THE MASONIC INTERPRETERS.
A clouded vision of Templar heritage.
Few organizations in history, apart from the Knights Templar have been so praised and vilified with respect to their hidden hand in world destiny. If we had to choose the one which comes easily to mind, we would no doubt all call out “The Masons”. Trying to tie down either the Templars or the Masons at any point of their individual histories is a matter of complicated analysis. In some cases, highly dangerous, in view of the fringe fanatical element lying just beneath the surface of organizations that even today for better or for worse, are crowded with people of a very low threshold of critical acceptance. The reality of both these totally unrelated organizations is not difficult to expose, provided that the subject is not dealt with from a prejudicial standpoint.
The matter before us is the world of so called freemasonry and it should be stressed from the first instance that it has absolutely nothing to do with the Order of Knights Templar despite the inclination by many of its members to think that they inherited the Template tradition, secrets and for some, the Order itself. Neither has this social organization anything to do with builders or ancient history since despite the question of a so called seventeenth century “Freemason” called Ashmole, utilized as proof, to the point of desperation, what is now British Freemasonry is no older than the turn of the eighteenth century. Nor has the Scottish version anything to do with the Templates either, however much smoke Scottish die hards throw at the cameras and against which they have not been able to produce one single document that testifies to the effect. This of course does not deny the possibility that Templar knowledge and a form of identity did not come down via this channel through the centuries and original Priory archives. The country however, suffered a severe Templar backlash when its knights under the authority of an indignant Prior, Aumont, who managed to protect his own and offered asylum to many others, found himself cut off from the underground movement that the Order had become under Larmenius, the Latin Patriarch recorded in the Cistercian archives. Marc Larmenius is fully documented as a historical figure and also according the Cistercian records, the grandmaster reputedly chosen by Jacques de Molay before his execution and who gave his name to the Larmenius Charter and Marc masonic lodge in London. What has happened is simply called disinformation and all in a desperate attempt to deny the continuation of probably the most powerful organization in world history, whose influence in view of some of the modern Templars I met throughout the world, has been far from extinguished.
These odd Masonic/Templar assertions which serve only to attract members and fill coffers as a result, are easily challenged but it is not the purpose of this exercise to attack anything or anybody – merely put things in their correct perspective. I am an admirer of significant organizations and whilst one could not call the Masonic movement well run or socially important any more, it is a strangely respectful one which should perhaps modernize to carry out its so called chivalric aims and perhaps instill genuine ethical standards on its somewhat confusing membership. It is a very well known secret that the copy of the much maligned Larmenius Charter which some bad writers have denied themselves the privilege of investigating all it’s incredible facets, (before ascribing it ridiculously to masonic mischievousness), is much revered by the masons themselve. s It is also the selfsame copy which was once handed into the French National Archives by a terrified grandmaster of the Templars – now considered a traitor by the Order of the Temple. The introduction of non aristocratic grandmasters into the Order after the French Revolution was a mistake and one which caused more than one future leader of the Templars to lose his nerve. The use of a modern word in the Larmenius Charter document, now attributed to a translation, has formed the basis of the arguments against its authenticity despite the many other aspects which flood the mind with genuine characteristics. What the whole thing means, is that if it is a more modern version of this document or a politically correct one approved by the Order for viewing below certain levels of authority, common sense dictates that it must have formed part of an original in view of the nature of its contents. The contents can only make sense in the time that it was written and by virtue of their revelations, demonstrate its veracity. However, like most Templar documents, the originals if only one, are secure if only lamentably in the wrong hands and it is not the subject of this exercise to point fingers at those who know where they are. The present Grandmaster, Fernando de Sousa Fontes, once commented that other copies had been burned without referring to the fate of the original. Who by, or when, he refused to comment on in front of a very large audience in the refectory of Altenburg cathedral, after an investiture ceremony attended by at least two Monsignors of the Catholic Church. The same in the cathedral of Santiago of Compostela, the valued shrine with the most significant Templar story to tell, where the Grand Master was invited to the altar by the most senior church figure in the region – hardly a recipe for denial and at which much mention was made about important Templar material hidden in cathedral crypts.
