Monday, June 17, 2019

Templar Biography: Robert de Craon

Following the footsteps of men like Hugh de Payens cannot be easy and are often overshadowed. Such is the case of Robert de Craon who served as the second Grand Master of the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon and who was instrumental in growing the order.

Robert was born around the beginning of the 12th century in the Vitré region of France (northwestern France) to Renaud de Bourgoing, Lord of Craon, and Lady Enagen de Vitré, but he was the third son and so it was assumed he would assume life in the priesthood.

It is debated as to whether he was a founding member or not, but what is known is that in 1125, Robert was serving as Seneschal for the Templars and served in that position until 1136. He was elected as Grand Master in June of 1136 following the death of Hugh in May of that year.

Robert is known for organizing the order into a detailed and functioning management system and hierarchy. As the Templar's popularity increased so too did the donations and it was Robert who allocated those donations as well as built the foundation for what would be the Templar's considerable wealth. The Templars were even offered the Kingdom of Aragon (a region in the Iberian peninsula), but Robert refused it.

Under Robert's reign, there were three Papal bulls issued in support of the Templar order. The first one, Omne Datum Optimum, was issued in 1139 by Pope Innocent II. Omne Datum Optimum is Latin for "Every Good Gift" and allowed the Templars to keep their spoils of war, placing donations directly under papal protection, and exempting them from paying tithe. This proclamation added a priest class to the hierarchy as well as making the members of order answerable to the Grand Master. 

The second Papal bull, Milites Templi, Latin for "Soldiers of the Temple," was issued by Pope Celestine II in 1144 gave ecclesiastical protection of the Knights Templar and further endorsed them by advocating that the faithful donate to the cause of the Templars. This along with the Templars annual collections and with the next Papal Bull laid the base for the Orders famous wealth. 

The final Papal bull was called Militia Dei, which is Latin for "Soldiers of God," was issued by Pope Eugene III in 1145. This was somewhat controversial as it allowed the Templar priests to take tithes, build their own churches, collect property taxes from their tenants, and bury their dead in their own cemeteries. Some speculate that this gave the Order's priests to take confession, but others believe this is a false assumption as no language exists within this Papal Bull that allows for such liberties. It was also Pope Eugene III that authorized the Knights Templar to wear their iconic red cross on their white mantle.

His battle records were mixed as he destroyed brigands led by the Emir of Aleppo as well as stopped Islamic incursions in Beaufort and Banyas. However, the Templars were defeated along with the Frankish army in 1139 at Teqoa. After the death of King Fulk d'Anjou in 1143, the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem fell into decline due to the neglect of Queen Melissende (widow of King Fulk) and her failure to protect Edesse or Antioch. In 1144, Seljuk Turks massacred more than 30,000 Christians in Edesse.

Robert died on January 13, 1147, during the Second Crusade and was succeeded by Everard des Barres. Robert de Craon may not be greatly remembered, but he was a great organizer and truly laid the foundation for their legendary popularity, hierarchy, and wealth.

References

1. Cobbold, D. (n.d.). Robert de Craon. Retrieved from Project Beauceant: http://www.templiers.org/robert-craon-eng.php 

2. Moes, A. (2019, April 22). Robert de Craon, 2nd Templar Grand Master. Retrieved from Geni: https://www.geni.com/people/Robert-de-Craon-2nd-Templar-Grand-Master/6000000019303268069 

3. Robert de Craon. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_de_Craon

Monday, June 3, 2019

Enoch

While not mentioned in the legend of Ancient Craft Masonry, the legend of Enoch has a strong correlation to the Masonic fraternity: a foreseen destruction, a need to safeguard and preserve esoteric and sacred knowledge, the construction of vaults, and its ultimate discovery. In the Hebrew language, the name "Enoch" means to "to initiate" or "to instruct," and some consider him to be the father of the initiatic rite. Some attribute the invention of astrology, writing, math, and masonry (construction) to Enoch. Enoch has been compared to a number of other mythical figures such as Hermes Trismegistus, the Greek god Atlas, and Thaut to the Phoenicians. 

Enoch was said to have been born in the 622nd year after the creation of the world. He was the father of Methuselah and great-grandfather of Noah is a mysterious and enigmatic character in the Antediluvian (Pre-Flood) Era. This Enoch is descended from the line of Seth and not to be confused with the Enoch who was the son of Cain.


