This article needs additional citations for verification .(February 2016)
Grand Master (Latin : Magister Magnus; German : Großmeister; French: Grand Maître) a title of the supreme head of various orders, including chivalric orders such as military orders and dynastic orders of knighthood.
The title also occurs in modern civil fraternal orders such as the Freemasons, the Odd Fellows, and various other fraternities. Additionally, numerous modern self-styled orders attempt to imitate habits of the former bodies.
|Part of a series on the|
| Hierarchy of the|
|Ecclesiastical titles (order of precedence)|
In medieval military orders such as the Knights Templar or the Livonian Brothers of the Sword, the Grand Master was the formal and executive head of a military and feudal hierarchy, which can be considered a "state within the state", especially in the crusader context lato sensu , notably aimed at the Holy Land or pagan territories in Eastern Europe, as well as the reconquista in the Iberian peninsula.
If an order is granted statehood and thus widely considered sovereign, the Grand Master is also its Head of State. If within the Holy Roman Empire, a Reichsfürst and Head of Government, and thus a true territorial Prince of the church, as was the case with the Teutonic Knights and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
Except the modern continuation of the organisations of medieval foundation, the title of Grand Master has been used by the heads of Grand Lodges of Freemasons since 1717, and by Odd Fellows since the 18th century.
The title of Grand Master is also used by various other fraternities, including academic ones associated with universities. The national leader of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity goes by the title "Worthy Grand Master".  The heads of local chapters use the title of "Grand Master".
A sovereign monarch often holds the title of Grand Master of the highest honorary dynastic orders of knighthood, or may confer or entrust it upon another person including a prince of the royal family, regularly the heir to the throne, who in other orders may hold another high rank/title.
The term "Sovereign" is generally used in place of "Grand Master" for the supreme head of various orders in Britain and other Commonwealth nations. In the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the Grand Master is styled "Sovereign", e.g. Sovereign Grand Master, due to its status as an internationally independent sovereign entity.
In republican nations, a president may also serve as the grand master of the various state orders such as in France, where the president is the grand master of the Legion of Honour,  and Portugal. 
In Freemasonry, the Grand Master is an office given to a Freemason elected to oversee a Masonic jurisdiction.
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, also known as the Order of Solomon's Temple, the Knights Templar, or simply the Templars, was a Catholic military order, one of the most wealthy and popular of the Western Christian military orders. They were founded in 1119, headquartered on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and existed for nearly two centuries during the Middle Ages.
A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by a head of state or representative for service to the monarch, the church or the country, especially in a military capacity. Knighthood finds origins in the Greek hippeis and hoplite (ἱππεῖς) and Roman eques and centurion of classical antiquity.
The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem, commonly known as the Teutonic Order, is a Catholic religious institution founded as a military society c. 1190 in Acre, Kingdom of Jerusalem. It was formed to aid Christians on their pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to establish hospitals. Its members have commonly been known as the Teutonic Knights, having a small voluntary and mercenary military membership, serving as a crusading military order for the protection of Christians in the Holy Land and the Baltics during the Middle Ages.
The York Rite, sometimes referred to as the American Rite, is one of several Rites of Freemasonry. It is named for, but not practiced in York, Yorkshire, England. A Rite is a series of progressive degrees that are conferred by various Masonic organizations or bodies, each of which operates under the control of its own central authority. The York Rite specifically is a collection of separate Masonic Bodies and associated Degrees that would otherwise operate independently. The three primary bodies in the York Rite are the Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, Council of Royal & Select Masters or Council of Cryptic Masons, and the Commandery of Knights Templar, each of which are governed independently but are all considered to be a part of the York Rite. There are also other organizations that are considered to be directly associated with the York Rite, or require York Rite membership to join such as the York Rite Sovereign College but in general the York Rite is considered to be made up of the aforementioned three. The Rite's name is derived from the city of York, where, according to one Masonic legend, the first meetings of Masons in England took place.
A military order is a Christian religious society of knights. The original military orders were the Knights Templar, the Knights Hospitaller, the Order of Saint James, the Order of Calatrava, and the Teutonic Knights. They arose in the Middle Ages in association with the Crusades, both in the Holy Land, the Baltic states, and the Iberian peninsula; their members being dedicated to the protection of pilgrims and the defence of the Crusader states. They are the predecessors of chivalric orders.
