Anyone taking a stroll down Zagreb’s main plaza last Saturday afternoon, could think the city was being invaded by Templars. Indeed a large number of knights and dames in full uniform, white mantles flying in the wind like peace flags, paraded on their way to the Cathedral where the Rector was expecting the group.
This was not an ordinary event. The Grand Priory of Croatia, headed by Prior Vinko Lizec, had a very busy day planned. After a long evening on Friday where the Magisterial Council of the Order, presided by Master Antonio Paris from Italy and headed by Chancellor Luis de Matos from Portugal, discussed current Templar cooperation efforts and the new projects being launched in 2019, every delegation was pleased to gather at the lobby of the Dubrovnik Hotel on Saturday morning.
The scholar explains some of the events of Croatia Templar history to Dame Patricia (Spain) and Prior Leif Pedersen (Denmark)
Prior Leslie Payne (England) and Dame Susana Ferreira (Portugal)
The first point of call was the headquarters of the Croatian Priory, where an exhibition on the Templar history of the country was guided by historians of the National History Academy. There were maps signaling, for the first time, the many Templar possessions in Slavonia (ancient name of the Province), alongside photographic reproductions of many of the original documents, some presented to the public for the first time. The scientific quality of the work undertaken is unquestionable. The Order is proud of this work.
Some of the manuscripts and documents reproduced in the exhibition
The delegations were then taken to the Church of Saint John the Baptist an 18th century building that stands on the site of the last templar church in Zagreb. The Master lead the ceremony in which he installed Fr+ José Miguel Salazar as Prior of Spain and Fr+ Angelo Nappo as Grand Prior of Italy, confirming Fr+ Vinko Lisec as Grand Prior of Croatia of the OSMTHU. The beautiful pipe organ was masterfully played by an invited musician and a choir sang an inspiring arrangement of the “Non Nobis” hymn by Simon Rattle that left everyone in the church in a state of elevated admiration.
A comprehensive and delicious meal preempted the Conference in the afternoon. The invited delegations presented their salutations. Hosted by the Grand Priory of Croatia and the Magisterial Council of the OSMTHU, present were the Grand Priory of Portugal, the Grand Priory of Spain, the Grand Priory of Italy, the Grand Priory of Slovakia of the OSMTH – Regency, the Grand Priory of England and Wales, the Grand Priory of Denmark and the Grand Priory of Croatia of the OSMTJ, with a special message from Regent Fr+ Nicolas Haimovici Hastier.
Master Paris, Prior Lisec and Chancellor Matos underlined the need for cooperation between all Templar groups, highlighting some of the most important events in the last year. The Chancellor also said that one year ago this convergence was impossible and that, looking to the horizon, all Templar lineages meet in one point, inviting everyone to work on a convergence of efforts right now instead of just hopping for the infinite to come to us instead. Finally he presented the Templar Corps as a genuine structure that can show the leadership and service needed to set service standards to the Order worldwide.
The group then was conducted to the Catedral of Zagreb, parading in full dress. The only exception was Dame Patrícia Oyarzun, Private Secretary to the Master and Chancellor Matos, because Dame Patrícia had difficulties to walk uphill and Fr+ Matos is an opportunist and doesn’t like to walk!
Chancellor Matos accompanies Dame Patrícia in the Taxi, in full dress. The driver insisted in taking the picture
In the Cathedral the large group was received by the Rector and entered the temple, that was filled with people, in silence and taken to seats reserved for the ordained. The celebratory mass was very moving. Not only the cathedral is a beautifully preserved and in places very well restored 12th century Gothic building, but the liturgy was also tastefully interwoven with musical moments, with traditional vocals and modern instrumental sounds. Beautiful Kyrie. When the group was lead in a ceremonial procession to the plaza in front of the Cathedral, the sun was setting and the hearts were filled.
The event concluded with a Gala Dinner, during which a treaty was signed between the Magisterial Council of the OSMTHU and the International Templar Confederation – Saint Bernard de Clairvaux, that joins over 30 Templar organizations in charity projects based on the Church of San Rocco of Rome managed by the Templars of San Rocco.
Signature of the Protocole with Fr+ Renato Parlato, on the upper left, representing the Confederation
Yes, that day the Templars took over Zagreb. For two days of intense work, fun, relaxation and cultural discussions, brother and sisters from all over Europe were able to forget their different origins, traditions and lineages and live the true brotherhood of Templar ideals.
Next stop: South America and Rome before the end of the year. Do follow us!
