Saint of the day:
Patron Saint of beekeepers, candlemakers, Knights Templar
Knights Templar Friday the 13th (1307)
Sub Rosa or Under the Rose (meaning secret)
M = Mary look for the "M" in Art usually in a hand gesture
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux’s Story
Man of the century! Woman of the century! You see such terms applied to so many today—“golfer of the century,” “composer of the century,” “right tackle of the century”—that the line no longer has any punch. But Western Europe’s “man of the twelfth century,” without doubt or controversy, had to be Bernard of Clairvaux. Adviser of popes, preacher of the Second Crusade, defender of the faith, healer of a schism, reformer of a monastic Order, Scripture scholar, theologian, and eloquent preacher: any one of these titles would distinguish an ordinary man. Yet Bernard was all of these—and he still retained a burning desire to return to the hidden monastic life of his younger days.
In the year 1111, at the age of 20, Bernard left his home to join the monastic community of Citeaux. His five brothers, two uncles, and some 30 young friends followed him into the monastery. Within four years, a dying community had recovered enough vitality to establish a new house in the nearby valley of Wormwoods, with Bernard as abbot. The zealous young man was quite demanding, though more on himself than others. A slight breakdown of health taught him to be more patient and understanding. The valley was soon renamed Clairvaux, the valley of light.
His ability as arbitrator and counselor became widely known. More and more he was lured away from the monastery to settle long-standing disputes. On several of these occasions, he apparently stepped on some sensitive toes in Rome. Bernard was completely dedicated to the primacy of the Roman See. But to a letter of warning from Rome, he replied that the good fathers in Rome had enough to do to keep the Church in one piece. If any matters arose that warranted their interest, he would be the first to let them know.
Shortly thereafter it was Bernard who intervened in a full-blown schism and settled it in favor of the Roman pontiff against the antipope.
The Holy See prevailed on Bernard to preach the Second Crusade throughout Europe. His eloquence was so overwhelming that a great army was assembled and the success of the crusade seemed assured. The ideals of the men and their leaders, however, were not those of Abbot Bernard, and the project ended as a complete military and moral disaster.
Bernard felt responsible in some way for the degenerative effects of the crusade. This heavy burden possibly hastened his death, which came August 20, 1153.
Cathédrale de Troyes (Troyes Cathedral)
10000 Troyes, France
*During the 13th century this church acquired an impressive collection of relics and artifacts that had been looted from the churches of Constantinople in 1204. During the French Revolution, however, many of these relics and historic treasures were destroyed & the church itself was converted into a Temple of Reason. The church has since then been returned to sacred use and is known in particular for its expansive and impressive stained glass windows.
*One of the significant relics still preserved by this church is part of the skull of St Bernard. This relic can be found in the Treasury of this church.
Knights Templar Friday the 13th (1307)
Many people of the superstitious sort consider Friday the 13th to be unlucky. There are people who wear good luck charms all day and some who go so far as to refuse to leave home, lest something unlucky happen to them.
But many don’t know that one legend of the origin of Friday the 13th as unlucky comes from the persecution of the Knights Templar in the 14th Century. On Friday, October 13th, 1307, King Philip IV of France, in league with Pope Clement V ordered all Templars to be rounded up and thrown in prison. The Knights were accused of numerous crimes including heresy and treason. For two hundred years the Knights Templar had been the most dominant force in Christendom, but after their defeat at the Siege of Acre and the loss of the Holy Land, their influence began to wane.
Yet they still held enormous power and great amounts of wealth. Pope Clement sought to merge the Knights Templar with the Knights Hospitaller another powerful order at the time. Neither group found such a merger ideal. And despite the loss of the Holy Land, the Templars were still a part of of everyday life in the Middle Ages. Their houses, churches and farms dotted the countryside throughout Europe. It provided employment for thousands of people. They started an international banking system that allowed nobles to deposit funds and valuables for safekeeping. And in what ultimately led to their downfall, they occasionally helped finance wars.
Philip IV borrowed enormous sums of money to finance a war with England. A poor king and an even worse military commander, Philip was easily defeated. He saw a way of both currying favor with the Pope and eliminating his huge debt. On that fateful day of Friday, October 13, 1307 he ordered all Templars arrested and their property seized. The Grandmaster of the order, Jacques DeMolay was thrown in prison along with several other high-ranking members of the order.
