Heidelberg York Rite         Heidelberg, Germany

Commandery No. 2

Knights Templar
Grand Encampment KT, USA
          Rainer K. Janotta
          Pedro Rodrigues de Almeida
    Captain General
          Bobby Lee Bosier

Knights Templar

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 Knights Templar is open only to Royal Arch Masons who promise to defend the Christian faith. Its affiliation with Masonry is based on texts that indicate persecuted Templars found refuge within the safety of Freemasonry.

A local Knights Templar organization is called a Commandery in the United States and a Preceptory elsewhere. In the United States, Knights Templar consists of three degrees:

Illustrious Order of the Red Cross - The first order conferred in the chivalric system is the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross and the story contained within predates the era of the crusades. The candidate represents Zerubbabel who is well familiar to the Royal Arch Mason (a requirement for admission) at the time of King Darius. Zerubbabel visits the king in order to convince him of his commitment to the Jewish people and in the process is asked to take part in a debate over which has greatest sway in the kingdom - wine, women or the king. The end result of the debate being the candidate offering a fourth option and an excellent argument is made on the power of Truth.


Order of the Knights of Malta - This is the first of the Christian Orders contained in the Chivalric system and relates the story of St. Paul's arrival on the island of Melita which we know today as Malta. In the next portion of the order the history of the Knights of St. John (Knights of Malta) is explained and the periods of the orders history is paralleled with the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. While Freemasonry often comes under attack by fundamentalists who view it as unchristian, the candidate for admission into this Christian order can offer clear argument to the contrary.


Order of the Temple - The Order of the Temple of Knights Templar Order is the most beautiful in the series. The order is broken into three portions:


These portions are sometimes conferred together but more often done on two or three separate occasions. During the ceremonies the candidate represents a knight of the era that succeeded the Crusades and vowed to visit the Holy Sepulcher. As a trial of his worthiness he must make a pilgrimage for seven years in the direction of the Holy Sepulcher. After having served six years of preparation he is commanded to devote the remaining year of preparation to penance. The ritual teaches beautiful lessons on the death and ascension of our Savior and the candidate is at last received into full fellowship, in the most solemn manner.

It is important to note that in Canada and the United States there are some differences to the Orders, but essentially they follow the above model.

A Potential Candidate for Masonic Templarism, must be a member of the Craft Lodge, and Royal Arch Chapter. In some jurisdictions it is required that the potential member must also be a member of the Cryptic Rite.

Unlike most branches of Freemasonry, wherein the Candidate need not follow a particular faith, the Chivalric Orders of Masonry require a belief in the doctrine of the Trinity. That is to say they must profess a faith in Christianity.


Knight Crusader of the Cross - The Knight Crusaders of the Cross is a "chair degree" conferred upon present or past Eminent Commanders of a Commandery. It is not used everywhere, but is gaining in popularity across the country. The degree originated in Florida in 1969 and spread North. Typically it is conferred at the same time as the state Grand Commandery meeting. The body is styled an Asylum, and has eight officers, the highest being the Knight Crusader of the East.

The Induction Ceremony opens with three brief lectures on Masonic Templarism and the duties of a Commander, followed by the arrangement of the candidates in a cross formation in the center of the Asylum, where they receive refreshment and are dubbed Knight Crusaders of the Cross. It concludes with a brief lecture on the ancient Knight Templars and an explanation of the Jerusalem Cross, as well as the modes of recognition among Knight Crusaders.

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