The immolation of Jacques de Molay
The first legend of Templar survival surfaced in the nineteenth century after a long and mysterious four hundred year silence. In brief it held that the Order had perpetuated itself under the mantle of the "chivalric grades" of Freemasonry! It is hard to see how such a miracle could have been so easily and generally accepted. How, one might well ask, could the Order, abolished in 1314, arise again, at the time of the war of the Austrian succession?
Several historians have tried to explain the process and a few have given plausible explanations for the surfacing of the myth. The closest to the mark, in our view, is R. Le Forestier, the erudite French Masonic historian (1) who explains that the resurgence of hermeticism in German Freemasonry which occurred during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (2) became the vehicle which, allegedly and providentially was brought back from the East by the Knights Templar who had been absent from the scene for four hundred years. Since there were no corroborating texts or documents, the only way to make up for these and for the hibernation, was to "reveal" that their existence had been held secret. Thus was born the legend of the Templars' occult survival. A "noble" progenitor had been found for Freemasonry, one much more prestigious than the humble stone masons who built the cathedrals. The idea caught on very quickly and all sorts of adventurers rushed in to take advantage of a potential goldmine. The legend of the "Philosopher's Stone" incorporated into the Masonic rite of "Strict Observance" duped many including Francis I, Emperor of Austria. Riffraff appeared who pretended to have found the "treasure" of the Templars and they offered fabulous returns to credible subscribers. Some of these charlatans actually sold for large sums of money, be-ribboned diplomas bearing seals with the arms and the forged signature of the unfortunate Pretender, Charles Edward Stuart, who had, in fact, never even been a Freemason!
If we are to understand the so- called "history" on which some of the 20th century creations base themselves, we must examine the "myth" and some of its variants.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the Freemasons found the need to justify their origins by seeking the longest possible direct historical line; in other words, by creating a genealogy for themselves. This search aimed to show that Freemasonry was the culmination of a line of initiates which found its roots at the beginning of history, specifically at the time of Hiram, the architect of Solomon's Temple, and which, later along the way, would include the Order of the Temple.
Once this idea was firmly anchored it never completely disappeared. An author wrote in 1922: "A few French Templars, among those who were not condemned, joined a secret group of the Parisian Masons' Guild which had been charged, in 1314, with the erection and demolition of the funeral pyre where the Masters of the Temple were burned. Dressing like them, they were able to gather the ashes of the Grand Master following which they constituted themselves a secret order swearing an oath to fight against the French monarchy and the papacy..."
The French National Library contains a document (9948M. Lat;10919,P-84.fol 97 V) entitled "These are the names of the brethren who fled" . G.A. Schiffmann (3) has estimated that it was written in ca. 1745 and that it was of notable Masonic inspiration. The document, which is partially responsible for the belief in a Templar "treasure", also seems to imply that Freemasonry is the descendant of the Temple. It relates how Jacques de Molay, anticipating his fate, initiated his nephew, the Count of Beaujeu, handed him the secret and the custody of the treasure and instructed him to perpetuate the order "until the end of the world."
"But, in order to better keep the order hidden, Beaujeu established new ceremonies in which he freely used the emblems and hieroglyphics of the Temple of Solomon.
"These ceremonies were changed and modeled according to Beaujeu's knowledge of ancient customs, keeping however, those which were inherent to the Order.
"After Beaujeu's death the grand magistracy fell to Aumont, one of the dispersed Templars who had sought refuge in Scotland. One can see how, as a consequence of the various vicissitudes which befell the Order, it had to be particularly circumspect in its efforts to continue to recruit and initiate new candidates.
"However, after Beaujeu, the Order never ceased one moment to subsist and we have, from Beaumont to the present, an uninterrupted list of the Order's Grand Masters." (4).
Now to come back to reality, we note that Chevalier de Ramsay, the Scottish Mason and tutor of the Pretender in exile in France, who introduced the Scottish Rite and its knightly grades into French Freemasonry, openly stated that the foundation of Freemasonry had to be attributed to the knight crusaders who had returned from Palestine. He also said that the Rite had borrowed its grades from Scotland where the Templars had sought refuge.
Thus, according to Ramsay, the Knights Templar continued to live on through Freemansonry.
