The influence of the medieval Cistercians on the early Knights Templar

What was the extent of the influence of the Cistercians on the Templars?

"The original Latin Rule (of the Templars, TN), from the Council of Troyes (1129), was actually written by the council’s scribe, John Michael, though the credit for its contents go to St 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 (the Cistercian, TN) ‘Carta Caritatis’ and the Rule of St Benedict, 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; ‘At the time of the Council, the Templars had been following the Rule of St. Augustine, however, this changed in 1129 with the direct influence of the Cistercian abbot St. Bernard of Clairvaux. (...) The Latin Rule was a necessity for the Templars as it ensured authorisation and legality for their cause. The Rule has strong characteristics of both ‘The (Cistercian, TN) Charter of Charity’ and the Rule of St Benedict in the way that it is written almost as a legal document, which served to emphasise the legality of the Order and deter criticism from those that did not agree with the foundation of the Order. 

The similarities to the Rule of St Benedict further show the influence of the Cistercians on the Order. (...) Parellels in ideology can be seen through such ideals as poverty, obedience, humility, chastity, simplicity, unity and a devotion to the Rule of St Benedict. The Rule of the Templars is under clear Cistercian influence through its content and its structure, and as we can see through the Papal Bulls, the Templars followed a similar path of acceptance within the Church as the Cistercians. (...) However, William of Tyre’s account suggests that the Templars already had many of these ideals in place before the Council of Troyes, and before any of them had actually ever met any Cistercians.(...) It seems likely that the Cistercian influence came more in establishing the Templars as a legitimate Order than actually imposing any ideals upon them."

This blog quotes from  the thesis by Lori Firth entitled A Comparison of the Cistercian and Knights Templar Orders, And the Personal Influence of Bernard of Clairvaux, University of Hull, 2012. The illustration shows an early copy of the Rule of the Temple, as created in the last quarter of the thirteenth century in the Arras-Douai region of French Flanders, source, CC0.

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