Bienfaisants de la Cité Sainte
Ritual of the Supreme Degree of
Great Priory of America, 1969
Decoration of a Chapter Room (Temple)
IN THE EAST: Red hangings with
white bands bearing large red crosses, scarlet canopy (dais) in center;
Preceptor’s armchair: white covet with large red cross; Capitulary Table, in
front, with red drapery (Bible), Preceptor’s ritual, sashes for candidates,
gold ring; nine-candle candlelabrum (red candles) brought in lighted by Master
of Ceremonies; desks, each with ritual, for Dean at left of Preceptor, for
Senior at right of Preceptor, for Prior at left of Preceptor (with text of
definitive pledge), for Chancellor (with ink) on extreme right of Preceptor. All
desks covered with red hangings and each bearing a cross.
5 SHIELDS: Death’s Head with
M.O.Æ. at back, under the dais; Phoenix with PERIT UT VIVAT at back under the
dais; Phoenix and Templar Cross on dais above the Preceptor, Pelican on the left
of the Preceptor; Horse bearing two Knights on the right of the Preceptor.
4 MEDALLIONS: two on the right,
two on the left.
CENTER OF THE CHAPTER: to be hung
with white, bearing red crosses symmetrically; swords at hand for the Knights;
seats covered with red cloth; nothing in center.
IN THE WEST: Armchair for the
Master of Ceremonies, covered with red cloth; ritual, seats in reverse for the
candidates, also draped in red; GUARD with halberd; alms bag for the Almoner. On
the platform at the extreme right of the Preceptor, a Knight in full armor,
bearing the fanion on his lance.
RECESS ROOM: Order Questions;
ewer; basin; towel; chlamys.
On the desk of the Great Prior (or
Preceptor) the white sashes, the red camails and the medals for the candidates,
not forgetting the gold ring.
Opening of the Chapter
At the stated hour, after having
personally ascertained that nothing is missing in the decoration, the
arrangement and the illumination of the Chapter, and that all the objects
necessary to the dignitaries for the Order for the day are ready to their
hands, the Master of Ceremonies, after having placed the Br. Guard at the door,
gives the word for the Knights to enter; they remain standing, hats off, in
their places during the entrance of the Preceptor. The Master of Ceremonies,
accompanied by two Knights, then waits upon the Preceptor and the Grand
Dignitaries of the Order if any are present, to inform them that all is ready.
They are then introduced in the following order: (1) The Master of Ceremonies,
sword in hand; (2) a Knight bearing the three-candle candelabrum (white candles),
lighted, which he deposits at once upon the altar of the Chapter, by the PRIOR;
(3) a second Knight bearing the nine-candle candelabrum of the Order (red
candles) which he deposits at once on the capitulary pulpit; (4) the Grand
Dignitaries, if any, and the Provincial and Prioral Officers; (5) the Prior of
the Chapter or his substitute; (6) two Knights, a step in front of the Preceptor,
one of them bearing the Sword of the Order (on the right) the other on the left
bearing the Banner. These two Knights on entrance go back to their places, and
remain standing, hats off, till the Preceptor has declared the Chapter opened.
When the kiss circulates, the
Master of Ceremonies receives it from the two capitulary Knights, and carries it
to the two Knights placed in the West, from where it returns to the Preceptor.
ORGAN Plays: The Preceptor once
in his place, and all the Brethren in theirs, he strikes once with the pommel of
his sword and says.
PRECEPTOR: Arise, my Brethren, and draw your swords as a sign of respect and
devotion to the Order, to the Country and to your fellow-creatures.
All Brethren rise, draw swords,
held in right hand, point upwards.
DEAN: As the sword is of no succor if not guided by a practised hand, itself
upheld by a firm courage and an intrepid spirit, likewise our Order could not
be really useful without putting into practice the rules which govern it and
guide it in FAITH, HOPE and CHARITY.
The Preceptor lays his sword down
on the desk, and the Brethren take theirs in the left hand, point downwards, and
lay their right hand on the breast.
PRECEPTOR: For the glory of the G.A.O.T.U. and for the benefit of Humanity, in
virtue of the power received at your hands, my Brethren, I open this Chapter of
Ceremony of the Beneficent Order of the Masonic Knights of the Holy City, of the
Preceptory of under the independent
Great Priory of America.
DEAN: Let it be opened according to the rites of the Order.
The Preceptor and the Brethren
all again take their swords in the right hand, holding them point upwards.
PRECEPTOR: My Brethren, efface from your hearts any uncharitable feeling, and all
DEAN: In order that the peace and light of truth may be shed over us.
PRECEPTOR: Attend, my Brethren, to the words of our Very Reverend Prior.
PRIOR: Eternal and Almighty God, celestial Father, O infinite Power, Thou Who
hast neither beginning nor end; Thou Who lovest and pervadest all nature;
inspire our thoughts, enlighten our consciences, bestow on our hearts the
mysterious power that emanates from Thee, in order that our endeavors may tend
to the realization of the ideal beauty that radiates from the East, and is the
supreme goal of our yearnings and our hopes.
ALL BRETHREN: So mote it be.
PRECEPTOR: And now join me, my Brethren, to receive the word of peace, with the kiss
of our holy fraternity, and that both pass from me to you.
ORGAN plays. The Preceptor gives
the kiss on both cheeks to the Dean and the Prior, who have approached him for
the purpose. He also gives them the word EM MA NU EL, and he who receives it
When the kiss and word have gone
PRECEPTOR: May Charity and Harmony
always reign in our midst.
DEAN: My reverend and beloved Brethren, the Chapter of the Beneficent Order of
Knights of the Holy City is opened. Observe a respectful (religious) silence.
PRECEPTOR: Attention, my Brethren!
He gives the sign of the Order,
repeated by all the Brethren Knights.
DEAN: My reverend Brethren, you may now be seated.
N.B. The Preceptor now gives
knowledge of the Order of the day, of the Ceremony, of which the different
phases will follow each other according to a plan prepared in advance. Then he
relinquishes the presidence to the Most Reverend Great Prior, who, according to
the manuscript rule of the Temple was alone empowered to consecrate new Knights.
This power may be delegated to Preceptors. This part of the ceremony may be
preceded by the enhance, under an arch of steel, of the Great Prior, who takes
the chair. The Master of Ceremonies is sent to fetch and escort him with the
nine-candle candlelabrum, by the Preceptor, who, on his arrival, welcomes him
and gives him the gavel.
Ritual for the Arming of a Novice
Chamber of Retreat
On the day fixed for the
reception, the Sponsor (or both Sponsors) or at least the Purveyor of the
Commandery of the Preceptorial Chapter, who is the senior Sponsor of the
applicant, conducts him to the House of the Order, about one hour before the
time fixed for the opening of the Chapter. He installs him in the Chamber of
after having satisfied himself that everything therein is prepared as prescribed.
