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2.2 Creation of the Order

At the time of the Crusades to the Holy Land in 1118, eight or nine knights led by Hugues de Payns travelled to Jerusalem. They saw that the crusaders kept only a few strongholds and that the pilgrims were often attacked by local bandits. These knights decided to devote themselves to protect these pilgrims. They formed a religious order called at first “Poor Knights of Christ” and in 1128 they were granted a Constitution by the Pope Honorius II. Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem, gave them some quarters in the royal palace, the ex Solomon’s Temple. Their full name became the Knights of the Temple of Solomon and their symbol two men riding one horse. Their constitution foresaw four types of members: the Knights from noble origin were doing the fighting, the Sergeants were helping the Knights, the Priests were in charge of the religious duties and the servants or helpers were doing the menial jobs. (e),(r)

Hughes de Payns died in 1136 and he was followed s head or Master by Robert de Craon who obtained from the Pope Innocent II the Bull “Omne datum optimum” that clarified the privileges of the order. The main one was the exemption of the Episcopal jurisdiction. The order could have his own priests and chaplains that did not depend of the local bishop. The Templars were also exempted from the “dime” or taxes. They could build oratories in which they were buried. In this way the order has acquired a large autonomy. It received many donations and as a result the Templars had large resources at their disposal. They were accused of later on of arrogance and meanness. This can be explained by the fact that they used to their full extent and to their own profit all the privileges they were granted by the Pope Innocent II. (e),(r)