The director of the National Archive of Catalunya, Dr Josep Maria Sans Trave gave a conference in the Hall of Acts of the Tarraconensian Centre, The Seminary on the history of the order of the Templars, their persecution and final sentence, of 700 years ago, which declared the innocence of the Catalan Templars. This conference was the first act re-transmited in direct by the television channel via the internet of the Archbishopric.
The act was presided over by the vicar general of the archdiocese Mn. Joaquim Fortuny, and was initiated by the presentation of the speaker by Mn. Manuel M Fuentes, director of the Historic Archives of the Archdiocese of the Archbishopric of Tarragona. A son of Solivella, Dr Sans Trave was formed in the universities of Barcelona and Bolonia, he is a member of the Royal Academy of Letters at Barcelona and the Royal Academy of Doctors, he is also an author of various books.
“On the 4th November 1312, the barcelonian canon Arnau Cescomes- who later was archbishop of Tarragona (1334-1346) read in the chapel of Corpus Christi in the cloister of the cathedral, the sentence exonerating the Catalan Templars of all accusations and charges with which they had been charged. With this institutional act we are united to the diverse acts which are being realised in all European countries in the memory of the Templars”, Dr. Sans Trave stated at the start of his exposition.
A persecuted order
The order of the Templars was born in the Medieval era following the first crusade in the 11th century to assist pilgrims in their journey from the coastal ports of Palestine to the interior of the country, were could be found the sacred sites related to Jesus Christ. Seeking the approval of the universal church it was in the year 1129 that the Pope convened the council of Troyes. This recognition would be placed in jeopardy 183 years later in 1312 when they would be accused with acts against the faith, dogma, morality and good manners.
In this process of persecution the director of the National Archives of Cataluña emphasised the difference with other European countries such as France where they were interrogated by torture, the Catalan church was characterised by its benevolent treatment when dealing with Templar activities. It was then that the Pope in order to avoid the French forms of treatment attempted to regain control by issuing the `bulla pastoralis´ in 1307, by which he ordered the detention of all Templars in Christendom, notifying this to all princes, in order that interrogation be carried out by commissions created in each ecclesiastical province.
“To deal with Templar topics” – he explained – “in Tarragona were held four councils: that of 1308, another in September of 1310, a third in February/March of 1311 and the last at the end of October beginning of November of 1312. In all these the result was in favour of the detained friars.
In Cataluña the order of the Temple was present for 176 years, during which period of time it gave great service to Catalan institutions.