Knights of Honor of the World
First Degree Uniform Rank
Commander: Guard, see that the Sentry is at his post, and that the approaches are duly guarded.
Guard sees that the Sentry is at his post and instructs him that the Commander is about to open the Commandery. He returns and from his post salutes the Commander.
Guard: Commander, the Sentry is at his post and the approaches are duly guarded.
Commander: Senior and Junior Aid, ascertain if all present are Knights of the Rank.
The Aids arise, draw swords, salute and communicate to the Commander in a whisper the countersign: then, passing down on their respective sides, receive from each Knight the countersign. Each Knight, as the Aids approach, rises and gives to him the countersign in a whisper. Meeting in front of the First Vice-Commander, The Aids face the Commander, advance to altar and salute the Commander.
Senior Aid: Commander, all present are Knights of the Rank.
Aids, marching at right angles, resume their stations.
Commander: First Vice-Commander, what are the qualifications requisite for membership in a Commandery?
First Vice-Commander: To be and remain a Knight of Honor in good standing.
Commander: How many constitute a quorum in a Commandery of the Uniformed Rank?
First Vice Commander: Ten or more Knights in good standing in their Commandery.
Commander: Who are the officers of a Commandery?
First Vice-Commander: Commander, Past Commander, First and Second Vice-Commanders, Secretary, Treasurer Senior and Junior Aids, Guard and Sentry.
Commander: Where is the post of the Sentry?
First Vice Commander: At the outer portal.
Commander: Guard what are his duties?
Guard: To guard the outer portal and permit none to enter except those in possession of the annual countersign.
Commander: Your post?
Guard: At the inner portal.
Commander: Your duties?
Guard: To see that the Sentry is at his post and to guard the inner portal, admitting none without the general countersign.
Commander: The station of Junior Aid?
Guard: To the left and in front of the Commander.
Commander: Junior Aid, your duties?
Junior Aid: To receive and execute the orders of the commander and conduct candidates through the ceremonies of initiation.
Comnmander: The station of the Senior Aid?
Junior Aid: To the right and in front of the Comumander.
Commander: Senior Aid, your duties?
Senior Aid: To see that the orders of the Commander are properly executed, and with the assistance of the Junior Aid conduct candidates through the ceremonies of initiation.
Commander: The Treasurer’s station?
Senior Aid: On the left of the Commander.
Commander: Treasurer, your duties
Treasurer: To receive and keep the funds of the Commandery pay no money except upon warrants legally drawn, and render a true account whenever required.
Coummander: The Secretary’s station?
Treasurer: On the right of the Commander.
Commander: Secretary, your duties?
Secretary: To keep a correct record of the proceedings of the Commaudery, conduct its correspondence, collect its revenues and pay them to the Treasurer.
Commander: The Station of the Second Vice-Commander?
Secretary: To the left of the Commander, opposite the altar.
Commander: Second Vice Commander, your duties?
Second Vice Commander: To assist the Commander in preserving order, assist in initiation of candidates, and preside in the absence of the Commander and First Vice-Commander.
Commander: The station of First Vice Commander?
Second Vice-Commander: Opposite the Commander.
Commander: First Vice Commander, your duties?
First Vice-Commander: To assist the Commander in the discharge of his duties, and in his absence preside over the Commandery.
Commander: The Past Commander’s station?
First Vice-Commander: Opposite the Second Vice Commander?
Commander: Past Commander, your duties?
Past Commander: To lead the devotional exercises of the Commandery, to assist in the initiation of candidates and to see that the work is properly done.
Commander: The Commander’s station?
Past Commander: At the head of the Commandery.
Commander: His duties?
Past Commander: To preside over the Commandery and execute its laws firmly and impartially.
Commander: May we all so discharge our duties as to reflect credit and honor upon our Noble Order.
Commander: Senior and Junior Aids from the ranks.
Senior and Junior Aide advance two steps in front of their stations. Each commands the Knights on his respective side to fall in line in front of the Past and Second Vice-Commanders, facing inwards. After dressing the ranks, the Senior Aid will take position on the left and the Junior Aid on the right of his respective line, when each will command: Draw Swords! The First Vice-Commander will advance in front of his station, the Second Vice-Commander and Treasnrer on his right and the Guard and Secretary on his left, facing the Commander. The Past Commander will take a position at the altar, facing the Commander. The Commander then takes position between the Senior and Junior Aids, facing the altar. As soon as the Commander has taken his position he will draw sword, when the First Vice-Commander will command:
First Vice Commander: Present Swords
The Commander will acknowledge the salute and say:
Commander: Carry, Swords! Return, Swords! Uncover! Past Commander, lead in prayer.
At the command ‘uncover’, each Knight will remove his cap with the left hand and place it on his right shoulder and hair his head.
Past Commander: Almighty Father, bless the deliberations in which we are about to engage. Let our first affection he to Thee, and then to those whom we have adopted as brothers and pledged ourselves by solemn vows to honor and cherish as true Knights. Let charity control our every actions and let us not forget this night to perform our whole duty towards the distressed in our band, and those helpless ones whom our departed brothers may have cast upon our bounty. And so may Thy blessing rest upon us all forevermore. Amen.
Commander: Be covered.
Commander then returns sword and resumes his station.
