Activities & Participation in the Knights Templar Order The Seven Pillars of Templar Membership for the Modern Life of Chivalry

Presented here are descriptions and explanations of what to expect as part of your membership experience in the Order of the Temple of Solomon. It provides comprehensive guidelines on what members should do for the most effective and fulfilling participation. All Templar Brothers and Sisters should focus on these general directions of activities.

 

Overview of the Authentic Templar Membership Experience

 

'Tre Arcangeli e Tobias' ('The Three Archangels and Tobias') by Botticini, Francesco (ca. 1470 AD) in Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy, depicting Michael Raphael & Gabriel escorting a young nobleman

‘Tre Arcangeli e Tobias’ (‘The Three Archangels and Tobias’) by Botticini, Francesco (ca. 1470 AD) in Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy, depicting Michael Raphael & Gabriel escorting a young nobleman

T (100) Knights Templar Illuminated Letters www.knightstemplarorder.orgThe Order of the Temple of Solomon is a non-territorial Principality, representing and supporting cultural Templarism worldwide. Very different from fraternities which focus on local social interaction, the Order is an international institution advancing humanitarian projects and missions of global scope. (This tradition is demonstrated by the key role of the Knights Templar in advancing the Magna Carta, widely considered the foundation of civil liberties and human rights.) Templar members are a special type of rare personalities, driven by historical passions, traditional values and timeless principles, with multi-generational perspective, which they are highly motivated to pursue through unique talents and skills. As a result, it can be difficult to find authentic Templars concentrated in any particular local area, as they tend to be scattered throughout many regions of various countries.

For these reasons, the Templar Order does not depend on any local “lodges” or gathering places, and is not based on any centralized geographical areas. Its operations are truly multi-national, constantly reaching out to diverse people around the world, wherever the best talents and most dedicated people can be found. The purpose of the Order as an institution is to provide unified infrastructure for the collective good works of that international network. Accordingly, most interactions and group collaboration are conducted by telecommunications and video conferencing.

The Templar membership experience does include a degree of social interaction. As traditional aspects of a Templar life, the Order provides opportunities for spiritual training, attending special events such as induction or investiture ceremonies, meeting Brothers and Sisters living within the same region by referral, and pilgrimages to Templar sites throughout Europe and in Egypt. The Order maintains and develops Commanderies in locations where active work on missions must be conducted, where members are encouraged and welcome to visit. However, all such opportunities generally require travel, and thus depend upon the economic circumstances of each member.

Beyond the inherent limitations of personal social interaction and travel, the predominant forms of active participation of Templars are guided by various basic directions of ongoing core activities of the Order:

The Temple Rule of 1129 AD requires that “in this Order… no Brother [or Sister] shall fight nor rest… but according to the commands of the [Order]” (Rule 41). [1] The significance of this key Rule is that during times when there are no specific ‘action orders’ from the Grand Mastery, Templars do not “rest”, and thus do not wait. Instead, they independently engage in the daily disciplines and practices which are established as permanent ‘standing orders’ from the Temple Rule itself. These are the spheres of activities which constitute the general everyday membership experience.

All Templars of the Order thus commit themselves to the primary activities and means of participation – all rooted in the ‘standing orders’ of the original Temple Rule of the founding Knights Templar – which constitute the following Pillars of Templar Membership:

Seven Pillars of Templar Membership

1. Support the Global Projects of the Order furthering Templar missions
2. Represent the Order as a “Knight Errant” through Local Charity work
3. Exercise Leadership by example by creating your own Projects
4. Continue Templar Studies and support ongoing Restoration
5. Remain Patiently Available while practicing Prayer and Meditation
6. Develop Networking to actively Recruit new members into the Order
7. Contribute Donations and Fundraising efforts to the Order as possible

The following are detailed descriptions of these Pillars of Templar Membership:

 

1. Support the Global Projects of the Order furthering Templar missions

 

'The House of Commons' (1833 AD) by Sir George Hayter, in British National Portrait Gallery (Detail)

‘The House of Commons’ (1833 AD) by Sir George Hayter, in British National Portrait Gallery (Detail)

A (100) Knights Templar Illuminated Letters www.knightstemplarorder.orgAs a sovereign historical institution, the Order of the Temple of Solomon intensively works on many projects of global impact, for the benefit of humanity and civilization, in furtherance of the historical missions of our 12th century ancestors. These major projects of the Order, managed by the Grand Mastery and its Government, draw from the network of Brothers and Sisters with relevant skills, experience and capabilities.

