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H.I.H. PRINCE ALI REZA PAHLAVI JOINS THE ORDER OF MERIT AS MEMBER OF THE PRIORY OF ST. MICHAEL & ST. GEORGE !

His Imperial Highness Prince Ali Reza Pahlavi received the National Order of Merit of the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, as a Companion of the Priory of St. Michael and St. George on May 31, 1997. H.I.H. Ali was invested at the Grand Convent held in Chicago.

Other notables receiving the National Order of Merit along with H.I.H. Prince Ali were: H.H. Elisabeth, Princess of Ysenburg and Buedingen, Princess of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Gluecksburg, Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein, Stormarn, Ditmarschen and Oldenburg, GCTJ; H.S.H. Hans Georg, Prince of Ysenburg and Buedingen; His Grace the Right Reverend Bishop John Bayton, AM, GCSJ, Prelate of The Order of St. John in Australia, Anglican Chaplain of St. Georgeís Cathedral of Jerusalem, Bishop of Sidney Australia and Apostolic Representative of the Arch Bishop of Canterbury; His Grace Bishop Job, Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest of the Orthodox Church of America. Our Prior, H.E. Chev. Edmund Allen Voyer, GCTJ, GMTJ attended the Grand Convent and Investiture as the representative of The Priory of St. Michael & St. George for the induction of our new Companion, H.I.H. Prince Ali and participation at the Grand Council meeting.

EXPANSION OF THE SOVEREIGN MILITARY ORDER OF THE TEMPLE OF JERUSALEM'S POLITICAL INFLUENCE ON INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS.

At the Grand Council meeting held in Chicago, an informal group of members, composed of Sir Brock Dickinson, KTJ and CDR Sir William Cox, GOTJ and Chev. Edmund Allen Voyer, GCTJ, GMTJ issued a proposal that was subsequently passed by the Grand Council, that the Order, led by the GPUSA and the Priory of St. Michael & St. George with the Priory of St. Charles the Martyr, develop advisory groups within the Order that could provide services to the United Nations and international governments. These activities would be tailored toward the Order eventually receiving observer status at the United Nations.

Round Table of Advisors. The first step for the Order would be to establish a security policy round table consisting of retired diplomats and flag officers from the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Europe, former eastern block countries (Poland, Hungary, Russia, Moldova, etc.), Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa. The members of this round table would be either Knights, Dames or Companions of the Order.

The purpose of this round table would be to offer advise toward regional conflict resolution with a relatively unbiased view point providing input from enough world views to present practical solutions.

In order to begin this process we must recruit and collect resumes of current members of the Order suitable for the project and target foreign diplomats and flag officers for prospective membership in the Order.

We must then prepare a marketing prospectus with a background on the Order and its capabilities regarding: 1) Military policy studies. 2) Geo-military analyses / situation studies. 3) Strategic thought and strategy development. 4) Advisory services (rent an expert). 5) Trusted third party review. 6) Brief resume section with biographical data of the round table members.

The organization of this advisory program would be in three parts; 1) The Round Table of our think tank members (perhaps called "Council of Advisors"). 2) Administrative Directorate, tasked with editing, publishing, organization of studies, time management (providing a role for additional members of the Order). 3) Liaison Directorate, required to organize, coordinate, and run meetings and to raise funds for these activities (another role for non round table members).

The Round Table members would become "active" members of the Templarís military team, they would solicit think tank type work for the round table. The tasking would then be divided up among authors (round table members) who would each be charged with answering or addressing a specific question or problem. The same issue may be given to all round table members.

The Administrative Directorate would track authors and ensure that responses are received in a timely fashion. Everything would be edited and synthesized into a final report returned to authors for their review and final comment. The entire activity would be virtual, and can be conducted via email. Actual conferences can be attended by our members eventually, we may also be tasked by the UN to host conferences and round tables as we become proven and trusted advisors. In the future, we could receive non-profit contracts that may even involve our members traveling to peacekeeping or similar sites around the world to do assessments, success and effectiveness surveys, or even to conduct flag and senior level officer training programs and seminars.

