Saturday, September 14, 2019

Grand York Rite of Wyoming

It's been a busy few days. Thursday morning I did some preparations with the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Idaho for next week (our Grand Lodge's Annual Communication) then a quick trip over to the Grand York Rite of Idaho office before a luncheon with my fellow Past Masters of Oriental Lodge No.60. After a quick trip to my house, I jumped on a plane to Billings, MT, and then drove to Sheridan, WY, where I've spent the last two days attending the annual sessions of the Grand York Rite of Wyoming.

For me, Thursday morning started with the business meeting of Wyoming Priory No.44 of the Knights of the York Cross of Honor. As Deputy Prior of Idaho Priory No.13 and a Past Grand High Priest, I was accorded a hearty welcome. Wyoming Chapter of the Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor met next and conferred the degree upon three Sir Knights.

The Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Wyoming met Thursday afternoon. I was introduced as I was representing the Most Illustrious Grand Master of Idaho, Companion Jeremy Vaughn, and given honorary membership in the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Wyoming.

Friday morning began with the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Wyoming where I represented of Sir Knight Jerry D. Parson, Right Eminent Grand Commander of Idaho. Friday afternoon was the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Wyoming where I represented Companion Rick Rowe, Most Excellent Grand High Priest of Idaho. I was honored to be given honorary membership in the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Wyoming.

Now I'm getting ready to head to the Grand Banquet for some food and fellowship.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Birthday on the Road

Today is my 35th birthday and I am on the road for work in the Lilac City aka Spokane, WA. I am staying at an amazing hotel near the riverfront.

I spent the morning setting up for the training I am doing this weekend and the afternoon walking around the city playing some Ingress. Now, I'm going to find a good steak and have some libations.

Update: I found some food and drink.

A Prime Rib dinner and a Whiskey Sour

Apple Crisp and vanilla ice cream

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Templar Biography: Gilbert Horal

Gilbert Horal (also known as Gilbert Erail or Erill) was the 12th Grand Master of the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon and served at the end of the 12th century. His tenure is marked by an increase in the tensions between the Hospitalliers and the Templars as well as the consolidation of Templar possessions in France and Apulia (southeastern Italy).

Gilbert Horal was born around 1150 AD in Aragonese (from the Kingdom of Aragon which is in modern-day Spain). He joined the Knights Templar at a young age and was stationed in Provence and Aragon where he took part in Reconquista in Spain. Around 1190 AD, Horal took command of the Aragon province before becoming Grand Preceptor of France. After the death of Robert de Sablé, Horal was elected as Grand Master of the order.

Horal wished for peace between the Christians and the Muslims which some thought was treasonous even with Horal's reassurances. This also fueled the disputes between the Templars and the Hospitalliers. Tensions between the two orders were already strained because of armed fighting over control of cities and castles around the Levant got so out of control that the Vatican had to intervene. Pope Innocent III favored the Hospitalliers which is likely due to Horal's favor for peace with the Saracens. Although the Pope did come to Horal's rescue when the Bishop of Sidon excommunicated Gilbert; only the Pope has the authority to excommunicate a Templar (see "Omne Datum Optimum"). Horal continued to give Templar support to the Reconquista for which they were rewarded with the fortress of Alfambra (sometimes spelled Alhambra) by King Alfonso II of the Kingdom of Aragon in 1196 AD.

During the reign of Horal, the world saw the rise of the Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen Haus St. Mariens in Jerusalem, or, simply, the Teutonic Knights, rise from a monastic order to a full fledged military order.

The Pilgrim's Castle was erected during Horal's governance which was located along the coastal road between Acre and Jerusalem. This massive fortress is said to have housed up to 4,000 troops.

Gilbert Horal died in December 1200 AD which was around the start of the Fourth Crusade. Phillipe de Plessis would succeed Horal as the Thirteenth Grand Master.


1. Addison, C. G. (1842). The History of the Knights Templars, the Temple Church, and the Temple. 

2. Gilbert Horal. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: 

3. Gilbert Horal (1152??-1200). (n.d.). Retrieved from Project Beauceant: 

4. Gourdin, T. S. (1855). Historical Sketch of the Order of Knights Templar: An Address Delivered Before the South Carolina Encampment No.1 of Knights Templars, and the Appendant Orders. 

5. Grand Masters. (n.d.). Retrieved from Ordre Souverain et Militaire du Temple de Jérusalem (OSMTJ): 

6. Napier, G. (2008). A to Z of the Knights Templar: A Guide to Their History and Legacy. The History Press.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Templar Biography: Arnold of Torroja

The Ninth Grand Master of the Knights Templar was Arnold of Torroja was governed the order from 1181 to 1184. Most of Torroja's Templar career was in Spain where he took part in the Reconquista. His reign is marked by quarrels between the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaliers, the latter of whom had reached a new peak of influence in the Holy Land and Western Europe. 

There is no known date of birth for Torroja, but it is believed that he was born around 1110/1111 AD somewhere in Catalonia (northwest Spain). Prior to serving as Grand Master, he served as Master of Provence and Aragon (Spain). Torroja was elected as Grand Master when the previous one, Odo de St. Amand, had died while in captivity sometime in 1180 AD. As mentioned before, Torroja spent most of his time in Spain and was considered an outsider which some believe would positively influence his election. St. Amand had become too involved with the politics of the Holy Land and many Templars saw this as a problem. Due to his appearance as an outsider and an impartial arbitrator, many groups used him to mediate disputes. 

The Knights Hospitalier had reached a pinnacle of influence during the governance of Torroja and there had been a growing rivalry that was mediated by Pope Lucius III and King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem (known as the Leprosy king). Such factionalism among the Christians was bad during the growing strength of Saladin.

During a truce between Saladin and Baldwin, Torroja went on a tour of Europe with Patriarch Heraclius and Roger des Moulins, Grand Master of the Hospitaliers, to get more soldiers for another crusade, Torroja fell ill and died on September 30, 1184. It is believed that he was buried at the San Fermo Maggiore church in Verona. He was succeeded by Gérard de Ridefort.

1. Arnaud de Toroge. (n.d.). Retrieved from Project Beauceant: 

2. Arnold of Torroja. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: 

3. Newman, S. (2007). The Real History Behind the Templars. Penguin Publishing.

4. Read, P. P. (2014). The Templars: The Dramatic History of the Knights Templar, the Most Powerful Military Order of the Crusades. St. Martin's Press.