The first Sponsor makes him part
with his Sword and Hat, and requests the documents that establish the proofs
necessary to his reception. As soon as he is in possession thereof he retires
and carries these documents to the Preceptor
The second Sponsor, or in his
absence the Senior, who in this case is his substitute, places the Novice before
the table and presents him:
1 The three questions which were
presented to him in preparation for reception as a Novice, exhorting him to
meditate upon them once more
(a) The Temple built by Solomon
in the Holy City being the general type of Freemasonry, do you think that this
type was chosen in an arbitary manner, or that it has essential relations to the
Masonic Institution; and which relations could they be?
(b) From the study that you must
have made of the symbols and emblems of Masonry, and from the moral instructions
that you received in the preceding degrees, what ideas have you formed on the
origin and essential goal of Freemasonry?
(c) If Masonry should have
reference to some rare and essential knowledge, do you think it lies in the
power of men to communicate these acquirements (this knowledge); and in the
contrary case, what would be the true method to employ to be able to acquire
These questions should be placed
under the eyes of the candidates for the Vth degree (Novice), and again placed
before the candidates for the Supreme degree (C.B.C S.) in the room where they
are conducted before the ceremony begins.
2 The three questions which have
been presented to him for his preparation for all the symbolical degrees:
(a) Make known to us your
sentiment on God, His nature and perfections.
(b) What is your idea about the
soul, its duties and its destiny?
(c) In what manner do you think
you can be most useful to mankind?
These three are the first
questions put before the apprentice in the Chamber of Retreat, before his
initiation; he must reply in writing. They are again presented to the Novice
when he is being prepared by the two Sponsors for his exaltation to the Supreme
or 6th degree.
While showing him these last, the
second Sponsor (or Senior) says:
Brother Novice, we have not exacted from you earlier a positive and affirmative
reply to these three questions, because it has been decided to leave you time to
meditate on them, to be able to judge of their extent, of their depth, and of
their relation to the essential goal of the Masonic Order. In order that you
might be enabled one day to be in the position with the inmost feeling of
conviction, you were exhorted to neglect no means of acquiring it. We confined
ourselves, then, to telling you that we were content with the favorable
disposition that you appeared to be in, and the efforts toward right being that
you promised to make. You were informed, however, that the time would come when
you would have to reply to these questions positively, and in conformity to the
vows of the Order, if you wished to make progress in the career that you were
beginning. This moment has today arrived, my dear Brother, and you could not be
received as a Knight of the Holy City, unless you had read and meditated on this
ancient and venerable profession of faith that I present to you; not that you
must adhere to it, but as an historical document of the highest importance.
Formula of the historical
profession of faith as follows:
I, ... Christian and
family names, making public profession of the Christian faith, and
likewise of the evangelical truths which it teaches; I especially declare that I
believe in the existence of one only God, Creator and sole Principle of all
things, of Whom the almighty action has manifested itself in the Universe by the
Triple Essence, Power, and indivisible action of the Father, Son, and the Holy
I believe that man was originally created in a
state of purity, justice, and innocence, from which he fell by his fault, that
in this way he degraded his original nature and was subjected to corruption and
death in the leaven of sin. I believe that the Divine Word made Himself man and
became incarnate, and lived visibly among men under the adorable name of Jesus
Christ, to accomplish the redemption of the human race, to regenerate it, and
open for it the gate of salvation. I believe, as He said, that He is the Way
and the Truth, and that none can gain eternal life but through Him; that He shed
His blood and suffered -death to save mankind; that He rose gloriously by His
own power on the third day and manifested Himself in this state to His disciples,
that He then rose to Heaven from where He sent the Holy Ghost among men to
enlighten them and strengthen them in Faith, Hope and Charity, that He is sole
Lord of Heaven and Earth, and that He is indivisible with the Father and the
Holy Ghost. I believe in the future and eternal life, in which each one will
receive according to what he has deserved. I finally believe in the Holy
and Apostolic Church, visible and invisible, of the members united by faith in
our Lord and Divine Master, Jesus Christ.
And if I am still weak in the belief of some of the
fundamental tenets of our Holy Religion, which astonish my reason, I hope that
He Who is the source of all light and all truth will deign to enlighten me and
strengthen me in this sincere faith to all that I must believe and profess to
attain salvation, and to this end I pray all my brethren to help me with their
THE LANCE: presenting the Lance,
the Sponsor addresses the candidate thus:
An ancient usage bound those who were to be
received as Knights to a vigil, and the night preceding the reception (the
exaltation) was spent sometimes in surmounting certain perils, sometimes in
religious acts. Amongst us, this night of vigil can now be observed only
Arm yourself then with this lance, and employ the short time that I shall leave
you alone, to reflect seriously upon the objects that I leave to your
meditations. They will teach you that man must watch over himself, that though
alone he is surrounded by enemies; that his passions, unrestrained, expose him
to many perils. You will conceive that in this sort of contest the weapon that I
leave you is of no help whatever; that you must employ others of which this
lance is only the symbol. You are going to be knighted to defend TRUTH and make
it triumph. If you search for it upheld by your faith in the omnipotence of God,
you will easily triumph not only over external obstacles, but also over those
that exist in your own self, and that are still more difficult to overcome.
I will come back in a few moments to inform you if
you are admitted to pronounce your vows.
If the Novice asks questions, the
Sponsor will reply with prudence, and will then betake himself to the Chapter to
receive the commands of the Preceptor.
Reception of a Squire-Novice
A) Examination of a Squire-Novice (Preuves
GREAT PRIOR: Reverend and beloved Brethren, I have ordered the meeting of this Chapter
to create and arm as a Knight, according to the customs and ceremonies of the
Order, the Novice Brother ....
But, before all, I am going to have the proofs of
his being in order examined, without which he could not be admitted among us.
Very Reverend Brother Purveyor, tender to the Chancellor of the Chapter the
documents which you must be in possession of to verify that the Brother
Squire-Novice has complied with all that is prescribed by our Laws and
The Sponsor hands over the acts
to the Chancellor, who gives his report.
GREAT PRIOR: Reverend Brethren, the proofs in favor of Brother Novice are satisfactory
for us to proceed. Do you consent to his reception?
Consent given by silently
extending the right hand horizontally.
If the reply is affirmative, the
Great Prior continues: I shall, in consequence, order
the ceremony of the reception of Brother Novice ... into the Order to proceed.
Brother Master of Ceremonies, go with the Brother Sponsor, to assure yourselves
of the disposition of the Candidate, and prepare him according to the customs
of the Order. If he satisfies you in every way, you will introduce him in the
lobby of the Chapter, and will come and report to me.
During the absence of the
Brethren to execute this order, diverse communications can be made.
