S.T.O History

History of the Strict Templar Observance

I – The Order of the Templars: Foundation and Historical Foundations

Following the capture of Jerusalem by the Crusaders in July 1099, and the establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Principality of Antioch, the counties of Edessesa and Tripoli, there was a rapid need to create Hospital Orders to assist pilgrims. They must also be safe. The Order of the Temple (originally called the militia of the poor knights of Christ and the temple of Solomon), was founded in 1119 by two lords of Champagne, Hugh of Payns and Geoffroy of Saint Omer. They will soon be joined by seven other knights, then many others, to defend, among other things, the parade of Athlit, a dangerous way to reach the holy places. Soon, with the assent of Baudouin II, they settled in buildings located on the Temple esplanade, with the stables, and would now be called “Templars”.

In 1125, the Count of Champagne entered the Order of the Temple, further accrediting the merits of the Templars’ mission. They consider themselves both monks and soldiers, under the rule of St. Augustine, but this position is really new to the church. In fact, a little later, The Templars André de Montbard, uncle of Saint Bernard, and Gondemare, will meet with Pope Honorius II to explain the reasons necessary for his support in the action of the Temple in the Holy Land.
Hugues de Payns came to Europe in 1126 to raise funds and persuade the lords to join in the maintenance and development of the Eastern States. The Fathers of the Council met on January 13, 1128 in Troyes. Hugues de Payns, accompanied by five other knights, will be present and it is already known, at that time, that the temple has several dozen in its ranks.
Here is the passage of the rule of the Temple stating: “and meismment brother Ugue de Paens, but being of the Chivalry, with none of his brothers, whom he brought with him, that is to say, brother Rotlant, brother Godefroi and brother Geofroi Bisot, brother Payen de Montdidier, brother Archenbaut of Saint Amant…”
The 72-article rule written by Bernard de Clairvaux will be adopted, followed by withdrawals, statutes and respects.

The archetype of mystical chivalry was born. It will stand out on every battlefield, and its fighters will demonstrate a faith and self-denial unmatched in our history. Saint Bernard extoled the virtues of the new Order of Chivalry, in his eulogy to the new militia, entitled “De laude novae militiae ad milites templi.” Two years after the death of the first master of the Temple, Hugh of Payns, Pope Innocent II will confirm the Order in its prerogatives by the bubble “Omne datum optimum”; during the first Council of Latran.
After two hundred years of incessant struggles and the retreat after the loss of Saint-Jean-d’Acre, the Temple is out of breath and its members decimated. This is the moment chosen by King Philip IV and his advisors to defeat him with shabby slander and seize his property. Pope Clement V did his best to avoid the trap set by the King of France, but gave in under pressure. The Templars of France were arrested on 13 October 1307 and the first international unfair trial began. The dice will be thrown in April May 1312 at the Council of Vienna. Clement V by the bubbles “Vox Clamantis, ad providam, and recital dutudum” carries the removal of the Temple as a provision measure.

In March 1314 the last master, Jacques de Molay, was burned, after shouting to the crowd the innocence of the Templars. With the end of the Temple coincides the beginning of the end of medieval times, followed two centuries later what some have called the Renaissance. Yet, for all the vicissitudes of all kinds, chivalry continued to exist, and the spirit of the Temple will pass through the centuries. Strict Observance is the guarantor.

In Patrick Rivière’s well-documented book “The Templars and Their Mysteries,” 5th edition – Edition de Vecchi – 2009, we find this commentary page 214 “Of all Templar organizations, seem to be distinguished at present by their seriousness, three organizations”, one more alchemical and another general public are cited. About us: The Great Scottish Lodge of Strict Observance, Illustrious Order of the Strict Templar Observance.

II – The Order’s primitive links with Freemasonry

Many masons, mostly in the “Order of the Holy Duty of God of fellow humans,” worked on the construction of The Templar Fortresses on the paths of Jerusalem. These masons by trade, known as operatives, belonged to brotherhoods of free trades, as opposed to professions attached to corporations. The disappearance of the Order of the Temple did not end the franchises, and the free trades continued over the centuries to celebrate the worship of Saint John, their patron saint.

Free and accepted Freemasons: The founding myth of modern masonry was born, that of the “Temple of Solomon”, because it was accepted that everything went back to the construction of this building.

III – The chivalrous reference

The historical chronology shows that it first asserted itself in relation to the Order of Hospitaliers, born two years before that of the Templars. It was in Germany, in the middle of the 18th century, that the link between masonry and the Order of the Temple really appeared for the first time. Specifically, on March 16th 1737, the date of a police report kept at the Calvet Library in Avignon.

It states: “A new Order is established in Paris that comes from England,…, which is much like the Order of the Templars.

