databank.jpg (4130 bytes)
The Knights Templar.
Christian degree? History of the Templars The Crusades The occult
Trial Knights of Malta

Christian degree?

The Knight's Templar degree - along with the 18th degree 'Rose Croix' and the Knights of Malta degree - are (uniquely in Freemasonry) based on the New Testament and are sometimes referred to as the 'Christian degrees' (thereby confirming of course that the many preceding degrees are certainly not)  

The Latin motto 'IN HOC SIGNO VINCES' means 'In this sign we will conquer'.  It was the motto of Constantine the Great. 

'The sign Constantine referred to was NOT a Christian cross, but a kind of 'X' which had both Christian and pagan associations. In modern magic it is the sign of the slain and risen Egyptian god Osiris (another version of the slain and risen Hiram Abiff)' - page 120, Masonry beyond the Light' Wm. Schnoebelen

'The ancient Pharaohs, when they were buried, had their legs crossed in the form of an 'X' as a sign of devotion to Osiris. And it is true, too, that during the medieval period in Europe, many of the Knight's Templar and later the Freemasons also had their legs crossed in the casket.'-  page 156, Dark Majesty, Texe Marrs

Many of the Knight's Templar gravestones now stored in various Abbeys in Scotland have the skull with the crossed leg bones below.

The principles of Templar masonry are to teach Christian life in action to 'demonstrate devotion and love for mankind by actions as well as words'. They are instructed to live in accordance with the precepts taught by Jesus. This has the deadly effect of assuaging a Christian's conscience about Freemasonry.

However there is nothing Christian about the degree, bar the Christian gloss over the surface. (Indeed a man claiming to be a templar wrote in the guest book when this was available on the web site "..You are the true devils of this earth. You pride yourself in fooling man. It is too bad you will soon have to answer to the God of truth")

The novice swears to keep the secrets of the Order and to

'faithfully defend and maintain the holy Christian faith..under no less penalty than loss of life, by having my head struck off and placed on the point of a pinnacle or spire, my skull sawn asunder, and my brains exposed to the scorching rays of the sun, as a warning to all infidels and traitors. So help me Christ'

Knight Templar

  [click to enlarge]

The novice is invested with a white tunic, adorned with a plain red Latin cross, stretching to his knees. He dons a mock medieval belt, breastplate, spurs and helmet, takes hold of a shield and is girded with a sword.

He is then told to draw his sword ' in defence of the Holy Christian faith' before setting off on 'seven years' warfare. The secret sign of a 'Crusader' is a cross made with a sword. The secret word is 'Golgotha'. Having achieved this labour in a few minutes by walking seven times around the room, he must undergo one year of penance and mortification

He is given a skull and a taper and told to walk slowly round the room again, keeping his eyes fixed on those 'two emblems of life and mortality'

He then swears: 

'May the spirit which once inhabited this skull rise up and testify against me, if ever I wilfully violate my obligation of a Knight Templar'.

templar room.jpg (15222 bytes)

Templar lodge room, Dublin

To complete the oath he is told he must 'Seal it with your lips seven times on the skull'

 Extract from 'Inside the brotherhood' by Martin Short

(note: in some cases it is the Bible that is kissed seven times)

The Grand Password is 'Maher-shalal-hash-baz' (Isaiah 8:1)  The Grand word is 'Jesus Emmanuel'. The sign is an imitation of Jesus hanging on the cross, with the arms outstretched, the feet crossed, and the head bent to one side.

 Extract from 'Darkness Visible' by Walton Hanna

return to top

History of the Templars

A military priesthood in the Catholic Church, the Templars were formally organized in 1118 by Hugh de Payens, their first Grand Master, who, following the Crusades, derived the name from the Temple of Jerusalem.

The Templars were the first religious community to yoke the cross to the sword. The Templars' initial stated purpose was to guard and guide pilgrims to the Holy City of Jerusalem. Gradually, the Templars' duties expanded to defend the Holy Land against all infidels and "any force menacing Jerusalem of their religion".

The nucleus of the Templars consisted of nine men. As the Order grew, de Payens created 13 degrees within it. Why he chose to stop at 13 is not known. Perhaps it represented the t5ribes of Israel (eleven full tribes and the two half tribes of Joseph - Ephraim and Manasseh)  May'be it stood for the twelve disciples and Jesus Christ. What is significant about the number 13 is that it identifies the Templar headquarters today.

Another symbol that identifies the Templars is the emblem of their order. They adopted the famous splayed red cross of the Merovingian kings of France, placing it on their mantles, swords, buildings, and gravestones. This symbol is also important in tracing their movements to their present day headquarters (discussed in the final chapter of the book)

After founding their order in Jerusalem in 1118, The Templars headquartered themselves in a fortified abbey above the ruins of Solomon's Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, hence the name Templars. Their domicile is one of great significance, for somewhere beneath it was allegedly buried the unfathomable wealth of Solomon.

