October 13, 2019 By seanhross


The self-styled l’Ordre du Temple, founded in France in 1705, claimed to be the continuation of the medieval Knights Templar, using the Larmenius Charter as evidence of its pedigree. The order was officially reconstituted in 1804 by Bernard-Raymond Fabré-Palaprat,[5] and recognized as an Order of Chivalry by its patron Napoleon Bonaparte in 1805;[6] In 1945, Antonio Campello Pinto de Sousa Fontes (1878-1960) claimed that the OSMTH was the continuation of l’Ordre du Temple,[7] Fernando Campello Pinto Pereira de Sousa Fontes (b. 1930) succeeded his father as the head of the order in 1960.[7]

In 1970, a split occurred within the OSMTH when General Antoine Zdrojewski was unexpectedly elected as the new Grand Master of the OSMTH at the Convent of Paris in September, 1970.[8] Zdrojewski became the head of one faction of the Order, which he referred to by the French translation: “Ordre Souverain et Militaire du Temple de Jérusalem” (OSMTJ), until his death in 1989. Zdrojewski was succeeded by George Lamirand as the new head of the OSMTJ until his death in 1994.[9] George Lamirand was succeeded by Dr. Nicolas Haimovici Hastier who is the current OSMTJ International Leader today.[10]

In 1997, OSMTH voted to expel Grand Master Fernando de Sousa Fontes from the order. This resulted in another schism with those loyal to Grand Master Fernando de Sousa Fontes forming a new organization presently known as OSMTH-Regency while the remainder of the organization continued on as OSMTH.

While OSMTH rituals and traditions are currently based upon those of the historical Knights Templar, according to its website[1] and their present leader, Grand Master Patrick Rea,[11] there is no direct historical lineage claimed by OSMTH and the 12th century Templars.

In 2001, the Order was accredited by the United Nations Economic and Social Council as a non-governmental organisation, in special consultative status, one of over 2,000 organizations to hold this status.[12] The Order is an associate member of the International Peace Bureau and an affiliate of the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy,[4] which was founded by one of OSMTH’s members.[3] In 2014, OSMTH was elected as a board member of CoNGO (Conference of NGOs in consultative status with the United Nations.

The order exists in each country under different jurisdictions. In America, the OSMTH is known as the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, Inc. (SMOTJ) – this being the English rendering of the Latin name.[13] They should not be confused with a multitude of other self-styled “Knights Templar”, or the Masonic Knights Templar.

OSMTH is registered in Geneva, Swiss Reg No: CH-660.1.972777-4 and is in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations has over 5000 active members in Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, England & Wales, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Serbia, Ukraine and in the United States.[14][15] OSMTH operates in a number of countries providing humanitarian aid [16] such as the River Jordan Project that is supported by HM King Abdullah of Jordan.[17]

The ecumenical Christian organization operates as a modern-day network of educated professionals.[18] As of August 2007, the organization had approximately 5,200 members.[11]

Christian men who join the organisation are self-styled as “Knights” with the title of Chevalier and females are termed “Dames” with the title of Chevaleresse (or Chevalière).[19] The modern Order claims over 5000 members, allegedly including leaders in the military, business, government and ecclesiastical communities.[20]

The Order’s Royal Patron, who is also a Chevalière of the Order, is Her Highness Princess Elisabeth of Ysenburg and Büdingen, the eldest daughter of the late Prince Friedrich Ferdinand of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and his wife, Duchess Anastasia of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The House of Schleswig-Holstein is unique by virtue of its numerous junior lines that have occupied (and will be occupying) thrones beside that of the senior, ducal line, to which Princess Elisabeth belongs. Princess Elisabeth is the widow of Prince Ferdinand Heinrich of Ysenburg and Büdingen, and has two sons, Prince Johann Georg and Prince Ludwig.

The OSMTJ is split of OSMTH in 1970 after the former Grandmaster Fontes refused to obey the laws of succession when General Antoine Zdrojewski was elected. Some of the Grand Priories, including the French, Belgian, Swiss, and Polish, followed the newly elected General Zdrojewski, and some stayed loyal to Fontes.  Alfred Zappelli (Grand Prior of Switzerland), General Georges de Bruyn (Grand Prior of Belgium), and Badouraly-Somji Alibay (Commander of the Polish Commandery)  were also backers of General Zdrojewski.  After the election of Zdrojewski, those who followed him became known as OSMTJ.  Those who continued to follow de Sousa Fontes were known as OSMTH (or “OSMTH-Regency”).  “OSMTJ” is the French acronym  for  “Ordre Souverain et Militaire du Temple de Jérusalem.” [22]

In late 1973, Grand Master Zdrojewski carried out a re-organization of the OSMTJ and a reform of the Statutes. He approved the Grand Priories re-asserting the independence of the International Federation of Autonomous Grand Priories of the OSMTJ (Each member Grand Priory was recognized as autonomous). The Swiss Grand Priory accepted these reformed statutes in 1973, while the Belgian and United States Grand Priories accepted them in 1975. Zdrojewski was succeeded by George Lamirand as the new head of the OSMTJ until his death in 1994.[23] George Lamirand was succeeded by Dr. Nicolas Haimovici Hastier who is the current OSMTJ Regent today.[24] Presently, H.E.Domizio Cipriani, Grand Prior of Principality of Monaco, has taken the role of General Chancellor of the Order in place of General Ronald Magnum. The General Chancellor works with the Regency Council and directly with the Regent for development of the studies and coordination of humanitarian actions. The States Grand Priory of OSMTJ is also known as the OSMTJ Knights Templar of America.