you will deserve to keep company with the martyrs who gave their souls
for Jesus Christ. In this religious order has flourished and is revitalised
the order of knighthood. This knighthood despised the love of justice that
constitutes its duties and did not do what it should, that is defend the
poor, widows, orphans and churches, but strove to plunder, despoil and
kill. God works well with us and our saviour Jesus Christ; He has sent
his friends from the Holy City of Jerusalem to the marches of France and
Burgundy, who for our salvation and the spread of the true faith do not
cease to offer their souls to God, a welcome sacrifice.
Then we, in all joy and all brotherhood, at the request of Master Hugues
de Payens, by whom the aforementioned knighthood was founded by the grace
of the Holy Spirit, assembled at Troyes from divers provinces beyond the
mountains on the feast of my lord St Hilary, in the year of the incarnation
of Jesus Christ 1128, in the ninth year after the founding of the aforesaid
knighthood. And the conduct and beginnings of the Order of Knighthood we
heard in common chapter from the lips of the aforementioned Master, Brother
Hugues de Payens; and according to the limitations of our understanding
what seemed to us good and beneficial we praised, and what seemed wrong
And all that took place at that council cannot be told nor recounted; and
so that it should not be taken lightly by us, but considered in wise prudence,
we left it to the discretion of both our honourable father lord Honorius
and of the noble patriarch of Jerusalem, Stephen, who knew the affairs
of the East and of the Poor Knights of Christ, by the advice of the common
council we praised it unanimously. Although a great number of religious
fathers who assembled at that council praised the authority of our words,
nevertheless we should not pass over in silence the true sentences and
judgements which they pronounced.
Therefore I, Jean Michel, to whom was entrusted and confided that divine
office, by the grace of God served as the humble scribe of the present
document by order of the council and of the venerable father Bernard, abbot
Names of the Fathers who Attended the Council
First was Matthew, bishop of Albano, by the grace of God legate of the
Holy Church of Rome; R[enaud], archbishop of Reims; H(enri), archbishop
of Sens; and then their suffragans: G(ocelin], bishop of Soissons; the
bishop of Paris; the bishop of Troyes; the bishop of Orlèans; the
bishop of Auxerre; the bishop of Meaux; the bishop of Chalons; the bishop
of Laon; the bishop of Beauvais; the abbot of Vèzelay, who was later
made archbishop of Lyon and legate of the Church of Rome; the abbot of
Cîteaux; the abbot of Pontigny; the abbot of Trois-Fontaines; the
abbot of St Denis de Reims; the abbot of St-Etienne de Dijon; the abbot
of Molesmes; the above-named B[ernard], abbot of Clairvaux: whose words
the aforementioned praised liberally. Also present were master Aubri de
Reims; master Fulcher and several others whom it would be tedious to record.
And of the others who have not been listed it seems profitable to furnish
guarantees in this matter, that they are lovers of truth: they are count
Theobald; the count of Nevers; Andrè de Baudemant. These were at
the council and acted in such a manner that by perfect, studious care they
sought out that which was fine and disapproved that which did not seem
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. The same Master Hugues with
his followers related to the above-named fathers the customs and observances
of their humble beginnings and of the one who said: Ego principium qui
et loquor vobis, that is to say: 'I who speak to you am the beginning,'
according to one's memory.
It pleased the common council that the deliberations which were made there
and the consideration of the Holy Scriptures which were diligently examined
with the wisdom of my lord H[onorius], pope of the Holy Church of Rome,
and of the patriarch of Jerusalem and with the assent of the chapter, together
with the agreement of the Poor Knights of Christ of the Temple which is
in Jerusalem, should be put in writing and not forgotten, steadfastly kept
so that by an upright life one may come to his creator; the compassion
of which Lord [is sweeter] than honey when compared with God; whose mercy
resembles oine, and permits us to come to Him whom they desire to serve.
Per infinita seculorum secula. Amen
Begins the Rule of the Poor Knighthood of the Temple
You who renounce your own wills, and you others serving the sovereign king
with horses and arms, for the salvation of your souls, for a fixed term,
strive everywhere with pure desire to hear matins and the entire service
according to canonical law and the customs of the regular masters of the
Holy City of Jerusalem. 0 you venerable brothers, similarly God is with
you, if you promise to despise the deceitful world in perpetual love of
God, and scorn the temptations of your body: sustained by the food of God
and watered and instructed in the commandments of Our Lord, at the end
of the divine office, none should fear to go into battle if he henceforth
wears the tonsure.
