The Priory of the Holy Angels, Scottish Knights Templar, is also the Grand Priory of the United States of America, and is also a priory in the Confederation of Scottish Knights Templar, which is headquartered in Glasgow.
Other priories within the Confederation include the Grand Priory of Scotland, the Grand Priory of Canada, the Grand Priory of Lebanon, the Grand Priory of Pakistan, and the Grand Priory of New Zealand. While autonomous in nature, the member priories of the Scottish Knights Templar hold certain statutes in common, and are signatories to the Declaration of Atlanta, which states the governing principles for our Order until the Second Coming of Christ.
The Confederation of Scottish Knights Templar welcomes association with other like-minded, legitimate Templar groups. We currently recognize, and are recognized by, the following Templar organizations:
Ordo Militiae Christi Templi Hierosolymitani (OMCTH)
The Magistral Grand Priory of the Holy Lands
The Grand Priory of Australia
The Grand Priory of Russia
We also recognize any priories, preceptories, commanderies, or other chapter organizations of the above in the United States and throughout the world.
The Confederation of Scottish Knights Templar recognizes, but is not subordinate to, the international Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani (OSMTH), which has Prince Regent Dom Fernando Fontes as its Grandmaster. We have been a wholly autonomous Order since 1307 A.D., and intend to remain so, due to our preeminent position within Templar and Scottish history. While we seek to maintain fraternal relations with like-minded and legitimate Templar groups, and while we seek alliances with the same, we will never yield our hard-won sovereignty to any other Templar group, regardless of how much blood and treasure it costs us to remain free and independent!
Because Scotland was one of the two countries that the Templars fled to in 1307 A.D., and due to the fact that the exiled Templars elected King Robert the Bruce Grandmaster of the Order, we have a Templar lineage that is both unbroken and unsurpassed by any other group claiming Templar heritage. Article X of the Declaration of Atlanta states our position thusly:
“We recognize all other legitimate Knights Templar Orders, and we seek to ally ourselves with other true Knights Templar Orders, but we hold that due to Scotland’s preeminent position within Templar history, we do not recognize, nor admit the existence of, any Templar Order with a superior claim to that of our own.”
We note that there are a number of organizations that claim to be Templars, but which have absolutely no lineage as true organizational and spiritual descendants of the Order. These “Templar” organizations often charge hefty fees for joining, and some do not accept persons of average means, preferring to focus their efforts on recruiting the wealthy and influential. We decry such practices.
When the Knights Templar was founded in 1118 A.D. by Hugh de Payens and eight other knights, they were known as the “Poor Knights of Christ.” The Order did not allow individual knights to own anything except their mantles and weapons. So strict was the rule concerning “monastic poverty” that if a Knight Templar died and a single penny was found on his body, he was refused a Christian burial! Today, however, there are “Templar” organizations that will not accept members unless they are very well to do! We believe that setting membership rules that allow only the wealthy to be become members is the antithesis of what our Lord taught. Some of these so-called Templar organizations would refuse membership to any of the Apostles, as they were not men of wealth! In fact, we believe that the false Orders of Knights Templar would turn away our very Lord!
Article VII of the Declaration of Atlanta states the following: “We hold, now and forever, that neither titles nor ranks shall ever be for sale, nor will entry into the Order ever be dependent upon any person’s financial or social status. Nor will any knight or dame ever be dismissed from the Order or held in contempt for the inability to pay dues or oblations. Neither shall any priory nor other Scottish Knights Templar governing body ever levy involuntary assessments on any knight or dame. As the true and spiritual descendants of the original ‘Poor Knights of Christ,’ we will never value money or other material things over humble service to our Lord.”
We believe that when money becomes an obstacle to joining a Templar organization, that Templar organization has lost its way. Such organizations have forgotten about St. Paul’s admonition in I Corinthians 13:3 – “And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”
Our Lord taught us in Matthew 7:20 – “So then, you will know them by their fruits.” Are these so-called Templar organizations about money and prestige, or are they about humble service to our Lord? Indeed, you shall know them by their fruits!
We do not believe that knighthoods should be reserved for the elite and the powerful. When our Lord Jesus Christ chose His Apostles, He did not select them from the elite social and intellectual circles of the day, but from among the ordinary people. The Apostles were ordinary men who were called upon to do extraordinary deeds! We believe that we, the Scottish Knights Templar, are similarly ordinary men and women who are called upon to do extraordinary knightly deeds!
Indeed, as St. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 1:26 – “For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble . . . “ We believe that it is Christ who makes us wise, mighty, and noble—not how much money we have, or who we know.
There is also another way to distinguish the false Orders from the true Order: look at their charters and their goals. Remember that the Order was founded in 1118 A.D. to protect pilgrims journeying to and from the Holy Land. The Order then became one of the permanent military forces in the Holy Land, and guarded the Christian states. The Templars, along with the Knights Hospitaller and the Teutonic Knights, protected not only the pilgrims, but also those living in such cities as Jerusalem and Antioch. The Order enabled the Christian churches, formerly persecuted under Muslim rule, to worship freely and not have to pay the jizya, or Muslim tax forced upon Christians. We take, as a logical extension of our original charter and subsequent service as a military Order to defend the Holy Land, the defense of the persecuted church as the primary mission of the Scottish Knights Templar.
Today, we “crusade” for the rights of Christians to worship freely in the Communist and Islamic countries. We have vigorously pressed the case for religious freedom with our own Congress, the parliaments of other nations, and with those countries that are still allowing the persecution of Christians, such as Pakistan. We have focused upon the case of one imprisoned cleric in Pakistan, the Rev. Parvez Masih, who has been imprisoned for “insulting the Prophet”; we will not rest until our brother in chains is freed. We are calling Pakistan’s attention to the fact that it voted for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, of which Article 18 recognizes every person’s right to choose and practice his or her own religion.
We are admonished by the Apostle Paul in Hebrews 13:3 to “remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.” It is currently estimated that 159,000 Christians are martyred for their faith each year; more Christians were martyred in the 20th century than in all previous centuries combined. Unless changes are forced upon the Communist and Islamic governments of the world, the 21st century will become a tragic repeat of the 20th. The Scottish Knights Templar, and its priories around the world, is working to bring those changes about.
We hold, therefore, that true Templar Orders are those that do not discriminate on the basis of education, financial, or social status, and are those that are concerned with the defense of the church.
When someone is considering joining a Templar organization, he or she should be convinced that it is the real thing. If a person wants only to attend dinner parties and parade about in regalia, ours is not the Order that person should join. However, if a person believes that service to our Lord involves rolling up one’s own sleeves and working with humility to help our fellow human beings, and if that person believes that no organization has a right to call itself “Templar” if it doesn’t defend the persecuted church, then ours is the Order you are looking for.
Indeed, you shall know them by their fruits!