Religious, Military and Masonic Order of the Temple, and of St. John of
Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta of England and Wales and its Provinces
Ritual for the Installation of a Knight of Malta
The two standards of the Order are the Standard of St. John and the
Standard of Malta. These are placed on either side of the Chapter House
in the East, that of St. John being on the North side.
At the Eastern or upper end of the Chapter House is placed a Pentagonal Table with a red cover, in the centre of which is worked or painted in white the upper limb of a cross (head towards East) with lines drawn on it meeting a spot within. A Bible is placed at the Western apex, and a kneeling stool to the West of the Table.
When the Priory is opened the following five officers are seated at this table: The Eminent Prior The Captain-General The Lieutenant-General The First Lieutenant The Second Lieutenant The Chaplain is seated in the East of the Chapter House. As there is no Altar in this Order, when offering prayer, Chaplain stands in his place facing West, and does not remove his head-dress. He is provided with a small copy of the New Testament for use in the Degree of Knight of St. Paul.
At the West of the Chapter House there is an Octagonal Table with a red cover, in the centre of which is worked or painted a white eight-pointed star (Maltese Cross) having a centre circle, or Orle, divided into four equal portions in which are depicted: an ancient galley; a ladder of five rounds, with letters on each round corresponding to those on the five banners, and a speaking trumpet; a skull with a spear and a sword; a hand with a viper. At the eight corners of this table the following officers are placed:
Inside the Priory in the West, on the North side, are placed five
Banners in rests, as follows:
1st. - White - PALESTINE - 1099 - B
2nd. - Red - CYPRUS - 1921 - L
3rd. - Black - RHODES - 1310 - D
4th. - Purple - CANDIA - 1523 - R
5th. Golden - MALTA - 1530 - A
The Banners are guarded by five Knights during the installation of a Knight.
The Great Officers and Past Priors are seated in the East, the former on the North and the latter on the South of the Pentagonal Table. The rest of the Knights are seated on the North and South sides of the Priory.
The Guard Room
This apartment must contain a Table covered with a black cloth. In this Chamber the Degree of Knight of St. Paul is given.
Form of Opening a Priory
Mar.: Bro. Knights. To order.
The E.P. enters the Chapter House attended by the officers of the Pentagonal and Octagonal Tables and accompanied by the Chaplain and the Great Officers.
Order of Procession: Dep.Mar.; Great Officers (juniors leading); Treasurer; Vice-Chancellor and Turcopollier; Baillie and Conservator; Admiral and Hospitaller; Chaplain; 2nd Lieut. And 1st Lieut.; Lieut.-Gen and Capt.-Gen.; Eminent Prior, Mareschal.
The Procession halts and faces inwards when Dep.Mar. reaches the space between the two tables.
E.P., followed by the Officers of the Pentagonal Table from the West pass to their places. Chaplain passes to his, followed by the Great Officers from the West. Officers of the Octagonal Table take their places when Chaplain has passed.
Mar.: Bro. Knights. Be seated.
E.P.: Worthy Captain-General, what is the first and most essential care of a Knight of Malta?
Capt.-Gen.: To see that our Companions-in Arms are properly protected from all opposers of the Gospel of the Saviour of fallen man.
E.P.: Worthy Lieutenant-General, do your duty and see that the Priory is properly guarded.
Lieut.-Gen. draws sword, goes to door and knocks (1-12); Guard replies. Lieut.-Gen. returns and reports, no sign: Eminent Prior, all is properly guarded without. Returns sword and resumes his seat.
E.P.: Worthy Captain-General, what is our next duty?
Capt.-Gen.: To see that every Warrior present proves himself a true companion of our Order.
E.P.: See that they be so.
Mar.: Bro. Knights. To order. All stands to Order, including Officers at tables.
The Capt.-Gen. and Lieut.-Gen. prove the Knights on the North and South respectively: each Gen. engages the R..n sign with the Knight he is proving. Gen. then gives words King of Kings; Knight being proved replies with words Lord of Lords. The Generals go back to their places and report.
