The international best selling-novel The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown and the current hit movie National Treasure starring Nicholas Cage have many people wondering who are or were the Knights Templar? They are, today, a part of the oldest and largest fraternity in the world. That is Freemasonry.
A Commandery of Knights Templar is part of the York Rite of Freemasonry. Although no direct linage can be established between the ancient templars who fought in the Crusades many believe that the original ancient templars had reason to form what is now the fraternity of Freemasonry.
The ancient order was established in 1118 when Hugh de Paynes petitioned King Baldwin II on behalf of himself and eight other knights for permission to establish themselves as a new religious order. The order took the name The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon and were located in Jerusalem. Over the centuries they would become known as the Order of the Temple. Under vows of poverty, chastity and obedience they devoted themselves totally to the military protection of pilgrims to the holy places.
By 1307 they had become very powerful and the first international bankers. This power and control of monies led to the suppression of the order by King Phillip I of France, who owed them a considerable amount of money, and Pope Clement V. On Friday September the 13th, 1307 fifteen thousand templars were arrested and put into chains; a date that would live for centuries in the minds of millions as the unluckiest day of the year.
Although most of the templars in Europe were arrested, many escaped to Scotland and it is from here, many believe, that for their own protection they formed an “underground organization” that would one day become the Freemasons. For more information may I suggest two books: Born in Blood and Dungeon, Fire and Sword, both written by John J. Robinson. If you are interested in Freemasonry and Templar Masonry feel free to ask any mason or contact your local Masonic Temple. Many who are not Masons think that Freemasonry is a secret organization, however, while it may be an organization of secrets, such as the church of your choice or many other organizations to which you belong, the address and telephone number of the local lodge is published in your telephone directory. Give them a call!