Pope Urban II called the First Crusade at Clermont in France.
Jerusalem taken by the First Crusade in July.
Hospitaller Order of St. John was founded by Gerard (Geraldus) the
Hospitaller. St. John the Almoner was the patron of hospital work.
Recognized by Pope Pascal II in 1113. Gerard died in 1120.
Hugues de Payens and Godefroi de Saint-Omer formed a religious
community to protect pilgrims. These nine knights, making their
vows before the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Warmund of
Picquigny, accepted the Augustinian Rule under the guidance of
the canons of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. As part of their
profession, it was agreed “that they should protect the roads
and routes to the utmost of their ability against the ambushes
of thieves and attackers, especially in regard to the safety of
pilgrims.” (William, Archbishop of Tyre). Baldwin II, King of
Jerusalem, provided quarters in part of his palace (the site of
al-Aqsa Mosque) thought to be remains of Solomon’s Temple.
First known as The Poor Knights of Christ; they were later
called The Knights of the Temple (militia templi).
Fulk V, count of Anjou joined the Order in the Holy Land as a
Raymond du Puy, the new Hospitaller master, began the transition
of his Order from a charitable/care of pilgrims order into a
partially military one. Only after the Third Crusade did it
become a primarily military order.
Hugues, Compte de Champaigne, after ceding his lands, joined the
Order in the Holy Land.
With a delegation of knights, Hugues de Payens traveled to
France to recruit members and to seek support from the
Cistercian abbot, Bernard de Clairvaux, in obtaining papal
recognition and the creation of a “rule of life.”
Hugues de Payens visited England and Scotland to seek recruits
for the Order. By this date the Templars were actively
supporting the King of Aragon, Alfonso I, “the Battler.”
At the Council of Troyes The Order of the Temple was recognized
and a Rule was approved based on the Benedictine/Cistercian
model. Known as The Latin Rule, it consisted of 76 articles. The
white mantle of the Cistercians was adopted by the professed
knights as symbolic of loyalty and purity of life. Pope Honorius
II (1124-30) approved the recognition. Hugues de Payens was
chosen as the first Master of the Temple (Magister Militae
Templi). Magister Militum was the title for the
commander-in-chief in the Western Roman Empire.
Raymond-Berengar III, count of Barcelona and Provence, joined
the Templars as a lay associate.
Early in the thirties the Templars acquired castles and
fortresses in northern Syria, such as Baghras (Gaston), Darbsak
(Trapesak), La Roche de Roussel and La Roche Guillaume.
By this date Bernard de Clairvaux wrote De Laude Novae
Militae in which he described the Templars as “a new type of
order in the Holy Places.” The Order was seen as a fusion of
knightly and monastic life. The Order of St. Lazarus was founded
with links to the Templars. At the death of Hugues de Payens,
Robert de Craon (Burgundy) was chosen as the second Master of
the Temple. As “the great administrator”, he recognized the need
for papal support and freedom from local church authorities.
Pope Innocent II (1130-43) in his bull, Omne datum optimum,
brought the Templars under direct papal authority, providing
them with privileges and exemptions that made them an autonomous
corporate body, allowing them to secure an economic base for
financing military activities in the Holy Land. They were to
defend the Church against all enemies of the Cross.
Pope Celestine II (1143-44) issued his bull, Milites Templi,
adding more privileges. The Templars could now collect their own
Pope Eugenius III (1145-53) called the Second Crusade. He issued
the bull, Militi Dei, allowing the Templars to have their
own churches and clergy exempt from episcopal control.
Subsequent popes would reissue these bulls, adding further
Pope Eugenius III permitted the Templars to add the red cross pattée
on the left breast of their tunics and the shoulder of their
mantles, symbolizing willingness to shed their blood and die for
Military orders, modelled on the Templars, were founded in the
Spanish kingdoms, such as the orders of Alcantara, Calatrava and
Santiago. Templars were supporting the rulers of Aragon, Leon
and Castile in the Reconquista. Under Gualdim Pais, the first
Templar Master in Portugal, the castle of Tomar was built.
