The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, traces its tradition and history to the year 1118. Founded by Hugues de Payens, Geoffroy de Saint-Omer, André de Montbard, Gondemare, Godefroy, Roral, Geoffroy de Bissol, Payen de Montdidier and Archambaud de Saint-Agnan, all of whom were chevaliers of France who had served under Godefroy de Bouillon, the Order was created in the early days of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, when the crusaders controlled only a few strongholds. Pilgrims depended upon the Knights to provide a means for their safe passage through the Holy Land. The Knights consecrated themselves to the protection of Christian pilgrims and the defense of the Holy Land against barbarian aggressors, accepting monastic vows under the Patriarch Garimond of France.
For almost two centuries, the good deeds done by these Knights and their successors in protecting the Holy sites in Jerusalem, the Holy Land itself, and the routes to the Holy Land became legendary. The Order grew in strength and prospered greatly during the crusades, until those jealous of its financial power violently overthrew it and confiscated its properties, ultimately executing its Grand Master Jacques de Molay and many of its other leaders in the year 1314.
The original Order of the Temple ended with the death of its leaders, but the Templar spirit survived in a misty and elaborate world of legend and myth. The sacrifices of the original knights in the name of Christianity; their vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience; and their legendary fighting prowess offered a vision of purity, honor, an bravery, that many individuals and organizations have sought over the seven centuries since then to ally themselves with that image.
The Autonmous Grand Priory of the The United States of America
Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem
The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, Inc. is an autonomous and independent organization, incorporated in the United States, which seeks to emulate the chivalric and charity traditions of the original Templars; its members apply themselves energetically and selflessly to Christian charitable endeavors. Our guiding lights are the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity, through which members aspire to serve faithfully as Knights of God's Temple. The motto of the Order, "Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed Nomini Tuo da gloriam" is the Latin version of Psalm 115, verse 1 -- "Not unto us, Oh Lord, not unto us, but to Thy Name be given glory." The Order, in an age of democratic materialism and secular humanism, seeks, by reconstituting an ancient chivalric order, to adopt an organization of proven effectiveness in capturing the allegiance and spirit of dedicated leaders, and to show that spiritual idealism is most certainly relevant and not inconsistent with a sensibility for tradition, nor inconsistent with patriotism nor civic duty -- thus the Order's purposes include assisting and facilitating the growth of the virtues of Christian gentlemen and ladies, by endeavor with God's Grace. The members of this Order believe they have an obligation to participate in the coalescing and preservation of a constructive force similar to that which created knighthood and chivalry during the Middle Ages. The Order has both a Chaplain's Corps for ordained ministers and a Chirurgeon's Corps for medical professionals. It also has an associated honorary Order of Merit that recognizes accomplished individuals of all faiths for their extraordinary work for God and humanity.
There is clearly a growing desire among caring men and women to spread goodness in the world. The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem is increasingly viewed as a means of doing so; its volunteer base is growing rapidly in terms of both numbers and talent. In order for a growing volunteer organization like SMOTJ to be effective on a large scale, it utilizes the varied talents of all and magnifies the results of their efforts through effective organization - all the while keeping a singular crusading focus.
Organisation and Purpose
OSMTH is a Swiss Registered (CH-660.1972999-4) Ecumenical Christian Confraternal Order, whose primary work is charitable and humanitarian in nature, focusing on all peoples afflicted by poverty, injustice, conflict and disaster.
Our national entities - Grand Priories - concentrate on humanitarian efforts and charitable projects, whilst OSMTH International - utilising personnel drawn from these national entities - represents the Order at the international diplomatic level to sovereign nations, regional and supranational bodies. At all levels such work is often carried out in partnership with and for the benefit of all peoples regardless of faith, creed or ethnic background.
OSMTH holds accreditation as a United Nations ECOSOC Non-Governmental Organisation (in Special Consultative Status, No.19885) maintaining:
• permanent missions in New York, Geneva and Vienna; and
• permanent delegations to the Department of Public Information (DPI); Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR); Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC); Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT); the Convention on Women; and the Convention on Bio-Diversity
Furthermore, the Order is an active partner of:
• the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (EU FRA);
• NATO Confederation of Interallied Reserve Officers (NATO-CIOR);
• Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO);
• the International Peace Bureau (member), through which OSMTH serves as a nominating body to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee; and
• the International Centre for Religion and Diplomacy (through SMOTJ).
Although a Christian Order, OSMTH is not a church, fundamentalist group or missionary organisation - we do not give spiritual guidance nor judge those who follow another path of faith. We are not modern day "Crusaders". We express our Christian belief through our works.
As a modern-day Order we achieve these works through our "four pillars":
1. Peacemaking, Peacebuilding and Justice: mediation, facilitation, diplomacy, humanitarian relief, capacity building and development;
2. Clergy: close and active working relations with all Christian denominations, plus interfaith dialogue and bridge-building;
3. Membership: high-level membership with regards to professional expertise, motivation, and networks;
4. Tradition: expressed as a Chivalric Order through our Ecclesiastic protection and Royal patronage, the Regula Moderna, ethical code of conduct, academic and historical discourse.
However four other factors are crucial to the approach and governance of our Order: democracy, transparency, equality, and non-political activity or allegiance.
The Brussels Declaration: “Aiding Humanity on the Pilgrimage through Life” OSMTH’s raison d’etre is expressed through our
Vision and Commitment
• Christian Ethos, Spirituality and Chivalric Values
• Domestic Charity and International Humanitarian Aid
• Human Rights and the respect for Human Diversity
• Interfaith Dialogue and Bridge-Building
• Provide humanitarian aid to Christians and all peoples in need around the world, through physical, financial, and moral support.
• Continue programmes that aid Christians around the world, especially in the Holy Land.
• Promote a dialogue based on the principles of peace and justice amongst and between the faiths of the Sons of Abraham and the other great religions of the world, to establish better understanding and greater tolerance.
• Mitigate human suffering by actively participating in activities associated with disaster relief, humanitarian aid, human rights, peace building and sustainable development, and the respect of human diversity.
• Facilitate, mediate and advocate conflict-prevention and resolution by providing subject matter experts and supporting organizations in the fields of religious and international diplomacy.
Being a voluntary organisation, the Order’s works are carried out pro bono by our membership as subject matter specialists within their given professions as advisors, facilitators and catalysts, furthered by effectively utilizing their related networks.
The Order is currently composed of 21 member nations (based throughout Europe and the Americas) and their associated areas of jurisdiction and operation (Asia, Continental India, Oceania, Africa and the Middle-East), with a combined full membership exceeding 6000 men and women, with an estimated thousand novices and associate members.
OSMTH International is the umbrella organisation, serving as the centralised executive and legislative government of the Order.
History and Tradition
Today’s Order of the Temple was founded in France, 1705, officially reconstituted in 1804, and recognised as an Order of Chivalry by its patron Napoleon Bonaparte in 1805; this recognition was later ratified by Emperor Louis Napoleon III.
OSMTH does not claim direct descent or continuation from the Medieval Order founded by Hugues de Payens in 1118 and dissolved by Pope Clement V in 1312, merely inspiration.
Contrary to popular belief the Order is not a Masonic Organisation nor maintains links - official or otherwise - with the aforesaid organisation
OSMTH enjoys the Religious Protection of His Beatitude the Most Blessed Theodosius, Metropolitan (ret.) of the United States and Canada; and the Royal Patronage of HRH Princess Elisabeth zu Ysenburg und Büdingen, Princess zu Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg.
In summary, OSMTH is an active and modern Ecumenical Christian Confraternal Order that seeks to address the very real humanitarian needs of today's world.