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Daily Life of the Templars

I n a way there were two types of ordinary days for Templars, one in the days of the Latin Rule and one in the days of the French Rule. The basic principles underlying the whole operation of the Order were of course the same, but their application was different.

F ollowing the Latin rule, brothers were awakened at matins. They were to get up in silence, put on their simple surcoats and habits (white, black or brown depending on rank), and go to the church or chapel. Everyone said twenty-eight Pater Nosters, fourteen for the hours of the day and fourteen for the Blessed Mary. This was repeated at the hours of prime, terce, midday, and mass, if possible, but of course, expeditions cut down the number of available moments of prayer.

T hen, at midday, at the sound of the bell, all brothers assembled in the hall for the first meal of the day. Eating alone was a form of penance. After a prayer, consisting of 60 Pater Nosters (count 'em) the Preceptor sat first, and then the knights and other brothers. At all meals there was bread, salt and wine or water, but main courses varied according to the season and surroundings. All in all the Order ate well to maintain their health. Knights, servants, and priests ate at separate tables, maintaining as little communication as possible. Especially jocular speech or laughter was shunned. After the meal the knights were to again say a prayer and then to retreat to the stables, to see that their horses were being well tended to. On expeditions they were to use this time also to check their equipment and prepare for eventual battle. Even if free time happened to fall into the hands of knights, they were not to use it in vain, especially not to hunt.

T he rules of the Order specified that the brothers must always wear small cords around their body to remind them of the chastity they were bound to by oath. At night they were to maintain a small light lest enemies attack them by the veil of darkness. The rules also specified that a brother could not become a godfather to anyone, enter a house in which a woman lay in confinement, allow women servants unless they were ill and no other arrangement was available, and not to kiss any woman on the mouth, not even the members of their immediate family. The misogynistic tendencies were very evident in the ways of the Order.

T hen there was the time governed by the French Rule. This version has elaborate lists of clothes and equipment. For example, the knights were supposed always to wear their habit except when sick. For some reason they may not eat or drink without the habit. Even now the aim of the Order was to follow a strict Cistercian way of life. The Order was to observe two Lents, one before Christmas and another before Easter. That meant forty days of fasting, except if there was fighting to be done or the Grand Master thought it better not to fast this time.

T he French Rule is also explicit on infractions and sanctions. There were two main sanctions, loss of habit and loss of house. The habit was lost for such mischiefs as refusing to obey a superior, fighting another Templar, wounding a Christian, and giving alms to lay people of the House. One would lose the House for simony, revealing his Chapter, killing a Christian, larceny, and heresy. It is interesting to think that the Order participated in the Albigensian Crusade and served one Christian lord fighting another, which must have resulted in some Christians losing their lives. Maybe the Pope was able to ease guilt on some occasions.

Armory Bailey Barracks Chapel Dungeon Library Pub

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