Friday, November 29, 2019

Templar Biography: Pedro de Montaigu

Pedro de Montaigu (also known as Pierre de Montaigu, Peter de Montaigu, or Petrus de Monteacuto) was the 15th Grand Master of the medieval Knights Templar and presided over this knighthood for 14-years during the 5th and 6th Crusades. It was during his tenure that the relationship between the Knights Hospitallers and the Templars eased. He is remembered for his diplomatic prowess and for serving as an arbiter during various conflicts.

Montaigu was born sometime toward the end of the 12th century. It is unknown when he joined the Templars, but it is known that Montaigu served as Master of Provence and Aragon from 1211 until 1218.

He took part in the Siege of Damiette alongside Guillaume de Chartres, the Grand Master of the Order at the time. After the death of de Chartres in 1218, Montaigu was elected as Grand Master of the Templars. During his time as Grand Master, the Hospitallers were led by a Guerin de Montaigu who is thought to have been his brother.

The Sultans of Cairo and Damas united to defeat the Christians, but were repelled by an army composed of the Templars, Hospitallers, and the Teutonic Knights. The Sultan of Damas then tried to barter a truce with the Christians via the Templar Grand Master, but the Papal Legate, Pelage, refused to accept it so the truce fell through. Had this truce come to fruition, the Sultan had promised to return pieces of wood from the True Cross that was captured during the Battle of Hattin.

A truce finally came about in 1221 which allowed the Templars to send troops to Spain to assist in the Reconquista.

The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II attacked Templar and Hospitallier lands after they criticized him for attempting to steal the wealth of the Christian Levant and was, for a time, excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.

Montaigu died in January of 1232 from Apoplexy (cerebral hemorrhage). He was succeeded by Armand de Périgord.

References

1. Addison, C. G. (1842). The History of the Knights Templar. Retrieved from Sacred Texts: https://www.sacred-texts.com/sro/hkt/hkt09.htm 

2. Cobbold, D. (n.d.). Pierre de Montaigu. Retrieved from Project Beauceant: http://www.templiers.org/pierre-montaigu-eng.php 

3. Grand Masters. (n.d.). Retrieved from Ordre Souverain et Militaire du Temple de Jérusalem: https://www.theknightstemplar.org/1942-2/ 

4. Hibbard, S. D. (2016, December 4). Pierre de Montaigu, 15th Templar Grand Master. Retrieved from Geni: https://www.geni.com/people/Pierre-de-Montaigu-15th-Templar-Grand-Master/6000000019310193146 

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

6. Peire de Montagut. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peire_de_Montagut 

7. The Templar Grand Masters. (2010, April). Retrieved from Templar History: http://blog.templarhistory.com/2010/04/the-templar-grand-masters/

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving

I wish everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! I am thankful for my life and for my family who I am spending the day. I am thankful for servicemen and women who keep the peace. I am thankful for all of my Masonic Brothers whithersoever dispersed around the world.

Friday, November 22, 2019

The Rose Line

This article is a written timeline about the events/individuals leading up to the emergence of Rosicrucianism in the 17th century and the events/individuals that followed; I will also include individuals and will place a particular emphasis on Masonic Rosicrucianism. A timeline is a display of a list of events and helps us understand history by looking at them in a sequential or chronological format.

This timescale of a timeline is dependent on the events in the timeline. For example, looking at a timeline of evolution can be over millions of years, whereas a timeline for the September 11th attacks can take place over minutes. This timeline will go from the 14th century to the present day.



1378 AD
According to the Rosicrucian Manifestos, Christian Rosenkreutz was born in 1378 AD in the Germanic states.

1394 AD
At the age of 16, Rosenkreutz begins his pilgrimage which takes him through the Middle East and North Africa. It is on this journey that Rosenkreutz meetings wise men from the regions and learns their ancient knowledge. It is from this journey that some groups such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn that dates the Rosicrucian philosophy back to 46 AD and to a man named Ormus, an Alexandrian Gnostic Christian.

1402 AD
Rosenkreutz is believed to have returned to Germany from his travels.

1450 AD
The burial chamber of Christian Rosenkreutz is believed to have been built.

1483 AD
Martin Luther is born on November 10th in Eisleben, Saxony (Germany).

1484 AD
Christian Rosenkreutz dies.

1517 AD
Martin Luther publishes his 95 Theses on October 31st in Wittenberg, Saxony, which sparked the Protestant Reformation.

1520-1600s AD
There were many wars fought that are immediately connected with the Reformation: 
  • Knights' Revolt (1522–1523)
  • German Peasants' War (1524–1526)
  • Wars of Kappel (1529–1531)
  • Münster rebellion (1534–1535)
  • Anabaptist riot (1535)
  • Schmalkaldic War (1546–1547)
  • Princes' Revolt (1552–1555)
  • French Wars of Religion (1562–1598)
  • Eighty Years' War (1568–1648)
  • Cologne War (1583–1588)
  • Strasbourg Bishops' War (1592–1604)

1521 AD

Luther appears at the Diet before Charles V, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, to answer charges of heresy. By refusing to recant, he was declared a heretic and formally excommunicated by the Catholic Church by Pope Leo X.

