Bernard-Raymond Fabré-Palaprat

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Bernard-Raymond Fabré-Palaprat

Bernard-Raymond Fabré-Palaprat (29 May 1773[1] – 18 February 1838[2]), was a priest and mystic who founded a neo-Templar order[3] called l'Ordre du Temple in 1804 and the Johannite Church in 1812,[4][5] and proclaimed himself Grand Master of the Templars and Sovereign Pontiff of the Primitive Catholic religion, opposing the Church of Saint Peter.[6]

Early life[edit]

Bernard-Raymond Fabré-Palaprat was the son of a surgeon and nephew of a priest in the diocese of Cahors.[7] He studied at the diocesan seminary and was ordained a priest. Leaving the priesthood, he studied medicine in Montpellier and Caen, where he received his medical degree on 12 April 1798.[1] Moving to Paris the same year, he obtained another medical degree on 16 September 1803,[1] and became the director general of the Société médico-philantropique.[8]

Order of the Temple[edit]

On 4 November 1804 Fabré-Palaprat founded the Order of the Temple [9] and revealed the existence of the Larmenius Charter (or "Charter of Transmission"). Knights of the Order were always addressed as "Sir Knights".[10] The Grand Master of the Order was addressed as "Most Eminent Highness, Very Great, Powerful, and Excellent Prince, and Most Serene Lord."[11]

The Larmenius Charter, allegedly written in Latin in 1324, listed 22 successive Grand Masters of the Knights Templar from 1324 to 1804, Fabré-Palaprat's name appearing last on the list. The Charter is named after Johannes Marcus Larmenius, the purported author of the document who, according to the Charter, was appointed Grand Master by Jacques de Molay while imprisoned, also having the power to appoint his successor (Thomas Theobaldus Alexandrinus in 1324; the first name on the list). The list of grand masters in the Larmenius Charter differs from the list of 'Scottish' Grand Masters given by the German Strict Observance, who produced no document, and the Larmenius Charter also anathematized the 'Scottish' Templars,[12] who were excommunicated by Johannes Marcus Larmenius in 1324, who declared them "Deserters of The Temple".[13]

Fabré-Palaprat's Order of the Temple claimed to possess significant relics: the sword of Jacques de Molay, the helmet of Guy Dauphin d'Auvergne, the Beausant, and four fragments of burnt bones taken from the funeral pyre where Jacques de Molay had been executed.[14] These relics, described as "The Sacred Treasure of The Order of The Temple" in the Manual of the order (and described within an Inventory in the Statutes of the order),[15] were displayed in March 1808 on the anniversary of Jacques de Molay's death, when members of the Order celebrated a public requiem for the 'martyred' Grand Master in the Church of St. Paul in Paris.[16]

Johannite Church[edit]

In 1812 Fabré-Palaprat formed the Johannite Church, introducing faith-based elements into his order. He later ordained Ferdinand-François Châtel, a radical clergyman who left the priesthood following the July Revolution, as Primate of the Johannite church, on 4 May 1831.[17] Châtel established his new French Catholic Church (Eglise Catholique Française) in former shop premises in Montmartre, decorating it with the bust of Louis Philippe I placed under the Tricolour flag. The Johannite church was located in a former bottle shop in the Cour des miracles, dubbed the "Apostolic Court of the Temple". The Order dated its documents from 'Magistropolis', a mystical calendar commencing from the foundation of the Knights Templar in 1118.[18]

In 1831, following the July Revolution, Fabré-Palaprat published the Evangelikon, a Gnostic version of the Gospel of John that omits intra-textual commentary and the Resurrection narrative, preceded by an introduction and a commentary allegedly written by Nicephorus, a Greek monk of Athens, that carries the name Lévitikon. The Lévitikon contains an esoteric lineage from Jesus to the Knights Templar, and hints that Jesus was an initiate of the mysteries of Osiris, which were passed on to John the Beloved. Fabré-Palaprat claimed to have bought this vellum manuscript (allegedly dating from the 15th century), from a Paris second-hand bookstall on New Year's Day in 1814. It was translated into English for the first time in 2010.[19]

Fabré-Palaprat introduced a Johannite Mass in 1834. The title "Christ" was reserved not just for Jesus but used for all leaders of the Johannite tradition who had attained Gnosis, similar to deification in the Orthodox Church.

