Knights Templar

The Grand Priory of Knights Templar in the United Kingdom

       
       

History

Summary

Summary

This section of the Order's website contains a history of both the medieval Order and how the movement has evolved into Templary today.

It is presented in different formats to allow readers and researchers to quickly find the relevant information that they require. However, all pages are presented in scrollable formats to also allow a more leisurely browse through a history that is nearly one thousand years old.

These pages have been produced by reference to a great deal of research; both publicly-available academic research and the Order's own records. To that end, we believe that the information given, in good faith, is as accurate as possible. However, we welcome constructive input and comment, and if you feel that you have additional material that might warrant inclusion (or have evidence of clarification), then please feel free to email us here.

In Detail

In Detail

The medieval Knights Templar, best known to us today as the famed warriors of the Crusades, were a devout military religious Order that uniquely combined the roles of knight and monk in a way the Western medieval world had never seen before.

Originally they were known as the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, or, more simply, as the Knights Templar. In a famous letter written in the 1130s, In Praise of the New Knighthood, St Bernard of Clairvaux elevated the Templar Order above all other Orders of the day, establishing the image of the Templars as a fierce spiritual militia for Christ. He regarded them as a "new species of knighthood, previously unknown in the secular world..."

To him, they were a unique combination of knight and monk; to later historians, they were the first military order, soon imitated by the Knights Hospitaller, by several Spanish orders and, by the end of the 12th century, by the Teutonic Knights. As a holy militia fighting for Christ, the Templars were willing to put aside the usual temptations of ordinary secular life for an arduous, dedicated life of service. Ever since then, the legacy of the Templars has been, first and foremost, the concept of service.

The Templars officially originated in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1118 A.D., when nine knights, mainly French, vowed to protect pilgrims on the dangerous roads leading to Jerusalem. These courageous knights gained the favour of King Baldwin II of Jerusalem who granted them part of his palace for their headquarters, which was located in the south-eastern part of the Temple Mount, called "Solomon's Temple".

Encouraged by King Baldwin II and Warmund of Picquigny, Patriarch of Jerusalem, they were generally seen as complementary to the Hospitallers (recognized as an Order of the Church by the papacy in 1113, but not militarized until the 1130s), who cared for sick and weary pilgrims in their convent in Jerusalem. The Templars' services were welcomed and greatly appreciated. But it is important to realize that at this early juncture when they were based at the Temple Mount area, the Templars were not yet an official monastic Order. The protagonists were seculars imbued with a desire to fulfil the biblical injunction to love thy neighbour, but they were not yet a monastic Order.

During the first nine years of the Order (1119-28), contrary to assumptions often made today, the Templars would not have been wearing their trademark white mantles, as they began wearing them after the church Council of Troyes in 1129 when they were given a religious Rule and a white mantle. The famous red cross pattée on their mantle was added later when Pope Eugenius III (1145-53) allowed them to wear it as a symbol of Christian martyrdom.

With only nine knights at their inception, scholars acknowledge that it seems as though no major efforts were made to recruit any new members until around 1128, when most of the original knights had returned to France and the Council of Troyes began (Jan. 1129) and they became officially recognized by the papacy. By the 1170s, there were about 300 knights based in the Kingdom of Jerusalem itself and more in other areas, and by the 1180s, there were at least 600 knights in Jerusalem alone. After 1129, the Order grew exponentially with many thousands of knights and it then became increasingly powerful.

At the Council of Troyes in Champagne, the status of the Templar Order underwent a dramatic change. Thanks to the significant contribution of Bernard of Clairvaux, the knights were then officially accepted by Matthew of Albano, the papal legate. This recognition was quite extraordinary for the times, as for such a tiny Order of only nine men to get this type of recognition was rather unusual, as many other Orders of the day had to wait much longer to achieve a similar status.

At the Council of Troyes, the Templars were given a proper Rule, written in Latin, which ran to 72 clauses. The impetus given by papal approval and the extraordinary publicity generated by the visits of the leaders to France, England and Scotland in the months before the council ensured that the "New Knighthood" would long outlive its founders.

Papal recognition at Troyes was followed by the issue of three key bulls, which established the Temple as a privileged Order under Rome. Omne Datum Optimum (1139) consolidated the Order's growing material base by allowing spoils taken in battle to be retained for the furtherance of the holy war, placing donations directly under papal protection, and granting exemption from payment of tithes. It also strengthened the structure of the Order by making all members answerable to the Master and by adding a new class of Templar priests to the existing organization of knights and sergeants.

The Templars could now possess their own oratories, where they could hear divine office and bury their dead. Milites Templi (1144) ordered the clergy to protect the Templars and encouraged the faithful to contribute to their cause, while at the same time allowing the Templars to make their own collections once a year, even in areas under interdict.

Milita Dei (1145) consolidated the Order's independence of the local clerical hierarchy by giving the Templars the right to take tithes and burial fees and to bury their dead in their own cemeteries.

As these privileges indicate, during the 1130s, the fledging Order had attracted increasing numbers of major donors, for it proved to be especially popular with that sector of the French aristocracy which held castles and estates and could mobilize vassals, albeit on a modest scale. In fact, the scale of this sudden, unprecedented rise was extraordinary, something hardly seen before or since.

