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. The Grand Master and his Council governed ultimo 2019 113 Chapels , with Provinces as far afield as Australia, New-Zealand, Brazil, France, Spain and Canada. The US-Grand Council has ultimo 2019 25 Chapels. Membership is appr. 3000 worldwide, 1954 of them are members of the UK-Grand Council.
The degrees embodied in this Order are those of:
1. Knight
2. Worthy Master

The Degrees

Knight: This degree is based upon historical fact, giving an account of the events surrounding the life and times of St. Thomas 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.