THE MYSTERY TEMPLAR in Trani
-The Church of Ognissanti-
Puglia was, during the Templar region important, not only for the many harbors suitable for large ships that were in the East, but also for the fertility of its land, which allowed good harvests to send as refueling brothers fighters crusaders in the Holy Land.
Trani was one of the most important ports of Puglia has always been a crossroads of peoples and cultures of the Mediterranean and the door to the East.
It was, therefore, in the first years of life of the Order that the Templars settled along transit routes to Jerusalem, their "DOMUS" or "POST" emerged, according to the idea that the same order of warrior-monks Christianity was born, to defend and rescue the pilgrims, who went to the Holy Places.
Tradition has it that the Templars have built the church of All Saints in the first half of the twelfth century: in fact, the first evidence of the presence in Trani Knights rossocrociati is offered by Deacon Amando, the future Bishop of Bisceglie, who in his "Historia TRASLATIONIS SANCTI NICOLAI pilgrims "(" History of the transfer of the body of San Nicola Pellegrino "), reporting on the portentous fact, that during the ceremony of transfer of the body of the saint, in a completely cloudless sky, had suddenly raised from the Cathedral two columns clouds, it asserts that in this procession was also attended by the Knights of the Temple.
From old maps show that the Templars lived not far from the town: in fact in 1143 Trani had a city wall, which left "outside the walls" the Church of All Saints.
All this is confirmed by a plaque in the vicinity of access secondary right temple, containing the following inscription: "HIC REQUIESCIT Costantinus ABBAS ET MEDICUS ORATE PRO EIUS SOUL" - Here rests Constantine, abbot and doctor, pray for the soul his -. Constantine, then, was a Templar in the class of the canons, Medical and Abbot-Rector of the "Domus" Trani.
The Order of the Templars was the church of All Saints until the suppression of the Order took place in 1312 by Pope Clement V, instigated by French King Philip IV the Fair. In the years following the dissolution of the Order all the property of the Templars were transferred to other religious orders and among these particularly preferred were the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem (Knights), that it was in Trani, beyond the harbor basin eastward, they had their monastery.
From 1378 onwards the patronage of the church was owned by the families: de Justis, Castaldi, Lambertini, Rogadeo and Achonzaico. An irrefutable confirmation of that fact is made up of the coats of arms in relief, carved on the lintel of access to the sacristy.
The church of All Saints, one of the few Romanesque churches to keep intact the porch, was considered by scholars a cathedral in miniature, because it has all the elements of a cathedral but in much smaller proportions.
The image that recurs most often is related to the apse, which overlooks the harbor of Trani, while the main facade, hidden from the beautiful porch, is instead placed on Via Saints.
A preliminary observation of the tissue wall, it can easily detect a certain similarity between the church with the adjacent buildings. The entire complex was in fact composed of two buildings, rectangular, the center of which stood the church of All Saints, a place of worship that tied with the portico and the upper floor with the two buildings.
Tradition has it that the building north of the church was situated the domus Templar, once the hospital for pilgrims, refectory and dormitory for the Templars, now totally transformed into private homes. In the building to the south was the place blind alley, an open space probably used as a warehouse for food or as a stable for horses.
Inside the porch, serving to accommodate the pilgrims and to protect the beautiful sculptures of the portal, they can see two columns of granite African and a cruciform pillars that support eight vaults.
The central portal presents, you Templar, the theme of the double "of good and evil, life and death, sacred and profane, the West-East". On the left jamb there are creatures of good, the most important are: two peacocks facing, drinking the same cup, symbol of the Eucharist, a reference to the Templars who ate two and in complete silence in the same bowl as a sign of humility and the representation of Jesus Christ sitting on the throne. On the right jamb there are fantastic creatures incarnation of evil: a central female figure (Lust) with two snakes, that bite their breasts. Archivolt you can see the symbols of the evangelists (the lion - Marco; the angel - Matthew, the eagle - Giovanni; the bull - Luca). At the center stands the lamb, symbolizing the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The two leaders are occupied by fantastic figures, which, reduced to its essentials, show what they are in reality, an alpha and un'omega, literal quotation of the words uttered by Jesus in Revelation he is defining himself: I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
The decoration of the door of the church of All Saints is completed with the two panels of the Annunciation, at the heart of the bezel: on the left you can see the Archangel Gabriel, tile right in the Virgin is represented in the act of spinning. At the foot of the Virgin is a prone male figure in the humble attitude of the applicant, it is bearded and wears hair cut at the nape: we know that the Templars wore a long beard and short hair; also, and above all, that the Virgin was the patron of the Order may be the hallmark of the client Templar? In semicapitello right the Archangel Michael, the warrior angel and protector of the Knights Templar, the scepter protrudes toward the center, where it bites into a dragon. In the middle you see a human face with a beard and mustache. Whether the Baphomet of the Templars? The Baphometto for the Templars was an object of meditation: the source of knowledge. It looked like a faun that was traded by the Inquisition for an image of the devil but the Templars symbolized the human ambivalence, good and evil, the masculine and the feminine, the composition of opposites.
Unlike the bezel on the left side, badly deteriorated by time, one on the right has two peacocks facing, which feed from a vine, symbol of the Eucharist.
The interior, with no transept, is typical of contemporary buildings to a basilica: three naves divided by six granite columns with capitals mostly African Corinthian. The columns are all different as regards the height, were removed from other churches, to be adapted here, in fact rest on bases different from each other.
Currently the central nave is covered by a roof with wooden trusses, the result of the last restoration of 1934. In fact like what happened to the Cathedral, the Church of All Saints was transformed in sec. XIX according to the taste of the time and, therefore, the interior was plastered and the capitals abraded to adhere stucco nineteenth century. As we stated above, in 1934 it was provided to restore the building, restoring the roof truss of the nave and the plastic elements most affected: however much abraded permasero the two semi-capitals placed on either side of the main apse.
Outside the central apse, semicircular and with conical roof with steps like the other two, it is the top decorated with a series of hanging arches, set on small shelves to human and animal figures and by a cornice carved with ornamental tendrils. Two lions, surmounted by two griffins, which sink their powerful claws into the flesh of their prey, decorate the window, whose outfit is completed by a figurative Samson, caught in the act of opening the jaws of a lion. A didactic role is entrusted to the sculptures: the lion recalls the resurrection of Christ as the cub opens eyes three days after his birth; griffin, half-lion half-eagle, is an excellent symbol of Christ, half-man half God; Samson is the figure of Christ who opens, breaks down the gates of hell to bring out the souls of the righteous.
The richness of the central contrasts with the simplicity of the other two apses, in the high bell tower stands out against the blue sky.
In medieval art it has had the prime function of mediating the relationship between man and God, through a system of signs and symbols, which notably affect the architecture, linking it inextricably to the meaning of numbers and astronomical phenomena . To astronomical phenomena, the numbers, and the golden ratio that find their nature in the Egyptian culture and to which were attributed mystical powers, divine, supernatural, is linked to the Church of All Saints.
It seems that everything, then, is not born by chance, but it manifested a clear desire, that of an unwritten history, but also for thousands of years handed down from generation to generation and found carved in these stones.
Text by Gabriele Pace Guide and Tour Leader Region Puglia