The Knights Templar is a Christian-oriented fraternal organization based on the ancient organization that was founded in the 11th century. In short, the Knights Templar were laymen who protected and defended the Christians traveling to Jerusalem. These men took vows of 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 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 know as the Knights of the Temple or Knights Templar.
The Order of Knights Templar exists as the top ranking Masonic organization in the York Rite of Freemasonry. The order requires membership in a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons and in a Council of Royal & Select Masons.
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 Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc. is our major charity. 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, was established in 1922 to help provide educational advantages to the youth of this country and has been a source of low costs loans for students to complete their college education.
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.
An Order emphasizing the lesson of truth. Elements of this Order were practiced in Ancient Lodges before the final form of the Master Mason Degree came into use. It is still practiced in the full ceremonial form by the Knight Masons of Ireland and the Knight Masons of the United States, and as the Red Cross of Babylon in the English Order of the Allied Masonic Degrees.
An Order emphasizing the lesson of faith. This Order requires the Mason to profess and practice the Christian faith. The pass degree of the Mediterranean Pass, or Knight of St. Paul prepares the candidate for the Order by introducing the lesson and example of the unfearing and faithful martyr of Christianity. The Order is centered on allegorical elements of the Knights of Malta, inheritors of the medieval Knights Hospitaller.
An Order emphasizing the lessons of self-sacrifice and reverence. It is meant to rekindle the spirit of the medieval Knights Templar devotion and self-sacrifice to Christianity. The history of the Masonic Order is long and convoluted, with the Order’s ritual differing between that conferred in England and in the United States. That practiced in the United States has a slight militant zeal to the lesson of Christianity, whereas the English ritual is more allegorical. However, the American ritual is most impressive, and more emphasis is placed on the solemnity and reverence associated with the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension of Christ. The presiding body is a Commandery, and the presiding officer is a Commander (titled Eminent).