The Sovereign Magistral Order of the Temple of Solomon, as the original historical institution of the Knights Templar, is generally known for its traditional close ties to the Church, historically the Vatican of Rome. However, the historical record reveals the little known fact that the Order holds full ecclesiastical legitimacy of its own classical Church, with distinct lines of Apostolic succession. From the Middle Ages through the Renaissance period and into the modern era, the Templar Order has preserved its own ecclesiastical status as the Gnostic Church of Solomon.
This Gnostic Church of Solomon carries the ancient Gnostic traditions of the Essenes, of which Jesus the Nazarene was a High Priest, together with the medieval priesthood of the Gnostic Cathars, and is constitutionally maintained as a separate institution within the Templar Order.
Although many Knights and Dames Templar choose to join this Church, it is an optional additional activity, which is available to enhance the authentic experience of Templarism. Participation in the Gnostic Church of Solomon is not a requirement of the Order, as ecclesiastical affairs are constitutionally separate from its chivalric aspects.
The Gnostic Church of Solomon of the Templar Order integrates several traditions of organized religion, which contribute multiple sources of ecclesiastical authority to the Order, making it a classical Church in its own right.
This Gnostic Church of Solomon is the original Gnostic tradition of the earliest form of Christianity, descending from 7 sources of Apostolic succession since ca. 33 AD:
(1) the Nazarene Essene Priesthood of Jesus;
(2) the Holy See of Antioch and Patriarchate of Antioch from Saints Peter and Paul;
(3) Saint Mark the Apostle;
(4) Saint Thomas the Apostle;
(5) Saint Mary Magdalene the Disciple (and Gnostic Apostle) of Jesus;
(6) Saint Thecla the Disciple (and Gnostic Apostle) of the Apostle Peter; and
(7) Saint Bernard de Clairvaux the Patron Saint of the Knights Templar.
All 7 sources of ecclesiastical authority constitute direct lines of initiatory succession, each additionally perfected by authenticity of doctrinal succession.
As a result, the Gnostic Church of Solomon of the Templar Order is genuinely a 2,000 year old religious institution (as continued from the 11th century), as a rare form of classical Church.
The Gnostic Church of Solomon is defined by Reformed Catholicism, continuing the ancient and medieval Christianity which embodies the most ancient Priesthood of the Biblical Melchizedek. This Church is rooted in the Gnostic Gospels of the 1st century Essenes, 11th century Cathars, and 12th century Templars, including elements of 15th century Rosicrucianism as Gnostic Protestantism, and 16th century Hermetic Theosophy as part of Liberal Catholicism.
The doctrines and practices within the Gnostic Church of Solomon include scholarship of the physics of classical esoteric knowledge. This involves energy sciences as applied to priestly sacraments, divine communion, mechanics of consciousness, workings of the Holy Spirit, and related visitations and manifestations of spirit. Ancient icons, which secular historians mistook for “deities”, are authentically regarded as canonized Saints or Angels of the earlier Priesthoods.
Notwithstanding some modern superficial perceptions of the ancient scope of scholarly doctrines of the Church, its doctrines are not “new age”, but rather are decisively “old age”, focused on the true origins and bases of classical Christianity. As a result, while this Church is “ancient in spirituality”, it is distinctively “medieval in liturgy”.
Keeping the Faith by Original Doctrines without Dogma
The essence of “faith” is much more than mere “belief” in any particular religion. Faith itself is truly the emotional and intellectual awareness of the underlying life force and mechanics of the universe. While these are only tangentially detectible by us, they are still discernable and perceivable by our experience.
The key element of faith is a conscious appreciation for a semi-apparent higher purpose and a grander scheme of cause and effect, which is beyond the limited abilities of individual or collective human planning. Only faith helps us experience the fullness of life and our relationships, and carries us through life’s hardships by the guiding light of a genuine sense of higher purpose and dedication to goodness.
The popular culture of modern society constantly bombards us with the false “logic” of artificial “choices”, which superficially purport to “discredit” the concept and value of faith. This is accomplished only by taking isolated dogmas out of context, and portraying them in a false light, while disregarding original doctrines of the faith.
Examples of such distractions abound: Supposedly, if anything in the Bible is not literal fact but rather metaphor, then we “can’t believe in God”, if we don’t get our way all the time or bad things happen to us, then there “is no God”, and if science explains how something in nature works, then “God doesn’t exist” or is “irrelevant”.
This constant fallacious assault on faith is an assault upon truth itself. It flies in the face of many millennia of ecclesiastical doctrines which accurately taught scripture as intentional metaphor to help us find deeper understanding and wisdom.
Such manipulative abuse of bad logic ignores the core traditional Christian tenet of “God helps those who help themselves”. Even worse, it distracts us from the most important teaching that “God often acts through his followers”, making us forget that it is our human responsibility to be the “agents of God” (i.e. ministers or “Good Samaritans”) and to be the temporal actors furthering “God’s higher purpose”.
The Gnostic Church of Solomon faithfully applies the original and authentic doctrines, from the most ancient foundations of Christianity, to give new levels of depth and dimension to the practice of faith.
Backed by academia and archaeology of the historical record, the teachings of the Gnostic Church of Solomon emphasize doctrines of Gnostic enlightenment which integrate science and religion, and effectively reconcile different Christian denominations.
Exercise of Ecclesiastical Authority of the Knights Templar Order
Notwithstanding the formidable basis, wealth of priestly heritage, and legitimacy of ecclesiastical authority of the Templar Order, the Knights Templar have never sought to “compete” with the Vatican or Orthodox Churches, but consistently chose only to support them.
Historically, although the Knights Templar knew that the Order was vested with the ecclesiastical authority of the Holy See of Antioch, the Gnostic Church of Solomon and the Ancient Priesthood of Solomon, they mostly built Churches only for the Vatican or Celtic Church. The Templars only built Churches for themselves when necessary to serve as a working facility, to support the operations of a Commandery.
The classical Gnostic teachings preserved by the Knights Templar – once feared by the Vatican Roman Church as “heretical” – are interpreted and applied in ways which actually strengthen Christian faith, and give Catholic, Orthodox Anglican and Protestant followers even greater depth and resolve of commitment to their own denominations.
True to the Gnostic doctrines and ancient spirituality of its Priesthood, the Templar Order does not exercise its ecclesiastical authority in the form of a “Church” operating its own standing “Churches” with congregations. Instead, Templar Knights are sworn to be protectors of the original spirituality which is the basis for all Churches, dedicated to supporting established Churches of all denominations and religious Orders of other traditions.
Accordingly, the Order of the Temple of Solomon is non-denominational and multi-confessional. While generally ecumenical, it is committed to the mission of protecting the unique heritage and distinct traditions of separate religions and denominations. The Templar Order respects that each have their own characteristic contributions to the spiritual experience of humanity, and that each hold some of their own keys to supporting and preserving the authenticity of the others.
As a result, the ancient and medieval Priesthood of the Templar Order is truly a living tradition, which embodies and teaches the authentic ancient wisdom, doctrines, principles and practices of the original 12th century Order, together with the sources of its most ancient Magi Priesthood of the Biblical Melchizedek.
Members of the Templar Order are encouraged to choose the style and form of worship of their personal preference, consistent with their preferred culture. All cultural expressions of worship, however, are guided by and rooted in the most ancient wisdom preserved by the Templar Grand Mastery, supporting both its Ancient Priesthood of Solomon and its Gnostic Church of Solomon.