There is, however, another variant to this alleged genealogy, which also emerged in the middle of the eighteenth century. It claimed that Pierre d'Aumont was the immediate successor of Jacques de Molay. We owe this innovation to Baron de Hund, a high dignitary of Craft, who relates it in his book entitled "The Rite of the Strict Observance":
"After the catastrophe,(the immolation of de Molay) the Provincial Grand Master of Auvergne, Pierre d'Aumont, escaped with two commanders and five knights. In order to avoid recognition, they disguised themselves as masons and escaped to the Scottish island of Mull, where they found the Grand Commander George de Harris and several other brethren with whom they decided to continue the Order. They held a Chapter on St.John's Day 1313 and named Aumont, first of the name, Grand Master. In order to avoid persecution, they borrowed symbols from the masonic craft and called themselves Free Masons...
"In 1361, the Grand Master of the Temple moved the seat of his Order to Aberdeen and, subsequently the Order spread under the veil of Freemasonry in Italy, in Germany Spain and elsewhere."
John Charpentier(5) comments that "this fiction" was to have considerable influence over eighteenth century secret societies one of which was the German "Illuminati of Bavaria".
Walton Hannah in his "Christian by Degrees" states that the French occultist Alphonse Louis Constant, also known as Eliphas Levi records another theory probably drawn from the ritual of some lesser French Masonic degree. This affirms that Jacques de Molay just before his death organized and constituted occult Masonry as a continuation of Templarism, and established four Metropolitan Lodges at Naples, for the East, Edinburgh for the West, Stockholm for the North and Paris for the South.
Another persistent but groundless tradition which also stems from de Hund's affirmations states that the French Templars who had, in 1314, helped Robert the Bruce win his smashing victory over the English at Bannockburn, gained the esteem of the Scottish king, who founded for them the Order of St. Andrew of the Thistle. This order allegedly was later amalgamated to the Masonic Lodge at Kilwinning. Finally, another notion had it that following unexplained circumstances, d'Aumont's Templars were responsible for the creation of the 30th and 33rd Degrees of Scottish Masonry, which were reintroduced in the eighteenth century by the Chevalier de Ramsay.
What remains of all these traditions? Very little, since present day Freemasons no longer believe in their pretended Templar descent. Thus, can we conclude along with John Charpentier that: "The judgement of history has dismissed eighteenth century Freemasonry's claim to the legacy of Templarism".
Peter Partner, to the dismay of proponents of the various Templar myths, concludes in his "The Murdered Magicians": "The unromantic truth is that the Templars of the Middle Ages made not the slightest attempt to build the Temple of Wisdom, unless that Temple is defined as that of the Catholic Church. The end of the Templars arose not from the operation of demonic forces but as a result of their own mediocrity and lack of nerve. A handful of them measured up to the terrible challenge which confronted them but most, including their leaders, at the moment of trial proved to have nothing much to say. In the Holy Land the Templars had been brave soldiers but rather short-sighted politicians, who in no way conformed to the high standards which their nineteenth century admirers ascribed to them. The most striking characteristic of the medieval Templars was their ordinariness; they represented the common man, and not the uncommon visionary".
Let us now examine the greatest eighteenth century hoax perpetuating the genealogy of the Knights Templar, as described by Alec Mellor in his "Les Mythes Maonniques". In 1806 a number of French Freemasons learned of the resurrection of the Order of the Temple . The year before, the governing body of French Freemasonry had granted a charter to The Knights of the Cross, an aristocratic Lodge which featured a secret degree in its ritual which, it claimed, was a legacy from the Order of the Temple. The following story was revealed to the initiates by its authors three humorless worthies Ledru, a medical man, alleged to have been the Duc de Brissac's personal physician, de Courchamp, a notary's clerk and de Saintot.: "On 10 June 1804 a Brother, Radix de Chevillon, met "mysteriously" with the three for the purpose of delivering to them the "powers" he claimed to have received in 1792 from the last secret Grand Master of the Order of the Temple, Timoléon Duc de Cossé Brissac. The latter, who felt that his life was threatened "had, just as his august predecessor and martyr Jacques de Molay, used his high prerogatives to choose a successor". The turmoil of the revolution had prevented Chevillon from getting in touch with his dispersed or executed brethren. Now, although the social order had been reestablished, Cossé-Brissac's great age and infirmities inhibited him from shouldering his high office and to awaken the Order which had plunged into a long slumber. For this reason he conferred the dignity of "Prince of the Order" on his three friends. Ledru was named "Lieutenant General for Africa", de Saintot, "Lieutenant General for Asia" and de Courchamp, "Grand Preceptor" and he turned over the documents proving the authenticity of the modern Order of the Temple. These documents consisted of the "Carta Transmissionis" which originated with one "Larmenius," the alleged immediate successor to the lamented Jacques de Molay; the original of the revised statutes of 1705 transcribed on 27 sheets of paper, the last of which bore the signature of "Philippus Aurelianensis" (Phillip Duke of Orleans) and finally, a register of the minutes of the secret meetings of the order. The chart was written in hyeroglyphics, on parchment embellished with "gothic" symbols, an enormous wax seal and bore the signatures in blood of all the "secret" Grand Masters from Larmenius to Duke Timoléon!
