tales are fairly typical of these outside witnesses. writing c. deed to suggest that the second of these stories is evidence that the Tem were terrified that outsiders might discover that they possessed the plars Shroud. Evidence identifying the idol head with the Shroud is no more convinc ing. The eleven articles reproduced in Les Grandes Chroniques are equally suspect. for the close association of St." told him to never to speak of cross thrown upon was improper that be on his way and. The article extracted from Les Grandes has no direct connection with the Templars.. II. within the context of the to invent their stories. it is implied that the order had been tinged with an evil creator responsible for all material Catharism. p. Jules Viard (Soci?t? de l'histoire de France. who had it seems to stretch the evidence in nothing of substance to contribute.

find . and Raoul de Gizy also saw it at Paris in the week after the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul. So it is. 206.36 the Feast of All Saints (November 1). The deposition op. p. The History the Knights 1842). seems to the comment have come from Charles G.. although Guillaume de Giaco believed that it was between the Feast of Pentecost and the Nativity of John the Baptist (June 24) at Limassol. 37Wilson. 1311. except that he beast. gave particular dates for those receptions: the Feast of Circumcision (January l). laymen usurped the priestly function by granting absolu tion. Incidentally. This may mean no more than that the Templars in France were accustomed to hold ama at Paris in the middle of the year.37 He is that in Templar chapters the master absolved them from "great claiming sins" and therefore that the priest had no function to perform other than to close the chapter with the psalm. Addison. who had seen a head at their receptions. is inWilkins. and certainly can jor chapter-meeting not stand on its own as independent evidence of the existence of the Shroud among the Templars. cit. 386. Lea to support his hypothesis. remark that in Templar chapter-meetings and intervened in nothing.218 THE TEMPLARS AND THE TURIN SHROUD content of this accusation. and at Christ mas. in the order. but it does not indicate that the object of their adoration was the Shroud either. perhaps tells the historian more and Capetian propaganda than about about the inquisitorial mentality the real practices of the Templars. to us' at the end of the chapter" is not merciful but is taken from the deposition of a Lagny. and four other Templars. 265. Thomas de Thoroldeby during his confession on The the priest "stood like a said the psalm 'God be in fact by the Abbot of serving brother called June 29. cit. Etienne de Troyes saw it at the end of a three-day chapter in Paris which began on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. an accusation which was particularly pressed in England because of the difficulties experienced by the inquisitors in gaining any more serious 36It is perhaps idolatrous frivolous to draw attention to the connection of this date with heathen and practices against which Christian writers often inveighed. Only three witnesses seem to be pointing to a date on or near the Feast of the Holy Face: Rainier de Larchant saw it at a chapter in Paris on the Tuesday after the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Most witnesses are not so specific. None of the other Templars who claimed to have seen the head identify any particular part of the year as the time when they saw it. II. Wilson that Lea said that it was strange to brings in H. This is a reference to the charge that. op. Little significance can be squeezed from the dating of the appearance of the head. Mr. claiming such a chant among men alleged to be idolaters. and not Lea.. therefore. (London. on the Wednesday after Easter. of Templars p. C. p.

He thought that it was the head of Hugues de Payns. why can the descriptions of idols or heads be accepted? Mr.' the consistent picture is that it was the natural size of a man's head. op.. Wilson. It was bearded and seemed to be of flesh. however. the majority of the charges were trumped up. or bearded. to examine the descriptions of the Templar idols more closely.BY MALCOLM BARBER 219 In this context it seems unlikely that the inclusion of Psalm confessions. made of metal or wood. or that of a dead man. Wilson. who placed it upon the altar upon a silk tapestry. with a fierce-looking "about face and beard. In did not know in whose veneration it was made. Proc?s. embalmed paste (de cole polie). ." Raoul in that it "seemed to him de Gizy was struck by its terrible appearance. therefore. Etienne de Troyes claimed that it was brought into adored chapter with great ceremony. Wilson would answer: there really was a Shroud in the possession of the Templars which would then distinguish their worship of a "head" from the other charges. with a beard and hollowed eyes of the order. The G?ne. p. preceded by two brothers and carried by a priest. niques the idol had the skin of an old man. that it was the figure of a certain demon. If as Mr. 202-203. "while there is a wide varia " tion in the accounts of the 'head. It is necessary. kissed. pp." They it since they had taken an oath denying Jesus Christ. but could not recall if it was as large as that of a man's. the first grand master Taylafer thought that itwas an effigy of a human face. I. Jean colored red. and that whenever he saw it such a great fear overcame him that he could scarcely look at it except with the greatest fear and trembling. although from the nape of the neck to the shoulders it was encrusted with precious stones. But the evidence for this is based upon descriptions of idols by trial wit nesses such as those above and upon the articles of accusation. and called their savior. According to Mr. 67 in chapters has any special significance which connects it with a Tem plar cult. Itmust. be considered doubtful that the picture is consistent even in the descrip tions selected by Mr. Wilson says. called in French un mauf?. but. On another occasion he thought that he saw the head brought in in a bag."38 It should be remembered too that the cult of the Shroud was supposed to be confined to an inner elite of the order. so that the argument is circular. although it as fierce-looking he does not describe is from Jean Taylafer de reference for this quotation he says that it was about the size of a human head. cit. but he Les Grandes Chro and polished with in which carbuncles 38Wilson. 190. Rainier de Larchant said that it was a head with a beard "which they adored.