As the Templars' fame increased, so did their wealth. According to standard histories, one source of their wealth was gifts from kings and princes grateful for their services. Although it is said that many of the nobility joined their ranks, we shall later learn why so few did at the beginning.

As their wealth and influence grew, the Templars developed into an efficient military organization that adopted absolute secrecy to cover all internal activities.

The Templars also made powerful enemies, among them King Phillip IV (the Fair), who ascended the throne of France in 1268, his country near bankruptcy. The Templars possessed both money and land in abundance.

The failure of the Templars to defend Jerusalem against the Moslems in 1187, their extensive banking and financial interests in both London and Paris, their rich establishments, and the rumours of heretical practices within the order gave Phillip the ammunition he needed to launch a successful campaign to destroy the order throughout Europe.

The association of the Templars with the heretical sect of the Cathars (or Albigensians as they are also known) is of special interest, as this association helped fuel the charge of heresy against them. For the Cathars were gnostics, replacing faith with knowledge. Knowledge to them was firsthand religious or mystical experience.

The Knights Templar imbibed the doctrines of gnosticism from the Cathars, but also further elaborated Cathar heresies. From their long tenure in the Holy Land, they had also been exposed to eastern mysticism. Like the Cathars, they practiced meditation - in their case Hindu Yoga - to reach an altered state of consciousness to open the "third eye". This was known as white magic. There is also evidence, (discussed in chapter 1 of the book) which fully addresses the convoluted history of the Templars and their involvement with drugs.

Suffice to say that eventually the Templars took on the Satanic symbol of the skull and crossbones, the symbol of death. In Freemasonry the skull and crossbones became the symbol of the Master Mason but was dropped after world war 2 because Hitler had used it for his SS.

But to return to Phillip IV's campaign against the Templars: On Friday October 13th, 1307, Phillip ordered the arrest of all Templars in France. Following the Inquisition of The Templars, in 1314 on Phillips' order, the Grand Master Jacques de Moloy and other dignitaries of the Templars were burned at the stake. During these years a remnant of the order fled to Scotland, allying themsleves with Scotland against England.

Michael Baigent, co-author of 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail', confirms this history: "Many English, and it would appear, French Templars found a Scottish refuge, and a sizeable contingent is said to have fought at King Robert Bruce's side at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. According to the legend - and their is evidence to support it - the order maintained itself as a coherent body in Scotland for another four centuries"

In Scotland the Knights Templar left their mark - an octagonal pattern with the splayed cross in the middle. Sometimes the mark was only the octagon. This symbol, along with the skull and crossbones, and the number 13, imprinted on dated gravestones, has assisted researchers in tracing the migration of the Templars. [see also 'recent events' section]

A descendant of Robert Bruce, the Catholic James Stuart VI, reigned in Scotland from 1567 until he ascended the British Throne as James 1 in 1603. He succeeded the unmarried Elizabeth 1 who enforced Protestantism by law, but who, because of her lack of an heir, designated James her successor on her deathbed. During James 1's reign (1603-1625) we received the King James version of the Bible, the first official translation of the Bible. Like their ancestors, the Stuarts had been initiated into the order of the Knights Templar, and James was more Templar than Catholic. James arrived in England with a contingent of Scottish Templars, and their first lodge opened at York in Northern England at the turn of the 17th century.

During James Stuart's reign the embryos of both the Scottish and York rites developed in England. At that time it was called Jacobite Freemasonry, in memory of the martyred Templar Grand Master Jaques de Molay. James and his descendants were members of the Royalist Jacobite Lodges, which practiced Templar rituals. Later these rituals became known to Masons in England and America as the York Rite, and in France and America as the Scottish Rite.

 Extract from 'Scarlet and the beast', volume 1, John Daniels

 return to top

The Crusades

Freemasonry is proud of its links to the Knight's Templar because of the Crusades. However the truth about the Templars does not match up to the popular myth.

The Knight's Templars were a violent, merciless band of wealthy men.

One slogan of the Crusades (which started 1069 and continued for 100 years) was..

"We shall slay for God's love"

St.Bernard applied the principle to the Crusades

"A Christian glories in the death of a Muslim because Christ is glorified"

One quote from the Crusades reads..

"We have set out to march a long way to fight the enemies of God in the East, and behold before our very eyes are His worst foes, the Jews. They must be dealt with first"

And they were. The first Crusade was launched with a massacre of thousands of Jews, particularly in the towns of Germany, in what was to become almost a traditional beginning to every expedition.  The Knight's Templars however, in this first Crusade restrained themselves until they reached their goal - Jerusalem. Then, in God's Name they fell upon Jerusalem on July 15th 1099.  We read the account..