Larmenius' successor was alleged to have been a certain Alexandrinus and the latter's, the High Constable Bernard Duguesclin. ( no less!) He was followed by the Counts of Armagnac (1381-1451), Henri de Montmorency (1574), Charles de Valois (1615), Henri de Durfort Duke of Duras (1681), the Duke of Maine (1724), Henri de Bourbon-Conde (1737), Franois de Bourbon-Conti (1741), and finally the Duke Timoleon de Cosse-Brissac, who because of the revolutionary unpleasantness had been unable to name his successor, for which reason it was important to do so now". Four new associates joined the cabal, one Arnal, a junkman who during the revolution had been a constitutional priest, Beuchot de la Varenne and Fabre-Palaprat, a former seminarian who some say was a physician but who, according to Mellor, became a chiropodist and whose eccentricities hid a well-developed cunning. Ledru asked de Chevillon to accept the Grand Magistracy but the latter declined the supreme office in order to accept the Regency. The chiropodist was elected Grand Master and signed his name in latin on the Charter. Some unsympathetic historians who have examined the document have pointed out that Duguesclin could neither read nor write, but that his name, nevertheless appears as "Bertrandus Duguesclin", which would lead even the most credulous to conclude that it was a forgery. When confronted, the proponents of the myth concede that while Duguesclin was illiterate he was able to sign with a cross. It was the archivist of the epoch who contributed his own calligraphy to make up for the Grand Master's ignorance!. After all, they say, it is well-known that in the fourteenth century gentlemen's education was confined to the martial arts and did not include reading or writing. It was perfectly understandable, under the circumstances, for the scribes who were considered unworthy to bear the sword, but who recorded feats of arms to apply their masters' names to documents!
Later a copper "reliquary" was purchased, as well as a cross-hilted sword, an old helmet, three cloth mitres, a "white wool war flag with four black stripes" and other remains subjected to the veneration of the faithful. The reliquary was found to contain "four fragments of burned bones, taken from the martyr's funeral pyre wrapped in a linen shroud"..The lot came with bronze seals and an inventory which described the sword as "presumed to have belonged to Grand Master de Molay". The statutes were written in Latin.
Thus "reconstituted", the order was to become very fashionable. The most important names in France graced its rolls and commanderies were erected all over the land. In 1808 a funeral Mass in commemoration of Jacques de Molay's martyrdom was celebrated in St. Paul's Church in Paris. An immense catafalk surrounded by "thrones" rose from the nave where the chiropodist attired in the regalia of the Grand Magistracy sat along with the other high dignitaries. The "General Coadjutor and Primate" pronounced the funeral oration, and a detachment of infantry, which Fabre-Palaprat had managed somehow to commandeer, lined the central aisle. The proceedings had all the appearances of an official ceremony and some of the dupes present spread the rumor that Napoleon protected the Templars because of the deterioration of his relations with the Vatican!
The Order remained in close contact with the knightly degrees of Freemasonry until 1811. In fact one had to be a Freemason to be received into it. Interior quarrels, however, caused a rupture which was further complicated by political skirmishes during the reign of King Charles X. In 1830, Fabre-Palaprat, who had now become totally mad, attempted to found, within the Neo-Temple, a new religion based on the "Levitikon", an alleged Greek manuscript which he had discovered earlier on the shelf of a bookstall along the Seine. Fabre-Palaprat claimed that the document contained the "true Templar doctrine", and was the continuation of a "Johannite" or gnostic church. Having tried, in vain, to offer the episcopate to several "adepts", he contacted Father Chatel, a defrocked priest and founder of the "Eglise Catholique Française", a small schismatic group, who accepted. Fabre-Palaprat, "consecrated" him bishop of the Johannite cult at an important ceremony which was held in a large public dance-hall in Montmartre and conferred on him the title of "Primate of the Gauls". Chatel's eccentricities kept him in the public eye for several years. Fabre-Palaprat died in 1838. Le Forestier, considers that he and his accomplices were more to be pitied for their megalomania than condemned as crooks. Alec Mellor, on the other hand, is of the opinion that the hoax was the means to the fulfillment of their megalomania and that such a psychological symbiosis is not uncommon.