A 27 de Março de 2019 comemoraram-se os 25 anos de actividade ininterrupta do Grão Priorado de Portugal da OSMTHU. Efectivamente, a memória ficou marcada por aquela apresentação em Montemor-o-Novo, no Convento de São Domingos, em que o Priorado se apresentou ao público, na Lua Cheia de Carneiro, após um ano de silencioso trabalho como grupo sob a orientação da Ordem no Brasil.
Nesse mesmo dia, o núcleo inicial dirigiu-se a Tomar onde, por absoluta fortuna, lhe foi facultado o acesso privado e fechado do Castelo de Almourol onde, ao por do sol, se iniciou a primeira cerimónia de armação do Priorado, que durou até bem entrada a madrugada sob uma abóbada celeste mais cintilante aquela noite, apesar da lua fulgurante que iluminava o pátio de armas como se fosse dia.
Fr+ Rui B e Luis de Matos (Prior) em Siguenza, Espanha, 1994
Muitos anos e muitas coisas acontecerem desde 1994. Não é este o memento de fazer historiografia de um grupo tão diminuto no contexto da linhagem de Fabré-Palaprat. Eu não sabia, ao ligar-me ao Grão Mestre Victor Franco, para responder à sua busca de encontro à fonte de Cavalaria que o tinha iniciado, iniciava eu uma demanda que me levaria a alguns dos locais e personagens fundamentais dos novos movimentos Templários na Europa e no mundo. Em busca dos que iniciaram Franco, passámos por Lyon, Paris, Londres, Roma, Santiago de Compostela e tantos outros lugares. No final não encontrámos os neo-Templários. Não. A seu devido tempo encontrámos a Ordem. Um dia essa história e todas as suas peripécias serão contadas. Ou talvez não seja necessário. Depressa percebi que o silêncio é o manto que melhor aconchega o Cavaleiro.
Luis de Matos
Prior do Priorado Geral de Portugal
Chanceler internacional da OSMTHU
O grupo dos 11 fundadores originais. Em memória de Fr+ Ilídio Henrique de Sousa; Fr+ Paulo Alexandre (Rebis) e Fr+ António Barcelos; Tomar 1994
Fr+ Luis de Matos (Prior) e Fr+ Victor Franco (Grão Mestre da OCMCT) em viagem a Lyon, em demanda do grupo original, 1995
Fr+ Luis de Matos (Prior) em visita ao Grão Priorado de Itália, com Fr+ António Paris (Prior e mais tarde Mestre da Ordem) no Mosteiro de Farfa di Sabina, Itália, 1997
Fr+ Luis de Matos (Prior) com D+ Patrícia Oyarzun (mais tarde Private Secretary to the Master) e Fr+ Fernando de Toro-Garland (Prior de Espanha e mais tarde Mestre), Castelo de Sant’Angelo, Roma, 1997
Cerimónia de tomada de posse de Fr+ Fernando de Toro-Garland como Mestre; da esquerda para a direita: Fr+ Nicolas Haimovici Hastier, Grande Comandante do ramo OSMTJ; Fr+ Giuseppe Bagnai, Prior de Itália; irmão sem identificação; Fr+ Luis de Matos, Prior de Portugal e Chanceler Internacional; Fr+ MacPhearson, Prior da Escócia; Fr+ Fernando de Toro-Garland, Mestre da Ordem ramo OSMTHU; Alcalá de Henares, Espanha, 1999
Comemorações da Batalha de Ourique e Homenagem a Afonso Henriques; Cerimónia conjunta entre a OSMTHU e a Ordem de São Miguel da Ala; presentes nas fotos, entre outros: Fr+ António Paris (Prior de Itália, mais tarde Mestre da Ordem); Fr+ Luis de Matos, Prior de Portugal e Chanceler Internacional; SAR D. Duarte de Bragança; Fr+ Fernando de Toro-Garland, Mestre da Ordem; Fr+ Nuno da Camara Pereira, Presidente da Mesa Mestral e Grande Comendador da Ordem de São Miguel da Ala; Ourique, Portugal, 2004
Malogrado Prior de Portugal, Fr+ Luis Barros com irmãos portugueses em visita aos Priorados de Inglaterra e de Itália; Londres e Roma, 2006
Entrevista à revista FOCUS, Lisboa 2008
Renovação da Carta Patente em 2010
Comemoração dos 25 anos do Priorado de Portugal da OSMTHU, Visita ao Convento de Cristo em Tomar, Tomar, Portugal, 2019
Comemorar os 700 anos da Ordem de Cristo é uma alegria sem medida. Não é relembrar um momento no passado, é antes reafirmar um propósito e uma esperança no futuro.