1526 AD
Diet of Speyers which declared that the religion of a nation would be based upon the religion of the ruler. This Diet was repudiated in the 1529 Diet of Speyer.

1527 AD
John Dee is born in London. He became a well-known mathematician, astrologer, occultist, Rosicrucian, and adviser to Queen Elizabeth I of England.

1529 AD
The Second Diet of Speyers resulted in the protection of Catholics in Lutheran lands, but didn’t extend protection to Lutherans in Catholic lands 1546 AD.
Martin Luther dies in Eisleben.

1552 AD
Rudolf II was born on July 18th in Vienna. He would go on to serve as King of Hungary and Croatia, King of Bohemia, Archduke of Austria, and Holy Roman Emperor from 1576 to 1612. Relevant to this article, his reign was marked by tolerance to Protestantism, alchemy, and Hermeticism.

1555 AD
The Peace of Augsburg is signed which grants toleration to Lutherans within the Holy Roman Empire using the principle of "cuius regio, eius religio" or "Whose region, his religion".

1561 AD
Francis Bacon is born on January 22, 1561. Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban, would become a Rosicrucian, philosopher, scientist, author, Attorney General, and Lord Chancellor of England.

1568 AD

Michael Maier, a German physicist, Rosicrucian, and alchemist, is born in Rendsburg, Germany.

1574 AD
Robert Fludd, the English philosopher, physician, and mystic, is born on January 17, 1574, in Kent, England.

1586 AD
Johann Valentin Andreae is born on August 17th in the Duchy of Württemberg. He is thought to be the author behind the Rosicrucian Manifestos.

1596 AD
Elizabeth Stuart is born in Scotland. Elizabeth was the daughter of King James I and wife to Frederick V of the Palatinate.
Frederick V of the Palatinate is born in the Upper Palatinate (Germany).

1601 AD
Johann Valentin Andreae attends Tubingen University; his grandfather had served as Chancellor some years before. Over the next few years, Andreae gets involved with the Tübingen circle started by Tobias Hess (1568 - 1614). Other members of this group were Christoph Besold, Tobias Adami, Wilhelm Wense, Tomaso Campanella, and Abraham Holzel.

1604 AD
The tomb of Christian Rosenkreutz is said to have been discovered.

1608 AD
John Dee passes.

1612 AD
Rudolf II dies and Matthias of Austria is elected Holy Roman Emperor.

1614 AD
The Fama Fraternitatis is published in the Hesse-Kassel region of what is now Germany.

1615 AD
The Confessio Fraternitatis is published in Wilhelm Wessel in the Hesse-Kassel region of Germany.

1616 AD
The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz is published in Strasbourg (Germany). Many believe these Rosicrucian Manifestos were targeted at the Protestant Princes generally, but specifically to Frederick V of the Palatinate and Elizabeth Stuart who were married in 1613.

1617 AD
Elias Ashmole, an English Rosicrucian and Freemason, is born on May 23rd.

1618 AD
On May 23rd, Protestants throw two Catholic councilors out of a window in Prague. This event became known as the Defenestration of Prague. This event kicked off the Bohemian Revolt and the Thirty Years War.
In the "Pia et Utilissima Admonitio de Fratribus Rosae Crucis," Henrichus Neuhusius claims that Rosicrucians have fled to the East due to the political and religious instability.
The Mirror of the Wisdom of the Rosicrucians is published by Daniel Mogling under the pseudonym of Theophilus Schweighardt.

1620 AD
Battle of White Mountain occurs on November 8th which results in Protestant defeat. Frederick V is stripped of his titles and land. This was the first major battle of the Thirty Years War which dispersed German refugees all over Europe. One of the displaced was John Amos Comenius, a friend and follower of Andreae, who wandered through Northern Europe and was in England in 1641.

1622 AD

Michael Maier passes.

1626 AD
Francis Bacon passes.

1629 AD
The "Summum Bonum" is published by Robert Fludd.

1637 AD
Robert Fludd passes.

1648 AD
The Treaty of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years War, was signed on October 24th in Münster and Osnabrück. It established the concepts of state sovereignty and self-determination; it stripped the Holy Roman Empire and the Roman Catholic Church of much of its authority in the politics of states.

1652 AD
Thomas Vaughan translates the Fama and Confessio to English.

1654 AD
Johann Valentin Andreae dies in Stuttgart on June 27th.

1660 AD
The President, Council and Fellows of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, also known as the Royal Society, is founded on November 28th, 1660. Some believe that the Invisible College, mentioned in 17th-century German Rosicrucian pamphlets, was a precursor to the Royal Society.

1694 AD
A group of German mystics immigrated to Pennsylvania which some mark as the date that Rosicrucianism coming to America.