British Admiral Sir Sidney Smith, who had defeated Napoleon at Acre, succeeded Fabre-Palaprat. He moved to France in 1814 with the unoriginal idea of creating an international navy to protect the Mediterranean countries from the attacks of Barbary Coast pirates. The admiral died in 1840 and was buried in at the Paris Père-Lachaise cemetary in his Templar uniform. The Grand Magistracy then passed on to the Prince de Chimay who tried in vain to have the Vatican's interdict on the original order lifted. Twenty years later, the order revived by Fabre-Palaprat was virtually extinct and all the documents and "relics" were transferred to the French National Archives.
Many, and we dont understand why, have seen in the "Carta Transmissionis" proof that Larmenius and his successors followed Jacques de Molay in the Grand Magistracy and a genuine underground continuation of the Order of the Temple. No one, however, has been able or seen fit to carbon-test the document to determine its age or to prove that it was anything more than a forgery and the myth an enormous farce perpetrated by a charlatan or the aberration of an unhinged lunatic acting as the unwitting tool of Bonaparte's political designs..
The "Larmenius Myth" surfaced again in the latter part of the nineteenth century with a proliferation of false Templar orders in Britain, Germany and France and it is still being propagated today.
In 1867 Robert Wentworth Little founded the "Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia"; in 1888, Stanislas de Guaita a noted occultist, Josephin Peladan and ten others formed "The Kabbalistic Order of the Rosy Cross"; in 1890 Peladan branched out on his own to create "The Catholic Rosy Cross of the Temple and the Holy Grail". In Britain Samuel Mathers created "The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn" which spawned a number of "temples" (Isis-Uranus, Hermes, Amon-Ra etc.) In 1905 the notorious British poet, man of letters and occultist Aleister Crowley, founded the "Astrum Argentinum". These groups all seemed to have a number of features in common: i.e. a Masonic orientation, the practice of magic oftentimes, it has been said, with sexual overtones, training in communications with other "heavenly bodies", a pseudo-Templarist esotericism and various references to Rosicrucian "Unknown Adepts".
Peter Partner states that it was during this period that the Templar myth was transformed, for some of its devotees, at least, from a tale of speculative mystics to a tale of abandoned Satanists. The villains in the piece were, Karl Killner, a German Mason of the "side-degrees" who had travelled all over India and the Middle East and Theodor Reuss a German journalist, Freemason, vaudeville artist and sometimes informant of the German Imperial Intelligence Service. In 1895 Killner created "The Ordo Templi Orientis" (O.T.O.) claiming to have acquired his knowledge from one Arab and two Hindu adepts. The doctrine did appear to be impregnated with Sufic and Tantric innuendos. When Killner died in 1905 Reuss took over the grand magistracy. Dr. Gerard Encausse, noted French Mason, occultist and successful medical doctor also known as PAPUS headed the French branch of the Order. In 1911, Aleister Crowley joined the O.T.O. and eleven years later, after Reuss's death became Grand Master.
When in 1937 the Nazis banned the O.T.O., Crowley transferred the seat and the activities of the group to California until his demise in 1947. He was succeeded by Karl Germer who died five years later. Germer neglected to deal with his succession and when he left this world in 1952 the Order found itself divided into various feuding branches in Switzerland, California and England.
The number of contemporary Templar-like orders is unknown, but Laurent Dailliez has managed to identify forty seven! (6) It is obviously far beyond the scope of this book to cover each one. We shall not go into the French or Anglo-Saxon Masonic Templar degrees. but limit ourselves to a few of the better known groups which still proclaim the authenticity of the "Carta Transmissionis" and which are "chivalric" in nature rather than masonic .
Shortly after the second World War, there erupted in Portugal a "Supreme Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem." This group traced its ancestry back to Fabre -Palaprat and his successors. Since 1942 its Grand Master or Regent was F. Don Antonio Campello Pinto de Sousa Fontes who died in 1960 and passed the Grand Magistracy to his son F. Don Fernando Campello Pinto Pereira de Sousa Fontes. The Order gained some popularity in Europe and candidates were willing to pay exorbitant sums for admission. In 1970 the Grand Prior for France was a naturalized Frenchman of Polish origin "General" "Count" Antoine Zdrojevski (7) who had headed some Polish resistance forces in France during the Second World War under the pseudonym of "Commandant Daniel". In 1971 the Zdrojevski group in France unbeknownst to the latter, was being eyed covetously and infiltrated by the Service d'Action Civique (S.A.C.), a "parallel police" instrument of the French Gaullist government whose function it was to maintain that government in power by any means fair or foul. The Portuguese magistracy of the order was a serious impediment to the SAC and the latter arranged to hold a rigged election to ensure that Zjdroeski become the Grand Master of the order. Once Sousa Fontes eliminated it was to be smooth sailing for the SAC for a time.
