August 1st, 2011
08:47 AM ET

Understanding the religious history of the Knights Templar

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

The group has come to everyone's attention because of Anders Behring Breivik's killing spree in Norway, now just over a week ago. He claimed in his rambling manifesto to represent a modern-day "Knights Templar".

Ancient Knights Templar name used in modern criminal crusades

But who are they?

The name might ring a bell, especially if you've seen The DaVinci Code or National Treasure or one of any number of recent films. But these are, of course, all fictional. What are the facts?

Read more about all the latest security news in CNN's new blog Security Clearance.

The Knights Templar were a Christian military order founded in the early 12th century. Its members were said to be elite warriors who wore distinctive white mantles with a red cross. They made their reputation by winning a series of battles in the Crusades.

Read more about the Knights Templar from GPS
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Europe • Houses of worship • Mosque

soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. economicdeveloper


    May 21, 2012 at 12:10 am |
  2. PB

    The archgrandmaster of the REAL KNIGHTS TEMPLAR. can be found here –> http://Facebook.com/ANTIGAGALEAGUE

    August 4, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  3. Reality

    Knights Templar – another group Bred, Born and Brainwashed in their religion – aka the 3 B Syndrome.


    August 3, 2011 at 12:03 am |
  4. John


    August 2, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • .....

      TROLL ALERT – this is complete garbage don't waste your time, click the report abuse link to get rid of this troll.

      August 2, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
  5. prophet

    But rememberthat jesus is not the Name of Our Saviour anyway so those condeming christainity are really showing how uneduacted and ignorant they are.

    August 2, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • JA

      Even though we dont have the same Savior, i still welcome you as my brother, brother.

      August 2, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Marie

      I lived and worked at British firm in Middleeast for six years. With my experiene, I have one question to all Muslims, would you allow US to build a church in the city of any of these Middleeastern country? Absolutely not, so why are you guys fighting to build a Mosque or expressing yourself. I suffered being a Christian there, especially during Ramadan. I do not understand why US is not standing for their belief.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  6. prophet

    these people who condem jesus are really unintelligent as they don't know what they are saying because they don't have any thinking of their own. we feel sorry for them that they think this way.

    August 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Stevie7

      " they don't know what they are saying because they don't have any thinking of their own."

      Wouldn't that actually apply to someone who uses a 2000+ year old text to do their thinking for them?

      August 2, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  7. prophet

    these people against Our Saviour are sick people and we are praying for them because they are not only destructive to decent people but also destructive to themselves, what they do to themselves is their choice but they really should not be destructive to decent people. We don't really have to wait until the end to see these people for what they are, they are from the adversary and it seems that thats what they want so thats where they will stay in their miserable pathetic little mentality, if it exists. May God have mercy on you who abuse The Goodness of Our Salvation.

    August 2, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  8. prophet

    whats so interesting about this person called re.......ty is that he is showing himslef up to really ignorant as he accusing the christains of this and that and he obviously is of a very low intelligence if at all because there are no christians so he is really showing himslef to be the fool that he really is, Its okay for a lot of people on here to be abusoive towrads Our Saviour but if someone was to say the same thinsg to them then they couldn't handle it. What makes people like this a problem is that they believe their own lies so this why his reality is a non reality but he needs to convince himslef that he is someone when hes no one. People like this actually believe in God but are too stupid to admit it because they know that they are so inferior, not even a human being.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:19 am |
    • John Richardson

      The non-believers on this board have been "taking it" for a long time. Try actually knowing what you are talking about before spouting off, whiner.

      August 2, 2011 at 7:49 am |
    • AthyistRAnoyng

      "The non-believers on this board have been "taking it" for a long time. Try actually knowing what you are talking about before spouting off, whiner."

      Are you blind? 95% of the posts on here are for bashing Christianity. And what's your definition of "taking it". *whining*- people keep telling me im gonna go to hell *whining*......truth hurts sometimes

      August 2, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Stevie7

      "95% of the posts on here are for bashing Christianity"

      I see that math is not your strong suit.

      August 2, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • AthyistRAnoyng

      " I see that math is not your strong suite "

      A perfect example of a typical athiest "couldnt come up with anything better" comeback.
      *clapping my hands* bravo.

