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12 March 2010

In Hoc Signo Vinces: the Knights Templar

I came across this emblem during a recent visit to Evergreen Cemetery in Fitzgerald, Georgia. It is one of the most detailed symbol of the Knights Templar I have seen. At the top is a knight's helmet. A cross in crown is on top of a Maltese cross with crossed swords behind it. Included is the motto In Hoc Signo Vinces, a Latin rendition of a Greek phrase meaning "in this you will conquer."

According to Wikipedia.org, the Knights Templar were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders. The organization existed for approximately two centuries in the Middle Ages. It was officially endorsed by the Roman Catholic Church around 1129, became a favoured charity, and grew rapidly in membership and power. Templar knights, in their distinctive white mantles with a red cross, were among the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades.

Today, the Knights Templar is "an international philanthropic chivalric order affiliated with Freemasonry." Predominantly in the United States the Knights Templar is the final order joined in the York Rite. Unlike other Masonic bodies which only require a belief in a Supreme Being regardless of religion, membership in the Knights Templar is open only to Christian Masons who have completed their Royal Arch and in some jurisdictions their Cryptic Degrees.

From KnightsTemplar.org:
The Knights Templar is a Christian-oriented fraternal organization that was founded in the 11th century. Originally, the Knights Templar were laymen who protected and defended Christians travelling to Jerusalem. These men took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and were renowned for their fierceness and courage in battle.

Today, the Knights Templar display their courage and goodwill in other ways. They organize fund-raising activities such as breakfasts, dinners, dances, and flea markets. They support Masonic-related youth groups and they raise millions of dollars for medical research and educational assistance.
Note: I saw this emblem on three gravestones in Evergreen Cemetery. The first two granite markers were in the same plot. The third was a ledger marker in another part of the cemetery.

Elmer L. Waits
1899-1949
John T. Cass, M.D.
1851-1937
John C. Boney
July 30, 1850
Sept 9, 1930

3 comments:

Brian said...

That is extremely impressive to come across! I have not seen anything like that thru the many cemeteries I've combed! Just alot of Mason type symbols and such ofcourse! Great pictures!

Anonymous said...

o que eu estava procurando, obrigado

Maria Edmonds-Zediker said...

Elmer Waits, subject of your first gravestone photo, married Dorothy Cass, youngest child of Dr. John T. Cass, subject of the second gravestone photo. I had been wondering why a successful doctor from Pennsylvania chose to retire to Ben Hill County, Georgia. He wanted to be near his grandchildren!

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