But if any brother is sent through the work of the house and of Christianity
in the East--something we believe will happen often--and cannot hear the
divine office, he should say instead of matins thirteen paternosters; seven
for each hour and nine for vespers. And together we all order him to do
so. But those who are sent for such a reason and cannot come at the hours
set to hear the divine office, if possible the set hours should not be
omitted, in order to render to God his due.
Manner in which Brothers should be Received
If any secular knight, or any other man, wishes to leave the mass of perdition
and abandon that secular life and choose your communal life, do not consent
to receive him immediately, for thus said my lord St Paul: Probate spiritus
si ex Deo sunt. That is to say: 'Test the soul to see if it comes from
God.' Rather, if the company of the brothers is to be granted to him, let
the Rule be read to him, and if he wishes to studiously obey the commandments
of the Rule, and if it pleases the Master and the brothers to receive him,
let him reveal his wish and desire before all the brothers assembled in
chapter and let him make his request with a pure heart.
Where you know excommunicated knights to be gathered, there we command
you to go; and if anyone there wishes to join the order of knighthood from
regions overseas, you should not consider worldly gain so much as the eternal
salvation of his soul. We order him to be received on condition that he
come before the bishop of that province and make his intention known to
him. And when the bishop has heard and absolved him, he should send him
to the Master and brothers of the Temple, and if his life is honest and
worthy of their company, if he seems good to the Master and brothers, let
him be mercifully received; and if he should die in the meanwhile, through
the anguish and torment he has suffered, let him be given all the benefits
of the brotherhood due to one of the Poor Knights of the Temple.
Under no other circumstances should the brothers of the Temple share the
company of an obviously-excommunicated man, nor take his own things; and
this we prohibit strongly because it would be a fearful thing if they were
excommunicated like him. But if he is only forbidden to hear the divine
office, it is certainly possible to keep company with him and take his
property for charity with the permission of their commander.
Not Receiving Children
Although the rule of the holy fathers allows the receiving of children
into a religious life, we do not advise you to do this. For he who wishes
to give his child eternally to the order of knighthood should bring him
up until such time as he is able to bear arms with vigour, and rid the
land of the enemies of Jesus Christ. Then let the mother and father lead
him to the house and make his request known to the brothers; and it is
much better if he does not take the vow when he is a child, but when he
is older, and it is better if he does not regret it than if he regrets
it. And henceforth let him be put to the test according to the wisdom of
the Master and brothers and according to the honesty of the life of the
one who asks to be admitted to the brotherhood.
Brothers who Stand Too Long in Chapel
It has been made known to us and we heard it from true witnesses that immoderately
and without restraint you hear the divine service whilst standing. We do
not ordain that you behave in this manner, on the contrary we disapprove
of it. But we command that the strong as well as the weak, to avoid a fuss,
should sing the psalm which is called Venite, with the invitatory and the
hymn sitting down, and say their prayers in silence, softly and not loudly,
so that the proclaimer does not disturb the prayers of the other brothers.
But at the end of the psalms, when the Gloria patri is sung, through reverence
for the Holy Trinity, you will rise and bow towards the altar, while the
weak and ill will incline their heads. So we command; and when the explanation
of the Gospels is read, and the Te deum laudamus is sung, and while all
the lauds are sung, and the matins are finished, you will be on your feet.
In such a manner we command you likewise to be on your feet at matins and
at all the hours of Our Lady.
the Brothers' Dress
We command that all the brothers' habits should always be of one colour,
that is white or black or brown. And we grant to all knight brothers in
winter and in summer if possible, white cloaks; and no-one who does not
belong to the aforementioned Knights of Christ is allowed to have a white
cloak, so that those who have abandoned the life of darkness will recognise
each other as being reconciled to their creator by the sign of the white
habits: which signifies purity and complete chastity. Chastity is certitude
of heart and healthiness of body. For if any brother does not take the
vow of chastity he cannot come to eternal rest nor see God, by the promise
of the apostle who said: Pacem sectamini cum omnibus et castimoniam sine
qua nemo Deum videbit. That is to say: 'Strive to bring peace to all, keep
chaste, without which no-one can see God.'
