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The Knights Templar In Freemasonry Today
by Kelly d. Whittaker

Whether you believe that Freemasonry grew out of the order of The Knights Templar or not, you cannot dispute the Templars influence on some of the degrees and orders within the fraternity today. For most, Masonry consists of the initial degrees of what is called the Blue Lodge. Those degrees are; Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason. for those wishing to advance their Masonic education, two paths are given. The Scottish rite and the York rite. It is the latter, The York Rite which contains the influence of the Historical Knights Templar.

York Rite Masonry

The York Rite consists of three groups leading to the designation of "Knight Templar". Before pursuing these steps, one must first be a Master Mason.

The first is what is called Royal Arch Masonry. As in the Blue Lodge, potential Royal Arch Masons, must express a belief in one G-d and have a respect for one another. The degrees of the Royal Arch Masons are Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Master and Royal Arch. The organization was founded in the US in 1797 and today has approximately 7000 world wide chapters.

The next step towards the Masonic Knights Templar is the Cryptic Masons. In this segment there are three groupings or degrees: The Royal Master Degree, followed by The Select Master Degree and lastly The Super Excellent Master Degree.

Last but not least is The Knights Templar. While it has been said that all Knights Templar are Master Masons, not all Master Masons are Knights Templar. This particular segment of Freemasonry is the only one that requires a belief in Christianity. Therefore among its ranks you are unlikely to find Moslem or Jew.


Demolay is named after the last Grand master of The Knights Templar, Jaques De Molay, who was burned at the stake by King Philip IV as a heretic in 1314 CE. The organization is geared to young men thirteen and older, often the sons of Masons, but not always. It is set up with the idea of providing young men leadership skills, while at the same time enjoying fellowship and having fun. Like other branches of Freemasonry, there is no religious affiliations required . Ones religious persuasions are their own and no religious education is taught.


Whether the Templars evolved into the Freemasons or Freemasonry is paying Homage to the ancient order through Demolay and York rite Masonry, there is no doubt of the influential connection the fraternity has to the Monastic order of the crusades.

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