The Priory of the Holy Grail traces its genesis to February 27, 1999 when five future knights and one dame sought to bring to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul the modern expression of chivalry, spirituality and service. Then Grand Chancellor VADM Andrew P. O’Rourke encouraged them to work toward recognition as a Commandery.
They met several times to discuss formation and mission, petitioned GPUSA on March 31, 1999 and became the Commandery of the Holy Grail the following month. The petition bears the signatures of the Rev. Chev. Michael Forbes, COL Chev. Patrick W. Ledray, LTC Chev. Charles M. Tarara, Dr. Chev. Christian Tourenne, Dame Marie-Helene Tourenne and Chev. John Ward Worlein.
The inaugural convent and investiture took place on Saturday, October 9, 1999 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis. The event included a day-long spiritual retreat of breakfast, lectures, lunch and meditations. The Convent and Investiture took place with the investiture of twenty-one postulants, followed by a formal banquet at the 510 Restaurant. The weekend event concluded with a Sunday brunch cruise on Lake Minnetonka aboard the Queen of Excelsior.
The priory held a number of retreats in the ensuing years, developed its postulants program more fully and added much-needed tradition to its convents and investitures. Led by priory chaplains, members have meditated on the Regula Moderna and its significance in today’s world. These meditations have resulted in the priory’s Book of Rules containing the rules that have ordered the discipline of the Knights Templar throughout the ages.
Holy Grail knights and dames have been active in many other ways as well. They have contributed hands-on and financial support to a multitude of organizations, including Little Sisters of the Poor, Thanksgiving Meals-On-Wheels, Feed My Starving Children, Nazarimbe Orphans Talent Development and Education Center in Uganda, and (under the coordination of Prior I and Honorary Counsel to Romania COL Patrick Ledray), the facilitation of shipping medical equipment to Romania. Also, the priory’s Writers Guild hosts a luncheon on the first Friday of every month or on a Friday the thirteenth, when its collection box is open to receive donations for charity.
The Priory of the Holy Grail greatly improved its website in 2010, to raise awareness, increase membership and improve communication. This comprehensive upgrade gave the priory a professional online image and provided a wide range of resources and information to both current and prospective members.
Holy Grail members historically have experienced a great tradition of fellowship through banquets, dinner cruises, baseball games, Christmas gatherings and croquet honoring the Queen of Hearts, complete with champagne served from decapitated champagne bottles using the finest of swordplay. Along with the founding convent and investiture, the most memorable event was hosting the Grand Council GPUSA. Grand Prior XII RADM Andrew Patrick O'Rourke, GCTJ, GMTJ (2000-2002) and Grand Patron H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth attended the meeting, and the National Lutheran Choir and the Ars Nova Brass provided fine music.
Holy Grail members continue to weave the priory’s tapestry, which is represented by the priory flag created by Dame Louise Forbes, as they find expression in their calling as Knights and Dames and continue to make the world a better place.
Priors of the Priory of the Holy Grail
Prior I COL Chev. Patrick Ledray, GCTJ (1999-2003)
Prior II MAJ Chev. Leo J. Philbin, GOTJ (2003-2005)
Prior III Chev. Franklin T. Martin, GOTJ (2005-2007)
Prior IV LTC Chev. Timothy Blaeser, GOTJ (2007-2009)
Prior V Chev. William R. Coby-Newton, GOTJ (2009-2011)
Prior VI Chev. Robert J. Fassino, GOTJ (2011-2013)
Prior VII Chev. Jeffrey Peter Agnes, GCTJ (2013-2015)
Prior VIII Chev. Lydell Newby, GOTJ (2015-2017)
Prior IX COL Chev. Patrick William Ledray, GCTJ (2017-2019)
Prior X COL Chev. Paul Richard Franz Groskreutz, GOTJ (2019-2021)