Quero assim agradecer em meu nome, em nome da Ordem Soberana e Militar do Templo de Jerusalém Universal, como seu Chanceler internacional e Prior em Portugal, o convite da Câmara Municipal de Castro Marim – a que respondemos com entusiasmo – bem como a presença e colaboração dos muitos amigos, Irmãs e Irmãs e simples turistas que passavam e vieram saber de que tratava a agitação.
Gostaria de destacar, pelo conteúdo e qualidade, a intervenção do principal autor Português na temática Templária e da Portuguesia, Manuel J. Gandra, que destacou algumas das passagens mais reveladoras e até intrigantes da Bula de criação da Ordem de Cristo, em que se deixa clara a continuidade da do Templo, assunto sobre o qual muitos escrevem, mas poucos de facto concretizam.
Destaco igualmente o apoio permanente e verdadeira militância espiritual das Comendas do nosso Priorado e dos seus membros individualmente, que se viram desta vez apoiados pela visita de Irmãos e Irmãs de outros ramos da Ordem, quer do Algarve, quer mesmo de Espanha, num exemplo de cooperação e convívio fraternal até há pouco tempo inaudito, numa época em que tão facilmente caímos no erro de dividir o mundo em “nós” e “eles”. A todos o nosso agradecimento e aos visitantes, a certeza de que este foi o início de muitos projectos em que com eles contamos.
Sublinho o desempenho exemplar do nosso corpo litúrgico, liderado pelo Comendador de Lisboa e Bispo da Old Templar Church, apoiado nesta ocasião pelo Comendador de Laccobriga, pelos Grandes Oficias Preceptor e Hospitaleiro e demais Irmãos e Irmãs, que ficarão anónimos. Sabemos quem são, sentimos no profundo do coração o efeito do vosso trabalho.
Finalmente, terminando como comecei, sabendo bem o que custa organizar, gerir e montar um evento desta natureza num dos lugares maiores da nossa história, destaco o profissionalismo, o carinho e a paciência como a Câmara Municipal de Castro Marim nos recebeu, Agradeço ao Presidente Francisco Amaral, à sua Vice-Presidente Filomena Pascoal Sintra pela insuperável simpatia e atenção bem como a toda a equipa camarária, cujo esforço e dedicação não passou despercebido. Bem hajam.
Para o ano há que reavivar a memória. Castro Marim e a Ordem de Cristo são património de todos nós, todo o ano, Há que não o esquecer. Possamos ser dignos de tal herança.
Luis de Matos
Once again – too often it seems – a massacre opened the news and grabbed headlines worldwide. The attack of a fanatic on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, left almost 50 killed and many wounded. It was a mad rampage carefully planned and broadcast live on social media for the world to see and discuss.
The fuel of these kind of acts is our attention and the perpetuation of it in time by the outrage for terrorism of any kind, poured by us on social media. Our comments and often polarized remarks prolongue the effect the terrorist had in mind. So, I for one am going to shut it down and extinguish the flame of hatred and bigotry this piece of provocation intended to stir. It won’t feed it with my energy.
The only reason why I see myself compelled to make a statement is simply because – as it has happened in the relative recent past – the name of the Templar Order was used to justify the misadjustment of individuals and the criminal way they decided to adjust reality to their personal illusory self constructed hell. In a document left behind as a sort of “Manifest”, giving the illusion that something deeper than a human free willing sense of pathological narcissism and god-like power over life and death was behind the killing, the attacker says: (quote) “[Before the massacre] I did contact the reborn Knights Templar for a blessing in support of the attack, which was given.”
To this I have 3 short statements that I plea should not even be discussed further:
1 – The Templars do not need to be “reborn”
2 – The Order does not support terrorism in any shape or form, from any group or side, even given the obvious historical anachronism of the quoted line
3 – This is NOT the face of a Templar – It’s the face of human stupidity on steroids
Luis de Matos, Eques a Flamula Veritatis
Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jersusalem Universal
In the close vicinity of the Templar city of Tomar, Portugal, one of the most evocative Templar Castles in the world can be found: Almourol. Situated in a small island in the middle of the Tagus river, overseeing both margins and guarding secret Templar routes from all enemies, Almourol is the subject of legend.
In late 2018 the Municipality of Vila Nova da Barquinha opened right in the center of the village, the new Centro de Interpretação Templária (Templar Interpretation Center), a place where the Templar Order and its continuation in the Order of Christ (of Discoveries fame) is celebrated with dedicated exhibitions, conferences, a comprehensive library and multimedia displays available to the public to explore.
