SOVEREIGN CO3131ANDER OF THE TEMPLE, some times called KNIGHT COMMANDER OF THE TEMPLE, is the 27th degree of the Ancient and Accepted rite. The assemblage is called a Chapter. The degree is entirely chivalric. The presiding officer is styled Commander-in Chief; the Wardens are called Marshal and Turcopilier; the members are desig nated Knights Commanders. The hangings are scarlet, with black columns at intervals, on each of which is a branch holding a light. The hangings and columns are so arranged as to give the room the form of a circle; in the center of which is a large round table, covered with the emblems of the degree; around the table the members sit.
In front of the East is a candelabrum, with three circles of lights, one above the other.
In the upper circle are six lights; in the second nine, and the third twelve. The jewel is a golden triangle, on which is engraved the letters I. N.
R. I.; it is suspended from the collar, which is of white watered ribbon, edged with red; embroidered on each side in black and gold, is the Teutonic cross. This order was founded in 1190, in
Palestine, and on the 23d of February, 1192, it was solemnly approved and confirmed by Pope Celestine III. This was the origin of the once famous military order of Teutonic Knights. All the French writers who have investigated the history of this degree concur in connecting it with the Knights Templars, and it certainly has much of the character of that order. Vassal expresses the following opinion of the degree: "The 27th degree does not deserve to be classed in the Scotch rite as a degree, since it contains neither symbols or allego ries that connect it with initiation. It deserves still less to be ranked among the philosophical degrees. I imagine that it has been intercalated only to supply an hiatus, and as a memorial of an order once justly celebrated."