The Grand Mastery and its Crown Officers cannot take time and efforts away from the compelling and all-consuming projects and missions of the Order as an institution. It is also important to remember, that the Templar Order relies on unpaid volunteer staff for its operations. While continuing to achieve major historic accomplishments advancing Templarism for the benefit of civilization, the Order may or may not have sufficient volunteer staff for managing membership requests or satisfying member expectations at any given time.

Because of these practical realities, the Templar Order cannot “entertain” the Brothers and Sisters, and cannot create “busy work” for members to artificially create a sense of “participation”. Unless the Grand Mastery or Office of the Crown Registrar knows about the skills, capabilities, opportunities and Quests of its members, it has no apparent reason to call upon those Brothers and Sisters to participate in current active projects of the Order.

All Brothers and Sisters of the Order are responsible for pursuing their own activities of living a Templar lifestyle. This is supported and guided by the ancient and medieval teachings which are continually researched, restored and provided by the Grand Mastery.

All Templar members are responsible for finding their own ways to participate in projects and missions of the Order, by offering their capabilities and potential contributions. This is facilitated by Website upgrades and Email distributions with updates and periodic improvements, which are continually developed and provided by the Grand Mastery as and when possible.

The best way to experience meaningful participation in the Templar Order, the satisfaction of supporting its projects and missions, and a level of social interaction with fellow Templars, is to periodically notify the Office of the Crown Registrar (the central email through the Website Contact Page) of one’s own Quests, opportunities, and capabilities. By doing so, while keeping current and effective channels of communication open, Brothers and Sisters thereby enable the Order to introduce them to like-minded members, and to call upon them when relevant stages of related projects would benefit from their participation.

 

2. Represent the Order as a “Knight Errant” through Local Charity work

 

U (100) Knights Templar Illuminated Letters www.knightstemplarorder.orgUnder the Temple Rule of 1129 AD, Templars were traditionally “sent through diverse parts of the world”, and are instructed to live by Templar principles and values to have “good reports from outsiders”, and to “set an example of good works and wisdom” (Rule 37). [2]

This establishes that one major sphere of activities of authentic Templars is to serve in the manner traditionally described as a “Knight Errant”, following the inspirations of one’s personal Quests, led by the Holy Spirit. While creating and pursuing one’s own Templar adventures independently, each Templar remains connected to the Order, which continuously works to provide guidance and support, inspiration and opportunities.

The Temple Rule declares the primary activities of Brothers and Sisters as “to defend the poor, widows, orphans and churches” (Rule 2), and instructs Templars to give one’s old clothes to the poor (Rule 19), and to distribute leftover or excess food to the poor (Rule 29). It provides that the Order itself “must sustain the weaknesses… of others” (Rule 47), and “mandate[s] that if anyone… requests anything of you, for the weak… we command you” to provide assistance and problem solving, “perpetually in all matters which will be bound to you.” (Rule 59). [3]

This establishes that all Templars, whenever not directly working on current projects of the Order itself, should use their available time to actively volunteer for local charities or non-profit organizations.

While volunteering and otherwise “setting an example of good works”, Templars should represent the Order, which also indirectly helps in promoting and recruiting new members of the Order. A traditional and highly effective way to do this, is to wear one’s official Templar Uniform (or the jacket), or chivalric Livery Badge insignia, whenever possible as appropriate. Another way to do this, is to correctly use one’s Templar titles on a personal “business card” (calling card), to raise awareness of the existence of the restored Order during the course of representing its principles and missions.

 

3. Exercise Leadership by example by creating your own Projects

 

B (100) Knights Templar Illuminated Letters www.knightstemplarorder.orgBy its true heritage, the Templar Order is one of leaders, not followers. Since the primary model of activities in the modern Order is that of the “Knight Errant”, members should not wait until current stages of various projects of the Order might eventually require their skills.

It is not the responsibility of the Order to create or deliver some “experience” for its members. It is the responsibility of each and every individual member to develop and lead their own projects, and offer their own contributions to the publicly declared missions of the Order, to create their own membership experience. This is accommodated by many open communications channels maintained by the Grand Mastery, the Office of the Crown Registrar, and various Crown Officers of the Order.

All Templars should take initiative in their own lives, to use their skills to create their own projects which advance the humanitarian principles of the Order, the Temple Rule, the Code of Chivalry, and the Templar Code. Templars should lead by example, by developing and promoting their own projects which reflect well upon the Order, and can contribute to its missions.

