Knights Templar

The piety or superstition of the age had induced multitudes of pilgrims in the eleventh and twelfth centuries to visit Jerusalem for the purpose of offering their devotions at the sepulchre of the Lord and the other holy places in that city. Many of these religious wanderers were weak or aged, almost all of them unarmed, and thousands of them were subjected to insult, to pillage, and often to death, inflicted by the hordes of Arabs who, even after the capture of Jerusalem by the Christians, continued to infest the sea coast of Palestine and the roads to the capitol. To protect the pious pilgrims thus exposed to plunder and bodily outrage, nine French knights, the followers of Baldwyn, united, in the year 1118, in a military confraternity or brotherhood in arms, and entered into a solemn compact to aid each other in clearing the roads, and defending the pilgrims in their passage to the holy city. Uniting the monastic with the military character, they took, in the presence of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, the usual vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and with great humility assumed the title Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ. Their story is told well in the John J. Robinson book, Born in Blood.

This page is adapted from the Glossary at Phoenixmasonry — Used with permission.

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