"With drawn swords our people ran through the City; Nor did they spare anyone, not even those pleading for mercy. If you had been there your feet would have been stained up to the ankles with blood. What more can I tell? Not one of them was allowed to live. They did not spare the women or children. the horses waded in blood up to their knees, nay up their bridle. It was a just and wonderful judgement of God"

 Extract from 'The Christians' by Bamber Gasgoine, page 113)   (Fighting Knight from a Knight's Templar site)

  return to top

Occult stories

Magical head as allegedly worshipped by the Templars. 

From Levi, E, 'The History of Magic' 1885

There has been much written about Knight's Templar eventual involvement in occult activity.  In particular there was a strange and persistent accusation that they secretly worshipped a 'severed head' called baphomet.  Some stories said that the head glowed in the dark.

'The first of these theories, the 'head of God', takes as its starting point the evidence from the French trials that some Templars reported that they worshipped a mysterios idol in the form of a head, sometimes referred to as baphomet and sometimes appearing as a mummified human head, sometimes as an image in gold and silver. The head, it was said could make the land fertile. The idea of baphomet as a magic figure surfaced in 1818 with the publication of Joseph Hammer- Purgstall's 'Mysterium Bahometi' Revelation. He saw the head as the symbol of the renunciation of Christ and the symbol of wisdom inherited from the Egyptians'  

The Knight's Templar in Britain, Evelyn Lord, page217-218

Comments from the book ‘The History of Witchcraft’
The Templars, whose order was suppressed and the members thereof executed on account of their sorceries, were clearly a Society of Gnostic heretics, active propagandists, closely connected with the Bogomiles and the Mandeans or Johaninites*. Page 26 / 27                                                               *Fabre Palaprat. Recherches Historiques sur les Templiers. Paris 1835

One of the principal charges which were repeatedly brought against the Knights Templars during the lengthy ecclesiastical and judicial processes, 1307-1314, was that of the osculum infame given by the juniors to their preceptors. Even so prejudiced a writer as Lea cannot but admit the truth of this accusation.  In this case, however, it has nothing to do with sorcery but must be connected with the homosexuality which the order universally practised.  Page 138

The Templars were corroded with Gnostic doctrines, they held the heresies of the Mandeans or Johannites who were filled with an insane hatred of Christ in much the same way as witches and demonolaters, they followed the tenets of the Ophites who venerated the Serpent and prayed to him for protection against the Creator, they adored and offered sacrifices before an idol. a head, which as Professor Putz holds, represented the lower god whom gnostic bodies worshipped, that is satan. At his trial in Tuscany, the Knight Bernard of Parma confessed that the Order firmly believed this idol had the power to save and to enrich in fine, flat diabolism.  Page 148

 return to top


The Templars were initially given the Pope's blessing to guard pilgrims in the Holy Land -the Templars had 9000 manors across Europe, none of which paid taxes thanks to the patronage of the Pope, - but eventually this patronage was withdrawn. Their home at the Temple in Paris was the centre of the world's money market, and Europe's crowned heads were forced to come to them for loans.

The Knight's Templars become a feared secretive group because of their political and financial arrogance and power, their alleged homosexual practices and their alleged blasphemous practices, resulting in the Order being brutally put down in one day by the French King Phillip the Fair.

The day chosen was Friday 13th, 1307 and this is where the superstition about Friday 13th came from. On that day 3,000 Knights Templar were arrested. Many made good their escape.

The leader Jacques de Moloy was tried, found guilty and burned alive at the stake.

The allegations were basically as follows

1. That upon being received into the order every neophyte must spit on the cross and deny Christ thrice. 

2. That the receptor and the novice exchanged indecent kisses, i.e. on the navel and the posteriors, while disrobed.

3. That they pledged themselves to practice sodomy.

4. That the priests of the order did not pronounce the words of consecration when administering the mass.

5. That the cord which the Templars wore over their shirt day and night as a symbol of purity had been consecrated by wrapping it around an idol they worshipped in the chapters

Scholars have been divided over the truth of the allegations made against the Templars. 

Two English lawyers took diametrically opposed views. In the 1840s, C.G. Addison, who wrote a history of the Templars and an account of their trial, was unequivocal in his belief that the Templars were innocent. He described the trial as one of the greatest crimes of the Middle Ages. The accusations were ‘monstrous and ridiculous. . . a monument of human folly, superstition, and credulity’.