In 1836 a schism, led by the Duc de Choiseul resulted out of dissatisfaction with the new Johannite church that had replaced the previous chivalric-style order. Fabré-Palaprat responded by admitting Sir Sidney Smith to the Johannite church.[20] The Duc de Choiseul was later elected Grand Master of the Order of the Temple in 1838, dying the same year.[21][22]

Sir Sidney Smith was invited to take over as Grand Master of the Order, an offer he declined, but consented to preside over as Regent until a successor to Fabré-Palaprat had been chosen (which did not happen during his lifetime).[23]


Fabré-Palaprat was awarded the Legion of Honour for his defence of Paris in 1814, and received the July Medal for his actions during the Three Glorious Days of the Revolution of 1830.[24]

"Memoir of the Late M. Bernard Raymond Fabré-Palaprat, Grand Master of the Order of the Temple" was published by Robert Bigsby the Younger, in The Miscellaneous Poems and Essays of Robert Bigsby (London: Whittaker And Co., 1842).


The Regency of the Order of the Temple was at one stage passed on to Joséphin Péladan, later becoming amalgamated among other occult groups headed by Papus, finally becoming legally incorporated by a Belgian group known as the Ordre Souverain et Militaire du Temple de Jérusalem, OSMTJ.[25] Today, this group operates as a Christian chivalric order and charitable organization. As well as with the Ordre Souverain du Temple Initiatique Sovereign Order of the Initiatory Temple (OSTI).

The Sovereign Order of the Initiatory Temple (OSTI), and its outer order known as International Circle for Cultural and Scientific Research (CIRCES International), with CIRCES being created by Raymond Bernard in 1988. Raymond Bernard describes his initiation into the OSTI in 1955, and the mission he was charged with for bringing OSTI public, in his 1966 book entitled A Secret Meeting In Rome. Raymond Bernard created CIRCES International as an outward Templar vehicle to eventually prepare people for initiation into the inner Order of the OSTI. CIRCES International also continues to protect and perpetuate L'Ordre Martiniste of Papus, which Joseph Péladan had been initiated into.[26][27]

Selected works[edit]

  • Lévitikon: ou Exposé des principes fondamentaux de la doctrine des chrétiens-catholiques-primitifs: suivi de leurs évangiles, d'un extrait de la Table d'or... et précédé du statut sur le gouvernement de l'Eglise et la hiérarchie lévitique (Paris: Librairie des Chrétiens-primitifs: J. Machault, 1831).
  • Épître du souverain pontife et patriarche de la religion chrétienne catholique primitive (Paris: Ladvocat, 1831).
  • De l'Église chrétienne-primitive et du catholicisme romain de nos jours, par une réunion d'ecclésiastiques (Paris: Houdaille, 1833).
  • Jérusalem et Rome, débats entre les journalistes protecteurs du catholicisme romain de nos jours et les conservateurs du christianisme de l'Église primitive, pour faire suite au livre "De l'Église chrétienne-primitive" (Paris: Bureau central d'imprimerie et de librairie, 1834).
  • Recherches historiques sur les Templiers et sur leurs croyances religieuses (Paris: Dentu, 1835).

Further reading[edit]

  • Clausen, Daniel (2021). "Re-Examining the Larmenius Charter". Templar Succession: Establishing Continuity 1307-Present.
  • Clausen, Daniel (2021). "Addressing the Dresser: Succession 1792-1804 Timoleon to Fabre-Palaprat". Templar Succession: Establishing Continuity 1307-Present.
  • Manual of The Knights of the Order of The Temple, Translated by Henry Lucas (Liverpool: David Marples, 1830)
  • Alec Mellor, Les Mythes Maçonniques (Paris: Payot, 1974). ISBN 2-228-17190-5
  • Manuel des Chevaliers de l'Ordre du Temple (Paris: J.-B. Poulet et Ch.-A. Poulet, 1817-1818), French language version available from Google books [1]

