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Elements of the Templar Rule

"Every brother who is professed in the holy service should through fear of the flames of Hell, give total obedience to the Master; for nothing is dearer to Jesus Christ than obedience, and if anything be commanded by the Master or by one to whom he has given his power, it should be done without demur as if it were a command from God, for you must give up your own free will."

The Templar's statutes and rules were mostly devised by Bernard, abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Clairvaux. In turn, the Cistercian rule was based upon the Benedictine rule.

Considered to be Knights of Christ, the Knights Templar's special status led to particular rules beyond the standard followed by other orders. The lifestyle of a knight was also taken into consideration, and rules were formulated to assure that the Templars maintained the vows of chastity, humility and poverty, along with the chivalrous virtues assumed of laymen knights.

Special rules for the Knights Templar

  • Meals would consist of salt mutton (three times a week), salted or dried fish, cheese, bread and occasionally small quantities of wine.
  • After the death of a brother, a pauper must be fed for forty days.
  • Templars were sworn to protect and take in, if need be, brother's family members.
  • Trapping was allowed, but they were forbidden to hunt any creature other than the lion.
  • Acting as a godparent was forbidden.
  • Uniformly dressing in white was required. No fur except sheepskin was allowed.
  • Personal property was forbidden. Personal letters were to be read aloud before the Master.
  • No pennants on lances or jewels on armor were allowed.
  • Punishments for breaking the Rule were administered dependent on the infraction; from small penances such as eating off of the floor to expulsion. The major offenses for expulsion included larceny, sodomy, heresy, conspiracy, treason, the murder of a Christian, revealing secrets of the Order and retreating from fewer than three enemies.