Who Wrote The Rule For Knights Templar?

Who Wrote The Rule For Knights Templar?

Formally referred to as the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, the Knights Templar was an esteemed medieval Catholic military order that received official recognition in 1139 through the papal bull, Omne datum optimum. Their exceptional combat skills positioned them as one of the most formidable fighting forces during the Crusades. But the Templars’ distinguishing features extended beyond their martial abilities. They created a unique rule of order, which served as a comprehensive guide for their behavior, faith, and way of life. This article will delve into the genesis of the Templar Rule, the Knights Templar rule order, and other topics. Stay tuned! 

Who Was the Founder of the Knights Templar?

The Knights Templar, a medieval Christian military order, was founded by a group of knights led by Hugues de Payens and Godfrey de Saint-Omer around 1119. Their initial aim was to help protect Christian pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land during the time of the First Crusade.

Hugues de Payens, a nobleman from the Champagne region of France, is often recognized as the first Grand Master of the Knights Templar. He, along with Godfrey de Saint-Omer and seven other knights, formed the core group that would later evolve into the formidable order of the Knights Templar. De Payens provided the strategic leadership and vision needed to guide the nascent order in its early years.

The order was officially recognized by the Catholic Church in 1139. Still, the support of Bernard of Clairvaux, a highly influential monk, and mystic, truly legitimized and promoted the Templars in their early years. Bernard was instrumental in defining the Templars’ Rule of conduct at the Council of Troyes in 1129, cementing their dual role as devout monks and fierce warriors.

It is worth noting that the founding of the Knights Templar marked a significant shift in Christian monasticism, intertwining the contemplative life of a monk with the militant life of a knight. This unprecedented combination was led by Hugues de Payens, making him a pivotal figure in the history of religious and military orders.

Knights Templar as Monk Warriors

The Knights Templar were a special order in the history of Christian monasticism as they embodied the dual roles of monks and warriors. Founded in the aftermath of the First Crusade, the Templars sought to protect Christian pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land, requiring them to adopt martial skills alongside their monastic vows.

Under the Templar Rule, crafted by Bernard of Clairvaux, the Templars took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience akin to traditional monastic orders. They were expected to lead an austere life, emphasizing prayer, penance, and communal living. Each Templar was provided with simple clothing and meals, with personal possessions being highly discouraged.

At the same time, they were trained knights skilled in the arts of war. They wore white mantles with a red cross, symbolizing their purity and commitment to the Christian cause. Their role on the battlefield was crucial during the Crusades, often forming the vanguard of Christian forces.

This distinctive combination of monastic devotion and military duty defined the Templars as monk warriors. Their unique lifestyle and purpose set them apart from other religious orders, marking an unprecedented chapter in the history of Christian monasticism.

The Genesis of the Templar Rule

The Templar Rule, also known as the Latin Rule, was established around 1129 at the Council of Troyes. The council was a significant ecclesiastical assembly called by Pope Honorius II and attended by prominent church figures such as Bernard of Clairvaux, who was a key influencer in the council’s decisions. The Rule was written primarily in Latin, as Latin was the lingua franca of the Church and educated society in the Middle Ages.

The Rule was principally penned by Bernard of Clairvaux, a highly influential monk, mystic, and theological writer of the Cistercian order. He was not a member of the Templars, but his writings, including the Rule, greatly impacted the order’s development and spread across Christendom.

Knights Templar Rule Order

The Knights Templar Rule Order refers to the structure and principles of the order as outlined in the Templar Rule. This document was the cornerstone of the Knights Templar’s identity, establishing the order as a warrior monastic community that combined the roles of monk and knight.

The Rule consisted of 72 clauses initially, which expanded over time as the order grew. These clauses encompassed a wide range of topics, from the Templars’ vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience to practical instructions on clothing, meals, prayer schedules, and conduct during the battle. The Rule also outlined the hierarchy within the order, with roles ranging from the Grand Master at the top to sergeants, squires, and serving brothers.

