Templar Church


T (100) Knights Templar Illuminated Letters www.knightstemplarorder.orgThe Ancient Catholic Church embodies the canonical denomination of Ancient Catholicism, possessing its own inherent Pontifical authority. Ancient Catholicism is the primary and original denomination, which is the earliest pre-Christian source of all classical Christianity. This most sacred tradition survived through the Biblical Ancient Priesthood of Solomon, which was recovered and restored by the chivalric Order of the Temple of Solomon in the 12th century, and again by legitimate successors to the Knights Templar in the 21st century.



The Ancient Catholic Church, continuing the Priesthood of the Biblical Solomon, is the autonomous ecclesiastical institution preserved and supported by the Templar Order, providing a canonical 1st – 12th century classical Church experience.

The Order of the Temple of Solomon, as a chivalric institution, is generally interfaith and non-denominational, while still preserving its distinct traditions upholding Ancient Catholicism, as part of its original historical missions. The Templar Constitution provides that all religious activities of the Order are separate from the chivalric side of the Order, such that Templar Brothers and Sisters are not required to directly participate in the Ancient Catholic Church. Likewise, the Clergy and Faithful of the Church are not obligated to join the Templar Order.




'Our Lady Queen of All Saints', altar painting by David Andrews (2006)

‘Our Lady Queen of All Saints’, altar painting by David Andrews (2006)

I (100) Knights Templar Illuminated Letters www.knightstemplarorder.orgIn the classical ecclesiastical traditions, the world religious culture of Catholicism is much larger and more diverse than the Vatican Holy See of the Roman Catholic Church. The rest of “the Catholic world” is generally known as “Independent Churches” of “Old Catholicism”, “Reformed Catholicism” and “Liberal Catholicism”, collectively recognized by the Vatican as a legitimate and canonical Church movement in its own right, having valid Sacraments and Holy Orders.

The Templar denomination of Ancient Catholicism is historically and canonically the only Pontifical Catholicate which unifies and represents the 12th century Independent Church Movement, the derivative 19th century Old Catholic Movement and Reformed Catholic Movement, and the resulting early 20th century Liberal Catholic Movement:

Following the precedent of the Vatican grant of sovereignty to the Templar Order (based on ecclesiastical authority of the Ancient Priesthood of Solomon) in 1139 AD, the “Independent Church Movement” was created only six years later in 1145 AD by Pope Eugene III. It was established in Utrecht as a sovereign possession of the Teutonic Knights [1] as a branch of the Knights Templar [2], as part of the Templar missions of Saint Bernard de Clairvaux [3] [4] who had sponsored the founding Templar mission to recover the Ancient Priesthood of Solomon [5]. The Independent Church Movement was solidified in 1520 AD under Philip of Burgundy, the Bishop of Utrecht, who was a Teutonic Knight and a leader of cultural Templarism [6].

The Independent Church Movement, led by Independent Bishops of cultural Templarism, created the “Old Catholic Movement” in 1870 AD, ratified by the Old Catholic Congress in 1871 AD, which declares “Adherence to the Ancient Catholic faith… of the Ancient Church” [7]. This was solidified by the Declaration of Utrecht in 1889 AD, which specifically recognizes the “historical primacy… of the Ancient Church” (Article 2) and “Ancient Catholic doctrine” (Article 6) [8]. For these reasons, the Old Catholic Movement is often interchangeably referred to by many scholars as the “Ancient Catholic Movement”, confirming its original foundations in the 12th century Templar denomination of Ancient Catholicism.

The “Reformed Catholic Movement” was established in 1879 AD by the Irish Roman Catholic Bishop James O’Connor, with a group of Clergy who left the Vatican to be Independent Bishops. The Reformed movement embodies traditional Catholic practices, characterized by some Protestant and Evangelical doctrines of direct communion through the Holy Spirit [9].

The Liberal Catholic Movement was established in 1916 AD by Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew (Roman Catholic Priest, made Doctor of Divinity by Pope Pius IX, first Old Catholic Bishop of Great Britain in 1908 AD), Bishop James Ingall Wedgewood (British Anglican, Sorbonne doctoral scholar) and Bishop Charles Webster Leadbeater (British Anglican Priest). As a revival of the ancient Egyptian sacred wisdom underlying Christianity, it was primarily inspired by the Ancient Catholicism of Templar heritage. The Liberal Catholic Movement is the most widely recognized tradition within Old Catholicism [10].