By periodically notifying the Grand Mastery of one’s own projects, the Order can help place and match members who can best enhance and support each others’ projects. Once synergy is identified, member projects can be supported by and connected to the larger operations of the Order.

 

4. Continue Templar Studies & support ongoing Restoration

 

S (100) Knights Templar Illuminated Letters www.knightstemplarorder.orgStudies of Templar principles are not only for the brief Postulant stage when new members are joining the Order. The pursuit of knowledge and wisdom, related to preserving the heritage of the Knights Templar, is a constant and ongoing mission of all Templars, and of the Order itself.

The Temple Rule of 1129 AD presents “studious purification” by learning as one of the perpetual endeavors essential to the authentic Templar lifestyle (Rule 1), and describes Templars as “lovers of Truth” seeking purification through scholarship “by refined and studious hearts” (Rule 6). It specifically commands to all Brothers and Sisters, “during periods of time, [to] study universally” by scholarly studies, “that you forego the deceiving world and despise it” (Rule 9). [4]

By those principles, despite the prevailing illiteracy of the Middle Ages, the historical Order of the Temple of Solomon was also dedicated to serving as a major center of education, providing many functions of a “university”, promoting scholarly studies and various skills training.

For the Order as an institution, the Temple Rule also mandates that the Holy sacred knowledge and wisdom of the Templar Order must be “guarded purely and durably” (Rule 2), and “must not be forgotten, and… must be guarded firmly (Rule 8) [5].

The real essence of the legendary “Treasure of the Templars” is actually historical documents from an ancient Priesthood, which the founding Knights discovered “during their excavations of the Temple” of Solomon [6]. The true “Treasure” was in fact “centuries-old knowledge” of ancient sacred wisdom, from the most prosperous civilization-building times in human history [7]. Indeed, the Templar Order itself was founded as a mission of the Cistercian monastic Order, specifically to recover ancient scriptures “buried beneath” the Temple of Solomon, which were already considered to be “hidden treasure” [8].

The modern Order of the Temple of Solomon possesses a large body of archaeology, scholarly works and research, as a proprietary knowledge base embodying the full heritage of the Knights Templar. Only a small percentage (perhaps only 7%) of these resources have been processed, at first for restoration of the Order in the modern era, beginning with foundational doctrines for legitimacy. Processing the massive Templar knowledge base is necessary to rediscover and reassemble many related treasures of forgotten knowledge, which must be shared as the collective heritage of humanity.

Therefore, the modern Templar Order itself is an ongoing “restoration project”. An unprecedented amount of voluminous work, processing many millennia of “lost” knowledge from the historical record, still must be conducted to recover from 700 years of abeyance of the Grand Mastery, to reconstruct and restore the full depth, scope and substance of the Order. This is precisely the work which is most necessary for upholding and advancing civilization in the modern era, as the most tangible, practical and effective way to revive the best traditional values and knowledge for the benefit of society and all of humanity.

All Templar Brothers and Sisters receive periodic updates and access to new discoveries and restoration works, as and when each can be reconstructed, translated, processed and packaged for modern use and preservation for future generations.

All Templars, while not occupied with current projects of the Order or pursuing their own Quests, should continue pursuing Templar studies, seeking out rare or historical books in libraries or antique book stores, watching for potentially relevant artifacts in museums, and making high quality photographs documenting one’s personal findings at visited historic sites. All members can make significant contributions to ongoing restoration of the Order, by sharing copies of rare books, references to new academic books and journal articles, and by developing and sharing their own research on chosen Templar-related topics of personal interest.

Members who enjoy such research as part of their own Quests, who are skilled at making careful and complete source citations supporting such research, can be connected to diverse restoration projects which are continuously advanced by the Order, in cooperation with the Grand Mastery.

 

5. Remain Patiently Available while practicing Prayer and Meditation

 

A (100) Knights Templar Illuminated Letters www.knightstemplarorder.orgAs an institution, the Templar Order works on many projects of international scope, and shares volunteer opportunities as and when possible. However, not all members have the particular skills relevant to the active projects at any given time. Many projects may have general volunteer opportunities only in the later stages, and non-specialized work may not be needed for months at a time.

