The Catholic Templars of Italy in San Petronio


There on the “crescentone” in Piazza Maggiore, a “umarel” explained to a couple of tourists – a handy cam equipped – that the basilica of San Petronio is in Bologna like that of Saint Peter’s in Rome


The comparison would seem risky, but considering the innate sense of humor of the “Petronians”, it is not surprising. Saint Petronio has always been the “greatest” for them (it is the fifth or sixth largest church in Europe, but also preceded by St. Peter, the “papal arch-godly major in the Vatican”) and perhaps is also preferred to St. Peter, cathedral of Bologna

On the topic the schools of thought under the 2 towers are wasted. And anyway in San Petronio the “4 Crosses” are kept, one of the oldest symbols of the Christian faith in Bologna, there is the meridian of the Cassini, the longest in the world and there are also two of the historically most important organs of Italy . But the news of the last hour is that for a few weeks we have seen, in all their austerity, the Knights of the Temple, the so-called Templars, wandering among those naves, dressed with the coat with red cross “suffering” (of the one who suffers) and the belt. They carry out the custody and security service for the faithful who attend the functions, but also for occasional visitors. It must be said that the ancient Templars wrote pages and pages of history since 1110, the year in which the Order was founded, on the occasion of the first crusade, with the aim of defending the Holy Land from the infidels. They were also stable in Bologna, where towards the end of the fourteenth century, “at noon” in Piazza Maggiore, in what is now Via dei Pignattari, there was the church of Santa Croce, which was demolished just to build the basilica of San Petronius (whose foundation stone was laid on June 7, 1390) all that area was of Templar property

Today’s Templars, the Catholic Templars Association of Italy, follow a traditional Christian chivalric discipline inspired by the ancient Order of the “Pauperes Commilitones Christi Templique Salomonis” with the mission of defending the holy places, pilgrims, weak, in full communion with the Catholic Church, the Pontiff and his ministers. There are about 1500, all volunteers, many military, preside over the churches praying all night long (and still standing) even the abandoned ones that restore and open to the population, but above all to prevent their use to the operators of evil, Satanists, practicing esotericism and magic. Responding to the appeal of Pope Francis, they participated in the opening rituals of the Holy Doors of God’s Mercy, guarding 100 churches throughout Italy, participating in the celebrations, together with the Bishops and presbyters. They were officially called to “preserve” the Holy Shroud during the exhibition in Turin, then to the service of order in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, during the Jubilee of Mercy and today, still in Rome guard the four basilicas (that of saint Maria in portico in Campitelli, that of the saints XII Apostoli, that of Santa Maria in via and of San Lorenzo in Lucina) and many other important holy places throughout Italy.

Characteristic situation is the “silent walk” made by ladies (Templars women) and knights framed in a row for two, through the historical centers of the cities, respected, praised and photographed and … “with their silence, they create havoc”

Returning to Bologna, there, in San Petronio, in the chapel of the Magi (or Bolognini) it is known that there is the fifteenth-century fresco painted by Giovanni da Modena in late-Gothic apocalyptic style that represents Dante’s hell and where the prophet Muhammad he is portrayed as an old man with a white beard, surrounded by sinners, half-naked, bound and tortured by a demon. Perhaps a “politically incorrect” representation for those “fundamentalist” Muslims (Islamic extremist) that has caused embarrassing and even at risk situations and that for this reason, has made St. Petronio included among the “sensitive targets” in the terrorist sphere. In 2002 a “cell” of the Salafita Group was discovered (escaping from the Gia, Armed Islamic Group) rooted in Milan that was preparing an attack. And even recently the secret services of Morocco have been activated with the G.I.S. of the Carabinieri to foil a possible other (apparently of a jihadist matrix) evidently always to avenge that Muhammad to hell in the fresco. So, it was already desired by the intervention of a service to avoid any regrettable acts within the basilica, in addition to what already carried out in the churchyard the soldiers who are crying out revenue and it was destiny that the Templars would take care of it

And from 3 February, precisely, right in San Petronio (for all weekends, from 15.30 to closing and on Sunday from 11.30 to closing) some Templars in white coat with red cross and belts, order service between the aisles of the Bolognese basilica, a service which they have been doing for some time now also in San Salvatore (in via Cesare Battisti) for the protection of the faithful who go there for the night adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and in Santa Caterina (Strada Maggiore) where next to the church there is ‘is the “Pluribus” (via Torleone) the “mansion” of the Templars from 1161 until dawn of that nefarious Friday 13 October of the Year Domini 1307 when the king Philip “the handsome” had imprisoned before and, then slaughter, almost all knights (this is history) and following the bull of Pope Clement V (the Vox excelso of March 22, 1312) was suppressed the order in administrative .. Today, however, it seems that the local – the Pluribus – has resumed life in the name of the past. In Bologna at least, but also throughout Italy, the Templars, there are still

and they are operational in more than 120 dioceses.

Fra Gianfranco Leonardi


Brief interview with Msgr. Oreste Leonardi primicerio of St. Petronio:


In the basilica we saw knights who looked like other times with the white coat and the red cross


What does it mean for St. Petronius to have the protection of these knights?


The Basilica of San Petronio has signed an agreement with the Catholic Templars Association of Italy, which is based at the Chiesa di San Fermo Maggiore Via della Dogana,2 – 37121 Verona (VR) and has a branch office also operating in Bologna. The purpose of the association is to collaborate with the Church in her pastoral care. In particular, the Association – which is non-profit-making – proposes to bear witness to the Christian vocation in Italy and in the world by promoting, through its own initiatives, evangelization, especially among young people and the exercise of works of piety and charity. , to animate and impregnate the temporal order with a Christian spirit.


Did you know them already? Did you know of their service in churches throughout Italy and in Bologna, both in Santa Caterina, where there is the “pluribus” that is said to have hosted the last of the Templars, such Peter and also in San Salvatore, for the protection of the faithful who Do they go there for the night adoration of the Blessed Sacrament?

Yes, for a long time. They perform their service at the Church of the SS. Salvatore, very close to the Basilica of San Petronio in the time dedicated to the adoration of the SS. Sacramento, both day and night.


Have you asked for the intervention of the Templars or have they been proposed to them?

There was a chance meeting and it was immediately understood the importance of a possible collaboration for purposes that are common to us and which are typical of holy places, such as the Basilica, testimony with its own reality and its works of art. art, of the faith of the Bolognese people and of the history of the city.


They, the Templars, accomplish their mission more or less equally in all the churches: for Saint Petronius has any exceptions been made?

In particular, in the Basilica the volunteers, on Saturdays and Sundays, have the task of carrying out the service of reception, care of liturgical celebrations, custody.


What was the reaction of the faithful of St. Petronius? They asked who they were and what they did?

People remain a little forbidden when they see these volunteers with their white uniform and red cross, like the knights of the past. But then you really appreciate their service. They are a real resource for the Basilica and for an orderly development of the life of the Basilica, so frequented by believers and tourists.


Thank you monsignor Oreste Leonardi