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Today, the Knights Templar is a fraternal order associated with Freemasonry. It is known for its Christian values and teachings, and many of the brothers that join the Knights Templar are Protestants.
The history of the Knights Templar is fascinating. We have to go back to the Christian crusades of the Middle Ages to fully appreciate the significance of the order, and to understand the Templar’s link to Freemasonry.
Let’s begin by looking at the convening of the Knights Templar and how the order was linked to the building of King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem.
The convening of the Knights Templar
Formed in 1118 by Hugues de Payns and Godefroy de St. Omer in France, the Knights Templar wasn’t originally known by its present-day name. The initial knights that joined the order referred to themselves simply as the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ.
This name was an apt description of the knight’s duties in the early days. They were tasked with protecting pilgrims who travelled to sacred Christian sites across Europe. Because pilgrimages in the Middle Ages were fraught with danger, the knights would accompany religious caravans across the continent.
The character of the founding knights
Soon after the group’s founding, there were less than ten knights. They had a reputation for being aggressive, obedient, and loyal, and would do anything within their power to protect the pilgrims they were accompanying.
Their unrelenting character came from the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience they took in the name of St. Benedict. Their sole purpose in life was to serve and protect, which made them fearless warriors in the name of Christ.
The knights’ link to King Solomon’s Temple
As the knights quickly developed a reputation for the fearless protection they offered their Christian charges, they were offered accommodation in the Palace of. King Baldwin I in Jerusalem. Baldwin’s temple stood on the site of King Solomon’s Temple, and it was from this accommodation that the knights took their name.
The evolution of the Knights Templar
As the knights’ battle experience grew, so did their influence in society. They quickly became one of the most feared and respected orders of the Crusades, and the members of the order were given special rights, including tax exemption and immunity from ex-communication from the church.
Such was the knights’ influence on medieval society, they were essentially a law unto themselves, as they believed they were only answerable to God. While some questioned their morality, few could doubt their power and influence over those in power at the time.
The Knights Templar and Freemasonry
The modern-day Knights Templar order came into being in Ireland in 1780. Due to the religious origins of the original order, the Knights Templar is open to people of a Christian faith only. While little is known about the rituals and ceremonies of the order, it’s believed that the teachings focus on telling the story of the Knights’ role in the Christian Crusades.
To this day, the Knights Templar remains an active and important fraternal order of Freemasonry, and attracts members who are interested in learning more about the role of the Christian knights of the Middle Ages.