External links[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Chantin, Jean-Pierre (2001). Dictionnaire du monde religieux dans la France contemporaine. Paris: Beauchesne. pp. 90–91. ISBN 0701014180.
  2. ^ Bigsby, Robert (1842). The miscellaneous poems and essays of Robert Bigsby. London: Whittaker and co. p. 311. Retrieved 11 December 2012. Memoir of the late M. Bernard Raymond Fabré-Palaprat, Grand Master of the Order of the Temple....The decease of this eminent personage took place at Pau, in the department of Lower Pyrenees, on the 18th of February, 1839, in the 64th year of his age, and in the 34th of his grand-mastership
  3. ^ Lewis, James R., ed. (2006). The Order of the Solar Temple : the temple of death ([Online-Ausg.] ed.). Aldershot, Hants, England: Ashgate. pp. 22. ISBN 9780754652854.
  4. ^ "J.R. Ritman Library - Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica". Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-10.
  5. ^ "Bernard-Raymond Fabre-Palaprat +1838". 18 February 2004.
  6. ^ Eugen Weber, My France: Politics, Culture, Myth, page 124 (Harvard University Press, 1991). ISBN 0-674-59575-0
  7. ^ Le Conservateur belge: recueil ecclésiastique et littéraire, Vol. 10 (in French). Louvain, Belgium: Vanlinthout et Vandenzande. 1834. p. 501.
  8. ^ Sarrut, Germain (1836). Biographie des hommes du jour, industriels,--conseillers-d'Etat,--artistes,--chambellans,--députés,--prêtres,--militaires,--écrivains,--rois,--diplomates,--pairs,--gens de justice,--princes,--espions fameux,--savans, vol. 2. Paris: Henri Krabe. pp. 335–342. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  9. ^ Emmanuel Rebold, A General History of Free-masonry In Europe: Based upon The Ancient Documents relating to, and the Monuments erected by this Fraternity from its foundation in the Year 715 B.C. to the present time, page 225 (Cincinnati: American Masonic Publishing Association, 1869).
  10. ^ Charles William Heckethorn, The Secret Societies of All Ages & Countries, Volume 2, pages 48-50 (Cosimo Inc., 2005; originally published in 1875). ISBN 1-59605-381-X
  11. ^ E. R. Johnston, Masonry Defined: A Liberal Masonic Education that Every Mason Should Have. Compiled from the Writings of Albert G. Mackey and Many Other Eminent Authorities, Part 2, page 842 (Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2010, originally published in 1930). ISBN 1-162-57649-9
  12. ^ Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians: The Templars and Their Myth, page 135 (Barnes & Noble books, 1993). ISBN 1-56619-494-6
  13. ^ Manual of The Knights of the Order of The Temple, page 11, Translated by Henry Lucas (Liverpool: David Marples, 1830)
  14. ^ George Kenning, Kenning's Masonic Encyclopedia and Handbook of Masonic Archeology, History and Biography, pages 108-109 (Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2003; originally published in 1878). ISBN 0-7661-6526-4
  15. ^ Manual of The Knights of the Order of The Temple, page 34, and pages 45-47. Translated by Henry Lucas (Liverpool: David Marples, 1830)
  16. ^ Partner, page 136.
  17. ^ José Orval, Une Histoire Humaine de la Franc-Maçonnerie Spéculative, page 192 (Liége: Céfal, 2006). ISBN 2-87130-220-0
  18. ^ Partner, page 148.
  19. ^ Rev. Donald Donato, The Lévitikon: The Gospels According To The Primitive Church (Apostolic Johannite Church, 2010). ISBN 1-894981-99-5
  20. ^ Partner, page 149.
  21. ^ Nicolaus C. Heutger, Die Tempelherren einst und heute: Zum 50. Jubiläum der Reaktivierung des Tempelherren-Ordens in Deutschland, page 174 (Berlin: Lukas Verlag, 2007). ISBN 3-86732-017-9
  22. ^ List of Grand Masters of the Order of the Temple
  23. ^ William White, Notes and Queries: Second Series, Volume First, January - June, 1856, page 461 (London: Bell & Daldy, 1856).
  24. ^ Anna Klumpke, Rosa Bonheur: The Artist's (Auto)biography, page 108 (University of Michigan Press, 2003). ISBN 0-472-08842-4
  25. ^ Massimo Introvigne, "Ordeal by Fire: The Tragedy of the Solar Temple", pages 22-23 in James R. Lewis, The Order of The Solar Temple: The Temple of Death (Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2006). ISBN 978-0-7546-5285-4
  26. ^ Carlson Anyangwe, Imperialistic Politics In Cameroun: Resistance & The Inception of The Restoration of the Statehood of Southern Cameroons, page 122 (Langaa Research & Publishing Common Initiative Group, 2008). ISBN 9956-558-50-8
  27. ^ Massimo Introvigne claimed Raymond Bernard asked Julien Origas (1920-1983) to establish an OSTI chapter in 1971, that remained largely dormant until it was revived by Bernard in 1988. In Massimo Introvigne, "The Magic of Death: The Suicides of the Solar Temple" in, Catherine Lowman Wessinger (editor), Millennialism, Persecution, and Violence: Historical Cases, page 142 (New York: Syracuse University Press, 2000).