Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon
History and Origin
In the Holy Land during the Third Crusade, a band of English
soldiers distinguished themselves at the Siege of Acre in 1191,
where they assumed the task of burying those crusaders who had
perished on the battlefield, and also tended ether wounded
comrades. These men were subsequently formed into a regular
Military Order, which was destined to enjoy a long and illustrious
connection with Christendom and the City of London.
It was in the mid-1970s that a group of freemasons decided to form
an elite Masonic Order to commemorate the deeds of these Knights,
although it was not until 1998 that they resolved the Order should
be re-established with the aim of extending membership to
interested Knights Templar across England and Wales. Expansion of
the Order was then
carefully implemented and within only six years some thirty
Chapels had been warranted, and with its obvious appeal to
Christian brethren the popularity of the Order grew progressively
over the intervening years. Today the Grand Master and his Council
governed in 2019 127 Chapels, with Provinces as far afield as the
USA, Australasia, Spain and Canada. Membership is appr. 3000
worldwide, about 2000 of them are UK-members.
The degrees embodied in this Order are those of:
Knight: This degree is based upon historical fact, giving an
account of the events surrounding the life and times of St. Thomas
à Becket. It also relates how following the Siege at Acre a band
of gallant warriors were constituted into a regular Military Order
by a saintly cleric who ultimately became their Patron, the Order
being comprised solely of Englishmen. In this stimulating ceremony
the candidate is required to perform four corporal works of mercy
and having pledged bis fealty to the Order, is duly received as a
Knight of this singular Christian brotherhood.
Candidates for this Order experience a ceremony Christian in
character and based upon the Gospel of St. Matthew, chapter 25,
vs, 34-40. Because of its complexity and length, it is usually
read, but being a fairly new Order, the ritual is in modern
English and easy to understand.
Once installed, a member is required to assume a knighthood title,
having a geographical association with his area of residence or
bis place of birth.
Worthy Master: This ceremony of Installation demonstrates that a
truly dedicated leader should always be prepared to undertake the
most demanding of tasks, and further illustrates the qualities of
humility and understanding.
Structure and Qualification
Assemblies of the Order are termed as Chapels.
This Order is usually by invitation only and a candidate must be a
Royal Arch Mason as well as a subscribing member of a Templar
Preceptory. Almost from the inception of the Order it became
customary that brethren should make an annual pilgrimage to
Canterbury Cathedral, and today members are adjured to undertake
this noble duty at some point during their membership.