top of page
Grand Priory of America
Our Headquarters Location
St. Bernard de Clairvaux Monastery
North Miami Beach, FL
We are truly blessed to call St. Bernard de Clairvaux Monastery our home and headquarters for The Knights Templar Grand Priory of America.
The building of the Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux began in Sacramenia, Spain, in the year 1133, nearly 360 years before Columbus set sail for the New World. Completed in 1141 AD, the Monastery was originally dedicated to the Virgin Mary and named "The Monastery of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels".
Upon canonization of the famous Cistercian monk, Bernard of Clairvaux, the Monastery was renamed in his honor. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) may well represent the most important figure in Templarism. Bernard was pivotal in the planning, formation and promotion of Templar Order. There is no doubt that he was blood-tied to some of the first Templar Knights, in particular Andre de Montbard, who was his maternal uncle. He may also have been related to the Counts of Champagne, who themselves appear to have been instrumental in the formation of the Templar Order.
In 1925, William Randolph Hearst purchased the Cloisters and the Monastery's outbuildings. The structures were dismantled stone by stone, bound with protective hay, packed in some 11,000 wooden crates, numbered for identification and shipped to the United States. About that time, hoof and mouth disease broke out in Segovia and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, fearing possible contagion, quarantined the shipment upon its arrival, broke open the crates and burned the hay, a possible carrier of the disease. Unfortunately, the workmen failed to replace the stones in the same numbered boxes before moving them to a warehouse.
Soon after the shipment arrived, Hearst's financial problems forced most of his collection to be sold at auction. The stones remained in a warehouse in Brooklyn, New York, for 26 years. One year after Hearst’s' death in 1952, they were purchased by Messrs. W. Edgemon and R. Moss for use as a tourist attraction. It took 19 months and almost $1.5 million dollars (over 13 million dollars in today’s currency) to put the Cloisters back together in what Time magazine called the ‘world’s biggest jigsaw puzzle’.
In 1964, due to financial difficulties, the Cloisters were put up for sale. Col. Robert Pentland, Jr, a multimillionaire banker, philanthropist and benefactor of many Episcopal churches, purchased the Cloisters for the parish.
Today, the Church of St. Bernard de Clairvaux remains an active Episcopal congregation in the diocese as well as a popular site for weddings and other special events. It also serves as our headquarters location. Our Commandery’s Chaplain, Father Gregory Mansfield (KTJ) is the Rector of the Parish and Executive Director/CEO of the Museum. Each year, over 120,000 tourists and pilgrims from all over the world come to visit the Monastery and its gardens.
bottom of page