N.B. If preferred, the Great
Prior can begin at this point, entirely omitting, the administrative portion of
The Master of Ceremonies and the
two Sponsors, all three in conventinal costume (but this is no longer observed,
these Knights going today in all their regalia) enter the Chamber of Retreat,
and the Master of Ceremonies says:
M. of C.: My dear Brother, the Chapter is assembled to receive you into the Order
of the Masonic Knights of the Holy City. The proofs you have produced have been
verified, and the Chapter has judged you worthy to be promoted to the rank of
Knight. Nothing now remains but to put you into the suitable state required for
your introduction in the Chapter. Be prepared to go everywhere that the
pledges you are about to contact, as well as your other civil and personal
duties, shall call you
The M. of C. causes him to bathe
his hands and face, saying to him: As
the ancient Knights bathed themselves in sign of purification before being
knighted, you must also, my Brother, wash your hands and visage as a sign of
your interior purification, and your sincere disposition to pronounce the
pledges of the Order, by which you are about to bind yourself in the quality of
The Sponsors cause the Novice to
put on the corselet and the pectoral cordon. Then the M. of C. vests him with
the white robe and says: This mantle is the symbolic sign
of the purity of the morals and conduct that the Order exacts; this Order to
which you desire to bind
Yourself, and of the sincerity of the profession
that you are about to make.
The M. of C. then conducts the
Novice, accompanied by the two Sponsors, to the vestibule of the Chapter;
announces himself by the three knocks (the first given with the fist, the three
others with the middle finger); and enters alone to render account of his
mission, the Great Prior having ordered the Brother Guard to admit him.
The Master of Ceremonies,
stopping in the West of the Chapter, addresses the Preceptor (Or Great Prior
whose privilege it is to preside) as follows: Very
Reverend Brother Preceptor, I found the Brother Novice in the required
disposition; I have prepared him according to the customs of the Order; he is
now with his two Sponsors in the vestibule of the Chapter, where he awaits your
orders to be introduced.
B) Introduction of the Squire-Novice
The Great Prior gives the signal
for introduction (and for the Organ). The Master of Ceremonies signs to the
Brother Guard to open both folding doors of the great door, shutting them after
the entrance of the Novice and Sponsors.
The Master of Ceremonies tells
the Novice to follow him, and conducts him to the center of the Chapter; here he
enjoins him to salute by a deep bow the Preceptor, dignitaries, and Knights.—
They acknowledge without rising.
GREAT PRIOR: Brother Novice, an ancient and respectable Order, derived from the
antique Orders of Chivalry, preserved to the present time under diverse forms,
hidden during many centuries from the multitude under the veil of emblems and
allegories, and rectified towards the end of the 18th century, reveals itself to
you today without disguise.
This Order is now devoted solely to the practice of
the virtues, the defence of the oppressed and the support of the unfortunate, in
the spirit of the Christian religion. It opens for you today the doors of its
sanctuary. You had already begun to know it at the time you were admitted to the
novitiate. Since then, you have expressed the desire to enter into closer bonds
with it. Will you then now bind yourself to this Beneficent Order by solemn vows
and unite yourself to us by bonds of the most intimate fraternity? It is in fact
essential Brother Squire-Novice, that you assure us that the pledge you are
about to contact will be irrevocable and that you will be forevermore devoted to
the Order and its principles, to its Chiefs, and to all the Knights, since they
in their turn are ready to give you the same pledge.
The candidate having answered
affirmatively, the GREAT PRIOR exclaims: And
you, Brother Knights, do you promise the candidate inviolable attachment and
devotion without limit?
ALL KNIGHTS, loudly: We promise it! (or, We swear it!)
GREAT PRIOR: This being so, we must now hung to your knowledge the general duties and
the special obligations of the Masonic Knights of the Holy City, they form the
essential part of the rules that you will have to follow. So listen attentively
to their text, which the Brother Dean of the Chapter will now read to you.
DEAN: Most of the equestrian religious Orders instituted to defend and protect
by their arms the Christian religion and the faithful who traveled to Palestine
and the Holy Land, solemnly professed the four vows of Poverty, Obedience,
Chastity, and the defence of the Christian religion. The Knights Beneficent of
the Holy City, now called upon to exercise the same virtues and a part of the
same duties, must profess the same vows, but modified according to the present
state of the Order, the spirit and needs of our time.
Here, according to these principles, is that to
which all Brother Knights must pledge themselves: The Holy Wars engaged in for
religious motives having happily ceased, it is therefore no longer with the
sword that you will have to defend the sublime principles of the Christian
religion. It is with prudence and circumspection that the Masonic Knight shall
defend it, by a mild and enlightened tolerance, by good morals, regular conduct,
and by his faithful example in the constant practice of the virtues that it
The obedience due to the Order consists of the
faithful observance of the laws which constitute and guide it, and of the
respect due to the Chiefs who are charged with their execution.
The Order no longer imposes the vow of poverty; let
the Knight enjoy the blessings that Divine Providence has conferred upon him,
but, let him beware of attaching too great a value thereto and especially of
abusing them; let him remember that the poor who bewail in misery have sacred
rights on his superfluity.
In all the degrees you have already passed, an oath
has been exacted from you to keep inviolable silence on all that concerns the
Order. This oath you are called upon to keep more strictly still, on what
concerns the Order of the Holy City and all that takes place in its meetings—toward
all who have no right to be informed of it.
The Order of Knights Beneficent of the Holy City,
principally intended to prepare all that can be useful for the general welfare
and especially to alleviate human misery, exacts that each Knight will cooperate
to this end by all means in his power in order to concentrate, and combine with
wisdom under a principle of Love and Charity, forces and manifold means to
effect a more universal well-being.
Become as useful as your fortune, your talents,
your position allow you. Inaction is culpable; Divine Providence has marked your
post, therefore fulfill faithfully its duties In working for the happiness of
others you will advance yourself nearer to your own perfection.
GREAT PRIOR: Brother Novice, do you accept the duties and obligations that have just
now been brought to your knowledge, and do you consent to fulfill them
The Novice replies; Great Prior
continues: I should now cause to be read to you the Vows of
the Order by which you are about to be pledged in the character of a Knight, but,
in order that you may better understand their deep importance, you will first
listen to the Instruction of your new degree, the highest and most sublime of
our Rite. It will reveal to you the origin and the primitive Goal of our
Order, and the Way that you must from now on follow to attain this Goal. It will
allow you to recognize particularly its relation with the true and magnificent
Order which preceded it.
The Master of Ceremonies has the
candidate sit down opposite the altar of the East (at the back of the choir);
and the Great Prior reads the Instruction of the Knight’s degree.
