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How to join the Knights Templar?

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templarchurchAt least once a week I am asked this exact question by various people: “How do I join the Knights Templar”? This is not at all an uncomplicated issue, so I decided to write a special article about it.

First of all, it is not immediately obvious to some people that the Order of the Knights Templar, strictly speaking, was a medieval Order with a very illustrious history, as well as amazing and mystifying lore. It was officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church in the early 12th century and after almost two hundred years of existence was dissolved by the authority of the Pope in 1312. The precise papal decrees that abolished the Order contained strict prohibitions: nobody was supposed to call himself a Templar or even dress as one, under penalty of excommunication. It can be argued that the Knights Templar existed for at least one decade prior to being recognized by the Church, therefore the Church did not really have any right to dissolve the Order. One must remember, however, that the Knights Templar were able to gain their fame and power because of the many privileges that were granted to them by a number of popes. Even the iconic Templar uniform, featuring a red cross, was assigned to them by a papal decree. After the support of the Church was lost the Knights Templar simply could not operate in their original capacity of warrior monks who defended Christendom. It is therefore important to respect the opinion of those who believe that joining the Knights Templar is a complete impossibility, because the Order no longer exist. [click to continue…]

Initiation of Jacques de Molay by François-Marius Granet

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granet_demolay

Initiation of Jacques de Molay at the Beaune commandery in 1265 by François-Marius Granet(17 December 1775 – 21 November 1849). A discerning eye might find some neoclassical influences in Granet’s works. As far as resemblance to the actual event, it is almost certain that the depiction is purely hypothetical. This painting is sometimes erroneously believed to describe de Molay’s elevation to the rank of the Grand Master of the Knights Templar. It is very clear that the brother on the left is holding the newly created Templar’s mantle and sword, while the initiated is wearing civilian clothes.

granet_demolay_fragment

See also:
Knights Templar Initiation

Knights Templar initiation practices

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Knights Templar InitiationHere 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

Visitors that like this page may also enjoy this:
Initiation of Jaques de Molay
How do I become a Knight Templar?