Monday, May 23, 2011

Just a short update...

I know everyone was starting their Monday with great excitement at the thought of reading another one of my blog posts. Unfortunately, I'm out on the road this week attending the Annual Conclave of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Pennsylvania in Cannonsburg, PA. Many of you are probably asking what exactly all the gobbledy gook means, so, let me explain!

Knights Templar is part of the York Rite of Freemasonry, which is an Appendant (or additional) body of the Fraternity. The York Rite or American Rite is one of several Rites of the worldwide fraternity known as Freemasonry. A Rite is a series of progressive degrees that are conferred by various Masonic organizations or groups, each of which operates under the control of its own central authority. The York Rite specifically is a collection of separate Masonic Bodies and associated Degrees that would otherwise operate independently. The three primary bodies in the York Rite are the Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, Council of Royal and Select Masters or Council of Cryptic Masons, and the Commandery of Knights Templar, each of which are governed independently but are all considered to be a part of the York Rite. There are also other organizations that are considered to be directly associated with the York Rite, or require York Rite membership to join such as the York Rite Sovereign College but in general the York Rite is considered to be made up of the aforementioned three. The Rite's name is derived from the city of York, where, according to a Masonic legend, the first meetings of Masons in England took place, although only the lectures of the York Rite Sovereign College make reference to that legend.

So, what about this Templar business? The Knights Templar is the final order joined in the York Rite. Unlike other Masonic bodies which only require a belief in a Supreme Being regardless of religion, membership in the Knights Templar is open only to Christian Masons who have completed their Royal Arch and in some jurisdictions their Cryptic Degrees. This body is modeled off of the historical Knights Templar in hopes to carry on the spirit of their organization. Throughout history it has been claimed that Freemasonry itself was founded by the Knights Templar or that the Knights Templar took refuge in Freemasonry after their persecution. The Grand Encampment of the United States acknowledges the existence of these theories but states that there is no proof to justify such claims.

A local Knights Templar division is called a Commandery and operates under a state level Grand Commandery as well as The Grand Encampment of the United States. This is unique among Masonic bodies as most report to the state level alone. The Knights Templar confer three orders, and one passing order as opposed to the standard degree system found elsewhere in Freemasonry:
  • The Illustrious Order of the Red Cross
  • The Order of the Knights of Malta (or simply Order of Malta)
  • The Order of the Temple
That's the quick run down on the organization. The event I'm attending this week is the equivalent of the DeMolay Annual Convention. We have meetings, hold elections, and enjoy each others company.

So, I'm going to be a busy boy for the next few days, but I'll be sure to have an update on Thursday - perhaps with a video of our State Master Councilor addressing the Grand Commandery at the banquet on Tuesday nigh

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

(Thanks to Wikipedia for the great explanation of York Rite Masonry!)

1 comment:

  1. Actually, there are *four* "primary bodies in the York Rite" -- the Blue Lodge is itself a York Rite body! (Well, outside of a few lodges in Louisiana, it is.)