1719 AD
Georg von Welling published the "Opus Mago-Cabalisticum et Theologicum" in Frankfurt-am-Main.

1727 AD
Martinez de Pasqually was born in Grenoble, France, who was a Rosicrucian who was initiated into the Emanuel Swedenborg Rite and founded the Ordre des Chevaliers Macons Elus-Cohen de l'Univers (a precursor to Martinism).

1737 AD
The Rose LineRamsay's Oration is delivered on March 21, 1737, and declares that Freemasonry came from the Knights of St. John. This Oration is credited with sparking the interest in creating many concordant bodies such as the Scottish Rite which includes the Chapter of Rose Croix (red cross or Rosicrucian).

1741 AD
The earliest records of Royal Order of Scotland, which confers the degrees of Heredom of Kilwinning and Knight of the Rosy Cross, are from 1741. The Knight of the Rosy Cross was established, according to legend, on St. John's Day in 1314.

1743 AD
The accepted date of the beginning of the degrees that would become the Scottish Rite in Paris and Bordeaux.

1747 AD
The "Aureum Vellus" is published which speaks of a "Society of the Golden Rosicrucians" who were inheritors of the Golden Fleece.

1750s AD
The Rite of Strict Observance is believed to have been formed some time in the early 1750s by Karl Gotthelf von Hund in Germany.
The Order of the Golden and Rosy Cross, a German Rosicrucian organization founded by Freemason and alchemist Hermann Fichtuld sometime in the 1750s, but some believe that it was started in 1710. One had to be a Master Mason to join. It conferred nine grades or degrees:
 - Juniorus
II° - Theoricus
III° - Practicus
IV° - Philosophus
V° - Adeptus Minor
VI° - Adeptus Major
VII° - Adeptus Exemptus
VIII° - Magister
IX° - Magus
This order's degrees and hierarchy were used in the formation of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The order spread through the Germanic states, Poland, Hungary, and Russia.

1763 AD
Willermoz founded the Souverain Chapitre des Chevaliers de L'Aigle Noir - Rose-Croix (Sovereign Chapter of the Knights of the "Black Eagle - Rose-Croix).

1766 AD
Rosicrucianism was banned by Imperial Decree within Austria.

1770s AD
The Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests (HRAKTP) was thought to have been founded between 1770 and 1780. The Nineteenth degree is called "Knight of Rosae Cross."

1776 AD
In the winter of 1778, at the request of Willermoz, a meeting called the Convent of Gaul was called to order to discuss the reform the Auvergne Province of the Rite of Strict Observance. This body changed its name to the Chevaliers Bienfaisants de la Cité Sainte (Knights Beneficent of the Holy City) or CBCS.

1779 AD
The "Compass of the Wise" was published which contained alchemical and Rosicrucian material.


1782 AD
The Congress of Wilhelmsbad occurs in the Hesse-Kassel region of Germany; the same region where the Fama and Confessio were first publicly published. The Congress resulted in the merger of the Rite of Strict Observance with the CBCS.

1785 AD
"Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians" appears in Hamburg which contained alchemical illustrations and Rosicrucian teachings.

1801 AD
The first Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite was founded in Charleston, SC, on May 31, 1801.

1858 AD
The Fraternitas Rosae Crucis, also called the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross, was founded in 1858 by Paschal Beverly Randolph, and claims to be the oldest Rosicrucian Order in the US.

1866 AD
The Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (SRIA) is founded in 1866. It was originally named "Rosicrucian Society of England or Brethren of the Rosy cross."

1876 AD
The Societas Rosicruciana in Scotia (SRIS) is founded.
The Societas Rosicruciana in Canada (SRIC) was officially founded on September 19, 1876, by Col. McLeod Moore. Moore had been advanced to the IX° by Prince Rhodocanakis IX°, Supreme Magus of the Rosicrucian Society for the Kingdom of Greece, in July 1876. The Grecian Society seemed to not last long and died when the Prince died.

1879 AD
The SRIS granted a charter and the Pennsylvania College formed on December 27, 1879.

1880 AD
The SRIS granted a charter to New York College on April 9, 1880.
The Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (SRICF) was founded on April 21, 1880, in Philadephia, PA. It was originally named the Societas Rosicrucianae Republica Confoedera America and the governing body was styled "Grand High Council."
Massachusetts College was chartered on May 4, 1880.
The High Council of the SRRCA was consecrated on September 21, 1880.

1885 AD
The High Council of the "Rosicrucian Society of England or Brethren of the Rosy cross" changed its name to Societas Rosicrucian in Anglia by William Wynn Westcott, but was not fully used until 1889 when Westcott was Secretary-General of the High Council.

1888 AD
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was founded in 1888 by William Wynn Westcott, Samuel Liddell, MacGregor Mathers, and William Robert Woodman.

1909 AD
The Societas Rosicruciana in America was founded by Dr. George Winslow Plummer who seceded from the SRICF, dropped the requirement for one to be a Master Mason, and admitted women.
The Rosicrucian Fellowship was founded in 1909 by Max Heindel with the aim of publicly promulgating "the true Philosophy" of the Rosicrucians. 