The Center had the major backing, apart from the Municipality and the Portuguese Army that currently has jurisdiction over the Almourol castle, of researcher, philosopher and historian Prof. Manuel J. Gandra, the most respected authority in Templar studies in Portugal – not only because of his strong academic background, but also because he has been the most prolific and consistent author on the theme in the last 25 years. The Center and Prof. Gandra’s work have been fully endorsed by the OSMTHU, that plans to promote a few cultural events in 2019 and 2020 and associate the Order to this beacon of Templar history that merits the attention and collaboration of the Templar world.
The Templar Globe is preparing an interview with Prof. Gandra about the TIC. Meanwhile, please take a look at a video about this remarkable place.
Nos passados dias 23 e 24 de Novembro o Priorado de Portugal reuniu em Arraiolos os seus Comendadores, Cavaleiros e Damas e levou a cabo o Retiro de Outono de 2018 dedicado à formação inicial dos graus de Cavalaria.
A festa começou na realidade no dia 22 com um jantar organizado pelos Noviços da Comenda de Lisboa – Chagas, numa Sessão Solene de Encerramento de Instrução de Noviços, que decorreu em Lisboa e serviu de oportunidade para falar em ambiente de festa de todos os assuntos que não cabem numa reunião litúrgica normal. Como era de esperar, o convívio prolongou-se na noite, mesmo sem a presença do Comendador, Fr+ Luis Fonseca, retido em casa por uma febre inoportuna.
Tratou-se de uma digna preparação para o Retiro que se aproximava no dia seguinte em Arraiolos.
Foto: “As melhoras Comendador Fonseca!”
Sob os auspícios da Comenda de Arraiolos, o dia 23 iniciou-se com o jantar de convívio, a que se seguiu um debate sobre o Parsival na versão de Chretien de Troyes e o contexto histórico da elaboração deste romance seminal, relacionando-o nomeadamente com a Ordem de Cister e a Ordem do Templo, sem deixar de olhar à simultaneidade do surgimento da nação Portucalense. O debate foi longo e frutuoso. Com o trabalho ao redor dos capítulos iniciais do Persival, os segredos da Cavalaria forma-se revelando e a capa que cobre o conto como um véu foi dando lugar à visão clara das coisas.
No dia seguinte o grupo cresceu mais um pouco com a chegada do Grão Prior e de mais Comendadores, Damas e Cavaleiros e passou-se a um ambiente de sala de aula. Com recurso a apresentações visuais, mas igualmente ao imprescindível quadro para desenhar esquematicamente os assuntos que se iam desenrolando, o Prior de Portugal, Fr+ Luis de Matos e o Comendador de Lisboa, Fr+ Luis Fonseca – já mais recuperado dos últimos dias de febre – abordaram todos os fundamentos iniciáticos da Cavalaria Espiritual, integrando-os na história da tradicional Ordem do Templo, enquadrando-os com elementos da História de Portugal e das suas tradições e lendas, sempre com o Parsival e a Demanda do Santo Graal como pano de fundo.
Entre outros assuntos, esclareceu-se o fundamento teológico da Cavalaria, como mediadora entre os princípios iniciais expressos nas qualidades do Paraíso Perdido e o mundo real onde encontramos a injustiça e a falta de compaixão como regra; o fundamento simbólico da Cavalaria, com os diversos elementos de base geométrica, matemática e metafísica que compõem a ciência cavaleiresca e as regras com que esta procura decifrar o Universo, a posição do Homem e a sua relação com os outros seres e o Criador; terminando com o fundamento iniciático, de cariz mais interior e íntimo, mas verdadeiranente redentor e reintegrador.
Pela tarde do dia 24 juntaram-se os Noviços e Escudeiros que viriam a ser recebidos ou elevados na Ordem durante a celebração do Capítulo após o Banquete. Fizeram-se as apresentações, alguns Irmãos tomaram a palavra para contextualizar cada um dos graus da Ordem, bem como o quadro organizacional da OSMTHU nacional e internacional.
Pelas 20h o grupo foi recebido na Pousada do Convento de Nossa Senhora da Assunção de Arraiolos para um magnífico Banquete, em que se juntaram Cavaleiros, Damas, Escudeiros e Noviços e suas famílias, bem como alguns convidados. Honrou-nos com a sua presença o Grão Prior de Portugal da OSMTH, Fr+ António Andrade e sua esposa.
