The Original Knights Templar Order from 1118 AD:

Sovereign Magistral Order of the Temple of Solomon

The “Knights Templar”, authentically called the “Order of the Temple of Solomon”, is a historical institution of legendary fame, which had profound influence on the development of civilization. While Arthurian legends and literary fantasy preserved its noble and chivalric ideals, and continued its knightly and priestly reputation to the present day, the facts of its existence are no less real. Just as well-known facts of the historical record prove its accomplishments, a wealth of very little-known but verified facts of “lost history” also prove the reality of the direct and unbroken continuation of the original Order into the modern era.

Knights Templar Order - Templar Flag

Official Flag of the Order of the Temple of Solomon as a sovereign nation-state

The Sovereign Magistral Order of the Temple of Solomon is an autonomous nation state as a sovereign historical institution, by official grant of Royal Protection from the legalized dynastic descendants of the medieval founders of the original “Knights Templar” Order from 1118 AD. It operates as a Constitutional government, with a parliamentary Sovereign Council supporting its traditional Grand Mastery. The Order holds official judiciary recognition as a nation-state subject of international law from a Court of international Justice.

The Templar Order has full ecclesiastical authority in its own right, embodying both a Priesthood from antiquity and a classical Church, as separate religious institutions within the Order. As its original founding heritage recovered from the Temple of Solomon, the Order carries the most ancient Magi Priesthood from 10,068 BC as the Ancient Priesthood of Solomon.

The Templar Order is supported, recognized and in full communion with the original Holy See of Antioch (“Vatican” of Antioch) from 33 AD.  The Holy See of Antioch of the Apostolic Old Catholic Church represents over 15 million Christians worldwide, and is recognized as a legitimate classical Church movement by the Vatican of Rome.  The Order continues a historical special relationship with the Holy See of Antioch, as companion “sister states”.

In its chivalric and ecclesiastical capacity as a historical institution, the Templar Order is also recognized through official United Nations (UN) non-governmental organization (NGO) registrations, as a chartered governmental permanent member and sponsor of Non-Profit UN registered NGO institutions.

The Order of the Temple of Solomon is truly the only “Knights Templar” organization in the world to have: (1) full sovereign nation-state status under international law, (2) full and autonomous ecclesiastical authority of its own legitimate Priesthood and historical Church, (3) full communion with a major classical Church, (4) recognition through official United Nations NGO registrations, (5) a direct legalized connection to the original sovereign and Magistral authority of the Order, and (6) the full substance and heritage of the original 12th century Knights Templar.

As such, it is the only historical institution in the world having complete legitimacy and exclusive authority as the authentic continuation of the original “Knights Templar”.

This original Templar Order is not part of Freemasonry, which was established 330 years later. Templarism does not include Masonic practices, and Knights and Dames of the Order do not thereby become Freemasons, although these separate traditions are compatible by a shared affinity for ancient esoteric knowledge. Authentic Templarism and Freemasonry do not espouse nor embody any principles of the infamous secular secret society of the so-called “Illuminati”, which was created another 330 years after Freemasonry, a full 660 years after Templarism, and has been opposed by both Templars and Masons alike.

 

Authentic Name of the Original Order

The most historically correct and authentic name of the original Order, which later became popularized as the “Knights Templar”, was best documented by the prominent British barrister (higher rank of lawyer) and authoritative historian, Charles G. Addison:

The Order was first established ca.1118 AD, when “nine noble knights formed a holy brotherhood in arms, and entered into a solemn pact”. Inspired by “the religious and military fervour of the day, and animated by the sacredness of the cause to which they had devoted their swords, they called themselves the Poor Fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ”, which in many translations in history books was alternatively called the Poor Knights of Christ of the Temple of Solomon.

Addison explained that the King of Jerusalem “granted them a place of habitation within the sacred inclosure of the Temple on Mount Moriah”, which at the time was promoted and described “by the monks and priests of Jerusalem… as the Temple of Solomon, whence the [knights] came thenceforth to be known by the name of ‘the Knighthood of the Temple of Solomon’.” [1]

The historical fact that the site did indeed contain the “Temple of Solomon” was also confirmed by Addison, quoting the 5th century Byzantine historian Procopius of Caesarea stating that “Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah”. [2]

Although Addison as a lawyer translated the original name using the word “Knighthood”, by British royalty and nobility rules and protocols, it can only be properly called an “Order” of knighthood. Therefore, the technically correct name of the original “Templar” Order from 1118 AD, that best reflects the history of its creation and characterization as “Templars”, is the “Order of the Temple of Solomon”.