But these robes should be without any finery and without any show of pride.
And so we ordain that no brother will have a piece of fur on his clothes,
nor anything else which belongs to the usages of the body, not even a blanket
unless it is of lamb's wool or sheep's wool. We command all to have the
same, so that each can dress and undress, and put on and take off his boots
easily. And the Draper or the one who is in his place should studiously
reflect and take care to have the reward of God in all the above-mentioned
things, so that the eyes of the envious and evil-tongued cannot observe
that the robes are too long or too short; but he should distribute them
so that they fit those who must wear them, according to the size of each
And if any brother out of a feeling of pride or arrogance wishes to have
as his due a better and finer habit, let him be given the worst. And those
who receive new robes must immediately return the old ones, to be given
to the squires and sergeants and often to the poor, according to what seems
good to the one who holds that office.
Among the other things, we mercifully rule that, because of the great intensity
of the heat which exists in the East, from Easter to All Saints, through
compassion and in no way as a right, a linen shirt shalt be given to any
brother who wishes to wear it.
We command by common consent that each man shall have clothes and bed linen
according to the discretion of the Master. It is our intention that apart
from a mattress, one bolster and one blanket should be sufficient for each;
and he who lacks one of these may have a rug, and he may use a linen blanket
at all times, that is to say with a soft pile. And they will at all times
sleep dressed in shirt and breeches and shoes and belts, and where they
sleep shall be lit until morning. And the Draper should ensure that the
brothers are so well tonsured that they may be examined from the front
and from behind; and we command you to firmly adhere to this same conduct
with respect to beards and moustaches, so that no excess may be noted on
Pointed Shoes' and Shoe-Laces
We prohibit pointed shoes and shoe-laces and forbid any brother to wear
them; nor do we permit them to those who serve the house for a fixed term;
rather we forbid them to have shoes with points or laces under any circumstances.
For it is manifest and well known that these abominable things belong to
pagans. Nor should they wear their hair or their habits too long. For those
who serve the sovereign creator must of necessity be born within and without
through the promise of God himself who said: Estote mundi quia ego mundus
sum. That is to say: 'Be born as I am born.'
They Should Eat
In the palace, or what should rather be called the refectory, they should
eat together. But if you are in need of anything because you are not accustomed
to the signs used by other men of religion, quietly and privately you should
ask for what you need at table, with all humility and submission. For the
apostle said: Manduca panem tuum cum silentio. That is to say: 'Eat your
bread in silence.' And the psalmist: Posui ori meo custodiam. That is to
say: 'I held my tongue.' That is, 'I thought my tongue would fail me.'
That is, 'I held my tongue so that I should speak no ill.'
the Reading of the Lesson
Always, at the convent's dinner and supper, let the Holy Scripture be read,
if possible. If we love God and all His holy words and His holy commandments,
we should desire to listen attentively; the reader of the lesson will tell
you to keep silent before he begins to read.
Bowls and Drinking Vessels
Because of the shortage of bowls, the brothers will eat in pairs, so that
one may study the other more closely, and so that neither austerity nor
secret abstinence is introduced into the communal meal. And it seems just
to us that each brother should have the same ration of wine in his cup.
the Eating of Meat
It should be sufficient for you to eat meat three times a week, except
at Christmas, All Saints, the Assumption and the feast of the twelve apostles.
For it is understood that the custom of eating flesh corrupts the body.
But if a fast when meat must be forgone falls on a Tuesday, the next day
let it be given to the brothers in plenty. And on Sundays all the brothers
of the Temple, the chaplains and the clerks shall be given two meat meals
in honour of the holy resurrection of Jesus Christ. And the rest of the
household, that is to say the squires and sergeants, shall be content with
one meal and shall be thankful to God for it.
On the other days of the week, that is Mondays, Wednesdays and even Saturdays,
the brothers shall have two or three meals of vegetables or other dishes
eaten with bread; and we intend that this should be sufficient and command
that it should be adhered to. For he who does not eat one meal shall eat
On Fridays, let lenten meat be given communally to the whole congregation,
out of reverence for the passion of Jesus Christ; and you will fast from
All Saints until Easter, except for Christmas Day, the Assumption and the
feast of the twelve apostles. But weak and sick brothers shall not be kept
to this. From Easter to All Saints they may eat twice, as long as there
is no general fast.