We can help put the prospectus together. Once we begin to develop the prospectus, we must recruit senior members of the military and political establishments from around the world. Fees must be waived for the prospective members of the Round Table and we must be willing to use the Order of Merit as an additional recruiting tool.

We should create a restricted access website that serves as the working forum for round table members, and as the management tool for the Administrative and Liaison directorates.

Issue the Orderís own Passport. Along with the establishment of the Round Table, the Order should issue its own passport. This can be a unilateral action, though it would be strengthened by recognition from external agencies. There are precedents, such as the those passports issued by the Mayor of Hart Bay, a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa (issued in opposition to the old apartheid regime). Visas were required in advance of travel, but were generally available.

The Knights of Malta, of course, issue their own passports and although this is backed up by actual territory held within the Holy See, the precedent could work in our favor.

Establish an Embassy. The next actions we can take would be to establish an embassy. Although staffing of an embassy is a thornier question, the establishment of diplomatic outposts, with contributions from the various national Grand Priories, is easily attainable, at least from a fiscal perspective. We propose that an ideal choice of locale of the Orderís first embassy is Israel (putting the Order right back in the heart of Jerusalem). We believe that the Israelis could be convinced to accept an embassy in Jerusalem, given the refusal of so many countries to move their embassies to Tel Aviv and if the initial contact is made through individuals associated with the US military.

Subsequent missions and embassies could be placed where politically most appropriate, perhaps at the UN in New York and or Geneva.

Acquire Territory. The most difficult step of all would be to acquire territory. There are several ways to obtain territory, but most are either dramatically too expensive or impractical. One possible way to acquire territory would be to convince a nation to accept the Order as a sort of honorary Foreign Legion, and jointly administer a very small piece of territory. The best bet here might be one of the European "city-states": Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco or San Marino.

Seek Permanent Observer Status at the UN. This to is a difficult task, as the whole concept of permanent observers is under debate at the moment. However, even the step of seeking such status lend credibility to claims of sovereignty, whether or not the observer status is granted.

We may also expect the Knights of Malta to actively campaign against us, as we threaten their uniqueness within the existing power structure. Furthermore, the greater the legitimacy of a sovereign Templar Order, the more threatened the Knights of Malta may feel.

One final word of warning. This is not the first time in which neo-Templars have sought to build political power. In 1814, Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith, a British hero of the Napoleonic Wars, proposed similar things for the Order under Fabre-Palaprat.

He sought the donation of the island of Malta from the British government, and proposed a Templar navy to confront the Barbary Pirates and suppress the slave trade.

However, the Order of the period self-destructed into schism between Fabre-Palaprat and the Duc de Choiseul, which was not resolved until 1838. By that time, the political influence of Sir Williamís initiative had dissipated.

We must be careful not to let the current controversies surrounding Templar leadership undermine our ability to move forward. Indeed, the selection of future Grand Masters must be approached carefully and a figure identified who will enhance our efforts.

SUMMER COCKTAIL PARTY HELD

Over one hundred and four Officers of the Priory, Knights, Dames and guests met at the home of the Prior on July 12th.. Among the guests attending were H.E. Ambassador Professor Semakula Kiwanuka of the Permanent Mission of Uganda to the United Nations, H.E. Ambassador and Mr. Nuno do Cunha e Tavora Lorena, of Portugal, Mr. Marvin Scott, RADM Companion and Mrs. Robert Rosen, A good time was had by all. We encourage all members to attend the next event.

IN MEMORIAM

The Priory wishes to note with sadness, the passing of the beloved wife of Chev. Richard Shull GOTJ, the playwright, Marilyn Seven Shull.

REPORT ON THE GRANC COUNCIL MEETING HELD 7 JUNE 1997 IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, by Chev. James Knighton, KCTJ

This correspondent attended the most recent Grand Council meeting held at the Union League Club in Chicago on Saturday 7 June 1997, as the assistant to our Prior. RADM James J. Carey, USN (Ret.), GCTJ, GMTJ, Grand Prior, SMOTJ Grand Priory of the United States of America, presided and COL Chev. Stuart B. McCarty, GCTJ, Grand Chancellor, shared the dais with him. The day's agenda was extremely full, as the assembled Priors and Grand Officers expressed a unanimous desire to rationalize and streamline the Order's structure and operations in the United States, although they by no means agreed on the specific methods by which this admirable and long-neglected goal should be achieved.