That the Knights Templar left a hidden tradition which exists even today, there is no doubt, since most of the aristocratic families of Europe including the Royal would never publicly deny the transmission and one of the most important edifices of Templar relationship – the Cistercian Order, has unimpeachable records that illustrate the tradition and its continuation with its Grandmasters throughout the centuries. In fact it does so with great pride and the reason for the masking of its presence by jealous or frightened entities, had a great deal to do with the Church and State which chose individually to deny anything that could harm their stake in power politics. Going to war against another nation would have been a little difficult without that total allegiance of its subjects to its identity and ambitions. Going to war as we know, became a favourite pastime of national entities with the help of its hapless unwilling subjects. The knights Templar would have found it difficult to do so in view of their oath to kill only the enemies of the faith and again only under very strict circumstances outlined by St. Bernard. In fact, if subjects bound under obedience to outside forces were allowed to assume the double identity, nationalism would have had to be subject to superior forces in the same way that a Catholic cannot subscribe to total obedience to all national demands. Civil wars have resulted from just that sort of fusion of identity. England created its own national church as matter of political expedience and its own Order of the Temple considering a great many factors that need their own space to illustrate with conviction. In return, like Charlemagne, with his reluctant Roman Crown, the response by the hidden order was a question of diplomatic agreement to differ in return for mutual support. This was to lead to the real decline of the status and credibility of the Temple as its anonymity and pacifistic acceptance of the policies of the Church and State represented a sign of weakness by those strongly dependent on both, for their family survival. In fact, the security that obedience to their Grandmaster and Pope granted these families was superior to any that a regional prince, king or even the local body of the Church could replace, but the fear of local reprisal as nationalism brought in by Joan of Arc consolidated, was too real for comfort. It was the tacit agreement by the major families of Europe therefore to keep a low profile in exchange for the support of the Monarchy and Church that enabled the hidden Templars to have a say in national affairs from the shadows. They utilized this space with great diplomatic skill but it ultimately lost the hidden Order its ability to defend what little was left of its sovereign status. A walk through the pathways of history shows a fascinating glimpse of their presence here and there and it is not difficult to understand that whatever influence may be left, it is now in the hands of a few in one generation or another with the enthusiasm and capability to recruit intelligently and within a discipline calculated to re-create the indomitable Templar spirit.
The decline of the French aristocracy and the revolution that preceded the disaster that brought kingship into disrepute, ranks of Cromwellian regicide and where the Order and its representatives were in those days, is a matter of conjecture albeit of extreme interest. More so because Napoleon was seen to send his palatial guard to flank the Grandmaster of the Order of the Temple at a mass celebrating the anniversary of the death of Jacque de Molay. This inconsistent public gesture from a historical figure produced by the earlier massacre of aristocrats, including Le Comte de Brissac, head of the Scottish Royal Guard and well documented Grand Master of the Temple, needs to be carefully analyzed with due respect to contemporary affiliations of both the Templates and the French Masons to what Napoleon stood for. The study is unfortunately beyond the scope of this article and therefore bypassed.
That the Order was reinstated in France under the Grand mastership of Philip, Duke of Orleans has been denied by many, particularly the masons, but not one single member of the very important families listed and published by the foremost press of France one hundred years later, drew one single comment against the authenticity of what to them must have been common aristocratic knowledge. Again, hardly a recipe for denial and only by those so called academics who have little to be measured by in the context of either the Masons or the Templars. As can be seen, it was of urgent political interest to those with other intentions (and definitely not the Scots), to safeguard British interests, knowing possibly what lay in store in the 18th.century before them. It is curious that the Order of the Temple was officially recognized by the power structure of the day (1705) under the name of the knights of the Orient and not so curious that the body of initiates who broke away to create its own sub-order, was to call itself the Order of the Orient – the body that was to be classified erroneously as Continental freemasonry and linked briefly with the British version. Neither had anything in common, nor had the Scottish descent of the Royal Order Institution itself anything to do with either. What they all had in common was their origins in apprentice breakaway movements from the Order of the Temple or more specifically, the Templar lodges or secret teaching houses- movements that could no longer be classified as Templar since the very basis of their existence was educational and not yet political. The formal central and international authority had again gone underground and continued on its way for better or for worse as the transmission information reveals. There is a record however that illustrates the alarm created within the Order proper and the attempts to assign a Royal member to the care and safeguard of the breakaway apprentices. Subsequently, the social forces took the trail and led it to assume its own identity and carve a niche out for itself under the guise of a new breakaway umbrella, taking with it all knowledge available to apprentices up to the Knightly investiture or Master