Templars played an active role in the expansion of the Kingdom
The Retrais et establissements de Temple was added to the
Rule, covering the conventual life, defining the hierarchical
status, regulating the chapters, election of the Master,
determining the penance and punishments for violations of the
Rule and Statutes, and admission to the Order. Pope Alexander
III (1158-81) recognized the amended Rule. The following motto
was inscribed on the Templars black and white standard: Non
nobis, Domine, non nobis sed nomini tuo da gloriam. The
Order’s seal showed two knights on horseback with the
inscription: Sigillum militum Christi. A French
translation of the Rule became known as The French Ancient Rule.
An Aragonese translation was known as The Catalan Rule. It
required the Templars to swear fealty to the rulers of Aragon.
Saladin defeated the Crusaders at the Battle of Hattin,
resulting in the loss of Jerusalem. Over 200 Templars were
killed. Pope Gregory VIII called the Third Crusade. The
Hospitallers and Templars established themselves on the island
of Cyprus. Templars developed a naval force.
By the nineties the development of a network of Templar
preceptories within Europe allowed them to become a major
economic power with a reputation for providing reliable, honest
and efficient financial services. The temples in London and
Paris served as treasuries patronized by the rulers of England
and France, as well as by the nobility. The Templars were
pioneering international banking.
The Port of Acre captured by the Third Crusade. It became the
new Templar headquarters.
The Teutonic Knights founded at Acre.
The Templars supported the conquest of Majorca and Valencia in
1238 by Alfonso II, King of Aragon.
The Templars suffered a serious defeat at the battle of La
The battle of Mansurah in Egypt was a disaster for Louis IX of
France and the Templars.
The Mamluk sultan of Egypt, Baibars, captured the major fortress
of the Hospitallers at Chastel-Blanc, of the Templars at Krak du
Chevalier, and of the Teutonic Knights at Montfort (Syria).
At a church council in Lyon, France, a proposal to merge the
Hospitallers and the Templars was discussed, revealing doubts
about the future of the Christian presence in the Holy Land.
With the fall of Acre to the Mamluks, Cyprus became again the
Templar military headquarters. The Templars evacuated the
castles of Tortosa and of ‘Atlit, ending their presence in the
Holy Land. The Templars lost not only their land base but their
Jacques de Molay became Master of the Temple.
By now the Templars failed to justify their continued existence
as a military order, and had no secondary mission as the
Hospitallers did. They appeared to have given their economic
interests the higher priority, allowing enemies jealous of their
wealth and power to begin accusing them of corruption and
blaming them for the loss of the Holy Land.
Both Pierre Dubois and Ramon Lull recommended that the
Hospitallers and Templars be fused into one military order.
Already Edward I and Edward II had violated the temple of the
Templars in London. Philip IV of France, heavily in debt, saw
his opportunity. Rumors circulating of Templar corruption were
turned into fact. On 13th October, Philip ordered the arrest of
all Templars in France, turning them over to the Inquisition.
Under pressure, Pope Clement V (1305-14) agreed to an
investigation. His later Bull, Pastoralis Praeeminentiae, issued
on November 22, ordered the
arrest of all Templars in the Christian West.
Under pressure from the Pope, Edward II ordered the arrest of
all Templars in England with their property coming under royal
control. What remained of the property was turned over to the
Hospitallers in 1323.
Except in France and areas under French dominance the charges
against the Templars were not substantiated. The crisis forced
the Pope to convoke a council.
The Council of Vienne found that the charges against the
Templars lacked merit. On his own authority Pope Clement V
issued a bull, Vox in excelso on March 2, dissolving the
Templar Order. A second bull, Ad proviendan, turned over
Templar property to the Hospitallers, partly to pay pensions for
ex-Templars. In Scotland the bull was not promulgated since the
King, Robert the Bruce, was under excommunication. It would
appear that Templars from France had fled to Scotland, some
taking refuge with the Saint-Clairs of Rosslyn. Templar support
seemed to have been crucial for the Scottish victory over the
English at Bannockburn on June 24, 1314. The King fused the
Templars with the Hospitallers into the Order of the Temple and
of St. John. This Order was suppressed by the Scottish
Reformation Parliament in the 16th century.