Lieut.-Gen. to Capt.-Gen.: The warriors have proved themselves true Companions of our Order.
Capt.-Gen.: E.P., the warriors present have proved themselves true Companions of our Order.
E.P.: Let us implore a blessing upon our present meeting.
Chaplain, standing in his place, facing West: Let us pray. Knights adopt position of prayer: Officers at the Tables rest the blades of their swords on the Tables. O God of Infinite Goodness look down upon this priory with an eye of tender compassion, and incline our hearts to Thy Holy Will in all our actions, Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Knights carry swords.
E.P.: In the name of the Holy Trinity, I declare this a duly opened and constituted Priory of Knights of Malta.
33 knocks are given in form. Each of the five Officers at the Pentagonal Table, in order of seniority, gives five knocks on the Table with the pommel of his sword, followed by the eight Officers at the Octagonal Table, who each give one knock on the Table in turn in a clockwise direction, starting with the Mareschal.
The five Officers at the Pentagonal Table then place their swords along the lines marked on the table; the eight Officers at the Octagonal Table place their swords along the radial edges of the Maltese Cross on the table.
Dep.Mar. advances and opens Bible on Pentagonal Table at the Holy Gospels, then returns to his place.
Mar.: Bro. Knights. Be seated.
Degree of Knight of St. Paul
The Chapter House
The Candidate is clothed in the full Regalia
of a Knight Templar: he does not wear his gloves.
The Priory being opened, when the Candidate is ready the Guard knocks (***** **); the Captain of Outposts goes to the door and receives from the Cand. The sign and word of a Crus. He then requests him to wait while he makes a report.
C. of O.: Eminent Prior, the Knight …, a Knight of the Religious, Military and Masonic Order of the Temple, stands without, humbly soliciting to be admitted to the Secrets and Privileges of the Degree of Knight of St. Paul and, if found worthy, he hopes to be elected a Member of the Ancient and Masonic Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta.
E.P.: Worthy Captain of Outposts, far be it from us to interpose any obstacle of his desire. Can you vouch that he is in possession of the Sign and Word of a Crusader?
C. of O.: I can, Eminent Prior.
E.P.: Brother Knights, it is your pleasure that the Knight … be elected a Member of our Order?
The Knights signify their assent by show of hands.
E.P.: I declare the Knight … duly elected a Member of our Order; and you our Worthy Chaplain, and you our Worthy Mareschal, will accompany me to the Guard Room; and do you our Worthy Captain-General be pleased to assume my seat during my temporary absence and take charge of this Priory.
Dep.Mar. rises: Bro. Knights. To order.
All Knights rise and draw swords; Officers at tables rise, leaving their swords on the Tables
E.P. and Mar. Take up their swords and return them. Chap. Takes up New Testament; they leave the Chapter House and proceed to the Guard Room. Capt.-Gen. moves to place of E.P.
Dep.Mar.: Bro. Knights. Be seated.
The Guard Room
E.P. and Chaplain enter. E.P. draws his
sword and places it on the front of the Table, hilt to the South, and takes
his place on the North side of the Table. Chaplain places New Testament
on the Table behind the sword; he opens it at Acts, Chap. 27 and takes
his place on the South side of the Table.
E.P.: By virtue of the power vested in me, I declare this Chapter of Knights of St. Paul duly opened.
Mar. Conducts Cand. Into the Guard Room and places him in front of E.P. He instructs him to salute E.P. with S. of Crus. With his hand.
Mar. Salutes and presents Cand: E.P., I present this Knight of the Religious, Military and Masonic Order of the Temple, who humbly solicits to be admitted to the secrets and privileges of the Degree of Knight of St. Paul.
E.P.: Knight …, before I place you in the possession of our secrets, are you willing to pledge yourself to keep inviolate the secrets and mysteries of the Degree of Knights of St. Paul?
