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Secret Societies of the Middle Ages

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Author Topic: Secret Societies of the Middle Ages  (Read 2073 times)
Trena Alloway
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« Reply #105 on: February 01, 2009, 10:50:11 pm »

and by summoning to the chapter such knights as were attached or looked up to him, contrive to carry any matters that he desired. The laws, however, by way of check upon him, made it imperative that the high officers of the order should have seats in the chapter; and as these were not appointed by the Master, and were independent of him, it was supposed that they would not be his creatures. This chapter could decide on all matters relating to the order, some important affairs, such as war and peace, excepted; make laws and regulations, which were binding on the whole society; and send visitors to the different provinces. All public documents, such as papal bulls, were addressed to it and the Master; all decisions in matters of importance came from it; and all the brethren who were received in the West were sent to it to be distributed where they might be wanting. The declaration made by a French knight on his examination, that the receptions in the chapter of Jerusalem were rare, as the members could be seldom brought to agree respecting a candidate, gives a hint that it was not in general a scene of the greatest harmony and unity. It is, indeed, but natural to suppose, that, as it was the chief seat of the power of the order, it was also the great theatre of intrigue and cabal.

Each province of the order had its general chapter, and also a smaller one, presided over by the great-prior, and composed of the principal officers and such knights of character and estimation as the prior chose to call to it. In like manner every preceptory and every large house of the order had its chapter, at which all the brethren were required to attend. The commander was president, and each question was decided by the majority of voices. The chief transactions in it consisted in the reception of new brethren, and the making up of quarrels and

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