IV – The rebirth of the Order, through the Strict Templar Observance

The Order’s archives

The original archives of the Strict Observance were transported from Bohemia to Hungary by Austrian Brother Ludwig Aigner to Degh Castle on Lake Balaton (the latter was burned during the 39/45 war). Other pieces are archived in Berlin, Copenhagen, Stockholm, The Hague, Lyon, Strasbourg and in private funds.

In 1732, in November, the first major military lodge was born in Ireland, even ahead of Scotland and England, whose first military lodges date back to 1747 and 1755!

In 1743, Louis de Bourbon Condé, Earl of Clermont, succeeded the Duke of Antin at the head of French Freemasonry, as “grand master of all the regular lodges of France.”

In 1744, Estienne Morin, received in Antigua William Matthews, Governor General of the English Windward Islands, one of the oldest Masonic high-grades, since he was then introduced “to the mysteries of the Scottish Perfection”, in the words of the time, that is, to the rank of the royal vault, which would give birth much later to the present 13th and 14th grades of the old Scottish rite.
As soon as he returned to Fort Royal, he passed on this new rank. He is the father of the “Order of the Royal Secret”, ancestor of the most widely distributed rite in the world today, the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.

In 1749, Karl Gotthelf von Hund established his own lodge in Germany, in Unw-rde, and highlighted through letters written to Johnson before the Altenberg convent the close links between Freemasonry (speculative) and the chivalrous values transmitted by the Templars.
This is where the Illustrious Order of the Knights of the Templar Strict Observance is truly reborn. Templar rites and uses, combined in the operating Masonic practices of the 14th century, were then modelled on them, once they became strictly speculative.

In 1751: Karl Gotthelf von Hund wrote the rituals of the Order and developed the ceremonial.
Birth of the ranks of the Squire and the Eques to the Strict Observance. Later modified by Jean-Baptiste Willermoz, they became the novice squire and beneficent knight of the holy city with a rectified Scottish regime.

In 1764, at the Altenberg Convent, Karl Gotthelf von Hund clearly claimed the succession of the templars’ knowledge and restored the Order of the Temple by intimately linking it to Masonic practices. The system put in place then consists of three Masonic ranks: apprentice, companion, master, a rank of preparation for chivalry that of Scottish master, followed by two chivalrous ranks, the first of which is a novitiate that prepares for the next one where one is armed knight: these last three ranks form what is then called the Inner Order.
It is therefore indeed an Order of chivalry, stained on Freemasonry.

In 1767, the pastor Johann August von Starck with other Templar brothers founded the lodge “the three lions” in Wismar and above all, graft on it the clerical chapter of the Order.
In 1772, the Convent of Kohlo (in Lower Laussitz) which takes place from 4 to 24 June in Germany on the lands of Baron Von Brehl marks the climax of the Strict Observance. The chivalrous branch of the Order caps the part that is not, that is, in a way the “clerical” part represented by Johann August von Starck (1741-1816). Karl Gotthelf von Hund was then elected Grand Master of the 7th Province, and Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick (1721-1792), brother-in-law of the King of Prussia, was appointed grand master of all Scottish lodges.   

In 1778, the Lyon convent saw a first draft of the Scottish regime rectified.

In 1782, the convent of Wilhelmsbad, in the Germanic province of Hesse, saw the same Jean Baptiste Willermoz definitively reject the principle of a direct and complete lineage of strict observance with the Order of the Temple. To put it simply, he does not reject historical parentage, and acknowledges that the Order has had relations with real masonry, and that thanks to him the symbolic initiation has been preserved and has passed through the centuries. He said he feared an outright restoration of the Order of the Temple, and the same fatal consequences for it as in the 14th century. He therefore denies the Strict Observance the legitimacy of the temporal succession of the Order of the Temple. He thus refutes the fact that attaining the rank of knight is an act of a different nature than Masonic.

In 1792, Prince Charles of Hesse was appointed Grand Master of Danish Freemasonry by royal decree, but his legitimacy as a grandmaster in Germany and the rest of Europe no longer appeared. When he died in 1836, the crown prince of Denmark was only “protector of the Order” (…).

In 1995, the Order of Strict Templar Observance in the province of Occitanie was restored by a few Knights of the Temple, including the very respectable and very reverend knight Jean-Marie Auzanneau-Fouquet, in Ordine Eques Professus a Stella per Ensem, co-restorer of the Order and would become its first Grand Master General of the Contemporary Order.

In 2009, the Order will be rectified during its convent in the Templar Church of Beaussiet in Mazerolles in the Landes (France). As originally, it rests on three pillars: esoteric, by Masonic symbolism; military and Templar, by the heraldic symbolism attached; spiritual and priestly, finally, through parentage and commitment to the service of chivalrous values.

In 2010, on June 16, Eques Professus a Cruce Rubra, installed as Grand Provincial Master of Occitanie Jean Baudrat in the Templière de Beaussiet Church in Mazerolles (40 ) France by TRF Jean-Marie Auzanneau-Fouquet.

