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The United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta in England and Wales and Provinces Overseas

While the Masonic Orders have no direct connection with the medieval Orders, the ritual and regalia used in today’s Orders are derived from the history and activities of the earlier Knights.  The earliest speculative Freemasons were Christians and, although the Constitutions of 1723 and 1728 opened the door of English Freemasonry to ‘all Good Men and True’, in about 1740 specifically Christian Masonic Rites began to appear.  By the 1770s, traces of the Templar-Malta ceremonies had reached England.  The United Orders now confer two Degrees, linked with a short passing Degree.

The two Degrees are Knight Templar and Knight of Malta, being joined by a ‘passing’ Degree of Knight of St. Paul.  A candidate for the Degree of Knight Templar is in the position of a pilgrim travelling symbolically through hardship and danger until he is received as a Knight. It teaches humility and urges the candidate to live his life as a Christian Knight. The Degree of Knight of Malta deals with the period when the Knights travelled from Palestine to reach their final home in Malta, emphasising their Christian virtues.

For Installation into the Order of Knights Templar, the candidate is admitted in the character and habit of a pilgrim.  He is first required to undertake a symbolic period of pilgrimage and, after taking an Obligation, assumes the garb of a Soldier of the Cross and proceeds on a symbolic period of warfare.  He is instructed on the rôle of penance and meditation in preparation for Knighthood, and then receives the Accolade and is Invested and Proclaimed as a Knight of the Temple.

After going through the passing Degree of Knight of St Paul, the Degree of Knight of Malta is conferred.  The history of the Knights Hospitaller, from their origins in Jerusalem to their final resting place in Malta, is recounted in this further Degree of Christian Masonic Knighthood.