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Hugues de Payens (c. 1070 – 1136) was a French knight and the first officially recognized Grand Master of the Order of the Knights Templar.

By 1119, de Payens planned to turn the Templar Order into a public organization. He proposed to Baldwin II of Jerusalem that the Order be founded to protect pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land. Baldwin approved this, and ceded the Al-Aqsa Mosque to the Templars as a headquarters.[1]

Together with Bernard de Clairvaux, de Payens wrote the Latin Rule, the creed of the Templars, gained the support of the Church and ensured that the Order was recognized and confirmed during the Council of Troyes in 1129. Although the Templar Order was now public, its true goals remained secret. During this period, the Templars grew so powerful that they were able to influence kings and popes.[1]

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