CANAAN — Christ Episcopal Church has been sold.
The stately stone building and its adjacent bell tower, which have sat prominently on a rise on Main Street since 1846, once again will be home to a religious order.
Castle Church Canaan purchased the property this week as its national headquarters. According to the land transfer at the town clerk’s office, the price was $100,000. The sale went from the Episcopal Church to the Mission Society of Connecticut to the Knights Templar.
The church has stood vacant since 2012, when it closed due to declining membership. Many congregants who had attended the church for years — some whose families went back generations — were saddened by the move.
Tears flowed at the final Sunday service on Sept. 10, 2012, when Connecticut Episcopal Bishop Laura Ahrens delivered the final sermon.
Bryant Jones, a member of the Knights of Templar organization, said it is a national group that follows the Anglican tradition.
The members have been searching for a headquarters, and because most of them are from the New York-New England area, Canaan was the perfect choice, he said. They also were enticed by the building’s history.
It was designed by Richard Upjohn, who also did the state Capitol in Hartford.
The plan is to continue to use the church as a sanctuary. Robert Fredrickson will be the full-time pastor and is expected to lead his first service this Sunday at 10 a.m.
The [Order], Jones said, is open to those who profess a following of Jesus Christ. They can be Catholics, Protestant or Orthodox. Members cannot be felons, and must have enough education to understand the rules of the order and its services.
“We hold the spirit and physical inspiration from the ancient Knights of Templar from 1118,” Jones said. “They protected the Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Their job was to guard the roads and keep them safe. We offer the same protection of Christianity on the symbolic road in life.”
The Knights perform their acts in peaceful ways, Jones said. With persecution of Christians still evident, especially in places such as the Middle East, members raise money to make donations to help those facing such situations.
The Knights hope to spread the word of their mission, and in September 2020, are planning an International Conclave with 100 members and delegates from around the world.
Jones emphasized they are not associated with the Masons. He said they have no claim to the heritage of the ancient templars, but they do get their spiritual inspiration from them.
“We can’t trace our lineage back to the 1100s, but we do go back to 1705,” he said.
Jones noted how thrilled they are to be in such lovely surroundings.
“We plan to preserve and continue the beauty of the church,” he said. “It’s much like a castle and so it’s fitting for our organization. It reflects the Medieval style.”
Member Ton Huffmaster was at the church earlier this week. He had traveled from Arkansas to make some needed repairs to the church and the hall, another building on the site. That building, which formerly housed a thrift shop and was used for free community meals when Christ Church Episcopal occupied the premises, will be available for rental for social functions, he said.
BY RUTH EPSTEIN Republican-American
Fr+ Bryant Jones, Prior of the United States OSMTJ sent us the link to his Conference at the Dighton Rock Museum. I hope you enjoy.
Conference – History of the Knights Templar and how they were reorganized into the Portuguese Knights of Christ
We have received the following message from dear Br+ Bryant Jones, GP USA of the OSMTJ.
“I’ve been asked to speak on the “History of the Knights Templar and how they were reorganized into the Portuguese Knights of Christ” at the Dighton Rock Museum in Berkeley, Massachusetts. Please see the pictures below for the inside and outside of this wonderful museum. The Dighton Rock is significant for us because when the member of the Portuguese Knights of Christ named Miguel Corte-Real was sailing the coast of Massachusetts in 1511, he stopped to sign this rock and carve into it the symbol for the Knights of Christ. As you are aware, the Knights of Christ originated from the Knights Templar.
All of you are invited and I begin speaking at 1pm this Sunday August 13th. (The vast majority of you live far away and I don’t expect you to drive all that way for a 1 hour presentation).
Directions: Please follow the directions to Dighton Rock State Park listed on their website: https://m.facebook.com/FriendsOfDightonRockMuseum/
If any of you would be willing to share the link about this event from their above Facebook page, I would be grateful to you.
Grand Prior OSMTJ-USA
Dear Br+ Jones, please send us a text with your speach. We would love to publish it!
