The OSMTHU is a Christian Order of Christian Chivalry. It has a privileged relationship with Christian Churches in all territories where it works, regardless of denomination.
Along the last few decades the Order has worked closely with the Roman Catholic Church, particularly in Italy, Spain and Slovenia, as well as the Anglican Church in England, Australia and the United States. The Order has also worked closely with the Orthodox Church (Greek and Russian), as well as other smaller communities and denominations.
Within the ranks of the Order some of the members have received the ordination as priests and bishops on the Apostolic Succession and the Order maintains the Joanite Church alive.
In 2005 Master Antonio Paris, during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, presided to a Magisterial Council delegation of the OSMTHU that was officially received and met with several of the Christian leaders in Jerusalem, including the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem (Roman Catholic), and Grand Prior of the Knights of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher, His Beatitude Fouad Twal; the Patriarch of the Greek Melkite Orthodox Church, His Beatitude Gregory III Laham; the Maronite Archbishop of Haifa and the Holy Land, His Excellency Fr. Paul N. Sayah, at the Maronite headquarters near the Jaffa Gate; the representative of the Archbishop of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, His Excellency Mor Severius Malke Mourad. The Magisterial Council was also received by the Mayor of Bethlehem, a Palestinian Catholic.
Speech read by Master Antonio Paris to all religious leaders he met in the Holy Land:
This is a great day for the Templars. A great day for all Templar Knights and Dames around the world, of all nationalities and denominations. This is the day we had the opportunity to visit the Holy City and come once again to the source off all our own history and purpose.
And it has been the same for so many centuries. People from the three great religions have travelled through great perils and extensive routes just to be able to see, feel and unite with the great centre of spirituality that is Jerusalem. The dangers faced by our ancestors are no longer present, we now travel by plane and overcome the most difficult mountains by car, we have cell phones that connect us to the world at large, we have GPS systems that tell us where we are instantly. The world has changed.
In the 12th. Century we first came to Jerusalem to help the pilgrims arrive safe and live in peace the most life changing experience of their existence on earth. In the end we wanted them to return safe to their families and be a living example of how much this bonding experience can transform the human soul. Today all is technologically different, but the same call is heard by many and the same urge grows in the hearts of man and women around the world. Today we can say the world comes together in this capital of spirit. And that might be one of the most important things you can experience in Jerusalem. The fact that different religions have the same respect and reverence to the places we respect and revere ourselves. The fact that we can find people of different beliefs, many times wrongly portrayed by the world media as incompatible with us, sharing the same spiritual values, like charity, peace, obedience, observance of their traditions received from their fathers and transmitted – unspoiled – to their sons, in humility.
When the Templars first came to Jerusalem they didn’t come to kill or conquer. They didn’t come to subjugate or rule. In fact, if you think about it, the Templars had less in common with the Crusaders than they did with the people already living in Jerusalem. When the Templars – when we – first came to Jerusalem – it’s now a documented fact – we put religion aside and treated everyone as a fellow man. We came in search of knowledge and peace. Accounts of the many encounters the Templars had with the Rabbis were not well received in Rome. Other similarly true accounts of close friendship with Muslim leaders were equally the source of rage from roman clergy. Many of the things we learned in the East came with us to the West, namely agricultural techniques, mapping knowledge that we were very poor at and some of the early science your ancestors were kind enough to give us. And above all the knowledge that we are all humans, regardless of faith and believe, regardless of race and king, all different and all equal in our Humaneness.
Most of these facts were basis for the accusations the Order of the Temple faced in the 14th. Century and many brothers were tortured and killed – burned at the stake – for having opened their hearts to encompass all of mankind and for extending help and charity equally to Christians, Jews or Muslims on their way to the Holy Land.
That is why today is a memorable day for us. A return home of some sort. And today, that the Inquisition is long gone and we are free to choose as friends those we feel we have close bonds with, it’s with great pleasure and an overwhelming feel of emotion that I thank your invitation to visit you, Your Excellency, and in your person I salute all your people and say: thank you for making our return home such a great spiritual experience.
Master Templi, Osmthu
Non Nobis Domine Non Nobis, Sed Nomini Tuo Da Gloriam”