Chronology

CHRONOLOGY OF
THE SOVEREIGN MILITARY ORDER
OF THE TEMPLE OF JERUSALEM

Originally Compiled by:
Chev. Dr. Robert J. Kovarik, KCTJ

With additions by:
H.E. Chev. Malcolm J. Ferguson, KGCT, FSA.Scot. and 
Luis Matos, KGCTJ, Chancellor of the Mag. Council since 1999

THE EARLY YEARS

1095

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

1099

In July Jerusalem was conquered by the Crusaders, among them Huges de Payns.

1100

The Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem was founded to care for the sick.

1113

Pope Pascal II recognised the Hospitallers.

1118

Hughes de Payens (Champagne) and Godfrey of Saint-Omer (Picardy) formed a religious community to protect pilgrims. Taking monastic vows, nine knights placed themselves under the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Warmund of Picquigny. Baldwin II, king of Jerusalem, provided them with quarters in part of his palace, (al-Aqsa Mosque) thought to be the remains of Solomon’s Temple. The King charged them with maintaining, “as far as they could, the roads and highways against the ambush of thieves and attackers, especially in regard to the safety of pilgrims.”  They became known as The Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Jerusalem.       The first religious military Order.

1126

With a delegation of knights and Baldwin II, Hughes de Payens travelled to France, seeking aid from the Cistercian Abbot, Bernard of Clairvaux, in obtaining papal recognition and in developing a “rule of life.”

1128

Mention of a Constable of the Order of St. John.  The Hospitallers had now become the second military Order.

1128-1129

At the Council of Troyes the Order of the Temple was recognised and a Rule was approved, written under the guidance of Bernard and based on the Benedictine model. Known as ‘The Latin Rule’, it contained 76 articles. The white mantle of the Cistercians was adopted, to be worn 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 Grand Master, toured Europe, and visited Scotland and England establishing Preceptories. The Order of the Temple rapidly spread throughout Europe and the British Isles.

1130

Around this date Bernard wrote ‘De Laude Novae Militae’, in which he described the Templars as “a new type of Order in the Holy Places”: a mix of knightly and monastic life. The Order of St. Lazarus was founded in Jerusalem with links to the Templars.

1136

The death of Hughes de Payens. Robert of Craon (Burgundy) became the second Grand Master.

First firm date for armed activity by the Order of St. John.

1139

Pope Innocent II (1130-43) in the bull, ‘Omne Datum Optimum’, brought the Templars under papal authority, providing them with privileges and exemptions that made the Templars an autonomous corporate body and allowed them to secure an economic base for financing their military activities. They were charged with defending the Church against all enemies of the Cross.

1144

Pope Celestine II (1143-1144) issued the bull: ‘Milites Templi’, adding more privileges, allowing the Templars to collect their own funds.

1145

Pope Eugenius III (1145-53) called the Second Crusade. He issued the bull: ‘Militia Dei’, allowing the Templars to have their own churches and priests exempt from Episcopal control. Subsequent popes would reissue these bulls, adding further privileges.

1146

Pope Eugenius III authorised the Templars to add the red cross on the left breast of their tunics and the shoulder of their mantles, symbolising willingness to shed their blood and die for the Faith.

1150

The Templars acquired their first castle at Gaza.

1154

The Sovereign Authority of the Order under its Grand Master was recognised by Louis VII of France.

1160

By this date various knightly Orders had been founded in the Spanish Kingdoms, such as the Orders of Alcantara, Calatrava and Santiago.

1163

The Retrais et Etablissements de Temple consisting of some 675 additional articles was added to the Rule, covering – the conventual life, defining the hierarchical status, regulating the chapters, election of the Grand Master, determining the penance and punishments for violations of the Rule and Statutes and admission to the Order. Pope Alexander III (1158-81) issued a Bull recognising the amended Rule and declaring the Templars a Sovereign Authority. The following motto was inscribed on the Templars’ black and white standard: Non nobis, Domine, non nobis sed nomini tuo da gloriam. The seal showed two knights on horseback, one as a soldier, the other a pilgrim (though from illustrations of the seal, both appear to be carrying a shield and a lance) with the inscription: Sigillum Militum Christi. When this amended Rule was translated into French it became known as The French Ancient Rule. By the mid 13th century an Aragonese translation known as The Catalan Rule became accepted in the Iberian Kingdoms, requiring the Templars to swear fealty to their rulers unlike elsewhere in Europe. Spanish and Portuguese Templars limited their fighting against Islam to the Iberian Peninsula, (under occupation).

