A look at some of the history and holidays on November 22
Feast of St. Cecilia, a second century Christian martyred for her religion and of whom it is recorded that, at her wedding, “she sang in her heart to God.” She is the Patron Saint of music and musicians and one of the most famous of the Roman Martyrs. The earliest musical society in the American colonies was established in Charleston, SC in the 1766 and named in her honor, The St. Cecilia Society.
1307 – Arrest of the Templars:
The Templars were an order of warrior monks created in 1119 to protect travelers to the Holy Land. Setting up their headquarters on the Temple Mount in the Al Aska Mosque, the later in Acre, the Templar became famous for their ferocity in battle as a highly trained heavy cavalry force. But there was much more to the Templars. Templar military prowess made the monastic order wealthy as people across Christendom contributed money, lands and estates. Someone had to manage the wealth and property. Thus a significant majority of the Templars were not warriors but bureaucrats and builders stationed all across Europe. And the Templar’s most long term significance was developing the world’s first proto-banks as a service for pilgrims to the holy land. Pilgrims could place their wealth in Templar hands in, say, England. The Templars would issue a receipt that would allow the pilgrim then to travel without worry of presenting an inviting target to bandits, then reclaim their wealth from the Templars once arrived in the Holy Land.
The biggest mistake of the Templars was lending their wealth to scurrilous individuals . . . such as French Kings. And for that, they ended up getting something normally reserved in medieval times for Jewish moneylenders.
In 1307, France’s King Phillip II was deeply in debt to the Templars. Rather than — or perhaps unable to — repay it, and with greed for Templar wealth, the French King opted to destroy the Templars. He found a man who had been forced out of the Order and who was making wild accusations against them. Phillip II knew he alone could not destroy the order. He need to add an air of verisimilitude to the charges and he needed a person of high standing to do it. In short, he needed the backing of a Pope. And in his blood relative, Pope Clement V, Phillip found a willing accomplice.
On this day in 1307, Pope Clement V issued the papal bull Pastoralis Praeeminentiae which instructed all Christian monarchs in Europe to arrest all Templars and seize their assets. No trials were held. No evidence of any wrongdoing by the monks was ever introduced. In the blink of an eye, the Templar Order was destroyed, or at least it was as soon as Phillip II had tortured confessions out of the Templar’s highest ranking members. Things like this are the reason “due process” came to exist in Anglo law.
In the end, the leadership of the Templar order were executed by being burnt alive at the stake. In the moments before the flames overtook him, the Grand Master of the Templars shouted out to Phillip II and Pope Clement that they would soon be meeting him in the afterlife. That proved prophetic. Within a year, both Pope Clement V and King Phillip II were dead.