While isolated Churches of the Old Catholic, Reformed Catholic and Liberal Catholic movements have a tendency to be schismatic, the Ancient Catholic Church serves as the unifying denomination, by providing the 12th century foundations of the original underlying Independent Church Movement. The Pontificate thus provides the stability for all schisms to be reconciled, and all apparent differences to be resolved, through the most ancient and timeless doctrines of 1st century Ancient Catholicism, as restored and preserved by the Templar Order.




Vatican Triple Pontifical Cardinal Seals, on the 'Chinon Parchment' (1305 AD) Secret Archives replica set, authenticated reproduction 2007 AD

Vatican Triple Pontifical Cardinal Seals, on the ‘Chinon Parchment’ (1305 AD) Secret Archives replica set, authenticated reproduction 2007 AD

R (100) Knights Templar Illuminated Letters www.knightstemplarorder.orgRepresented by the 12th century Ancient Catholic Church, the 1st century independent denomination of Ancient Catholicism is solidly recognized by the Vatican, by at least three key provisions of Roman Canon law, three Papal Decrees, and five Papal Bulls, such that its legitimacy, validity and inherent ecclesiastical sovereignty are indisputable:

As the Ancient Priesthood of Solomon of Knights Templar heritage, Ancient Catholicism is directly recognized by the Vatican Code of Canon Law as verified by “learned authors” (Canon 19) [11] [12] and as “immemorial customs” and “centennial customs” (Canon 26) [13], by theTemple Rule of 1129 AD as a Papal Decree [14], and the Papal BullsOmne Datum Optimum of 1139 AD [15] supported by Milites Templi of 1144 AD [16] and Militia Dei of 1145 AD [17].

As the founding origins and underlying substance of the Independent Church Movement, Old Catholic Movement, Reformed Catholic Movement and Liberal Old Catholic Movement, Ancient Catholicism is additionally recognized by the Vatican Code of Canon Law as validly “incardinated” Independent Bishops not subject to any external authority (Canon 266) [18], by the Papal Decree of the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 AD recognizing “independent Churches” (Canon 3) with “ancient privileges” of “their jurisdiction” (Canon 5) [19], the Papal Decree creating the Gregorian Egyptian Museum in 1839 AD [20], and the Papal Bulls Debitum Pastoralis of 1520 AD and Dominus Iesus of 2000 AD [21].



Design of Planned Sovereign Passport of the Pontifical Holy See of the Ancient Catholic Church, as a non-territorial ecclesiastical Principality and sovereign subject of international law (future project in process)

U (100) Knights Templar Illuminated Letters www.knightstemplarorder.orgUnder the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law, the Order of the Temple of Solomon is a “public juridical subject of canon law” (Canon 113, §2, Canon 116, §§1-2), possessing its own independent Pontifical authority from the Ancient Priesthood of Solomon (Canon 215), fully exercising its own canonical “power of jurisdiction” for its unique and original denomination of Ancient Catholicism (Canon 129, §1) [22].

Accordingly, the Ancient Catholic Church legally holds the status of a “sovereign subject of international law” [23] [24], based upon its substance and capabilities to advance its historical purposes internationally [25]. The Catholicate thus possesses non-territorial statehood in its own right, for international representation of its member Churches in diplomatic relations.

The Ancient Catholic Church is the canonical Pontifical authority, and central global institution, which is dedicated to supporting all participating Independent Churches. Therefore, it is literally “The Other Vatican”, as the classical Pontificate for the Independent Church Movement, Old Catholic Movement, Reformed Catholic Movement and Liberal Catholic Movement to have their own “Vatican”.

The apparent paradox of a Pontifical authority for “Independent” Churches is resolved by the authentic principles of doctrinal and liturgical freedom, with autonomy for all member Churches. This allows the Ancient Catholic Church to serve as an international presence advancing the collective interests for the benefit of all its Churches in Communion with the canonical Pontificate.




'Two Apostles' (1475 AD) by Carlo Crivelli, at Honolulu Academy of Arts, depicting Saint Paul and Saint Peter in joint co-regency as Coadjutoris Pontifex of the Holy See of Antioch in 37 AD.

‘Two Apostles’ (1475 AD) by Carlo Crivelli, at Honolulu Academy of Arts, depicting Saint Paul and Saint Peter in joint co-regency as Coadjutoris Pontifex of the Holy See of Antioch in 37 AD.

