A successor order to the Knights Templar has filed suit in Spain against Pope Benedict XVI to restore the name and assets of the disgraced military and religious order.
The Knights Templar were one of the monastic military orders to emerge from the Crusades in the eleventh century. With the end of the Crusades, the Knights Templar were persecuted by the French king, charges of heresy were levelled against them, and the order’s leader was burned at the stake.
The goal of the lawsuit filed by the Association of the Sovereign Order of the Temple of Christ isn’t to get back the property seized by the Catholic Church in 1312. Rather it’s to restore the Order’s good name:
“We are not trying to cause the economic collapse of the Roman Catholic Church, but to illustrate to the court the magnitude of the plot against our Order,” said a statement issued by the self-proclaimed modern day knights.
And plot it was. King Philip IV of France was in debt, he didn’t like having a religious military order based on his soil (which could potentially threaten his throne), and the Knights Templar were one of the richest religious orders in the world. So, with the complicity of Pope Clement V, Philip IV arrested the Templar leadership, seized the assets of the order in France, and the order itself was subject to the Inquisition. Once that was done, Clement dissolved the Order, and the Knights Templar entered the world of myth and legend.
And really lurid fiction.
Really, Dan Brown has done just as much to besmirch the good name of the Knights Templar as did Pope Clement V.