Foto: Mesa dos Grão Priores, Oficiais e Comendadores
Seguiu-se o Capítulo conjunto, presidido pelo Comendador de Lisboa – Chagas, Fr+ Luis Fonseca, a que se associaram os Comendadores de Sintra, Fr+ Paulo Valente, de Lagos, Fr+ Victor Varela Martins e de Arraiolos, Fr+ Rui Herdadinha, durante o qual se procedeu à recepção de uma Irmã Noviça, bem como à elevação de quatro Irmãos Escudeiros.
Ficam os parabéns e agradecimentos às Comendas que trabalharam em conjunto para a realização deste evento, particularmente aos esforços do Comendador Fr+ Rui Herdadinha que foi um excelente anfitrião.
1 Corinthians 1:10
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
We should start by going back to the Holy Scriptures. We should seek inspiration in the words that were written for our reconciliation. It’s true, many in the last twenty centuries have rendered these words empty as sea-shells washed away on a distant beach. No worth inside, no pearl or food. Shells that mirror the empty cavities of desolated hearts. But we owe it to ourselves to pick up the shell and bring it up to our ears. What was once empty, if we listen carefully and close our eyes, has the whole ocean inside: water, wind and foamy waves, millions of shiny scale fishes, an infinite number of living forms and signs of life and wonder, pearls and reefs, color, light and refraction. To the listening ear, no shell is empty, no heart is void. We should start then, by going back to the Scriptures and be sure to listen. And listen well.
Colossians 3:13-14Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Templar Unity is probably one of the most compelling objectives that has emerged in the Templar movement since the Internet and Social Media connected everyone in a single world-reaching network, regardless of country, obedience, templar branch or family. Everyone talks with everyone else and many start wondering why are there so many different groups, when so much is common, so much is shared.
A good friend and Brother, a few weeks ago, during one of our international events, gave me a quick peak of his mind: “What’s ‘ point? Uhu? What’s t’point?” he said in his eastern European broken English while he waved his hands in the air. “What’s point? Uhu?” Indeed, Naned, what is the point of it all? Why are we so many and so few? So noble, spiritual, altruist and utterly divided? So compassionate and merciful but driven apart by fraternal misunderstandings?
I want to write a little about Unity in Templar groups. The last few months have been full of hopeful news and unprecedented events that should transform the Order in the next couple of years. It’s important then to provide some context and help the readers of the Templar Globe understand the challenges ahead, given that many are members of one of the many branches of the Order.
Let me remind you that this article has a point of view: the one of Luis de Matos, myself, Member of the OSMTHU, Chancellor of the Magisterial Council of our branch, and dedicated knight for over 25 years.
THE TEMPLAR LEGACY
This recent movement towards Unity is restricted to one of the five major expressions of the modern Templar Order. I will address these as a whole, under the term “Templar Legacy”, that we can characterise as follows:
1 – Orders that are direct descendants of the Templar Order suspended in 1310
This is a very controversial subject, however there are very few with such a strong claim and impact in history as the Order of Christ in Portugal, whose Caravelas brought forth the Discoveries age in the 15th century. The Order of Christ was reformed and later extinguished in the 19th century and any attempt to follow their trail up to the 20th century is generally fruitless.
2 – Templar Strict Observance
The Order appeared in the 18th century (1753, Baron Von Hünd) and it can be traced as the first of the revivals, over 400 years after the original Templar Order had been suspended. As in all modern Templar Orders (except “1” above) there is no historical link to the original group. In 1778 the TSO became the inner Order of Freemasonry in Europe after the reform known as The Rectification of Wilhelmsbad, and all Templar ramifications within Freemasonry (including the Templar Degrees and Grand Encampments of the United States) derive from this line.
3 – Ordre du Temple de Fabré-Palaprat – Ordre Soverain et Militaire du Temple de Jerusalem (OSMTJ or OSMTH)
It has been one of the most successful revivals of the Templar Order, at one stage being recognized by Napoleon as one of the Orders of the Empire. In the early 19th century it sought the recognition of the Order of Christ (see “1” above), but with no success. It’s within this Order that the OSMTHU works. And it’s within it that Unity between the many groups is being discussed at the moment.
4 – Templar Orders founded after 1960
There is a large number of Orders that were founded within a movement that may be called of “New Age” or “Age of Aquarius”, mainly steaming from groups very close to the Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosicross (AMORC) in France and the United States (Ordre Renouvé du Temple, Militia Crucifera Evangelica, Ordre des Veilleurs du Temple, Ordre Souverain du Temple Initiatique, etc.). They are very fragmented while not keeping any concept of provenance for the most part.