One of the cover mechanisms used by the S.A.C.for every type of illegal fund raising, extortion, from drugs to arms trafficking and everything in between, was the Societe d'Etudes Techniques Economiques et Commerciales (E.T.E.C.) (8). The Paris offices of E.T.E.C. became the seat of the French Grand Priory of the Order! Inevitably an enormous flap occurred when a jealous member of the S.A.C. blew the whistle on a blackmailing operation which was about to be launched and the names of Zdrojevski, the Order and its French membership appeared in the Parisian press. In 1973 Zdrojevski decided to dissolve the French Grand Priory, eventually becoming a minister in the cabinet of one of the Polish governments in exile headquartered in London. (9) Meanwhile in Portugal, de Sousa Fontes maintained his own Grand Magistracy over what appears to be a loose confederation of autonomous Grand Priories.
The story of the American Grand Priory of this order is interesting and the information which follows is taken more or less verbatim from its "Knights' Manual" (10). The American Grand Priory, fortunately, as opposed to the European ones makes no claims to uninterrupted continuance of succession of the European order from the days of the Crusades. It concedes that there were several periods in history lasting for over a century when the Order in Europe was prevented from any activity. It claims that these difficulties were imposed by the "covetous and dictatorial actions of various European monarchs and potentates." The next paragraph in this section alludes to the Larmenius succession by stating "some of the extant records allegedly make claim to complete uninterrupted succession from the days of the Crusades. While it is possible that this may be so, who today can positively state that these documents were contemporaneously executed or are actually genuine?" Who indeed!! The section ends by stating "It is enough that our chivalrous actions and fine ideals are continued by the modern day Chevaliers of the Temple of Jerusalem." We have no quarrel with the last sentence, but nowhere in the "Knights' Manual" is there any description of the charities which the Order supports in the United States.
With respect to the foundation of the American Grand Priory here is what the "Knights' Manual" has to say:
"There were a considerable number of Swiss Chevaliers throughout the United States starting in the latter 1930s and increasing in number in the early 1960s. Anton Leuprecht, the Autonomous Grand Prior of Switzerland and Mondial Chief of all Autonomous Grand Priories in the world, was kind enough to invite a number of Americans to join his Order in Switzerland. The Swiss Grand Priory is set up upon an ecumenical basis, recognizing Christians of all persuasions.
At the request of the Swiss Grand Prior, Anton Leuprecht, the Mondial Chief of all Autonomous Grand Priories, some of the Swiss Templars in the Eastern portion of the United States were asked in early 1962 to form an Autonomous and Independent Grand Priory of an ecumenical nature in America. Under date of March 31, 1962, a Meeting of Associates made up of Swiss Grand Priory members met at the residence of William Y. Pryor at 14 Overhill Road, Verona, New Jersey. Steps were authorized to be taken to form an Independent and Sovereign Grand Priory for the Order of the Temple of Jerusalem in the United States of America and to incorporate the same in the state of New Jersey as a non-profit corporation."
"Upon April 16th of the same year, a letter of approval from Dom Anton Leuprecht, Grand Prior of the Independent Swiss Priory and Chief of all Independent Grand Priors in the World, recognizing the above action and commending the Associates' efforts was received."
We noted that the seven incorporators were Crolian W. Edelen, (also known as Count de Burgh (12), William Y. Pryor, Herschel S. Murphy, MD, Warren S. Hall, Jr., John D. Leet, Lawrence Stratton, George J. Deyo, D.S.C.
The "Knights' Manual" continues:
"Both the Grand Prior of Switzerland and the Grand Regent at Porto, Portugal approved of this organization under the auspices of Crolian W. Edelen."
"On two occasions the Order in America was approved by Count Fontes, Regent of the Order at Porto, Portugal. These occurred during the time of the creation of our corporate order at which time our Grand Prior was Crolian W. Edelen and thereafter during the encumbancy of William Y. Pryor as Grand Prior after the Regent had been duly informed of his election."
The next phase of the American Order is noteworthy in that Mr. Edelen who had earlier managed to obtain Royal Jugoslav patronage and protection for an order of St. John of Jerusalem from King Peter II was able to get this monarch to do the same for the Order of the Temple. What is not clear is whether this patronage was for the entire order or only for the American Grand Priory. Needless to say the Swiss and the Portuguese were overjoyed. "The Knights Manual" hastens to state that:
"No claim for the continued protection of the American Order under the Royal House of Jugoslavia after the death of King Peter the Second is made, however."