The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, also called Order of the Holy Sepulchre or Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, is a Catholic order of knighthood under the protection of the Holy See. The pope is the sovereign of the order.
An order is a visible honour awarded by a sovereign state, monarch, dynastic house or organisation to a person, typically in recognition of individual merit, that often comes with distinctive insignia such as collars, medals, badges, and sashes worn by recipients.
The fount of honour is a person, who, by virtue of his or her official position, has the exclusive right of conferring legitimate titles of nobility and orders of chivalry on other persons.
A dynastic order, monarchical order, or house order is an order under royal patronage. Such an order is bestowed by, as a legitimate fons honorum, a sovereign or the head of a once-sovereign ruling family. These are often considered part of the cultural patrimony of the ruling family. Dynastic orders were often founded or maintained to reward service to a monarch or their subsequent dynasty.
An order of chivalry, order of knighthood, chivalric order, or equestrian order is an order of knights, typically founded during or inspired by the original Catholic military orders of the Crusades and paired with medieval concepts of ideals of chivalry.
Commander, or Knight Commander, is a title of honor prevalent in chivalric orders and fraternal orders.
The Knights Templar, full name The United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta, is a fraternal order affiliated with Freemasonry. Unlike the initial degrees conferred in a regular Masonic Lodge, which only require a belief in a Supreme Being regardless of religious affiliation, the Knights Templar is one of several additional Masonic Orders in which membership is open only to Freemasons who profess a belief in Christianity. One of the obligations entrants to the order are required to declare is to protect and defend the Christian faith. The word "United" in its full title indicates that more than one historical tradition and more than one actual order are jointly controlled within this system. The individual orders 'united' within this system are principally the Knights of the Temple, the Knights of Malta, the Knights of St Paul, and only within the York Rite, the Knights of the Red Cross.
There are many organisations and orders which form part of the widespread fraternity of Freemasonry, each having its own structure and terminology. Collectively these may be referred to as Masonic bodies, Masonic orders or appendant bodies of Freemasonry.
There are Masonic degrees named after the Knights Templar but not all Knights Templar Orders are Masonic.
The original historic Knights Templar were a Christian military order, the Order of the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, that existed from the 12th to 14th centuries to provide warriors in the Crusades. These men were famous in the high and late Middle Ages, but the Order was disbanded very suddenly by King Philip IV of France, who took action against the Templars in order to avoid repaying his own financial debts. He accused them of heresy, ordered the arrest of all Templars within his realm, put the Order under trial and many of them burned at the stake. The dramatic and rapid end of the Order led to many stories and legends developing about them over the following centuries. The Order and its members increasingly appear in modern fiction, though most of these references portray the medieval organization inaccurately.
A self-styled order or pseudo-chivalric order is an organisation which claims to be a chivalric order, but is not recognised as legitimate by countries or international bodies. Most self-styled orders arose in or after the mid-18th century, and many have been created recently. Most are short-lived and endure no more than a few decades.
The orders, decorations, and medals of the Holy See include titles, chivalric orders, distinctions and medals honoured by the Holy See, with the Pope as the fount of honour, for deeds and merits of their recipients to the benefit of the Holy See, the Catholic Church, or their respective communities, societies, nations and the world at large.
The Grand Master of the Order of Saint Lazarus was the leader of an order of chivalry that was established by the Holy See in the 12th century. A number of Masters of the order, eventually termed Grand Masters, have been listed by previous historians of the order.
The Rite of Baldwyn or Rite of Seven Degrees is one of several Rites of Freemasonry. It exists and is only practised in the Masonic Province of Bristol, England in Freemason's Hall. A Rite is a series of progressive degrees that are conferred by various Masonic organizations or bodies, each of which operates under the control of its own central authority. The Rite of Baldwyn specifically is a collection of separate Masonic Bodies and associated Degrees that would otherwise operate independently. The three primary bodies in the York Rite are the degrees of Craft Freemasonry, the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch, and the Camp of Baldwyn.
The Golden Age of Fraternalism is a term referring to a period when membership in the fraternal societies in the United States grew at a very rapid pace in the latter third of the 19th century and continuing into the first part of the 20th. At its peak, it was suggested that as much as 40% of the adult male population held membership in at least one fraternal order.