1915 AD
The Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis was established in 1915 in New York City by Harvey Spencer Lewis, and is currently headquartered in San Jose, CA. 

1934
 AD
The SRRCA changed its name to Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (SRICF) on January 17th, 1934. 

1989 AD
The Ancient Order of the Rosicrucians was started in 1989 by Daniel Wagner and is currently headquartered in Vienna, Austria.

2002 AD
The Societas Rosicruciana in Lusitania (SRIL) is founded on October 5th, 2002.
I am going to continue to update this timeline of Rosicrucianism as more information comes to my attention.

References

1. A Hermetic & Rosicrucian Timeline. (n.d.). Retrieved from Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn: https://www.golden-dawn.com/eu/displaycontent.aspx?pageid=71-#1800 

2. About Us. (n.d.). Retrieved from Societas Rosicruciana in Canada: http://rosicrucians.ca/about-us/ 

3. Chronological list of groups. (n.d.). Retrieved from The American Rosicrucian Order: http://rosicruciansociety.com/Chronological-Timeline.html 

4. Dawkins, P. (n.d.). Secrets of the Rosy Cross. Retrieved from Francis Bacon Research Trust: https://www.fbrt.org.uk/pages/essays/Secrets_of_the_Rosy_Cross.pdf 

5. History of the Rosicrucian Society of England 1867. (n.d.). Retrieved from Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia: https://www.sria.uk.com/about-the-society/history-of-the-rosicrucian-society-of-england-1867/ 

6. Jackson, K. (2007). Beyond the Craft. Ian Allen Publishing. 

7. Lindez, D. (n.d.). Description of the Society. Retrieved from Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis: http://www.sricf.org/info.html 

8. Martin Luther. (2017, April 27). Retrieved from BIOGRAPHY: https://www.biography.com/religious-figure/martin-luther 

9. McIntosh, C. (1997). Rosicrucians: The History, Mythology, and Rituals of an Esoteric Order. San Francisco: Weiser Books. 

10. Order of the Golden and Rosy Cross. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_the_Golden_and_Rosy_Cross 

11. Rosicrucianism. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosicrucianism 

12. Rosicrucians. (n.d.). Retrieved from InfoPlease: https://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/religion/other/misc/rosicrucians 

13. Royal Society. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Society 

14. Societas Rosicruciana. (n.d.). Retrieved from The American Rosicrucian Order: http://rosicruciansociety.com/Societas-Rosicruciana.html 

15. The Rosicrucian Impulse: Magic, Mysticism, and Ritual. (n.d.). Retrieved from Order of the Rose and Cross: http://order.rosy-cross.org/node/86 

16. The Thirty Years' War. (n.d.). Retrieved from Timeline Index: http://www.timelineindex.com/content/view/1422 

17. Thirty Years War. (n.d.). Retrieved from Encyclopedia: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/modern-europe/wars-and-battles/thirty-years-war 

18. Thirty Years’ War. (2009, November 9). Retrieved from History Channel: https://www.history.com/topics/reformation/thirty-years-war 

19. Thomas, S. (2008, January 1). Timeline of Thirty Years War. Retrieved from Balagan: https://balagan.info/timeline-of-thirty-years-war 

20. Yates, F. (2001). The Rosicrucian Enlightenment. Routledge.

Friday, November 15, 2019

The Sword and the Trowel

Introduction

Freemasonry, a fraternity whose past is lost in the fogs of time. The earliest Lodge records are dated to July 31, 1599, in Edinburgh. There are other, older documents such as the Regius Poem (or Halliwell Manuscript) which dates Freemasonry back to 926 AD in York, England, and retells the story of King Athelstan forming a General Assembly of the Craft.

There are also the Cooke Manuscript, Landsdowne Manuscript, Roberts Manuscript, Briscoe Manuscript, and Sloane Manuscript; each one gives its own theory as to the creation of Freemasonry and each of these manuscripts is worthy of its own paper. There are also theories involving the Roman Collegium of Artificers, the Comacine Masters, King Alfred, King Athelstan, and the Carolingian Dynasty.

This article centers on one of my favorite romanticized theories: that our venerable institution was born out of a group of exiled knights, martyred by a greedy tyrant, and betrayed by their pontiff. I’m talking, of course, about the Knights Templar.



While the exact date is debated to this day, it is believed that sometime in 1119 (most likely toward the end), Hugh de Payens and a contingent of knights established the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, also known as the Knights Templar; according to William, Archbishop of Tyre, it was nine knights while Michael the Syrian, Patriarch of Antioch, spoke of thirty knights. The Templar first received recognition from Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem, and Warmund, Patriarch of Jerusalem, which would occur in January of 1120 at the Council of Nablus. At the Council of Nablus in 1120, Warmund donated some land to the Knights Templar and the King gave the knights the Stables of Solomon as their residence as well as some villages.

The Templar order wouldn't receive papal recognition for a decade, first by Pope Honorius II, and then, in 1139, by Pope Innocent II who issued Omne Datum Optimum, Latin for "Every Good Gift." This papal bull allowed the Templars to keep their spoils of war, placing donations directly under papal protection, and exempting them from paying tithe to the Roman Catholic Church. This proclamation also added a priest class to the hierarchy answerable only to the Grand Master.