The rulers of Aragon and Portugal, confronted directly with the problems of warfare on a volatile frontier, realized their military value more quickly than most others. The Templars began to accumulate a substantial landed base in the West, not only in Francia, Provence, Iberia and England, where they were first known, but also in Italy, Germany and Dalmatia and, with the Latin conquests of Cyprus from 1191 and of the Morea from 1204, in those regions as well. By the late 13th century they may have had as many as 870 castles, preceptories and subsidiary houses spread across Latin Christendom. During the 12th and 13th centuries these properties were built into a network of support which provided men, horses, money and supplies for the Templars in the East.

The development of a role as bankers arose out of these circumstances, for they were well placed to offer credit and change specie through their holdings in both east and west. It was a short step to move into more general finance, unconnected to crusading activity by the 1290s their house in Paris could offer a deposit bank with a cash desk open on a daily basis and specialist accountancy services of great value to contemporary secular administrations.

Thus, the Templars became the bankers to nobles, kings, and Popes as well as to pilgrims on their way to and from Jerusalem and other holy sites. Our familiar "traveller's cheque" today is a modern-day example of using a 'letter of credit' –just as the Templars did in the 12th century, in medieval times. The Templar structure was cemented by effective communications including its own Mediterranean shipping. They had many galleys and like the Hospitallers, took part in naval warfare at times, too. They even had their own Admiral by 1301.

Together with the Hospitallers, the Knights Templar became the permanent defenders of the Latin settlements of the East, increasingly entrusted with key castles and fiefs. By the 1180s, there were approximately 600 knights in Jerusalem, Tripoli and Antioch, and perhaps three times that number of sergeants. No major battle took place without their participation. In the 13th century, the Order was the only institution capable of building great castles like Athlit (Pilgrims' Castle) (1217-21) on the coast to the south of Haifa and Safed (early 1240s) dominating the Galilean Hills. Such military and financial power, together with the extensive papal privileges, gave them immense influence in the Latin East and, at times, led to conflict with other institutions.

The Latin Rule of 1129, which had been influenced by a monastic establishment with little experience of practical crusading, soon proved inadequate for such an expanding organization. New sections, written in French, were added, first in the 1160s, when 202 clauses defined the hierarchy of the Order and laid down its military functions and then, within the next twenty years, a further 107 clauses on the discipline of the convent and 158 clauses on the holding of chapters and the penance system.

Between 1257 and 1267, 113 clauses set out case histories which could be used as precedents in the administration of penances'. The existence of a version of the Rule in Catalan, dating from after 1268, shows that efforts were made to ensure that its contents were widely understood within the Order. Although the Order never underwent a thorough internal reform, these developments indicate that the Templars were not oblivious to the need to maintain standards.

The Templar Order's administration was structured hierarchically. The Grand Master was based at the Order's headquarters in the Holy Land, along with the other major officers, each of whom had their own staff.

The Seneschal was the Grand Master's deputy; in ceremonies he carried the famed beauseant, the Templars' black-and-white banner. Like the Grand Master, the Seneschal had his own staff and horses. The Marshal was the chief military officer, responsible for the individual commanders and the horses, arms, equipment and anything else involving military operations. He also had authority in obtaining and ordering supplies, which was critically important at the time of the Crusades.

The Commander of the Kingdom of Jerusalem was the treasurer of the Order and was in charge of the strong room. He shared power with the Grand Master in a way that prevented either from having too much control over funds. The Draper issued clothes and bed linen and could distribute gifts made to the order. He was not only keeper of the famed white mantles but also ensured that every brother was dressed appropriately. These four, along with the Grand Master, were the major officers of the Order, although there seems to have been some local variation where needed.

Under these main officers were other Templar commanders with specific regional responsibilities, such as the commanders of the cities of Jerusalem. Daily administration of the Order's regional houses was governed by various officials called bailies, and the officer in charge was called the baili. So, the Templar Order consisted of members in a variety of positions performing many different functions. It even hired some assistants from outside the Order, and, contrary to popular belief, only a minority of members were actually full-fledged Knights.

The loss of Acre in 1291 and the Mamluk conquest of Palestine and Syria have often been seen as a turning-point in Templar history, for the Order was apparently left without a specific role in a society still profoundly imbued with the idea of its own organic unity. Indeed, the failure of the military orders to prevent the advance of Islam had attracted criticism since at least the 1230s with the loss of the Christian hold on the mainland, opponents were provided with a specific focus for their attacks.

The more constructive of these critics advocated a union of the Temple and the Hospital as the first step in a thorough reassessment of their activities, although the Orders themselves showed little enthusiasm for such schemes. There was, however, no suggestion that either order be abolished. In fact, the Templars continued to pursue the holy war with some vigour from their based in Cyprus for they did not see the events of 1291 as inevitably presaging the decline of crusading.

