Volume One: Defenders of the Faith

Richard Baigent

Deus Ex

...Upon the deliverance of Jerusalem, the Holy Lands remained in a precarious state, surrounded on all sides by hostile Mohammedan neighbors. It was then that Hugues de Payens, a knight from Champagne, bound himself and eight fellow knights in a vow to forever protect the "Kingdom of Christendom." Accepted in 1118 by Baldwin II, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, they were given charitable lodgings in the city temple where they became the "pauvres chevaliers du temple," or the "poor knights of the temple."

It was not until later at the Council of Troyes that the Templar Knights adopted the austere, monastic Rule of St. Benedict, along with the white garments of the Cistercians -- adding to them the characteristic red cross that symbolized their willingness to spill their own blood in the defense of the One True Faith. The Templars quickly became a popular order, renowned as "lions at war and lambs at the hearth." They were soon exempted by the popes from all secular and episcopal authority save that of the popes themselves, and their lands exempted from all taxation...