Their ‘trial’ was a farce. The Templars were charged with heresy, worshiping false idols and other crimes against the church. Many of them were tortured until they ‘confessed’ to their crimes. Refusing to capitulate, Jacques DeMolay would not confess and Philip ordered him burned at the stake. In 2007 the Vatican issued a proclamation declaring the Templars innocent of their alleged crimes.
The Knights Templar, which had dominated medieval life for two centuries, was no more. Unfortunately for Philip, the Templars had learned of his planned treachery before hand. Many of them escaped and their vast stores of treasure were hidden from the King’s soldiers.
Another legend that has also persisted is that Jacques DeMolay, the last Grandmaster of the Order, cursed both Philip IV and Pope Clement V, as he died. Whether or not you believe in curses, both Philip and Clement died within months of DeMolay’s death.
Did they go underground?
Sub Rosa or Under the Rose (meaning in secret)
Or were they in plain sight...
M = Mary
the number 13
the number 8, pentagrams showing aliment with venus
We are celebrating with a French recipe because our Saint was from France.
Summer Tomato Tarte
One unbaked tart dough (see recipe below)
Dijon or whole-grain mustard
2-3 large ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
two generous tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, chives, chervil, or tarragon
8 ounces (250g) fresh or slightly aged goat cheese, sliced into rounds
Optional: 1 1/2 tablespoons flavorful honey
1 1/2 cups (210g) flour
4 1/2 ounces (125g) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2-3 tablespoons cold water
Make the dough by mixing the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and use your hands, or a pastry blender, to break in the butter until the mixture has a crumbly, cornmeal-like texture.
Mix the egg with 2 tablespoons of the water. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the beaten egg mixture, stirring the mixture until the dough holds together. If it’s not coming together easily, add the additional tablespoon of ice water.
Gather the dough into a ball and roll the dough on a lightly floured surface, adding additional flour only as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the counter.
Once the dough is large enough so that it will cover the bottom of the pan and go up the sides, roll the dough around the rolling pin then unroll it over the tart pan. “Dock” the bottom of the pastry firmly with your fingertips a few times, pressing in to make indentations.
If making a freestyle tart, simply transfer the dough to a prepared baking sheet (see headnote); no need to make indentations with your fingers.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF (218ºC). See note.
Spread an even layer of mustard over the bottom of the tart dough and let it sit a few minutes to dry out.
Slice the tomatoes and arrange them over the mustard in a single, even layer. Drizzle the olive oil over the top.
Sprinkle with some chopped fresh herbs, then arrange the slices of goat cheese on top. Add some more fresh herbs, then drizzle with some honey, if using.
(If baking a free-form tart, gather the edges when you’re done, to envelope the filling.)
Bake the tart for 30 minutes or so, until the dough is cooked, the tomatoes are tender, and the cheese on top is nicely browned. Depending on the heat of your oven, if the cheese doesn’t brown as much as you’d like it, you might want to pass it under the broiler until it’s just right.
Note: Kate indeed does cook her tart in a very hot oven. You might wish to check the tart midway through baking and turn it down a bit in case the top is getting too dark, before the crust and tomatoes appear to be cooked.
**If you are needing something fast use frozen puff pastry dough!!
Fast Puff Pastry Tomato Tart
To make this very simple but totally delicious tart, I pre-heat the oven to 350 F, then roll out my pastry fairly thinly and pop it on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. I like to pre-bake the pastry for a few minutes to ensure a crisp base.
While the pastry is in the oven, I whiz in my mixer, a few fresh basil leaves, a few leaves of roquette salad, some grated parmesan cheese, a little fresh garlic and some pine nuts, along with some olive oil. I aim to obtain an almost liquid paste.
Once the pastry round is just turning golden, I take it out of the oven, and at this point I turn up the oven to 400 F. Next, I smear the pastry all over with my pesto mix, then add a thin layer of tomato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a little more parmesan; I pour a tiny bit of olive oil over the tomatoes, then pop back into the oven for 20 minutes.
Fast Puff Pastry Tomato Tart