28-29. through fear or a desire to please questioners whom they believed wanted them to describe such a thing. silver. produced an "idol of brass in the shape of a man" dressed in what ap peared to be a dalmatic. and June. 1308.. betrays his source when he actually describes the "idol" as being next to the reliquaries on the altar. 42Proc?s. 1311. supplied an imaginary head. op. Vol. 363. II. but a three-dimen head. 313. Preceptor of Soissy. pp.. bearded that it was shown to under the people. 4lKonrad Schottm?ller. 40Finke.41 while before the papal commission between November." a head resembling a Templar with a cap and a long. Guillaume d'Arreblay.43 Bartholomew Bochier. 1311. Der Untergang des Templer-Ordens. 502." and an idol with three faces. as being painted on a beam.p. grey beard. pp. 257. pp. and as having four legs. 364."42 These de scriptions suggest that some of the Templars. II. 597. who testified on April 19. having the form of a human head. which seemed to be a picture of a woman. and a wooden Poitiers in June and July." "a white head with a beard. AAIbid. two figures called Bahomet. 300. that. identified the silver-gilt head seen on the altar at chapter-meetings as one of the eleven thousand vir gins of Cologne. 1311.l. 59. 50. 1309. a black and white figure. and gold leaf with a beard or an imitation of a beard. 249. made of wood. 45Ibtd. 1887).40 At gilded and bearded." as being version. two at the front and two at the back. 68. I. cit. apart from the bearded it was referred to as "that head which they adored. Descriptions given by other Templars offer further variations.. 290. while at Maurin told the papal commission II. 1307. II (Berlin. 212. 192-193. 240. and "a small picture of base gold or gold.39 Hearings at Carcassonne inNovember. 315. on feast days.\\. . pp. ^Proc?s. along with other relics. it was "very foul and black. 299. one of which was idol. 203. 30.44 Pierre on May 19. 192-193. even then admitting to a two-faced." mon features. who appeared before the papal commission on February 5. 322-324.220 THE TEMPLARS AND THE TURIN SHROUD glowed "like the light of the sky. At the Parisian hearings of October and November. 1307. pp. it was "a certain painted board hanging in the chapel" on which was "an image of aman. Where they are consistent they an effigy upon it. countenance and only changed his description pressure. 70. but do not entirely suggest not a piece of cloth with sional object shaped like an actual These descriptions do have some com accord. some of them basing it upon various objects with which they were familiar such as reliquaries or panel paint ings. a copper object. 367. 1311.

raises more questions than it answers and does not appear to be con sistent with Mr. there being four such copies in The variations in the descriptions of England. 240.. p. April. adding however that his informant. Three can be identified as knights and sixteen as serving seven of these Templars were preceptors. Brother Pierre de Vienne. While surer at Paris. and another an almoner of the king.BY MALCOLM BARBER 221 Ch?teau P?lerin in Outremer. He expands the argument to suggest that copies were made of the original Shroud for use in Templar preceptories and that others existed which had not been recognized as such.45 it will be Finally.\\. if the four hearings surveyed are taken as a whole. a belief strengthened by the absence of the traditional halo. Wilson's argument that the cult was kept secret. How if copies had been made. plars with the Cathars or the Moslems to associate 188. see Barber. privileged elite. on the Shroud. for such responsibilities often devolved upon serving brothers as well as upon knights. In nine cases the head was shown to recruits at their receptions. the head could presumably be explained by this means. seen that twenty-eight different Templars claimed to have seen idols. how ever. Mr. of Antonio 46This excludes the depositions Sicci.46 One. If the idol was indeed the Shroud or a copy of it. The first of these is help that in 1951 a painting of amale bearded head was discovered in a build to the in Somerset. one was a trea brothers. Blaise. had said that the head was either that of St. Hugues de Faure. was Visitor of the Templar houses in theWest. or both. the accusation concerning the cords may be an attempt 47However. Trial. which direct connection with Templar receptions or chapters. they certainly do not suggest an exclusive. could actually be ameans of contact with the original. which he believes belonged ing at Templecombe He further believes that this was a copy of Christ's head as seen Templars. the Templars with knowledge of it or access to it seem an odd collection. has no the Tem . but none of the others can be seen as members of an inner circle.47 This explanation. p. apart from Templecombe. such positions did not automatically mean high status. even for places could this secrecy be maintained as peripheral to the mainstream of Templar affairs as Templecombe? Who made the copies? Does this imply a special cadre of Templar crafts ^lbid. Wilson brings forward two further pieces of evidence which could to break the circular nature of his arguments. second only to Molay. Hugues de Pairaud. he had heard of a head kept in the treasury of the Temple. Peter or St. and Guillaume which refer to a popular myth about the destructive power of a magic head. while the cords described in the articles of accusation as having encircled or touched the idols before being given to Templars to wear around themselves.