Cand.: I am.
E.P.: You will assume the Sign of Fidelity.
Do you solemnly promise on your knightly honour that you will never improperly reveal the secrets which we are now about to impart on you?
Cand. Prompted by Mar.: I solemnly promise. Cand. Drops Sn.
E.P.: You will now attend while the Chaplain reads a portion of Holy Scripture.
Chaplain reads Acts 27 and 28 to v. 6: And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustinus' band. And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. (…) Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, and said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul. And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south-west and north-west. And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete. But not long after they arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive. (…) And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and so small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away. But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. And now exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be through before Caesar; and lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer; for I believe in God that it shall be even as it was told me. Howbeit we must cast upon a certain island. (…) And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of waves. (…) And when they escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hand on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly; but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.
E.P.: I will now entrust you with the Sign, Token and Word of this Degree.
The Sign is given by shaking the hand, as if shaking of a viper, as St. Paul did.
The Grip or Token is given by taking hold of the little fingers and turning up the hands, and then, with the fore-finger and the thumb, alternately laying hold of the skin on the back of the hand
The Mediterranean Pass is Melita
The Pass Words are Fear not Paul.
By virtue of the powers vested in me, I declare this Chapter of Knights of St. Paul duly closed.
E.P. takes up his sword and returns it. Chaplain closes New Testament and takes it up. Both then leave the Guard Room and return to the Chapter House.
Ceremony of Installation
The Chapter House
Before the Ceremony starts, Dep.Mar. will
have placed Malta Jewel of Cand. On a small cushion ready to present to
Guard gives report on door (1-12)
C. of O. reports: Worthy Captain-General, there is a report.
Capt.-Gen.: Bro. Captain of Outpost, ascertain the cause thereof.
C. of O. opens door: Who comes?
Guard: The Eminent Prior and the Chaplain seek admittance.
C. of O. closes door: Worthy Captain-General, the Eminent Prior and the Chaplain seek admittance.
Capt.-Gen.: admit them.
Dep.Mar.: Bro. Knights. To order.
All Knights rise and draw swords. Officers at the Tables rise, leaving their swords on the Tables. E.P. and Chap. Enter and proceed to their places. Capt.-Gen. returns to his own place. E.P. draws his sword, places it on Table and sits.
Dep.Mar.: Brother Knights. Be seated. Banner Guards. To order. Take post.
The five Knights detailed to act as Guards to the Banners rise, draw their swords and take post opposite their respective Banners, facing North. The line of Banners forms the way of approach for the Candidate from West to East. Mareschal, with the sword at carry, and Cand. Approach the door of the Chapter House.
Guard gives knocks (5-2).
C. of O.: Eminent Prior, there is an alarm.
E.P.: Ascertain the cause thereof.
C. of O. opens door: Who comes?
Mar.: A worthy Knight and Soldier of the Cross seeks admittance
C. of O.: To what Order does he belong?
Mar.: The Religious, Military and Masonic Order of the Temple.
C. of O.: Has he the necessary qualifications?
Mar.: He has.
C. of O.: Halt while I report to the E.P. and Knights in Council. C. of O. closes door and reports: E.P., a worthy Knight and Soldier of the Cross seeks admittance.
E.P.: Admit him.
C. of O. opens the door: I have received orders to admit you. Give me the Pass Word.
Cand.: Fear not Paul.
The procedure for challenging the Cand. at each Banner will be as follows: as the Cand. approaches, the Guard will turn to the West, point his sword at the breast of the Cand. And make the challenge. When he receives the Cand.'s reply, Guard will return to carry, turn to North, extend the Banner with the point of his sword so as to exhibit it to the Cand. And tell him the name of the Banner and the Word. Guard will then lower the Banner and return to the carry.
The Mar. And the Cand. Enter and advance towards the Banners. During the advance Mar. Will ensure that Cand. Is so positioned for each Banner that Guard can make the challenge effectively.