On the evening of March 18, Jacques de Molay and Geoffrey de
Charnay, the Preceptor of Normandy, were burned to death on an
island in the Seine. Both had recanted their previous
confessions, which had been obtained under torture. Before he
succumbed to the flames, Molay is alleged to have sworn a curse
on both Philip and the Pope. Within a year, both were dead.
Pope John XXII (1316-34) approved the request of King James II
of Aragon to form a new military order, that of Montesa. Templar
property in Aragon along with Hospitaller property in Valencia
were turned over to this new Order. Since there were few
Templars remaining, knights from the Order of Calatrava were
asked to join Montesa. The first Master was a Calatrava knight.
In Portugal Pope John XXII approved the request of King Deniz to
organize Templar property and remaining members into a new
military order: The Order of Christ. Unlike the Spanish military
orders that became increasingly chivalric and under direct royal
control after 1500, the Order of Christ continued its military
role by supporting Portuguese expansion into Africa and Asia.
Its most famous Grand Master was King Henry the Navigator.
Templar archives in Cyprus, now in the possession of the
Hospitallers, appeared to have been destroyed by the Ottoman
The Order of Lazarus was restored in France by King Henry IV
(1589-1610) as the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and of St.
Lazarus; while in Italy the Pope made the Duke of Savoy the
hereditary Grand Master of a restored Order of St. Maurice and
Upon becoming Regent of France, Philip, the Duke of Orleans,
involved himself in the military orders within France. His
legitimate son became the Grand Master of the Order of Mount
Carmel and Lazarus, while an illegitimate son became a Knight
Hospitaller and Grand Prior of that Order in France. In 1314 the
former Templar Temple in Paris had become the Hospitallers’
headquarters. The “restorers” of the Order of the Temple in 1804
will claim that the Templars had survived after 1314 with a line
of secret Grand Masters leading to the Duke of Orleans, who
seemingly ended the Templars hidden existence by holding a
Convent General at Versailles that recognized the Duke as Grand
Master and issued the Statutes of 1705.
In London English Freemasonry began its institutional history
with the combination of four small lodges into the Grand Lodge.
Already a Scottish Rite Freemasonry had developed as more of a
political force for the restoration of the Stuarts. Medieval
Templar traditions had become part of various noble clans. By
the 18th century such Templar traditions now infused with legend
and myth became part of Scottish Freemasonry.
Scottish Masonry began to spread to France as part of an exiled
Jacobite political force. The Grand Masters of the early French
lodges were Jacobite Scottish nobles. Members of the French
aristocracy were attracted to this Freemasonry due to its nature
as pro-Catholic/Stuart and anti-Hanoverian.
Andrew Michael Ramsay, a Scottish Freemason and convert to
Catholicism, who had been received as a knight (Chevalier) into
the Order of Mount Carmel and Lazarus under the Duke of Orleans,
delivered an Oration to the Masonic Lodge in Paris, claiming
that Masonry had begun in the Holy Land among the crusades.
Masonic lodges began to adopt rituals and symbols associated
with the medieval military orders.
A German noble, the Baron Karl Gotthelf von Hund, was received
into the Scottish Masonic Rite while in Paris.
After the failure of the rebellion led by the “Young Pretender”
Bonnie Prince Charlie, Jacobite Freemasonry gradually died out
in France. Adopting the more moderate approach of the Grand
Lodge of England, French Freemasonry became more Deistic,
advocating the ideals of the Enlightenment. This contributed to
the papal condemnation of Freemasonry.