Ronald V. Cappello, age 65, of Yonkers died Wednesday, November 30, 2016. Ronald was born April 23, 1951 in Mt.Vernon, NY the son of the late Joseph and Marie (Papaleo) Cappello. Ronald was a graduate of Iona College with a Masters Degree in both Science and Art. He was a History teacher for the Yonkers Board of Education.
Ronald was a devoted Mason serving as Sovereign Grand Master of the Ancient and Primitive Right of Memphis-Misraim, a member of the Hugnat Lodge #46 F.&A.M. for 34 years, he was also a member of the Bethlehem Crusader Knights Templar, the Royal Arch Masons, the Cryptic Masons, the Grand College of Rites of the USA, the Royal Order of Scotland, the Rosicrucian Order and the Knights Templar Order of the Temple. He was Past Grad Master of the Martinist Order of the Temple and a representative for the Grand Lodge of Western Australia.
He is survived by his beloved wife MaryLou (Capone) Cappello, his daughters Robin Foti-Nadzam, Victoria Cunningham and Yvonne Foti, his grandchildren Alora Gerace, Kyra Nadzam and William Vanderlinden. Also surviving are his sisters Susan DeLorenzo and Frances Shikarides, his sister-in-law, Marion LaGrotte and 8 nieces and nephews.
Published in the The Journal News on Dec. 2, 2016
Note: The Templar Globe will publish two more remembrance articles on Brother Ronald Cappello in the next few days.
The morning sun was shining as bright as if it was Spring. But it wasn’t. Very, very close to the last days of Fall, we could see how the Tagus river carried the brownish fallen remains of dead leafs, broken ashen tree twigs and orange tanned grass leftovers tried by a few days of hard rain and sweeping winds. Winter was coming, the air was cold. But the sun was having none of it! And in that fine lit morning, towering above the river waters in an impossible island, the invincible walls of the 850 year old Templar Castle of Almourol stood up, proud and mysterious.
We had the good fortune to have been found by the boat owner, who, after having spotted us looking at the towers with a smile on our eyes, asked from a distance “Do you want me to take you to the island?”
HE Fr+ Bryant Jones, Grand Prior of the Grand Priory of the United States (OSMTJ – Lamirand/Haimovici branch), whom I had never met before, was visiting the Templar region of Tomar, in Portugal, and asked me if I would show him around. I was pleased to be his guide. Often some of our brethren, when they have a stopover in Lisbon in their travels, like to meet with me for a chat, a couple of beers or dinner. Sometimes they have time to go to Tomar. Sometimes they accept my invitation to visit Sintra. Many times, however, they are only educated tourists. They love to tour the places they have come to admire on the internet or their printed tour guides. But the real deal moves them no more than a 360º degree iPhone App with HD photos. They would hit the “Like” button, sure. But Fr+ Jones was hitting the “Love It!!!!” button for two straight days! His passion and knowledge for everything related to the Templar Order and its history was amazing. And uncommon. A real revelation. How I wish all High Officers of the Order in its several branches would show such knowledge and appreciation for Templar history, values and life lessons as Prior Jones does! The amount of problem that would be solved… And the drama that would not unfold…
Yes, we visited every corner of the Templar Castle and Convent of Christ that can be visited and spoke hours on end about every little subject that came to mind. Over the two days it took to visit Tomar and Sintra, I almost lost my voice, so much so that I was forced to cancel a class I was teaching that night. We belong to different branches in the Order and we have – and will keep – our commitments to our own branches. However, we struck a real friendship, firmly based on shared values and passions, shared objectives and visions for the future. So, don’t be surprised if ever see us crossing the gates of Jerusalem wearing the same white mantle!
Luis de Matos
For nearly two centuries, the Knights Templar plundered the vast riches of the Near East while marching under the banner of Christ in the Crusades. In addition to the silks, bullion, spices and other valuables the Templars claimed as spoils of war, the wealth of countless dukes, barons, viscounts and other lords flowed into the Order’s coffers as the flower of European nobility rushed to join the ranks of the holy warriors. The massive fortune collected by the Templars generated awe, jealousy and—in the centuries after their disbandment—hope for a payout.
