Contemporary views on Templar wealth

Despite their extensive possessions, the Templars and Hospitallers were always claiming to be poverty-stricken. They sent out alms-collectors on a regular basis, to collect money from lay-people and clergy for their work in the Holy Land. Matthew Paris was probably expressing a widely-felt discontent when he wrote around 1245: "The Templars and Hospitallers receive so much income from the whole of Christendom, and, only for defending the Holy Land, swallow down such great revenues as if they sink them into the gulf of the abyss ..." Whatever did they do with all their wealth?

Templar spirituality illustrated in Montsaunès Chapel, France?

The Knights Templar built a commandery at Montsaunès in 1146. The Chapel, completed in 1180 and now the only remaining trace of the commandery, is the present-day church of Montsaunès, the church of Saint-Cristophe-des-Templiers.

Despite 19th century restoration, the church still possesses features of Late Romanesque. It is built of brick, which shows the influence of Toulouse. The carved capitals round the two doorways are themselves worth a visit, clearly showing the influence of Toulouse sculpture.(...) Inside the church are some 13th century murals remarkable for the predominance of geometric and symbolic shapes. The murals have been object of, sometimes esoterically inspired, research.

Contemporary criticism of the Knights Templar

"Criticism arose which tended to fluctuate with events. During a crusade, while crusaders wrote home with accounts of the military orders' courage and self-sacrifice, criticism was overlooked. Between crusades, as Europeans received news of territorial losses to the Muslims, they forgot the military orders' heroism and concluded that these defeats were God's punishment for sin. For surely God would not allow godly men to suffer such set backs...

Contemporary clerical views of the Knights Templar

"In October 1307, by order of Philip IV of France, all the Knights Templar within the French domains were arrested. (...) During the trial of the Templars witnesses claimed that the order's abuses had been notorious for many years and under interrogation, including torture, many brothers confessed to at least some of these crimes. In March 1312, Pope Clement dissolved the Order of' the Temple, giving its property of the Order of the Hospital, and assigning the surviving brothers to other religious orders. Despite this, the question of the order's guilt has never been settled. (...) What did contemporaries think about the other military orders, such as the Knights Hospitaller and the Teutonic Knights?

The Crusades: not anti-Muslim but to stop internal Christian violence?

"A key area where historians focus their attention on the crusades is at the origin of the religious conflict between Islam and Christianity. This is problematic for two key reasons.