Upon his return to Germany Karl von Hund claimed a “new” form of
Freemasonry directly descendant from the Templars, who had
continued the Order in Scotland after its suppression. Known as
the Strict Observance, it brought much of the occult, the
magical and the mystical into continental Freemasonry. To
support his claims, he provided a list of alleged “secret Grand
Masters”, beginning with Aumont and Wildgaf de Salm, who
allegedly fled to the island of Mull in 1312, where they
preserved “the secret beliefs” of the Templars.
At the beginning of the French Revolution the National Assembly
abolished “medieval” associations, including the military Order
of Mount Carmel and Lazarus. In 1791 the more radical National
Convention abolished the Hospitaller Grand Priory, confiscating
the former Templar Temple in Paris, turning it into a prison.
The most famous inmates would be the King of France, Louis XVI,
and his family.
A “restored” Ordre du Temple evolved out a Masonic lodge in
Paris, that of the Chevaliers de la Croix, associated with the
Grand Orient. Three members, Ledru, a medical doctor; de
Courchamp, a notary; and de Saintot, appeared to have founded
the Ordre du Temple. A noble, Claude-Mathieu, Radix de Chevillon
(un homme de paille) provided a connection with the alleged last
secret Grand Master, the Count of Cossé-Brissac, and a source
for the Larmenius, Charter of Transmission, that purportedly
proved the survival of the Templars after 1314. Chevillon also
ennobled the three founders and made them “Princes of the
Order.” The Charter was written in ciphers, with Latin versions
appearing only after 1804.
The Statutes of 1705 were also discovered with spurious relics.
Bernard-Raymond Fabré-Palaprat, a chiropodist and “a leading
Masonic figure,” was included among the founders. When Chevillon
refused to serve as Grand Master, Fabré-Palaprat accepted the
office. He was the last to sign the Charter of Transmission
using the ciphers. This “restoration” had the approval of the
newly proclaimed Emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte.
Distrustful of the anti-monarchical principles of Freemasonry,
perhaps he saw this Order of the Temple as an alternative that
would appeal to his newly created nobility and to his
supporters. Noble members of the Masonic Lodge of St. Caroline
The Templar Order had developed its structure and organized
itself as a chivalric, hospitable, tolerant, traditional and
The success of recruitment resulted in the establishment of
Priories and Commanderies within the Grand Empire. Candidates
that did not possess proof of nobility were ennobled. To further
separate itself from its Masonic origins, the Order “professed
the Catholic Apostolic and Roman religion.” Membership was
refused to Protestants. The Order revealed its public existence
at a grand ceremony at the Church of St. Paul, honoring Jacques
de Molay and other martyrs of the Templars.
By now Fabré-Palaprat with a certain Mauviel, the former
Constitutional Bishop of Cayes in Haiti, had formed the
Johannite Church of the Primitive Christians. It was based on an
unorthodox version of the Gospel of St. John and the Levitikon,
another document “discovered” by Fabré-Palaprat, who was then
consecrated a bishop by Mauviel. Fabré-Palaprat now added the
title of Sovereign Pontiff & Patriarch to that of Grand Master.
This caused dissension within the Order. Fabré-Palaprat resigned
as Grand Master on November 21 and conferred the Mastership on
de Courchant. Regretting his resignation, Fabré-Palaprat
politically maneuvered are turn as Grand Master by December 19.
This resulted in the first schism, with the dissidents choosing
Charles-Louis Le Peletier, count of Aunay, as Grand Master.
In England, Admiral Sir William Sidney-Smith, who had fought in
the naval war against Napoleon; the Duke of Sussex, son of
George III; and Charles Tennyson d’Eyncourt, uncle of the poet,
formed an Order of the Temple. Fabré-Palaprat recognized Sir
William Sidney-Smith as the Grand Prior of England. In France
the restored Bourbon King, Louis XVIII gave the Templars his
royal protection, fearing various groups opposed to the
monarchy. This encouraged a reunion of the Order with the
resignation of the Count of Aunay “for the good and peace of the
order.” Sir William Sidney-Smith played an important role in
Sir Walter Scott wrote Ivanhoe. Along with The Talisman, this
work contributed towards “disfiguring” the medieval Templars,
portraying them as greedy, lecherous, tainted with heresy and
subverting the crusades for their ends. His works influenced
both the American and English view of the Templars.
