These were the darkest days in the history of the Templars. In 1314 the Grand Master of the Order, Jacques de Molay, having retracted his forced confession, was burnt to death outside the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.In England, King Edward II eventually followed the French example and seized all Templar properties for himself – although the persecution of the Templars here was not as severe or far-reaching as in France.Only in countries such as Scotland, Switzerland and Portugal did the Templars survive more or less intact – and even there they were eventually forced to stop using the Order’s name. Gradually, over the centuries, the Templars disappeared from view. Their beliefs and traditions, however, persisted – being introduced over time to other organisations and fraternal societies.Then, in the late 1700s the Order emerged from the shadows once more, and such was the revival of interest in chivalric values and ideals that in 1804, with the approval of the Emperor Napoleon himself, a reconstituted Order of the Temple of Jerusalem was officially inaugurated in Paris – the very place where its downfall had been engineered by a greedy and envious king, and where Jacques de Molay had been martyred.
Jacques de Molay 1244-1314
The Order today
So, the Supreme Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem has continued to this day. Under its present Grand Master, His Excellency Dom Fernando Pinto Pereira de Sousa Fontes, of Portugal, the Order has Grand Priories and Priories throughout the world with thousands of Members.Full Membership of the Knights Templar of England or Wales is open to Christian men or women, over the age of 18, who can show a firm commitment to Christian Unity and values and who is willing to commit him- or herself to serve the Order to the best of their ability.