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Vatican publishing Knights Templar papers

It’s not the Holy Grail, but for fans of “The Da Vinci Code” and its tantalizing story line about the Knights Templar, it could be the next best thing.

Sheiks, libraries and collectors around the world have ordered the Vatican’s new $8,400 limited-edition documentation of the heresy trial of the Knights Templar, officials said Thursday

p>With superstition welling up for the grand celebration of Halloween at the end of this month why not add a little legitimacy to the month of ghouls and goblins by publishing a book that costs to much for all of the little pegan holiday celebrating children! It has always been my opinion that the day Friday the 13th was derived from the fatefull events that took place as explained by this new book by the Vatican. Here’s what I think happened and how I justify the existence of the dark day of Friday the 13th.

In the year 1312 King Phillip issued the destruction of The Knights Templar. This decree was issued in October on Friday the 13th. And one year later in the year 1313 the Templar’s were all but disbanded and in 1314 considered extinguished with the torture and murder of their last grand master Jacques de Molay. As my friend Seung Young Lee would say ‘BOOM.’ I would say that the day Friday the 13th was a bad day indeed for the Knights Templar and the fact that the edict was issued in the month of October makes it even more interesting. And now we have this new book by the Vatican which sort of brings the event’s of Friday October 13th full circle.

A page showing Pope Clement V, part of the 300-page volume ‘Processus Contra Templarios’ (Latin for ‘Trial against the Templars’), a tantalizing story line about the Knights Templar, is seen at the Vatican, Thursday Oct. 25, 2007. Ignored for centuries and found in the Vatican secret archives in 2001, a parchment about the early 14th-century heresy trial of the ancient Christian order is the basis of a limited edition volume being published with an euro5,900 (US$8,375) price tag.(AP Photo/Plinio Lepri)

It’s not the Holy Grail, but for fans of “The Da Vinci Code” and its tantalizing story line about the Knights Templar, it could be the next best thing.

Sheiks, libraries and collectors around the world have ordered the Vatican’s new $8,400 limited-edition documentation of the heresy trial of the Knights Templar, officials said Thursday.

The leather-bound volume, which includes high-quality reprints of the original documents as well as clerical seals, is noteworthy because it contains a long ignored parchment showing that Pope Clement V initially absolved the medieval order of heresy.

A view of the 300-page volume ‘Processus Contra Templarios’ (Latin for ‘Trial against the Templars’), a tantalizing story line about the Knights Templar, is seen at the Vatican, Thursday Oct. 25, 2007. Ignored for centuries and found in the Vatican secret archives in 2001, a parchment about the early 14th-century heresy trial of the ancient Christian order is the basis of a limited edition volume being published with an euro5,900 (US$8,375) price tag.(AP Photo/Plinio Lepri)

Scrinium publishing house, which prints documents from the Vatican’s Secret Archives, is issuing 799 editions of the volume – and plans in the coming days to present one to Pope Benedict XVI, officials said at a presentation inside Vatican City.

Medieval expert Franco Cardini shows the 300-page volume ‘Processus Contra Templarios’ (Latin for ‘Trial against the Templars’), a tantalizing story line about the Knights Templar, presented at the Vatican, Thursday Oct. 25, 2007. Ignored for centuries and found in the Vatican secret archives in 2001, a parchment about the early 14th-century heresy trial of the ancient Christian order is the basis of a limited edition volume being published with an euro5,900 (US$8,375) price tag.(AP Photo/Plinio Lepri)

The order of knights, which ultimately disappeared because of the heresy scandal, recently captivated the imagination of readers of the best-seller “The Da Vinci Code,” which linked the Templars to the story of the Holy Grail.

The Vatican work reproduces the entire documentation of the papal hearings convened after King Philip IV of France arrested and tortured Templar leaders in 1307 on charges of heresy and immorality.