The Order was governed by what is known as "The Rule" which was originally written by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, nephew of Andre de Montbard, who was one of the founding knights and future Grand Masters. The Rule covered all aspects of the life of the Knights Templar. The Rule included topics such as knight renouncing his former life and property, dress, eating, prayers, the hierarchy of the order, penalties, conventional life, penitence, and the manner of his reception into the order.

The Order became very popular among the European nobility and would exponentially grow in numbers and wealth with a presence across Europe and the Levant. The Templars would become known for their protection of pilgrims to the Holy Land while also being known for their impact during military operations. They would be mythologized by their financial acumen as well as their downfall in the 14th century culminating in the martyrdom of Jacques DeMolay. Even today there are many theories and myths about the order before and after their suppression by the French king, Philip. The Templars became associated with the rise of Freemasonry, the Holy Grail, alternative theories on Christ, and occultism.


Downfall

If you’re not familiar with the arrest, suppression, and dissolution of the medieval Templars, let me recall the story. By the 14th century, the Templars were headquartered on the island of Cyprus and although they had lost the Holy Land, they were still a financial and military powerhouse. Many historians declare that they had become haughty and arrogant, and earned the disdain of monarchal and ecclesiastical authorities.

On Friday, October 13, 1307, throughout the Kingdom of France, agents of King Philip IV or Philip the Fair, simultaneously placed the Templars in France under arrest. The French King had the Templars charged with heresy and many other charges, most of which were identical to the charges which had previously been leveled against Pope Boniface VIII. The initial charges held against the Templars numbered in five:
1. They renounced Christ and spit upon the cross during initiation into the Order.2. Men were stripped to be initiated and the thrice kissing of that man by the preceptor on the navel, posteriors and the mouth.3. The neophyte (novice) was told that unnatural lust was lawful and indulged in commonly.4. The neophyte wore a cord day and night was consecrated by wrapping it around an idol in the form of a human head with a great beard, and that this idol was adored in all chapters.5. Priests of the order did not consecrate the host in celebrating Mass.
These charges would later increase, somewhere between 86 and 127.

Following the arrests in France, Popes would issue 10 Papal Bulls condemning and dismantling the Templar Order. The first bull, Pastoralis Praeeminentiae, Latin for "Pastoral Preeminence," was issued by Pope Clement V on November 22, 1307, and ordered the arrest of all Templars throughout Christendom and the seizure of all their properties.

Despite this request, not all monarchs complied immediately; some did not believe the accusations and required more force by the Church for the arrests, confiscation, and investigation to occur in places outside of France.

Pope Clement V in 1308 created an Ecumenical Council that was in charge of investigating the charges leveled against the Templar order. The Council wouldn’t meet until 1311 and its principal purpose was to formally withdraw the papal support given to Knights Templar as well as dealing with the massive properties that they had accumulated over the centuries.

Vox in Excelso, Latin for "A Voice from on High," was issued by Pope Clement V in 1312. This bull formally dissolved and removed all Papal support from the Templar Order, but did not wholly condemn the Templars which goes along with his actions of secretly absolving the Templar Order with the Chinon Parchment. Several more bulls had to be issued as clergy and monarchs alike were attempting to take over the former Templar lands, particularly since the Templars owned most of Southern France.



Now since October 13, 1307, Jacques DeMolay had been imprisoned in France. During his interrogation in late October 1307, De Molay confessed that the Templar initiatory rites included denying Christ and stepping on the cross. It is said he was forced to write a letter, and after all of this occurred, King Phillip forced his new Papal puppet (Clement V) to order the arrest of all Templars throughout Christendom (which we saw in the form of Pastoralis Praeeminentiae.

In December 1307, DeMolay recanted his confession to two Cardinals. DeMolay was further tortured and coerced into confessing to the charges of Philip. In 1309, DeMolay would recant again and would again face torture by the French king.

The most common method of torture was known as "strappado" where the victim's hands, at the wrist, are bound behind the back. Their bound wrists would be connected to a rope that was hung over a high beam whereby they would be lifted up, dropped, and stopped suddenly which would cause damage to the arms and shoulders. Other torture methods include strapping victims to the rack, which could cause major bone and ligament damage, and lathering the feet with lard which would be held over a fire until the feet would be roasted or burned away. Under this kind of cruelty, it is not unreasonable to see that most would confess to any crime at the promise of stopping the torture.

