Rome, Italy, October 12, 2007—Sunlight falls on a copy of a once secret Vatican paper documenting the trials of the Knights Templar.
This week officials announced that the Vatican will publish classified manuscripts about the mysterious Christian knights that have been kept under wraps for nearly 700 years.
The Holy See will publish 799 copies of the book-length document in leather-bound reproductions so faithful that they will even show stains left on the historic parchment.
The knights were a Christian military order created in 1119 to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land. They were believed to have amassed great wealth and influence during the Crusades and have often been depicted as keepers of the Holy Grail.
The new publication won't reveal any relics' whereabouts, however. The document describes the knights' trial in the 1300s for heresy—including charges of idol worship and homosexuality—as well as their eventual absolution by Pope Clement V.