C) Instruction of the Degree of Knight Beneficent
of the Holy City
In the degree of Squire-Novice, at the time you
were received in the Interior Order, we sought to retrace for you the successive
periods through which the ancient Initiation has passed; and we showed it to you
inspired by the uninterrupted advance of the human intellect towards
Perfectibility and towards the Ideal.
After having in this wise studied the origin and
the aim of Freemasonry, beginning in the East, cradle of all initiation, we
arrived, stage by stage, at the figure of Christ, who has sway over those of the
past, and who substituted for that old formula of commanding Deity— “a
strong and jealous God Who punishes the children for the iniquities of the
fathers” that, nobler, truer and more consoling concept “God is our Father;
He is love and forgiveness.”
No wonder that such precepts, supported by a life
of entire self-denial, became the basis of a new religion which transformed
The life and teaching of Christ make Him appear to
us as an Initiate,—the supreme Initiate indeed and One who like many others,
paid with His life for His supreme courage, independence, and thirst for truth.
The first ages of Christianity were marked by their
artless simplicity. Awaiting the return of the Master, people did not swerve
from His teachings, which were obeyed to the letter, without seeking to
penetrate their inner, secret meaning; And to guard against traitors, certain
signs and tokens were agreed on, such as the hand of association.
But little by little, the new religion was
transformed and gave birth to monastic orders, recalling thus that of the
Essenes (with which certain authors connect Christ). And the principle of
authority was definitely affirmed when he who gave himself out as the successor
of St. Peter and the representative of the Master—who was humble among the
lowly—sat on a throne more than royal, and placed on his head a triple crown.
Then the simplicity of the first ages, morality, beneficence, fraternity, gave
way to the spirit of authority and intolerance, and also to the most
extraordinary and most arbitrary dogmas.
But let us not linger on these times which,
however, were not devoid of greatness,—for men pass, but some of their works
survive. Was it not a magnificent page in the book of humanity, that sublime
appeal of Peter the Hermit at the Council of Clermont, causing a martial thrill
to run in the veins of his contemporaries? The conquest of the Holy Land! The
Christians to possess those distant (and desolate) regions where the
never-to-be-forgotten Redeemer had lived, preached and suffered!
The Crusades followed each other in an enchanted
era that inspired so many brilliant deeds, and that, for the nations of the
West, was the aurora of liberty and release from servitude.
The establishment of the Christians in Jerusalem
gave birth to the Orders of Chivalry, and tradition wills that we be connected
with the one whose short but glorious existence we shall here sketch.
In 1108, Hugues de Paganis and Geoffrey de St.
Omer, both natives of Auvergne, reached the Holy Land. Three years later, they
united with 7 other noblemen, on the day of the Holy Trinity, and Hugues de
Paganis was elected their Chief. Their principal intent was to protect the
pilgrims against the Saracens, and to sacrifice everything for the defense of
the Christian religion; they gave themselves the name of Knights of the Holy
The nine Founders of this Order were: Hugues de
Paganis, Geoffrey de St. Omer, Guilbert Norfolk, Philippe de St. Maur,
Hildebrand Lavis de Scala, Jacques de Durfort-Duras, Martin de Rhodes, Guillaume
de Gamache, and Hugues, Sire de Lusignan.
In the beginning these nine Knights were homeless,
but, in 1115, King Baudoin II gave them asylum within the walls of the Temple of
Solomon, and in 1118, they were called Knights of the Temple. They lived on alms
and gifts of the faithful; and for another nine years they limited their number
to nine. Although descended from the noblest houses, their poverty was so great
that a single horse served for two Knights. Later, wishing to recall these
modest beginnings of their Order, they adopted a seal representing “a horse
ridden by two Knights.”
In 1128, at the Council of Troyes, they were
solemnly recognized by the Christian Church and received the White Mantle. St.
gave them their Rule. In 1147, Pope Eugene added
thereto the Red Cross. Ten years later, he gave them the right to possess land,
and from that time their prosperity knew no bounds. Before the Council of Troyes,
the Order counted 27 Knights, and immediately afterward, in 1128, three Priories
were formed, composed each of 27 Knights. It was agreed to divide them in this
manner so as to be better able to cover the avenues of the Temple, and of
Jerusalem. It was decreed that every nine Knights should have a Superior, and
that above the Superior a Preceptor should be appointed, to whom the others
should yield obedience. Later, Pope Eugene gave the name of Commanders to these
In 1183, the importance of the Order had become so
great in Europe that it was divided into Provinces, and the number of the
Provinces was irrevocably fixed at nine.
By the close of the twelfth century their revenues
amounted to two million of golden crowns, distributed over their nine thousand
houses. The next century, Richard I of England, sold them the kingdom of
Cyprus, conquered from the Grecian emperors. But all this prosperity and
splendor were to cause their ruin, by provoking envy and cupidity, and soon
Philippe le Bel, King of France, swore the overthrow of the Templars.
The better to attain this, he won to his cause the
pope of Avignon, Clement V; the latter summoned to his judgment seat Jacques
de Molay, Grand Master of the Order, who at the time was at war in Cyprus, and
who, secure in his innocence, hastened home. The Grand Master, godfather of the
King’s son, was thrown into a dungeon; everywhere the Templars were arrested,
were subjected to the most dreadful tortures to extort from them
“confessions” that were immediately afterward disavowed. Finally, on
October 16, 1311, at the Council of Vienne, the Order was declared extirpated
and abolished. But 300 Church Fathers refused to concur in this infamous
sentence! The pope bridged it over by the exercise of the “plenitude of
apostolical power”, and approved this judgment.
Thenceforth, tortures succeeded tortures, till the
11th of March 314, on which day, Guy, dauphin of Auvergne, and Jacques de Molay,
last Grand Master of the Order, were burned at the stake. The people rushed in
upon their ashes, gathered them up piously and preserved them as relics.
History now gives way to the Secret Tradition. This
last teaches us that the Templars who escaped from the disaster fled to
different lands. Pierre de Beaujeu took refuge in Sweden; Pierre d’Aumont,
Provincial Grand Master of Auvergne, held his own for a time, then fled with two
Commanders and five Knights, presumably all disguised as Freemasons. Their
number increased to fifteen, and their first refuge was Ireland; from there they
reached the island of Mull, in Scotland, and there met George Harris, Grand
Commander of Hampton Court, who was living there retired, with a few Brethren.
These held a council at this place, and on the day of St. John, in 1312,
resolved to propagate the Order in secret, adopting for it the symbols and
emblems of Freemasonry. Already some had changed their names during their
flight, and d’Aumont had adopted that of Macbenac. It was a memorable
Chapter meeting, that in which d’Aumont was elected Grand Master, and it is
from this date that the Order has been spread under the external forms which it
has preserved to our time. Then were decreed the symbolic names and usages of
Masonry, to preserve the memory of the disguise of d’Aumont and his Brethren.