Fabré-Palaprat appointed the count of Chabrillan as Prior for
the Grand Priory of Switzerland, founded in 1809.
The Grand Priory of Belgium was founded July 18 in Paris by the
Marquis Albert-Francoise du Chasteleer, a close friend of
French Templars supported the revolt against Charles X, who
threatened the return of absolute monarchy. Templars also
supported the Belgian revolt against Dutch control, resulting in
the independence of Belgium in 1831.
Fabré-Palaprat had begun to impose his Johannite beliefs on the
Templars, demanding they accept his “new faith.” He was accused
to revising the Statutes of 1705, giving himself absolute
authority. The result was another schism. Various Grand Priories
In poor health Fabré-Palaprat retired to the south of France.
Dissident Templars, seized the opportunity and established an
Executive Commission, which convoked a Convent General.
The death of Fabré-Palaprat in February opened the way for
reform and the possible reunion of the two Templar factions. The
Convent General formed a new Executive Commission. Since the
Statues of 1705 had been “corrupted” under Fabré-Palaprat, the
Convent General approved a new document, removing the Johannite
influence and “renewed the knightly traditions and obedience to
the Catholic Church.” The attempt to reunify the more orthodox
and palaprien factions failed. When Sir William Sidney-Smith was
chosen as Grand Master, the palaprien Templars refused to
At a major international
meeting in Paris, the General Assembly of the Order of the
Temple adopted a Declaration of Principles which committed the
Order to inter-denominational Christian membership and active
Upon the death of Sir William Sidney-Smith it would appear that
the Prince de Chimay assumed leadership of the orthodox
Templars. In 1845 he went to Rome to request papal recognition.
Pope Gregory XVI (1831-46) insisted that all Templars had to be
Catholic. Talks continued until the Revolutions of 1848. The
palaprien Templars chose a series of Regents from
Fabré-Palaprat’s Lieutenant-Generals. Under Jean-Marie Raoul
these Templars became inactive due to declining membership.
Reacting to the confusion in France, a Magisterial Legation was
formed in Brussels.
By decree, Emperor Napoleon III recognized the Order of the
Temple (palaprien) as a sovereign power with the right to wear
its insignias and decorations within France.
The Belgian Grand Priory split, with the Catholics forming the
Priory of St. John d’Hiver and the palaprien Templars creating
the Priory of the Trinity of the Tower, adopting the Strict
Observant Freemasonry of Karl von Hund.
A.G.M Vernois became the last Regent of the palaprien faction.
In 1871 he deposited the records of the Order into the National
Archives of France.
Prosper Beechman of the Trinity of the Tower tried to restore an
International Order despite serious divisions between the
English, French and German Grand Priories. At a Chapter General
he was recognized as the Guardian of the Grand Magisterium of
the Order. The War of 1870 caused a rupture between the French
and German Grand Priories.
An International Secretariat of the Templars was formed in
Brussels to exercise Magisterial authority.
The Prior of the Trinity of the Tower, Emile Briffaut, proposed
its abolition. Documents associated with the palaprien Templars
were deposited in the Belgian archives.
Nine former Templars of the Trinity of the Tower formed the
Grand Priory of Belgium. At the first chapter it was decided to
name the order: The Sovereign and Military Order of the Temple
of Jerusalem. A Grand Prior was chosen.
The Belgian Grand Priory restored an international association
of Templar Grand Priories. A Magisterial Council was formed with
Theodore Covias as Regent.
Emile-Isaac Vandenberg became Regent and Guardian of the Order.
He devoted his energy and talent to revitalizing Templar
Priories across Europe, including those of Italy and of
Switzerland. 1942 Fearing the suppression of the Templars during
the German occupation of Belgium in the Second World War,
Vandenberg transferred the archives of the Order to the care of
the Portuguese Grand Prior, Antonio Campello de Sousa Fontes.
