Today in History, January 13, 1128:
The Knights Templar are named an “Army of God” and given a papal sanction by Pope Honorius II. The Templars protected pilgrims traveling to and from the Holy Land during the Crusades. They called themselves the Templars after the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where they were headquartered.
By the 14th century the wealthy and powerful had become jealous of the wealth and status of the Templars. The Templars were arrested, accused of heresy, tortured, and burned at the stake. Pope Clement V dissolved the Templars and their extensive property and wealth was turned over to the French and English monarchies. Today’s Catholic church has acknowledged the unfounded persecution of the order.