1187

Saladin defeated the Crusaders at the battle of Hattin, resulting in the loss of Jerusalem. Over 200 Templars died. Pope Gregory VIII (1187) called the Third Crusade. The Templars and Hospitallers established themselves on the island of Cyprus, sold to the Templars by King Richard Coeur de Lion (The Lionheart). The Templars developed a naval force.

1191

The port of Acre was captured during the Third Crusade. It later became the Templar headquarters.

1198

The Teutonic Knights were founded, based upon the Knights Templar.

1200

By now the establishment of a network of Preceptories within Europe allowed the Templars to become a major European economic power with a reputation for providing reliable, honest and efficient financial services. The Temples in London and Paris became treasuries patronised by the rulers of England and France. The Templars were becoming pioneers of international banking.

1244

The loss at the battle of La Forbie proved to be a Templar disaster.

The final loss of Jerusalem. The headquarters of the Order moved to the coastal city of Acre.

1250

At the battle of Mansurah in Egypt Louis IX of France and the Templars suffered a disastrous defeat.

1271

The Mameluke Sultan of Egypt, Baibars, captured the major fortresses of the Hospitallers (Chastel-Blanc), of the Templars (Krak) and of the Teutonic Knights (Montfort) in Syria.

1291

The fall of Acre to the Mamelukes saw the effective end of the Crusades. The Templars evacuated their great castle of Atlit, for all practical purposes ending their presence in the Holy Land. The Order moved its military headquarters to Cyprus.

1292

James of Molay (Jacques de Molay) was elected Grand Master.

1300

With no crusades the Templars continued existence as a military Order was in question, instead they chose to pursue agricultural and economic interests, thereby allowing enemies, jealous of their wealth, to begin accusing them of corruption and blaming them for the loss of Palestine.

1305

Raymon Lull wrote his Liber de Fine, in which he recommended that the Hospitallers and Templars be fused into one military Order.

1307

Already Edward I and Edward II had amassed unpaid debts to the Templar Temple in London. Philip IV of France, more heavily in debt, saw the opportunity. Rumours were circulated of Templar corruption and were turned into “fact”. The persecution of the Order had begun. Philip ordered the arrest of all Templars in France on Friday 13th October, turning them over to the Inquisition. Under pressure Pope Clement V (1305‑14) agreed to an investigation. The papal bull, Pastoralis Praeeminentiae, ordered the arrest of all Templars in the Christian West.

1311

Only in France and areas under the dominance of Philip IV were the charges against the Templars “substantiated”. The Templar crisis forced the Pope to call a Church Council.

1312

The Council of Vienne found the charges against the Templars lacking merit, and the Order was never found guilty of any charge. Pope Clement V issued a bull: ‘Vox in Excelso’, dissolving the Templars. A second bull: ‘Ad Proviendan’, turned over Templar property to the Hospitallers, partly to be used to pay pensions to ex-Templars. In Scotland the Bull was not promulgated since the King,Robert the Bruce,was under excommunication.

1314

On retraction of their forced confessions, Philip IV ordered the execution of James of Molay and Geoffrey of Charnay. They were burned to death on an island in the Seine in Paris on March 14.

At the battle of Bannockburn the Templars appeared to have played a significant role in the Scottish victory. The King of Scots fused the Templars with the Hospitallers, to be known as the Order of the Temple and of St. John. This union was dissolved during the religious revolution of the 16th century.

1317

In the Spanish Kingdoms the Templars were absorbed into the established military Orders. The Portuguese King, Deniz (Dionysius), founded the Order of The Knights of Christ for the Templars. The Order acquired papal recognition in 1319.