D’Aumont, very old, was not able to endure such a
hard life, and died in 1313; then Harris was elected in his stead. He it was who
gave leave to the Knights to marry, so as to be able to preserve and perpetuate
the Order by their children; because in those disastrous times no one ever dared
to initiate a free man, or, at least, to give him knowledge superior to that of
the degree of Master. “For more than 250 years, no one was ever initiated into
the degree of Scottish Master,” adds the Secret Tradition, “unless he was a
son of the Order.” Indeed, even 150 years later, at the Convent of Lyon in
1778, the secrets of the Order were confided only with great caution to Scottish
Masters born of free parents
Harris, moreover, gave leave to initiate men of all
professions, civil or ecclesiastic (even members of the Greek Orthodox Church),
and grant them admission into the Order. He it was, in fine, who established
the seal representing a Phoenix with the motto: “Perit ut Vivat,” and
introduced all the other mottoes. The Phoenix is the emblem of the Novices. It
is also the oldest symbol of Masonry, for it is the image of Honor which dies
only to live again, and of the Order which perished in flames to rise
immediately again from its ashes.
Despite persecutions, the Order has been
perpetuated! Pierre de Beaujeu first assumed the Grand Mastership,—d’Aumont
succeeded him and led the Knights on the road of exile. Harris reorganized them,
comforted them and gave them renewed courage to live, and faith for the future.
Sublime Order! Thine aim in life is all thy reason
to live! Of the teaching of the Master, thou hast preserved the love of
neighbour, the enlightened benevolence, the respect for the beliefs of others.
Three columns support thy Temple: they are called
Faith, Hope, and Charity; so long as they sustain it, it will defy time and fall
only with mankind itself.
Tradition tells us that the Order itself was
perpetuated secretly in its several provinces, and that in the United Kingdom,
it formed the higher degrees of Masonry. At the time of its prosperity, the
Order had been the Protector of the Masonic Lodges of the country; in its
turn, proscribed and compelled to hide itself, the
Lodges protected it. The two systems never ceased to penetrate each other,
without ever absorbing one another; and this was evidently the origin of the
high degrees of modern Freemasonry.
For a long period, our high degrees were the only
ones known; candidates were recruited in the Order of St. Andrew, and their
Interior Order was composed then of two degrees: the Squire, or Novice, and
These Knights were the faithful stay of the throne
and the altar; they accompanied Royalty into exile, and passed into France in
the 17th century; from there they spread more or less everywhere, modifying
themselves at the contact of new necessities.
The ancient Provinces II, III, and V of the Order
came to life again. In France, as in Germany, the Order, to preserve the purity
of its sources, often rectified itself at the meetings of its Convents. It
struggled against Jesuitical infiltration, rid itself of the alchemists of the
period, forbade political discussions,—all things that would endanger the
serenity of the relations between Brethren, sowing disunity and suspicion The
Order preserved in their original purity and uncontested grandeur the
admirable rituals of Scottish Master, Novice, and Knight.
At length, at the “Convent National des Gaules”,
in November 1778, the three French provinces, especially that of Burgundy, (the
V Province), declared their renunciation forever of the privileges and all the
temporal claims of the old Order of the Temple, and their intention to resume
in future the title that its Founders had borne before they acquired worldly
possessions,—namely, the KNIGHTS OF THE HOLY CITY.
Yes, my Brethren, you are the successors, or
spiritual continuators, of those valiant Knights who of yore founded the
Beneficent Order of the Knights of the Holy City, and who bore so gloriously the
title of Templars.
After having formed the most brilliant Masonic
Order of the 18th century, and having shed vivid light during the early third of
the next, it died out nearly everywhere, breaking up with the society it
represented and which composed it, but maintaining an ultimate center of light
and warmth in the Independent Great Priory of Helvetia. Evolution is a law,—a
power which breaks down all resistance; to live, one must evolve with one’s
era, one must know how to look ahead and advance; he who stops or recedes,
disappears from the scene. Therefore, Brethren, look boldly forward,—life is a
daily struggle, and life requires this contest. Victory is won at this price.
Each of us must work; and let each one bring his stone for the Spiritual
Edifice. We must all maintain our principles of faith and freedom of thought, of
charity and beneficence, to be worthy of the Order and of those who received us
into its fold.
ORGAN PLAYS. The instruction
concerning the degree being stopped at this point, a short pause occurs with
organ music if possible. During this time the Master of Ceremonies invites the
candidate to rise and approach the altar. The ritual continues and the ceremony
proceeds by the Senior giving the reading of the Vows of the Order.
The Novice declares his readiness
to pronounce the Vows at the altar of the Prior.
D) Ceremony of Taking the Vows of the Order
GREAT PRIOR: Listen now to the recital of the Vows of the Order by which you are to
pledge yourself in the quality of Knight.
SENIOR reads (recites) the
formula of the Vows of the Order: I ... (Christian
and family names) swear and promise, of my full and free will, in the
presence of God and of my Brethren, to respect and cause to be respected by my
conduct and my example, the Christian religion, the precepts of which I pledge
myself to follow; to render myself useful to my fellow creatures by all means in
my power; to support and defend the weak and oppressed; to succor the poor and
unfortunate, to cooperate with my Brethren for the welfare of the Order, and to
faithfully observe the rules and statutes thereof; to be assiduous at its
meetings and devoted to its interests; to preserve an inviolable silence on all
that concerns it; and to honor its Chiefs and Superiors.
I promise to fulfill all this, insofar as my
position and my means will allow me, and under reserve of my duties and
obligations to my religion, my country, and my civil state, which I nowise
intend my vows to compromise.
GREAT PRIOR: Brother Novice, do you accept these vows which you have lust heard, and
will you solemnly pronounce the same with the firm resolution to perform them?
The Novice having replied
affirmatively, the Great Prior continues: Go then, my Brother, and present
yourself to the Very Respectable Brother Prior, solemnly to take, at his
hands, the pledge the tenor of which you have just heard. Up to the present, you
have sworn your oaths kneeling, your hand on the Bible and the sword. Today, you
will do it standing, with uplifted brow, before this assembly of Knights, in
the character of a free man, resolved to labor with us for the progress of
humanity, for the moral and material welfare of all men, your brethren, and
for the advent of the reign of peace and charity among them.
The Master of Ceremonies conducts
the Novice to the altar of the Prior; as soon as he is properly placed, the
Great Prior gives one knock with the pommel of his sword; the Knights
immediately arise and remain standing during the entire ceremony of the taking
of the Vows of the Order.
At the moment that the Novice
arrives at the altar of the Prior to take the Vows of the Order, the Prior rises
and, imposing his hands on the candidate’s head, utters the following prayer,
which is followed by the Lord’s Prayer.