“It’s fantastic treasure,” says Marty Lagina, who along with brother Rick stars in History Channel’s The Curse of Oak Island. The show follows the brothers’ quest to uncover a vast store of riches long rumored to be hidden on its titular Nova Scotian island. What exactly that treasure is (and who hid it) eludes clear-cut definition. Theorists and treasure hunters speculate it is anything from lost manuscripts of Shakespearean plays to Marie Antoinette’s jewels to a sunken Viking ship. But the Laginas have seen enough evidence to convince them the treasure could be part of the lost Templar riches. “The connection with the Templars has always been there, since the original discovery of the Money Pit, which supposedly happened in 1795,” says Rick. “There’s always been four or five credible theories about the treasure’s origins—one of which has been that it’s from the Templars.”
How did the wealth of a medieval order of knights, who were destroyed more than a century before Christopher Columbus’s historic voyage, find a home in the New World? The prevailing theory among true believers is that during the Templar’s final days, a fleet of the Order’s ships sailed from La Rochelle, France to the safety of Scotland. The treasure then rested at Kilwinning Abbey until Sir Henry Sinclair and a group of Scottish knights spirited the wealth away to Oak Island, hiding the riches on the island for their progeny to eventually recover.
The story strikes most historians as more than a little fanciful, and the Laginas certainly approach it with a healthy sense of skepticism. “The theory gets a little more tenuous after you have the knights leaving Scotland,” says Marty. However, the brothers quickly point to what they believe is evidence that other Europeans reached the shores of America before Columbus. “There’s the Newport Tower in Rhode Island, which, according to the carbon-14 dating, was constructed between 1440 and 1480,” says Rick (though most researchers believe the tower was built well after Columbus’s discovery). He also references the Narragansett Rune Stone in Rhode Island, which, according to geologist Scott Wolter, contains a mark that links the slab of rock to the same sect of monks that helped construct Kilwinning Abbey—the same place that supposedly housed the Templar treasure before its journey to the New World. “There are these connections—spider web connections—but no dots that say it went from here to here to Oak Island,” says Rick.
Despite the lack of a smoking gun proving Sinclair and the Scottish knights made the voyage to Oak Island, the brothers maintain certain discoveries they’ve made on Oak Island make the Templar theory intriguing, if not convincing. “Has there been a find on Oak Island that we can say is a definitive tie-in to the Templars? No,” says Rick. “But, are there curious facts and bits of discovery that indicate the possibility? Yes.” One of those bits of evidence is the fact that the flag of the island’s native peoples, the Mi’kmaq, bears a striking resemblance to the Templar’s battle flag: a red cross on white with a red crescent and red star.
For Marty, the engravings of what appear to him to be corn and trillium flowers in Scotland’s Rosslyn Chapel—a chapel built by Henry Sinclair’s grandson William in 1446—lend credence to the Templar theory. “To me, being from upper Michigan, there does really appear to be trilliums in the chapel,” says Marty. Both corn and trillium flowers are native to the Americas, indicating to Marty that Henry Sinclair had visited the New World and passed on what he saw to his family, who later incorporated it into the chapel decorations.
After pouring so much of their time and energy into navigating the pitfalls and perils of Oak Island in their effort to uncover the island’s secrets, the Laginas have high hopes their story will end with some sort of payoff. “We all want our money back,” says Rick. But while the brothers would love to discover a pile of gold and riches straight out of an Indiana Jones adventure, the rewards of the hunt extend beyond material goods. “I believe there’s a story on Oak Island of historic significance, and I want to be part of the team that figures it out,” says Rick. “If that story involves the Templars—one of the most powerful entities on the face of continental Europe during their time—then all the better.”
