Cross of the Knights Templar

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Knights Templar Logo (Freemasonry)

A crowned Passion Cross laid upon the Maltese Cross with crossed swords behind it, and the motto "In Hoc Signo Vinces" written on it is often used in to represent the Knights Templar in the York Rite.
(The various symbols used allude to the three orders of the body, though the Crowned Passion Cross is often used alone as well.)

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.[1] Though its affiliation with Masonry is based on texts that indicate persecuted Templars found refuge within the safety of Freemasonry.[2] 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.[3]

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.

Bodies of the order are known as Preceptories which operate under a Grand or Great Priory. In Great Britain and other countries these Preceptories confer three degrees:

  • Knight Templar
  • The Passing Order of St. Paul, (or the Mediterranean Pass)
  • Order of Malta

Templar traditions

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.

See also



  1. Knights Templar FAQ/INFO Accessed 14 August 2007
  2. [Knights Templar FAQ - Origin]
  3. [Knights Templar FAQ - How to Become a Knight Templar]
  4. National Geographic, The Fake Bible Part 1: The Knights Templar. Video Documentary

External links

Masonic Knights Templar organizations