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Outcome of the Trial

t wo big problems arose as the verdict was issued and the dust had settled: what to do with the Templars still in custody, and what to do with the Templars' property. Philip had an all-in-the-family-type solution to this, and he proposed the formation of a new Order on the ruins of the Templars, one with his son on the Grand Master's seat. Even he sensed the animosity of the Council for such an outrageous proposition and he dropped the project.

C lement came up with his solution when he issued his bull Ad Providam on 2 May 1312. In it he stated that the property of the Templars was to go to the Hospitallers, except in the Iberian Peninsula whose kings had struck personal deals with Clement to have the properties there pass on to local Orders. Philip was awarded costs for the burden of having had to arrest and maintain the Templars during the long battle..

I t was no easy task to say that the property was to be the Hospitallers from now on. Kings availed themselves to the defenseless properties of Templars, which were, as we know, of formidable value. For example in England, Edward II sold wood and grain in his own name, paid clerks' wages that were in arrears with Templar funds, and even had meat and fish taken for his coronation from the Templars' stockhouses. Local lords also saw that their moment was come, and they acted on it in a manner much reminiscent of a pack of hyenas attacking a cow. Templar lands, while large and productive, were often given to the Order by grants from rivalling lords. Such grants were a good reason to dispute the donation and place the land in temporary custody which soon turned permanent. Therefore the Hospitallers only received a fraction of what was their due.

O f the famed Templar treasure the Hospitallers got even less. When coffers were opened at the largest preceptories, they were primarily empty. Even given that the loss of Acre, being the last in a long series of hardships, had caused a negative cash flow along with the necessary evacuation of Palestine, the small amount of liquid assets led to an ongoing controversy over the large fortune the Order amassed in its days of glory.

A s to the Templars in custody, a two-tier approach was adopted. All leaders were to be judged by the papal authorities, and all brothers were to be left to the hands of the local authorities. The low-rank brothers were treated with much lenience, as they were allowed to reside in Templar houses and draw on Templar funds for their upkeep. In 1317 ex-Templars were given permission to join the Hospitallers, and in 1318 Franciscans and Dominicans in the Naples region were instructed to support surviving Templars. The Order of Jesus Christ in Portugal, which actually was the Templars under a new brand name, even retained Templar ranks. ($64,000 question: ever wonder why Christopher Columbus had a red cross on the sails of his ships? Right. He was a member of the Order of Jesus Christ.) There are records of Templars living in scattered sites around Europe, for example there were 12 Templars drawing pension in England in 1338, and the last surviving Templar on record was one Berengar dez Coll in the preceptory of Mas Deu in Roussillon, France.

L eaders were still hoping for the Order to continue, either in new form or underground, but such hopes were crushed when Jacques de Molay, Geoffroi de Charnay, Hugues de Pairaud and Geoffroi de Gonneville went to be interrogated by papal authorities. Expecting a life sentence, De Molay and de Charnay revoked their testimonies and were sentenced to be burned at stake.

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