Part of the membership experience thus consists of patience, remaining ‘on standby’ ready to assist when needed. This involves maintaining active and open channels of periodic communication, to be able to respond and contribute whenever called upon. Members can derive satisfaction from appreciating the value and benefit of their availability, and the collective strength it gives to the Order as an institution. It is for these reasons that the famous British poet John Milton (1608-1674 AD) wrote: “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

The Temple Rule of 1129 AD commands to “all times… give thanks to God” every day (Rule 29), with focused prayers “day and night” as frequent meditation (Rule 63). Accordingly, as with the other Pillars of Templar Membership, the practice of prayer and meditation is one of the ‘standing orders’ for ongoing daily activities, in the absence of any current action orders from the Grand Mastery. [9]

All Templars, while not working on projects of the Order or pursuing their own Quests, should dedicate as much of their available time as possible to the practice of prayer and meditation. One effective and enjoyable way to do this, which gives many benefits on multiple levels, is to actively participate in local Church groups, Bible study groups, prayer groups, or various religious societies and spiritual centers. Living an authentic Templar lifestyle in this way also enhances one’s networking capabilities, helping to fulfill the other missions which all Templars should pursue continually.

 

6. Develop Networking to actively Recruit new members into the Order

 

E (100) Knights Templar Illuminated Letters www.knightstemplarorder.orgEffectiveness and global humanitarian impact of the Templar Order is greatly enhanced by strength in numbers, and the diversity of its network of Brothers and Sisters, such that one essential mission should always be the ongoing recruitment of new members.

Traditionally, admitting new Templars is primarily based upon their “desire to serve”, and verifying their merit and worthiness, implying an emphasis on “filtering” to ensure the best quality of recruits. However, the Temple Rule of 1129 AD instructs that “where you know to be gathered [potential] Knights… there we command you to go”, to reach out to “anyone who wishes to serve and join the Order”, and advises that “you should not expect worldly gain so much as the eternal salvation of their souls.” (Rule 12) [10]

Constantly increasing membership is not only a source of non-profit revenues and donations. Recruiting new members is also an essential source of volunteers, to actively assist and implement the humanitarian projects and missions, building the collective force of capabilities of the Order as an institution. As more Brothers and Sisters can be found in more populous and central geographic locations, the ongoing mission of recruitment also contributes to the social interaction and enhances the interpersonal experience of the Order for all members.

Accordingly, a basic mission of all Templars should be to constantly develop their own networking, to actively recruit new members of moral quality and productive capabilities into the Order.

 

7. Contribute Donations and Fundraising efforts to the Order as possible

 

D (100) Knights Templar Illuminated Letters www.knightstemplarorder.orgDespite the reputed and often cited historical wealth of the Knights Templar before the French persecution of 1307 AD, the Templar Order does not possess any remaining or residual wealth in the modern era. It is a well known and extensively documented fact that the vast majority of its former financial assets and wealth were seized and redistributed to various other chivalric Orders, as proven by the Papal Bull Vox in Excelso of 1312 AD which implemented that redistribution [11]. Any economic assets which might have been preserved privately through dynastic Templar families would have been long since seized by governments through inheritance taxes over many generations. (That is precisely the same reason why most surviving Royal Houses and Nobility families in modern times have no inherited wealth whatsoever.)

As a historical fact, the original Knights Templar were widely known by the famous alternate informal name of the Order, as the “Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon” [12], precisely because of their prolonged and notable poverty, especially during the formative decades of the Order. It is thus profoundly traditional, and absolutely authentic, for the modern Order to also be “Poor Knights” in need of non-profit donations, in the years following its restoration and its first public reemergence in over 700 years.

It is evidenced by the historical record that the Templar Order always engaged in active non-profit fundraising to support its humanitarian missions: The Temple Rule of 1129 AD encourages Templars to “receive things for charity” (Rule 13), allows working equipment to “be given to [them] in charity” (Rule 52), permits donations for the Order and its Clergy to be disbursed “in charity” to its working Brothers and Sisters (Rule 58), and commands Templars to actively donate to the Order “all offerings and all forms of alms” as much as possible (Rule 64). [13]

The Papal Bull Omne Datum Optimum of 1139 AD confirmed that the Templar Order should keep all “spoils” as the fruits of its efforts to “convert for [its] own uses”, and could receive “possessions and goods… by grant of Bishops, by generosity of Kings or Princes, by gift of the faithful or by other just means”. [14] The Papal Bull Milites Templi of 1144 AD instructed Clergy to “encourage the people… to make contributions in order to supply [the] needs” of the Templar Order. [15]

The Templar Order is a professional organization, responsible for advancing serious historical missions, of profound importance for all of humanity. Donations and fundraising must remain a top priority of the Order and all membership activities, because the missions and projects are global in scope, requiring serious financial “muscle” to cover the costs of ensuring meaningful results.