1st Guard challenges: Give me the Mediterranean Pass.
1st Guard: This is the Banner of Palestine and the Word is Birth.
2nd Guard challenges: Give me the word of the Banner of Palestine.
2nd Guard: This is the Banner of Cyprus and the Word is Life.
3rd Guard challenges: Give me the word of the Banner of Cyprus
3rd Guard: This is the Banner of Rhodes and the Word is Death.
4th Guard challenges: Give me the word of the Banner of Rhodes.
4th Guard: This is the Banner of Candia and the Word is Resurrection.
5th Guard challenges: Give me the word of the Banner of Candia.
5th Guard: This is the Banner of Malta and the Word is Ascension.
After passing the Banner of Malta, Mar. Conducts Cand. To the West end of the Octagonal Table, facing East: thereafter he prompts his replies. Guards take post alongside and to the East of their respective Banners and stand at ease.
E.P.: Brother Knight, is it your wish to join our Order and fight under our Holy Banner against all opposers of the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour?
Cand.: It is.
E.P.: Have you any proof thereof?
Cand. Instructed by Mar., points to the Star on his breast: I have this.
E.P.: Give me the word of the Banner of Malta.
E.P.: Are you prepared to conform yourself to our rules and regulations and to walk in strict accordance therewith?
Cand.: I am.
E.P.: Will you swear?
Cand.: I will.
E.P.: Then you will advance to this table, kneel and enter into the obligation of a Knight of Malta.
Mar.: Bro. Knights. To order.
Mar. conducts Cand. Via South to kneeling stool at West of Pentagonal Table: he instructs him to draw his sword and to place it across the open Bible, hilt to the South, to kneel on both knees and to place his right hand on both the sword and the Bible.
Chap. standing in his place, facing West: You will state your Christian Names and Surname and say after me:
I, …, do hereby and hereon promise and vow, on the honour of a Knight Templar, never improperly to divulge the secrets about to be entrusted to me; and in all respects to conform to the rules and regulations of this Ancient and Masonic Order, as contained in the Statutes of the Great Priory of England and Wales and its Provinces overseas. So help me God.
E.P.: You will real this Obligation three times on the Holy Gospels. Cand. complies.
Mar. instructs Cand. to rise, to pick up his sword and to return it.
Dep.Mar. advances and moves the kneeling stool to a point in the East mid-way between the Pentagonal Table and the East end of the Chapter House. Mar. conducts Cand. via South to kneeling stool; he instructs him to kneel on both knees and to remove his cap. E.P. leaves his place at the Pentagonal Table and stands on the Eastern side of the Kneeling Stool, facing West. Mar. presents his sword to E.P. E.P. gives accolade to Cand and invests him with the honour of Knighthood of Malta.
E.P.: By virtue and power and authority vested in me by the Great Priory of England, Wales and its Provinces Overseas, and in the name of St. John the Baptist, the Patron Saint of the Order, I make thee a Knight of the Ancient and Masonic Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta.
E.P. lays sword once on the right shoulder of Cand.: Be Valiant, Bold and True.
E.P. transfers his sword to his left hand; he takes Cand by his right hand and raises him, saying: Arise Bro. Knight..
E.P. transfers sword to his right hand and hands it back to Mar; Dep. Mar. removes kneeling stool; Mar. instructs Cand. to replace his cap; Dep. Mar. presents to E.P. cushion on which is Jewel of Malta for Cand.
E.P.: I now invest you with the Jewel of our Order.
Mar.: Bro. Knights. Be seated.
Mar. instructs Cand. to draw his sword: he then presents his own sword to E.P.
E.P.: I will entrust you with the Grip, Words and Signs of the Order.
The Grip is given with the Sword in the Right Hand at the carry. Then interlace the fingers of the left hands and move the joined hands backwards and forwards as if rowing.
The Words are King of Kings, answered by Lord of Lords.
