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Vatican Secret Archives: 6 of the most intriguing documents in church history

One hundred documents held in the Vatican’s Secret Archives are now on display in Rome for the first time. Read our list here of six standouts.

- Correspondent

Court documents from the trial of the Knights Templar

On yellowed parchment covered in neat black script, official court document reveals details of the 14th century trials of the Knights Templar on suspicion of heresy.

The order of Christian warriors was persecuted by King Philip IV of France, who had grown suspicious of their power and wealth. Pope Clement V initiated an inquest and many knights were sent to trial. Some were subsequently pardoned by the pope.

The full name of the order was the "Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon."

They were founded by a French knight and some of his companions in Jerusalem around 1119 and pledged to defend Christian pilgrims travelling to the Holy Land after the crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099.


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