Knights Templar Rule Book at the Glance 

The Knights Templar Rule Book is essentially the Templar Rule written down in the form of a book. As mentioned, it began with 72 clauses but expanded to include hundreds of specific instructions and prohibitions.

The Rule Book was the Templars’ constitution, handbook of faith, and military manual. It touched upon every aspect of Templar life, from mundane daily routines to the spiritual contemplation and the conduct required in battle. It was a comprehensive guide that sought to ensure that the Knights Templar lived a life of purity while efficiently carrying out their military duties.

Who Wrote the Rule of the Templars?

The Rule of the Templars, an exceptional piece of work that defined the conduct and lifestyle of the Knights Templar, was primarily crafted by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a prominent figure in the 12th-century Christian monastic movement. The Rule was established around 1129 during the Council of Troyes, a significant ecclesiastical assembly convened by Pope Honorius II.

Bernard of Clairvaux was not a member of the Templars, but he profoundly influenced the order due to his theological understanding and spiritual authority. Despite being a Cistercian monk and not a knight, Bernard understood the need for a new kind of order that could navigate the complex challenges of religious life and the violent realities of the Crusades. As a result, he wrote a Rule that would serve as a guide for these monk warriors, combining the principles of monasticism with the practicalities of a military lifestyle.

The Rule, penned primarily in Latin, started with 72 clauses and grew over time as the order expanded. It provided guidance on a wide array of issues ranging from vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience to matters of daily routine, prayer schedules, and warfare conduct. Bernard’s work on the Rule played a crucial role in shaping the identity and operations of the Knights Templar, effectively merging monastic devotion and knightly duty. His contribution to the Templars’ Rule remains a significant milestone in the history of monastic military orders.

The Meaning of the Templar Rule

The Templar Rule was more than just a set of rules. It was an embodiment of the Knights Templar’s dual identity as monk warriors. Its purpose was to guide the members of the order to lead a life of austerity and piety while dedicating themselves to the defense of Christian pilgrims and territories in the Holy Land.

The Rule underlined the idea of communal living, with Templars sharing everything and owning nothing individually, mirroring the monastic communities of the time. It also emphasized strict discipline, obedience to superiors, and necessary training and preparedness for battle.

The Latin Rule of the Knights Templar

The Latin Rule of the Knights Templar, or simply the Latin Rule, was the original version of the Templar Rule written in Latin. Given the importance of Latin in the Church and the educated society of the time, the Rule was first reported in this language to be accessible to the clergy and the literate elite.

The Latin Rule served as the foundation for the Templar order. It created a structured environment that allowed the order to operate efficiently on multiple fronts – religious, military, and logistical. The Rule was a crucial factor behind the order’s unique identity, significant influence, and rapid expansion across Christendom.

One noteworthy aspect of the Latin Rule was its emphasis on the Templars’ role as defenders of the faith. This was not limited to their military duties but extended to their conduct and lifestyle. Templars were expected to lead lives of exemplary virtue and to be ready to lay down their lives for the cause of Christendom.

Further, the Latin Rule established a clear hierarchy within the order. The Grand Master was the highest authority, followed by other officials such as the Seneschal, the Marshal, the Draper, and the Treasurer, each with their specific duties. The order also included non-knight members, such as chaplains (responsible for the spiritual needs of the order) and serving brothers (who performed various supportive tasks).

The Latin Rule also addressed practical matters such as the Templars’ dress code. It prescribed white mantles for the knights – a symbol of their commitment to purity and innocence – and added the red cross in 1147, a symbol now universally associated with the Knights Templar. The sergeants, who were not fully professed knights, wore black or brown.


The Templar Rule, or the Latin Rule, stands as a testament to the unique character of the Knights Templar as a monastic military order. Written largely by Bernard of Clairvaux, the Rule shaped the order’s ethos, lifestyle, and operation, guiding them to navigate their dual roles as monks and warriors. Today, the Templar Rule remains a valuable historical document, offering deep insights into the time’s religious, military, and social dynamics. It continues to fascinate historians, religious scholars, and anyone interested in the enigmatic order of the Knights Templar.