When a Knight of the Order is being proved, the Grip is given; the one then says King of Kings, to which the other replies Lord of Lords. Bro. Knights, return your sword. E.P. hands the sword back to Mar.
The Grand Word is Jesus Emmanuel
The Sign of the Order is given thus with the right hand: Draw the thumb down the face from crown to chine. This Sign is always to be given with the hand and never with the sword.
The Sign of Ascension is given by pointing upward with the index finger of the right hand.
E.P. resumes his seat. Cand. is placed by Mar. on South side of Pentagonal Table; Dep.Mar. takes charge of Cand. Mar. returns to his place at the Octagonal Table, places his sword thereon and sits; Dep.Mar. calls Guards to Banners to attention: they stand by their Banners.
When E.P. refers to a particular Banner Guard will extend Banner with his left hand so that Cand. can see it; when E.P. has completed his reference to it Guard will lower Banner.
E.P.: Worthy Bro. Knight, it is now my duty to direct your attention to a brief résumé of the history of the Order of the Knights of St. John and its bearing on our present ceremonies.
That Order was originally founded in Jerusalem, during the first Crusade, about the year of our Lord 1099, by the association of many pious Knights with the Fratres of St. John's Hospital; an establishment previously founded in 1048 for the relief of Pilgrims proceeding to worship at the Holy Sepulchre. The name Palestine and the date on the Banner of Birth (Banner of Palestine extended) commemorate the country of our Lord's Nativity, and have reference to this, the earliest period of the Order, and also to the place where the Order was founded.
After a troubled existence of nearly 200 years in the Holy Land, and in consequence of being deprived, by the wars raging in Europe, of their looked-for assistance, The Order was compelled to evacuate Palestine (Banner of Palestine lowered), and, the year 1291, established itself on the Island of Cyprus (Banner of Cyprus extended). The name and date on the Banner of Life are in Memory of this refuge of the Knights of St. John (Banner of Cyprus lowered).
In 1310, the Island of Rhodes (Banner of Rhodes extended) became the property of the Forces of the Order, which had, a few years before, in 1307, been strengthened in numbers and enriched by the possessions of the Templars, who were at that time suppressed by the cruelty and avarice of Pope Clement V and Philip le Bel, King of France. The remains of the fortifications erected in Rhodes by the Knights still bear testimony to their architectural talent and their engineering ability. The Banner of Death has reference to this period of our history.
In 1522, the Island of Rhodes was besieged by the Turks, under the Emperor Suleyman the First, and, after a memorable defence, fell into the hands of the Infidels; the garrison, however, was permitted to depart with all the honours of war (Banner of Rhodes lowered).
From 1523 the Order found refuge in the Island of Candia (Banner of Candia extended) and elsewhere and in 1530 , the Emperor Charles V ceded the Island of Malta (Banner of Malta extended) to the Order, on condition of using all their abilities to repress the ravages of the Moorish rovers, who at that time infested the southern part of the mediterranean. These periods of our history are designated by the Banners of Resurrection and the Banner of Ascension (Banner of Candia and Banner of Malta lowered. Dep.Mar. orders Guards to Banners to be seated. The legend of the approach of the Knights to this their final resting-place has given rise to the distinguishing wonders of the Order. The story runs that, on coming to take possession of the island, they approached the shore, rowing their galleys, two men to an oar, the oars in their left hand and their swords in their right hands, singing a psalm in the words 'King of Kings and Lord of Lords'.
The natives of the island, seeing their approach in a warlike guise, hailed them through a speaking-trumpet, saying in Arabic tongue: "Es Salaam Aleikum", which means: Do you come in peace? To this the Knights replied: "Aleikum Es Salaam", which means: We do come in peace, to which the natives rejoined: "Wa'ha Aleikum Es Salaam", which means: Then come in peace.