The formulation of the Oath of Fealty used by the Scottish Knights of the Order.

1400

The Order of the Temple in Scotland “incorporated” within The Order of St. John and the Temple.  Even with the Order of St. John and the Temple of Jerusalem in co-existence, the Templar lands were administered separately to St. John’s.

1456

Pope Calixtus III (1455-1458) granted to the Knights of Christ the ecclesiastical jurisdiction for the Portuguese colonies in Africa and Asia. (The great maritime explorer Vasgo da Gama, was a Knight of Christ, Prince Henry the Navigator, a Grand Master, while numerous other daring explorers also sailed under the red cross pattee, as did Columbus.)

1564

During the Reformation, David Seton, Prior of Scotland, with a body of Templars, withdrew from the association of St. John on the illicit disposal and secularisation of all properties by Sir James Sandilands, Prior of St John, and the loss of Templar lands. (519 sites of ‘Terrae Templariae’).

1571

The Templar archives in Cyprus, now in the possession of the Hospitallers, appear to have been destroyed by the Ottoman Turks.

1660

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; in Italy by the Pope as the Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus with the Duke of Savoy as the hereditary Grand Master.

1688

James VII & II, King of the British Isles, of the House of Stuart withdrew to exile in France. Scottish Freemasonry established in Ireland by this date.

1698

Scottish Freemasonry had been established in France by this date.

1705

The publication of the “General Statutes and Election Charter”.

1715

After becoming Regent of France, Philip, the Duke of Orleans, became involved in the military Orders within France assisting with the preparation of the above Statutes. 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 for the Order in France. Some detractors opinionate ‘the “restorers” of the Order of the Temple in 1804 will claim that the Templars had survived after 1314 with secret Grand Masters, including the Duke of Orleans. According to them the Templars now ended their hidden existence, holding a Convent General at Versailles that issued the Statutes of 1705.’ (Was there a French Stuart connection?)

1717

In London Freemasonry began its institutional history with the combination of four small lodges into the Grand Lodge.

1730

Since 1698 Scottish Freemasonry had spread to France as a political force dedicated to the restoration of the Stuarts as rulers of England and Scotland.

1736

Andrew Michael Ramsay, a Jacobite Scottish Freemason in Paris, delivered a speech in which he claimed that Masonry began in the Holy Land among the crusaders. Now Masonic lodges began to adopt rituals and symbols associated with the Templars.

1737

The unaltered Scottish Templar ‘Oath of Fealty’ from 1314 was updated.

1745

Bonnie Prince Charlie (Prince Charles Edward Stuart) held a reception for Scottish Templars at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh.

1750

In the fifties a German nobleman, Baron Karl von Hund, who had associated with Jacobite Masonic leaders in Paris, claimed a “new” form of Freemasonry, directly descended from the Templars. His ‘Strict Observance’ brought much of the occult, the magical and the mystical into Freemasonry, much of which was claimed to have come from the Templars. To support this claim, he provided a list of “secret Grand Masters” centred on Scotland, who ruled the Order, now gone underground, since the execution of Jacques de Molay.

1791

During the French Revolution, the Order of Mount Carmel and Lazarus and the Hospitaller Grand Priory were abolished.

1804

Doctor Bernard-Raymond Fabre-Palaprat restored the Order of the Temple. He claimed discovery of documents, including not only a list of “secret” Grand Masters since 1314 to the French Revolution, but the Larmenius’ Charter of Transmission from 1324 and The Statutes of 1705; all to prove that the Order had legitimate continuation from the medieval Templars. Fabre-Palaprat was recognised as “the 45th Grand Master.”  Napoleon Bonaparte, newly proclaimed Emperor, supported this restoration. Efforts were made to recruit members from the nobility and notables of the Empire.

1808

This new (?) Order of the Temple revealed its existence publicly at a grand ceremony at the Church of St. Paul in Paris, designed to honour James of Molay and other martyrs of the Order.

1810

The success of recruitment resulted in Commanderies and Priories being established throughout Napoleon’s European Empire.