Monsignor Sergio Pagano looks on during the presentation of the 300-page volume ‘Processus Contra Templarios’ (Latin for ‘Trial against the Templars’) at the Vatican, Thursday Oct. 25, 2007. It’s not the Holy Grail, but for fans of ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and its tantalizing story line about the Knights Templar, it could be the next best thing. Ignored for centuries and found in the Vatican secret archives in 2001, a parchment about the early 14th-century heresy trial of the ancient Christian order is the basis of a limited edition volume being published with an euro5,900 (US$8,375) price tag. According to the Vatican archives Web site, the parchment shows that Pope Clement V initially absolved the Templar leaders of heresy, though he did find them guilty of immorality, and planned to reform the order.(AP Photo/Plinio Lepri)

In addition to sheiks and libraries, individual collectors, Templar associations and cultural organizations around the world have reserved copies, though about 300 are still available, said Scrinium president Ferdinando Santor.

Publicist Rosy Fontana reads a replica document in which Pope Clement V absolved the Knights Templar of charges of heresy, in Rome October 9, 2007. A reproduction of the Latin-language minutes of trials against the Knights Templar in 1308, lost until its rediscovery in 2001, is being published by the Vatican Secret Archives at the end October. The documents, a book and parchments, costs 5,900 euros and its 799 numbered copies are destined for top libraries and medieval scholars. Picture taken October 9, 2007.(Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters)

He declined to identify any buyers by name, citing Italian privacy laws, but said they included “internationally famous” people.

The military order of the Poor Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon was founded in 1118 in Jerusalem to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land after the First Crusade.

Replicas of the three seals used by the inquisitors at the trial 700 years ago, in which Pope Clement V absolved the Knights Templar of charges of heresy, lie on documents in Rome October 9, 2007. A reproduction of the Latin-language minutes of trials against the Knights Templar in 1308, lost until its rediscovery in 2001, is being published by the Vatican Secret Archives at the end October. The documents, a book and parchments, costs 5,900 euros and its 799 numbered copies are destined for top libraries and medieval scholars. Picture taken October 9, 2007.(Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters)

As their military might increased, the Templars also grew in wealth, acquiring property throughout Europe and running a primitive banking system. After they left the Middle East with the collapse of the Crusader kingdoms, their power and secretive ways aroused the fear of European rulers and sparked accusations of corruption and blasphemy.

The parchment of a replica document in which Pope Clement V absolved the Knights of charges of heresy, is shown in Rome October 9, 2007. A reproduction of the Latin-language minutes of trials against the Knights Templar in 1308, lost until its rediscovery in 2001, is being published by the Vatican Secret Archives at the end October. The documents, a book and parchments, costs 5,900 euros and its 799 numbered copies are destined for top libraries and medieval scholars.Picture taken October 9, 2007 (Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters)

Historians believe Philip owed debts to the order due to his wars with England and used the accusations to arrest its leaders and extract, under torture, confessions of heresy as a way to seize the order’s riches.

Replicas of the three seals used by the inquisitors at the trial 700 years ago, in which Pope Clement V absolved the Knights Templar of charges of heresy, lie on documents in Rome October 9, 2007. A reproduction of the Latin-language minutes of trials against the Knights Templar in 1308, lost until its rediscovery in 2001, is being published by the Vatican Secret Archives at the end October. The documents, a book and parchments, costs 5,900 euros and its 799 numbered copies are destined for top libraries and medieval scholars.(Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters)

The new volume includes the “Parchment of Chinon,” a 1308 decision by Clement to save the Templars and their order that was long ignored due to a vague catalog entry made in 1628.

A replica of one of three seals used by the inquisitors at a trial 700 years ago, in which Pope Clement V absolved the Knights Templar of charges of heresy, is seen in Rome October 9, 2007. A reproduction of the Latin-language minutes of trials against the Knights Templar in 1308, lost until its rediscovery in 2001, is being published by the Vatican Secret Archives at the end October. The documents, a book and parchments, costs 5,900 euros and its 799 numbered copies are destined for top libraries and medieval scholars.Picture taken October 9, 2007 (Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters)

Vatican archives researcher Barbara Frale determined the significance of the parchment in 2001, realizing that it was not of secondary importance as had previously been thought but actually concerned a trip by three top cardinals, including Clement’s right-hand man, to interrogate the Templars’ Grand Master and other top officials.

