The Order of the Temple is a Christian ecumenical organization founded in 1804 by the physician Fabré-Palaprat with the support of Napoleon, and officially recognized in 1853 by Napoleon III. The Order operates on the basis of the traditions of the medieval Knights Templar. It reclaims the spirit of, but does not assert any direct descent from the ancient Order founded by Hugues de Payens in 1118 and dissolved by Pope Clement V in 1312.

Why the name? In the middle ages the two major knightly Orders were the Johannites (Order of Malta), with a hospitaller mission, and the Templars, whose role was to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land. Had this been the only role of the Templars, however, they would have been forgotten long ago. Because there was (to use a modern term) a demand for services, the Order of the Knights Templar quickly developed into a transport, banking and security network in which the best educated and motivated soldiers were ready for service. This Order was seen with favor by the Kings and Princes of medieval Europe, and of course they made use of its services. On the other hand, its increasing power and influence generated mistrust. The Order's contacts with the Islamic world became its doom, because they gave the Order's enemies an easy pretext to claim that the Templars had strayed from the one and true faith and had become heretics.

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