Browsing through the "Knights' Manual" one cannot help but note vestiges of Masonic influence in the ritual even though elsewhere the Manual emphasizes that the Order is not a secret one and it does admit ladies to its ranks. We also note that the American Grand Priory, in keeping with national democratic ideals, has abolished the categories "of grace "for non-nobles and "of justice" for nobles. Elsewhere in the manual the membership is encouraged to join any of the European Templar orders into which they are invited. This advice seems somewhat foolhardy to us as we shall soon demonstrate.
The Order's badge is a modified (the shorter arm being on the bottom) patriarchal cross gules. During the Crusades, high dignitaries wore a regular patriarchal cross gules on their mantles while knights wore an elongated cross patty gules.
We are personally acquainted with a number of people of impeccable social background belonging to the American Grand Priory for whom we have the greatest respect and whose motives are beyond question. While they have no illusions about the authenticity of the so-called Larmenius succession and they consider themselves to be more of a "chivalric-like" organization than a genuine order of chivalry with a valid fountain of honor, they might be well-advised to ponder before they forge any links with any of the diverse European groups which claim connections with the original Templar Order as most of them have been subject to political machinations of every kind. If they are concerned with chivalric ideals they may wish, in order to justify their existence, to consider actively supporting one or several of the many worthwhile charities which abound. Not to do so would certainly put their motivation in question.
We have seen how the "Myth of Larmenius" was exploited in France and elsewhere to explain a Templar succession. Now we shall examine another myth propagated by a Spanish Templar-like group. The story, according to the literature of this "Supreme Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem" whose seat is in Barcelona is as follows: The Order was founded in 1134 in the Holy Land but it had two branches, that of the East which served in Palestine and which subsequently returned to France and was eventually suppressed by Clement V and Philip the Fair and that of the West in Catalonia (on both sides of the Franco-Spanish border) which fought the Moor in Spain and Portugal. This latter Order was held in much esteem by the princes in whose estates it was established. It was not abolished but prospered! We now quote from its brochure:
"It is thus that the Order of the Temple survived and that the Grand Master of Catalonia presently His Imperial and Royal Majesty William III de Grau Moctezuma Rife, received the allegiance, as Grand Catalonian and International Master of all the priories of the Temple."
What a fascinating tale! But how in the world could His Imperial and Royal Highness prince Guillermo III de Grau-Moctezuma, pretender to the "Aztec" throne have become Grand Master of the Catalonian branch of the Order of the Temple? We are then given a short course in Spanish-Mexican history and genealogy, where we learn that: "In 1520, Aztec emperor Moctezuma was defeated and killed by Hernan Cortes in the latter's conquest of Mexico. Cortes returned to Spain and brought back with him Moctezuma's three children: prince Tohualicahualzin who was given the baptismal name of Pedro, princess Xipaguazin baptised Maria and princess Telacuazin, baptised Isabel. Each of them was recognized as prince or princess Moctezuma. At the time Spain was divided into independent kingdoms. Pedro lived in Castille and his sisters settled in Andorra where they had married two Andorran Catalans, barons Juan de Grau de Toloriu and Pedro de Grau who were cousins. Castille offered Pedro the title of count and a pension in exchange for his renunciation to the Aztec crown, which he accepted. Thereupon Maria Grau de Toloriu, next in line to the Mexican throne claimed the imperial prerogatives for herself and her descendants, which privileges were accepted by the kings of Aragon. His Imperial and Royal Highness is a direct descendant of Maria and thus, head of the imperial Aztec House. We also learn that as a fountain of honor, H.I. & R.H. confers a number of "Aztec Chivalric" orders as well the Andorran order known as the "Estamento militar de los Homes de Paratge" founded in 985 by count Borrel II of Catalonia as a reward to the nobles who helped to repel the Moorish invader. This order was reorganized in 1966..." We note that the first "Grau" Grand Master was Pedro de Grau in 1319, the next was Vicente de Grau-Gallego in 1593, then we had Geronimo Giron-Moctezuma in 1791 followed by Casimpiro de Grau Latorre in 1840 and finally the present Grand Master Guillermo de Grau-Moctezuma Rife, elected by the Supreme Council in 1959.
Even if the story were true this would not make the Catalonian Templar order a valid chivalric entity for a variety of reasons. First, H.I. and R.H.'s claim to the Aztec crown is not recognized by Spain, Mexico or, to our knowledge, by any other sovereign state. Second, his genealogy has never been verified and authenticated by the only qualified heraldic and genealogical authority in Spain, namely the Chronicler King of Arms of the Realm. There are undoubtedly many more reasons but let us close by pointing out that there is only one titled Moctezuma family in Spain, that of don Fernando Moctezuma-Marcilla de Teruel y Gomez de Arteche, Grandee of Spain, Duke of Moctezuma and marquis of Tenebron. Needless to say there is no connection between this nobleman and "His Imperial and Royal Highness Guillermo de Grau Moctezuma-Rife".
