Arts, Culture & Media

Knights Templar sue Pope

At their pinnacle, the Knights Templar possessed wealth, property and power, but in 1307 the Knights Templar went from riches to rags when King Phillip the 4th of France accused them of heresy. Soon after, the Pope disbanded the order, but last year the Vatican released document suggesting the Pope actually absolved the Templars of heresy and he may have disbanded the order to avoid a conflict with King Phillip. Now a Spanish-based Association of the Sovereign Order of the Temple of Christ says it wants to restore the good name of the Knights Templar, never mind the seized assets that would be worth more than $100 billion today. In a statement, the sovereign order said Pope Benedict must stand up in court and make amends. Analyst say that's unlikely because the Pope is well protected behind his Vatican walls. The second problem is no one really knows what happened to the Knights Templar after the Pope disbanded them in the 14th century. One theory is that they went underground and have remained a secret and powerful, but behind the scenes player, up until today�a theory which has foddered all sorts of conspiracy theories, even novels and movies, see the Divinci Code. So the Sovereign Order has come under attack by other groups who say they are the rightful descendants of the Knights Templar. This knight who claims to be a true descendant says he doesn't expect the Vatican to recognize them or return assets. A Vatican spokesman declined an interview for this story, and said this is a historical issue, not a legal one.

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