Origin of the Knights Templar
There are many historical accounts of the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Jesus Christ, or Knights of the Temple, more commonly referred to as Knights Templar. They were formed as a result of the Crusades doing battle with the Moslems and the capture of Jerusalem around 1099. Jerusalem fell and the Holy City belonged to the Crusaders and all Christendom rejoiced. Most libraries and bookstores have many volumes on the Crusades and the Knights Templar and these writings are easily understood. The Internet today has an almost endless amount of information on Knights Templar and those interested can become well informed of the different versions relating to their history.
Men, women and children pressed forward on their pilgrimage to the sacred city only to find that although Jerusalem was in Christian hands, the Moslems still controlled Palestine.
The highways and byways leading to Jerusalem were unprotected. The ferocity of the Moslems seemed to increase with the fall of the city, and mutilated bodies and bleached bones of pilgrims soon became a common site along the roadways. To add to the vulnerability of the pilgrims, thousands of the Crusaders, their primary objective accomplished, returned to their own lands leaving the countryside to the Moslems uncontested.
This was the circumstance that set the stage for Templary. A small band of Crusaders remaining after the conquest recognized the plight of the pilgrims and bound themselves in a holy Brotherhood in arms, entering into a solemn agreement to aid one another in clearing the highways, and in protecting the pilgrims through the passes and defiles of the mountains to the Holy City
In short, the Knights Templar were laymen who protected and defended Christians traveling to Jerusalem. These men took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and were renowned for their fierceness and courage in battle.
In 1118 A.D., nineteen years after the successful Crusade, these Poor Fellow Soldiers of Jesus Christ, as they termed themselves, were officially recognized and sanctioned and were given for their headquarters, a building on Mount Moriah, the site of the former Temple of King Solomon. Consequently, they became known as the Knights of the Temple, or Knights Templar.
This was the era of chivalric ascendancy. Much as outstanding athletes receive the hero worship and admiration of the public today, so did those Knights of old capture the hearts and the wealth of the public of their period. Their fame spread like wildfire. Rulers hastened to be identified with Knights Templar and to present gold and property to the Order.
It is a matter of history that the warriors who fought for Christianity as Knights Templar had their vicissitudes with more downs than ups on the battlefield through the centuries. However, their wealth and their prestige remained undiminished. on the contrary their treasury became too large to escape the notice of some financially embarrassed rulers, especially Philip the Fair, King of France.
Philip the Fair with Pope Clement (who Philip pretty well influenced) arranged for Convocation of the Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques DeMolay, and his officers at Paris. The Convocation was held, but Grand Master DeMolay and his officers never left, at least not with their lives. In 1314 Jacques DeMolay was burned at the stake for alleged heresy and dozens of other accusations; all Knight Templar wealth was seized and Templary "moved underground."
Some have written that after the death of Grand Master DeMolay there was an unbroken succession of the Grand Masters and a constant Templar organization without a lapse. This is difficult to believe and it is even more difficult to read the many treatises written to support or disprove the theory.
To simplify the story without attempting to elaborate or quote various researchers, all we know is that when Templary emerged in the early 1700's it was a part of Freemasonry. THERE IS NO PROOF OF DIRECT CONNECTION BETWEEN THE ANCIENT ORDER AND THE MODERN ORDER KNOWN TO DAY AS THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR.
The Order of Knights Templar Today
The Order of Knights Templar today exists as the top ranking Masonic organization in the York Rite of Freemasonry. The Order today requires membership in a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons and in some jurisdictions, membership in a Council of Royal and Select Masters.
The Knights Templar is a Christian-oriented fraternal organization based on the ancient organization that was founded in the 11th century. Today, the Knights Templar display their courage and goodwill in different ways than the ancient Templars. Members of the Order today organize fund-raising activities such as breakfasts, dinners, dances and flea markets for the support of Masonic-related youth groups, in addition to raising millions of dollars for charitable purposes.
The Templar Membership Today
Currently, Templar membership consists of people from all walks of life, including doctors, lawyers, clergy, businessmen and entertainment personalities, all of whom profess a belief in the Christian Religion.
The Masonic Connection
All Knights Templar are members of the world's oldest fraternal organization known as "The Ancient Free and Accepted Masons" or more commonly known as "Masons". However, not all masons are Templars. Templary is a part of the Masonic structure known as the "York Rite of Freemasonry". A description of the Degrees and Orders is presented "HERE", please use your "BACK BUTTON" to return here.