On the 18th of March 1314, De Molay and some other Templar leaders were dragged before the public. It had been seven (7) long years and finally, they were to receive the sentence agreed upon by the Cardinals, which was supposed to be lifelong imprisonment. To the surprise and dismay of both the crowd and Cardinals, Jacques De Molay and Geoffrey de Charney, Preceptor of Normandy, stood up and stated they were only guilty of betraying their Order by giving into torture and confessing to these false charges. While the Cardinals were meeting to deal with this, the incensed King Phillip pronounced that De Molay and De Charney were relapsed heretics to be burnt at the stake. A pyre was set up on a small island on the Seine near Notre Dame Cathedral. Contrary to the belief of the conventional "burning stake/pyre", it could not have been a stake with wood and accelerant at the base as the victim would die within minutes from asphyxiation. The fire and heat would rise and the flames would be swallowed, burning the lungs, and soon filling with fluid thereby causing asphyxiation. For De Molay to have lasted for a while and slowly burn, it would have required a pyre built by a stake in the center with a ring of fire, most likely hot coals, around it (think of the point within a circle as a diagram), which would cause an oven effect cooking him slowly and burning him from the feet up. Eyewitness testimony said that De Molay showed no sign of fear and it said during the slow death of burning at the stake, he cursed the Pope and King, saying that their deaths would be avenged and that those would join him in the Afterlife. Whether he really cursed them or not, both the Pope and French King died within a year. The death of Jacques DeMolay is the end of the written and accepted history of the Templar Order. The fall of the Templars and the death of De Molay though started many myths that endure to this day.


Templar Suppression Outside of France

The suppression of the Templars was particularly strong in France as King Philip had a great influence over the Pope, a childhood friend, that the Papacy moved relocated to Avignon for nearly 67-years. However, as previously mentioned, this order of suppression was resisted or completely ignored in other European countries.

In Portugal, the order continued to exist and simply changed its name to “the Order of Christ.” In Germany, trials were held and which didn’t result in convictions; this may have been due to the fact that the German Master of the Temple and 20 handpicked knights showed up in full battle array. It is generally believed that the German Templars joined either the Knights Hospitallers or Teutonic Knights. In England, King Edward II who had ascended the throne in 1307 was unwilling to suppress the order which had served him, his father, and the Throne of England faithfully. It wasn’t he was reminded (“threatened”) by the King of France and the Pope himself that he took any action to suppress the Templars, but by then they had plenty of time to flee.

With this slow start in other countries, it is easy to see how the Templars were capable of getting away and how easy it is for so many continuation myths to appear. Going back to France, we have to know that only a small percentage of the 3,000 knights had been arrested, and across Europe, there were roughly 15,000 Templar properties and the Templar fleet in the port of La Rochelle disappeared overnight.


Continuation Myths

One theory surrounded Switzerland where Duke Leopold of Hapsburg (Leopold I of Austria) invaded the then poor farming nation expecting little resistance from the poor farming communities. What he faced was a military capable force that cost him 2,000 knights in a single day and forced him to retreat. Many believe it was the Templars who taught the Swiss military tactics. Others claim that during an ambush at St. Gotthard Pass was led by “armed white knights.” It is interesting to note that the Swiss flag (a white cross on a red field) is the inverse of the Templar uniform (a red cross on a white field), and now it is from the Swiss that the Vatican gets soldiers who guard the Pope. Switzerland is also known for its large banking and financial institutions just as the Templars were in the Middle Ages.

There are many popular myths about the continuation of the Knights in Scotland. One such theory is that the exiled Knights played a significant role in the Scottish victory at the Battle of Bannockburn which occurred on St. John’s Day, 1314. For their assistance, Robert the Bruce is said to have instituted the Knights of the Rosy Cross and awarded it to those knights who served the Bruce faithfully. The Knights of the Rosy Cross is now the second degree conferred by the Royal Order of Scotland.

The most famous of Templar legends in Scotland is known as the D’Aumont Legend. This legend states that Pierre d’Aumont, the Preceptor of Auvergne, with several knights, fled from France to Scotland disguised as operative Masons.

Now, you might be skeptical as to this theory, but it is not as insane as one might think. Stepping back a bit, the Templars were a financial powerhouse. Part of this was from the donations of land and money from knights entering into service or from grateful monarchs for the protection and order they gave the land. The knights didn’t just sit on the land or even just put in fortresses. No, they put the land to use. They built farms, leased the land, and, more importantly, built mills. These mills were a large revenue for the Templars, and it took stone Masons to build these mills and all of their other edifices. The Templars were a large employer of our operative Masonic Brothers, particularly in France. So, it is not outside the realm of possibilities that a group of knights would be able to disguise themselves and flee from the persecution.

Now according to this legend, D’Aumont is said to have adopted the name “Franc Macons” in homage of their disguise which turned into “Free Masons” as they traveled to England. Having said all of this, this legend is highly disputed as records show that Imbert Blanke was the Preceptor of Auvergne, not D’Aumont.

All of that said, “The fact remains that there is no trace of chivalric degrees in Freemasonry prior to Ramsay's Oration." These are the words of Stephen Dafoe in his book, Compasses and the Cross.



