Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Knights Templar Gather in Zagreb

Over the weekend, Zagreb hosted the 9th International Knights Templar Conference that brought together members of the Templar groups from all over Europe. "The Templars’ activity has always been mysterious; however, we are not a secret society, but a fraternity which studies medieval history,” said Vinko Lisec, the head of the Croatian Order of Knights Templar that was founded in 2006 at the Trakošćan Castle, reports Večernji List on April 10, 2019.

It is a secular Christian ecumenical organisation that brings together dozens of knights from all over the country, but also from the Croatian diaspora, and is entirely apolitical. “New members come when they hear their inner calling. The Grand Council considers their application. If the conditions are fulfilled, the candidate gets a mentor, trains for a year and then gives an honourable knight's oath with a hand placed on the Bible,” explains Lisec. With the oath, they confirm their affiliation to Christianity and their allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church and the Templar tradition.

“There are quasi-Templar associations that talk about the Holy Grail and so on, but our work is based solely on historical documents, and in its centre is ecumenism,” said Lisec, who became a knight in 2006 and was named the Templar commander a year later. He added that there are several different factions of Templars in the world, and the goal of their association is to bring various groups together. It is also one of the goals of the international conference that has been organised in Zagreb for the last four years. This year, it brought together knights from Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Slovenia and, for the first time, Serbia.

“We discussed the global Templar movement, the possibilities of rapprochement, possible problems, and we also exchanged experiences,” Lisec pointed out. This year, for the first time, the Croatian Order of Knights Templar organised an exhibition on the rich history of Templars in Croatia.

The first Templars in Croatia came from France and Italy after they received a papal order in the 12th century, and their task was to secure pilgrimage paths to the Holy Land. “Since they defended the secular authorities, they received estates where they built fortresses and churches. They were the intellectuals of their time,” said Lisec, adding that the Templar heritage can be found in almost all of Croatia: in the coastal areas, such as Senj, Šibenik, Split and Klis, but also in inland Croatia, in the region of Koprivnica, Psunj and Požega.

In Zagreb, they had their headquarters at Nova Ves, where the modern-day Knights Templar order is also located. “The Templars have returned to Nova Ves after seven centuries," concluded Lisec, adding that they plan to set up a memorial plaque in Nova Ves. It would be an excellent tourist attraction to link Nova Ves with its medieval history. They hope to cooperate with the ministries of culture and tourism on this project since the Templar heritage has a strong tourist potential.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Stela Lechpammer).

More history news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Secrets of Rascane near Vrgorac: A Possible Templar Cemetery?

Is there more to discover at the Rašćane cemetery?