Vandenberg retained the Title and Office of Regent.
At the war’s end, Vandenberg requested the return of the
archives, but Antonio Campello de Sousa Fontes ignored the
requests. When Vandenberg died suddenly, de Sousa Fontes assumed
the title of Regent. While some Priories accepted his authority,
others did not.
Revised Statutes were issued by de Sousa Fontes. There is no
record of them being approved by a Convent General.
In an attempt to retain the Regency in his family without record
of authority from a Convent General, de Sousa Fontes designated
his son, Fernando Campello de Sousa Fontes, by a “Proces Verbal”
as his successor.
Some Templars separated from de Sousa Fontes’ authority.
Fernando Campello de Sousa Fontes assumed the regency upon the
death of his father, eventually styling himself Prince Regent.
In the early 1960s, Anton Leuprecht, the Grand Prior of
Switzerland and Mondial Chieftain of All Autonomous Grand
Priories, invited Americans to join his Swiss Grand Priory.
At the request of Anton Leuprecht, William Y. Pryor, with other
American Knights Templar, initiated action to form an Autonomous
American Grand Priory. In June corporate documents were filed in
Newark, New Jersey. On June 29 the American Grand Priory was
recognized under the laws of New Jersey as a corporate body. The
self-styled Prince Regent, de Sousa Fontes, recognized the
American Grand Priory under its first Grand Prior, Crolian
His Majesty, Peter II, King of Yugoslavia living in exile,
became the Royal Patron of the American Grand Priory.
In 1969, de Sousa Fontes issued a Magistral Edict convoking a
Convent General that would meet in three sessions. The first
session met in Paris in September, 1970. During this meeting, it
appears a schism took place. Grand Priors who had not accepted
the de Sousa Fontes obedience formed a separate association,
known as the Ordo Internationalis Militiae Templi. General
Antoine Zdrojewski, the Prior General of Europe, was chosen as
the Grand Master of this new alliance. De Sousa Fontes declared
the session invalid.
At the second session in Chicago, Illinois, various resolutions
were approved. Resolution III stated that the Order was to be
“universal and not limited to any one nationality or language,”
though Latin was recognized as “the official language.”
Resolution VI authorized a search for a member of a hereditary
house to become Grand Master. The houses of Hohenzollern,
Oldenburg, and Windsor were considered.
At the third session, held in Tomar, Portugal, a Resolution was
adopted that the Order “shall be a Christian Order. The word
“Catholic” in the Statutes shall be replaced with "Christian.”
The American Grand Prior, Gordon Malvern Fair Stick, was elected
Lieutenant of the Order, and several other American Templars
were elected to the Grand Magistral Council. General Zdrojewski
reformed the statutes of the OIMT Confederation. Each member
Grand Priory was recognized as autonomous.
Upon becoming King of Spain, Juan Carlos authorized the
restoration of the four Spanish orders: Alcantara, Calatrava,
Montesa and Santiago, as Catholic, Chivalric and Royal. The Holy
See granted the Crown the Grand Mastership and Perpetual
Administration of these Spanish orders under their individual
The Grand Priory of Scandinavia was formed, uniting the Priories
of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
An Autonomous Grand Priory of Scotland was recognized by Anton
The International Federative Alliance (IFA) was organized at the
castle of Siguenza with the participation of the Grand Priories
of England, France, Scandinavia, Scotland and Spain. The purpose
was to “group all the autonomous Priories in the world to
achieve unity, and under the Primitive Rule to proceed to the
election of a universal Grand Master and Magisterial Council.”
De Fontes issued revised non-democratic Statutes of which he
presented a new Article 11 which would allow him to become Grand
Master, if a Grand Master could not be elected with 903 days.
