The Order was first worked in England in 1777, having probably originated in France. There are two Degrees: Knights Templar and Knights of Malta, these being joined by a ‘passing’ Degree of Knight of St Paul. A candidate for the first Degree is in the position of a pilgrim travelling symbolically through hardship and dangers until he is received as a Knight. It teaches humility and urges the candidate to live his life as a Christian Knight. The second Degree deals with the period when the Knights travelled from Palestine to reach their final home in Malta, emphasising their Christian virtues.
The regalia of the Order is most impressive, being based on that of the medieval Templars, consisting of a mantle, tunic, cap, sash, star, belt, sword and gloves. The Knights of Malta regalia is different but not obligatory. Candidates for installation must profess the Christian faith and be both Master Masons and Royal Arch Companions. A Provincial Church Service for members, families and friends is held alternate years, with the spectacle of the Knights in full regalia.