chapter  2
10 Pages

Refl ections of confl ict in two fragments of the liturgical observances from the primitive rule of the Knights Templar SEBASTIÁN SALVADÓ (NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY

The redaction of the primitive Templar Rule was an endeavour carried out not without a small degree of tension. The creation of the military orders, or the formalization and normalization of a nascent cultural practice among Frankish nobles in the Latin East, involved many invested parties engaged in mediating a perceived conflict; one which was of a devotional, ecclesiastical, institutional, and social kind. 1 Its deliberation at the Council of Troyes in 1129 testifies of the significance accorded to the pressing issues perceived in the knights’ practices. 2 The Templar brethren’s relationship to the performance of liturgy is one such point of contention not entirely settled at that time. Their particular religious observances were most probably fully formulated in the years after Innocent II’s 1139 bull Omne datum optimum which, among other things, allowed the Templars to have their own priests. 3 Chapters 74 to 76 of the Primitive Rule stipulate the religious feasts that Templar knights were to observe. 4 These chapters represent the results of settling secular and ecclesiastical diverging interests through mediation. They function to distinguish the new brethren’s religious opus in relation to the standard liturgical year as observed by canons and monks. Chapter 74 commences with the title, ‘These are the feast days and fasts that all the brothers should celebrate and observe’, and resumes in the following tone, ‘Let it be known to all present and future brothers of the Temple that they should fast at the vigils of the twelve apostles.’ 5 The following chapter, 75, is titled, ‘These are the feast days which should be observed in the house of the Temple’, while chapter 76 continues to delineate what brethren are to do in relation to the normal liturgical calendar, ‘None of the lesser feasts should be kept by the house of the Temple.’ 6

The creation of this list entailed resolving additional conflicting issues, both in how a knight was to practice these observances in relation to the way literate monks or clergy did and in resolving diverging views as to the contents of the list itself (i.e., what actual feasts to include and exclude). Regarding the first issue, we know that its resolution was achieved by requiring Templar knights be present in the chapel during these feasts, as evidenced from chapter 359. 7 The brethren’s comportment while the Templar priest sung the Divine Office (consisting of eight liturgical celebrations throughout the day) and the two daily Masses was to listen attentively. 8 This was a solution borrowed from the practice of conversi , or those

century. 9 As for the second aspect, the selection of feasts is generally characterized as emphasizing those of the temporale (Christ) over those of the temporale (saints); the celebration of the apostles can be interpreted as an extension of this Christ-centric devotion. Notwithstanding and central to the present discussion, the number of feasts observed was subject to change and emendation. This stemmed not just from clerical discussions attempting to establish the military order’s core devotional profile. Changes to the Rule surged also from situations of conflict between institutions and struggles of a more brutal nature, such as those associated with the events of 1187. 10 In the following study I concentrate on discussing two different iterations of chapters 74 to 76 found in liturgical manuscripts belonging to the central commandery of the Knights Templar originating from before and after the 1187 loss of Jerusalem. 11 My analysis suggests these sources reflect an instance of the Knights Templar negotiating their spiritual and institutional relationship with the canons of the Holy Sepulchre and, possibly, are reflective of how the loss of Jerusalem impacted the Order’s devotional identity.