Templar Punishment and Discipline

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Templar Punishment

In any monastic institution, a set of rules is necessary to govern the order. The Templars were no exception, and in 1128, Bernard of Clairvaux assisted in drawing up the Templar Rule, which included Templar punishment and discipline.

This article aims to examine some of the punishments that members could expect if they violated the rule.

When charged with a violation, the Commander would gather the brethren to hear the charges against the offender. If the accused brother confessed, he would be asked to leave the room. The Commander would then seek the advice of the brethren to determine the appropriate penance.

For minor infractions or if found innocent, no penance would be given. However, for major violations, the General Chapter would conduct a trial.

Here is a list of some of the punishments a Templar could face for violating the Rule of the 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.

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TemplarHistory.com was started in the fall of 1997 by Stephen Dafoe, a Canadian author who has written several books on the Templars and related subjects.

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