Always after every dinner and supper all the brothers should give thanks
to God in silence, if the church is near to the palace where they eat,
and if it is not nearby, in the place itself. With a humble heart they
should give thanks to Jesus Christ who is the Lord Provider. Let the remains
of the broken bread be given to the poor and whole loaves be kept. Although
the reward of the poor, which is the kingdom of heaven, should be given
to the poor without hesitation, and the Christian faith doubtless recognises
you among them, we ordain that a tenth part of the bread be given to your
When daylight fades and night falls listen to the signal of the bell or
the call to prayers, according to the customs of the country, and all go
to compline. But we command you first to take collation; although we place
this light meal under the arbitration and discretion of the Master. When
he wants water and when he orders, out of mercy, diluted wine, let it be
given sensibly. Truly, it should not be taken to excess, but in moderation.
For Solomon said: Quia vinum facit apostatare sapientes.ÃÃ
ÄÄThat is to say that wine corrupts the wise.
When the brothers come out of compline they have no permission to speak
openly except in an emergency. But let each go to his bed quietly and in
silence, and if he needs to speak to his squire, he should say what he
has to say softly and quietly. But if by chance, as they come out of compline,
the knighthood or the house has a serious problem which must be solved
before morning, we intend that the Master or a party of elder brothers
who govern the Order under the Master, may speak appropriately. And for
this reason we command that it should be done in such a manner.
For it is written: In multiloquio non effugies peccatum. That is to say
that to talk too much is not without sin. And elsewhere: Mors et vita in
manibus lingue. That is to say: 'Life and death are in the power of the
tongue.' And during that conversation we altogether prohibit idle words
and wicked bursts of laughter. And if anything is said during that conversation
that should not be said, when you go to bed we command you to say the paternoster
prayer in all humility and pure devotion.
Brothers who suffer illness through the work of the house may be allowed
to rise at matins with the agreement and permission of the Master or of
those who are charged with that office. But they should say instead of
matins thirteen paternosters, as is established above, in such a manner
that the words reflect the heart. Thus said David: Psallite sapienter.
That is to say: 'Sing wisely.' And elsewhere the same David said: In conspectu
Angelorum psallam tibi. That is to say: 'I will sing to you before the
angels.' And let this thing be at all times at the discretion of the Master
or of those who are charged with that office.
the Communal Life
One reads in the Holy Scriptures: Dividebatur singulis prout cuique opus
erat. That is to say that to each was given according to his need. For
this reason we say that no-one should be elevated among you, but all should
take care of the sick; and he who is less ill should thank God and not
be troubled; and let whoever is worse humble himself through his infirmity
and not become proud through pity. In this way all members will live in
peace. And we forbid anyone to embrace excessive abstinence; but firmly
keep the communal life.
The Master may give to whomsoever he pleases the horse and armour and whatever
he likes of another brother, and the brother to whom the given thing belongs
should not become vexed or angry: for be certain that if he becomes angry
he will go against God.
Let only those brothers whom the Master knows will give wise and beneficial
advice be called to the council; for this we command, and by no means everyone
should be chosen. For when it happens that they wish to treat serious matters
like the giving of communal land, or to speak of the affairs of the house,
or receive a brother, then if the Master wishes, it is appropriate to assemble
the entire congregation to hear the advice of the whole chapter; and what
seems to the Master best and most beneficial, let him do it.
Brothers Sent Overseas
Brothers who are sent throughout divers countries of the world should endeavour
to keep the commandments of the Rule according to their ability and live
without reproach with regard to meat and wine, etc. so that they may receive
a good report from outsiders and not sully by deed or word the precepts
of the Order, and so that they may set an example of good works and wisdom;
above all so that those with whom they associate and those in whose inns
they lodge may be bestowed with honour. And if possible, the house where
they sleep and take lodging should not be without light at night, so that
shadowy enemies may not lead them to wickedness, which God forbids them.
