The surviving Knights Templars founded (or merged) with an existing secret Order in the early 1300s, later referred to as the The Rosicrucians (Order of the Rose-Croix). Very few details are known about its actual beginnings due to this order's ability to conceal its activities.
Albert Pike in Morals and Dogma however, establishes a definite link between the Rosicrucians and the Templar Order. "The successors of the Ancient Adepts Rose-Croix, abandoning by degrees the austere and hierarchal Science of their Ancestors in initiation, became a Mystic Sect, uniting with many of the Templars, the dogmas of the two intermingling . . ."
By the early 1600s, more than three hundred years had passed since the Templars had been abolished. As a result, the secret Rosicrucian Order decided to test the waters to see how the public would respond to its occult philosophies. For obvious reasons, the Order could not share its real history linking it to the Templars, so it devised an allegory of its history around a mythical character by the name of Christian Rosenkreuz.
This tale was published in a document known as the "Fama Fraternitatis," which the Order circulated throughout Europe. The story elaborates how Rosenkreuz traveled to Syria and then Egypt to study the occult. After learning from all of the great masters of occult philosophy in the Middle East and Northern Africa, he returned to Europe to spread his "enlightenment" throughout that continent. But he was unfavorably received and therefore, returned home to Germany where he hoped to establish a society based on his teachings (Albert G. Mackey, An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. New York; The Masonic History Co., 1921, p.639). This fictitious life of Christian Rosenkreuz symbolically conveyed the story of the Templars.
According to Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, ". . . the fiction was readily accepted as a truth by most people, and the invisible society of Rosenkreuz was sought for with avidity by many who wished to unite with it" (Ibid., 640). However, the Order only wanted to test the reaction it would prompt and did not respond. (A number of societies sprang up claiming to possess the occult secrets of Rosenkreuz; but these aberrations were not the real Rosicrucian Order.)
This well calculated move by the secret Order allowed them to monitor Europe's openness to the occult without revealing the true identity of the Order or the names of its members. It also created a renewed interest in the occult throughout the Continent. But nearly another century would pass before the Order would begin to expand by publicly enlisting initiates.
Some contemporary leaders of the Masonic movement have denied any connections between their Order and the Knights Templars and Rosicrucians. However, enough evidence exists, which, if considered along with earlier statements from Morals and Dogma, clearly reveals that modern-day Freemasonry is a continuation of the preceding Orders. One outstanding example is in the names of the last three degrees of the York Rite — the Knight of the Red Cross, Knight of Malta and Knight Templar, the eighteenth degree of the Scottish Rite (together with the seventeenth degree) and eleventh of the Memphis Misraim — Sovereign Prince of Rose-Croix, is known as the Chapter of Rose Croix.
© 2009 Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis Misraim, Sovereign Sanctuary for Bulgaria