From the Radio Free Michigan archives

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"Every age has its own ideals of beauty, goodness and personality, but the practical joke is universal and timeless. boyish prank one day. It had all started almost as a

Hugh de Payens and a friend decided to hide by a

watering place on the open road where the pilgrim transports were wont to stop for refreshment and which consequently was a favorite Saracen ambush. Imagine - as they might have told their cronies afterwards - the consternation of the Infidel marauders when they found the tables turned..." - Edith Simon "The Piebald Standard"

Perhaps in 1959, when this passage had been published, the romantic ideals of a "boyish prank" developing into the mysterious and enigmatic Knights of the Temple of Solomon seemed the best explanation for the Order's founding. In it's day, the whole idea might have enticed more than a few other nobles

and knights in the East to participate in this sort of activity. However, there are three important points to consider in hindsight. First, the Knights Templar started off as the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Soloman. These Knights had a responsibility to

defend pilgrims in the Holy Land and took vows similar to those of the contemporary priesthood. Vows that eventually included chastity and poverty,

which would seem to restrict some rather "boyish" activities. Second, Hugues de Payen had made no secret of the fact that the life which the Templars were leading was wearing on himself and other members of the Order. The tone of some letters indicates the Templars were on the

verge of disbanding the Order. Third, acording to contemporary historian Guillaume de Tyre (who was historian to the court of Jerusalem from 1175 to 1185, and hence was writing about the foundation of the Templars some seventy years later), the Knights originally consisted of nine brethen, the same number as in 1129. Actually, there were definatly 10 members in 1129, and probabaly more. Given the fact that these ten members lived by a religious lifesyle with very few others to share their plight, it seems that dispair and discontentment would become a problem quickly. If these ten men were living such "humble"

lifestyles for so long with little or no help, what inspired them to stay doing it for a few weeks, let alone several years?


In looking for the reasons for the establishment of the Knights of the Temple, one needs to determine who the founders were and what their motivations were. In the case of the Templars, however, that proves to be more difficult.

Not only did the Templar's founders live almost 900 years ago, but the first contemporary historian to make record of the Order wasn't writing about them until neerly half a century later. Information about the foundation of the Order comes from Guillaume de Tyre, historian from 1167 to 1184. Of the historians to mention the Templars before

him, Jacques de Vitrey mentions only the Templars performance at Damascus in October of 1129, and Odo de Deuil mentions the Templars only in passing in his comentary on activities following Vezelay in 1146. Fulk de Chartress,

historian to the court in Jerusalem in the 1110s made no mention of the Knights, despite Badouin II's endorsement and bestowment of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Drawing from three sources, we have the following lists;

Les Origines... a:Paul Naudon --------------Hugues de Pains Geoffroi de Saint-Omer Payen de Montdidier

The Knights Templar a:Stephen Howarth ------------------Hugh de Payens Geoffrey of St-Omer Payen de Montdidier

Holy Blood, Holy Grail a:Baigent, Leigh, Lincoln --------------------------Hugues de Payen Bisol de St. Omer Nivard de Montdidier Archambaud de Saint-Aignan Andre de Montbard

Archambaud de St-Aignan Archambaud de St-Agnan Andre de Montbard Godefroy de Bissot Andre de Montbard Geoffrey Bisot

Gondemar Roral/Roland Godefroy

Gondemare Rossal/Roland

Gondemar Rossal

Hugues, Comte de Champagne The above lists are justified as such; Paul Naudon draws his list from the writtings of Guillaume de Tyre, historian to the court of Jerusalem in 1173. It should be noted that this was more than

50 years after the establishment of the Templars, and was probably drawn from sources supplied by the Templars. One must make one's own judgement as to the

validity of any sources which the Templars may have made available to Guillaume de Tyre at this time. As one of the other four authors notes, "Archbishop

William of Tyre...held a permanent grudge against the Templars...," and this may serve to explain why Guillaume is the first Crusader historian to make any mention of the Templars' origins. Stephen Howarth does not give a clear indication as to his source. He also

only lists eight founders, and says about the ninth only that "[t]radition says there were nine in this original brotherhood, but tradition does not give the name of the ninth." In this respect, it is perhaps Howarth's list which can be

given the most credence, as he is willing to admit that he is unable to find proof to support a ninth name. Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln give as their source a report known as the "Dossiers secrets." This report is claimed to have been The list is mostly accurate, The

found at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.

containing seven names which are confirmed by the other two lists.

additional name, Hugues, Comte de Champagne, is speculative, and likely false. First, lets take aside the eight names which match, and produce the list of eight confirmed founders, as they will be refered to from this point onward.