Keeping the Peace
Each brother should ensure that he does not incite another brother to wrath
or anger, for the sovereign mercy of God holds the strong and weak brother
equal, in the name of charity.
the Brothers Should Go About
In order to carry out their holy duties and gain the glory of the Lord's
joy and to escape the fear of hell-fire, it is fitting that all brothers
who are professed strictly obey their Master. For nothing is dearer to
Jesus Christ than obedience. For as soon as something is commanded by the
Master or by him to whom the Master has given the authority, it should
be done without delay as though Christ himself had commanded it. For thus
said Jesus Christ through the mouth of David, and it is true: Ob auditu
auris obedivit mihi. That is to say: 'He obeyed me as soon as he heard
For this reason we pray and firmly command the knight brothers who have
abandoned their own wills and all the others who serve for a fixed term
not to presume to go out into the town or city without the permission of
the Master or of the one who is given that office; except at night to the
Sepulchre and the places of prayer which lie within the walls of the city
There, brothers may go in pairs, but otherwise may not go out by day or
night; and when they have stopped at an inn, neither brother nor squire
nor sergeant may go to another's lodging to see or speak to him without
permission, as is said above. We command by common consent that in this
Order which is ruled by God, no brother should fight or rest according
to his own will, but according to the orders of the Master, to whom all
should submit, that they may follow this pronouncement of Jesus Christ
who said: Non veni facere voluntatem meam, sed ejus que misit me, patris.
That is to say: 'I did not come to do my own will, but the will of my father
who sent me.'
they should Effect an Exchange
Without permission from the Master or from the one who holds that office,
let no brother exchange one thing for another, nor ask to, unless it is
a small or petty thing.
Without permission from the Master or from the one who holds that office,
let no brother have a lockable purse or bag; but commanders of houses or
provinces and Masters shall not be held to this. Without the consent of
the Master or of his commander, let no brother have letters from his relatives
or any other person; but if he has permission, and if it please the Master
or the commander, the letters may be read to him.
If anything which cannot be conserved, like meat, is given to any brother
by a secular person in thanks, he should present it to the Master or the
Commander of Victuals. But if it happens that any of his friends or relatives
has something that they wish to give only to him, let him not take it without
the permission of the Master or of the one who holds that office. Moreover,
if the brother is sent any other thing by his relatives, let him not take
it without the permission of the Master or of the one who holds that office.
We do not wish the commanders or baillis, who are especially charged to
carry out this office, to be held to this aforementioned rule.
If any brother, in speaking or soldiering, or in any other way commits
a slight sin, he himself should willingly make known the fault to the Master,
to make amends with a pure heart. And if he does not usually fail in this
way let him be given a light penance, but if the fault is very serious
let him go apart from the company of the brothers so that he does not eat
or drink at any table with them, but all alone; and he should submit to
the mercy and judgement of the Master and brothers, that he may be saved
on the Day of Judgement.
Above all things, we should ensure that no brother, powerful or not powerful,
strong or weak, who wishes to promote himself gradually and become proud
and defend his crime, remain unpunished. But if he does not wish to atone
for it let him be given a harsher punishment. And if by pious counsel prayers
are said to God for him, and he does not wish to make amends, but wishes
to boast more and more of it, let him be uprooted from the pious flock;
according to the apostle who says: Auferte malum ex vobis. That is to say:
'Remove the wicked from among you.' It is necessary for you to remove the
wicked sheep from the company of faithful brothers.
Moreover the Master, who should hold in his hand the staff and rod- the
staff with which to sustain the weaknesses and strengths of others; the
rod with which to beat the vices of those who sin--for love of justice
by counsel of the patriarch, should take care to do this. But also, as
my lord St Maxime said: 'May the leniency be no greater than the fault;
nor excessive punishment cause the sinner to return to evil deeds.'
We command you by divine counsel to avoid a plague: envy, rumour, spite,
slander. So each one should zealously guard against what the apostle said:
Ne sis criminator et susurro in populo. That is to say: 'Do not accuse
or malign the people of God.' But when a brother knows for certain that
his fellow brother has sinned, quietly and with fraternal mercy let him
be chastised privately between the two of them, and if he does not wish
to listen, another brother should be called, and if he scorns them both
he should recant openly before the whole chapter. Those who disparage others
suffer from a terrible blindness and many are full of great sorrow that
they do not guard against harbouring envy towards others; by which they
shall be plunged into the ancient wickedness of the devil.
