In preparation for the eve of Santiago and the commemoration of the Battle of Ourique, the OSMTHU’s Grand Priory of Portugal gathered in General Chapter in the good land of Alentejo, to welcome new brothers and sisters, receive the commitment of service from Squires and arm Knights who demand the Order.
Current Covid19 restrictions prevented many of those who wished to join the work from doing so. However there was a very significant number in attendance, ensuring two days of very fruitful work, in peace, serenity and harmony. Until the end of the year, un the hope for improvements in sanitary conditions, the Order will provide the opportunity for those who were forced not to attend, to resume their journey without delay. Their absence was felt.
As in previous years, we do not want to expose to the public ceremonies that are reserved and contain ritual procedures and moments of study and explanation rooted in the richest Tradition of Spiritual Chivalry, in many cases lost in the fog of collective memory and absent in the Templar inspired movements of the nowadays.
After a morning of remembrance of the precepts of Chivalry according to 13th century sources, in a study session led by the Preceptor of the Grand Priory, João Pedro Silva, KOTJ, there was a convivial lunch that allowed us to catch up on long-awaited conversations. since we had not met since the Ecumenical Journeys of Lagos in February 2020. Since then an intense work of online study has been developed in parallel with some initiatives already fixed in our annual Calendar, as was the case of the Conference on Templars and Templarism in October 2020 and the 2021 Ecumenical Journeys, both in a virtual environment.
The afternoon began with the ritual opening of the National Chapter, during which postulants in the degree of Novice were received and a large group of Novices who had already completed their degree passed to Escudeiro. Some of the Knights present contributed to consolidating the knowledge acquired, promoting the necessary reflection for progress in the understanding of Chivalry. A meditation on the Emmaus Way and its meaning was especially poignant, and the afternoon was completed with a reading of traditional texts, including an oral tradition tale of Chivalry fixated in text in the 12th century in Gascony in France, that always leaves a special mark, in the memory of the Squires.
The preparation work for the night vigil, essential for the armament ceremony, began at the end of Saturday afternoon, with the departure from the Convent in procession through the Alentejo countryside to a fountain where the traditional washings were carried out and the spirit was prepared for the long journey that was still ahead, as the ceremony takes place only on Sunday.
Rui Herdadinha, KCTJ, Commander of Arraiolos , was the kind host of a convivial snack that preceded the ascent to the Castle, a moment of interior silence that marks the end of the clear Alentejo day, with the disappearance of the sun, opening the night period during which, in the darkness and uncertainty of the black night, one proceeds to complete vigil, without abbreviation or subterfuge, in hope and anticipation of the desired dawn.
Little more can be added about what followed. The procession descended from the Castle to the Chapter, which resumed its work and proceeded to clarify many points about Chivalry and the Templars reserved only for the most diligent. In the morning, the armaments were carried out following the traditional Ritual, with the Order being enriched with 4 new Knights and 1 Dame. They are the Brothers Paulo Fernandes, KTJ; Virgílio Gomes, KTJ; Bruno Correia, KTJ; Miguel Pereira, KTJ; and Dame Joana Frade, DTJ. We congratulate them and wish that Chivalry, as a tree of firm trunk and roots, may become green again and bear fruit in them.
The 6th Commandery of the Grand Priory of Portugal was also created, the new Commandery of Lisbon – Sait Cathrin Hill, with Brother Commander João Pedro Silva, KCTJ being invested. Brother João took his oath in the traditional way and will begin work immediately.
Sunday’s work ended in a traditional way with the celebration of the Eucharist by the Grand Prior and Bishop Tau Flammula Veritatis.
The Grand Priory is deeply grateful to all the Brothers and Sisters who worked tirelessly to make the Chapter a success, within the strict health regulations in place at the moment in Portugal. Special mention should be made to Sister Susana Ferreira, DTJ; to Brother Fernando Silva, KTJ who irrepressibly performed the position of Master of Ceremonies; to Brother Filipe Simões, KTJ and to the Commanders Rui Herdadinha, KCTJ; Paulo Valente, KCTJ and Victor Varela Martins, KCTJ as well as all those who participated and contributed to another unforgettable chapter in the history of our Grand Priory. Thank you all.