The “Prince Regent” could also designate his successor. Being
contrary to the democratic edicts of the Order, most Templars
reject these proposals as an autocratic attempt to make himself
Grand Master for life; a proposal that was totally contrary to the
historic and established rules of the Order. These revised Statutes were to
be presented before a future Convent General.
Maximos V Hakin, Patriarch of the Melkite Catholic Church,
became the Religious Protector of the Grand Priories of Austria,
England, German and NATO. King Carl Gustaf XI recognized the
Templar Grand Priory of Sweden; King Harold recognized the
Templar Grand Priory of Norway; and the President of Finland
gave recognition to the Finnish Grand Priory.
De Fontes, presented his revised Statutes to a Convent General
in Santiago, Spain (Toja). They were neither considered, nor
In June at an International Conclave of Templars in London it
was decided to hold a Grand Convent in Salzburg, Austria.
De Fontes refused to authorize the meeting. At Salzburg I,
recognition was withdrawn from de Fontes as head of the OSMTH. A
Grand Council of Grand Priors was formed to administer the
Order. The Statutes were to be revised and updated. Candidates
for Grand Master were to be identified.
In March the Grand Council of the OSMTH met in Paris. In order
to promote unity among the Templars, a proposal was made to de
Fontes, offering him the title Prince Regent Emeritus as an
honorary position in the Order. The offer was rejected.
Salzburg II: In November a Grand Convent met to consider revised
statues, candidates for Grand Master and recommendations for
cooperation and eventual association with Priories that had not
accepted or rejected the de Sousa Fontes obedience. When Dr.
Werner Rind, the Secretary General, tried to impose his will
upon the Grand Priors regarding the nature of the Order and
insisted upon his candidate for Grand Master, the meeting ended.
The Grand Priors, in order to preserve unity formed the
International Grand Council with Sir Roy Redgrave, as Grand
Commander. The Templar Order of Merit was created to recognize
and honour both members and non-members who have performed
significant service to humanity.
Princess Elisabeth of Ysenburg und Büdingen, Princess of
Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, Duchess of
Schleswig-Holstein, Stormam, Ditmars and Oldenburg, became the
Royal Protector of The Grand Priory of the United States. The
International Grand Council met in Alexandria, Virginia.
The Grand Magistral of the OSMTH met in Turku, Finland, July
3-4. Sir Roy Redgrave was elected as the interim Grand Master
for a term of 18 months. RADM James J. Carey was elected as the
Grand Commander for a term of three years.
For the SMOTJ to be recognized by the United Nations as a
non-governing organization, the Order was registered as an
international agency in Switzerland to give the Order greater
influence over international charitable and humanitarian
endeavours. The search for international unity continues, while
promoting the basic tenets of the Order: Christianity, chivalry,
Notes about this article:
In the development of this Chronology, the author had to
reconcile material, often contradictory and inconsistent, from
various sources, including the following:
1. A New Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry (1970) has good background
on not only Freemasonry but on the “New Templarism” of
2. Two French sources provided in depth information on the 19th
century Order of the Temple and on Fabré-Palaprat. Maillard de
Chambure, Règle et Statuts Secret des Templiers (1840);
Steenackers, Histoire des Ordres de Chevalerie...en France
3. A more scholarly approach is found in The New Knighthood: A
History of the Order of the Temple (1992) by Malcolm Barber. He
not only traces the history of the medieval Templars but deals
with the myths and legends that developed after the death of de
Molay. Another of his publications is The Trial of the Templars.
4. Lt. Col. Gayre of Gayre & Nigg, whose sympathies are with the
Knights of Malta, includes a chapter on modern Templarism in his
The Knightly Twilight-A Glimpse of the Chivalric and Nobiliary
Underworld. Of interest are the two conflicting lists of Grand
Masters. He compares the de Sousa Fontes list with that of
Guillermo de Grau-Moctezuma Rife, that is based on the survival
of the Order in Catalonia and the midi of France after 1314 as
the Order of the Occident. Pope Clement V had suppressed only
the Order of the Orient. In 1959 Prince Guillermo de
Grau-Moctezuma Rife used the list of Grand Masters associated
with the Order of the Occident to justify his Templarism.