 

Historical Seals of the Knights Templar Order

The earliest (and thus lesser known) traditional seal of the Templar Order features an Arabic dome on pillared archways, “depicting the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem”, located on top of the Temple Mount. Templar historians clarify that the area of the ancient Temple of Solomon which King Baldwin II granted to the Knights was technically “the Temple Mount on which stood the Al Aqsa Mosque”. [3]

While Al Aqsa was used as the Royal Palace, and thus was the headquarters given to the Knights, they conducted excavations from the adjacent Dome of the Rock.  The entire Temple Mount area under both sides contained two full archaeological layers, including both King Herod’s Temple, and under that King Solomon’s Temple.  Accordingly, this most visible landmark of the Dome on the Rock, at the visual center of the Temple Mount itself, was the one represented on the first Templar seal originating from 1118 AD.

Knights Templar - Earlier Templar Seal, Dome on the Rock above the Temple of Solomon (ca. 1118 AD)

Earlier Templar Seal, Dome on the Rock above the Temple of Solomon (ca. 1118 AD)

The Templar Seal was at first one-sided, featuring only the Dome of the Rock as the Temple of Solomon, indicating that this was the earlier official seal.  The inscription of this earlier temple seal, found in artifacts as “De Templo XRisti” features the key phrase “of the Temple”. This fact evidences that there was some process of evolution from the authentic original name “Order of the Temple of Solomon”, in stages, towards the “Soldier-Knights of Christ” which was inscribed on the later and more popular horsemen seal.

The most famous medieval seal of the “Knights Templar” is a later one, featuring two Knights sharing one horse.  The first attested use of the horsemen seal was ca.1158 AD by Bertrand de Blanchefort, a Gnostic Cathar who was the 6th Grand Master of the Order, and was best known for progressive “reform” of the Order.  [4]

Artifacts of this later official seal from 1158 AD were actually two-sided, bearing the earlier Dome seal on one side, and the later horsemen seal on the other side.  The more well-known and widespread horsemen seal was created a full 40 years after the beginning of the Order in 1118 AD, and was first used by a major “reformer” Grand Master who was dedicated to transforming the Order. These two key facts explain why the inscription of this later seal, “Sigillum Militum XRisti” (“Soldier-Knights of Christ”), differs from the original name of the Order.

Accordingly, the authentic proper name of the Order, as originally founded, would have been first inscribed as “Ordo Templi Solomonis”, literally translated as the “Order of the Temple of Solomon”. For these reasons, the seals of the modern continuation of this Order have returned to bearing that historically original inscription.

It is highly noteworthy that the frequent Templar spelling of Christ on official seals, conspicuously replacing the Latin letters “Chr” in distinctly Latin words, instead used the Greek letters “XP”, pronounced “Cai-Rho”.  This was prominent symbolism reminding the Templars of the ancient Egyptian roots of Christianity, represented by pronouncing the ancient Egyptian capital city of “Cairo” in Egypt.

Knights Templar - Later Templar Seal, featuring the Horsemen (ca. 1158 AD)

Later Templar Seal, featuring the Horsemen (ca. 1158 AD)

Despite popularized modern use of the horsemen seal featuring red Templar Crosses on the shields, close examination of photographs of authenticated museum artifacts of this seal reveals that in fact they were not “crosses”. The emblem on the shields is actually made of simple straight lines, forming an “8 pointed star” type symbol. This was not a painting or image displayed externally on the shields, but rather is a symbolic representation of a practical structure that was historically used underneath Templar shields.

This structure, called an “Escarbuncle”, was constructed of 8 bars connected at the center point, extending at 45 degree increments and affixed to buttress the outer edges of the shield. The Escarbuncle was the authentic Templar military technology for physical reinforcement, strengthening the shield to withstand the brutal impacts of medieval battle.