Hugues de Payens Archmabaud de St-Agnan Gondemar

Geoffrey de St-Omer Andre de Montbard Roland

Payen de Montdidier Godefoy Bisol

First, we come to the ninth name on Paul Naudon's list; Godefroy. probably based upon the Rule of the Temple, article 7.

This is

The rule reads;

"And also present was Brother Hugues de Payens, Master of the Knighthood, with some of his brothers whom he had brought with him. They were Brother Roland, Brother Godefroy, and Brother

Geoffroi Bisot, Brother Payen de Montdidier, Brother Archambaut de Saint-Amand."

Article 7 was comprised at the Council of Troyes in 1129, along with many of the earliest articles of conduct for the Order. The list of Knights who

acompanied Hugues includes Godefroy de St Omer, Roland, Godefroi Bisot, Payen de Montdidier, and Archambaud de St.Amand. Apparently, Geoffrey de St Omer

had been recorded simply as Godefroy (second on the list). As for Hugues, Comte de Champagne, he is recorded historically as joining the Order in 1126, and is considered to be the only the second non-founding member

(not including Count Fulk of Anjou, who had joined as an associate member in 1120. Remarkably, this is the same Fulk who married Melissande, and thereby

eventually became King of Jerusalem on Sept 14, 1131) along with Robert de Craon, whose date of joining the Order is in question. The reason for

the suggestion that Hugues de Champagne was one of the founders is that he had a long history of activity in the east, starting in 1104. He returned to

France in 1108, then returned to the east again in 1114, intending to join the "milice du Christ." France. Supposedly, he changed his mind, and returned to

Likely, he did just that, but there is still the possibility that

the Order was esablished by 1114, or in it's early stages, and that Hugues did have something to do with it. While there is little evidence to support

this theory, there is nothing to discount it either, as Hugues was in the east at a time when the Templars would have been organizing. we will discount this, and leave the ninth founder unknown. Of the other eight mentioned as founders, we know which Knights were still members of the Order in 1129; Hugues de Payens and five others in Troyes with Andre de Montebard and Gondemar noted in a letter from Badouin II Bernard before the Council of Troyes in 1129. to St For now, however,

If there were only eight of the

original Knights in the Order at this time, along with Robert de Craon and the Comte de Champagne, who was recently admitted to the Order, this leaves us with the nine members stated as part of the Order. Even if there had been a

ninth founder (who was not Hugues de Champagne), perhaps he had died by 1129. There are two other possibilities for the unknown ninth founder, however. The second Master of the Templars was Robert de Craon. The date of his

joining the Order is somewhat questionable.

He is not indicated as part of

the Order in 1129, but there is a charter dated 1125 witnessed by "Robert the Templar." It has been suggested that Robert was the ninth founder, and that he

is not recorded in 1129 because he is not included in Article 7 or the letter Bernard. If none of the documents availible to Guillaume had included Robert's

name, then he would not have been included. Second, if there was in fact an organization working out of the abbey on Mt Sion, then perhaps someone within the abbey had helped found the order. person may have been one Prior Arnaldus. That

Several documnets of the period were

found bearing the seal and signature of one or another prior from the abbey on Mt Sion (known as the Notre Dame de Sion). signed by Prior Arnaldus. There is one from July 19, 1116,

There is another from May 2, 1125, where Prior

Arnaldus' name appears with Hugues de Payens. How many more connections could actually be found to link the abbey on Sion III with the Templars?


Archaeologically speaking, there have been a series of constructs built atop Mt. Sion near Jerusalem. However, geograpically speaking, there are

three rises in the area which have been called Mt. Sion over the last 3000 years. When King David captured Jerusalem in about 1000 BCE, the south-eastern ridge was known as Mt. Sion. This is the site of the City of David, and is

refered to as Sion I.

This hill has been the subject of recent excavations

seeking more information about the City of David. When King Solomon built his temple to the Lord on the ridge to the north, the Temple Mount was refered to as Sion. Moriah. The Mt. Sion most commonly refered to is Sion III, which is located southwest of the Temple Mount. It is on this hill that the Church of the Apostles On that same site, an abbey was erected by Today, the It is refered to as Sion II or Mt.

sat durring the time of Jesus.

order of Godfroi de Bouillon after the conquest of Jerusalem.

