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Fredericksburg Commandery No. 1
Conclave of the Knights Templar

Contact Recorder

About the Knights Templar


The Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, French nobleman Hugh de Payens founded the Poor Knights of Christ in 1119 with eight of his companions. The order was founded in Jerusalem, which had been captured by Crusaders in 1099, and it occupied a house near the Temple of Solomon. As a result, it soon acquired the popular name Knights Templar, or simply Templars.


By the end of the 12th century, military successes in the Holy Land had brought the Templars wealth as well as rich gifts of land in Palestine and Europe. The order received generous contributions from the Church, and often rulers in Europe donated land or money to the Templars instead of going to the Holy Land themselves. The order regularly provided a force of 300 knights for the defense of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. To support their military units, the Templars drew upon the money produced by their lands in Europe and Palestine. To speed the movement of funds between their various outposts, they developed a sophisticated banking system. Since the Templars were one of the few groups strong enough to safely transport money to and from the Holy Land, Western kings, nobles, and merchants came to rely upon them for this service. As a result, the Knights gradually became bankers for a large part of Europe and amassed great wealth and power.


In 1307 King Philip IV of France moved decisively against the Knights. With the permission of Pope Clement V, Philip imprisoned the order’s grand master, Jacques de Molay, and all the other Templars living in France at the time. Under torture, the Knights confessed to blasphemy and devil worship. In 1312 Clement dissolved the order and transferred its remaining property to its rivals, the Hospitalers. Eventually, most of the Templars in France were burned as heretics.


It has been suggested that Philip IV took these actions because he was severely short of money and found himself able to remedy this problem at the expense of the Templars. Certainly, the rumors of the order’s practices and its failure to stop the Muslim conquest of Palestine made it an easy target for the French king. But financial considerations do appear to have played a part. In both France and England the royal government seized most of the order’s assets, despite the pope’s directive that the Knights’ wealth should be transferred to the Hospitalers. 


Though the Knights were not revived as a religious institution after their dissolution, the order was later incorporated into the York rite of the Masonic order. See also Freemasonry.


Excerpts from MSN Encarta                                                


incorporate = to unite (one thing) with something else already in existence.

About the Commandery

Jacques De Molay

The Order of Knights Templar Today

· The Order of Knights Templar today exists as the top ranking Masonic organization in the York Rite of Freemasonry. The Order today requires membership in a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons and in some jurisdictions, membership in a Council of Royal and Select Masters.

· The Knights Templar is a Christian-oriented fraternal organization based on the ancient organization that was founded in the 11th century. 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 Templar Membership Today

Currently, Templar membership consists of people from all walks of life, including doctors, lawyers, clergy, businessmen and entertainment personalities, all of whom profess a belief in the Christian Religion.

See also: Masonic Knights Templar

Officially known as
The United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta, this order is colloquially known as the Knights Templar. Bodies of the order are known as Preceptories. In Great Britain and other countries these Preceptories confer three degrees:


· Knight Templar

· The passing Order of St. Paul

· Order of Malta


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.


In the United States, this body is officially known as the Knights Templar. It is not invitational, though the same membership requirements still apply, and the body itself is called a Commandery. In some jurisdictions, membership in a Council is required prior to being eligible for the Knights Templar, and there are non-Christians who are members in some Commanderies.