Over many centuries of the original Order (since its foundation and during its non-public survival and continuation) Templars have dedicated their lives to pursuit of its historical missions. Those authentic Templars have been relentlessly driven by a passion for truth and knowledge, and a determination to apply that knowledge for the benefit of humanity. Those knightly ancestors willingly endured extreme hardships – and made great personal sacrifices – to preserve the sacred principles and defend the Holy causes of the Templar Order.

All members are encouraged to make charitable donations to the best of their ability, or to actively and effectively assist the non-profit fundraising efforts of the Order, as much and as often as possible.

In most cases, the Order does not engage in non-profit fundraising for itself, but rather requests donations to be made directly to independent third-party non-profit institutions, for various humanitarian projects which the Order supports.

All financial contributions are paid directly to the relevant cooperating non-profit organization, and are legally documented as fully tax-deductible. Internationally licensed certified Legal Packages, with Barrister’s opinions supported by documentary evidence, are available for the Templar Order or cooperating independent non-profit institutions related to projects supported by the Order.

 

Suggested Topics Related to this Information

 

Click for information on Joining in Primary Membership in the Templar Order.

Click to learn more about the Process & Policies of Membership in the Order.

Click to learn about the Missions of the Order which members participate in.

Click to learn about the Code of Chivalry & Templar Code guiding activities.

 

Academic Source References for this Topic

 

[1] Henri de Curzon, La Règle du Temple, La Société de L’Histoire de France, Paris (1886), in Librairie Renouard, Rule 41.

[2] Henri de Curzon, La Règle du Temple, La Société de L’Histoire de France, Paris (1886), in Librairie Renouard, Rule 37.

[3] Henri de Curzon, La Règle du Temple, La Société de L’Histoire de France, Paris (1886), in Librairie Renouard, Rules 2, 19, 29, 47, 59.

[4] Henri de Curzon, La Règle du Temple, La Société de L’Histoire de France, Paris (1886), in Librairie Renouard, Rules 1, 6, 9.

[5] Henri de Curzon, La Règle du Temple, La Société de L’Histoire de France, Paris (1886), in Librairie Renouard, Rules 2, 8.

[6] Alan Butler & Stephen Dafoe, The Warriors and Bankers, Lewis Masonic, Surrey, England (2006), p.20.

[7] French author (unidentified), De la Maçonnerie Parmi Les Chretiens (“On Masonry Among Christians”), Germany (ca. 1750 AD), quoting the 12th century Italian Abbot Joachim of Flora (Calabria), a friend of Richard the Lionheart, in: Frank Sanello, The Knights Templars: God’s Warriors, the Devil’s Bankers, Taylor Trade Publishing, Oxford (2003), p.223.

[8] Michael Lamy, Les Templiers: Ces Grand Seigneurs aux Blancs Manteaux, Auberon (1994), Bordeaux (1997), p.28.

[9] Henri de Curzon, La Règle du Temple, La Société de L’Histoire de France, Paris (1886), in Librairie Renouard, Rules 29, 63.

[10] Henri de Curzon, La Règle du Temple, La Société de L’Histoire de France, Paris (1886), in Librairie Renouard, Rule 12.

[11] Pope Clement V, Vox in Excelso (22 March 1312), Regestum 7952, in Norman P. Tanner (Ed.), Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Georgetown University Press (1990); Karl Joseph Von Hefele, A History of the Councils of the Church: From the Original Documents (1896), Classic Reprint, Forgotten Books (2012).

[12] Charles G. Addison, The History of the Knights Templar (1842), pp.4-5, citing a Vatican document by the 13th century Pope Urban IV (Jacques Pantaleon, 1195-1264), the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, as “Pantaleon, lib. iii. p. 82.”

[13] Henri de Curzon, La Règle du Temple, La Société de L’Histoire de France, Paris (1886), in Librairie Renouard, Rules 13, 52, 58, 64.

[14] Pope Innocent II, Omne Datum Optimum, “Every Good Gift” (29 March 1139), translated in: Malcolm Barber & Keith Bate, The Templars: Selected Sources, Manchester University Press (2002), pp.8, 59-64.

[15] Pope Celestine II, Milites Templi, “Knights of the Temple” (5 January 1144), translated in: Malcolm Barber & Keith Bate, The Templars: Selected Sources, Manchester University Press (2002), pp.8, 64-65.