O (100) Knights Templar Illuminated Letters www.knightstemplarorder.orgOriginal and inherent Pontifical authority is vested in the Order of the Temple of Solomon, by theTemple Rule of 1129 AD as a Vatican Papal Decree [26], and by Omne Datum Optimum of 1139 AD as a Vatican Papal Bull [27]. Therefore, for preservation and continuity, the Pontificate of the Ancient Catholic Church is necessarily carried by the Grand Mastery of the Templar Order [28].

However, the denomination of Ancient Catholicism, by its earliest roots from the Biblical Magi Priesthood of Melchizedek, has a documented original practice of establishing joint Pontiffs, serving in “co-regency” as High Priests. This is confirmed by historical precedent as evidenced in Biblical scripture: Melchizedek “blessed” Abraham as a Pontifical consecration (Genesis 14:18-20; Hebrews 7:1, 7:9), after which both served as Patriarchs of their respective territories [29]; Zadok, a High Priest of the Melchizedek lineage, “anointed” Solomon (I Kings1:39), after which both held the same set of two interchangeable High Priest titles, in joint co-regency as Pontiffs [30].

The early Christian precedent in the 1st century Church is the co-regency of Saint Peter and Saint Paul as Coadjutor Patriarchs (Coadjutoris Pontifex) of the original Holy See of Antioch, the “First Church” of the New Testament in 37 AD.

Another precedent in the 18th century Church is the Cistercian Bishop Dominicus Marie Varlet, who was consecrated by order of Pope Clement XI in 1719 AD, specifically as the “coadjutor and successor” Patriarch with the Latin Bishop of Babylon in Persia.

Accordingly, the Pontifical authority vested in the Templar Order for the Ancient Catholic Church is properly and canonically delegated among two co-acting Pontiffs (Coadjutoris Pontifex): The Grand Master remains the titular Sovereign Pontiff (Princeps Pontifex), guiding the ongoing restoration and multi-millennial development of the Church as a historical institution, and serving as the Head of State for the Church as a sovereign subject of international law. The Canonical Pontiff (Catholicos Pontifex) has primary authority over all canonical and ecclesiastical matters of the Church, serving as the Pontifical Prelate of the Catholicate, and Head of the Pontifical Curia and College of Bishops, under the independent canonical Restoration Charter of the Church.

By this delegation of Pontifical authority, the Ancient Catholic Church retains full ecclesiastical independence, with its own classical Pontiff and Council of Bishops, separate from the Templar Grand Mastery as the historical Fons Honourum source of its continuity. Through this arrangement, the Church is vigilantly protected and supported by the Order of the Temple of Solomon, as Guardians of the Church and Defenders of the Faith. The Templar Order thus serves as an external framework of security and infrastructure for practical support of the Church, as a companion “Sister State”. The Canonical Pontiff also holds a seat as Grand Canon of the Templar Order, as chief advisor to the Grand Mastery on all canonical and ecclesiastical matters.




Installation of Reverend Mother Elizabeth Maxwell as Rector of the Church of the Ascension in New York City (13 May 2015)

Installation of Reverend Mother Elizabeth Maxwell as Rector of the Church of the Ascension in New York City (13 May 2015)

T (100) Knights Templar Illuminated Letters www.knightstemplarorder.orghe Ancient Catholic Church provides a culture of inclusiveness and unification, with a policy of respect for diversity, in the spirit of religious and intellectual freedom. This gives the participating Churches and Faithful all of the benefits and advantages of being supported by their own “Vatican”, without the customary limitations or disadvantages. All member Churches and Faithful thus enjoy the open-handed guidance and spiritual leadership of the Catholicate, receiving an infusion of ancient and classical sacred knowledge as the foundations for an unshakeable Faith, with full respect for their individual preferences.

The word “Catholic” by definition actually means “Universal”. The French usage of ‘Catholique‘ is derived from the Latin ‘Catholicus‘, meaning “universal” or “general”. The word “Catholic” was first applied to the Holy See of the Church of Rome ca. 1554 AD. [31] Prior to that 16th century Vatican usage, the concept of “Catholic” was a basic mission of the 1st century Ancient Church: The Apostles taught the first Churches “to keep the unity of the Spirit… till we all come in the unity of the Faith… that we henceforth be no more [distracted], tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:1-16) [32].

Because the Ancient Priesthood of Solomon includes the direct origins of many practices which are particular to Roman Catholicism, this early Christian denomination is properly called Ancient Catholicism. As it predates all later derivative doctrines which developed after the 1st century, while it contains much of the elegance, scholarship and formality of Catholic tradition, it is completely free from any and all “dogmas”.