1811

A schism erupted, when Fabre-Palaprat revised the Statutes to give himself complete authority over the order. The Duke of Choiseul led the dissenters.

1812

A compromise was reached which allowed Fabre-Palaprat to resign as Grand Master and the Duke of Choiseul to be chosen as the new Grand Master. Fabre-Palaprat, regretting his resignation, was able by political manoeuvring to return as Grand Master. Once more the Templars split, with Fabre-Palaprat’s adversaries choosing Charles-Louis Le Peletier, Count of Aunay as Grand Master.

1814

The Bourbon King, Louis XVIII gave the Fabre-Palaprat Templars his Royal protection, fearing various groups opposed to the restored monarchy. This encouraged a reunion of the Templars with the resignation of the Count of Aunay for the good and peace of the order. It appeared that the British admiral and Francophile Sir William Sidney-Smith, who had fought in the naval war against Napoleon, played an important role in this reconciliation. He seemed to have had a Masonic connection with the Rose Croix, heading a Grand Priory in England.

1820

Sir Walter Scott wrote ‘Ivanhoe’, which along with ‘The Talisman’ further “disfigured” the medieval Templars, portraying them as greedy, lecherous, tainted with heresy, and subverting the crusades for their own ends. His works would have a major impact on the English and American view of the Templars.

1825

The Order of the Temple published the Statutes and Election Charter of 1705. Later with the support of the Duke de Choiseul they redefined the Order as Chivalric and non-Masonic. The Grand Priory of Belgium was founded in Paris due to the efforts of the Marquis Albert-Francois du Chasteleer, a close friend of Fabre-Palaprat.

1830

Fabre-Palaprat and French Templars supported the revolution against Charles X, who had threatened to return absolute monarchy to France. Templars also supported the Belgian revolt against Dutch control, resulting in the independence of Belgium as a kingdom in 1831.

1833

Having adopted certain Johannite beliefs, Fabre-Palaprat began to impose them on the French Templars, further changing the rules and rituals. When he proclaimed himself the Sovereign Pontiff and Patriarch of the Johannite church and demanded all the Templars accept his “new faith” the result was another schism.

1837

In poor health Fabre-Palaprat retired to the south of France. Dissident Templars seized the opportunity and established an Executive Commission that called for a Convent General.

1838

The death of Fabre-Palaprat in February cleared the way for reform and reunion. The Convent General met and formed a new Executive Commission. Since the Statutes of 1705 had been “corrupted” under Fabre-Palaprat, the Convent General approved a new set of documents that removed the Johannite influence and “renewed the knightly traditions and obedience to the Catholic Church.” A dispute over leadership arose, when Sir William Sidney-Smith, the English Grand Prior, was chosen as Grand Master. French Templars, who refused to recognise him (perhaps because of his Masonic connection), continued to choose regents, beginning with the Count of Moreton and of Chabrillan. Despite the internal divisions there were some 78 Priories and 400 Commanderies spread across Europe, northern Africa, and South America. Reacting to the confusion in Paris, non-French Priories became autonomous.

1841

The Declaration of Principles (Paris) was issued from a General Convent of European, Colonial, Latin American and USA Priories.

1845

During the regency of Jean-Marie Raoul, The Prince de Chimay was sent to Rome to gain papal recognition for the Templars. Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846) required that all Templars be Roman Catholics. Still talks continued until ended by the Revolutions of 1848.

1853

The Regent, Narcisse Valleray, requested official recognition from Emperor Napoleon III. The Order was again recognised as a Sovereign Power and its members granted the right to wear their insignia within France.

1865

The Belgium Grand Priory split, with the Catholics forming the Priory of St. John d’Hiver, and the “Secular” Templars establishing the Priory of the Trinity of the Tower, that adopted the Strict Observant Freemasonry of the Baron von Hund.

1868

Due to the inactivity of the French Templars under the Regent, A.G.M. Vernois, Prosper Beechman, the Belgian Grand Prior tried to restore the International Order despite serious divisions between the English, French and German Priories. He convoked a Chapter General that recognised him as the Guardian of the Grand Magisterium of the Order.