Dormition(meaning "passing away") Abbey is located there, keeping with the tradition that it marks the site of the "passing away" of Mary. It is Sion III which will be focused upon here. In addition the the

actual constructs found here, the history of visitors to Sion before the Crusades will show that someone was interested in Mt. Sion for a very long time.

The first construction is from 73 CE.

After the destruction of the city

of Jerusalem in 70 CE, (from Euthychius, 10th century patriarch of Alexandria, so, again, the information is written long after the event, and thereby questionable) the Judeo-Christians who fled to Pella "returned to Jerusalem in the fourth year of Vespian, and built there their church." Their leader

was Simon Bar-Kleopha, second bishop of Jerualem, and a decendant of the Davidic family. Returning at that time, these Judeo-Christians would have at their

disposal the ashlars from Herod's Temple as well as ruins from other buildings of the old city from which to build their church. Certainly, looking at the

remaining walls from the older constructions, it is obvious that blocks of various sizes were used. This church, built before the term church had come

into use, would have been called either a Beit or Beth Knesset, which means "house of assembly." From the Greek assembly, it became "synagogue."

This synagogue stood alone atop Sion III commemorating the site of the Last Supper and the death of Mary. constructs were added. Over the next three centuries, several other

In 333 CE, a man known as the Pilgrim of Bordeaux

visited the site, and mentioned entering the "wall of Sion," which might have been a wall construced by the Judeo-Christians to fend off Pagen and Byzantine influence and trespass. In about 382 CE, Theodosius I had an Octagonal church

constructed on Sion III next to the synagogue, a representations of which can be seen in the 400 CE mosaic of the Last Supper at the Basilica of St. Pudentiana in Rome.(In the mosaic, the octaginal church and the synagogue are just to the right of the Christ's head.) This octaginal church stood next to the 1st century synagogue until about 415 CE, when it was replaced by the Hagia Sion Basilica, which abutted the 1st century synagogue along it's north wall. Stephen were found. Also in 415, the bones of St.

The then Bishop of Jerusalem, John II, had the relics of

St. Stephen transfered to the synagogue on Mt. Sion, where thay remanined until the empress Eudocia had a new church erected to honor St. Stephen, located north of the Damacus Gate, in 439 CE. The bones of St Stephen were moved to

the new church, however some of the bones were taken to Constantinople and

others went to the Mount of Olives. on Mt. Sion.

The sarcophagus remained in the sanctuary

At the time, it was believed that the "wall of Sion" was a part of the Palace of David, and that the City of David had stood on the same hill (the western hill, Sion III). Similarly, since the kings of Judah were interred in the

City of David, the tombs of David and Solomon were also on the western hill. Two more memorial tombs were added in the 10th century to reflect this belief, and it was these two tombs along with St. Stephen's sarcophagus which the Crusaders found upon Sion in 1099. Upon thier arrival, the Crusaders found the Hagia Sion Basilica in ruins. On the south part of the ruins, the new abbey was built, known as Notre Dame de Sion. This Crusader church was built to include the synagogue within it, Above the remaining walls of the This

using the synagogue as the south-east corner.

synagogue, the Crusaders built a second floor, known as the cenacle. cenacle commemorated the Last Supper and the Pentecost (Acts 2).

One unconfirmed story relating to Mt. Sion relates the account of Benjamin of Tudela. While in Jerusalem, a man named Abraham told of two workers who

had accidentally happened upon a passage and found themselves in a palace of marble columns, which they believed to be the Tomb of David. They also

reported that a golden sceptre and a golden crown were on a table, and riches were littered all around. The pair were supposedly struck down by a

whirlwind and told to leave by unseen voices, and were found sick in bed, claiming "We shall never again return there, for God does not want this place to be seen by any human being." Most likely, the pair were lying, since the

City of David has been found to be on the east hill (Sion I), and the Tomb of David would likewise be so. After the defeat at Hatin, the Crusaders entrusted the abbey to the Syrian Christians, who were in turn forced to abandon the complex when it was destroyed by order of one of the Ayubic sultans of Damascus in 1219 CE. Between 1335 and 1337 CE, a group of Franciscan fathers bought Mt. Sion from the Saracens. south of it. They repaired the roof of the cenacle and built a new monestary The Franciscans were never able to occupy the ground floor of Eventually,

the cenacle, since Moslem holy men had made their abode there.

the Moslems drove the Franscans from the site in the 16th century and had both the tomb and the centacle declared mosques.


