Statutes of the Order
We hereby set forth the following guiding principles of the OSMTJ (Ordre Souverain et Militaire du Temple de Jérusalem) Grand Priory of America, in order to reaffirm the charter of our founders and to ensure that our Grand Priory is never corrupted or compromised in its principles. As the OSMTJ Grand Priory of America has entered the Third Millennium after the advent of our Lord, we hold the following articles indefeasible and central to the legitimacy and continued survival of the Grand Priory of America:
We forever dedicate ourselves to the service of our Lord Jesus Christ and the universal, Holy Christian Church that He founded. We are an ecumenical Christian Grand Priory, with admission open to all professing Christians, Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox, regardless of church affiliation or denomination. We look forward to the day when all Christian churches are once again unified, and until that time pledge ourselves to act as a bridge between the various denominations and congregations of the universal Christian church.
As a Christian Grand Priory, we singularly worship and serve our Lord Jesus Christ. We believe in God the Eternal Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost, as professed by our Lord and preached by His Apostles. We, therefore, restrict entry into the Order to baptized Christians, eighteen years of age or older, except that the sixteen-year-old or sons and daughters of Dames and Knights may also be granted full membership. We cannot hold any deities of other religions as equal to our Lord, nor grant membership in the Grand Priory to those who do.
We decry all occult beliefs and practices, declaring them to be anathema and forbidden to all those in the OSMTJ Grand Priory of America. Any Templar who engages in other than Christian worship is automatically excommunicated from the Grand Priory of America, and will be formally expelled.
As a Grand Priory, we will never embrace any sectarian cause or political party, other than concerns oaths of fealty or allegiance those countries hosting our priories. While individual knights and dames are free to hold their own opinions and to take part in the political process, they must never associate the Grand Priory with any sectarian or political cause, no matter how noble, lest this Grand Priory be identified with that cause and it detract from our holy purposes. We are dedicated to fostering the rights of Christians in all lands to worship freely, and we consider activities in support of this cause to be more spiritual than secular, as outlined in Article XII.
No officer or official in the OSMTJ Grand Priory of America will ever order a subordinate knight or dame to perform any act or duty that violates his or her conscience, or religious beliefs, to include the canon law of his or her church, or the laws of his or her country, or applicable international law.
We are bound to uphold all just and moral oaths, such as oaths of fealty, and marriage or sacerdotal vows, but no secret oath shall ever be required in the OSMTJ Grand Priory of America. Nor will blood oaths ever be required of a member of this Grand Priory, for our Lord is the ultimate Judge of whether or not a just and moral oath has been truly kept and fulfilled. All oaths taken by a Knight Templar will be taken on the Christian Bible.
We hold, now and forever, that neither titles nor ranks shall ever be for sale, nor will entry into the Grand Priory of America ever be dependent upon any person’s financial or social status. Nor will any knight or dame ever be dismissed from the Grand Priory or held in contempt for the inability to pay donations or obligations. Neither shall any priory nor other governing body of our organization 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.
The OSMTJ Grand Priory of America and its members will respect all state and national laws of the United States of America. We claim no sovereignty. All priories that make up the Grand Priory of America shall recognize and honor those officers elected to serve as the governing body of the Grand Priory.
In the case that any member violates this Declaration, the statutes of the Grand Priory of America, or the bylaws of the priory itself, in that such a person may have departed from Templar principles and operates in such a manner as to bring dishonor and discredit upon our Grand Priory, that person will be expelled from our Grand Priory.
We recognize all other legitimate Knights Templar Orders, and we seek to ally ourselves with other true Knights Templar Orders, but we do not recognize, nor admit the existence of any Templar Order with a superior claim to that of our own.
The Grand Priory of America may, from time to time, select a Royal or spiritual Protector for the Grand Priory, and shall pay homage to the same; however, the selection of a Royal or spiritual protector will not imply or express an elevation of the protector’s church over any other church body. We also hereby ordain that all members of the Grand Priory shall render the proper respect to all Christian churches and their lawful clerics and leaders, and will never seek to cause division or schism in the Grand Priory due to theological differences between the various churches and their congregations. We also give grateful thanks to the churches that have assisted this Grand Priory in its time of need.
