Southwestern Division of The Grand Commandery of Ohio
Purpose and Activities of the Knights Templar Organization
Integrity, Obedience, Courage
The Knights Templar is a Christian-oriented fraternal organization that was founded in the 11th century. Originally, the Knights Templar were laymen who protected and defended Christians travelling to Jerusalem. These men took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and were renowned for their fierceness and courage in battle.
Today, the Knights Templar display their courage and goodwill in other ways. They organize fund-raising activities such as breakfasts, dinners, dances, and flea markets. They support Masonic-related youth groups and they raise millions of dollars for medical research and educational assistance.
Currently, Templar membership consists of people from all walks of life, including doctors, lawyers, clergy, businessmen and entertainment personalities, all of whom profess a belief in the Christian Religion.
The Knights Templar Eye Foundation
The Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc., is a 501 (C) 3 charity, sponsored by the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar and was founded in 1956. Its mission is “to improve vision through research, education and supporting access to care.”
The Foundation is a supporter and partner of the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s (AAO’s) EyeCare America® and One® Network programs. The Foundation has expended over $148 million since its incorporation with over $24 million, awarded in grants to researchers working in pediatric ophthalmology and ophthalmic genetics.
The Foundation is funded by donations from the Knights Templar membership, contributions made by Masons from throughout the Masonic Family, and the general public. These tax-deductible donations are designated for either the general or the endowment fund. Many members, as well as non-members, leave bequests as part of their estates supporting the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc. in the preservation of sight.
More information can be obtaining through the web site: www.knightstemplar.org/ktef
Who are the Knights Templar?
Grand Commandery of Ohio
A Commandery of Knights Templar is part of the York Rite of Freemasonry. Although no direct linage can be established between the ancient templars who fought in the Crusades many believe that the original ancient templars had reason to form what is now the fraternity of Freemasonry.
The ancient order was established in 1118 when Hugh de Paynes petitioned King Baldwin II on behalf of himself and eight other knights for permission to establish themselves as a new religious order. The order took the name The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon and were located in Jerusalem. Over the centuries they would become known as the Order of the Temple. Under vows of poverty, chastity and obedience they devoted themselves totally to the military protection of pilgrims to the holy places.
By 1307 they had become very powerful and the first international bankers. This power and control of monies led to the suppression of the order by King Phillip I of France, who owed them a considerable amount of money, and Pope Clement V. On Friday September the 13th, 1307 fifteen thousand templars were arrested and put into chains; a date that would live for centuries in the minds of millions as the unluckiest day of the year.
Although most of the Templars in Europe were arrested, many escaped to Scotland and it is from here, many believe, that for their own protection they formed an “underground organization” that would one day become the Freemasons. For more information may I suggest two books: Born in Blood and Dungeon, Fire and Sword, both written by John J. Robinson. If you are interested in Freemasonry and Templar Masonry feel free to ask any mason or contact your local Masonic Temple. Many who are not Masons think that Freemasonry is a secret organization, however, while it may be an organization of secrets, such as the church of your choice or many other organizations to which you belong, the address and telephone number of the local lodge is published in your telephone directory. Give them a call!