Friday, October 26, 2007

VATICAN CITY — It’s not the Holy Grail, but for fans of “The Da Vinci Code” and its tantalizing story line about the Knights Templar, it could be the next best thing.

Ignored for centuries, documents about the heresy trial of the ancient Christian order discovered in the Vatican’s secret archives are being published in a limited edition.

They include a 14th-century parchment showing that Pope Clement V initially absolved the Templar leaders of heresy, though he found them guilty of immorality and planned to reform the order, according to the Vatican archives Web site.

But pressured by King Philip IV of France, Clement later reversed his decision and suppressed the order in 1312.

Only 799 copies of the 300- page volume, “Processus Contra Templarios,” — Latin for “Trial against the Templars” — are for sale, said Scrinium publishing house, which prints documents from the Vatican’s secret archives. Each will cost $8,377, the publisher said Friday.

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