and building fortifications across Europe and the Holy Land.
The Templars were closely tied to the Crusades; when the Holy Land was lost, support for the order faded.
Rumours about the Templars' secret initiation ceremony created distrust, and King Philip IV of France – deeply in debt to the order – took advantage of the situation to gain control over them.
In 1307 he had many of the order's members in France arrested, tortured into giving false confessions, and burned at the stake.
They had a powerful advocate in Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a leading Church figure, the French abbot primarily responsible for the founding of the Cistercian Order of monks and a nephew of André de Montbard, one of the founding knights.