"The lack of data of all kinds that exists in this specific theme of the Templars is impressive; and it can only be explained by thinking that someone - who was, of course, from Rome - gave the strict order that all traces of these gentlemen should disappear in an absolute way. A little over two years ago, the Vatican Archives opened to investigators - to certain investigators only - a small part of the documentation on the Order of the Temple that is preserved since 1312 among the secret funds of the Vatican ... And that small part of the documentation accounts for almost five tons of scrolls and other manuscripts from the 12th to the 14th centuries! Maybe that explains why this lack of data ... '(1).
Although uncertain, as in the rest of the councils that make up the Principality of Asturias, of the possible presence of the Temple in Llanes, perhaps we should start taking good note of that beautiful cross pate that looks on its shield, above the figure of a lion rampant, precisely the only animal that was allowed to hunt and element, at the same time, a rich and varied symbolism.

It is true, also, that the lack of historical documentation on the subject, in Asturias, is nothing short of absolute and forces the researcher to cross his fingers and expose himself to endless criticism, in his attempt to do a minimum of justice - at least in person - to a medieval order of monks-warriors, the Templars, whose stay on the peninsular margins was much more important than is generally admitted.

So much so, that historians of the stature of Ricardo de la Cierva, to cite an example, obviate this issue and dedicate large volumes to its creation and activities in the Holy Land, passing over that prolongation of the Crusades, which was the reconquest.

It is true, also, that apart from the pressures made by the Popes -both from the puppets of Avignon and from those of Rome- the own idiosyncrasy and the power accumulated shortly after its creation - officially admitted as in the year 1118- he won numerous enemies, who also contributed, and not a little, to erase all traces of them, from its dissolution in 1307, year in which the King of France, Philip the Fair, ordered to arrest all the Templars of his kingdom and confiscate their property, initiating a particular crusade, which has been partially redeemed a few years ago, when the Vatican made public the document of absolution signed by the same hand of the Pope who, yielding to the real pressures, condemned them: Clement V .

As if this were not enough, certain unfortunate periods of the History of Spain, and very specifically, the History of Asturias, ended up volatilizing to the four winds, those few documents that, more or less covert or ignored, managed to survive in the stellar dust of the archives of churches and monasteries.

One such event was, without a doubt, Mendizábal's infamous confiscation, where many of these documents, of precious information, and paraphrasing the theosophist Mario Roso de Luna, ended up being acquired by carnies, and later sold at a bargain price. the pilgrimages and popular markets.

Others, the least, ended up in the hands of individuals who knew their value and presumably that legacy was transmitted, in terms of inheritance, from generation to generation, making up particular and inaccessible libraries.

There were also characters, such as Tirso de Avilés, Jovellanos and Father Francisco Martínez Marina, who recorded in their writings some Templar sites, whose memory was still in force in popular traditions, although the tracking of possible remains is, at present, an arduous task and in many cases, impossible, because of them there is not even the slightest trace, as I had the opportunity to see around the Monsacro and the Sierra del Aramo.

Located in the eastern part of Asturias, in a coastal strip that covers, at least, more than twenty beaches, Llanes reached its status as a town in 1206, with the privilege granted by King Alfonso IX. Of that period are the remains of walls that surround the old part of the city, among which stands out a remodeled tower, now known as Torre del Castillo, which today houses the offices of the Information and Tourism Office.

It is located in the vicinity of the collegiate church of Santa María de la Asunción or the Council, a curious temple with the appearance of a fortress that, according to the most widespread opinion, began to be built after 1240, being considered as the construction most notable of Asturian Gothic (2).

The church, very altered with the passage of the centuries, conserves, nevertheless, two interesting covers in its western and southern sides, of which it emphasizes, especially, this last one that, by deservingness, could be considered like another door speciosa, similar , to give an example, to the one that the Navarrese monastery of Leire shines in its church.

Leaving aside the west portal, whose state of conservation is pitiful enough to be able to make a detailed description of all its elements -except, however, the significant number of heads, seven, which make up the capitals of its right side- with respect to the templar legend of this church of Santa María de Llanes and the symbol that fostered it - the character that has a superb tau on his chest and carries a bell in his hand - we have to focus all our attention on the south cover.

This south portal, elaborated to the smallest detail, contains such an imaginative and symbolic wealth, that to emphasize only and exclusively a specific element, would not make it all the justice that it really deserves, and perhaps, as I believe, it contains more related symbols.

It contains a cryptic message, of course, but also instructive, from my point of view, aimed at guiding the pilgrim, because we must not forget that Llanes and its port are and were, a point of welcome for pilgrims who reached Santiago well following the path of the coast, or going inland, to reach Oviedo and its cathedral of San Salvador, making good the old maxim that says: who goes to Santiago and not the Savior, visit the vassal and forget the Lord.

From this point of view, reasonable, on the other hand, it would not have to be strange the presence of the Order of the Temple in the place, taking into account both its defensive and hospitable nature. Now, leaving aside that among the numerous crosses used by the Temple, there is also the tau -possibly, the most esoteric of all, and in fact, the one that only had the right to carry the great dignitaries of the Order, I believe- this detail does not necessarily imply that the character in question is a Templar. Why could not it be, for example, an antoniano?.

In fact, of the coexistence and affinity between Templars and Antonians, there is good proof. The most typical case that occurs to me, could be Castrojeriz, in Burgos. Yes it seems, that there were Antonians in Llanes, judging by the memory of San Antón, who takes a small walk next to the port. And if in the south cover we find elements, as I said before, that by their symbolism they could have a relationship with the Temple - the griar jar, the dualism found in several figures, the trees of life, etc - maybe another possible trace , intuitively symbolic, we find it in the names of that peculiar old neighborhood next to the church.

Names as significant as the Plaza de la Magdalena, where is located a humble hermitage of the twelfth century that bears his name, and of which I will speak in a next post; Plaza de San Roque, another well-known saint of the roads, with all the esoteric symbolism added: the dog with the loaf of bread, the child, the crosier, the wound on the thigh discovered ...; Plaza de Santa Ana, that is, the Mother of the Mother ...

And do not forget the megalithic presence of the area, both in Llanes and in neighboring Ribadesella, places where the Temple, judging by the settlements located in other regions, seemed to have a special interest.

Notes, References and Bibliography:

(1) Carlos Mª de Luis: 'The Templar Knight of Llanes', La Voz de Asturias, Sunday, March 24, 1985.
(2) Luis Díez Tejón: 'Pre-Romanesque and Romanesque in Asturias', Ediciones Lancia, S.A., 3rd edition, 2008, page 69.

NOTICE: Originally published in my blog LA ESPAÑA DE LOS TEMPLARIOS. Both the text and the accompanying photographs are my exclusive intellectual property. The original entry, where you can check the authorship of juancar347, can be found at the following address: https://juancarlosmenendez.blogspot.com/2012/05/llanes-marinera-y-templaria-la-iglesia.html

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