One of the most interesting items on the agenda concerned a restructuring of national, priory, and Commandery officers' duties and functions along the lines proposed in a "Standard Organization Manual" (hereafter "SOM") which would act as a supplement to (rather than as a substitute for) the current "Knight's Manual." The "SOM" appeared to this correspondent to be similar to the employees' guides which are found in modern corporations; in effect, it set forth in detail the "job description" of each officer at every level of the Order (Grand Council, priory, and Commandery). The "SOM" also envisioned the creation of eleven standing committees and three special committees at the Grand Priory level, and four standing committees and three special committees at the priory level. Finally, the "SOM" went so far as to depict the Order's organizational structure in flow chart form, once again on all three structural levels.

The "SOM" caused a great deal of discussion within the Grand Council because it represented an unprecedented step in the rationalization of the Order's formal structure; indeed, the Order in the United States has never devoted as much attention to the internal details of its administration as even a small corporation (or other type of entity) would. Of course, the formal structure on which the "SOM" is predicated would require a much greater degree of regular participation in the mundane work of the Order by Brother Knights and Sister Dames than is currently occurring.

In keeping with the "nuts and bolts" theme set by introduction of the "SOM", the Grand Auditor then presented a lengthy report on the Grand Priory's financial condition; there was discussion of the issue of payment of overdue oblations, as well as the very contentious matter of initiation fees. Specifically the local Priors expressed concern regarding the ideal level of such fees so that they cover the costs of a new knight's regalia and the costs of the actual investiture (rent, catering, etc.) while not becoming so high as to give the impression that the Order is simply a club into which a new member can gain entry by paying a steep charge.

Our Prior, Chev. Edmund Allen Voyer, GCTJ, GMTJ issued a proposal that was subsequently passed by the Grand Council, that the Order, led by the GPUSA and the Priory of St. Michael & St. George with the Priory of St. Charles the Martyr, develop advisory groups within the Order that could provide services to the United Nations and international governments. These activities would be tailored toward the Order eventually receiving observer status at the United Nations. This proposal is discussed in greater length elsewhere in this issue.

There then followed another unprecedented proposal, which dealt with the creation of an endowment fund and planned giving program similar to those widely used by non-profit foundations and charitable organizations. Like the "Standard Organization Manual", the fund proposal was extremely far-seeking and represented a significant step towards putting the Order on an equal footing with other similar groups. Once again, the actual establishment and administration of such a fund would require a lot of work on the part of Knights and Dames, both at the Grand Priory and local Priory levels.

Dame Patricia Cotterís DCTJ, (of the Priory of St. Michael and St. George) gave a presentation on new insignia for Dames which was accompanied by professional-quality illustrations and graphics. LTC. Thomas P. Curtis, GCTJ, Prior of the Priory of St. John the Baptist (Milwaukee, WI.) and Grand Aumonier, also presented a new design for the Pilgrim's Medal, to be awarded to members of the Order who make a trip to the Holy Land. The officers of the Host Priory, St. Norbert (Chicago, IL.) also weighed in with a very practical proposal for the production of a brochure, designed specifically for prospective members and postulants, which would contain a brief history of the Order as well as a short list of recommended books on the Order's founding and early years.

Finally, CAPT. Roy Tandy, GCTJ, of the Priory of St. King Charles the Martyr (Washington, D.C.) finished off the afternoon session by giving a very interesting report on his progress in assembling a computerized database of Order's membership in the United States, and in maintaining and updating the Grand Priory's Internet site. This final presentation was just one further illustration of how the officers and senior members of the Order are working to make the Order not simply an item on its members' respective resumes, but a practical part of, and a vital resource for, the daily lives of all Brother Knights and Sister Dames.

