ABOUT OUR ORDER
The full title of our Chivalric Order is “The United Religious, Military and Masonic Order of the Temple and of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta in England and Wales and Provinces Overseas.” It is more usually referred to as “The United Orders” or “Knights Templar”, or more affectionately, simply as “K.T.”
A significant though not unique point about this Order, is that unlike Freemasonry in general, it is overtly Christian, demanding a firm belief in the Trinitarian Christian faith from each one of its members. The principles that guide us in our Order are based on and around our Precepts which we all consider and try to adhere to, namely:
Love, honour and fear God: walk after his Commandments.
Maintain and defend the Christian Faith and the honour,
dignity and interests of our Order.
Be loyal to your Sovereign, dutiful to the Grand Master and
to those who rule over you.
Prefer honour to wealth.
Be just and true in word and deed.
Give no willing cause of offence to any; but, while opposing
wrong and injustice, deport yourselves courteously and gently.
Assist the distressed, the widow and the fatherless.
Eschew all debasing employment, recreation and company.
Abhor pride and selfishness and so raise the standard of
Chivalrous honour, striving for the welfare of your Brethren.
Our equipment (see Regalia) is perhaps the most striking in Freemasonry and, like the Knights Templar of old, we take pride in the upkeep of it and looking smart at all times, (although this is sometimes difficult with the horses!). Unlike most Orders we have “props” which we use on a most regular basis and which need skill and practice if we are to perform to the best of our ability. Within the Order some time is spent on ironing tunics, polishing brasses and practising our sword drill!
Within the Order there are two distinct degrees, that of the Knight Templar and that of the Knight of Malta. These two are linked by a third degree which is conferred, the degree of a Knight of St. Paul, which relates back to the notion of “progressive masonry”, and which will be understood as a Knight passes along this route. The Regalia of the Knight of Malta is different to that of a Knight Templar and though desirable and just as striking, it is not compulsory.
To continue the notion of progressive Masonry, the links with the Royal Arch are explained and further evidence made apparent by familiar references in our ritual. The ceremonies themselves are fascinating and there is hardly a Knight installed who is not motivated to take his studies further.
Our Province has just reached the 150th year of its existence and celebrations have continued through 2010. Some of our Preceptories are much older than this; the two oldest receiving their warrants in 1792 and 1793 respectively.