Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem

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A simplified chart of the various splits within the Order.

The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, (Latin: Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani, OSMTH), is a self-styled order and international NGO. OSMTH is often referred to simply as the Knights Templars but asserts no direct lineage to the original Order. OSMTH does not officially recognize the claims laid out in the Larmenius Charter as historically valid,[1] but makes a moral and ethical claim to follow in the same spiritual path as the original Order of the Knights Templar.[2] OSMTH, which is open to Christians of any denomination, operates as a charity.[3]


The l'Ordre du Temple, founded in France in 1705, claimed to be the continuation of the medieval Knights Templar, using the Larmenius Charter as evidence of its pedigree. The order was officially reconstituted in 1804 by Bernard-Raymond Fabré-Palaprat,[4] and recognized as an Order of Chivalry by its patron Napoleon Bonaparte in 1805.[5]

In 1970, a schism occurred within the OSMTH when General Antoine Zdrojewski was unexpectedly elected as the new Grand Master of the OSMTH at the Convent of Paris in September, 1970.[6] Zdrojewski became the head of one faction of the Order, which he referred to by the French translation: "Ordre Souverain et Militaire du Temple de Jérusalem" (OSMTJ), until his death in 1989. Zdrojewski was succeeded by George Lamirand as the new head of the OSMTJ until his death in 1994.[7] George Lamirand was succeeded by Nicolas Haimovici Hastier as OSMTJ International Leader.[citation needed]

In 1997, OSMTH voted to expel Grand Master Fernando de Sousa Fontes from the order. This resulted in another schism with those loyal to Fontes forming a new organization presently known as OSMTH-Regency while the remainder of the organization continued on as OSMTH.

While OSMTH rituals and traditions are currently based upon those of the historical Knights Templar, according to its website[1] and their present leader, Grand Master Patrick Rea,[8] there is no direct historical lineage claimed by OSMTH and the 12th century Templars.

In 2001, the Order was accredited by the United Nations Economic and Social Council as a non-governmental organisation, in special consultative status, one of over 2,000 organizations to hold this status.[9] The Order is an associate member of the International Peace Bureau and an affiliate of the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy,[10] which was founded by one of OSMTH's members.[3] In 2014, OSMTH was elected as a board member of CoNGO (Conference of NGOs in consultative status with the United Nations.[citation needed]


The order exists in each country under different jurisdictions. The United States Grand Priory of the OSMTH is known as the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, Inc. (SMOTJ) - this being the English rendering of the Latin name.[11] They should not be confused with a multitude of other self-styled "Knights Templar", or the Masonic Knights Templar.

OSMTH is registered in Geneva, Swiss Reg No: CH-660.1.972777-4 and is in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations has over 5000 active members in Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, England & Wales, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Serbia, Ukraine and in the United States.[12][13] OSMTH operates in a number of countries providing humanitarian aid [14] such as the River Jordan Project that is supported by HM King Abdullah of Jordan.[15]

The ecumenical Christian organization operates as a modern-day network of educated professionals.[16] As of August 2007, the organization had approximately 5,200 members.[8]

Christian men who join the organisation are self-styled as "Knights" with the title of Chevalier and females are termed "Dames" with the title of Chevaleresse (or Chevalière).[17] The modern Order claims over 5000 members, allegedly including leaders in the military, business, government and ecclesiastical communities.[18]

The Order's Royal Patron, who is also a Chevalière of the Order, is Her Highness Princess Elisabeth of Ysenburg and Büdingen (b. 1945), the eldest daughter of the late Prince Friedrich Ferdinand of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and his wife, Duchess Anastasia of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The House of Schleswig-Holstein is unique by virtue of its numerous junior lines that have occupied (and will be occupying) thrones beside that of the senior, ducal line, to which Princess Elisabeth belongs. Through her father she is a direct descendant of King Frederick V of Denmark and King George II of Great Britain. Princess Elisabeth is the widow of Prince Ferdinand Heinrich of Ysenburg and Büdingen (1940-1989), and has two sons, Prince Johann Georg and Prince Ludwig.