A third seal known as “Agnus Dei” (the “Lamb of God” in Latin) was used only in England beginning in 1160 AD, so this is generally not used as an “international seal” of the Order, but remains in use mostly in England. Perhaps the best historical image of the Agnus Dei seal of the Templars was preserved as the primary illustration used by the British lawyer-historian Charles Addison in his book published in 1842 AD.

Knights Templar - Agnus Dei Templar Seal (ca. 1160 AD) with Etching used by Charles Addison (1842 AD)

Agnus Dei Templar Seal (ca. 1160 AD) with Etching used by Charles Addison (1842 AD)

This later seal bears the authentic Latin inscription “Sigilum Templi”, simply the “Knights of the Temple”. That further confirms that even after the occasional use of the word “XRisti” (Christ) to communicate the coded symbolism “XR” for “Cairo” (indicating ancient Egyptian roots), the Order continued to maintain the original name “Knights of the Temple”, as the “Order of the Temple of Solomon”.

 

Return of the Authentic Original Knights Templar Order

From the beginning, the “Knights Templar” Order was founded (and perpetually remained) under the primary sovereign patronage of the dynastic Kingdom of Jerusalem since 1118 AD. The Order reunited with the founding royal house of its original sovereign authority starting in 2007 AD, and obtained full Tutela Protection grant of autonomous sovereignty in 2013 AD.

As a result of that historic event and achievement in the modern era, the Order has slightly updated its formal name to the “Sovereign Magistral Order of the Temple of Solomon”. Adding only the phrase “Sovereign Magistral” to the historically authentic name of the original Order is simply the technically correct way to indicate its proper status under Canon law, as holding autonomous state sovereignty governed by its traditional Grand Mastery.  (The proper Latin name is “Ordo Regius Magistralis Templi Solomonis”.)

The words “Sovereign Magistral” are not intended merely to sound formal, nor to be superfluous, but rather are juridically important elements of the proper name of the nation-state, as technically correct indications of its legal and chivalric status:

The word “Sovereign” emphasizes that it is a nation state subject of international law, on the basis of holding Tutela Protection grant of autonomous sovereignty from a legitimate Royal House. A “Military” order indicates action based upon historical chivalric warfare, and a “Hospitallier” order indicates a focus on humanitarian work. In contrast, the word “Magistral” identifies emphasis on a Grand Mastery, as a historical institution preserving heritage and initiatory sacred knowledge, as the driving force behind both guardianship and humanitarian work.

This historical institution is not a “revival” nor a “reconstruction”, but rather a full restoration and true revitalization of an unbroken line of tradition, flowing directly from the original Order of the “Knights Templar”. This is strengthened by bringing in the prior founding roots of the original Order, reconnecting it with the most ancient tradition that was the basis for its medieval reformation as guardians of the heritage of the Temple of Solomon.

The Order of the Temple of Solomon is an autonomous group of traditional yet modern Knights, based upon the authentic historical missions, and the comprehensive body of collective ancient and medieval knowledge, of the original Order which emerged from under the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem.

The original “Knights Templar” Order gives due credit, with gratitude and appreciation, to authentic Freemasonry from the 15th century, and to many respectable Templar revival organizations of the 19th and 20th centuries, for their promotion and popularization of the ideals of 12th century Templarism. Such institutions continue to play an important role of inspiring and stimulating public interest in the values and traditions of chivalry, and areas of “lost” history which are of great relevance and significance to the modern world.

 

[1] Charles G. Addison, The History of the Knights Templar, 1842, pp.4-5, citing a Vatican document by Pope Urban IV (Jacques Pantaleon), the Patriarch of Jerusalem, as “Pantaleon, lib. iii. p. 82.”

[2] Charles G. Addison, The History of the Knights Templar, 1842, p.6, citing the document De Aedificiis by historian Procopius of Caesarea as “Procopius de Oedificiis Justiniani, lib. 5.”

[3] Alan Butler & Stephen Dafoe, The Warriors and Bankers, Lewis Masonic, Surrey, England (2006), p.9, p.49.

[4] Ibid, p.11.