Whereas the Knights Templar were originally founded to protect the Christian pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land, we hold as one of our most sacred duties to be an advocate for the right of Christians to worship freely wherever they may reside or travel, and we will not rest until all Christians are accorded this basic God-given right. We hereby pledge our knightly honor as defenders of the faith, as we pray that our Grand Priory may once again fulfill its charge to guard the sacred places in the Holy Land.
The OSMTJ Grand Priory of America will never reject any postulant on the basis of race, sex, ethnic origins, nationality, social, economic, or educational status, political creed, or Christian tradition. We hold that in addition to being a baptized Christian and a person of good character, the chief criterion for acceptance will be the postulant’s willingness to serve the Grand Priory faithfully and without thought of recompense. We similarly hold that no postulant has an automatic right to join the Grand Priory, but must be accepted by the membership of the priory to which he or she has applied, and meet the standards established for membership in the Grand Priory.
We hold that beneath our white mantles that we are all humble servants of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we forever mandate that all male and female knights shall be co-equal in this Grand Priory and that no office, title, or rank shall ever be debarred a Knight Templar on the basis of sex, ethnicity, social or financial status, or Christian tradition.
We will remember the brave and valorous Knights Templar who were martyred in the name of our Lord, and who were unjustly imprisoned, tortured, and burned at the stake on the orders of an Unchristian King.
Membership in the OSMTJ Grand Priory of America conveys no social titles such as “Sir.” Instead, Christian men who join the organization are termed “Knights” with the honorific title of chevalier, and females are termed “Dames” with the honorific title of Chevaleresse (or Chevalière).
The OSMTJ Grand Priory of America will forever hold sacred the five indefeasible rules of our Grand Priory:
(1) The Temple and Service thereof, for we are the spiritual descendants of the original Nine Knights of the Order, who first held their conclaves in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and we look forward to its rebuilding;
(2) the Love of Meditation, for we must continually look into our own souls, and ask ourselves if we are truly following in the footsteps of the Master;
(3) Discipline, for the principles laid down for the Grand Priory by our patron saint, Bernard of Clairvaux, are still valid today, and we must remember that we are standard-bearers for our faith, and never forget that in all personal choices we set an example, whether good or bad;
(4) Knightly Combat, for the Blood Red Cross that we wear reminds us that sacrifices are often required of the faithful, and we must always be willing to battle the forces of evil in the spiritual realm. Today’s Templars are faced with a spiritual battle instead of a physical one.
(5) Brotherhood and Sisterhood, in that each day we must help our brethren, for one day our Lord shall ask us, “Where is thy brother and thy sister?”; and on that day we shall have to give an account of ourselves. We must not accept reward, but always be pillars of the Temple, for all the Grand Priory holds for us is the opportunity to flee the sins of the world, to live charitably, to be penitent, and above all, to be the humble servant of Almighty God.
In this, our Holy mandate, to further the aims of Christianity and our Grand Priory, and in particular, to enable the Holy Christian Church to carry out the Great Commission, we pledge our lives, our souls, and our knightly honor.
We, the undersigned members of the Supreme Military Order of the Jerusalem Temple, representing all the priories in the Confederation, hold that this indefeasible Declaration will henceforth serve as the guiding principles of our Grand Priory, and we declare that any Templars, priories, or governing bodies that depart from them have forfeited their knighthoods and right to be known or called members of the Supreme Military Order of the Jerusalem Temple. Let those who violate these principles and bring dishonor to this Grand Priory be summarily expelled, but let those who hold these principles dear and who wish to glorify our Lord be forever known as faithful Knights Templar, and may our Lord give them strength and courage to endure to the end.
Therefore we, the OSMTJ Grand Priory of America, dedicate this Declaration to our most holy Lord Jesus Christ, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and no secrets hidden. We hereby submit ourselves to our Lord, and pray that He will cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of His Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love and faithfully serve Him, and worthily magnify His greatness and holiness, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
We also pray that we, the OSMTJ Grand Priory of America, may find our inheritance in the Kingdom of God with all the holy knights and saints who have found favor with our Lord in ages past.
O God, the protector of all who trusts in You, without Whom nothing is strong, nothing is noble, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us Your mercy; that, with You as our Ruler and Guide, we may so pass through things temporal; that we lose not the things eternal; that we are Knights Templar worthy of our charges and oaths, and that we fearlessly battle evil in the spiritual realm; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
Through Christ, and with Christ, and in Christ, all honor and glory are yours, Almighty God and Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.