1870

In the War of 1870 France was defeated by Germany causing a rupture between their Priories. The Archives were deposited in the Bibliotheque Nationale Paris.

1877

After the death of Vernois, since no agreement could be reached to hold a Chapter General to choose a new Regent, Felix Champion de Villeneuve assumed the title Gardien du Souverain Magistère

1890

By this year the Belgian Catholic Priory had vanished, while the “Secular” Priory continued.

1894

The International Secretariat of the Order was established in Brussels.

1918

The death of French Grand Master Joseph Peladan. The International Secretariat Archives deposited with Kvmris Esoteric Research Brussels.

1930

The last chapter of the Belgian Trinity of the Tower was held with the Prior Emile Briffaut proposing the abolition of the Priory. Two years later the documents associated with the Palaprien Templar Rite were delivered to Brussels.

1932

The Grand Priory of Belgium registered the name of the Order as The Sovereign and Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem. France and Belgium adopt new Statutes and the SMOTJ, or Latin OSMTH, begins restoration of an international association of Templar Grand Priories.

1933

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 revitalising the Templars across Europe. This was to include the Grand Priory of Switzerland.

1937

Baron Anton Leuprecht of Switzerland was admitted a member and given permission to establish Autonomous Grand Priories throughout the world to form an International Federation of the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem.

1942

During the German occupation of Belgium in the Second World War, Vandenberg transferred the Belgian Minutes Book (dating from 17th September 1934) and a copy of the 1705 Statutes, to the care of the Portuguese Grand Prior, Antonio Campello de Sousa Fontes for safekeeping. The Minutes make clear that the Order was continuing to function in France and Belgium.

1945

After the War’s end the Regent, Vandenberg, requested the return of the Archives, but de Sousa Fontes ignored all requests that quickly became demands. When Vandenberg died suddenly from an accident, de Sousa Fontes assumed the title of Regent. The result was a divided International Order.

1946

In December de Sousa Fontes established both new Statutes, which appeared to be an updating of the Statutes of 1705, and the “OSMTH Regency”. It remains unclear whether a Convent General approved them.

1948

His son, Fernando Campello de Sousa Fontes, was designated by him as his “heir and Regent”.

Belgium, France, Switzerland and other International Federation of Autonomous Grand Priories of the SMOTJ (OSMTH) continued to function under the 1932 Statutes.

1959

Spanish Templars under Prince Guillermo de Grau-Moctezuma-Rife separated from the Order.

1960

Fernando Campello de Sousa Fontes became “Regent” upon the death of his father. He adopted the title of “Prince Regent”.

1962

The American Grand Priory, having evolved out of the Autonomous Grand Priory of Switzerland, was established and incorporated under the State of New Jersey. The “Prince Regent”, de Sousa Fontes, recognised the American Grand Priory. This during an international period of co-operation.

1964

Peter II, former King of Yugoslavia, became the Royal Patron of the American Grand Priory. After his death in 1970, this position remained vacant.

1970

Grand Priors, who had not accepted de Sousa Fontes met in Paris to reunite the Order in the International Federation. At the General Chapter Antoine Zdrojewski was elected as Grand Master.

The “Prince Regent”, de Sousa Fontes, called his own Convent General, which met in three sessions: Paris; Chicago, Illinois in 1971; and Tomar, Portugal in 1973.

1971

A Charter was issued by Baron Anton Leuprecht, Chef Mondial of the Order, re-establishing the Grand Priory of Scotland with Chev. Francis Andrew Sherry appointed Grand Prior.

1973

Antoine Zdrojewski carried out a reorganisation of The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem and reform of the Statutes. The Chef Mondial re-asserts the independence of the International Federation of Autonomous Grand Priories of SMOTJ. (Each member Grand Priory was recognised as autonomous). In 1975 the Belgian Grand Chapter accepted the reformed Statutes. (Zdrojewski was a member of the Polish Resistance in Occupied France and after 1945 a Minister of the Polish Government in exile.)