Who is this fifteenth descendant of the Mexican emperor? His name is Guillermo Grau Rif son of an industrialist from Barcelona whose sister was employed in the records office of the mayor of Barcelona and who was bound and determined that he was the descendant of baron de Toloriu, and as such a descendant of the emperor Moctezuma of Mexico. His calling cards read "H.I. & R.H. Prince Guillermo III de Grau-Moctezuma", and his invitations under what he imagined to be the imperial eagle read " The Commissioner of the Cultural Activities Department of the Aztec Crown, Count of Puntarenas invites........to the official inauguration of the series "The Role of Nexlitcalzin Moctezuma III in the Fine Arts", with the assistance and under the presidency of Their Highnesses the Princes of Moctezuma. Dress: Uniform or white tie with decorations ." In order to maintain the flow of funds into the Imperial Treasury, these programs never failed to include the imposition of decorations and conferral of Mexican titles to some of the guests. One could also count on the presence of at least one reverend "Monsignor", Archimandrite of Antioch to these parties.
H.I.H. appointed himself sovereign dynastic grand master of the following orders: Order of the Aztec Crown; Supreme and Imperial Order of the Golden Eagle and Ocelot; Imperial and Nobiliary Order of Our Lady of Guadelupe del Anahuac; Nobiliary Order of St. John of Anahuac; August Order of San Diego or the Four Lions of Anahuac; Imperial Order of Guillermo I; Imperial Order of Emperor Moctezuma Xocoyotzin II of Mexico; August Order of Mayan Knights; Order of the Legion of Honor of Anahuac; Dynastic Order of Saint James of Toloriu; Orer of the Empress Xipaguazin-Moctezuma. In addition H.I.H. is the Patron and Head of the Order of Knights of Santa Eulalia, Protector of the Princely Order of the Black Puma of the Princely Order of the Golden Lion, ofthe Order of the Stone of Borinquen. He is also President, protector and founder of the International Moctezuma University, Protector of the Panamerican Legion and the Legion for the Defense of America.
Prices charged for Aztec titles in the mid-fifties were $3,500 for the title of Count, $5000 for that of Marquis, and approximately $17,000 for a duchy! The price of membership in the grades of "eagle", puma, ocelot, lion grand cross, commander, officer in the Aztec orders was according to what the traffic would bear and the publicity and protection the candidate could bring to the crown...
Mr. Grau-Rife ran into some difficulty with the Spanish police and "abdicated" in 1952 stating that "I was wrong but did not have the moral fortitude to put an end to the charade. The truth is that I enjoyed the pomp and the honors. I can state that I did it all for my daughter....."
We wish this were the end of the story. Unfortunately it is not and Sr. Grau quietly waited a number of years had his revenge and took up where he left off this time operating with apparent impunity from Andorra.
To end this section on the "Temple", we note that the "World's Encyclopaedia of Sects" describes another Templar order. This one also entitles itself "Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem". Quite frankly we do not know whether it is a dissident offshoot of the Portuguese order mentioned above or a a completely separate entity. Its Grand Master is "H.E. Mgr. Pierre Pasleau and its headquarters are located at the latter's residence at 19 rue de la Reine, 5200 Huy, Belgium, Tel: 085/21 26 71. It appears also to have a connection to the "Swiss Grand Priory", a breakaway group of the Portuguese order located at 22 Route de Sion, 3960 Sierre, Switzerland. The only reason we decided to even mention this lot is because its Grand Master, is associated with one of the many apocryphal orders of St. John, namely that of the Holy Trinity of Villedieu described in another paper. The"Encyclopaedia of the World's Sects" describes this crew as an "iniatic order of chivalry", whose motto is "To know, to dare, to desire and to be silent". "This order which claims to go back to Hugues de Payens, founder of the Temple contends that the time has come to raise anew the Beaucent, the Templar piebald standard of the Crusades. In order to do this it encourages its members to practice a Christian life according to God's commandments and the precepts of the Universal Church". The Encyclopaedia continues, "Under the direction of a Grand Master, the Templars contribute towards charities which are directed towards the socially handicapped and the homeless as well as to the struggle against all forms of oppression to liberty and human dignity." For this purpose an international Templar information and study center has been established.
