The Priory of the Light was organized and recognized in May 2005 under the direction and auspices of the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, Autonomous Grand Priory of the United States of America. The Autonomous Grand Priory of the United States is one of ten such Grand Priories under the parent organization, the Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani, headquartered in Switzerland. The Grand Priory of the United States of America is the largest of the Grand Priories. Its membership and its jurisdiction extend from the border with Canada to include the 50 states, Central and South America and all areas in the Pacific.
The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem is a Chivalric Order of Knighthood. It is not a fraternal order. It is fully autonomous and has no affiliation with other Chivalric Orders or any other fraternal organizations. It seeks to uphold, emulate, serve, and promote the ideals of the Order of the Knights Templar, ordained in 1119. A major goal of the Order is humanitarian relief and myriad charitable endeavors in the United States and worldwide.
We are a modern Christian Order of Knighthood dedicated to:
- Seeking God in our lives and promoting love and respect for our community.
- Increasing understanding between religions, helping pilgrims visit holy places and maintaining a Christian presence in the Holy Land.
- Supporting the poor, sick, and unjustly accused; standing against oppression and protecting freedom of speech.
- Encouraging the noble ideas of Chivalry; maintaining the monuments, archives and history of the Knights Templar.
Our guiding lights are the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity, through which members aspire to serve faithfully as Knights of God's Temple. The motto of the Order, "Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed Nomini Tuo da gloriam" is the Latin version of Psalm 115, verse 1 -- "Not unto us, Oh Lord, not unto us, but to Thy Name be given glory."
The Order, in an age of democratic materialism and secular humanism, seeks, by reconstituting an ancient chivalric order, to adopt an organization of proven effectiveness in capturing the allegiance and spirit of dedicated leaders, and to show that spiritual idealism is most certainly relevant and not inconsistent with a sensibility for tradition, nor inconsistent with patriotism nor civic duty... thus the Order's purposes include assisting and facilitating the growth of the virtues of Christian gentlemen and ladies, by endeavor with God's Grace. The members of this Order believe they have an obligation to participate in the coalescing and preservation of a constructive force similar to that which created knighthood and chivalry during the Middle Ages.
The Order has both a Chaplain's Corps for ordained ministers and a Chirurgeon's Corps for medical professionals. It also has an associated honorary Order of Merit that recognizes accomplished individuals of all faiths for their extraordinary work for God and humanity.
- To become a Knight Templar, one must be a Christian by faith.
- The Order is ecumenical; it does not restrict membership to a single Christian Church.
- The Order recognizes the Constitution and statutes of the United States and of its several States as sovereign and temporally supreme public law.
- The Order does not allow its members to act contrary to their obligations to their country.
- The Order is not a political organization and does not engage in politics.
- The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, Inc. (also referred to as SMOTJ) is not associated in any way with Freemasonry or any fraternal order.
There is clearly a growing desire among caring men and women to spread goodness in the world. The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem is increasingly viewed as a means of doing so; its volunteer base is growing rapidly in terms of both numbers and talent. In order for a growing volunteer organization like SMOTJ to be effective on a large scale, it utilizes the varied talents of all and magnifies the results of their efforts through effective organization-all the while keeping a singular crusading focus. We have respect for these organizations and the good they do but we are not affiliated with any of them.
The Priory of the Light is located in the Southwestern United States and is composed of Knights and Dames who seek the Light of the Christ and who are willing to commit to a life of doing God's work. While we no longer engage in the classical traditions of a crusade, we are still soldiers of the Christ. The field of combat for the modern Templar Knight is diplomacy, being service oriented, assisting with charitable efforts to all in need, bringing aid to oppressed Christians at risk world wide and maintaining the Christian presence in the Holy Land. The modern Templars meet the foes of Christianity by being just, upright, moral, honest, and ethical in their actions. By action and example - not by words alone - we exemplify the Christian Crusader for our age.