None Take Pride in his Faults
Although all idle words are generally known to be sinful, they will be
spoken by those who take pride in their own sin before the strict judge
Jesus Christ; which is demonstrated by what David said: Obmutui et silui
a bonis. That is to say that one should refrain from speaking even good,
and observe silence. Likewise one should guard against speaking evil, in
order to escape the penalty of sin. We prohibit and firmly forbid any brother
to recount to another brother nor to anyone else the brave deeds he has
done in secular life, which should rather be called follies committed in
the performance of knightly duties, and the pleasures of the flesh that
he has had with immoral women; and if it happens that he hears them being
told by another brother, he should immediately silence him; and if he cannot
do this, he should straightaway leave that place and not give his heart's
ear to the pedlar of filth.
This custom among the others we command you to adhere to strictly and firmly:
that no brother should explicitly ask for the horse or armour of another.
It will therefore be done in this manner: if the infirmity of the brother
or the frailty of his animals or his armour is known to be such that the
brother cannot go out to do the work of the house without harm, let him
go to the Master, or to the one who is in his place in that office after
the Master, and make the situation known to him in pure faith and true
fraternity, and henceforth remain at the disposal of the Master or of the
one who holds that office.
Animals and Squires
Each knight brother may have three horses and no more without the permission
of the Master, because of the great poverty which exists at the present
time in the house of God and of the Temple of Solomon. To each knight brother
we grant three horses and one squire, and if that squire willingly serves
charity, the brother should not beat him for any sin he commits.
No Brother May Have an Ornate Bridle
We utterly forbid any brother to have gold or silver on his bridle, nor
on his stirrups, nor on his spurs. That is, if he buys them; but if it
happens that a harness is given to him in charity which is so old that
the gold or silver is tarnished, that the resplendent beauty is not seen
by others nor pride taken in them: then he may have them. But if he is
given new equipment let the Master deal with it as he sees fit.
Let no brother have a cover on his shield or his lance, for it is no advantage,
on the contrary we understand that it would be very harmful.
This command which is established by us it is beneficial for all to keep
and for this reason we ordain that it be kept henceforth, and that no brother
may make a food bag of linen or wool, principally, or anything else except
We collectively forbid any brother to hunt a bird with another bird. It
is not fitting for a man of religion to succumb to pleasures, but to hear
willingly the commandments of God, to be often at prayer and each day to
confess tearfully to God in his prayers the sins he has committed. No brother
may presume to go particularly with a man who hunts one bird with another.
Rather it is fitting for every religious man to go simply and humbly without
laughing or talking too much, but reasonably and without raising his voice
and for this reason we command especially all brothers not to go in the
woods with longbow or crossbow to hunt animals or to accompany anyone who
would do so, except out of love to save him from faithless pagans. Nor
should you go after dogs, nor shout or chatter, nor spur on a horse out
of a desire to capture a wild beast.
It is the truth that you especially are charged with the duty of giving
your souls for your brothers, as did Jesus Christ, and of defending the
land from the unbelieving pagans who are the enemies of the son of the
Virgin Mary. This above-mentioned prohibition of hunting is by no means
intended to include the lion, for he comes encircling and searching for
what he can devour, his hands against every man and every man's hand against
They May Have Lands and Men
This kind of new order we believe was born out of the Holy Scriptures and
divine providence in the Holy Land of the Fast. That is to say that this
armed company of knights may kill the enemies of the cross without sinning.
For this reason we judge you to be rightly called knights of the Temple,
with the double merit and beauty of probity, and that you may have lands
and keep men, villeins and fields and govern them justly, and take your
right to them as it is specifically established.
You who have abandoned the pleasant riches of this world, we believe you
to have willingly subjected yourselves to poverty; therefore we are resolved
that you who live the communal life may receive tithes. If the bishop of
the place, to whom the tithe should be rendered by right, wishes to give
it to you out of charity, with the consent of his chapter he may give those
tithes which the Church possesses. Moreover, if any layman keeps the tithes
of his patrimony, to his detriment and against the Church, and wishes to
leave them to you, he may do so with the permission of the prelate and
We know, because we have seen it, that persecutors and people who like
quarrels and endeavour to cruelly torment those faithful to the Holy Church
and their friends, are without number. By the clear judgement of our council,
we command that if there is anyone in the parties of the East or anywhere
else who asks anything of you, for faithful men and love of truth you should
judge the thing, if the other party wishes to allow it. This same commandment
should be kept at all times when something is stolen from you.