Chevalier Andrew Michael Ramsay is credited with giving a speech that would give birth to the various theories of Masonic Knighthood. He was born on 9 January circa 1681 in Ayr (pronounced “air”), Scotland. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh he was employed (through much of his life) as a tutor to the children of the aristocracy. Ramsay became a Freemason on March 26, 1729, at Horn Lodge in the Palace Yard in Westminster. In 1730, Ramsay was employed in France and here it is said he was a member Louis l'Argent Lodge where he held the office of Orator. He is said to have been a Grand Orator, but it seems to be more of an honorary title held between Lodges as at the time there was no Grand Lodge formed in France prior to 1733. And as Bro. Dafoe puts it in his book, "It was in his capacity as Orator that Ramsay prepared and delivered an address that would form the building blocks upon which chivalric Masonry would rise." This address is said to have been given on March 21, 1737.

One question I had is what motivated him to give such a speech. It is noted by many that in England, Freemasonry was a gentleman's club for those in the upper echelons of society so a legend stemming from workmen did not dissuade them from joining. It is possible that Ramsay was trying to market Freemasonry to the French aristocracy who would not have had any interest in joining an organization that descended from working-class men. This is supported by the Oration itself wherein he talks about not taking the name of 'Freemason' literally and looking to see there were "religious warriors and princes". There is very little doubt about the fact that Ramsay invented this chivalric history of Freemasonry, but nonetheless, he sparked the fire that would be the creation of Chivalric Masonic orders. He may not have invented these "high degrees", as they were once called, but he played a very important role. It is important to note that Ramsay did not claim that Freemasonry stemmed from the Knights Templar, but rather from the “Knights of St John of Jerusalem” which was also known as the Knights Hospitaller and continues today as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. On a side note, this speech led to Pope Clement XII issuing the Papal Bull "In Eminenti Apostolatus" which was the first official edict against Freemasonry.

Whatever his motivation, his speech was the spark that ignited a fire that burned in the hearts of many Masons and which led to the creation of Masonic knighthoods.


Chivalric Masonry

Within the US, the Chivalric Orders are a set of three Orders: Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, Order of Malta, and Order of the Temple (or Knights Templar). The Order of the Temple is one of the most impressive ceremonies in all of Masonry and is the true capstone of the American York Rite. The candidate represents one seeking admittance as a Knights Templar during the Crusades. The candidate is put through a number of trials to ensure he is worthy. Once proven worthy the candidate is admitted a Sir Knight of the Valiant and Magnanimous Order of the Temple.

I moved into talking about American Chivalric Masonry as it is very difficult to trace the early development of the Order of the Temple. The earliest record of a Templar organization is in Scotland and Ireland in the mid-1700s. One such reason for the difficulty is due to careless record-keeping or from disasters such as the Grand Secretary of Canada’s house burning down and losing all of their early records. Masonic Templary came to America through the British military and merchants. The earliest mention of Knights Templar is to be found in the records of St. Andrew's Royal Arch Lodge (they’d be called Chapters later) on August 28, 1769, when William Davis received; William Davis was a Captain in the Massachusetts militia and took part in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Some fun facts, the second recorded conferral of the Order of the Temple in America occurred on December 11, 1769, and the candidate’s name was Paul Revere. The third Templar was Joseph Warren, a general who lost his life at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Now I had to give this introduction of Chivalric Masonry because many of its invitational and appendant bodies stem from the Order of the Temple and yet are tied back to the continuation myths. Now you can’t go too far into the history of Chivalric Masonry without discussing the Rite of Strict Observance.



The Rite of Strict Observance was the brainchild of the D’Aumont legend. This order is said to have been formed sometime in the early 1750s in Germany by Karl Gotthelf von Hund, who had been involved with Freemasonry since 1741. Von Hund claimed that he had not founded it, but had taken over from C.G. Marschall von Bieberstein in 1750. Under von Hund’s watch, the Rites degrees consisted of: Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, Master Mason, Scottish Master, Novice, and Knights Templar. The Scottish Master's degree concerned itself with the preservation of the lost word of Freemasonry which had been cut on a plate of pure metal, placed in a secure location, and centuries later discovered.

One of the strangest aspects of the Rite of Strict Observance was that the adherence had to swear an oath to blindly follow the directives of Unknown Superiors who ruled the Rite. This invisible leader was said to have possibly been Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender. This was the same man whom Ramsey had tried to tutor some year prior. There is a lack of evidence that supports this idea, but nonetheless, the invisible rulers communicated through von Hund. The order did not develop any widespread appeal for a couple of decades, possibly due to the Seven Year War. From May 23 to July 6, 1775, a convention was held in Brunswick as there was a lot of confusion among the members. Even though they met for some time nothing really came of it other than more confusion among the members. Another convention was called on August 15, 1776, in Wiesbaden at the request of Baron von Gugumos. During the convention though the members suspected the Baron was a fraud and demanded the Baron do what he promised. The Baron left the convention and never returned to do what he promised.

After von Hund’s death on October 28, 1776, the Rite began to go downhill. The Duke of Sudermania, Grand Master of Swedish Grand Lodge, was elected and installed as Deputy Grand Master of the Rite in 1778. Two years later he resigned. From July 1782 to September 1783, there was a convention held in Wilhelsmbad where it was resolved that the Freemasons were not descendants of the Templars, that there were no “unknown superiors” to hand out instruction, and soon after the Rite came to an end.