In Enoch's time, the people were idolatrous and wicked. God revealed to Enoch that He would destroy the world with a great flood; some consider Enoch to be the First Prophet of the Lord. Inspired by the Most High God, Enoch built an underground Temple located on Mt. Moriah on the place where King Solomon would erect a Temple to God. The Temple consisted of nine vaults, situated perpendicularly beneath each other. Enoch then had an equilateral triangular plate of gold to be made. It was covered with precious stones and jewels and upon it was engraved the Ineffable Name of God. This plate was placed upon a marble pedestal inside the ninth and deepest vault. Upon completion of this secret temple, he enclosed it with a stone door and covered it so it could not be discovered.

The use of vaults has been used through history and is tied with many esoteric mythologies as they were deemed sacred. A vault is defined as an "arched or dome-shaped structure of masonry usually forming a ceiling or roof." The word "vault" comes from the Latin "volutus" meaning "bowed or arched." In the legend of Hermes Trismegistus, the Great Halls of Amenti were hidden under the Great Pyramids in Egypt in order to safeguard the ancient wisdom of Atlantis. In RosicrucianismChristian Rosenkreutz was buried in a vault that contained not only his body, but many scrolls and books of ancient knowledge. In Mithraism, adherents met in Mithraeum which was usually natural caves or small rooms beneath existing structures. In Freemasonry, vaults are used in the Capitular and Cryptic Rites as well as the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in the Red Cross of Constantine and the 13° in the Scottish Rite. Albert C. Mackey stated the following concerning vaults: "The vault was, therefore, in the ancient mysteries, symbolic of the grave; for initiation was symbolic of death, where alone Divine Truth is to be found."

To ensure the arts and sciences would live on after the Destruction by the Flood, Enoch had made two pillars within the Temple: one of marble to withstand fire and the other of brass to withstand water. 
On both pillars were engraved the history of the creation as well as the principles of the arts and sciences.


Enoch then called his family around him and admonished them to return to the worship of the One True and Living God. It is then said that he disappeared from the Earth. Legend has it that at 365-years of age, "walked with God; then he was no more for God took him" meaning that God took him, body and soul, to Heaven, one of two to have done that; the other is Elijah. It is interesting to note that only having lived on Earth for 365-years is far less than the other patriarchs in the period before the Flood, but still significant being the number of days in the solar calendar.

While not universally accepted, there are a number of works attributed to Enoch that are dated between the 3rd century BC and the 5th century AD. These books consist of five quite distinct major sections:

The Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 1–36) The Book of Parables of Enoch (1 Enoch 37–71) The Book of the Heavenly Luminaries (1 Enoch 72–82)The Book of Dreams (1 Enoch 83–90) The Epistle of Enoch (1 Enoch 91–108) 
Among other things, these books are important in regards to angel and demon lore. It heavily influenced later Jewish apocrypha and the New Testament.



References

1. Book of Enoch. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Enoch 


2. Enoch. (n.d.). Retrieved from Dead Sea Scrolls: http://www.ibiblio.org/expo/deadsea.scrolls.exhibit/Library/enoch.html 

3. Enoch. (n.d.). Retrieved from Masonic Dictionary: http://www.masonicdictionary.com/enoch.html 

4. Enoch (ancestor of Noah). (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enoch_%28ancestor_of_Noah%29 

5. Hall, M. P. (1928). Freemasonic Symbolism. Retrieved from The Secret Teachings of All Ages: http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/sta/sta43.htm 

6. Masonic Legends. (n.d.). Retrieved from MasterMason: http://www.mastermason.com/brothergene/craft/masonic_legends.htm 

7. The Book of Henoch (Ethiopic). (1907). In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved June 3, 2019 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01602a.htm

8. The Vault and the Mysteries. (n.d.). Retrieved from General Grand Council, Cryptic Masons International: https://ggccmi.org/index.php/en/the-vault-and-the-mysteries 

9. Vaughn, P. A. (2004). Early Ritual of the Holy Royal Arch. Retrieved from Andrews Press: http://andrewspress.com/Research/EarlyRoyalArchRitualPaper.pdf 

10. Vault. (n.d.). Retrieved from Merriam-Webster Dictionary: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vault 


11. Vault. (n.d.). Retrieved from Etymology Online: https://www.etymonline.com/word/vault