Warrior-monks, a heretic king, and a French priest

My grandfather’s journals remained unopened in his campaign chest for many years. When I finally returned to them — this time as an adult — I discovered an astonishing world of ideas and concepts dealing with some surprising subjects. These included an order of warrior-monks, a heretic king of ancient Egypt, and a French priest. As I immersed myself into my grandfather’s writings, it soon became apparent that he and his close friend, Father Lucius — a Franciscan monk — 

collaborated for years trying to solve a great mystery; the sudden disappearance of a significant religious artefact — a holy relic — from the pages of history. It all began with the Knights Templar.in 1119, nine French knights, the founding fathers of the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon — the Templars — travelled to Jerusalem. They were welcomed by King Baldwin who used the Al-Aqsa Mosque as his own palace, and invited them to establish their headquarters on the Temple Mount.

The knights asked the king for permission to occupy part of the mosque for their own use. Curiously, this extraordinary request was granted. For the next seven years, the knights remained in Jerusalem and rarely left the mosque. What were they doing there?

Father Lucius, a biblical scholar and amateur archaeologist, was intrigued by this. He was convinced that the Templars were looking for something by literally digging up the past.Did they find what they were looking for? Apparently, not. Why? Because according to Father Lucius, 

they were looking for something that was no longer there. This was one of the two reasons Father Lucius was so interested in the Templars.The second was their sudden demise. The order only lasted for just under two hundred years. 

During that time, the Templars had become incredibly wealthy and influential. However, in 1307, King Phillip the Fair of France ordered the mass arrest of the Templars.Torture, imprisonment and executions on a large scale followed. Even the powerful Grand Master, Fra. Jacques do Molay, didn’t escape the net of persecution. He was imprisoned and tortured for years and eventually burnt alive on an island in the Seine. This was sanctioned by the pope himself who took a personal interest in the destruction of the order. Just before his body was consumed by flames, the Grand Master cursed the pope and the king. Within a month, Pope Clement V was dead and King Phillip followed him by autumn. The king’s three sons all died young. The Grand Master’s curse had become reality.

Why this sudden fall from grace?  What were the true reasons behind this extraordinary campaign by church and state to discredit and eradicate such a powerful and prestigious order? Over the years, many theories have been advanced to explain these events. However, Father Lucius had his own theory, and it had nothing to do with mainstream scholarship.

Father Lucius spent many years in Egypt. During this time, my grandfather and his friend corresponded regularly, and dealt with this subject in great detail. Their theories and conclusions were astonishing to say the least, and later inspired me to write The Empress Holds The Key.

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