To simplify the story without attempting to elaborate or quote various researchers, all we know is that when Templary emerged in the early 1700's it was a part of Freemasonry. THERE IS NO PROOF OF DIRECT CONNECTION BETWEEN THE ANCIENT ORDER AND THE MODERN ORDER KNOWN TO DAY AS THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR.
The Order of Knights Templar Today
The Order of Knights Templar today exists as the top ranking Masonic organization in the York Rite of Freemasonry. The Order today requires membership in a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons and in some jurisdictions, membership in a Council of Royal and Select Masters.
The Knights Templar is a Christian-oriented fraternal organization based on the ancient organization that was founded in the 11th century. Today, the Knights Templar display their courage and goodwill in different ways than the ancient Templars. Members of the Order today organize fund-raising activities such as breakfasts, dinners, dances and flea markets for the support of Masonic-related youth groups, in addition to raising millions of dollars for charitable purposes.
The Templar Membership Today
Currently, Templar membership consists of people from all walks of life, including doctors, lawyers, clergy, businessmen and entertainment personalities, all of whom profess a belief in the Christian Religion.
The Masonic Connection
All Knights Templar are members of the world's oldest fraternal organization known as "The Ancient Free and Accepted Masons" or more commonly known as "Masons". However, not all masons are Templars. Templary is a part of the Masonic structure known as the "York Rite of Freemasonry". A description of the Degrees and Orders is presented "HERE", please use your "BACK BUTTON" to return here.
Three Levels of the Knights Templar
The Knights Templar operate on a local, state and national level. But their religious activities extend across international borders as well. In additions to the United States there are Commanderies in many countries such as Germany, Italy, Mexico, Japan and South American countries.
Nationally, there is Grand Encampment of Knights Templar. This unit defines the rituals and laws governing state and local level organizations.
The State level is call A Grand Commandery of Knights Templar. This organization represents members of a state or area.
The Local level organization is called a Commandery of Knights Templar. Some communities depending on population have more than one Commandery while there are many populated areas that do not have a commandery.
How to Become a Knight Templar
To petition a Commandery of Knights Templar or membership, you must first be a member of a Masonic Lodge and other pre-requisite bodies such as the Royal Arch Chapter and possibly a Council of Royal and Select Masters. (This depends on the state where you reside) To petition a Commandery one must profess a belief in the Christian Religion.
Quoted from Grand Encampment of Knights Templar -- http://www.knightstemplar.org/faq.html#order
2013 Annual Easter Sunrise Service - Grand Encampment Knights Templar: Held annually at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia
Knights from various states preparing to march up the hill.