GREAT PRIOR: Almighty God, grant to Thy servant ... the succor he requires to be able
to practice conscientiously the pledges he is about to take in the quality of
Knight of the Holy City; enlighten his spirit in order that he may never stray
from his duty; inflame his heart with the divine fire of Thy love so that he may
render himself useful to the human family, and that he may put into practice
those lessons that we have been taught by our Sovereign Master Jesus Christ,
with Whom we say to Thee:
Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day
our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that have
trespassed against us. Let us not fall into temptation, but deliver us from
ALL KNIGHTS: So mote it be.
ORGAN The Prior then presents the
Gospel, open, to the Novice, has him place his right hand upon it, and in this
attitude makes him take the Vows of the Order. This done, the Prior further
GREAT PRIOR: May the God of Justice and Mercy receive this Brother among the number of
His faithful workmen, resolved to labor till death for the good of their fellow
creatures and in the search or Truth.
Then the Great Prior invites the
Brethren to be seated, and the Master of Ceremonies takes the arm of the Novice
and conducts him to the Great Prior for the proper ceremony of armament.
E) The Arming of a Beneficent Knight of the Holy
1—Clothing the Knight.
The Master of Ceremonies receives
from the hands of the Preceptor (or Great Prior, as the case may be) the
different pieces of the clothing of the new Knight, and helps him to put them on
GREAT PRIOR: Put away, my Brother, that white chlamys with the colours of the Order,
intended to remind us of the one that the Novices used to clothe themselves in
on their vigil before their knighting; and prepare to receive the clothing of
the Knights of the Holy City.
There was a time when the knighting comprised
numerous attributes; I will briefly call to mind the most important. There was
first a corselet of white skin, decorated with the Cross of the Order, then a
light sash of white silk; then the golden spur, symbol of vigilance and
promptitude, of which the rowel recalled to mind the thorns of life; the ample
mantle bearing the red Cross of the Templar. Then came the gloves, the boots,
the laced hat ornamented with feathers, the colour of which revealed the
Province and class of the Knight. Our vesture has been much simplified ,—we
shall proceed with it.
The Great Prior then tenders the
Master of Ceremonies the different parts of the vesture, and continues as
a) the Sash
GREAT PRIOR: Receive this white sash, decorated as was in the past the mantle of the
Knight, with the Cross of the Temple. Its color is symbolic of Purity and
Righteousness, qualities on which one deserving the title of Knight prides
himself. Its white color symbolizes also for Freemasons the Supreme rank of all
Rites. Nothing is higher; there is nothing above it. All those who are arrayed
in it are equal, and together they constitute what is known as “White
b) the Medal
From this sash you will suspend the Medal of St.
Andrew. This to call to mind that the Holy Order became the refuge of the
Knights of the Temple during the time of proscription; then the
recruiting-ground for the Interior Order, when times altered for the better.
c) the Red Collar
The ancient breastplate is nowadays replaced by
this red collar. Its color must call to mind that of your blood, which, in olden
times, you would not have hesitated to shed for the salvation of the Order and
for the faith of our fathers. Today, it is the emblem of devotion to the
Institution and of fidelity to the sworn pledges.
d) the Cross of the Temple
From this collar you will suspend the Pectoral
Cross, which is the jewel of the Order and especially that of your new rank.
This red Cross was granted in 1147 by Pope Eugene III to the successors of those
nine Knights who had been the followers of Godefroi de Bouillon in the conquest
of Palestine and who were the founders of the Hospitallers and the Military
Order of the Temple, previously called the Knights of the Holy City, or Soldiers
of Christ. The Cross is engraved with the motto of our V Province:—M.O.Æ.
Laid on your breast, it will cover a noble heart, ready for sacrifice for the
good of the Order and that of your fellow creatures.
e) the Ring
The present ring is emblematical of the history of
the Order. It is 9 millimeters high (wide) and is made of 18-carat gold,— 750
fine. Inside.— The enameled red Cross of the Knights Templar.
The motto of the V Province of the Order of the
Temple (the abbreviation “Vme Pr.” being used), M.O.Æ., “Mors Omnia Æquat.”
This was the Province of Burgundy, of which we lawfully hold the full powers.
Outside.— Divided into three parts, each
representing one Preceptory. Three enameled shields, rectangular, black
colored, represent each a Preceptory,— together they represent a Priory. They
bear the letters P.U.V. the initials of the motto of the whole organization,
“Perit ut Vivat.”
The four engine-turned bands represent the fourth
degree, Scottish Master of St. Andrew.
The five polished bands represent the fifth degree,
Each diagonal band of nine stars represents one
Commandery of nine Knights, lawfully constituted. The 27 Knights of the three
Commanderies that are between two shields, represent one lawfully constituted
Preceptory,—also one complete statutory Chapter.
The three Preceptories emblematized by the three
shields of the ring (the 81 Knights represented by all the stars) constitute one
lawfully complete Priory.
These details are absolutely confidential.
The ring is worn only by Beneficent Knights of the
Holy City, on the little finger of the right hand.
The golden ring was already the emblem of Chivalry
with the Romans; its origin is lost in the night of time. It has always been the
symbol of solidarity between Brothers and of fidelity to a standard. It is, in
fact, a link of the close alliance that binds the Knights of the Holy City to
each other. The motto M.O.Æ. (Mors Omnia Æquat), gloomy and severe, reminds
men who might be blinded by too great a prosperity that Death, the great
leveler, brings back all things to a perfect equality. Therefore, my Brethren,
let us remain humble and modest,—that is the lesson contained in this motto.
f) the Sword
The M. of C. receives from the Preceptor, to pass
over to the Novice, the Sword, which the Novice must hold point upwards.
I entrust to you this Sword, token of the ability
acquired by the virtues. It symbolizes the duty of protecting your Brethren, and
being ready to succor the unfortunate and oppressed. Never use it but for just
causes, for the defense of your country and for your own legitimate defense.
Remember, however, that it is by the victorious weapons of Speech and Good
Example that a real Knight best brings back to the paths of righteousness those
who unhappily stray therefrom.
At this moment, the following part of the ceremony
is announced by the BELL of the CAMP, which rings the battery of the degree—*
****, and on this appeal the whole assembly rises.
GREAT PRIOR: Very Reverend Brethren, by the linging of the battery of the Temple, the
Order announces to the Knights the initiation of new Brethren. It was, according
to the Chronicles, only when the Temple was covered, that is, when all doors
were closed and the exits guarded, that our mysteries could be celebrated, and,
after the night of vigil, the Novice could be Knighted with the Sword, the
Spurs, the Helmet; and the Accolade Embrace.
But first, my Brethren, let us give the Sign of the
At the same time the battery of
the degree is again pealed out on the bell. Then, addressing the new Brother (or
Brethren), the Great Prior continues:
GREAT PRIOR: Love God And Your Neighbor.
Let Justice Reign In Your Heart.