Three Levels of the Knights Templar
The Knights Templar operate on a local, state and national level. But their religious activities extend across international borders as well. In additions to the United States there are Commanderies in many countries such as Germany, Italy, Mexico, Japan and South American countries.
Nationally, there is Grand Encampment of Knights Templar. This unit defines the rituals and laws governing state and local level organizations.
The State level is call A Grand Commandery of Knights Templar. This organization represents members of a state or area.
The Local level organization is called a Commandery of Knights Templar. Some communities depending on population have more than one Commandery while there are many populated areas that do not have a commandery.
How to Become a Knight Templar
To petition a Commandery of Knights Templar or membership, you must first be a member of a Masonic Lodge and other pre-requisite bodies such as the Royal Arch Chapter and possibly a Council of Royal and Select Masters. (This depends on the state where you reside) To petition a Commandery one must profess a belief in the Christian Religion.
One who does not know a Knight Templar or a Master Mason should contact the local Masonic Temple for information or:
The Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America,
5909 West Loop South, Suite 495, Bellaire, TX 77401-2402,
Phone (713) 349-8700/Fax: (713) 349-8710, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Knights Templar Serve Mankind
As a Knight Templar, one has many opportunities to help others that are less fortunate. One way is through The Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc. which is our major charity. For information on the eye foundation, please see "An Introduction to the The Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc." "HERE". The foundation is often the last hope for individuals who may lose their sight and has often been called a "Great Humanitarian Charity".
The Knights Templar Educational Foundation, established in 1922 to help provide educational advantages to the youth of this country has been the source of low cost loans for students to complete their college education. Those individuals seeking information should contact the Recorder of the state where they live for application forms and information. More info "HERE".
Holy Land Pilgrimages provided by the respective Grand Commanderies and in conjunction with the Grand Encampment Committee on Holy Land Pilgrimages has sent over 1200 ministers to the Holy Land. The program sends ordained Christian Ministers, gratis, on Pilgrimages to the Holy Land, for their spiritual enrichment, enthusiasm, and refreshed dedication. Most ministers who have been chosen feel that this pilgrimage has enriched their ministry and their lives. The election of participation by various Grand Commanderies and Subordinate Commanderies is optional. Masonic membership is not required and the minister may be male or female. MORE INFO
Knight Templar Magazine - NOW ON-LINE "HERE"
The official publication of the Grand Encampment is the monthly Knight Templar Magazine. it is mailed to every Templar under the jurisdiction of the Grand Encampment and contains new gathered from all over the Templar world including historical items. The Grand Master of the Grand Encampment provides a monthly message.
Each Grand Commandery has an official Editor whose duty it is to supply two pages of material for the Knight Templar Magazine Supplement for his state. For Current State Supplements "on-line" click "HERE".
The Order of Knights Templar is no substitute for church activity and interest. Templary claims to be the handmaiden of the Christian Church and encourages its members to be supportive and active in the Church of his choice.
Easter Sunrise Services
Easter is a hallowed day in the Templar calendar. Marking as it does the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Easter represents the summit of all hopes of our Christian Faith. The Grand Encampment especially encourages every Sir Knight to attend the church of his choice on that great day in celebrating the great victory of Christ over death.
The official Easter Sunrise Service sponsored by the Grand Encampment is held each year on the steps of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, VA. The public is most welcome. The starting time is 7:00 a.m. when the Sir Knights in full Templar uniform march up the hill to the strains of "Onward Christian Soldiers". Services have been added in Kansas City and California
Every Commandery is encouraged to hold a Public Christmas Observance in December. This is a joyous occasion to celebrate the birth of the Savior of Mankind. This service may be held on any day of the week and need not be at the time of meeting of the Commandery.
Support of Young Men and Young Ladies
The Knights Templar also provide financial support, advisors and scholarships to Masonic-related Youth Organizations such as Order of Rainbow, Job's Daughters, and Order of DeMolay.
Links to these organizations may be found "HERE".
Knights Templar Funeral Service
It is the duty of the members of a Commandery to assist in the Christian burial of fallen Templars when requested, or to conduct some memorial service otherwise, which might be in funeral parlors, or in the Asylum at the next stated Conclave as a minimum memorial.
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