Because the Ancient Priesthood of Solomon continued through the Essenes to be practiced and taught by Jesus to the Apostles, it organically consists of the underlying foundations of all Christian denominations. As a result, Ancient Catholicism is compatible with all denominations of Christianity, thus making it – quite ironically – a “non-denominational” denomination.

Because of the great antiquity of the Ancient Priesthood of Solomon, it preserves the most universal doctrines which are the cornerstones of all genuine spiritual religions. Accordingly, the denomination of Ancient Catholicism is generally compatible with all major world religions, giving it a strong basis for interfaith ecumenical cooperation, while preserving the distinct respective heritage of all historical traditions.

In accordance with the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law of 1983, the Ancient Catholic denomination incorporates “immemorial customs” from the ancient roots of Christianity, and “centennial customs” of all derivative Christian denominations (Canon 26), which cannot be revoked (Canon 28) as long as they are “reasonable” (Canon 24, §2); Canon law also guarantees freedom of liturgy and “the right to follow their own form of spiritual life” within the Pontifical Catholicate (Canon 214). [33]

Therefore, all Churches and Faithful of various denominations, whether Old Catholic, Reformed Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal, Celtic, Gnostic, or otherwise, can fully participate in the religious life of the Ancient Catholic Church: Clergy and practicing Faithful can choose the liturgies and prayers of their personal preference and inspiration; Churches of various denominations can be accepted into Full Communion with the Pontificate, while preserving their autonomy.

Supporting and representing an interdenominational membership of autonomous Churches in Communion, the primary role of the Ancient Catholic Church is to restore and provide the underlying doctrines as educational sermons, seminary studies, ancient and classical liturgies for optional use, to strengthen and deepen the experience of Faith itself, in all participating denominations.

In practice, the inclusiveness of the Ancient Catholic Church allows the experience of enjoying a balanced combination of the comfort of ceremonial sacraments with the inspiration of evangelical sermons.

Promoting ecumenical unification while preserving multidenominational independence, the Ancient Catholic Church provides deeper dimensions of the true experience of Faith, through the most ancient original doctrines of early Christianity, which are the timeless foundations to rediscover an unshakeable Faith.




The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin celebrates 20 years of Women in the Priesthood of the Church of England (2014)

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin celebrates 20 years of Women in the Priesthood of the Church of England (2014)

A (100) Knights Templar Illuminated Letters www.knightstemplarorder.orgAs a canonical denomination of inclusiveness, the Ancient Catholic Church gives Christians “tradition without dogma”, gives Churches “unity with independence”, and gives Catholicism “diversity with direction”.

Ancient Catholicism is the most tolerant, diverse and inclusive denomination of classical Christianity. While preserving its own unique and distinct traditions since ancient times, it accommodates many practices which are considered “liberal” in the modern era. However, the apparent “liberalism” of the Ancient Catholic Church is not from any compromise of traditional doctrines. Rather, this comes from a deeper understanding, supported by facts of the historical record, that the original doctrines of early 1st century Christianity are in fact much more inclusive than has been generally known.

All doctrines and practices of Ancient Catholicism are directly rooted in Biblical Scripture, interpreted in the context of verified historical facts of the original practice of Christianity as taught by Jesus the Nazarene, as clarified and supported by academic archaeology.

Women Equal in All Levels of Clergy – Women hold full and equal status in the Ancient Catholic Clergy, at all levels, and are canonically consecrated as Bishops (Genesis 1:26-28; Mark 15:40-41; Acts 1:14; Romans 16:1; I Corinthians 11:8-12) [34].

Married Priests: Celibacy Not Required – Married Priests are accepted and encouraged. While voluntary celibacy is respected and has recognized advantages, Clergy are not expected to be celibate (Genesis 2:18; I Corinthians 7:1-2, 7:5). In scripture, Priests are not expected to be above nor without worldly entanglements (including marriage), specifically as life experience to be better Priests (Hebrews 5:1-2; Ephesians 3:7-8). The Apostles explicitly wrote that both Deacons and Bishops were actually strongly encouraged to be married and the head of a family, which was considered to give qualifying skills beneficial to managing the Church (I Timothy 3:12, 3:2-5; Titus 1:5-9) [35].