CHRISTIANS IN DISTRESS An area that should be of major concern to all Templars is that of the massive persecution of Christians taking place around the world today. The SMOTJ will be addressing this critical issue at the Arlington, VA World Templar Convent. The following article reviews the current state of affairs with world Christianity. More reports will follow in future issues. THE GLOBAL WAR ON CHRISTIANS Reprinted from The Readersí Digest. By Ralph Kinney Bennett.

For too long we've ignored this campaign of terror. In China's Henan Province, 36-year-old Zhang Xiuju was dragged from her home one night by police. When the police returned her lifeless, battered body, they claimed Xiuju had died accidentally when she jumped from a car.

In Pakistan, Munir Khokher was wounded by a gunshot when he tried to stop the destruction of a Christian cemetery by Muslim mobs.

In Bangladesh, when Marzina Begum and her family would not celebrate a Muslim holiday, the villagers beat her husband, breaking his leg.

You haven't heard of these people. They are but drops of water in a vast sea of victims--men, women and children who have been tortured, imprisoned and executed. Their crime? They are Christians.

Never before have so many Christians been persecuted for their beliefs. An estimated 200 million to 250 million Christians are at risk in countries where such incidents occur.

"We are not talking about mere discrimination," says Nina Shea, director of the Puebla Program on Religious Freedom, "but real persecution--torture, enslavement, rape, imprisonment, forcible separation of children from parents."

Until recently, such cases were given scant attention by the news media and were largely ignored by most human-rights organizations, the federal government, even U.S. churches. But now, two important new books are helping to force the issue into the open: Nina Shea's In the Lion's Den and Their Blood Cries Out by Paul Marshall, a senior fellow at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto.

Other examples of persecution:

In China, thousands have been sentenced to "re-education camps" for attending prayer meetings or Bible lessons. Catholic Bishop Su Zhimin, 64, who had already spent 15 years in prison for his priestly activities, was re-arrested last spring by authorities apparently intent on preventing a pilgrimage, which he helped organize, in honor of the Virgin Mary. He is now missing.

The British newspaper The Observer reported that in Cairo, Egypt, a teen-age Coptic Christian girl was kidnapped by Muslim extremists who forced her to fast, pray and memorize parts of the Koran. During her nine-month captivity, she was raped repeatedly. Her captors poured sulfuric acid on her wrist to obliterate a tattoo of the cross, and threatened to pour it on her face if she removed the Islamic veil they forced her to wear. Terrorized, she signed papers of conversion to Islam, then escaped and was sheltered by a group called Servants of the Cross.

Marshall notes that, contrary to perceptions held by secular and Christian Americans alike, "most Christians are not white. Christianity was in Africa before Europe, India before England, China before America. Three-fourths of all Christians live outside the West. It may be the largest Third World religion."

Both authors examine in detail the two most implacable foes of Christianity:

Muslim Militants. In some Islamic countries, such as Jordan, officials are tolerant of other religions. But in others, Islam's Shari'a laws, derived from the Koran and sometimes part of the legal code, "are used to invoke discrimination, repression and outright persecution against Christians," Marshall says. No nation illustrates this more brutally than the Sudan.

Since 1989 the Sudanese government has been engaged in a wholesale war against Christians, who constitute roughly one-fifth of the population. Marshall reports that the goal of the ruling National Islamic Front led by Hassan Al-Turabi--who some consider the country's de facto leader--is to "eradicate non-Islamic religion."

In the North, Al-Turabi's forces control the necessities of life. "Non-Muslims are given the choice of converting to Islam or being denied food, clothing and shelter," Marshall says. Thousands of women and children have been sold into slavery to Muslim masters who force them to convert to Islam.

Sudan's Nuba Mountains, where Christians have lived since the sixth century, are now a wasteland of mass graves, destroyed villages and camps filled with starving women and children. Half a million Nuba Christians, virtually all men, have been killed in the past decade. "The word genocide is thrown around too frequently," says Marshall. "In the case of Sudan, however, it is a factual description."

American ally Saudi Arabia is another country where, Shea says, "freedom of religion simply does not exist." All citizens must be Muslims. Expressions of Christianity--wearing a cross, reading a Bible or uttering a non-Muslim prayer--are prohibited.