Let Temperance Govern Your Speech.
Let Prudence Inspire Your Actions.
Be Strong And Brave Men. Let Your Conduct Always Be
Distinguished By Generosity and
ORGAN PLAYS. Then, leaving the
Altar, the Great Prior descends to the Candidate. He creates him a Knight of
the Order by touching him three times with the Sword of the Order, on the brow,
then on each shoulder, saying: (By the Sword)
GREAT PRIOR: In the name of the Great Architect of the Universe,
In the name of the Order,
And by the powers that I hold from this Great
Brother ... Christian
and family name, I create you a Knight of the Beneficent Order of
Masonic Knights of the Holy City! (Vos Equites Beneficos Civitatis Sanctae
Then the new Knight joins hands
with the Great Prior, and he addresses them the following short allocution: (By
GREAT PRIOR: The symbolism of the Order
covers under the veil of allegory many traces of the Oriental initiation. The
Hat, which here has replaced the Helmet, has for us remained the sign of the
free man, because, of yore, access to the Sanctuaries was permitted only to the
Initiated whose head was to remain covered. It was a sign of a privilege
possessed by a special class. Our Rite has always possessed this symbol; it
must not be allowed to fall into disuse.
(The Embrace) Then he finally
embraces him while saying:
GREAT PRIOR: In the name of all the Knights of the Order, I give you the Kiss of
Fraternity; from this moment, and forever, you are our Brother, and our
companion-at-arms (fellow soldier). May Divine Grace, and the peace which is the
fruit thereof, remain forever. with you and with us all!
The accolade is given on the brow
and both cheeks.
The Great Prior resumes his place
at the Altar, then says:
(Cognomen of Knight, and Motto)
GREAT PRIOR: Since the 1659 renovation of the Order, by the creation of its secret and
characteristic degree of Scottish Master of St. Andrew—in short, since the
constitution of the “Ecossais Rite”— the Knights attaining the supreme
degree have each adopted a Cognomen (Distinctive Title) in the Order, either
imposed or freely chosen. They moreover adopted a Motto and exemplary Arms or
Shield. We follow this tradition. Let, therefore, your characteristic in the
Order be Eques a ..., your Motto ... etc.
For each candidate, this address must be
individually presented by the Great Prior, the Great Chancellor, or the
chancellor of the Chapter.
(The Sign of the Order)
GREAT PRIOR: Here now is the characteristic Sign of your degree: It is a Cross figured
by two strokes of the thumb, first from the brow downwards, second horizontally,
thumb to the breast. To recognize one who interrogates, the Knight addressed
traces a vertical line downwards, and the one who interrogates must reply by
drawing a horizontal line crossing the first line in the middle.
(The Word or Countersign)
The word is EM-MA-NU-EL. It is given in four
syllables. He who is questioned gives the first and third; the questioner the
two others. When it is completed, the two Knights kiss each other on both
cheeks, the one who put the question giving the whole word, and the other
(The Battery. *
The manner of giving the battery is as follows: the
first knock is given with the fist and indicates the superiority you have
attained by the title of Knight over the other classes of the Order; and the
three knocks, given with the middle finger, which are the repetition of the
battery of the apprentice teach you that you have reverted to the rank of
Apprentice, but in another order of science, of which the only true Master is in
Heaven. Exert yourself, therefore, my well-beloved Brother, to become worthy
of His succor and enlightenment.
The Master of Ceremonies, by
order of the Great Prior, conducts the new Knight back to the center of the
choir, makes him draw his sword and strike with it three times in the air: in
front,— on his right,— on his left,— and explains that he is supposed to
be on horseback, fighting the Saracens or infidels;—this for olden times,
but today he will fight only the vices, this manner of using the sword having
replaced that of the times of the Crusades. During this part of the Ceremony,
the Prior says:
PRIOR: It is in Thy name, Lord, that we defy those who rise against us, as
neither on our bow nor on our sword do we count, but on Thee alone!
The Master of Ceremonies brings
the new Knight back to the altar.
GREAT PRIOR: Christendom of the Middle Ages had conceived the ideal of the Knight
armed in the service of unprotected Truth, so that peace should not be in
continual danger. Out of the barbarian rite of the “adoubement”, or
consecration, the Church made a Christian ceremony, in which its doctrine on
chivalric matters is expressed in these terms of great beauty.
“Lord, it is in order that Just ice should here
below have a stronghold,—’tis so that the fury of the wicked should have a
curb, that Thou hast suffered men to make use of the sword Grant to this new
Knight the strength he requires for the defense of Justice and Truth. Deign to
give him increase of Faith, Hope, and Charity. Vouchsafe him fear and love,
humility and perseverance, that with this sword he may be able to defend all
that is lust, all that is right. So mote it be.”
(The Homage) After a slight
pause, the Great Prior continues.
My Brother, you have promised obedience in the
Order to your superiors. You owe it to the M E. Great Prior of the Order in
to your Preceptor, your Commander, and to the Prior of this district, as also to
the guardians and depositaries of the laws. You will never have to regret the
free and voluntary obedience that you lay on yourself, for their only desire is
to reign in your heart by persuasion, by example of the virtues, by the most
time-tested zeal, and never by any arbitrary authority whatever.
Come therefore to give me the sign of homage you
owe me in my quality of Great Prior of America You will then acquit yourself of
the same duty towards the other dignitaries of the Order.
The M. of C. then conducts the
new Knight to the Great Prior, who presents him the pommel of his sword on which
the Knight lays his hand in token of obedience. He repeats this for the
Preceptor, the Commander, and the Prior of the Chapter, and the other high
officers of the Order, to whom the same mark of respect is due. The Great Prior
then orders the M. of C. to conduct the new Knight to the Almoner, who
presents the basin for him to deposit his offering for the poor. (This was
formerly a gold coin or its equivalent.)
(The Offering for the Poor)
During this part of the ceremony the Great Prior says:
GREAT PRIOR: Happy is he who assists the poor and needy during the bad times,—he
acts as a good and worthy Knight.
The M. of C. brings the Knight
back to the Great Prior, who says:
GREAT PRIOR: Go now, my well-beloved Brother, and present yourself to each Knight
here present and exchange with him a cordial handshake. Later the fraternal
embrace will circulate among us all.
The M. of C presents the new
Knight to those in attendance, beginning with the Knight on the right of the
Preceptor, to receive the handshake. (This used to be the fraternal kiss, now
not often practised.) The M. of C. then conducts the new Knight to a place in
the middle of the Chapter, where he is seated to listen to his instruction.