The attack on them by Philippe IV, King of France, in October 1307, ostensibly on the grounds of "vehement suspicion" of heresy and blasphemy, therefore owes more to the potent combination of a king afflicted by a morbid religiosity on the one hand and an administration in severe financial trouble on the other, than it does to any failings of the Templars. In fact, the Templars (unlike the Hospitallers) had never previously been accused of heresy.

In the end, neither the limited intervention by Pope Clement V nor an energetic defence by some Templars, could save the Order, which was suppressed by the papal bull Vox in excelso in 1312. Its goods and properties were then transferred over to the Hospitallers.

Although the Order itself was suppressed, many of the knights fled and went underground, or joined other Orders.

Their extraordinary legacy and memory still live on today, nearly nine centuries later.

Timeline

Timeline

The follwing timeline was produced by reference to many sources, the following timeline gives a widely accepted chronology of the major dates in the history of the Templar Order; both ancient and modern.

References are given at the bottom of the article.

1095 - Pope Urban II called the First Crusade at Clermont in France.

1099 - Jerusalem taken by the First Crusade in July.

1100 - The 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.

1118/19 - 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).

1120 - Fulk V, count of Anjou joined the Order in the Holy Land as a lay associate.

1123 - 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.

1125 - Hugues, Compte de Champaigne, after ceding his lands, joined the Order in the Holy Land.

1126 - 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."

1128 - 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."

1128/29 - 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.

1130 - Raymond-Berengar III, count of Barcelona and Provence, joined the Templars as a lay associate.

1130s - 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.

1136 - 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.

1139 - 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.

1144 - Pope Celestine II (1143-44) issued his bull, Milites Templi, adding more privileges. The Templars could now collect their own funds.

1145 - 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 privileges.

1146 - 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 the Faith.

1160 - 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 of Portugal.

1163 - 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.

1187 - 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.

1190 - 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.

1191 - The Port of Acre captured by the Third Crusade. It became the new Templar headquarters.

1198 - The Teutonic Knights founded at Acre.

1228 - The Templars supported the conquest of Majorca and Valencia in 1238 by Alfonso II, King of Aragon.

1244 - The Templars suffered a serious defeat at the battle of La Forbie.

1250 - The battle of Mansurah in Egypt was a disaster for Louis IX of France and the Templars.

1271 - 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).

1274 - 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.

1291 - 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 raison d'etre.

1292 - Jacques de Molay became Master of the Temple.

1300 - 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.

1305 - Both Pierre Dubois and Ramon Lull recommended that the Hospitallers and Templars be fused into one military order.

1307 - 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.

1308 - 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.

1311 - 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.

1312 - 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.

1314 - 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.

1317 - 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.

1319 - 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.

1571 - Templar archives in Cyprus, now in the possession of the Hospitallers, appeared to have been destroyed by the Ottoman Turks.

1606 - 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 St. Lazarus.

1715 - 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.

1717 - 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.

1730 - 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.

1736 - 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.

1742 - A German noble, the Baron Karl Gotthelf von Hund, was received into the Scottish Masonic Rite while in Paris.

1745 - 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.

1750 - 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.

1789 - 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.

1804 - 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 were recruited.

1806 - The Templar Order had developed its structure and organized itself as a chivalric, hospitable, tolerant, traditional and universal institution.

1808 - 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.

1812 - 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.

1814 - 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 this reconciliation.

1820 - 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.

1821 - Fabré-Palaprat appointed the count of Chabrillan as Prior for the Grand Priory of Switzerland, founded in 1809.

1825 - The Grand Priory of Belgium was founded July 18 in Paris by the Marquis Albert-Francoise du Chasteleer, a close friend of Fabré-Palaprat.

1830 - 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.

1833 - 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 chose autonomy.

1837 - 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.

1838 - 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 recognize him.

1841 - 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 charity.

1845 - 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.

1853 - 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.

1865 - 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.

1866 - 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.

1868 - 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.

1894 - An International Secretariat of the Templars was formed in Brussels to exercise Magisterial authority.

1930 - 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.

1932 - 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.

1933 - The Belgian Grand Priory restored an international association of Templar Grand Priories. A Magisterial Council was formed with Theodore Covias as Regent.

1934 - 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.

1945 - 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.

1947 - Revised Statutes were issued by de Sousa Fontes. There is no record of them being approved by a Convent General.

1948 - 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.

1959 - Some Templars separated from de Sousa Fontes' authority.

1960 - 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.

1962 - 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 William Edelen.

1964 - His Majesty, Peter II, King of Yugoslavia living in exile, became the Royal Patron of the American Grand Priory.

1970 - 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.

1972 - 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.

1973 - 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.

1975 - 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 Priors.

1981- The Grand Priory of Scandinavia was formed, uniting the Priories of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

1982 - An Autonomous Grand Priory of Scotland was recognized by Anton Leupreucht.

1987 - 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."

1990 - 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.

1992 - 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.

1993 - De Fontes, presented his revised Statutes to a Convent General in Santiago, Spain (Toja). They were neither considered, nor approved.

1995 - 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.

1996 - 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.

1997 - 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.

1998 - 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.

1999 - 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, and charity.

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 Fabré-Palaprat.

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 (1867).

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 himself.

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."