Templar Debt

We owe the Templars a great debt. We would be remiss to simply limit their contributions to the cruelty they imposed upon the Saracens on behalf of the Church. Their character, the conviction and savagery with which they fought are worthy of honor. These heroic traits coupled with the desire to serve as guardians for the faithful making their pilgrimage to the Holy Land safely is something we emulate in our own Order. They developed a system of exchanging notes much like today's checking system, and as a group, eventually became wealthy bankers, That, as history shows us, was their own undoing. But that is only half the story.

The Templars were impressed and admired the Saracen, who were so impressed by Templars exercise of nobility they sought to show the Knights of Christ their own customs. This is how true Brotherhood, even in battle, brings out the best in warriors. European historians viewed Saladin as “a paragon of courage and magnanimity,” and described him as pious, generous and merciful. He was perceived as a scholar more interested in religion and philosophy than in matters of war. During the bitter cold months, Saladin clothed them Christian prisoners in furs to keep them warm. His men showed kindness towards non-fighting villagers as a demonstration of power. In the 18th century, David Hume stated that “The advantage indeed of science, moderation, humanity, was at that time [of the Crusades] entirely on the side of the Saracens”, combined with “a spirit of generosity.”

Historians in the 12th century noted incessantly that private encounters between the Knights Templar and Saracens were friend by night and valued one another's friendship even though they would engage in battle to the death in the morning. This is something that carried over into WWII when Germans and American soldiers agreed on a ceasefire for Christmas, and even exchanged gifts of cigarettes, alcohol and food before returning fire to one another the following day. Charter is indeed, developed in the battle field, and if universal Brotherhood could exist under those conditions, imagine how much could be accomplished in peacetime.

So, what is the other side of the story? It was during those quiet nights in between battles, where a Templar could sit with Saladin's men, that an exchange of information took place. That the mysteries of the Middle East were passed on from the mouth of one soldier to another. Were it not for the Templars AND the Saracens, many of those mysteries would be lost in the sands of time.