There was indeed an abbey constructed on the western hill(Sion III), as proven by archaeological evidence. This abbey, the Notre Dame du Sion, was It was occupied by the Crusader

dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus.

from 1100 until 1187, when it was turned over to the Syrian Christians. The Templars, irreguardless of their founding date, were established in the El Aqsa Mosque on the souternmost region of the Temple Mount Complex by order of Badouin II in 1118, and were using the area beneath the temple as thier horse stable as early as 1124.

(It should be noted here that the "Stable of Solomon" was not originally used

for livestock, but was in fact used to support the southern extension of the Temple Mount Complex, and stable is derived from the stabilizing of the Complex rather than housing livestock. built by order of Herod, not Solomon.) Additionally, these vaults were

Besides the aforementioned appearance of Prior Arnaldus' signature with that of Hugues de Payens, there is additional connection between the Templars and the Notre Dame du Sion.

First, there is the prayer offered by the Templars upon the election of the Grand Master. The prayer is recorded in Article 222 of the Templar Rule, and

the pertinant section reads as follows;

"...Make safe your servant. R. My Lord, who puts his trust in you. Send to him, Lord, help from the sanctuary. R. And watch over them out of Zion. Be to him, Lord, a tower of strength..."

The second line in the above passage is most important.

The first part, "help

from the sanctuary," could be a reference to either a heavenly sanctuary or an earthly sanctary. sanctuary. Notre Dame du Sion would certanly qualify as one possible

The second part, "them out of Zion," also has two possible

interpretations; either watching over those who are outside of Zion (the name transfered upon Jerusalem from the Jesubite citadel conqured by King David),

or being watched over from [out of] Sion. Hence, the two interpretations are; 1. Send help to this new leader from Heaven, and watch over the others who are outside of Jerusalem. 2. Send help to this new leader from [pos: Notre Dame de Sion] and watch over him from Sion. Under the name Zion, the city of Jerusalem had been referred to as Sion before; once in Psalms 136, again in Isaiah 60. Psalms 137 recounts the loss

of Jerusalem being mourned from exile in Babylonia durring the sixth century BCE. In Isaiah, the second Isaiah calls for a return to Jerusalem/Sion. The Crusaders had captured the city from the Infidels, thus symbolically answering Isaiah's call, but the King of Persia had opened the city of Jerusalem to the Isrealites after conquering the Babylonians in 538 BCE. Since these two

Biblical references have no bearing on the Crusader situation, it seems unlikely that the Crusaders drew inspirations from these passages, yet the Templars refer to "Sion" in their inagural prayer. And the Templars definatly comitted themselves to the sanctity of the mother of Jesus. In additon to their role as peacekeepers and financers,

there was one other project which the Templars embarked upon on several occasions. As Edith Simon points out;

"They might shun the female principle, that peril to salvation, incarnated in the daughters of Eve, but as the worldly knight had each his lady, so, too, must they have theirs. The churches they

had been empowered to build for their own use were for the most part dedicated to...Mary, the Queen of Heaven, Mercy personified."

The Templars definatly had a very strong connection with the Notre Dame du Sion, else why dedicate their churches to Mary, rather then Jesus the Christ, of whom they were sworn knights?

If the Templars were calling upon God to watch over those (either other Templars or all Christians) outside of Jerusalem, then why choose Sion? were several other ways of calling for this blessing, including using the name Jerusalem, or perhaps the phrase Outremer, which indicated the lands "Across-the-Sea," which would have included the Kingdom of Jerusalem. There

It is almost assured that the Templars had a strong connection to the Notre Dame de Sion. Also, if the 'Dossiers secrets' are reliable, Sion executed a Badouin II had felt

considerable influence with the Kings of Jerusalem. "obliged" to Sion for his throne.

Fulk of Anjou, who was affiliated with the

Templars, and thus with Sion, married into the throne with his marriage to Melissande. Even after his departure from the Templars and until his death

in 1143, Fulk still paid annual dues to the Templars of 30 pounds of silver, despite being King of the land. The extent of the Templars influence went far

beyond the Holy Land, and Hugues de Champagne, who was Hugues de Payens leige, joined the Temple, effectively pledging loyalty to his own vassal. Both Fulk of Anjou and Hugues de Champagne had a long history with the Holy


Fulk's ancestor, also named Fulk, had made the pilgrimage to the city

of Jerusalem in 1009,

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