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Fredericksburg Commandery No. 1
Conclave of the Knights Templar

Every year in January, near the statue of Hugh Mercer and Mary Washington’s grave, the Assembly of the Knights of Columbus, supported by the Commandery of the Knights Templar, host a parade and ceremony at the Religious Freedom Memorial in Fredericksburg, Virginia, honoring this great and historic event.  Each year, the Knights of Columbus invites a special guest speaker and honors the religious leaders of every faith in the local community.   What appeals most and what few people understand, is the labored relationship through history that surrounds the Roman Catholic Church and Freemasonry.  Because of this, the symbology of the Knights of Columbus and the Knights Templar, marching together, is significant and well represents the ideas of Freedom and Tolerance that Thomas Jefferson had envisioned for his state, and later his nation.  A vision which promises America that our Strength comes from our Diversity, embracing the idea of God, yet allowing each human to decide their own path to him.

In January of 1777, a committee met in Fredericksburg to revise all of Virginia's laws as the Commonwealth made her way from being a colony to becoming a state in a new nation. Thomas Jefferson, a member of the committee, drafted a "Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom" which would go on to serve as the basis for the First Amendment of the Constitution.  Jefferson considered this one of the three things he was most proud of during a lifetime of great accomplishments.

"…all men shall be free to profess…their opinions in matters of religion and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities."


From the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom

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Sir Knight Joseph Bongiovi

Committee Chairman


Sir Knight Shelby Chandler                               Sir Knight Gregory Vecchi

Committee Member                                                              Committee Member

Religious Freedom Committee

Knights of Columbus/Knights Templar Event Coordinators