Unique Book Dedicated to Trial against Templars on Display in Sofia
The publication, called "Processus Conta Templarios", is an expensive limited edition of the proceedings of the 1307-1312 papal trial of the mysterious medieval crusading order of warrior-monks who were accused of heresy.
The work was presented by the famous Bulgarian archaeologist Professor Nikolay Ovcharov and the Prior of the Bulgarian Priory Rumen Ralchev.
One of the 799 certified copies of the document was presented to Pope Benedict XVI.
The reproductions of the documents are printed on synthetic parchment with a replica of the original papal wax seal. Each leather-bound edition provides details of how members of the wealthy medieval order were tried by the inquisition before Pope Clement V between 1307 and 1312.
Many of the members were tortured and burned at the stake for sexual misconduct and alleged initiation ceremonies.
The Prefect of the Vatican's Secret Archive, Monsignor Sergio Pagano, wrote in his introduction to the book that the papers confirm the official statement of the church over freeing the Knight of templar from guilt.
The original artifact, he said, was discovered in the Vatican's secret archives in 2001 after it had been improperly catalogued for more than 300 years.
Vatican secret archives researcher Barbara Frale has currently said the documents allow for a better interpretation of the trial.
The Knights Templar was a powerful and secretive group of warrior monks during the Middle Ages.
Their secrecy has given birth to endless legends, including one that they discovered the Holy Grail. Recently, they have been featured in films including "The Da Vinci Code" - based on Dan Brown's work of fiction as well as "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade".
A French knight, Hugues de Payns, founded the order after the First Crusade of 1099 to protect pilgrims on the road to Jerusalem. Its headquarters was Jerusalem's Temple Mount, which lent the order its name.
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