Chartres' gothic Cathedral - a product of knowledge, cooperation and devotion

After the 1194 fire that all but detroyed Chartres Cathedral completely, Bishop Renaud de Mousson (also known as Reginald of Bar, installed as Bishop in 1182, died 1212), via his mother Adèle de Champagne first cousin of king Philippe Auguste of France, decided to undertake an exceptional rebuilding project using the new techniques of the time - Chartres cathedral was to become one of the first great Gothic cathedrals. 

Pre-Templar churches and cathedrals in Chartres

Time and again Chartres Cathedral, France, has been mentioned as one of the major Gothic building projects of the Knights Templar. The facts indicate, however, also many centuries of building, destruction and rebuilding preceeding the Templar epoch.

January 13 - 894 Years Knights Templar Rule - 1129-2023

The Latin Rule, also known as the Primitive Rule, was the result of the discussions that took place at the Council of Troyes, which was under the heavy guidance of Bernard of Clairvaux, the new rising star of the Church. This Council took place in January 1129. A key event in Templar history.

The original Latin Rule, from the Council of Troyes, was actually written by the council’s scribe, John Michael, though the credit for its contents goes to Bernard; ‘At the very least he must have been a major influence on the framing of the Latin Rule, for it is clear that the later Templars valued their Cistercian links above all’.

The structure of the text is strikingly similar to that of ‘Carta Caritatis’, the Cistercian Rule dating from 1119, and the Rule of St Benedict (ca 500 CE), which implies a replication of Cistercian organisation and values. What is very interesting to note is that it was at the Council of Troyes that the Knights Templar came to follow the Rule of St Benedict.  Until the time of the 1129 Council, the Templars had been following the Rule of St. Augustine, common in the Orient.

The 1129 Rule itself describes procedures that the Templar brothers should adhere to on a day-to-day basis. The description of procedures -in particular clause three, which relate to clothing- resonates the tone of both the Cistercian ‘Charter of Charity’ and also the Rule of St Benedict. In fact much of the Rule appears to have strong monastic overtones, rather than a military aspect and the detail that is given to food and drink is very similar to that of the Cistercians.

The Templar Rule did not see its completion in 1129, but rather its launch. After 1129 the Rule as it is known today evolved over almost 150 years. During this timespan the Rule expanded from the original 76 clauses to a complex of independant sections, totalling 686 clauses. This expansion is dealt with in another blog.

Buy your own Rule here.  For the original Latin Rule in French visit 

This blog is in part based on the thesis by Lori Firth, Hull University (2012):  "A Comparison of the Cistercian and Knights Templar Orders, And the Personal Influence of Bernard of Clairvaux", to be found here

The Primitive Rule in English is quoted below in its entirety. Source:

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Chartres cathedral and the Templars


Undoubtedly the Templars were awed and inspired by the huge religious building projects of their days, such as Chartres Cathedral. But did they initiate, lead and/or support that build as is suggested in some literature? The facts.