5. Stephen Howarth in The Knights Templar (1982) offers a more
popular history. Some of his theories can be questioned, such as
that of the mysterious “idol” which the Templars were accused of
worshipping. He identifies it as the Shroud of Turin.
6. Andre J. Paraschi in his Restauracao da ordem do templo
(1993) argued that there has been no legitimate Templar Order
since 1312. He concluded that the Templars orders of the present
are false and illegitimate. He created his own Templar Order
associated with Eastern Orthodoxy, making himself Grand Master.
He claimed the recognition of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of
Alexandria. Both the Patriarch and Paraschi are deceased. As for
Grau-Moctezuma Rige, he has fled to Andorra to avoided being
arrested in Spain for issuing fraudulent patents of nobility.
7. Desmond Seward’s The Monks of War (1972) provides good
background on the other orders. Chapter 16, “Heirs of the
Military Orders” details the history of various orders form the
17th century, including the Knights of St. John, the Order of
Lazarus, the Teutonic Knights and the Spanish orders.
8. J.M. Upton-Ward in The Rule of the Templars (1992) gives a
translation with commentary of The Primitive Rule dating from
1129 and The Hierarchical Statutes from around 1165.
9. Of further importance is the Statues of 1705, including the
Charter of Transmission (1995) complied and translated by Dame
Martha Kona and Dame Grace Lynn of the Chicago Priory of St.
Norbert. The copy acquired from the National Archives in Paris
probably dates from the restored document of 1838. The de Sousa
Fontes statues of 1947 and 1990 are included with the results of
the Chapter General meeting in Chicago.
10. An article entitle The “Charta Transmissionis” of Larmenius
by Fred J. W. Crowe in the Ars Quatuor Coronatorum (XXIV/1911)
offers a detail examination of the Larmenius Charter. Since the
Charter was in cyphers, he provides his Latin translation
contrasting it with the early 19th century Latin versions. A
report from The Rennes le Chateau Research Group, located in
London, concluded that The Charter dates from the 18th century,
because its language “is very much that of early
Freemasonry....and this document was an attempt to separate this
Templar revival from the developing Freemasonry.” This was part
of a report sent to Chev. James McGrath, Grand Prior of the
Scottish Knight Templars in 1997.
11. According to the Levitikon John the Baptist was the founder
of the Johannite Secret Church. An uninterrupted line of Grand
Pontiffs succeeded him. In 1118 the Grand Pontiff, Theocletes,
initiated Hugues de Payens into the mysteries of the church,
thus creating a secret order within the Templars. Every Templar
Grand Master was also an hidden Johannite Grand Pontiff,
including Fabré-Palaprat, who claimed such succession for
12. Materials from the Grand Priory of Belgium added
considerable light on the events of the 1930’s and 1940’s
regarding the modern Templar Order. Additional materials
recently received from Chev. Patrick E. Rea, Prior of St.
Norbert’s, were helpful regarding the development of various
European Grand Priories and the IFA.
13. “The First Eight Years of the Sovereign Military Order of
the Temple of Jerusalem, Inc. in the U.S.A.” by William Y. Pryor
(Grand Prior of the American Grand Priory from 1965-1968), dated
August 10, 1970, provided helpful information on the development
of the American Grand Priory.
14. This more recent title provides an interesting French view.
René Lachaud, Templiers; Chevaliers d’Orient et d’Occident.
(St-Jean-de-Braye, France, 1997) There is no consistent list of
alleged Grand Masters or Regents after 1314, and particularly
after the Fabré-Palaprat “restoration” in 1804. There exists a
wealth of books and articles on the Templars, but the question
remains: how much of Templar history is bogus and make-believe?
The challenge for the modern Templars is to separate fact from
fiction, history from myth. Indeed no small task. For as Eco
writes in Foucaults’ Pendulum (1988) “The Templars have
something to do with everything.”
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