The Mutawwa'in, the Saudi religious police, search out hidden church services among the millions of Filipinos, Koreans, Indians and other foreign workers. In December 1992 two Filipino Christians, allegedly arrested for preaching Christianity, were sentenced to death on Christmas Day. After an international outcry, the sentence was commuted to deportation.

Communist Oppressors. The collapse of the Soviet Union and its Eastern European client states shook China's leaders, who noted the church's role in fostering the collapse. According to a Puebla Program report, China's state-run press, referring to Christianity, proclaimed, "If China does not want such a scene to be repeated in its land, it must strangle the baby while it is still in the manger."

This chilling pronouncement ignores the fact that Christianity has been rooted in China since the seventh century. It survived even Mao Zedong's 27 years of fierce repression, which culminated in the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76, when countless Christians and other believers were executed. "It was probably one of the largest intense persecutions of Christians in history," Marshall writes.

Many of China's estimated 40 million Christians still worship in fear. They rise on Sunday at 3 a.m. to make their way to secret worship centers in the homes of evangelists. Police roam the countryside seeking out these "house churches." In Xinjiang Province, police burst in and found 17 worshipers. When five women admitted they were the leaders, they were detained, beaten and tortured. Life for China's Christians has taken a turn for the worse since 1995, when Ye Xiaowen, whom Marshall describes as "a prominent atheist and Communist hard-liner," was placed in charge of the government's Religious Affairs Bureau. Last year a Catholic priest, the Rev. Charles Guo Bole, was convicted of illegal evangelical work, including "organizing Bible classes" and "establishing underground evangelical church centers." He was sentenced to two years of imprisonment at a laogai, a reform-through-labor camp. Four Catholic bishops are also being held in the Chinese laogai.

The Shea and Marshall books are helping to rouse a growing chorus to join what had been a handful of voices raised on behalf of persecuted Christians. Chief among those early voices was a Jewish lawyer, Michael Horowitz, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a think tank based in Indianapolis and Washington, D.C.

"Why a Jew? Why me?" Horowitz is quick to answer his own questions: "It may be easier for me to see the eerie parallels between what is happening to Christian communities today and what happened to my people during much of Europe's history," he says. And he is grateful for the way American Christians joined with the Jewish community in the campaign to free Soviet Jews.

That's why he was shocked by the silence of U.S. Christians in the face of worldwide persecution. "I didn't understand how the American Christian community, so vociferous, so committed to ending the suffering of Jews in the Soviet Union, could have been so mute, so tongue-tied, on behalf of its own."

Then Horowitz realized that some people had never heard the message. And some in the human-rights community and among the intellectual, media and political elites had such a misinformed view of Christianity that they were blind to the problem.

The U.S. government has also shown a lack of understanding. Nina Shea recalls when she and others briefed the Clinton Administration's new ambassador to China, former Tennessee Sen. James Sasser. He revealed extensive knowledge of human-rights problems in China. But when asked about the perilous situation of Christians meeting in secret house churches throughout China, the puzzled ambassador responded, "What's a house church?"

Shea says, "China is the litmus test. If our government means to take the assault on Christians seriously, it must deal with China." But she isn't hopeful. Despite several Congressional proclamations bemoaning the persecution, the China lobby--pushing for increased trade--has thus far proved too powerful.

The White House answered Christian human-rights activists by forming the Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad. "It is a slow and cumbersome mechanism," says Shea, who was named to the panel.

But there are signs that the government is reacting to growing grass-roots pressure as more Americans become aware of the persecution. Legislation has been introduced by Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa.) and Rep. Frank Wolf (R., Va.) that would create a White House position to monitor levels of religious persecution and have the power to impose sanctions against offending countries.

