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An Orthodox Reception into the Order

F or all Orders, reception of new recruits into the Order was a solemn rite. They were often kept secret (upon punishment of death or expulsion from the Order) and only revealed to new initiates at their own reception. Philip the Fair claimed that in these initiations, numerous blasphemies were committed in conjunction with a massive set of vices. However, there is little evidence besides that extracted by torture to suggest that the initiation was anything but a very pious and Christian ritual. Some of the features of the reception are recycled and assembled into the initiation rites of Freemasons and other modern organizations which claim a pedigree from the Templars.

T he following description of an Orthodox reception is based on an account of one Gérard de Caux (found in Appendix B of Barber), who was received into the Order in 1298 or 1299. According to his testimony in the Templar trial, his reception contained no vices or blasphemies, but rather was a splendid display of the dedication to the Order objectives. It is possible to simplify the procession and present the reception as a succession of the following stages.

T he reception was presided over by a priest and the Preceptor of the house Gerard was to be received into. Along with two other knights who were in the same reception, and in the presence of other brothers of the house, the Preceptor asked Gerard whether he was fully aware of what he was committing himself to. He warned the knights that the life of the Order was austere, unglamorous, and full of hardships, and asked them whether they could sustain all kinds of hardships to the glory of God. The men responded affirmatively.

I n the next stage, the recruits were presented a list of questions:

T hen, the recruits were led to the chapel to pray for strength of mind and honour in their upcoming life in the Order. After that they returned to the Preceptor and the priest who demanded from them a pledge of obedience, chastity, and endurance in the Order. The recruits kneeled and were formally received into the Order by the Preceptor. Upon standing up, the Preceptor kissed the knights on their mouths.

A fter this, there was left only the explanation of house rules and the daily routines in the Order. Given the monastic side of the Order, the rules and habits of the Order were lengthy to explain. At the end of the description, the Preceptor left the new Brothers with the following phrase:

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