 G.J. Morshead, writing under the pseudonym of Justice Shallow in 1888, reviews the evidence with a lawyer’s eve, and has left typewritten notes on this in Cambridge University Library. He points out that there are over 2,000 depositions and many of these coincide, and he suggests that the different versions of the reception reflect the international nature of the Order. He thought that the details about spitting on the cross, the idols and the heresies were correct, but had appeared because the Order in France had been taken over by fanatics who had never been on a crusade. The fall of the Templars, he felt, was inevitable. They were a failing aristocracy with a hopeless outlook. Finally, he suggests that Philip IV, de Nogaret, Clement V and de Molay were bent on seif-aggrandisement; the king for his reputation, the Pope for his authority and the Templars for their plunder.

 E.J. Martin, writing in the 1920s, suggested that the Templars had been infiltrated by criminals who dabbled in the occult brought in from the east. Norman Cohn saw them as victims of propaganda and inner fears of magic and sorcery, and scapegoats for the loss of Acre.32 

The Knight's Templar in Britain, Evelyn Lord, page 205

However few doubted that those who escaped this one day purge remained within the Templar organisation, only now they existed as an underground, very secret society. 

[There have always been stories about a great secret that the Knight's Templar had and books have been written espousing theories as broad based as having the 'Holy Grail'   /  'That Jesus married and His descendants live on in France'   /  'That they excavated the ruins of Herod's temple and found secret documents which if revealed would debunk Christianity and hence the ceremony acted out in the Royal Arch degree'  etc etc]

Many believe that this underground group of Knight's Templar discovered America long before Christopher Columbus (some evidence to support this theory is to be found in a Roslin Chapel in Scotland) and that today's Freemasonry emerged centuries later from the roots of this secret society.

 return to top

Knights of Malta

 Knights with a mixed heritage of Christian devotion and debauchery down through the centuries. Incredible bravery shown by the Knights against the forces of Islam when their fortress at Rhodes and later Malta was under siege from Muslim forces.

Has always attracted nobility from many nations. Web site here

Rick Joyner caused some controversy when he joined this order. He has produced a booklet on their bravery against Islam and it is available in the Morning Star Publications under the Hall of Faith series. ('The Extraordinary History of the Knights of St John')

Yvonne Kitchen, in her booklet 'Freemasonry. Death in the family' claims that the Orders of Knights Templar and St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta (this second order being usually  known simply as the Knights of Malta) are controlled by the Great Priory, which operates from Mark Masons Hall, and also claims that candidates go through the following rituals and oaths..

The candidate is to go forth on a spiritual journey, learning penance and meditation. He is told to meditate upon the 'mystical death' of Jesus and spiritually crucify himself.

The candidate swears on an oath:

"If I violate my obligation I consent to having my head cut off, and stuck on the highest pole or pinnacle in the eastern part of the world, as a monument to my villany".

As he swears his vows he drinks from a human skull filled with wine having first sworn;

"..the sins of the person whose skull this once was be heaped upon my head in addition to my own; and may he appear in judgement against me, both here and hereafter, should I violate or transgress in Masonry, or orders of this knighthood"

The Knight of Malta wears a white robe with a black cross, which represents salvation rising from out of the darkness of the soul.

    Page 93, 'Freemasonry. Death in the family'. Yvonne Kitchen

An official statement from the Knight's of Malta states..

The Knights of St. John of Jerusalem gave Malta the heritage of the Maltese Cross. The eight-pointed cross is a symbol used by the knights to denote the eight obligations or aspirations of the knights.

The Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, now commonly known as the Knights of Malta, can trace their origin to a group of monks attached to a hospice built in the Holy Lands to aid travellers visiting the Holy Land. The monks were known as the Freres Hospitaliers de St. Jean de Jerusalem. Over time, the monks started offering armed escort to travellers as they passed through perilous Syrian territory. Following the success of the First Crusade, the Hospitalers evolved into a military order.

Around 1113, Pope Pascal 2nd acknowledged the Hospitaliers as a religious order. They were bound by the Augustinian rules of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience. However, more was expected of the members of the Order. They were required to abide by eight obligations or aspirations. These eight obligations wore:

• live in truth;

• have faith;

• repent of sins;

• give proof of humility;

• love justice;

• be merciful;

• be sincere and whole-hearted; and

• endure persecution

Noble aspiration indeed especially for individuals who came from very rich and powerful European families.

Members of the Order wore a black habit and a camel-hair cloak of the same colour. A white eight-pointed cross covered their breast. The eight-pointed cross was also on their standard against a scarlet background. Eventually, as the Knights became known as the Knights of Malta, their symbol also became associated with Malta and is now known as the Maltese Cross.

The Maltese Cross is a very cherished symbol of the Maltese people and the cross has become part of the Malta’s heritage and culture. Many souvenirs are adorned by the Maltese Cross, The cross is also used in all kinds of jewellery including earrings, necklaces, bracelets, broaches, pendants and cuff-links.

  return to top

databank index Databank index