The parchment of a replica document in which Pope Clement V absolved the Knights Templar of charges of heresy, is shown in Rome October 9, 2007. A reproduction of the Latin-language minutes of trials against the Knights Templar in 1308, lost until its rediscovery in 2001, is being published by the Vatican Secret Archives at the end October. The documents, a book and parchments, costs 5,900 euros and its 799 numbered copies are destined for top libraries and medieval scholars. Picture taken October 9, 2007.(Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters)

The parchment shows that Clement initially absolved the Templar leaders of heresy, though he did find them guilty of immorality, and that he planned to reform the order. However, under pressure from Philip, Clement later reversed his decision and suppressed the order in 1312.

The Templars’ grand master, Jacques de Molay, was burned at the stake in 1314 along with his aides.

Publicist Rosy Fontana holds a replica seal on a document in which Pope Clement V absolved the Knights Templar of charges of heresy, in Rome October 9, 2007. A reproduction of the Latin-language minutes of trials against the Knights Templar in 1308, lost until its rediscovery in 2001, is being published by the Vatican Secret Archives at the end October. The documents, a book and parchments, costs 5,900 euros and its 799 numbered copies are destined for top libraries and medieval scholars. Picture taken October 9, 2007.(Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters)

Surviving monks fled. Some were absorbed by other orders; over the centuries, various groups have claimed to have descended from the Templars.

The prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives, Monsignor Sergio Pagano, said the value of the new edition lies in its artistry as well as in the historical commentary that accompanies it, written by Frale and two other Vatican historians.

Publicist Rosy Fontana displays a detail of a replica document in which Pope Clement V absolved the Knights Templar of charges of heresy, in Rome October 9, 2007. A reproduction of the Latin-language minutes of trials against the Knights Templar in 1308, lost until its rediscovery in 2001, is being published by the Vatican Secret Archives at the end October. The documents, a book and parchments, costs 5,900 euros and its 799 numbered copies are destined for top libraries and medieval scholars. Picture taken October 9, 2007.(Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters)

He sharply criticized the attention the new edition had elicited in the media, saying such furor was “not in the style of the archive.”

“The archive follows a humble style,” he said at the book presentation. “We are convinced – perhaps we are among the few – who believe that books are published to be read and studied, not to be presented.”

A detail is shown on a replica document in which Pope Clement V absolved the Knights Templar of charges of heresy, in Rome October 9, 2007. A reproduction of the Latin-language minutes of trials against the Knights Templar in 1308, lost until its rediscovery in 2001, is being published by the Vatican Secret Archives at the end October. The documents, a book and parchments, costs 5,900 euros and its 799 numbered copies are destined for top libraries and medieval scholars. Picture taken October 9, 2007.(Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters)

He said the volume was not a “scoop” but rather “an artistic edition, destined for a public of connoisseurs, lovers of historic documents.”

She said the parchment reveals the cardinals reached the conclusion the Templars were guilty of abuses but not “a real and true heresy.”
“There were a lot of faults in the order — abuses, violence … a lot of sins, but not heresy,” she said.

A detail is shown on a replica document in which Pope Clement V absolved the Knights Templar of charges of heresy, in Rome October 9, 2007. A reproduction of the Latin-language minutes of trials against the Knights Templar in 1308, lost until its rediscovery in 2001, is being published by the Vatican Secret Archives at the end October. The documents, a book and parchments, costs 5,900 euros and its 799 numbered copies are destined for top libraries and medieval scholars. Picture taken October 9, 2007.(Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters)

These included forcing new recruits to “reject Christ in words and spit on the cross,” in imitation of the violence suffered by knights when captured by Muslims, Frale said. New members were kicked and punched if they refused to undergo this kind of hazing, she added.

The seal of the Vatican secret archives is shown on a replica document in which Pope Clement V absolved the Knights Templar of charges of heresy, in Rome October 9, 2007. A reproduction of the Latin-language minutes of trials against the Knights Templar in 1308, lost until its rediscovery in 2001, is being published by the Vatican Secret Archives at the end October. The documents, a book and parchments, costs 5,900 euros and its 799 numbered copies are destined for top libraries and medieval scholars. Picture taken October 9, 2007.(Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters)

Philip had “confiscated all the wealth of the order, which he used to pay his debts,” said Frale, who has written three books about the Templars. “Had the (order) survived, it’s clear that Philip … would have had to give back all” the wealth.

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