Can Knights Templar Marry

Can Knights Templar Marry?

The Knights Templar, alternatively referred to as the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, established their reputation as a medieval Catholic military order. They gained official recognition in 1139 through the papal decree known as Omne Datum Optimum. They were an intriguing and captivating group whose story is shrouded in mystery, intrigue, and, at times, contradiction. One recurring question that continues to pique curiosity is: “Could Templar Knights marry?” or “Did the Knights Templar ever marry?” To answer these questions, we delve into the historical context, rules, and lifestyle of the Templar Knights.

The Rule of the Templars

The Knights Templar, founded around 1119, followed a strict set of rules known as the Latin Rule or the Rule of the Templars, which was initially proposed by St. Bernard of Clairvaux and later officially endorsed by Pope Honorius II in 1129. The Rule was a code of conduct that dictated every aspect of their lives, including their vows of poverty, obedience, and chastity. It is within this chastity vow that the answer to the question, “Could Templar Knights marry?” is found.

According to the Latin Rule, Templar Knights were required to take vows of chastity, meaning they could not engage in any form of sexual activity and, by extension, could not marry. This vow was viewed as non-negotiable and was strictly enforced. Violation of this rule could lead to severe punishment or even expulsion from the order. Therefore, the response to “Could Templar Knights marry?” is, based on their strict regulations, a resounding “No.

What Were the Knights Templar Not Allowed to Do?

The Knights Templar were bound by a strict code of conduct, the Latin Rule, which dictated their actions and lifestyle. Alongside their vows of poverty, obedience, and chastity, there were several other things the Templars were not allowed to do.

1. Marriage and Sexual Relations: As part of their vow of chastity, Templar Knights were prohibited from marrying or engaging in any sexual activity. This rule was strictly enforced to ensure their complete devotion to the order’s mission.

2. Personal Wealth and Property: Under their vow of poverty, the Templars were not allowed to own property or accumulate wealth. All material possessions and spoils of war were owned communally by the order.

3. Independent Decision Making: The vow of obedience meant Templars could not make independent decisions. They were expected to follow orders from their superiors without question.

4. Secular Dress and Adornment: Templars were required to maintain a modest and simple appearance, reflecting their monkish lifestyle. They could not wear colorful or extravagant clothing, and their hair was to be worn short.

5. Hunting: Hunting for sport was generally prohibited, as it was considered a frivolous and worldly pursuit. However, hunting for food was permissible.

6. Swearing and Gambling: Templars were expected to uphold high moral standards. Thus, they were forbidden from swearing, gambling, or partaking in dishonest or immoral behavior.

7. Leaving the Order: Once a man had taken the vow to become a Templar Knight, he was not allowed to leave the order except under exceptional circumstances and with the permission of his superiors.

The Knights Templar were committed to a life of discipline and sacrifice. This austere lifestyle, guided by their strict rules, was fundamental to their identity and mission to protect Christian pilgrims and the Christian faith.

Living as a Knight Templar

Understanding why the Knights Templar were forbidden to marry requires a deeper examination of their lifestyle and responsibilities. The Templars were not only warriors on the battlefield but also monks who dedicated their lives to serving God. Their primary purpose was to protect Christian pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land, a task that often involved great risk and sacrifice. This dual role of warrior and monk was somewhat unique in the context of medieval Christendom and required a complete and unreserved commitment.

The Templar Knights were expected to live a life of simplicity and austerity in accordance with their vow of poverty. They lived communally, shared possessions, and any wealth acquired was directed towards the order’s collective mission. They wore a distinctive white mantle adorned with a red cross, symbolizing their purity and martyrdom. Their daily life involved prayer, fasting, and training for battle.

In this light, it becomes clear why marriage was prohibited. A married knight would have divided loyalties between his family and the order. Furthermore, the commitment to a spouse could potentially interfere with the knight’s duty to protect and serve the Christian faith. Therefore, the Templar’s vow of chastity was not merely a religious requirement but also a pragmatic necessity, enabling them to fully commit to their cause without distraction or conflict of interest.

Exceptions and Debates

Although the Latin Rule explicitly stated that Knights Templar could not marry, some historical debates and exceptions cloud this issue. Some married men joined the Templars, but they had to leave their families behind and commit to a life of celibacy once they took their vows.

Templars also leave the order to marry, indicating a degree of flexibility or, perhaps, a struggle to maintain the strict vows. This has led to some historical debates about whether the Rule was always strictly enforced or whether there were periods and places where some Templars did, in fact, marry. Yet, these instances seem to be the exception rather than the rule and are often viewed as violations of the Templar code.

Are Knights Templar Celibate?

The Knights Templar, one of the most recognized medieval Christian military orders, were indeed celibate. The vow of celibacy was a central tenet of their code of conduct, referred to as the Latin Rule, a complex set of instructions guiding the life of every Templar Knight.

The Latin Rule was approved by the Council of Troyes in 1129, under the leadership of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, and it was within these rules that the Knights Templar were required to live a celibate life. The vow of celibacy was not just a prohibition on marriage but an encompassing commitment to abstain from all sexual relations. This was a part of their broader pledge to live a monastic life that included vows of poverty and obedience alongside celibacy.

This decision to live a celibate life was not taken lightly. The Templars were, in essence, warrior monks. Their mission was to protect Christian pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land, which demanded full dedication and the elimination of distractions, including familial or romantic ties. Therefore, the Templar’s vow of chastity was not only a spiritual commitment but also a practical necessity for effectively fulfilling their duties.

Yet, historical records indicate that the vow of celibacy, like other aspects of the Templar Rule, was challenging for some knights to maintain. There are instances of Templars leaving the order to marry and stories of individual Templars who failed to uphold the vow. But these cases were exceptions rather than the rule, often leading to punitive measures or expulsion from the order.

Ultimately, the Knights Templar were indeed celibate, living under a vow of chastity that was an integral part of their monastic lifestyle and commitment to their cause. This vow distinguished them from many other military orders of the time and continues to contribute to their distinctive legacy in history.

The Templars Today

The question, “Can Knights Templar marry?” often arises concerning modern organizations that claim descent or inspiration from the medieval Templars. These groups vary significantly in their beliefs, practices, and rules. Some, like the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, require their knights and dames to be of the Christian faith but do not impose a vow of chastity or prohibit marriage. Still, it’s crucial to note that these modern organizations are not direct continuations of the original Templar order, which was disbanded in the early 14th century.


So, did the Knights Templar ever marry? Historical evidence and the Latin Rule of the Templars provide a clear answer: Knights Templars were forbidden to marry. This prohibition was a critical aspect of their identity, allowing them to maintain their dedication to their dual roles as warriors and monks and their commitment to the protection of Christian pilgrims.

On the other hand, historical exceptions and modern adaptations of the Templar tradition offer a more nuanced perspective. Some Templars left the order to marry, and some modern organizations inspired by the Templars do not prohibit marriage. These variations, however, do not change the fundamental answer to the question, “Could Templar Knights marry?” – within the historical context and the original order’s rules, they could not.

The Templars’ story captivates us, in part, because of their stringent adherence to their vows, including the vow of chastity. Their commitment to their cause, to the extent of renouncing personal attachments and desires, is an integral part of their enduring legend. But their story also reminds us of the human capacity for adaptation and change, as seen in the exceptions to the marriage rule and the evolution of Templar-inspired orders. As we continue to explore and understand the Templars, we are drawn into a complex tapestry of faith, duty, sacrifice, and humanity.