His brother agrees that finding solid proof of a Templar presence at Oak Island would constitute a huge win, but also embraces the mindset of what his sibling calls “hopeful skepticism.” “There are certain people who believe almost every lost treasure in existence has a connection to Oak Island. So we’ve got to take it all with a little dose of reality,” Marty says. In an adventure filled with half-truths and cryptic clues, keeping that level head may be the most valuable asset of all.
This article appears in the Newsweek’s special edition, Secret Socities: Infiltrating the Inner Circle, by Issue Editor James Ellis of Topix Media Lab.
The pieces of the religious puzzle that make up the USA Network’s biblical conspiracy action series “Dig” are beginning to fall into place, and the picture they are revealing is one of history — highlighted by a colorful streak of fiction.
Here be spoilers! Read on only if you are up-to-date with the 10-part series, or want to ruin it for yourself and others.
“Order of Moriah”
This secret religious order, supposedly dating from the Crusades, seems to be a product of the “Dig” writers’ imaginations. But, like many of the show’s fictional aspects, it is based on historical fact.
The Crusades, which mainly took place from 1095 to 1291, were an attempt by the Rome-based Catholic Church to retake the Holy Land — Jerusalem and its environs — away from its Muslim rulers.
During that time, the church founded several monastic religious orders whose members traveled to Jerusalem. Some fought with the armies; some cared for the wounded and sick. The most famous of these orders were the Knights Hospitallers, the Knights Teutonic and the Knights Templar.
It is perhaps the Templars that the Order of Moriah is based on. Officially named “The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon,” the Knights Templar were anything but poor. They owned land from Rome to Jerusalem and were involved in finance throughout the Christian world. They loaned money to King Philip IV of France and the church.
That’s where they got into trouble. When the king didn’t want to pay them back, he pressuredPope Clement V to disband the knights. The resistant knights were charged with heresy and many members were arrested, tortured and burned at the stake. Legend holds that some members went into hiding — and took a lot of loot with them.
Writers have been making fictional hay with the Knights Templar and other so-called “secret” religious orders since Sir Walter Scott’s “Ivanhoe” in 1820. The most famous example is Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code,” in which a Templar-like order called the “Priory of Sion” keeps a really, really big secret about the nature of the “Holy Grail.”
Enter “Dig,” whose evil archaeologist, Ian Margove (Richard E. Grant), is after the “treasure” the Order of Moriah is supposed to have buried somewhere in Jerusalem.
Archaeologist Margrove says that “according to Flavius Josephus,” the breastplate will pinpoint the location of the treasure.
Flavius Josephus was a first-century Jewish historian. Contemporary Jews are most familiar with him for his firsthand account of the revolt of the Maccabees, a Jewish sect that rose against Roman rule, while Christians know him for his description of Jesus’ early followers.
But Josephus’ own biography is as fascinating as his historical works. He was born to well-to-do and noble Jews in 37 C.E. in Jerusalem. At 16, he went to live with a desert hermit — perhaps an Essene — but returned to Jerusalem at age 19 and joined the Pharisees, a Jewish priestly sect. During the First Jewish-Roman War, he was in charge of a section of Jerusalem’s forces.
At one point, Josephus and 40 of his followers were trapped in a cave. Rather than surrender, Josephus persuaded them to commit group suicide, with each man drawing lots and killing a companion, so no one would have to kill himself. For whatever reason — an act of luck or the hand of God — by the time the lots got around to Josephus, he and another soldier were the last ones standing. And they surrendered to the Romans. Josephus went on to become a friend of the Emperor Vespasian and the recipient of a Roman pension.
For this reason, many have considered him a traitor — he’s been called the “Jewish Benedict Arnold” by some scholars. But in the past few decades, some scholars are rehabilitating his image, claiming he joined the Romans out of a sense of deference or even unwillingly.
Whatever the truth, the characters of “Dig” are right to turn to Josephus for information about early Jewish rituals and practices. His book “Antiquities of the Jews” describes first-century Jewish religious garments and ritual items, including a priest’s breastplate that is critical to the “Dig” plotline.
But using such a breastplate as a treasure map is fictional — not historical — at all.
YS/MG END WINSTON