It should be clarified that the Rite did not die out entirely. It was to be absorbed into an order called the Rectified Rite, also known as the Chevaliers Bienfaisants de la Cité Sainte which translates into Knights Beneficent of the Holy City, that was created by Jean-Baptiste Willermoz in 1774. Willermoz had been a Mason since 1752, was a member of Ordre des Chevaliers Macons Elus-Cohen de l'Univers (a precursor to Martinism), and was initiated into the Rite of Strict Observance in 1773. Although based on the Rite of Strict Observance, this Rectified Rite consists of Apprentice, Fellow Craft, Master, Scottish Master, Esquire Novice, Knights Beneficent of the Holy City, Professed Knight, and Grand Professed Knight.

According to A.E. Waite, Willermoz blended together with the forms and doctrines of the two rites, but de-Templarized the Rite of Strict Observance and "Martinized" it, which resulted in the Rectified Scottish Rite. Willermoz headed a committee to prepare the rituals of the revised degrees. Much of the work was done, but activity in this rite was interrupted by the eruption of the French Revolution. In 1806 the CBCS became active again, but, due to the political unrest, it soon would pass into Switzerland with the transmission of power to the Directoire of Helvetia; it was this jurisdiction that reinvigorated the Order in France after WWII. Today the body exists in Switzerland, France, England, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, and the United States.



The Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests is an invitational body with membership limitations. This order exists to recognize Past Commanders of Commanderies of Knights Templar who made great contributions to Masonic Templary, to their country, and to their community or society in general. This group is not to be confused with the Templar Clerics started by Johan von Starck who claimed Freemasonry was descended from the clerical order of the medieval Templars. This clerical group united with the Rite of Strict of Observance in 1772. The exact date of appearance for this Holy Rollers is not known, but probably started between 1770 and 1780 in Ireland before it spread to England and then to the US in 1829.



As I mentioned before, one of the Scottish legends plays into the Royal Order of Scotland which is an invitation-only Masonic order for Scottish Rite Masons or Knights Templar. While the legend takes the Order back to 1314, there exist no records to substantiate such claims. Early records date the Order back to 18th century Europe. It is said to have flourished in France by Scottish refugees who adhered to the Jacobite cause. The Order took roots in England where it grew for some years which then led to it establishing its headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland, where it has been stationed since that time. This order is structured to be governed by the hereditary King of Scotland so in the absence of a king, we are governed by the Deputy Grand Master.

There are a number of other knighthoods within Freemasonry that are not necessarily connected to the medieval Templar myths directly, but I’d like to mention them.



Officially known as the Ye Commemorative Order of Saint Thomas of Acon, this invitational order exists to reaffirm a Knights Templar’s vows and to raise funds for the maintenance of the Canterbury Cathedral.

This is a revived knighthood that was started during the Crusades after the Siege of Acre. William, the Chaplain to the Dean of St. Pauls, was appalled to find corpses of the Christians unburied around Acre. He with a few helpers buried a large number of the dead and tended to the wounded.

William then founded an order with the express purpose of burying Christian Knights who fell in battle in the Holy Land. Later, was added the purpose of fundraising to redeem ransomed captives captured by the Saracens. This order was dedicated to St. Thomas a Becket, an Archbishop of Canterbury who became despised by King Henry II and slaughtered by four knights of that monarch. The name Acon is the Anglicized version of Acre, where the order was founded. This order was purely English and continued to exist in England until King Henry VIII dissolved it, along with many other religious houses and monasteries. The London Chapel of the order passed to the Worshipful Company of Mercers, but was destroyed Great Fire of London, but was rebuilt. The modern order was started in 1974 in London by John Walker. In October 1999, several Americans traveled to England and were initiated into the order. The Province of the United States was formed in 2005 when enough Chapels were created. By 2015, the Province of the United States was the largest Province and on January 29, 2015, the United States broke off of England and formed its own Grand Council.



Lastly, the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite has a number of degrees such as the 15° or Knight of the East, 17° or Knight of the East and West, 18° or Knight Rose Croix, 21° or Noachite, or Prussian Knight, 25° or Knight of the Brazen Serpent, 27° or Knight Commander of the Temple, 28° or Knight of the Sun, 29° or Knight of St. Andrew, and 30° or Knight Kadosh, or Knight of the White and Black Eagle. While these degrees surround knighthood only a few claim derivation from the Knights Templar.


Conclusion

Can I say that we are the descendants of warrior-monks? I cannot. There are so many theories that it is very hard to tell the difference between reality and romanticism. Many accept these theories on pure faith, but despite their protestations, there is no definitive proof that Freemasonry stemmed from or is connected to the medieval Knights Templar. This is something even stated by the Grand Encampment, the governing body of the Masonic Knights Templar in America and several jurisdictions throughout the world. What I will say is that the myth and legend of this knighthood were so immense that it has transcended time and captured the imaginations of the noble-of-heart and with puffed-up pedigrees.