"Each new knight is subjected to an initiation, whose symbolism and explanations are designed to acquaint him with man's eternal problems resulting from his presence on earth and to show him his place in a universe the key to which lies in traditional wisdom."
"The order forbids any political activity or discussion and receives candidates irregardless of race, nationality or social condition. However, only members demonstrating their "zealous attachment" to the "Militia" are considered to be active members eligible to take part in the deliberations and ceremonies of the Order"
"One may become a Templar at age 18 and even at 16 with parental consent. Initially, Templar studies are by correspondence. Eventually, the knights take part in conventual chapters in the course of which ceremonies are held. Among the documents sent to each new affiliate is a list of the Grand Masters on which appear Fabre Palaprat who awakened the order in 1804 and Joseph Peladan, among others."
Twenty-three other "orders" which claim Templar traditions are listed in the appendix and we know there are several more..
SOME INDEPENDENT ORDERS CLAIMING "TEMPLAR TRADITIONS"
French Association of the Knights of Christ,11 rue du Paon10000 Troyes, France
Knights of the Templar AllianceJean Luc Verger4 rue du Cimetière-Saint Cyprien31000 Toulouse, France
The Universal White CrossAndré Karquel, Président3 rue Vézelay75008 Paris, France
Johannite Fraternity for Templar Renewal, B.P. 2559670 Castel, France
Ordo Militiae CrucisMarcel Claude19 rue Soeurs- de- HasqueLiège, Belgium
Ordo Templi OrientisChristian BouchetDomaine de la ButterieChateau Thebaud44690 La Haie Fouassière, France
Egyptian Grand Priory (Masonic order part of Memphis Misraim rite)Robert Ambelain5 rue Rubens75013 Paris, France
New Templar ObservanceJacques de Saint AndréBP 1106701 Saint Laurent du Var, France
Order of AlibertRaoul Alibert de la Valléerésidence Les Mourinoux96200 Asnières, France
Order of Knights of FranceBP 5454130 Saint Max, France
Order of Knights of the Holy TempleMr. CarpenetRésidence Pont-Cardinal19100 Brive, France
Order of Knights of the Temple and of Our LadyBP 1278430 Louveciennes, France
Knightly and Hospitaller Order of Cyprus or Cyprus Templar Order(not to be confused with the next order)Mgr. Ivan de la Thibauderie8 allée MozartSevran, France
Templars of CyprusRoger CaroBP 1183270 Saint-Cyr-sur Mer, France
Renewed Order of the TempleJulien OregaoLa Commanderie-Roais84110 Vaisons-la-Romaine, France
Sovereign Order of the Solar TempleM. Baudier4 rue de la Ferme92200 Neuilly- sur- Seine, France
Order of the Cosmic Temple9 bis rue de Liège92140 Clamart, France
Order of the Guardians of the TempleM. Edmond Grasrésidence "Le Vert Bosquet"rondpoint du Bosquet06150 Cannes, La Bocca, France
1.R. Le Forestier, Francmaconnerie templiere et occultiste aux XVIII et XIX siecles.,Aubier 1970.2.Relating to Hermes, the inventor of the occult sciences3.Die Entstehung der Rittergrade in der Freimaurei um die Mitte des XVIIIten Jahrhunderts, Leipzig 1882. G.A. Schiffmann.4.L'Ordre des Templiers, John Charpentier, Paris 19445. HISTORIA No. 385bis 19786. "The Murdered Magicians", Peter Partner, Oxford University Press, 1981 (Page 170)7."Les Templiers ces Inconnus" Laurent Daillez (Taillandier 1972)8. Patrick Chairoff in "Vrais Gogos Faux Chevaliers" affirms that Zdrojevski admitted obtaining his title of "count" from "prince" Amoroso de Aragona (+RIP) a notorious Italian purveyor of false titles and grand master of several orders of chivalry each more bogus than the other and who served time on various occasions during the postwar years for swindling and extorsion. He has also had ties with the London-based Polish government in exile of "Count" Julius Nowina Sokolniki and the notorious International Military Organisation Sphinx which dispensed worthless decorationsand military ranks to gullible customers.9.Technical Economic and Commercial Research Company.10.Mr. Alfred Zappelli, a Swiss of Italian extraction who lived in Geneva took over what remained of the Zdrojevski order and created a totally separate branch of the Temple. This one was to be the Secret Order of the Temple a quasi Masonic body. It seeks to develop the spiritual self-improvement of its members.11.Note that while the American branch appears to be in communion with the Portuguese it has chosen the name Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem as opposed to "Supreme Military etc."12.R. Gayre of Gayre and Nigg,"The Knightly Twilight" pages 61-64)