Who Are These People Called Knights Templar?

by Leroy J. Delionbach, P.G.C., KYGCH, KCT

A story published in The Augusta Chronicle on July 12, 2008, described a journey to knighthood by a man born in Tehran in a Catholic family. Dr. Ham Shirvani, president of California State University – Stanislaus, is a member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. He is also a provisional Knight of Malta, and anticipates attaining full knighthood when he completes his year of “…certain community service work, literally going and helping the sick and poor, trying to do whatever I can.” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it!

A former chancellor of the local university in my community, along with a couple of other gentlemen of my acquaintance, are members of the Knights Templar – but not the Masonic order. Their organization claims to be the true lineal descendants of the original nine knights who formed the Order on which our Masonic organization is patterned.

I was intrigued! I ran a quick search on Google using the term "Knights Templar". In only 0.24 seconds (I told you it was quick!) the search engine returned 2,110,000 +/- hits. With apologies to Richard P. Heitzenrater (Wesley and the People Called Methodists), I wondered "Who ARE these people called Knights Templar?" The answer to that question will form the basis for a series of articles that will describe some of the other organizations that are called Knights Templar.

At least one of the organizations prohibits membership by Masons. (Well, there goes one of the popular theories about the origins of Freemasonry!) Some admit women as full and equal partners. At least one has recognition from the United Nations as a charitable organization. One is an educational organization that will take your membership application on-line and then enroll you in a course of study in the mystical arts (for a fee).

The late football coach Erik Russell supposedly told one of his teams just before the opening game of a new season that it was time to buckle their chin straps, hitch up their britches, and play some football. Grab your chapeaux, My Fraters, and let’s go exploring the worlds of knighthood!

Sir Knight Leroy J. Delionbach is a Past Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of South Carolina. He is currently serving as criminal justice program coordinator on the faculty of Aiken Technical College. He has served in various positions of leadership in public, business, and academic environments, as a Methodist minister, an army officer, and in various law enforcement and criminal justice positions. He is a member of Kappa Delta Pi, Phi Delta Kappa, and Phi Theta Kappa. Sir Knight Delionbach is also serving on the editorial review board of the Knight Templar magazine. He currently resides at 221 Hartwell Dr, Aiken, South Carolina 29803


Update: July 11, 2014

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