In any monastic institution the must, of necessity, be found a set of rules by which to govern the order. The Templars were no exception to this concept and in 1128, Bernard of Clairvaux assisted in drawing up the Templar Rule.
The purpose of this article is not to show every detail of the Templar Rule, but rather to examine some of the punishments that members could expect, should they violate the rule.
Upon being charged with a violation, the Commander would call the brethren to hear the charges against an offender. When the accused brother confessed his fault he was then asked to leave the room. At this time the Commander would seek the advice of the brethren as to what penance to apply.
If his infraction was small or if he was found to be innocent, no penance would be given. However, if he were in violation of a major infraction of the rule then the General Chapter would later conduct a trial.
Below is a list of some of the consequences a brother of the order could face as a result of violating the Templar Rule of order:
Expulsion From The Order
This was the highest punishment a Templar knight could face. Upon expulsion from the order, he had an obligation to join the Cistercians, which always had a close relationship with the Templars. It was hoped that by joining this non-warrior monastic order the expelled Templar would save his soul.
Below are the infractions to cause such expulsion:
† Murdering a Christian
† Divulging the Chapter’s meetings
† Committing acts of sodomy
† Committing an act of heresy or denouncing the Christian faith
† Conspiring or making false charges against a brother
† Leaving the Temple house for more than two days without permission
† Fleeing the enemy during battle while the Beauseant was flying or without permission of the Marshal
Loss Of Habit
Losing the habit of the Order was a penance of shame. Taken from the guilty brother were his habit, weapons and horse. This penance befell any that committed the following infractions:
† Fought with another brother
† Lost or murdered a slave
† Killed a pack animal or lost their horse due to their own neglect
† Told untruths about themselves
† Injured any Christian person out of anger
† Had sex with a woman
† Threatened to join the Saracens
† Leaving the Commandery at night in anger
† Throwing their Templar coat to the ground in anger
† Loaned any Temple assets without permission of the order
It is important to note that all of the above crimes could be forgiven. If a brother repented with sincerity of his actions, and providing the brethren agreed, he would be restored with his habit and weapons after a period of time – often one year plus one day.