Wednesday, September 02, 2015 

St. John the BaptistTHE PRIORY: The Priory of St John the Baptist is made up of two Commanderies, both located in the upper Midwest. The Priory is one of the earliest in the Grand Priory of the United States, of the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, dating back to the 1960s when King Peter of Yugoslavia would attend meetings in the Chicago area. Originally known as the Priory of Chicago, the name was changed to its present designation in the 1980s in honor of St. John the Baptist, a special biblical figure in the Templar lexicon.

THE COMMANDERIES: The Commandery of the Holy Sepulchre was established by Prior Donald R. Weber in 1983 to reach out to residents of Wisconsin. In subsequent years this commandery set the tone for the Priory's investiture ceremonies, giving it a marked religious flavor which included a postulant's retreat and church services. There was an emphasis on the Medieval at these events, recreating something of the ambience of the original Templar experience. In 1991, a second Commandery, the Commandery of Saint Simon of Cyrene, was established by Prior Weber in the Chicago area. St. Simon was to be made up of a very special group of knights, all 33 Degree Freemasons. Both commanderies continue to this day as constituent subdivisions of the Priory: The Holy Shroud, which became the Priory of Our Lady of Sorrows of the West in the state of Minnesota; St. Norbert in the Chicago area, which went on to become the Priory of St. Norbert, responsible for the Illinois area and Outre Mer, which became the Priory of St. Clair in Michigan.

DeKoven at Racine, WinconsinCHARITIES: During the past two decades, the Priory has supported a number of different charitable efforts. Today, its prime concern is with the upkeep and maintenance of The DeKoven Center, a religious retreat complex (this involves work days in which knights and dames give their time to help with maintenance and money gifts). In addition, we give financial support to Caritas, an agency that helps in the adoption and care of East European orphans; St. John's Northwestern Military Academy and, when possible, some of the persecuted Christian churches in the Sudan.

GOALS: The Goals of the Priory continue to be both religious and charitable. They are to build on the chivalric traditions of the past, help those in need through several charities and support peace in the Holy Land.

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