Priory of St. Thomas á Becket

The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem ®

History

A number of knights of the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem resided in North Carolina in 1996. These knights were encouraged and led by RADM Chev. James J. Carey, GCTJ, GMTJ, Grand Prior X of the United States and Rear Admiral Chev. F. Stephen Glass, GOTJ of Cary, North Carolina, who were instrumental in creating the Commandery of St. Thomas á Becket on November 22, 1996, at McGregor Downs Country Club, Cary, North Carolina. RADM Glass was chosen to lead the new Commandery. He had recommended that the name of the Commandery be St. Thomas á Becket, which was adopted.

The newly-created Commandery hosted a reception on December 20 in Cary, North Carolina to honor Grand Prior Carey. The Commandery was elevated four months later to the status of Priory on March 15, 1997, at a ceremony conducted at Saint Albans Chapel in Washington’s National Cathedral. RADM Chev. F. Stephen Glass was installed as Prior I, and CDR Chev. David V. Brooks, GCTJ, GMTJ became first Chancellor. Postulants invested on that occasion were Hollis Buford Cahoon and George Linnington Robinson, Jr.

The first Autumnal Convent of the Priory of St. Thomas á Becket was held at the Chapel of Peace College in Raleigh, North Carolina on November 22, 1997. Chev. Brooks was installed as Prior II, as Chev. Glass could not continue as Prior I because of illness.

The Priory of St. Thomas á Becket authorized the formation of a new preceptory on April 8, 2005. It was named Iona, the Holy Isle of Scotland. The Prior and officers of St. Thomas á Becket were informed, after the Vernal Convent and Investiture in 2007, that some members of St. Thomas á Becket in the Preceptory of Iona had been recruited and were leaving the Priory to form a new Commandery, which was named The Holy Isle.

The Grand Priory of the United States of America approved the formation of the Commandery of The Holy Isle. While its decision reduced our Priory membership significantly, it did not alter the Priory itself with regard to its constituted function in support of the Order and its mission to support Christians at Risk in the Holy Land. The Preceptory of Iona currently has fifteen members who live in the area surrounding Richmond, Virginia.

The Priory of St. Thomas á Becket and the Priory of the Monitor and the Merrimac co-hosted the Grand International Convent and Investiture of the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, which took place on April 28, 2007 in colonial Williamsburg, Virginia at the historic Bruton Parish Church. The international scope of the Order was demonstrated by the fact that Grand Priors from fourteen nations were participants in this historic event. The Prior of the Priory of the Monitor and the Merrimac, COL Chev. Buren Shields, GOTJ, was one of the principals who worked tirelessly over a period of many months to ensure the success of the Grand Convent and Investiture. Knights and Dames from both priories played critical roles in the execution of this event.

The Priory of St. Thomas á Becket regards almsgiving as an important aspect of its SMOTJ obligations. The first donation on behalf of the Priory was made in 1998. Since then, and in every year, the Knights and Dames of St. Thomas á Becket continue to exceed their goal in making significant contributions to the Holy Land and to local charities. The Priory’s charitable giving has totaled more than $42,000 to date. Individual members have contributed several times more than this amount. We hope that the record of giving in this Priory will inspire the Knights and Dames of our Order to follow in the footsteps of those who formed, and who perpetuate, the ideals of our Order.

Priors of the Priory of St. Thomas á Becket
Prior I RADM Chev. F. Stephen Glass, GOTJ (1997)
Prior II CDR Chev. David V. Brooks, GCTJ, GMTJ (1997-1999)
Prior III Chev. W. Kenneth McArthur, GOTJ (1999-2001)
Prior IV Chev. George Dyer, GOTJ (2001-2003)
Prior V Chev. G. Linn Robinson, GOTJ (2003-2005)
Prior VI COL Chev. Buren Riley Shields LLM GOTJ (2005-2007)
Prior VII Chev. Hollis B. Cahoon GOTJ (2007-2009)
Prior VIII COL Hon. Chev. Louis F. Foy GOTJ (2009-2011)
Prior IX LTC Chev. Rodney H. Allen, MD, GOTJ, CMTJ (2011-2013)
Prior X Chev. William J. Swackhamer, GOTJ (2013-2015)
Prior XI Chev. Robert S. Payne, GOTJ (2015-2017)


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