The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem
Autonomous Grand Priory of the United States of America
The Templar Code
Knights Templar Commitment to Tradition:
Our early history began almost 900 years ago in the era of the Christian Crusades in
the Holy Land. During that time, our Founding Knights and their successors were
involved in battle with the Saracens for possession of the Holy Christian Sites in Jerusalem
and throughout the Holy Land. Templar Knights had a reputation of being the bravest of all
who fought in the Crusades and their Templar Battle Code forbid them to leave the field of battle unless they were outnumbered greater than 3 to 1. As such, it was an early Templar tradition that it was the duty of each Knight to “replace himself” by recruiting at least two other knights who were to replace him should he fall in battle. This traditional commitment has been replaced in modern time with a similar commitment by each new Knight and Dame of the Order to ensure the growth and expansion of our Templar mission by recruiting at least two new postulants into the Order within the first 18 months of their investiture, and mentoring them through their postulant status to investiture as a Knight or Dame of the Order. When you are invested into this Order, you are making that commitment as a covenant of your investiture and you are expected to seek out and bring forth these new postulants from those you hold in high esteem and respect and those you consider to be of greater achievement and accomplishment than yourself. As you go through our investiture ceremony, be thinking of those you know who fit these criteria and who would find personal fulfillment as a Knight or Dame of the Order.
The Modern Rule
The original monastic rule of the Order was drawn up by St. Bernard de Clairvaux and was a modification of the monastic rule of St, Benedict. Most people in the medieval era—including the warrior monks of the Order—were illiterate. One of the purposes of the annual Convent was to provide a forum where the Grand Prior and local Priors could reinforce their member’s oath and the key tenants of the Order. Our Modern Rule is a modification of that which the confrere knight followed. As was done then, it is read at least annually to the Knights in Convent and at each investiture of new Knights and Dames.
Remember, by the gracious gift of God we are Templars, descendants of the Poor Knights of the Temple whose first home was found in the confines of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It was their custom to pray and meditate on the Word of God and the meaning of their work. Therefore, we must never forget to meditate and pray every day.
Recognize with joy that we are not strangers to God, but His very own creatures. Within our Order, We will meet brothers and sisters of all nationalities and traditions. Seek to practice true charity, avoiding all extreme views in faith and philosophy. We should strive to comport ourselves as those who practice Christian faith and true chivalry.
The principles of life set out in our earliest rule are still valid in our own day. These are the proper care of the body, soul, and spirit, and honest work, recognizing that activity by itself is not virtue. Material success can weaken us greatly. The goal of this life is not material enrichment or of unlimited pleasure and amusement but of growth in the knowledge and service of God and our fellows. We should establish a fixed time every day for meditation, and prayer. Let us pray earnestly in our hearts and publically in sharing the prayer life of our own traditions, always making intercession for all our brothers and sisters. We should read, listen and consult sound guides to further our spiritual education that we may lay up for ourselves treasure in Heaven.
The white cape, symbolizing purity and adorned with the Red Cross of the Order, reminds us that we are able to make sacrifices just as Our Lord Jesus Christ sacrificed for us. The customs of modern life do not excuse us for abandoning the struggle against self, temptation, the self-indulgent and lustful spirit, and the excessive pursuit of money and power. The struggle against intolerance, hypocrisy, false teachings, and ignorance is the role that, by God’s grace, has fallen to us. That same grace prompts us to serve others in whatever need, because Christ loves them and we serve him in them. The day will come when we will render our accounts before the Throne of Judgment.
The Chivalrous Life
Each day we must assist our brothers and sisters, who support the same objectives and work to fulfill them. It is necessary that we should be responsible for such service to prepare for the day when Christ will say: When you did it to the least of these you did it to me. In order that we may live a truly chivalrous life, we must follow the quest the Lord has set before us. If we work without expectation of reward we shall be an example to all. So shall we become living stones built up into the temple of which Jesus Christ is the capstone.