It is worthy of remark that these are, to this day, the common forms of salutation between an Arab and a stranger. The Mediterranean Pass, which you have received in the introductory degree of Knight of St. Paul, was instituted at an early period of the Order, so that the pilgrims might distinguish one another from the Moorish rovers who tried to bar their passage to the Holy Land.
Five officers of the Priory, namely the E.P. and his bodyguard, are seated in the East of the Council Chamber at the Pentagonal Table on which is represented the upper limb of a Cross. Their swords are still pointing to one spot, that where the Heart of our Saviour was supposed to have rested, figuratively in a degree of the holy character of the Order. The number 5 has also an allusion to the five wounds of Christ and it is repeated in the number of rounds of the ladder depicted on one of the divisions within the orle forming part of the Jewel represented on the second table. These five officers formed the personal staff in attendance on the Grand Master of the Order.
Dep.Mar. conducts Cand. to the South side of the Octagonal Table.
The eight other officers are placed at an octagonal table in the West. This table has on it the eightpointed star or cross which is well known as the emblem of the Order.
Hospitaller points with his sword to each object as it is mentioned by E.P., replacing his sword on the table when the explanation is finished.
In the centre is an Orle with four divisions, with representations of a ship, or ancient galley; a ladder of five rounds, with the letters B.L.D.R.A. on the rounds, and a speaking trumpet; a cloven skull, a double-handed sword, and a spear; and a hand and viper. The ancient galley is a representation of the vessels formerly used in carrying corn from Egypt to Rome. The ladder has letters on the rounds corresponding with those on the five banners; the speaking-trumpet recalls to us the legend of the approach of the Knights to the Island of Malta. The skull is typical of the penalty of death to traitors to the Order; the double-handed sword was in use by the Knights in the earlier period of the Order; the spear reminds us of the weapon which pierced the side of our Lord; the hand and the viper refer to the history of St. Paul in connection with the Island of Malta.
The eight officers sitting there represent the heads of the eight Langues or Tongues into which the Order was divided. These were: Provence, Auvergne, France, Italy, Aragon, England, Germany and Castile. These eight priors also held the several offices in the Order of Mareschal, Hospitaller, Admiral, Conservator, Baillie, Turcopollier, Chancellor and Treasurer..
The 33 knocks given at the opening and closing of the priory refer to the 33 years of the life of our Lord on earth.
The practical lessons to be drawn by us from the study and contemplation of the B., L., D., R. and A. of our blessed Lord and Saviour will be brought more particularly to your notice during the Ceremony of closing the Priory, to which presently your attention will be directed.
My Brother, be seated.
Dep.Mar. conducts Cand. to a seat in the North West; he then resumes his own place.
Form of closing a Priory
E.P.: Worthy Captain-General,
what is the last duty of our Companions-in-Arms?
Capt.-Gen.: To close the Priory in peace and good-will with all our Companions-in-Arms, and in Christian charity with all mankind.
E.P.: How can we best effect this noble and God-like purpose?
Capt.-Gen.: By proving to friends and foes the B., L., D., R. and A. of Christ, the Saviour of Mankind.
E.P.: Pray, Worthy Captain-General what do we learn from His Birth?
Capt.-Gen.: That the great Captain of our Salvation was born to redeem fallen mankind.
E.P.: Worthy Lieutenant-General, what do we learn from His Life?
Lieut.-Gen.: All requisite for us as follows: He being the Way, the Truth and the Life.
E.P.: Worthy 1st Lieutenant, what do we learn from His Death?
1st. Lieut.: That our debt of nature is fully paid, and the rigour of the law is satisfied.
E.P.: Worthy 2nd Lieutenant, what do we learn from His Resurrection?
2nd. Lieut.: He, being the Day Star of Mercy, has risen to conduct our feet into paths of truth and peace.