A board of Christian leaders is organizing an International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, set for November 16. "If tens of thousands of churches engage in an interdenominational effort," Horowitz says, "we'll send the world's tyrants a message they can't ignore. And Washington won't be able to ignore it either." BOOK NOTES Dungeon, Fire, and Sword: the Knights Templar in the Crusades. by John J. Robinson, Evans & Co., 1991. Reviewed by: Chev. James Knighton, KCTJ

This non-fictional historical text is an extremely lengthy and detailed account of the Crusades which, despite its title, actually sheds very little light on the Knights Templar specifically. For the most part, Robinson's dense narrative is simply a chronicle of the seemingly endless sweep of various armies across the Holy Land from approximately 1100 A.D. until the early fourteenth century. This reviewer was surprised to detect a fairly strong bias on Robinson's part in favor of the various non-Christian tribes who opposed the European crusaders, and, later, the states which they established throughout the Levant. Robinson seems to regard the Templars with a certain amount of disdain, as he trots out the old allegations of unjust enrichment, self-dealing, and moral depravity which King Philip IV of France manufactured to suppress the Order. Unfortunately, he offers no concrete proof of any of the charges while presenting them in print, as, for example, when he describes the unproved accusations of sodomy among the knights. This type of titillating material appears mostly in the last two chapters, which detail the downfall of the Order. Aside from two pages in the first chapter, in which Robinson offers his opinion as to why the idea of a military order appealed to men raised under the rough ethical codes of the Middle Ages, this book is just a military history of the Middle East and North Africa in which the merchants of Genoa and Venice, and the individual monarchs who led the Crusades (such as Louis IX of France, Frederick Barbarossa, and Edward I of England) are given more attention and study than the Templars who died in their service.

Despite this reviewer's disappointment with Dungeon, Fire, and Sword, it is worthwhile to remark at least briefly on the author's background, as some of his other work reveals him to be a much more scintillating and focused writer. John Jameson Robinson made a fortune in the public relations business before taking up, at the age when most men would consider permanent retirement, a second career as a writer of medieval history books. His research into the military history of that period led him to an intensive study of the history of Freemasonry, which culminated with the publication in 1990 of Born in Blood: the Lost Secrets of Freemasonry, a seminal Masonic history book which was a popular hit and is still in print. After that, in 1993, Robinson published A Pilgrim's Path, which was a defense of the Masonic Fraternity specifically addressed to attacks on it by Christian fundamentalists and conspiracy theorists. Like Born in Blood, A Pilgrim's Path gained some measure of popular exposure and made Robinson, (who, ironically, was not a Freemason until shortly before his death in 1993) into a visible, public defender of the Craft and a much-sought-after speaker on talk radio and television shows, as well as before gatherings of various Masonic groups.

This reviewer has read and thoroughly enjoyed both of the texts mentioned above, and had a very high opinion of Robinson due to his work on behalf of Masonry generally; thus he was very disappointed to find that Dungeon, Fire, and Sword was so tedious and one-sided. In fairness to the author, however, the text is not entirely without use. Indeed, it would be the ideal starting place for a reader who has never read a general history of the Crusades and who wants to gain a detailed grasp of the "big picture"; furthermore, it is very much to Robinson's credit that he was never a professional academic historian and, therefore, writes in a style which is easily comprehensible to a lay person and is free of the weird analytical fads which have marred so much academic historical analysis over the last twenty years.

Dungeon, Fire, and Sword is currently out of print, so readers will have to rely on their local libraries to obtain a copy. For advanced students of the Templar Order, however, this book is better left alone. Instead, readers who have wanted to investigate the world of Freemasonry, perhaps with a view to joining the Craft as a complement to membership in SMOTJ, as this reviewer did, should take a look at Robinson's Masonic texts (both of which are in stock at all major bookstores) and they might even be moved to petition for Lodge membership, as this reviewer has done.

PRIORY QUESTIONNAIRE ENCLOSED The new Grand Priory Membership Questionnaire is enclosed with this newsletter. Please return the completed form to the Secretary: Chev. John Cartafalsa, GCTJ


OTHER SITES OF TEMPLAR INTEREST

A SHORT HISTORY OF THE ORDER:
SPRING 1997 EDITION OF THE TEMPLAR:
WINTER 1996 EDITION OF THE TEMPLAR:
PRIORY OF ST. MICHAEL & ST GEORGE : A work in progress
PUBLIC PAGES OF THE S.M.O.T.J.:



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