Bernard de Clairvaux 1090-1153
Today is the feast day of Saint Bernard de Clairvaux who put a sword in the hands of Cistercian monks and renamed them the Knights Templar or The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon. It was controversial at the time and akin to a doctor amending the Hippocratic Oath to include euthanasia of a patient. I believe the choice to take up arms was hundreds of years over due. The Dark Ages were in part named so due to monasteries being sacked repeatedly and the destruction of books and those schooled in their creation which lead to large gaps in our understanding of events. Much knowledge was lost in the early Middle Ages without the ability of priests to defend themselves against marauding bands. Bernard de Clairvaux’s model of the New Knighthood was so popular that other priestly orders followed suit immediately and picked up the sword.
He renovated Christianity to include women to a higher degree than before through the worship of Mary or Mariology the hidden Goddess. His rigorous ability to ask hard questions has been followed by reformation groups through the centuries and he is today still upheld by Christianity as a leader whose timeless considerations still hold weight.
He fed the poor at his gates which at times numbered in the hundreds, he refused to wear expensive clothes and delivered his sermons in the common languages of Europe rather than exclusive incomprehensible Latin. His appealed to all classes as a result and was considered a saint in his own lifetime due to his concern for the plight of the poor and his understanding of human nature.
“In danger, in anguish, in uncertainty, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may more surely obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her as guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; So long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, you shall reach the goal.”
Bernard de Clairvaux Homilies on the Gospel 1120
Bernard de Clairvaux brought about unprecedented changes in the 12th century, which affected Europe and the Middle East, and reverberated down the centuries. The charismatic force of this man has not been entirely appreciated by researchers of the historical genre of the Knights Templar. It is easy to give him no more than a cursory nod in favour of the perceived glamour of the knightly Order, which without his hand, would not have gained its influential foothold.
I am convinced that he was following a wisdom tradition held within his family, in what seems likely, over centuries. There are echoes of evidence indicating that the family and their companions were familiar with operating in an organised manner, case in point, their takeover of the Cistercian Order en masse. The Abbot Bernard would reluctantly become the very public face of the tradition that he served so well.
What is this mysterious bond and purpose that held this familial group together? It has long been noted that the Knights Templar were the guardians’ of great secrets, sacred relics and writings, bloodlines, and ancient documents. Some clues lie in the family ties of the Languedoc.
His Maternal Grandmother was married to William III, Count of Toulouse. The Counts of Toulouse were known to have connections to the Albigensian’s, otherwise known as the Cathars.
Saint Bernard lifted women of his time in collusion with the Troubadours in the new cult of Mariology and Courtly Love. Women became worthy of protection rather than mere chattel and Chivalry created new rules for honorable living. He was the Knight of the Morning Star worshiping the Virgin Mary, the ISIS of her age. As a bloodline descendant of Jesus through the Counts of Toulouse, Bernard venerated the Black Madonna whose visage hides the nature of the bride of Christ, Mary Magdalene.
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One thought on “Bernard de Clairvaux – Knight of the Morning Star”
This is great writing and I was drawn into the lives and the reality of living in that era. I found your story of St Bernard fascinating and very moving. I wonder if you might consider writing about Sir John Cornwall who led the left flank of Henry Vs army at the battle of Agincourt. He was a master of jousting and Melendez and led a colourful life, ending up as Master of Grammar in England, serving the King.