Ritul York





Ceremony of Inspection of the 11 commanderies within the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Romania carried out by the Most Eminent Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar William H. KOON II - Corvin (Hunyard) Castle of Hunedoara

 14 May 2011




  The Knights Templar greeted their Grand Master at the castle of Hunedoara


Ceremonial in premiere

One of the most important Masonic orders in Romania has chosen a location in the county, where he held on Saturday, the annual conclave, with international participation

The sunlight of the month of May "reflects" in the shiny metal which appears, barely visible, beneath the white piece of material. The man quickly places on his head the hood of the cape and aligns in a row with his colleagues. The Grand Marshal, equipped like over a hundred men seated face to face, on the two rows, is dressed in his white silky robe with bloody cross on the chest, and holds his hand on the sword and makes sure that everything is ready, according to ceremonial rules. The Knights Templar of the Grand Commandery of “King Ferdinand I” of Romania know how to welcome the Grand Master, and the Corvin Castle in Hunedoara, within walls which will be held the ceremony, shall witness the Masonic meeting.

Below, at the end of the bridge at the entrance to the castle, the sun is struggling for life and death, with the objectives of cameras. Smaller or larger, all flock to capture, for the dozens of tourists who are on the spot, the 'white' Knights perfectly aligned, face to face on the bridge. It's an unusual sight, and photo triggering chatter is the only that "breaks" the silence of the litter into Corvin Castle in Hunedoara. The time approaches when the Most Eminent Grand Master of the Encampment of the Knights Templar, the American William H. Koon II, will walk over the bridge, will greet the representatives of this Masonic order in Romania and then will give the start somewhere in one of the rooms of the castle, to the annual conclave of Great Commandery "King Ferdinand I".


Among Knights Templar…

A bustle of people of all ages animates the Corvin Castle courtyard. It's Saturday, May 14, a weekend day, and it's normal for a historic monument like Hunedoara to be "filled" of tourists. However, today it seems different. Once you enter the outer courtyard of the castle you set eyes on a bunch of horse….powers. They calmly stay under the hoods of racing cars or limousines, mostly of German manufacturing, of all colours and with registration plates from all over the country. You can find most of the "owners" of such horsepower behind the gate into the courtyard of the historic building. Among the tourists of all ages, you can easily notice, due to their costumes, the Masons of the Knights Templar Order. Some are equipped in white robes with a red cross on their chest, girded with a strap on which the sharp swords are hanging. Others, more comfortable, enjoy a cigarette or a conversation, wearing an elegant black suit, above which, at the right time, they will wear the same Templar outfit. Men feel comfortable, although all tourists are staring at them, and they are not overwhelmed by cameras that never stop from shooting. Among Masons equipped as Templar Knights or in simple black suits, there are some military uniforms with epaulettes and "jabbed" in the chest by a special badge. Their bearers, few in number, are the officers leading the 11 Grand Commanderies within the Grand Commandery “King Ferdinand I” of Romania of the Knights Templar. They are the Grand Commanders thereof and they came to the castle of Hunedoara, with a component part of the Knights Templar Commanderies, in order to welcome Sir William H. Koon II, the head over all Masons in the world, and the members of this Christian and Military Order. The "calling" of Knights Templar in Romania to gather at the castle was launched by Gabriel Gerasim, Right Eminent Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery "King Ferdinand I". "We thought that this castle of Hunedoara is the best location for our annual conclave because of its symbolism. I am sure that many Romanians have not yet been able to visit this monument. We are very pleased that we are here today (Saturday) at a meeting of all 11 Commanderies of the Knights Templar in Romania," said Gabriel Gerasim. Dressed like other officers, he was responsible for organising each detail of the event, and besides the Knights calls and records, he took the time to give some explanations about the Masonic order he leads, to those who did not have such information, but also to share jokes with colleagues. 