p. not unknown for medieval trayals of Christ both in appearance and pose. for instance. p. In the case of saints they simply omitted the cross within the halo. II (Paris. n. op. 207. 208.pp. influenced the way that Christ was portrayed in Byzantium and the medieval West. J. Islamic terms almost any implement of Christian worship might be con sidered as an idol by adherents of a faith that forbids representational art of any kind. Vol. however. and tr. cit. Wilson claims. which itself. for in origin. there is no reason to assume that the painting was intended to represent Christ in the first artists to copy por place. while representing other figures. There is no definite evidence to link the Geoffroi de Charney who was killed at Poitiers in 1356 with his namesake who was burnt as a relapsed heretic in 1314.. (ed. It was. Orientale. the castle at Safed had belonged to the Templars and it therefore.. Defr?mery. "Etudes contre sur les derniers les Chr?tiens temps du Royaume de J?rusalem. 363-364. vant passage from Noweiri is given.49 This seems to be a mistake. p. . in Francesco Gabrieli 'Imad ad-Din. difficult to take the argument much farther. 136.222 men THE TEMPLARS AND THE TURIN SHROUD dimensional sworn to secrecy? Why were some copies in the form of a three head. pp. 216. 1884). bats du Sultan Baibars latin. dence given indicates that the Sultan found the object at the castle of Safed in 1267. seconde partie (Paris. But even if some connection were found it cannot be used as proof that Geoffroi was "aman struggling to regain some lost family honor"52 48Wilson. Costello tr. such as saints. after all. trying to defend True Cross at the battle of Hattin as idolaters.50 Even so. 50Reinhold op.). where a French translation of the rele R?hricht. if somuch care was taken to the original? Even if it is argued that the Templecombe head reproduce has similarities to the Shroud." Archives de l'Orient See Charles F. 362. It is.51 The fourth and last point concerning the reticence of the Charney fam ily about the origins of the Shroud is based on speculation. Wilson for the reference copy of the Mandylion. be possible that the object concerned was of Templar might. "Wilson. 49I?>id. unless it can be shown that the Templar idol was the Shroud. For Mr. of those Christians the 'Imad ad-Din's description 51See. of the Crusades.48 does this say anything more than that the Templecombe artist had also seen the traditional medieval representations of Christ? Indeed. M?moires d'Histoire 388-3891862). E. Mr. (London. while others were painted. cit.21. Les Com en Syrie (1261-1277). Arab Historians 1969). The second prop to the argument which is independent of the trial evi is the discovery by Baibars of an "idol" in the former "castle" of the this too could have been a Templars at Jerusalem in 1277. pp.

