Hugues de Payens was a French nobleman who fought in the Holy Land during the First Crusade (1095-99). This first crusade was the initial stage of what became a two-hundred-year conflict between the Christian West and the Islamic Middle East over control of Jerusalem and the Holy Land.
Staying on after the fall of Jerusalem to the Crusader forces, Hugues and a small group of knights who were trained soldiers of noble birth founded a protective service that would escort pilgrims, or religious visitors, from the port city of Jaffa to Jerusalem.
This small band was given quarters in what was formerly the Temple of Solomon. Hugues de Payens along with young French priest, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, who had formed the group of knights, adopted the name of the Poor Knights of the Temple of King Solomon (later the Knights Templar) in 1118.
Ten years later this unofficial group was made a Catholic order of military monks who promised to live a simple life without family and away from society. Hugues was elected the Orders first Grand Master. By the time of Hugues death in 1136, the Knights Templars had become one of the strongest fighting forces in the Holy Land. The Order lasted for almost two hundred years.
We as contemporary Knights Templar need to pick up the shield of Hugues de Payens and revive the Order along with its' noble causes and morality in the same manner as he did when it was first founded. We will continue to revive and grow the Order by gaining membership.