5 – Spontaneous Templar groups
There are many groups that use the Templar name, without any connection to any of the afore-mentioned groups or lines. They frequently appear from thin air, with a self-appointed leader, an imaginative concept of what “secrets” the Templars are supposed to have kept, varying from the inoffensive to the extreme (including some extreme right variations emerging in the last few years).
THE PALAPRAT FAMILY
The Fabré-Palaprat revival dates from early in the 19th century. As with all Templar related subjects, it’s very controversial and a long running discussions tends to debate weather or not the Larmenius Charter (please google it!) is a fake document and if Palaprat had legitimacy to claim the continuous line of Templar Grand Masters since the middle ages. We are not going to address that complex subject at the moment. For the OSMTHU, our position is simple, and we can summarize it in two statements:
1 – No, in 1800, apart from the Order of Christ, there were no surviving lines of Orders, heir to a Templar legacy, including Fabré-Palaprat’s. So, he had no claim to the Templar Order. Likewise, we are not the historical Templar Order.
2 – Yes, his Order is legitimate. He was well in his right to revive it. If you don’t think so, don’t bother me with your arguments, go and talk to Pierre de Coubertin and tell him the Olympic Games have to shut down because they are not legitimate. And the athletes used to compete naked, so it clearly is not the same!
UNITY? WERE WE APART?
Yes, the OSMTJ/OSMTH (the Palaprat revival) has been split for over 70 years. There are now four main branches of the Order. The original group survived until the 1940’s under the following leadership:
1804-1839 Bernard Fabre-Palaprat (Grand Master)
1839-1840 Sir William Smith (Grand Master)
1840-1850 Edward VII. d’Angleterre et George V. de Hanovre (Grand Master)
1850 Narcisse Valleray (Regent)
1866 A.G.M. Vernois (Regent)
1892 Joséphin Péladan (Regent)
1894 Secretariat International des Templiers
1934 Conseil de Regence – Joseph Vandenberg
1935 Theodore Covias (Regent)
1935-1945 Emile Isaac Vandenberg (Regent)
During the Second World War the communication between groups was difficult. International coordination had been sparse between 1850 and 1939, with Regents and Secretariats instead of a Master. By the start of the war, Priories were national entities, very much autonomous, working on their own with very little international reach. Fearing the impact of the war, Regent Vandenberg decided to place all important documents in the hands of a diplomat residing in Bruxelles, member of the Order, because Belgium was surely out of reach of German forces and an Embassy would be a safe place. As we now know, Bruxelles was not safe, so when the Diplomat had to return to his home country, he took all the documents to safety with him. That was Antonio de Sousa Fontes, from Porto, Portugal.
By the end of the war, Vandenberg requested the documents back to reorganize the ruling body, but he died in a car accident before his orders were followed through. That placed Antonio Sousa Fontes as custodian of the Regency documents, which he refused to surrender, appointing himself as Regent. That was not accepted by most of the Priories that had worked under Vandenberg in Europe and the Prior of Switzerland, Baron VonLupreccht, declared the autonomy of his Priory, in which he was followed by several others (including Scotland and England). This gave way to the Autonomous branch of the Order, also called IFA (international Federative Alliance) until 1999, today called OSMTHU.
That is our group. The one that has brought you The Templar Globe in the last 12 years.
Since the 1940’s the Priories have been working in autonomy, cooperating in many projects and subjects and growing as time went by. There were limited contacts with other groups (including Antonio Fontes OSMTH) because communication was sparse and mainly by letter. In the 1980’s the Priories created a Federation (IFA) to help improve cooperation and in the 1990’s the IFA helped the other branches reach their goals. Talks were held with the OSMTJ group and what would become the OSMTH (also sometimes called “the Atlantic Obedience”), in Tomar, Lisbon, Madrid, London, Salzburg, Turku among others. In Tomar the historic “Protocol of Tomar” was signed in 1996. Although Unity was not achieved at the time, the signers and their branches remained in close contact, cooperating in a non-official capacity for many years.
In 1999 the OSMTHU has elected Fr+ Fernando de Toro-Garland as Master, followed by Fr+ Antonio Paris. This is the list of Masters:
1945 – 1987 Autonomous Priories
1987 – 1999 International Federative Alliance
1999 Fernando de Toro-Garland (Master)
2004 Antonio Paris (Master)
2006 Luis de Matos (Interim Master)
2018 Antonio Paris (Master)
At this point, following the “Declaration of Arraiolos“, the OSMTHU is once again committed to unite the Templar world. The declaration was signed during the Pentecost of 2018, in the same exact day Fr+ Fernando Fontes passed away. We were not aware of that fact when we were preparing the Declaration. Being the head of the OSMTH – Regency, the death of Fr+ Fontes precipitated change (as we shall see ahead) and the desire of many groups that had split from his branch to start talking.