F) Last Address of the Great Prior – the Trophy
of Arms – the Circle of Knights – the Release from the Vows
GREAT PRIOR: Well-beloved Brother, you are now irrevocably bound to the Beneficent
Order of the Masonic Knights of the Holy City. You had manifested the desire to
attain this final term of your Masonic career, but it was necessary, before
giving you satisfaction, to test you in the symbolic classes that we might be
assured of your zeal, of your discretion, and of your determination to acquire
the virtues that must be therein practised and that are the ornament of this
In the conviction which we hold that you will
realize all your hopes, which are also our own, we congratulate ourselves with
having introduced into the Order of the Masonic Knights of the Holy City a
Brother who has shown himself worthy of belonging to it.
A slight pause.
(The Trophy of Arms)
GREAT PRIOR: Brother newly knighted, the Trophy of Arms in front of you is to remind
you that the order of the Knights of the Holy City is derived from the ancient
general Order of Chivalry, the Order from which also several other religious and
military orders are derived, most particularly that of the Temple, with which
the Beneficent Order of the Holy City has the greatest affinity. That Order,
as you know, devoted itself to the defense of the Christian religion and the
Holy Land against the Saracens who claimed their possession.
The unhappy times during which torrents of blood
were shed, are no longer; the military state of the Order has ceased; its duties
have become milder and more comforting, and more useful to humanity. This
Trophy, therefore, is retained solely to remind us of the duties and virtues of
the Knights, of which its different parts are emblems.
Newly knighted Brother, by this degree, by those
that preceded it, you have uplifted the veil which masks the origin of Masonry;
you have seen its filiation, its principal secrets, its aim, its conclusion. It
was born with human society,—with society itself it will cease.
There is nothing higher in the Order in which you
have entered. The government of the Order itself is chosen from among the
Knights who compose it. Having attained the highest rank, you will have at heart
to strive to understand and accomplish more strictly than ever before the
obligations you have assumed.
Knight of the Holy City is the man of whom Plato speaks: “‘Tis only he who
voluntarily, spontaneously and with joy does what others do merely to obey the
law or through fear of punishment—to him alone belongs the right to utter the
word ‘beneficence,’ for only he understands it in its fullness, only he can
practice beneficence in its highest sense.”
Here the Great Prior addresses
himself more pointedly to the candidate; the Organ accompanies him in soft
tones, becoming gradually louder as he descends from the altar and approaches
the center of the Temple,—then it diminishes and dies out.
You have become the equal of your Brother Knights.
Deserve this equality by the efforts you will make
to surpass them in generous thoughts, in noble actions, in virtue, in wisdom. Be
just to all, indulgent to human foibles, tolerant, respectful of all sincere
Endeavour, with patience and persuasion, to lead
back to the path of virtue those who stray; but above all show yourself of an
of a stirring kindness toward the weak, the wretched,—all who suffer Apply
yourself to help them to recover the courage and energy of which they have so
As the Great Prior advances to
the center of the Temple, the Knights also rise and slowly encircle the newly
made Knight, holding their swords over his head so as to have all points
touching. The Great Prior continues:
It is with joy that we welcome you in our midst.
Here the Circle of the Fraternity is drawn closer,
and the feelings which unite us have become the more intense as they are founded
on mutual esteem. Our faith in you today is absolute. Your character is our
surest warrant of your sincerity.
YOUR OATHS HAVE BECOME NEEDLESS TO US, FOR WE KNOW
THAT YOU WILL VIOLATE NONE. THAT IS WHY WE RELEASE YOU FROM ALL YOUR PLEDGES.
HENCEFORTH YOU ARE A FREE MAN, RESPONSIBLE SOLELY TO YOURSELF AND TO GOD.
Then the Knights form a wide
circle, clasping hands, the new Knight opposite the Great Prior in the
West,—the kiss of fraternity circulates with the word of the degree and its
response, the organ playing throughout. The Great Prior returns to the altar,
and declaims: And now, my beloved Brothers, all
united and reliant on one another, strong through one another, let us march with
courage and without any weakness in the paths which have been opened to us, eyes
ever fixed on the distant summits that tower in the skies, where shines the
light of Truth and Justice eternally resplendent.
All the Knights having regained
their seats, and the organ having ceased, after a short pause, the Great Prior
resumes: Brother Master of Ceremonies, conduct the new
Knight to the place he is to occupy in our assemblies, and you, Brother Almoner,
perform the duties of your office.
M. of C. conducts the new Knight
to the place in the west end of the Chapter which he is to occupy in the future.
This ends duties of M. of C. and he retires to his place. Almoner passes the
alms-basin. The Great Prior now gives up the presidence to the Preceptor.
The Preceptor enquires if any
Knight has a communication to make,—he greets the visiting Brethren,—and
then proceeds to close the Chapter.
PRECEPTOR: having given a knock with the pommel of his sword, rises and says:
Rise, my Brethren, draw your swords again,—it is
a sign of respect to God and of devotion to our country and our fellowmen.
All Knights rise, draw swords and
hold them point upwards.
DEAN: As the sword is of no succor if not guided by a practised hand, itself
supported by unshakable courage, so our Order could not be really useful without
the rules which govern it and guide it in Faith, Hope, and Charity.
PRECEPTOR: The labor of this day being ended, let us close this Chapter of the
Beneficent Order of the Masonic Knights of the Holy City of the ... Preceptory
(...) as it was opened.
DEAN: Let it be closed according to the rites of the Order.
PRECEPTOR: Let us invoke the Lord for all our Order, and particularly for our
Brethren who are ill or absent.
GREAT PRIOR: Eternal and almighty Father, who boldest men in Thy holy keeping, we
invoke Thee for our Brethren present and absent, and particularly for those who
are ailing, in affliction or adversity. Deign to cover them with Thy divine
protection and blessings! (Extemporaneous additions
at discretion of Prior.)
Eternal and Infinite Spirit, Thou Who art Justice,
Love and Truth in Person,—Thou from Whom proceed all light and all power,
—bless our labors and condescend to guide our
steps during our journey here below.
Inspire our hearts with such love for everything
righteous that all our thoughts and all our actions may aid the realization of
Thy designs. Grant us the necessary will and energy to live to useful purpose,
and to be pleasing to Thee, as it is only in the fulfillment of Thy supreme will
that man can find true felicity.
ALL KNIGHTS: Amen.
PRECEPTOR: Let Charity and Fraternal Concord always reign among us.
ALL BRETHREN: So mote it be.
DEAN: My reverend and well-beloved
Brethren, the Chapter of the Beneficent Order of the Masonic Knights of the Holy
City, of the ... Preceptory, under the jurisdiction of the Great Priory of
America, is closed.
PRECEPTOR: Your attention, my Brethren.
Preceptor gives the Sign of the
Order, repeated by all Knights.
DEAN: Reverend and well-beloved Brethren, the Chapter being closed, divest
yourselves in silence of your Knightly raiment, and retire according to
If there is to be agape
(love-feast) after the ceremony, the Dean so states.