In the late 80′s the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem was divided in many small groups most of them under no international leadership. After more than 20 years of division, after many “grand-masters” claimed power based on either questionable lineages, forged documents or rigged elections, the movement started in the 30′s with the Autonomous Priories gained strength. In 1988 the International Federative Alliance (IFA) was created and for the most part of the following decade promoted meetings and discussions, worked together with different factions of the Order trying to create the conditions to hold universal elections for a Master and a governing Magisterial Council.
Finally in 1997 elections were first organized, candidatures and voting took place along 1998 and for the first time since the 19th century a new Master – freely elected by international vote in a ballot certified by an independent auditor – was invested in Santiago de Compostella in the Holy Year of 1999. The first Master of this new era was Fr. Fernando de Toro-Garland. The Magisterial Council, governing body of the Order, that attends to all the daily work of reform that immediately was started, comprises 9 Knights and is presided by the Master with the Chancellor as head executive officer. The Mastership has a term of 5 years during which the Magisterial Council is the only legitimately elected ruling international body.
Master Fernando de Toro-Garland
In 2004, again in Santiago de Compostella, the second Master of the new era, Fr. Antonio Paris, was invested by the Master that was leaving office then, thus keeping the initiatic transmission.
Master Antonio Paris
The Magisterial Council was installed also the same day in Santiago de Compostella for the period of 2004 – 2009.
Attending Magisterial Council members from left to right: Fr. Leslie Payne (England), Seneschal; Fr. William McCallum (Australia), Archivist; Fr. Antonio Cabrera (Spain), Treasurer; Fr. Luis de Matos (Portugal), Chancellor; and Master Emeritus Fr. Fernando de Toro-Garland with Master Fr. Antonio Paris.
In 2007 Master Antonio Paris was forced by health reasons to request to be relieved from most of his commitments to the Order, namely travelling and attendance to International Meetings. According to the Statutes, the Order was run for 6 months by the Chancellor, Fr. Luis de Matos. Since after that statutory period there was no sign of recovery, the Chancellor was forced to assume the added position of Interim Master and call elections. Two International Meetings and General Convents of the Order determined an electoral calendar announced in November 2008 (see post here).
The Order is presently governed by the Magisterial Council , presided by Fr. Luis de Matos as Interim Master until a new Master is Installed in office in July 2009.
Fr. Luis de Matos, second from the left, here with Fr. Roman Vertovec, Visitor General and Fr. Marin Zen, Past-Prior of Slovenia
To contact the Chancellery, please use the official email address: email@example.com