We command by pious counsel that ageing and weak brothers be honoured with
diligence and given consideration according to their frailty; and, kept
well by the authority of the Rule in those things which are necessary to
their physical welfare, should in no way be in distress.
Let sick brothers be given consideration and care and be served according
to the saying of the evangelist and Jesus Christ: Infirmus fui et visitastis
me. That is to say: 'I was sick and you visited me'; and let this not be
forgotten. For those brothers who are wretched should be treated quietly
and with care, for which service, carried out without hesitation, you will
gain the kingdom of heaven.
we command the Infirmarer to studiously and faithfully provide those things
which are necessary to the various sick brothers, such as meat, flesh,
birds and all other foods which bring good health, according to the means
and the ability of the house.
When any brother passes from life to death, a thing from which no one is
exempt, we command you to sing mass for his soul with a pure heart, and
have the divine office performed by the priests who serve the sovereign
king and you who serve charity for a fixed term and all the brothers who
are present where the body lies and serve for a fixed term should say one
hundred paternosters during the next seven days. And all the brothers who
are under the command of that house where the brother has passed away should
say the hundred paternosters, as is said above, afrer the death of the
brother is known, by God's mercy. Also we pray and command by pastoral
authority that a pauper be fed with meat and wine for forty days in memory
of the dead brother, just as if he were alive. We expressly forbid all
other offerings which used to be made at will and without discretion by
the Poor Knights of the Temple on the death of brothers, at the feast of
Easter and at other feasts.
Moreover, you should profess your faith with a pure heart night and day
that you may be compared in this respect to the wisest of all the prophets,
who said: Calicem salutaris accipiam. That is to say: 'I will take the
cup of salvation.' Which means: 'I will avenge the death of Jesus Christ
by my death. For just as Jesus Christ gave his body for me, I am prepared
in the same way to give my soul for my brothers.' This is a suitable offering;
a living sacrifice and very pleasing to God.
the Priests and Clerks who Serve Charity
The whole of the common council commands you to render all offerings and
all kinds of alms in whatever manner they may be given, to the chaplains
and clerks and to others who remain in charity for a fixed term. According
to the authority of the Lord God, the servants of the Church may have only
food and clothing, and may not presume to have anything else unless the
Master wishes to give them anything willingly out of charity.
Those who serve out of pity and remain with you for a fixed term are knights
of the house of God and of the Temple of Solomon; therefore out of pity
we pray and finally command that if during his stay the power of God takes
any one of them, for love of God and out of brotherly mercy, one pauper
be fed for seven days for the sake of his soul, and each brother in that
house should say thirty paternosters.
Secular Knights who Serve for a Fixed Term
We command all secular knights who desire with a pure heart to serve Jesus
Christ and the house of the Temple of Solomon for a fixed term to faithfully
buy a suitable horse and arms, and everything that will be necessary for
such work. Furthermore, we command both parties to put a price on the horse
and to put the price in writing so that it is not forgotten; and let everything
that the knight, his squire and horse need, even horseshoes, be given out
of fraternal charity according to the means of the house. If, during the
fixed term, it happens by chance that the horse dies in the service of
the house, if the house can afford to, the Master should replace it. If,
at the end of his tenure, the knight wishes to return to his own country,
he should leave to the house, out of charity, half the price of the horse,
and the other half he may, if he wishes, receive from the alms of the house.
the Commitment of Sergeants
As the squires and sergeants who wish to serve charity in the house of
the Temple for the salvation of their souls and for a fixed term come from
divers regions, it seems to us beneficial that their promises be received,
so that the envious enemy does not put it in their hearts to repent of
or renounce their good intentions.
