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- This page is about a Masonic organization. For the medieval Knights Templar, see Knights Templar.
The full title of this order is The United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta.
Knights Templar is an international philanthropic chivalric order affiliated with Freemasonry. In some countries it forms part of the York Rite, while in others it is a separate order on its own. The original medieval Order of Knights Templar was established after the First Crusade, and existed from approximately 1118 to 1312. There is no known historical evidence to link the medieval Knights Templar and Masonic Templarism, nor do the Masonic Knights Templar organizations claim any such direct link to the original medieval Templar organization. Though its affiliation with Masonry is based on texts that indicate persecuted Templars found refuge within the safety of Freemasonry. The official motto of the Knights Templar is In Hoc Signo Vinces, the rendition in Latin of the Greek phrase "εν τούτῳ νίκα", en toutōi nika, meaning "in this [sign] you will conquer".
Knights Templar as a part of the York Rite
Predominantly in the United States the Knights Templar is the final order joined in the York Rite. Unlike other Masonic bodies which only require a belief in a Supreme Being regardless of religion, membership in the Knights Templar is open only to Christian Masons who have completed their Royal Arch and in some jurisdictions their Cryptic Degrees.
A local Knights Templar division is called a Commandery and operates under a state level Grand Commandery as well as The Grand Encampment of the United States. This is unique among Masonic bodies as most report to the state level alone. The Knights Templar confer three orders, and one passing order as opposed to the standard degree system found elsewhere in Freemasonry:
- The Illustrious Order of the Red Cross
- The Passing Order of St. Paul, (or the Mediterranean Pass)
- The Order of the Knights of Malta (or simply Order of Malta)
- The Order of the Temple
Knights Templar as an Independent Body
When operating outside of the York Rite membership is by invitation and candidates are required to be Master Masons, holders of the degree of the Holy Royal Arch and to sign a declaration that they profess the Doctrine of the Holy and Undivided Trinity.
- Knight Templar
- The Passing Order of St. Paul, (or the Mediterranean Pass)
- Order of Malta
Despite Freemasonry's general disclaimer that no one Masonic organization claims a direct heritage to the medieval Knights Templar, certain degrees and orders are obviously patterned after the medieval Order. These are best described as "commemorative orders" or degrees. Nevertheless, in spite of the fraternity's official disclaimers, some Masons, non-Masons and even anti-Masons insist that certain Masonic rites or degrees originally had direct Templar influence.
- American Masonic youth organizations such as the Order of DeMolay for young men are named after the last Grand Master Templar Jacques de Molay who was executed in the final suppression of the Templar order in the early 1300s.
- The Knight of Rose-Croix Degree in the "Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite", and honorary Orders like the Royal Order of Scotland are interpreted as evidence of a historical Templar-Masonic connection, though there is no factual basis for this belief.
- Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh has been suggested to be strong link between the Knights Templar and Freemasons due to reliefs combining Templar and Freemason symbolism. Rosslyn Chapel was indeed founded by William De St Clair.
- Legends in certain degrees pertain to the involvement of Knights Under the command of Sir John De Bermingham, First and Last Earl of Louth aiding the excommunicated 14th Century Scottish King Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn; however this is based on 18th century romance and is not supported by any evidence. This story is the basis for the degrees in the Royal Order of Scotland an invitational Masonic honorary organization.
- Templar connections have also been suggested through the Earls of Rosslyn (St. Clair, or Sinclair) a family with well documented connections with Scottish Freemasonry, one being a Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
- Many other old and new organizations are called "Knights Templar". However, organizations like the Order of the Solar Temple, Militi Templi Scotia,or the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem are in no way related to Masonic Knights Templar, and share no relationship in either history, hierarchy, nor ritual.
- List of Freemasons
- Masonic Lodge
- York Rite
- Scottish Rite
- Royal Order of Scotland
- National Treasure (film) (2004)
- Freemasonry in Malta
- The History Channel, Decoding the Past: The Templar Code, 2005, video documentary
- The History Channel, Mysteries of the Freemasons, 2006 video documentary
- Sean Martin, The Knights Templar: History & Myths, 2005. ISBN 1-56025-645-1
- ↑ Knights Templar FAQ/INFO Accessed 14 August 2007
- ↑ http://www.knightstemplar.org/faq1.html#origin [Knights Templar FAQ - Origin]
- ↑ http://www.knightstemplar.org/faq1.html#member [Knights Templar FAQ - How to Become a Knight Templar]
- ↑ National Geographic, The Fake Bible Part 1: The Knights Templar. Video Documentary
Masonic Knights Templar organizations
- Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America
- Sovereign Great Priory of the Knights Templar of Canada
- Knights Templar Eye Foundation
- Order of the Temple - Great Priory of Scotland
- The Web of Hiram Section on The Royal Exalted Religious and Military Order of Masonic Knights Templar of England and Wales at Bradford Universityno:Tempelridderordenen (frimurere)