2) OSMTH – REGENCY
This is the second branch that originated from the Second World War situation. It is also referred to as OSMTH – Porto.
When Antonio Fontes decide to take up the Regency of the Order upon the death of Vandenberg, without significant opposition since VonLuprecht maintained the autonomy status that prevailed before the war (with other Priories), the Order de facto had two branches: the OSMTH Fontes with its seat at Porto and the Autonomous branch (that became the OSMTHU) with his main seat at Zurich.
The OSMTH – Regency proceeded, creating Priories and expanding the number of Templars that had no knowledge of the WW2 events. In 1960 Antonio Fontes died and his son, Fr+ Fernando Fontes, took over the branch of the Order and the titles of Regent and Grand Master. This created the problem that became the de facto running argument for the splits and crisis that overtook the OSMTH – Regency over the next 60 years: the fact that Fernando Fontes hadn’t been elected as Master and the way he run the Order as a personal asset inherited from his father. This was in stark contrast to how the Order was created or run up to that moment. In all fairness, all those accepted into the Order during that period seem to have had no problem with the setup when they requested to be knighted. It was only later, when their ambitions of status and degrees were eventually cut short by the Grand Master that complaints started to arise.
After the 60’s there was no connection between the OSMTH and the OSMTHU, having evolved in parallel without great awareness of each other’s work.
The Regency group had the following leaders:
1945-1960 Antonio Sousa Fontes (Regente)
1960-2018 Fernando Fontes (Regente e Grão Mestre)
2018 Susana Fontes (Regente) e Albino Neves (Grão Mestre)
By 1970 there was a growing opinion within the OSMTH that Fontes had to call elections. Some fringes wanted to replace him, but others just wanted to provide the legitimate act that would confirm his position not as an inheritance (that could be put into question), but as properly an elected Grand Master. Plans were put in place to hold the election in Tomar, but when the time came, Fernando Fontes refused to be subjected to an electoral procedure, saying that he was the Grand Master and no election could add anything to that fact. This would cause the first major split, that created the third large branch of the Order, as we will see.
Since the elections had been called and Fernando Fontes did not attend the meeting, a number of Priors decided to hold them anyway, creating the split that becomes the OSMTJ, based in Switzerland, led by Master Zdrowjewski. This is their line of Masters:
1970-1989 General Antoine Zdrowjewski
1989-1994 Georges Lamirand
1994-Today Dr. Nicolas Haimovici Hastier (Regent)
Currently the Order is headed by Fr+ Nicolas Haimovici Hastier (one of the signers of the “Protocol of Tomar”)
In the 90’s, history repeated itself. A large group of Priories, lead by the very serious and well organized American Priories, with a mostly military membership (that included the Secretary General of the Group, the then Col. Ronald Scott Mangun, later signer of the “Protocol of Tomar”), offered Fernando Fontes the opportunity to be elected as Grand Master in elections in which he would be the sole candidate. Initially he accepted, but as the time of the election came closer, he resisted the idea. During the meeting in Paris in 1995 the group became offended by the absence of the Grand Master to his own election and decide to declare autonomy. That’s when the new branch was formed.
4) OSMTH – (aka “Atlantic Obedience”)
Between 1995 and 1998 talks were held with the OSMTHU (AFI) and the OSMTJ. In 1998 the group was stable and took the step to elect its own Master, a former member of the OSMTHU as Prior of England.
1998 Sir Roy Redgrave (Master)
2005 James Carey (Master)
2009 Patrick Rea (Master)
2013 Robert Disney (Master)
2015 Patrick Rea (Master)
2018 [New Master] (Master)
These four branches of the original OSMTH of Fabré-Palaprat represent among them over 2/3 of all Palaprat related Priories in the world.
There are still many Priories and smaller organizations that work alone or in a close group that should be counted. A new Ordre du Temple claims to have re-established the Joanite Church of Palaprat, but the provenance is not verified, with many splits after a few short years of activity indicating leadership issues. Apart from the four main branches quoted, that show consistent work, many years of history and a clear provenance, there is still some work to be done with the fragmented branches that seem to appear and disappear every year with a short presence on the Internet followed by oblivion.
For the first time in over 70 years, the several groups have invited each other to visit and talk about “unity of mind and thought”. An international joint group with members of the largest groups is now being set up and will start talks in 2019. Even if Unity is still a step too far, convergence and cooperation seem to be on the horizon.
