Secret Societies: Knights Templar

Name of Organization: Knights Templar

Date of Origin: 1199 AD – 1314

Historic Significance: Crusades from 1095 – 1314

Motto: Not for self, but for God

Founders: Christian French knight Hugues de Payens & his relative Godfrey de Saint-Omer

Work: Western Christian military order said to be nine in number at the beginning– had the mandate of protecting Christian pilgrims who were en route to the Holy Land to visit the shrines sacred to their faith.

Somewhere between the years of AD 1118 – 1120, King Baldwin II granted the group quarters in a wing of the Royal Palace on the Temple Mount (the Al Aqsa Mosque).

End: King Philip IV had the Templars arrested on October 13, 1307 for becoming corrupt, misusing their wealth and power, and for blasphemy.

In 1312 the Templars were officially dissolved by Pope Clement V at the Council of Vienne. Although the Templars were not found guilty of the crimes they were charged with, it was felt that the reputation of the Order had fallen to so low a state as to warrant dissolving the Order.

On March 18th, 1314 the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay, was burned at the stake, for having recanted his earlier confessions of guilt.

The remaining Knights Templar after the suppression joined the Hospitallers and changed the naming to Knights of Rhodes or also known as Knights of Malta* which still exist until today as a philanthropic organization that focuses on medical assistance.

(*) Information about the Knights of Malta are given in a previous post.

Secret Societies: Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem / Knights of Rhodes / Knights of Malta

Ok so now for the second organization, and here I’d like to clarify why it is considered “secret”. Namely, no one is allowed to know from times of its initiation until today, the ongoings inside the society, the decisions, the plans nor the affiliated members unless they disclose it.
Name of Organization: Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem / Knights of Rhodes /  Knights of Malta
Date of Origin: 1099 AD – Present
Historic Significance: Crusades from 1095 – 1314
Founder: Thomas Gerald
Motto: Pro Fide, Pro Utilitate Hominum (For the faith, in service of mankind)
Origin & Work: The Hospitallers were a military/religious order founded to protect religious pilgrims from Europe to the holy land. They initiated and managed hospitals in Jerusalem during& after crusades to provide medical care for the injured and the needy. They took care of Christian knights, warriors and followers in times of war and peace as well.
Following the liberation of the Holy Land by the Islamic forces, they departed out of Jerusalem by Saladin. They moved to Rhodes in Cyprus and changed many of there name, tactics and field of work entirely from protecting Christian pilgrimages and warriors to fighting against Islam .
Later, the Knights of Rhodes were kicked out of Cyprus by a wave of Islamic forces and the remaining knights were allowed to withdraw to Sicily. After few years, the king of Sicily gave the knights Malta as a headquarters for a certain fee in return, from there on they were known as Knights of Malta. In Malta again the knights changed their tactics and field of work from fighting on the ground to protecting the Christian sea trade routes and navies from and too the Levant(today known as Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Jordan).
Later on Malta was overtook by Napoleon and the knights were dispersed into Europe loosing much of their income and power due to the many political/religious changes in Europe.  Early 1800’s the knights gathered themselves in Russia and from there tried to re-establish the links in Europe.
In WWI and afterwards the resumed their activity mainly focusing on medical care and found themselves in much need in Europe.
Today, the Knights of Malta, known as the Sovereign Order of Knights of Malta (SMOM) holds a sovereign status, has diplomatic relations with more than a hundred countries, an observer position in the UN, issues its own passports, has its own rules..etc.