1978

A Charter reaffirming recognition of the Scottish Grand Priory, was granted by Chev. Baron Anton Leuprecht, Chief Mondial, confirmed in Office by the Regent General at Oporto, Portugal. 1965.

1980

Baron Anton Leuprecht died, nominating Chev Francis Sherry, Grand Prior of Scotland, to succeed him as Chef Mondial of the Order.

1986

Zdrojewski issued a Charter of Transmission that gave authority to George Lamirand, the Grand Seneschal, and designated him as his successor.

1987

Through the Grand Prior of Scotland, Chev. Francis Andrew Sherry de Achaea, Fr Gert Grotte, Grand Prior of Scandinavia, and Baron Fernando de Toro-Garland, Grand Prior of Spain, the Order legally established a committee called the International Federative Alliance (IFA-SMOTJ) (like 1937) to promote cooperation and unity of all autonomous Priories and to democratically elect a Grand Master. Scottish, Spanish, Scandinavian, Portuguese and English Grand Priories provided the main support.

1990

International Conclaves were called by the IFA on behalf of the SMOTJ      and its 15 member Grand Priories and Priories.

The “Prince Regent” issued a new set of Statutes. Article 11 allowed him to automatically become Grand Master, if a Grand Master was not elected within 903 days (pendant 301 jours X 3) The “Prince Regent” could also designate his successor for life (a vie). He also assumed the title of Grand Master. At a Secundus Conventus Magistralis, called to meet at La Toja in Galicia, Spain, these Statutes of 1990 were to be considered as amendments for those of his fathers from 1947.

1993

At a Convent General in Santiago, Spain, (Toja) the “Prince Regent” presented a revised set of Statutes that were never approved.

1995

In June a meeting took place in London called the International Conclave of Templars. Its purpose was to make recommendations towards resolving the issue of the “Prince Regent’s” status and for a November meeting of a Grand Convent in Salzburg, Austria.

Salzburg I: When the “Prince Regent” rejected his followers London Proposal about his future status, they agreed to withdraw all recognition of him as head of the ‘OSMTH Regency’. They formed a Grand Council of Grand Priors to administer the break away group until a Grand Master could be elected. The Statutes were to be revised and updated.

Salzburg II: In November some Templar representatives met with the above group to consider a revised set of Statutes, candidates for Grand Master, and recommendations for cooperation and eventual unity with the SMOTJ Priories that had not accepted the “Prince Regent’s” authority. Unfortunately their Secretary–General had differing ideas and the meeting ended in total disarray.

1996

The Order meanwhile continued to work toward its original goals through International Conclaves and Conferences attended by representatives of the Order and various groups including the “Regents” break away Priories.

Tomar, Portugal:  An International Conclave hosted by the IFA included the presentation of the Templar history paper by Fr Fernando de Toro-Garland Grand Prior of Spain and Secretary General of the IFA-OSMTJ entitled The IFA and Templar Unity, the meeting also compiled and issued the historical ‘Protocols of Tomar’.

1997

Lisbon May 1st-3rd:  A Worldwide Templar Congress was called by the IFA of the Order with Solemn Investiture, Gala Banquet and meetings. The Congress purpose was to establish two international committees to report on, Procedures for the future reform and regulation to organize and elect the ruling bodies, and History and Tradition to examine and revise the old Rule and Statutes for the authority of and the purpose of the Magisterial Council and Grand Master etc. All 20 Knights and Dames present representing 10 countries/Priories signed the agreement. Australia, England & Wales, France (+France OSMTJ), NATO (both Europe & USA), Portugal, Scotland, Spain, USA.

Later in May, the American Grand Priory met in Chicago to continue debate and partly to consider the impact of Salzburg II for the future. One decision was priority would be given to improving its own operation and pursuing various cultural and humanitarian activities. Opportunities for future international associations would be examined with care.

1998

Worcester, England June 26th : Another international meeting for all Grand Priories, Priories, Commanderies was hosted by the IFA.  SMOTJ to set the agenda to have by mid March 1999 unity, and for the first time in a century a truly democratically elected Grand Master and Magisterial Council. The Assembly approved unanimously all points proposed by the Electoral Committee. The personal support of the spokesman from the Regency breakaway group was given by invitation to vote, then independently, as he represented no autonomous Priory.

Some Templar groups left Worcester to attend a meeting in Turku, Finland, which included the “Regents” breakaway Priories. Their spokesman from Worcester was ‘elected’ by those at that meeting, “Grand Master”, (??) and following that, they now refused to participate in open worldwide elections and began to refer to themselves as OSMTH (AO) i.e., Atlantic Obedience Order. Later as the OSMTH.

1999

Many spurious claims were made against the IFA SMOTJ in the following months but the election went ahead as planned, with nominations called for, from any accredited Templar group. Of the 23 identified groups worldwide 17 Autonomous Grand Priories/Priories/Commanderies accredited themselves and were invited to vote for a Grand Master and Magisterial Council Officers. All nominations were confirmed and forwarded to an independent firm of lawyers who oversaw the voting process.

Following the democratic election it was announced, H.E. Chevalier Dr. Don Fernando de Toro-Garland, Count of Val de Zuera and Baron de Gar, was elected Grand Master of the Temple.

The month of July saw the conduct of an International Templar Pilgrimage of The Order to Santiago de Compostella, Spain, to participate in the celebrations of the Xacobea year within Galicia. A Civic Reception, a public parade of mantled Knights, the unveiling of a Templar Pilgrim statue by Galician authorities (created by a Templar Fr.), a Conclave, Investiture, Celebration of the Eucharist, informal and formal dinners, and meetings of international Templars and their Grand Priors were shared.

Having fulfilled its mission with an elected Master and Magisterial Council in place, a meeting of the Grand Priors of the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem formally dissolved the International Federative Alliance (IFA) of the SMOTJ.

2000-2001

International meetings of the Magisterial Council and General Conclaves of The Order have taken place by rotation in Rome, Madrid, Lisbon. A new International Newsletter of the SMOTJ with the support of the Master and Magisterial Council has been developed, edited and distributed, by the Grand Priory of Argentina. It is produced in three languages French, Spanish and English. The Order continues to grow with new Commanderies, Preceptories and Priories.

November 30 – December 3. During one such Investiture and Inauguration in Italy, The Master Fr. Fernando de Toro-Garland accompanied by his wife Dame Patricia and a few other Templars, on November 30th 2001 was admitted to the Vatican, and granted entry to the Secret Vatican Archives where he was shown the original documents and seals from 1307–1314. The first Master of The Order of the Temple to enter the Vatican since before 1307.

2002

During March 21st-24th The Order organized a worldwide Templar Congress with Magisterial Council Meetings, Investitures, and Conclaves taking place in Rome. At this Congress it was confirmed that Dr Barbara Frale a Vatican researcher had indeed found in September, a lost parchment from 1308 in which Pope Clement V exonerated Jacques de Molay and the Order and granted absolution to all! The Magisterial Officers were taken to the Secret Vatican Archives with the Master and allowed to view and photograph the parchment, as he had been so privileged in November.

*****

In the development of this chronology, the author has attempted to reconcile material (often contradictory and inconsistent) from various sources, including the following:

1.

Two encyclopedias provided background information. The 1967 edition of the New Catholic Encyclopedia. (992-994) An article entitled the Templars provides a factual summary of the history of the Templars to 1314. A short bibliography follows the article. A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry (1970) by Arthur E. Waite gives background on Fabre-Palaprat’s “New Templarism”.

2.

Two French sources were most helpful. Maillard de Chambure’s Regle et Statuts Secrets des Templiers (1840), and Steenackers, Histoire des Ordres de Chevalerie…en France (1867).

3.

Lt. Col. Gayre of Gayre & Nigg’s book The Knightly Twilight-A Glimpse at the Chivalric and Nobiliary Underworld deals with the Templars in Chapter X. The author acquired from Don Antonio Campello Pinto de Sousa Fontes a document listing the “alleged succession of Grand Masters since De Molay.” Then he offered a second document, entitled The Supreme Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, which provides a second list of Grand Masters from 1143. According to this document the Templars after the fall of Acre split into two “branches”. Pope Clement V suppressed the Order of the Orient; while the Order of the Occident would survive in Catalonia and southern France. Perhaps all of this is bogus, but it does point out the mix of history, myth and legend that has become part of the Templars. It should be noted that the author of this book is very pro Knights of Malta. In 1959 Prince Guillermo de Grau-Moctezum a Rife used this Order of the Occident as the basis for establishing his Templars in Spain.

4.

A more scholarly approach is taken by Malcolm Barber in The New Knighthood; A History of the Order of the Temple. (New York, 1992) Besides covering the history of the Templars, he deals with the myths and legends that develop after the death of de Molay and how much of the symbolism and rituals of the Templars were co-opted by the Masonic orders. Another publication is The Trial of the Templars.

5.

J.M. Upton-Ward has provided in her The Rule of the Templars (England, 1992) a translation with commentary of The Primitive Rule dating from 1129 and The Hierarchical Statutes from around 1165. An excellent picture of the organisation and the religious and military life of the first Templars are provided.

6.

Stephen Howarth, in The Knights Templar (New York, 1982) provides a more popular history of the Templars.  Some of his theories can be questioned, in particular that the mysterious “idol” which the Templars were accused of worshipping was The Shroud of Turin that had been acquired during the Fourth Crusade in 1204.

7.

A most interesting title is Desmond Seward’s The Monks of War (New York, 1972). Chapter 16, “Heirs of the Military Orders” details the history of these orders from the 17th century. While he covers the Knights of St. John, the Order of Lazarus, the Teutonic Knights, and the Spanish military Orders, he does not include the Templars, implying perhaps that they no longer exist.

8.

Of importance is the Statutes of 1705, including the Charter of Transmission, (1995) compiled by Dame Martha Kona and Dame Grace Lynn. (1995) The ‘statutes’ of 1947 and 1990 are also included.

9.

Andre J. Paraschi, Restauracao da ordem do templo. Published in 1993 in Ericetra, Portugal by the author. The basic thesis is that there has been no legitimate Templar Order since 1312. He attempts to prove that the some 12 Templar orders of the present are false and illegitimate. He argues for a new Templar constitution and statutes based on the rules of St. Basil (founder of Eastern monasticism) and St. Bernard, neglecting St. Benedict, who did provide the rule for Western monasticism. He envisions these Templars as a universal and ecumenical order, returning back to the original spirituality of its origins and prepared to be ‘knights of peace” for the 21st Century, promoting harmony among the Christian churches and even with Islam. He seems to be promoting a very personal cause.

10.

There is no consistent list of alleged grand masters and regents after 1314, and particularly after the “restoration” in 1804, reflecting the dissension within the Order. The “official” list provided by the “Prince Regent” in Portugal does not included Sidney-Smith; while others do. her list of grand masters does include Sidney-Smith (1838), but not the Count of Aunay (1813) nor the regent, the Count of Moreton and of Chabrillan (1838). While for good reasons she does not include Josephin Peladan (1892) among the regents, she does include none other than George V as King of Hanover, Edward VII as King of England, and William II, the German Emperor. She seems to be confusing Masonic groups and Templars. She does recognise Theodore Covias (1935-38) but not beyond. Instead of Vandenberg and the de Sousa Fontes, she lists Gustave Joseph Jonckbloedt (1938-45), Gabriel J. Paleologo (1956-87), and since then Sebastian Simon de Lima. This reflects further the divided status of the 20th Maria lo Mastro (Dossier Templari, 1118-1990.  Rome, 1990) in century Templars.

11.

Copies of documents from the Grand Priory of Belgium have provided helpful information about Templar history in the 19th and 20th centuries.  There exists a wealth of books and articles on the Templars, but the question remains – how much of this contains bogus and make-believe history? The challenge for the modern Templars is to begin to separate fact from fiction and history from myth and legend. Indeed no small task. For as Eco writes in Foucaults’ Pendulum (1988) “The Templars have something to do with everything.” This chronology remains open to new information and revision.

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