The greeting and the „brawler” tourist

A few minutes before the arrival of the American, the Grand Master of the Templars, the knights present, over 100, are already lined up on the bridge, with hoods on their heads, swords at their belt, checked by the Grand Marshal. The voievode Iancu of Hunedoara, if he were here today, would have been proud that such a ceremony takes place in his castle, especially since one of the 11 Templar Commanderies bears his name. "Attention, knights," pronounces the Grand Marshal and the bearers of white robes with bloody crosses sit upright, though under the hoods, some of them are discreetly smiling. It's not a crime to greet your head with a smile, even if you are a member of a Masonic military order! At the end of the bridge, the Most Eminent Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of the Knights Templar, the American William H. Koon II, accompanied by the Noble Knight Mihai Bugaru, Right Eminent Grand Inspector for the Eastern Europe of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar, both wearing on the head a "chapeau" covered with a curly white wool, are preparing to greet the knights. The sun is already high in the sky, tourists are kept away from the solemnity of the moment, but they leave their cameras to capture the unusual moment, and the chatter of cameras is the only noise that "breaks" the silence. Suddenly, a representative of the castle administration tries to stop the ceremony on grounds of "tourist precipitation." "It's a Moldovan here who wants to leave the castle. He feels like quarreling. He says he does not want to stay. What shall I do?" One of the knights looks at the bottom of the bridge to the Grand Master, William H. Koon II, who has already begun to greet every Templar personally, with a slight inclination of the head, which is answered, by the soldier, with a gesture in which the arm reaches, finally, the chest near his heart. "No way. It is out of the question. Tourists must remain there until the end of the greeting ceremony", is the information given to the representative of the monument administration by the Templars staff. With a genial face, smiling under the "chapeau" curls, William H. Koon II ends his salute when he reaches Gabriel Gherasim, Right Eminent Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery “King Ferdinand I". The two heads of the Templars shake their hands in a friendly gesture, and Gabriel Gherasim tilts his head respectfully greeting the American "Great Master".

The horn sounds and protagonists are changing in the landscape. "Knights (of Hunedoara), be ready to greet the guests!" Templars enter the castle gate, together with the Grand Masters, where the hosts, princess and knights of Hunedoara come out to welcome them with bread, salt and a glass of Romanian brandy. The Templars did not come from fighting, but they need a little "treat" before the great survey by U.S. chief. "I kindly ask each knight to take a cup and a piece of bread. It is enough for everyone. Come on, do not be shy!" encourages the Gabriel Gherasim the Knights Templar of the Grand Commander of “King Ferdinand I”.


„I thank you and I love you!”

The Corvin Castle Courtyard is transformed gradually into a battleground. Not that there would be a battle here, but because the Knights Templar are arranged as they would be before receiving their master in an inspection before a fight. Lined up on two rows, face to face, the Templar Masons respond to the commands launched by the Grand Marshal. It's a ritual, to which very few non-members have the privilege to participate. Among the fortunate we can count, this time, the tourists from the castle. "Present the sword! Ready for inspection by the commander! Come forward for communication!" The Grand Marshal’s voice resounds in the courtyard of the castle, and the Templars’ swords are removed, one by one, from the sheathed. Knights come forward, cross swords four times, each with his left hand touching the right shoulder and utter some secret words. The ritual is repeated by all divisions, under the watchful eye of the Grand Marshal, while William H. Koon II and two other prominent Masons guests of the Principality of Monaco and Portugal, expect the ceremony to end in order to pass to the inspection itself. "Line up knights! The inspection begins." The Most Eminent Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar, the American William H. Koon II takes off his "chapeau" and puts it on the right shoulder, while passing through knights and salute them. The gesture of removing the chapeau and wear it on the shoulder throughout the ceremony, is one of respect towards the Grand Master of the Knights who lead them." All I can say now is" Wow!. It is how William H. Koon II begins his short speech, in English, before the Knights Templar. "I have never been more impressed than I am now. Thank you for everything you do as Knights Templar, but also in the everyday life. I took off the "chapeau" for each one of you. I thank you and I love you." Swords were put into the sheath and, at the advice of the Grand Commander, Gabriel Gherasim, the Marshal ordered the Knights Templar to be rounded up and leave the battlefield. They climbed, in a row, the castle stairs and walked into one of the castle rooms. The Masonic Conclave is about to begin. But without audience.


Ladies “with Rose”

All Knights Templar movements were watched during the ceremony, by the ladies of the Order of the Rose from Romania. It was founded in 2005 and the order is for ladies, mothers, wives, sisters and daughters of the York Rite Masons, among which the Knights Templar of the 11 commanderies. The Order of the Rose comprises 30 members and most of them were present at the castle of Hunedoara, accompanying the Knights Templar. They watched their Masons husbands, sons or fathers, from somewhere, on one of the terraces of the castle, dressed with a piece of canvas, painted with the sign of the Rose.

"A Masonic meeting is not possible without flags and the Bible" say the "brothers”. Also at the castle we had the flags of Romania, of the United States of America, of the Principality of Monaco and of Portugal. They were worn with pride by the Knights Templar.



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