By common counsel of all the chapter we forbid and order expulsion, for
common vice, of anyone who without discretion was in the house of God and
of the Knights of the Temple; also that the sergeants and squires should
not have white habits, from which custom great harm used to come to the
house; for in the regions beyond the mountains false brothers, married
men and others who said they were brothers of the Temple used to be sworn
in; while they were of the world. They brought so much shame to us and
harm to the Order of Knighthood that even their squires boasted of it;
for this reason numerous scandals arose. Therefore let them assiduously
be given black robes; but if these cannot be found, they should be given
what is available in that province; or what is the least expensive, that
If married men ask to be admitted to the fraternity, benefice and devotions
of the house, we permit you to receive them on the following conditions:
that after their death they leave you a part of their estate and all that
they have obtained henceforth. Meanwhile, they should lead honest lives
and endeavour to act well towards the brothers. But they should not wear
white habits or cloaks; moreover, if the lord should die before his lady,
the brothers should take part of his estate and let the lady have the rest
to support her during her lifetime; for it does not seem right to us that
such confréres should live in a house with brothers who have promised
chastity to God.
The company of women is a dangerous thing, for by it the old devil has
led many from the straight path to Paradise. Henceforth, let not ladies
be admitted as sisters into the house of the Temple; that is why, very
dear brothers, henceforth it is not fitting to follow this custom, that
the flower of chastity is always maintained among you.
Them Not Have Familiarity with Women
We believe it to be a dangerous thing for any religious to look too much
upon the face of woman. For this reason none of you may presume to kiss
a woman, be it widow, young girl, mother, sister, aunt or any other; and
henceforth the Knighthood of Jesus Christ should avoid at all costs the
embraces of women, by which men have perished many times, so that they
may remain eternally before the face of God with a pure conscience and
We forbid all brothers henceforth to dare to raise children over the font
and none should be ashamed to refuse to be godfathers or godmothers; this
shame brings more glory than sin.
All the commandments which are mentioned and written above in this present
Rule are at the discretion and judgement of the Master.
are the Feast Days and Fasts that all the Brothers should Celebrate and
Let it be known to all present and future brothers of the Temple that they
should fast at the vigils of the twelve apostles. That is to say: St Peter
and St Paul; St Andrew; St James and St Philip; St Thomas; St Bartholomew;
Sts. Simon and Jude St James; St Matthew. The vigil of St John the Baptist;
the vigil of the Ascension and the two days before, the rogation days;
the vigil of Pentecost; the ember days; the vigil of St Laurence; the vigil
of Our Lady in mid-August; the vigil of All Saints; the vigil of Epiphany.
And they should fast on all the above-mentioned days according to the commandments
of Pope Innocent at the council which took place in the city of Pisa. And
if any of the above-mentioned feast days fall on a Monday, they should
fast on the preceding Saturday. If the nativity of Our Lord falls on a
Friday, the brothers should eat meat in honour of the festival. But they
should fast on the feast day of St Mark because of the Litany: for it is
established by Rome for the mortality of men. However, if it falls during
the octave of Easter, they should not fast.
are the Feast Days which should be Observed in the House of the Temple
The nativity of Our Lord; the feast of St Stephen; St John the Evangelist;
the Holy Innocents; the eighth day of Christmas, which is New Year's Day;
Epiphany; St Mary Candlemas; St Mathias the Apostle; the Annunciation of
Our Lady in March; Easter and the three days following; St George; Sts
Philip and James, two apostles; the finding of the Holy Cross; the Ascension
of Our Lord; Pentecost and the two days following; St John the Baptist;
St Peter and St Paul, two apostles; St Mary Magdalene; St James the Apostle;
St Laurence; the Assumption of Our Lady; the nativity of Our Lady; the
Exaltation of the Holy Cross; St Matthew the Apostle; St Michael; Sts Simon
and Jude; the feast of All Saints; St Martin in winter; St Catherine in
winter; St Andrew; St Nicholas in winter; St Thomas the Apostle.
None of the lesser feasts should be kept by the house of the Temple. And
we wish and advise that this be strictly kept and adhered to: that all
the brothers of the Temple should fast from the Sunday before St Martin's
to the nativity of Qur Lord, unless illness prevents them. And if it happens
that the feast of St Martin falls on a Sunday, the brothers should go without
meat on the preceding Sunday
(C) 1992, J. M. Upton-Ward. Excerpted here by kind permission of the author.
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