In 2012, the deputy of the Grand Master General of the Order, the TRF Didier Pestel, was commissioned by the Grand Master General of the Order to wake up the ninth Templar province known as the archipelagos and islands below and beyond the seas, in Madagascar, where he dedicated three lodges and installed the grand provincial master the TRF Eddy Rabarimanana, I.O. Eques Professus Aeternalis.
A Research and Development Lodge is dedicated; all SOT Brothers and Sisters are members. In memory of our illustrious predecessor and founder of the Strict Observance Karl Gotthelf von Hund, it is named RL “The Three Columns No.0”, its Orient is indefinite since itinerant. Under the responsibility of the Grand Master General, his lodge master was appointed by him.

In 2013, TRF Didier Pestel, i.o. Eques Professus a Tempora Modernis, after assuming the responsibilities of grand provincial master of the first province of Aragon, then substitute for the Grand Master General of the Order, was appointed to the succession of TRF Jean-Marie Auzanneau-Fouquet who remains the regent of the rite and co-restorer of the SOT.
It is installed after validation of his appointment by the great provincial masters, serene Grand Master General of the Order of Strict Observance and all its Templar provinces spread on the surface of the earth, in the Templar Church of Beaussiet on June 3, 2013 in Mazerolles (40) France.
The new Grand Master General appoints the TRF Etienne Suanez, i.o. Eques Professus has Perseverent Fidelis, as personal advisor.

On May 4, 2013, the fourth Templar province known as Leon in Andorra was awakened.
Three lodges are consecrated by the Grand Master General who installed the TRF Bernard Assie, i.o Eques Bernadus Niger Cygnus, Grand Provincial Master of this province of Leon in Andorra la Vella, principality of Andorra.

In November 2013 a delegation accompanied by the Grand Master General will set up a lodge on reunion Island and dedicate another on Madagascar.

Throughout this year many treaties were signed with both French and foreign Masonic bodies, thus internationalizing the Illustrious Order of Strict Templar Observance.

In 2014, in Andorra, TRF Bernard Assie, Grand Master of the Fourth Templar Province, organized an official religious ceremony on 15 March for the 700th anniversary of the death of Jacques de Molay, the Coadjutor Archbishop of Paris, Monsignor Marty, recognized the legitimacy of the SOT to assert itself as the spiritual representative of the Order of the Temple in the 21st century. On this occasion he blesses the many knights present and urges them to use their language as a sword to defend the Christian and chivalrous values that are his. All provinces without exception are represented.

On October 4, 2014, a large delegation of Brothers and Sisters of the 1st, 4th and 9th Templar provinces with their respective great masters accompanied the serene Grand Master General in Romania to Brasov, to wake up the 7th Templar Province of Lower Germany, karl von Hund province, in order to install its great provincial master and dedicate three Lodges.

Nine new contemporary Templar provinces, carving the surface of the remaining earth are named, their coat of arms, motto and shield defined for each of them by the TRF regent of the rite, J.Mr. Auzanneau-Fouquet, and validated by the Grand Master General.

The Grand Master General appoints and installs his great master substitute to help him, the TRF Jac.. G:., i.o. Eques Professus ab Alteri Certamine.

Awakening the Cleric the TRF Grand Master General of the Order appoints the grand prior to take responsibility for the first two ranks, the Very Reverend Knight F.. W:..

In 2015 Creation and implementation of the anthem of Strict Observance, which is necessarily listened to at the end of each outfit and chapter of the Order.

The International Commemoration RL, dependent on the Grand Master General, the RL “spes unica No. 9/13”, with a itinerant orient on the surface of the earth is awakened; its lodge master is the regent TRF of the rite. It performs ceremonies in memory of the living and the dead, ancestors and members of the Illustrious Order of Strict Templar Observance.

On August 22, 2015, restoration of the 8th province of Upper Germany and appointment of its provincial grandmaster, the TRF Stéphane Battaglia, i.o. Eques professus a Argenteo Claw. Consecration of two lodges.

Restoration of the 2nd Province of Auvergne and appointment of its grand provincial master, Luc Le Moing. Consecration of two lodges

Many lodges are dedicated on French territory especially in the 1st province of Aragon very active at that time.

Under the responsibility of its grand provincial master, the province, TRF Michel Duverger, i.o. Eques Professus a Spe, the convent in the Abbey of Fontfroide in Aude, France, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the revival of the Illustrious Order of Strict Templar Observance, in October of this year.

Reception in the Order of Monsignor Marty, Archbishop and appointment of the Latter as Grand Chaplain General of the Order, thus paving the way for the representatives of the clergy,

During this convent the constitutions and statutes of the Order as well as many administrative documents are voted and validated by all the great provincial masters.

On December 11, 2015, restoration of the 5th Templar province of Strict Observance known as Burgundy and installation of its provincial grandmaster, Sté:. S:.. Consecration of two lodges.