Duke of Burgundy. by which time John had become king. since St.BY MALCOLM BARBER 223 and. This was confirmed by Pope Clement VI. a blow from which the order never recov wiped French defeats during the 1340's. the Order of the Star did have a devotional or it and en religious character.pp. rivalry first with Edward Ill's Order of the Round Table and then with his successful Order of the Garter seems to have been a stronger impetus than nostalgic longing for a revived Temple. may have been "an to revive the Templars under a different name. Indeed. in whose opinion such secular knighthoods were founded in reaction against the failures of the religious orders. both stress 222-223. ends in mind attempting for John IIwas too. Nevertheless. Because of the was not implemented until Eudes of Burgundy had died new order should consist of the Virgin alone.53 The history of the Order of the Star has been reviewed by Pro fessor Renouard." as he does in the next sentence. the previous year. 54On the reasons for the foundation dre de la Jarreti?re et l'Ordre de of the Order Le Moyen l'Etoile. Wilson attempt places Geoffroi among "the founder knights" of the order. "L'Or . to group an elite knighthood around his person. now with the patronage of ered.54 In 1344. In fact the Order of the Star never reached anything was virtually like its planned recruitment. while the existing membership out at Poitiers in 1356. Clearly. see Yves Renouard. It is difficult to see that the idea for this order came from Geoffroi de Charney or that it had any relationship to the Templars. which is credi ble." of the Star. but this is not the same as identifying him as its co-founder with "his similarly religiously minded king. at this time Duke of Nor mandy. put forward the idea of a com munion or congregation of 200 knights under the patronage of the Virgin and St. as its centerpiece." Mr. that this lost family honor was none other than kinship with a condemned leader of the dissolved order. John the Good. rather than being connected to them. as a secular knighthood of the mid-fourteenth century it had much stronger roots in the Arthurian romances then fashionable than in the religious orders of the era of the Templars. Wilson's The connection is argument that the association of Geoffroi de Charney of Lirey with the foundation of the secular knighthood known as the Order of the Star. George had already been appropriated by Edward Ill's recently founded Order of the Garter. It was intended that the 500 knights. John the Good. taking this one huge step further. George. in no way strengthened by Mr. and Eudes IV. for Clement VI seems to have welcomed the foundation of a collegiate church. 281-300. Age. the plan 1351. LV (1949). served by canons and couraged there were political and dynastic priests. 53/???. Moreover. particularly in the 1351 manifestation.

while canon law hindered the application of conciliar ideas which were existing put forward during this period. The secular powers aligned themselves behind the two popes. the fact ofthat association would have been generally known in the first place and.56 This is amis of the issues raised by the Schism. most of whose members were dead.224 THE TEMPLARS AND THE TURIN SHROUD ing his position as rightful king in the Edward III. Indeed. p.. really were related to the man who was burned in 1314.58 However. The scandal of the understanding Schism endured because there was no easy solution. don. 235.57 The position of Clement VII was not affected by the fact that an earlier Avignon pope had played a prominent part in the suppression of the Templars. especially Chapters op. op. but did not wish to reveal his knowl edge. would already have had some influence on the social standing of the Charney family. 57See. thus consolidating the political divisions of western Christendom. If the two Geoffroi de Charneys.. the comments of Walter Ullmann. still have been capable of raising passions? Papal interest in the matter seems to have petered out by the late 1320's. if it had mat tered. 231. Mr. Clement VII.55 for if the issue of the Templars had been revived "the entire shaky foundations of the Avignon papacy" would be threatened.p. a number of unan swered questions remain. But following the ravages of the Black Death and the French disas ters of the Hundred Years' War. Mr. and it cannot be imagined that when the Shroud was exhibited in 1389 the Templars and their fate were amajor consideration to the Avignonese pope. The contemporary knightly values and with the defunct Templars. even if it is accepted that the fate of the Templars retained a latent power to arouse deep passions as late as 1389.. would the dissolution of an order. either politically or legally. 235. and the issue was still regarded as important in their time. 58Wilson. %lbid. Wilson argues that Clement was a party to the true facts of the Shroud's origin. especially loyal army at the same time. . cit. Wilson's argument contains a further implication: that the fall of the Templars was still a live issue in the second half of the fourteenth cen tury. Origins of the Great Schism (Lon I and X. a better reason for hiding the origin and authenticity of the cloth was that the king of France might have claimed it for himself. father and son. therefore. cit. and creating a small and Order of the Star should be related to political realities rather than connected face of his competitors. arguing that the family had no legal or moral "Wilson. 1967). then itwould have been very difficult to suppress this association. p. Perhaps. for instance.

. how did those who apparently strongly knew that the Templars had the Shroud in the thirteenth century keep silent. on the other hand. Wilson argues. it depends upon the de This link seems brittle since ultimately of the trial of the Templars which. plars Pope Clement VII and his confidants. the pope. Equally. Wilson series of fragments with no coherence of their own. for the Templars had been an order di rectly responsible to the Holy See. If. especially in the face of the pertinent and cogent attacks of so Pierre d'Arcis. for this involved a large number of people. ^Ihid. pp. the contemporary bishop of Troyes. who believed that it was a fraud?59 Finally. Mr.BY MALCOLM BARBER 225 right to it. Without have no central core. but remain a of evidence gathered by Mr. while a fascinating historical positions source. the pope did not know of its connection with the Templars. . who. then what was he told when he asked about its history and why was he supposedly convinced that it was genuine. but only with a link forged in the chain of its history by Mr. Wilson. the later members of the Charney family. believed in its au thenticity. need to be handled with considerable care if they are not to be the idols described in the trial. and any descendants or relatives that any of these might have told? This paper is not concerned with the debate about the authenticity of the Shroud. leaving the episode of the missing years still to be satisfactorily explained. the other pieces misinterpreted. including those Tem who survived the trial. might have claimed it. 236-237.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful