Here is a very concise account of the Templar initiation practices. I have seen longer descriptions, as well as various references to the initiation that are contained in Templar documents (and let’s not forget the Chinon parchment, where some of the references are potentially incriminating). For a brief account, though, this should suffice.
“A knight was received as a Templar in the following manner:
Their chapters or meetings were generally held at night in their church. The candidate remained outside the door, and was three times asked, by messengers from the Grand Master, if he wished to be made a ‘ Templar.’ When he had answered, he was formally brought in. ‘The rules of our order,’ the Grand Master would say, ‘ are strict, and you are beginning a life of endurance, and not one of ease; one of danger, and one of self-denial. You will have to watch, when perhaps you will be sighing for sleep; to endure fatigue, when you would fain rest; to be hungry and thirsty, when you are longing to eat and to drink; and to leave one country for another without a moment’s hesitation, if your vow requires it. Do you really wish to be a Templar? Are you in good health? Are you betrothed or married ? Are you in debt, and cannot pay? Do you belong to any other order?’ If the candidate was able to give satisfactory replies to all those searching questions, the vow of the order was administered to him. It consisted of three things — ‘poverty, chastity, and obedience,’ and was in these words: ‘I swear to defend with my life, my strength, and my speech, the holy doctrines of the Trinity and the Catholic faith ; I promise to be obedient and submissive to the Grand Master; and to travel by sea or by land if need be, to defend my brother Christians against the Infidels. My right hand and sword shall be dedicated to the service of the king and church against the Moslems; and I swear never to shun a combat with any miscreants if only three in number. I will fight them in single combat, and never fly from an enemy.’ The principal duty of a Templar was to fight Infidels; and three seemed their especial number, as they were enjoined to communicate three times a year; to hear mass and eat meat three times a week; and if they failed in doing their duty, they were flogged three times in the presence of the whole chapter. If a Templar failed in his especial duty of fighting the Moslems, he was banished for ever from the order.”
From “Heroes of the Crusades”, by Barbara Hutton, Paolo Priolo
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