We tell everyone we are ecumenical. And we are. However we had the tendency of excluding other Templars. Most of us know members of all the branches, talk to them, have close friendships that have lasted for many years, but when we put our mantles on, we have been requested to turn our backs on them because they were “not templars” like us.
We are required to take care of the poor, the feeble and the needed, but we have been advised to neglect the brother and sister that identify as Templars because we are not on the same branch. That had to stop. The first steps have been taken. We expect to bring you interesting news in 2019!
During the Pentecost Celebration of 2018 of the Priory of Portugal of the OSMTHU. brothers from the OSMTH, Grand Prior of Portugal, Fr+ Antonio Andrade and his Chancellor Fr+ Fernando Castelo Branco, visit with Prior Fr+ Vinko Lisec from the OSMTHU. Prior Fr+ Luis de Matos and Master Antonio Paris were hosting.
Ceremony of OSMTH – Porto in Castelo de Vide, October 6, 2018; Three branches of the Order represented: OSMTH, OSMTHU, OSMTH – Regency (Porto)
Left to right: Fr+ António Andrade, Prior of Portugal of OSMTH (“Atlantic Obedience”); Fr+ Rui Herdadinha, Commander of Arraiolos of Priory of Portugal of OSMTHU; S+ Susana Sousa Fontes, Regent of the OSMTH – Porto; Nenad S. Davidovic, General Magistral Advisor in the Magnum Magisterium OSMTH Porto and the Great Prior of Serbia and of New Jerusalem
Ceremony of OSMTH – Porto in Castelo de Vide, October 6, 2018; Three branches of the Order represented: OSMTH, OSMTHU, OSMTH – Regency (Porto)
Ceremony of OSMTH – Regency Porto in Castelo de Vide, October 6, 2018
Left to Right: Unidentified, Fr+ Miguel da Fabiana, Priory of Portugal OSMTHU; Unidentified, Fr+ Luis de Matos, Prior and Chancellor of the OSMTHU Magisterial Council; S+ Susana Sousa Fontes, Regente OSMTH – Porto; Fr+ André Cardoso, Secretary General of OSMTH – Porto; F+ Luis Fonseca, Commander of Lisbon Chagas, OSMTHU; Prior of Toledo of OSMTH – Porto; Fr+ Victor Varela Martins, Commander of Lagos, OSMTHU; S+ Blanca, Prior of Galicia, OSMTH – Porto; Fr+João Pedro Silva, OSMTHU; S+ Susana Ferreira, OSMTHU; Fr+ Ricardo Salum, Head of Feytorias, OSMTHU; Fr+ Rui Herdadinha, Commander of Arraiolos, OSMTHU.
Ceremony of OSMTH in Torres Novas, October 27, 2018
OSMTHU delegation arrives in Torres Novas. Fr+ Victor Varela Martins, Commander of Lagos and S+ Sandra Oliveira
Ceremony of OSMTH in Torres Novas, October 27, 2018
OSMTHU delegation, left to right: Fr+ Victor Varela Martins, Commander of Lagos; Fr+ Luis de Matos, Grand Prior of Portugal and Chancellor of the Magisterial Council; S+ Sandra Oliveira; S+ Paula Mateus, Preceptor of Porto; Fr+ Paulo Valente, Commander of Sintra; S+ Susana Ferreira; Fr+ Rui Herdadinha, Commander of Arraiolos; Fr+ João Pedro Silva; Fr+ Luis Fonseca, Commander of Lisboa – Chagas and Fr+ Ricardo Salum, Head of Feytorias
Ceremony of OSMTH in Torres Novas, October 27, 2018
The delegation enjoying the day.
Ceremony of OSMTH in Torres Novas, October 27, 2018
Two Priors of Portugal (Fr+ Antonio Andrade OSMTH and Fr+ Luis de Matos OSMTHU) greeting just before the opening of the ceremony.
Ceremony of OSMTH in Torres Novas, October 27, 2018
Prior of Portugal OSMTH, under Master Fr+ Patrick Rea, Fr+ Antonio Andrade, opening the National Chapter in the Alcaidaria of the Templar Castle of Torres Novas. In attendance Fr+ André Cardoso, Secretary General of Master Albino Neves, and a large number of Knights and Dames of the OSMTH – Regency and Fr+ Luis de Matos, Chancellor of the Magisterial Council of the OSMTHU under Master Antonio Paris and his delegation of the Priory of Portugal.