Knights Templar Remembrance Day

Templar Cross

Templar Cross

The Knights Templar, also known as The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, were a Christian military and hospitality order popular in the Middle Ages. They financed several crusades and offered hospitality to fellow pilgrims far from home; the financial surety they offered to pilgrims was an early form of banking. Around 1135 Bernard de Clairvaux, a French Cistercian abbot, wrote “A Templar Knight is truly a fearless knight, and secure on every side, for his soul is protected by the armour of faith, just as his body is protected by the armour of steel. He is thus doubly armed, and need fear neither demons nor men.” They became less popular as the Crusades proved unsuccessful in reclaiming the Holy Land, and monarchs started envying their wealth.

In 1302, under Clement V, the papacy was moved to France. Historian Charles G. Addison noted in his The History of the Knights Templar, “Of the ten new cardinals then created nine were Frenchmen, and in all his acts the new pope manifested himself the obedient slave of the French monarch.” He continues:

“On the night of the 13th of October [1307], all the Templars in the French dominions were simultaneously arrested. Monks were appointed to preach against them in the public places of Paris, and in the gardens of the Palais Royale; and advantage was taken of the folly, the superstition, and the credulity of the age, to propagate the most horrible and extravagant charges against the order. . . They [were] accused of burning the bodies of the deceased brethren, and making the ashes into a powder, which they administered to the younger brethren in their food and drink, to make them hold fast their faith and idolatry; of cooking and roasting infants, and anointing their idols with the fat; of celebrating hidden rites and mysteries, to which young and tender virgins were introduced, and of a variety of abominations too absurd and horrible to be named.”  (Chapter 9)

He comments: “The character of the charges preferred against the Templars proves that their enemies had no serious crimes to allege against the order.”

Twelve days of imprisonment was followed by torture under the Grand Inquisitor. Feet were literally roasted; teeth were pulled. One hundred forty Knights Templars were tortured; thirty six knights died proclaiming their innocence. Some confessed under the torture, living the rest of their lives as cripples. Others were burned at the stake.

The order of the Knights Templar was dissolved (setting up plenty of room for conspiracy theories and adventure novels seven centuries later. . .)

Templars being burned at the stake, from Wikipedia Commons

Templars being burned at the stake, from Wikipedia Commons

Fridays have been unlucky every since Christ was crucified.  The superstition linking Friday the 13th to misfortune is often tied to that unlucky day in October 1307, although some folklorists claim a variety of sources for this folk belief, mostly originating in the 19th or 20th Centuries.

Some people are said to stay home completely on this day. I have also seen humanist and atheist groups claiming Fridays the thirteenth as their own holiday to counter irrationality.

I prefer to be more positively focused. Go ahead and avoid broken mirrors and black cats—it’s all in good fun.  But as you go about your business today, remember the Knights Templar. Pray for their souls if you’re so inclined. Or find a good history to read.

More about the Knights Templar

Temple Church, London

A basic overview from Wikipedia

Templar History looks like a fun site

Rosslyn Chapel, Scotland, from the BBC

Winning Friends and Other Carnival Games

how to win friends     A recent edition of Dale Carnegie’s classic is emblazoned with a gold medallion on its cover which proclaims it ‘The Timeless Bestseller.” We all know we should read it, but how many of us actually have?

Some work challenges led me to this resource recently, which I reflect upon in a essay recently featured in Library Worklife.

Long, Cynthia.  “Winning Friends And Other Carnival Games.” Library Worklife: H.R. E-News For Today’s Leaders. ALA-APA, Vol. 10, n. 9 (September 2013). http://ala-apa.org/newsletter/2013/09/08/winning-friends-and-other-carnival-games/

How I Didn’t Spend My Summer Vacation

I didn’t write every day.

I didn’t blog every week.

I didn’t read and review any of my friends’ reportedly awesome books:

Bryan J.L. Glass–Mice Templar and Quixote

Reynald Perry—Divine Wreckage  (I don’t even have a Kindle.)

Andrew Reichart—Weird Luck In the City of the Watcher –and I’ve been really looking forward to this one.

They didn’t know I planned on writing reviews; I’m the one I’ve disappointed.

I didn’t pursue career counseling or conduct information interviews with a diverse variety of friends and colleagues.

I didn’t finish The Brothers Karamazov.

I didn’t get accepted into the Rutgers One-On-One Children’s Writing Conference, lose 20 pounds, or win the lottery.

I offer instead this catalog of less-tangible accomplishments:

I recovered from surgery. I’m now so healthy, I feel ten years younger.

I slept in late. It was glorious. (Now that we’re entering Fall, I’ve started to resume my 5:30 a.m. writing appointments.)

I resurrected the church library: moving bookshelves, buying supplies, processing and cataloguing 100+ books.

I revised my resume and updated my LinkedIn profile. I’ve networked with colleagues in primarily social occasions.

I persisted through George R.R. Martin’s contemporary classic A Feast of Crows.

I’ve started bike riding. I’m eating healthier. (I don’t play the lottery.)  We conducted extensive research and bought a car.

After a summer off, I’m resuming my M.F.A. studies tomorrow.

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of energy lamenting what you haven’t accomplished.  We need to give ourselves credit for works-in progress, for the thankless necessary jobs that keep our lives running smoothly: cleaning out the garage, donating our long-mourned skinny jeans to Goodwill, growing tomatoes and making a batch of gravy from scratch (that’s spaghetti sauce to most of my readers), mowing the lawn, spending time with family—at home as well as at the beach.

How have you spent your summer?

What are you failing to give yourself credit for?

         Take a moment and give thanks for your health, for the everyday projects you have the strength and means to accomplish, for the loved ones in your life, for your small triumphs and unlauded accomplishments.