Vatican puts Knights Templar documents on sale

November 14th, 2007 - 2:53 am ICT by admin  
Ignored for centuries, the reproduction of Processus Contra Templariosor Papal Inquiry into the heresy trial of the ancient Christian order is being sold at 5,900 Euros (4,000 pounds) a copy.

Each leather-bound edition, translated into English and Italian, comes with a large-format book including scholarly commentary, reproductions of original parchments in Latin, and replicas of the wax seals used by 14th-century inquisitors.

Pope Benedict has been given the first set of the work, published by the Vatican Secret Archives in collaboration with Italy’s Scrinium cultural foundation, which acted as curator and will have exclusive world distribution rights.

Libraries and scholars from around the world have already reserved most of the 800 editions of the parchments being published.

“This is a commercial operation to satisfy the demands of a global market keen to acquire works of historic value and of universally recognised scientific rigour, permeated with intrinsic beauty, artistic value and destined to last,” Times Online quoted Ferdinando Santoro, head of Scrinium, as saying.

Barbara Frale, the Secret Archives medieval specialist who found the document, also known as the Chinon Parchment, in 2003 after realizing that it had been wrongly catalogued, said that it shed new light on the fate of the Templars.

“This is a milestone because it is the first time that these documents are being released by the Vatican, which gives a stamp of authority to the entire project,” Times Online quoted Frale, as saying.

The Knights Templar, a religious order established in Jerusalem in 1118, rose to prominence during the Crusades, and became a formidable military and political force in Europe in the 12th and 13th century.

But when Jerusalem fell to Muslim rule in 1244, rumours circulated that the knights were heretics who worshipped idols in a secret initiation ceremony.

In 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered the arrest and torture of all Templars, following which Pope Clement V forcibly suppressed the order. Ever since, the Templars have been thought of as heretics.

But rumors about the secrets of the military order have been disseminated for centuries. The Knights Templar’s secrecy has given birth to endless legends, including one that they guard the Holy Grail. (ANI)

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