Parchments of the hearings of the Trial against the Knights Templar (1308)
Vatican Secret Archives, Archivum Arcis Arm. D208, 209, 210, 217
The Vatican Secret Archives preserves the surviving acts of the papal inquiry on the Knights Templar Order, conducted in Poitiers in 1308.
The first three documents (D208, 209, 210) are the surviving remainders of an original corpus of 5 parchment rolls, including the confessions of seventy-two knights questioned by pope Clement V between June 28 and July 2, 1308.
The extended research work on the documentary material to achieve the first facsimile replicas of the ancient parchments, revealed in 2001 a fourth parchment (D217) which later turned out to be the final acquittal granted to Jacques de Molay and to other high dignitaries of the Order by the inquiring cardinals of pope Clement V.
Besides the parchments, the facsimile reproduction of the Trail acts includes also a 24 manuscript leaves, listed in the Reg. Aven. 48 of Benedict XII. It was a sort of booklet, probably belonged to Clement V himself, where he ordered his cardinals to summarize the depositions of the Knights Templar included in the parchments n. 208-210 e 217, but also those reported from other nine inquires mentioned only in the Avignon Register.
Special bilingual (Italian-English) version from the Vatican Secret Archives. Worldwide premiere officially held at the Vatican on October 25, 2007, attended by high Vatican officers, members of the diplomatic body from the Holy Site, academics from Vatican universities, as well as outstanding representatives from the military, politics, professional associations and institutions.
Years of research and organization, conducted by the Vatican Secret Archives on its source material, have made possible the publication of Processus Contra Templarios, the exclusive and previously unavailable hearing of the original acts of the ancient trial against the Templar Knights.
A unique project in the world, this work comes in a limited run of 799 copies, under the supervision of the Papal Archives officials, and includes the faithful replicas of the original parchments kept at the Secret Archives along with a new and exclusive critical edition on the minutes of the inquiry. A thorough analysis of the original parchments, performed through the technique known as “Wood lamp”, which allows the recovery of parts of text unattainable to previous publishers, has made possible for the supervisors to amend older editions, so as to afford a more accurate and genuine reading of the documents.
The filing of pre-existing sources has indeed allowed to recover misinterpreted text sections as well as standardize designations for both people and locations. Therefore, the Vatican Secret Archives gives academics and interested subjects access to a precious and scientifically reliable tool of research into the historical facts related to the Templar Order. Further to the record and transcription of papers and parchment documents, a section focuses on the review of the Templar history and on the trial against them.
This publication is mostly valued with regard to its documents and critical texts, which help throw light onto the events which led the pontiff to acquit the Templar Order from the accusation of heresy. Clements V suspended the Templar Order, without disbanding it, and he eventually admitted the high Templar dignitaries and the entire Templar Order back into the Roman Church community.