The Militia Templi—Poor Knights of Christ is a lay order of catholic tradition and monastic-military approach  that aims to the salvation of the soul and participation in the development of Christ's Kingdom on earth through the timely observance of its Rule:

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  • A knightly Order with a Christian combative tradition;

  • with reference to knightly virtues;

  • which draws strength from the mysticism and spirituality of Saint Bernhard of Clairvaux and refers to his writings, yet neither declaring nor claiming a false, antihistorical and illegitimate direct descent from the old Order;

  • which has both married and celibate consecrated members;

  • whose purpose is the salvation of the soul by mean of prayer, the holy Sacraments and the spirit of the Knighthood;

  • which fully accomplishes its Christian ideals through service to the Church and to neighbor;

  • which in our materialistic surrounding society defends and spreads traditional Christian and human values;

  • which is canonically recognized as a private association of faithful of diocesan right according to can. 298, 299, 301 CIC.

The Order was founded in 1979 in Poggibonsi, Italy on the initiative of Count Marcello A. Cristofani della Magione. He set up an association of laymen who intend to refer to the ideals and to the lifestyle described by St. Bernard in the Liber ad Milites Templi de laude novae Militiae for the Templars (not claiming a direct filiation from the ancient Order). The purposes of such an Order are the care of liturgy and to say the Divine Office, the in-depth study of the spirituality and the culture of Christian chivalry, tending to pilgrims and the moral and material support of neighbor, and in particular the Christians in the Holy Land, and the education of youth. Pope St. John Paull II awarded, in perpetuum, a series of indulgences for the major events of a Knight’s life.

According to the Rule, the new Militia, includes three categories of members: the Knights, with solemn profession, who consecrate themselves perpetually to the Militia with the Investiture and the promise to observe the three classic Evangelic Counsels with the Public Defense of the Faith (fourth promise); the women (dames) who, remaining in their state, desire to collaborate in various ways with the Militia, always under the authority of the Grand Master of the Militia; the third category is composed of those men and women who, because of their young age and inexperience, are not considered ready to assume a definitive pledge. They serve the Militia, but take only temporary vows, that must be renewed every three years. To be admitted to  Profession and Investiture, a novice must serve a novitiate for three years and must be 21.
 

According to the Rule and the Constitutions, the Militia is ruled by a Grand Master who is elected every three years from the Chapter of the thirteen Knights of Justice.
 

The white habit of a Knight is composed of a tunic, a scapular with a red octagonal cross on the breast and a mantle where the same cross is placed on the left shoulder; the dames, a white veil with the cross without the superior arm; the chaplains, a white mozzetta with red border and buttons and octagonal red cross on the left front part; the novices, a plain white tunic. The other members have no habit, but just decoration or distinction.

The Magistral See is in the Castello della Magione in Poggibonsi, Italy, an extraordinary monumental romanesque construction of the eleventh century, that belonged to the Templars until 1312 and, after their suppression, to the Hospitallers of St. John in Jerusalem. On the 20th of January of 1979, after being passed into the hands of various owners, it was acquired by Count Marcello Alberto Cristofani della Magione, who made of it the patrimonial endowment of the Magistral See of the Militia Templi.