      August 3, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  9. Avser Bastian

    GOVERNMENT "AFTERLIFE" FLASH MOB OR REAL SHOOTING IN UTOYA, NORWAY !!? stateofterror.blogspot.com/ or stateofterror.wordpress.com/ TEARS OF SORROW AND PAIN ON FACES OF MOURNERS OR TEAR GAS AND THEATER/HYPOCRISY ON FACES OF MULTICULTURALISM MANIACS !!? NORWEGIAN OSLO POLICE or COMMUNIST/LIBERAL CRIMINALS IN BLUE UNIFORMS WHO WERE PREPARING FOR TERROR AGAINST NORWAY ALREADY HALF DECADE AHEAD !!? No doubt about bombing in Oslo, but what about shooting in Utoya which was no different from the one in Arizona !!!? WILL THERE BE OBAMINATOR MORALES'S APOCALYPSE NOW OR TOTAL WAR AGAINST NEW WORLD ORDER(multiculturalism) !!? STOLTENBERG = BREIVIK(90 minutes vs 30 and for government vehicles or police even 20 minutes the most) !!!

    DICTATOR OBAMA = STALIN = BUSH or USA = SOVIET UNION http://avsecbostjan.blogspot.com/ or http://avsecbostjan.wordpress.com/

    COMMUNISM(Slowenien/Slovenia) IN CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE TODAY(2011) !!! http://sloveniatoday.blogspot.com or http://easterneuropetoday.wordpress.com/

    August 2, 2011 at 4:43 am |
  10. Bonita

    It's the stupid sin nature of men and boys who crave the membership of some secret societies. It's an universal problem around the globe for all time. They should be educated by the Bible that hurting the in-no-cent lives send them to hell, no matter what their goal is.

    August 2, 2011 at 4:32 am |
    • John Richardson

      No, the Bible teaches that you can kill all you want and, as long as you accept Jesus as your savior, you go straight to heaven. If you spend your life caring for the poor and sick and hurt no one but don't accept Jesus, THEN you go to hell.

      God must be really disappointed in you right now, Bonita!

      August 2, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • Bonita

      @John, not true. The genuine faith in Jesus accompanies the real following Jesus. God's grace is not cheap. There is no one who spent his life for caring others without accepting Jesus. In any case you have no hope if you continue to blaspheme.

      August 2, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • John Richardson

      Oh, I see. You are just another ignorant bigot Christian who believes against all evidence that only Christians do good.

      August 2, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Bonita

      John, atheists are no good. Why do you have a biblical name?

      August 2, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • Bonita

      @John, What evidence? You Westerners are just stupid barbarians if you didn't have Christianity.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • AGuest9

      @Bonita – "atheists are no good" because they choose to not believe in your fairy tales? Wow! I guess I'll contact the Red Cross and Susan Komen and tell them to mail back my checks, and I'll tell the hospital that I won't be using my Jeep this winter to drive nurses to work during the next snow storm, since I'm obviously "no good".

      Grow a brain!

      August 2, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Don't take it personally.
      This troll takes a different name every other day but always spouts the same baseless, poorly phrased vitriolic claptrap.
      I've given her solid, undeniable accounts of secularists saving the lives of countless children under the harshest of conditions with limited resources, expecting nothing in return – and she maintained that they were still evil and not actually doing anything good.

      2+2 will always = 5 in her world.

      August 2, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics


      @John, not true. The genuine faith in Jesus accompanies the real following Jesus. God's grace is not cheap. There is no one who spent his life for caring others without accepting Jesus. In any case you have no hope if you continue to blaspheme.

      You should see what I do with the pages of the bible. It makes for great @ ss art when needed.

      August 4, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  11. Muneef

    New propaganda being introduced serving the Israelies after all them knights were serving fighting for Jerusalem beside guarding the treasures and scriptures of wisdom and sorcery...which they learnt to use to gain their richness before the Vatican declared them as sinners and had them killed...!

    August 2, 2011 at 12:42 am |
    • John Richardson

      Oh, good grief, Muneef. The original Templars didn't care about the Jews and this lunatic would have been happily helping Hitler if he had been born a few decades earlier. The Middle East has been a cauldron of war since long before there were any Jews, Christians or Muslims and there's no end in sight and still wouldn't be any if all the Jews in Israel decided to move to Florida tomorrow.

      August 2, 2011 at 7:57 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.