Divorce & Remarriage Permitted – Divorce is discouraged but permitted (Matthew 5:31, 19:8), and remarriage is supported and encouraged, as a fundamental God-given right of companionship (Genesis 2:18-24; Matthew 19:4-6) [36].

Open Communion for All Seekers – Open communion is practiced, such that all spiritual seekers who are interested, whether from other denominations or even from other religions, are welcome to participate in all fellowship, rites and sacraments of the Church (Acts 2:44-47; I John 1:3-7) [37].

'Education' Louis Tiffany Window (1890 AD), at Yale University, portraying Science & Religion in harmony

‘Education’ Louis Tiffany Window (1890 AD), at Yale University, portraying Science & Religion in harmony

Science & Religion Together – Science and religion are considered to be not only compatible, but actually interdependent, because scripture confirms that the physical universe is a rational, ordered universe of nature, created by God by intelligent design (Psalms 19:1-4). Accordingly, exploring the esoteric mechanics of that universe through empirical science serves to reveal the glory of God. [38]

Tolerance of Sexual Orientation – Non-traditional sexual orientation is traditionally discouraged, but respectfully tolerated, with equal opportunity in the Clergy and among the Faithful. All who feel called to serve as Clergy are accepted for merit, without discrimination (Hebrews 5:1-4; I Peter 4:11; John 15:16), provided that they objectively teach traditional doctrines regardless of their personal lifestyle preferences (I Peter 4:10-11) [39]. Clergy of alternative orientation are permitted to discretely and factually state or acknowledge such to other Clergy and Faithful. Clergy of all orientations are equally not permitted to openly display any sexually related behaviour in connection with Church functions, nor to use one’s ecclesiastical title or status in connection with secular political activism supporting any non-traditional lifestyles.

Freedom of Choice for Same-sex Unions – As an objectively practical legal strategy to protect the freedom of choice of individual Clergy: The Pontificate of the Ancient Catholic Church holds the topic of same-sex civil unions to be a modern secular political issue, and thus neither a canonical nor ecclesiastical matter. The Church will support and defend the refusal of Clergy to violate their personal religious convictions in jurisdictions which may infringe or undermine that right; Equally, the Church will respect and defend the choice of Clergy to voluntarily conduct same-sex union ceremonies, in the form of giving Blessings to a civil union, in more restrictive jurisdictions.

As a canonical Pontificate and sovereign subject of international law, the Ancient Catholic Church can delegate a relevant governmental function or even diplomatic immunity, as may be necessary to defend the protected right to free exercise of religion, in accordance with one’s personal religious convictions, for Clergy on either side of a socially divisive issue, on a case-by-case basis.

Freedom of Liturgical and Cultural Preference – Churches in communion with the Ancient Catholic Church enjoy independence and freedom of liturgy, thus promoting diversity of many socio-cultural approaches to Catholic Christianity from differing historical traditions (Canon 214) [40].

Pontifical “Infallibility” Excluded – The Old Catholic Movement essentially began in direct reaction to the Vatican’s newly declared dogma of “Papal infallibility” in 1870 [41]. It was led and founded by an estimated 10% of Bishops who actually split from the Vatican [42], about half of the 20% of dissenting Bishops, representing a following which averages 50% of all practicing Roman Catholics who joined the Old Catholic Movement [43].

All humans as God’s temporal creatures, by definition, are inherently capable of making mistakes, notwithstanding the success with which God may help us to avoid or prevent such mistakes (Psalms 37:24, 103:2-4; I Peter 5:6; James 3:2; Romans 3:10). This inherent God-given human condition should never be disregarded, but rather must be acknowledged as inspiration to always strive for improvement (Psalms 32:5; Proverbs 28:13; Philippians 3:13; Romans 3:23). Only the original authenticated Word of God itself, in scripture, and in the context of other supporting scripture, can be infallible (Isaiah 40:8; II Timothy 3:16).

Accordingly, the Pontificate and Curia of the Ancient Catholic Church are certain, convinced by scripture, that they cannot be “infallible”. The proper and true role of the Pontificate is not to dictate, but rather to inclusively unify and faithfully represent the collective wisdom of the Curia, the College of Bishops, and the scholars among the Faithful. Pontifical Decrees and Bulls of Ancient Catholicism must be “self-proving”, containing direct references to scripture. Interpretations of scripture must be explained by other supporting scripture, in the context of verified facts of the historical record, as clarified by academic archaeology. All Pontifical statements are subject to amendment in the event that additional scriptures or new historical evidence are found to be relevant to correcting or refining any interpretation.