Saint John’s Commandery No. 36, Knights Templar was chartered on March 2, 1993 with Sir Knights Charles J. Swanner as the Eminent Commander, Jack L. Sharp as the Generalissimo, and Melvin V. Fisher as the Captain General.  Sir Knight Sumner Brashears, a charter member of this Commandery would serve the Grand Commandery of Arkansas as Grand Commander in later years.

 

      The officers of a Commandery of Knights Templar are:

 

              Eminent Commander

              Generalissimo

              Captain General

              Recorder

              Treasurer

              Prelate

              Senior Warden

              Junior Warden

              Warder

              Standard Bearer

              Sword Bearer

              Sentinel

 

 

A Commandery of Knight’s Templar confer the following orders:

 

              The Illustrious Order of the Red Cross

              The Order of Malta and the Mediterranean Pass

              The Order of the Temple          

The Illustrious Order of the Red Cross

 

      In the Chivalric or Templar system, the degrees are termed   Orders rather than degrees.  This Order continues the story of the Jewish people, from their darkest hour to the time of the rebuilding of the Temple.  The lesson taught is that of Truth, which often crushed will rise again, for in the end it is might and will prevail over all forms of error and superstition.

 

      We again revert back to the period of the Royal Arch Degree, when the Jews were returning from Babylon to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple.  One of their number prevails upon the King to restore to the new Temple the Holy Vessels carried away by the Babylonian armies when the first Temple was destroyed.  In  presenting his plea before Darius the King, a powerful testimony to the almighty force of Truth was offered, and a new Order founded, which is a fitting foundation stone for the Orders that follow.

 

      The Red Cross is truly the emblem of this illustrious Order, for each of its four arms have important symbolic allusions.  The degree encourages the search for truth, and emphasizes the important of Liberty and Justice, with a right to worship Deity under whatever name he may be called.

The Order of Malta and the Mediterranean Pass

 

      Shifting to the time of the Crusades, admission to the Mediterranean Pass is sought, that a safe pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre might be undertaken.  This is a very sublime and sacred Order, which culminates in the enrollment of the suppliant as a Knight of Malta.

 

      The Order is strictly Christian in origin and character, and while there are no restrictions as to who many receive it, yet one who did not believe in the practice of Christian principles would be embarrassed in petitioning for the Order. For its locale is laid among scenes and characters referred to in the New Testament and it constitutes a Masonic interpretation along Christian lines of the New Dispensation.  The Order receives it name fro the Island of Malta. A Priory of Knights Malta still exists on this ancient Isle.

 

      The Maltese Cross is the proper emblem for this Order, for it was officially conferred upon the membership during the Crusades, and the modern Order in remembrance, have perpetuated the symbols standing for all that was true and holy.

The Order of the Temple

     

      No Degree or Order in Masonry is more solemn, more impressive, or more soul-searching than the Order of the Temple.  Often referred to as Knight Templar, it is the climax of the Christian Orders of Knighthood.  The Order receives its name from those Crusaders who were sworn to protect pilgrims and uphold the Cross, and who became the first Christian protectors of Jerusalem, their exploits thrilling all Christendom for ages.   It becomes a fitting climax to the labors of the humble penitent, who has faithfully performed the symbolic seven years of preparation for this consummation of his endeavors, his knighting as a Christian Warrior.

 

      The Knights Templar are often remembered because of their close association with the site of the Temple, during the number of years that they occupied and held Jerusalem.  The Ancient Order of the Temple has been dispersed, and the warlike spirit of the Order has passed away, but here remains a spirit of refined and moral Chivalry, which prompts its members to be ever ready to defend the weak, the innocent, the helpless and the oppressed, and thus warrant the title of Knight Templar.

 

      The true emblem of a Knight Templar is the Passion Cross.  The Cross has ever been the symbol of sacrifice and coupled with the crown of the Kings of Kings, we are ever reminded of that sacrifice made by our Lord      Jesus Christ.