E.P.: Thus, my Companions-in-Arms, by the B., L., D. and R. of our Blessed Lord and Saviour, we are taught to live and die as Christians; and it is now my province to close this Priory, previously declaring that by His glorious A. He is gone before to open the Door of Everlasting Life; for He hath said: "In My Father's house are many mansions, but I go to prepare the way, and open the gates of Paradise, that where I am My servants may be also."
Mar.: Bro. Knights. To order.
All Knights rise: the Officers at the tables take up their swords. Dep.Mar. does not his sword; he advances to the Western end of the Pentagonal Table and turns the pages of the Holy Bible to open the Book at the Old Testament. Chap. moves down to Eastern end of Octagonal Table, where he faces East. Dep.Mar. hands Bible to Chap., then steps back to North and waits. Chap. holds Bible in front of him with both hands.
On a cue from E.P. the Officers at the Pentagonal Table leave their places with swords at the carry and form up in an arc at the West end of that Table, facing West, in the order from North to South: 1st. Lieut.; Capt.-Gen.; E.P.; Lieut.-Gen.; 2nd. Lieut. They remain standing.
Chap. presents Bible, by holding it forward. Taking the time from E.P., the five Officers come to recover, , then pace the points of their swords lightly on the Old Testament. After a short pause, again taking the time from E.P., they come back to the recover and return to the carry. Chap. offers Bible to each Officer in turn, who salutes it once with his lips in the order: E.P.; Capt.-Gen.; 1st. Lieut.; Lieut.-Gen.; 2nd. Lieut.
On completion, on a cue from E.P., the Officers return to their places at the Pentagonal Table and remain standing at the carry. Chap. moves to Western end of the Pentagonal Table and faces West; Dep.Mar. steps forward, turns the pages to open Bible at the New Testament, and steps back again to the North.
On a cue from Mar., the Officers at the Octagonal Table leave their places with swords at the carry, and form up in an arc at the East end of that table, facing East. Hospitaller and Mar. are in the middle, Treasurer and Vice-Chancellor at the North and South extremities respectively; they remain standing.
Chap. presents Bible; taking the time from Mar. the eight Officers come to the recover, then place the points of their swords lightly on the New Testament. After a short pause, again taking time from Mar., they come back to recover and return to the carry. Chap. offers Bible to each Officer in turn from North to South, who salutes in once with his lips. Chap. then returns to the centre.
On a cue from Mar., the Officers return to their places at the Octagonal Table and remain standing at the carry.
Dep.Mar. steps forward and takes Bible from Chap., who returns to his place in the East. Dep.Mar. then replaces Bible on Pentagonal Table and closes it; he returns to his place in the West and draws his sword.
Chap. standing in his place facing West: Let us pray.
Knights adopt position of prayer; Officers at the Tables rest the blades of their swords on the Tables.
Most merciful God, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may ever show forth in ourselves the lessons taught by the B., L., D., R. and A. of Thy Son Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, at the last, we may be found acceptable in Thy sight and worthy to be numbered with Thine elect. Amen.
Knights carry swords.
E.P.: In the name of the Holy Trinity I declare this Priory of Knights of Malta duly closed, to remain so until it is my will and pleasure, or the will and pleasure of some other duly authorized person, to open the same again.
33 knocks are given in form by the Officers in the same manner as at the Opening.
Mar.: Officers at the Pentagonal and Octagonal Tables, Return Swords. Brother Knights, you will remain standing while the E.P., attended by the Chaplain, the Officers of the Pentagonal and Octagonal Tables and accompanied by the Great Officers leaves the Chapter House.
Dep.Mar. takes post in the South by the space between the two tables, facing West.
Order of Retirement Procession: Dep.Mar.; Eminent Prior; Lieut.-Gen and Capt.-Gen.; 2nd Lieut. And 1st. Lieut.; Chaplain; Admiral and Hospitaller; Baillie and Conservator; Vice-Chancellor and Turcopollier; Treasurer; Great Officers (senior leading). Knights not taking part in the Retirement Procession remain standing to order; subsequently they return swords under the direction of the Mar. and disperse.