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Learning English - Words in the News
17 October, 2007 - Published 14:42 GMT
Vatican to publish Knights Templar trial
People dressed as Crusaders
People dressed as Crusaders

Later this month, the Vatican will publish a document which lay forgotten in the Pope's secret archives for hundreds of years. It is the account of the trial of the Knights Templar during the reign of Pope Clement V at the beginning of the fourteenth century. This report from David Willey:

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This is one of the most astonishing publishing ventures ever. Even with a cover price of over eight thousand dollars, the facsimile edition of the minutes of the trial of the Knights Templar is already a financial success. Libraries and collectors from around the world have reserved most of the eight hundred copies of the parchment documents and an accompanying book which are going on sale soon.

The parchment tells in mediaeval Latin how the legendary Crusader Knights - who still fascinate contemporary writers of popular fiction - were tried for heresy by the Inquisition and found not guilty.

The Christian military order - who called themselves the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon - protected Christian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land from the beginning of the Crusades. But after the recapture of Jerusalem by Muslims and military defeats of Crusader armies two centuries later, the knights fell on hard times. To answer accusations of heresy because of alleged secret initiation ceremonies and other crimes, Pope Clement ordered a trial and it’s the record of these proceedings - which partially rehabilitated the Knights - that are now being published in this expensive luxury edition.

Listen to the words

exact copy

the minutes
here, the official summary of a meeting

thin material made from the prepared skin of an animal and used for writing on

referring to the period in history from around 1100 AD - 1500 AD

were tried for heresy by the Inquisition
were investigated by a Catholic court for views that opposed the religious views of the day

pilgrims visiting the Holy Land
believers making a journey to Jerusalem and other places mentioned in the Bible

fell on hard times
became poor or had many troubles

reported (without proof)

initiation ceremonies
rituals that new members of a group had to perform

here, recovered the good reputation of

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