The Religious Patron is H.E. Archbishop Dr. Vicken Aykazian, Legate of the Eastern Diocese Armenian Apostolic Church of America.[19]


Ordre Souverain et Militaire du Temple de Jérusalem (OSMTJ)[edit]

The OSMTJ split from OSMTH in 1970 after the former Grandmaster Fontes refused to obey the laws of succession when General Antoine Zdrojewski was elected. Some of the Grand Priories, including the French, Belgian, Swiss, and Polish, followed the newly elected General Zdrojewski, and some stayed loyal to Fontes.  Alfred Zappelli (Grand Prior of Switzerland), General Georges de Bruyn (Grand Prior of Belgium), and Badouraly-Somji Alibay (Commander of the Polish Commandery)  were also backers of General Zdrojewski.  After the election of Zdrojewski, those who followed him became known as OSMTJ.  Those who continued to follow de Sousa Fontes were known as OSMTH (or “OSMTH-Regency”).  “OSMTJ” is the French acronym  for  “Ordre Souverain et Militaire du Temple de Jérusalem.” [20]

In late 1973, Grand Master Zdrojewski carried out a re-organization of the OSMTJ and a reform of the Statutes. He approved the Grand Priories re-asserting the independence of the International Federation of Autonomous Grand Priories of the OSMTJ (Each member Grand Priory was recognized as autonomous). The Swiss Grand Priory accepted these reformed statutes in 1973, while the Belgian and United States Grand Priories accepted them in 1975. Zdrojewski was succeeded by George Lamirand as the new head of the OSMTJ until his death in 1994.[21] George Lamirand was succeeded by Dr. Nicolas Haimovici Hastier as Regent. On January 2nd, 2020, General Ronald S. Mangun was elected as Master of OSMTJ.[22]

Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem (SMOTJ)[edit]

The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem (SMOTJ), founded in 1962, is the American autonomous Grand Priory of the Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani (OSMTH).[16] branch of the Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani.[23][24] The SMOTJ broke with the OSMTH-Regency in 1995 when it refused to recognize the sovereignty of OSMTH-Regency Grand Master Dom Fernando de Sousa Fontes.

This name Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem (SMOTJ) has been trademarked and is used exclusively in America by the SMOTJ and thus does not refer to the group of organizations tracing lineage to OSMTH but rather to the current OSMTH only.


  1. ^ a b "OSMTH Templar legacy page". Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  2. ^ Thomas, Brian. "Templar Legacy". Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  3. ^ a b "OSMTH brochure, p. 3, 5, 6" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  4. ^ "History and Goals of the Contemporary Templar Order". Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011.
  5. ^ "Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  6. ^ James R. Lewis, The Order of The Solar Temple: The Temple of Death, page 24 (Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2006). ISBN 0-7546-5285-8
  7. ^ "Modern Order".
  8. ^ a b "Real Knights Templar are philanthropists". Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  9. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2008-01-26. Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2011-07-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Wayback Machine". 24 March 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-03-24. Cite uses generic title (help)
  12. ^ "Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani". Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  13. ^ Christopher Hodapp, Alice Von Kannon, The Templar Code for Dummies, pages 206-207 (Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2007). ISBN 978-0-470-12765-0
  14. ^ Watson, Kathy. "Humanitarian Projects".
  15. ^ Watson, Kathy. "Jordan River Project".
  16. ^ a b "SMOTJ About Us page". Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  17. ^ "OSMTH Knight's manual" (PDF). p. 3. Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  18. ^ Thomas, Brian. "Modern Order". Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  19. ^ Carney, GCTJ, GMTJ, Chev. Patrick M. "Carpe Diem Winter 2018". Retrieved 2018-10-13.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  20. ^ "Ordre Souverain et Militaire du Temple de Jérusalem (OSMTJ) – History". Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  21. ^ "Modern Order". Theknightstemplar. Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  22. ^ "Ordre Souverain et Militaire du Temple de Jérusalem (OSMTJ) – Modern Order". Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  23. ^ "SMOTJ About Us page, International section". Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  24. ^ "OSMTH List of Priories". Retrieved 2017-07-24.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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