Commander: I now declare this Commandery open in due form. Guard, inform the Secretary.
To your posts, march!
The beauty of an initiation depends in a great degree on the manner in which it is performed. Every instruction must be carried out in the minutest detail. No smoking should ever be allowed during the initiation for in the darkness the lighted cigar would tend to distract the candidates attention from the scene before him. Perfect quiet must be preserved, and the Commander should always call attention to these requirements before the initiation begins. When the candidate reaches the hall he should be given a seat in the ante-room and left completely alone. Nothing should be said to him except what is absolutely necessary. No joking should be allowed before him or with him. A hush should come over all when he comes in, and everything from that time should be done quietly. All this may seem foolish to some, but it is not, it will tend to put the candidate in a frame of mind the better to appreciate the ceremony which is to follow. If possible, an ante-room (as far from the main ante-room as possible) should be draped in black, or, the walls and ceiling should be painted black, near one end should be placed a small black table and chair, and upon the table a small lighted taper. A mirror should be hung so that the candidate, while sitting on the chair and looking about the room, should catch a glimpse of his own face. Upon pedestals at the end of the room should be a coffin. A long white robe or shroud, and a mask to represent a skull or death’s head, should be provided for this room.
A Bible, two swords, four pedestals 2½ feet in height, four saucers containing alcohol and alum, a transparency O. F. F., and a four foot bar of steel (1½ by ¼ inch will do), fixed so that it can be suspended at one end, will be all that is needed for the main hall.
A few minutes before the initiation is reached, some one previously selected, having first ascertained the age of the candidate as upon the application, should go to the ante-room or dark chamber, light the taper, clothe himself in the shroud and mask, and lie down in the coffin. The Sentry should then conduct the candidate to the dark chamber, and, telling him to be seated, should leave him to his own reflections. The man in the coffin should keep perfectly quiet.
Commander: Guard, ascertain if any Knight of Honor of the World is in waiting to receive the degree.
Guard retires, and, on returning, reports from his station.
Guard: Commander, I find without Brother …, who desires to pass the mystic veil which separates him from true Knighthood.
Commander: Secretary, has he been duly elected and paid the required fee?
Secretary: He has.
Commauder: If there be no objection, we will proceed to confer the degree and satisfy the wishes of our brother. Senior Aid, conduct the candidate to secret chamber.
Senior Aid salutes and retires to the ante-room, hoodwinks candidate and returns. In the meantime a brother clothes himself in a shroud and mask and lies down in the coffin, a taper is lighted, and all lights in the hall are extinguished. Senior Aid seats candidate in chair in secret chamber, and having removed hoodwink, says: "Rest here a while, my brother," and leaves him.
Perfect silence must be maintained in Lodge room; not even a whisper can be permitted. In one or two ominutes the signal bar is slowly struck in ante-room, the exact number of times the candidate is years old. As the last stroke dies away the man in the coffin in a sepulchral voice says: I was … age of candidate years old and then all is quiet. In a moment the Senior Aid and Assistant enter the secret chamber with drawn swords, and the Senior Aid says:
Senior Aid: I am directed by the Commander of this Commandery to ascertain the name, the age and the Lodge from whence came the applicant who seeks to pass our mystic portals.
The candidate gives the information.
Senior Aid: Sir Knight, you can vouch for this man as being a true Knight of Honor of the World, and can you swear that he is not an imposter, seeking, under the guise of a Knight, to gain admission here.
Knight: I can vouch for him.
Senior Aid: It is well, but we need another witness.
The man in the coffin raises himself to a sitting position, and in a sepulchral voice says: I am a witness.
Senior Aid: I am satisfied. My friend, you will accompany me.
S.A. hoodwinks and conducts candidate to ante-room where they are joined by the J.A., after he has removed or taken down secret chamber. As soon as S.A. reach ante-room he removes hoodwink.
Everything being is readiness the candidate is then conducted to the door, the S.A. on the riglst, the J.A. on his left. While waiting, Aids must refrain from conversation. In the meantime the Lodge room is prepared by placing the pedestals at equal distance from the altar and about ten feet from each other. Upon the altar are two swords, crossed, resting upon an open Bible. The Commandery is then formed in two lines down the hall, one on either side of and well back from the altar. Saucers containing alcohol and alum are plated on the pedestals and lighted. All other lights are extinguished, and the signal bar is slowly struck six times. As the last signal dies away, the S.A. raps three times on the floor with his sword blade.
Guard: Commander, there is an alarm.
Commander: Guard, ascertain the cause.
The Guard opens the door and says:
Guard: Who comes here?
S.A.: Aids with said Knight of Honor of the World who desires to enlist under the banner of our Commandery.
Guard: What assurance have we that he is worthy to become a member?
S.K: The recommendation of Brother Knights, and his own declaration that he desires to aid us in extending the influence of the Order.
Guard: Await die order of the Commander.
The Guard closes the door, salutes the Commander and says:
Guard: Commander, the Aids with candidate desire admission.
Guard opens the door, the Aids and candidate advance at right angles to a position in front of First Vice-Commander, and facing the Commander.
S.A.: Commander, I have the pleasure of introducing Brother …, who desires to be admitted a member of this Commandery, engage in its work and share in its privileges.
Commander: Brother, your desires are laudable. You have been recommended by worthy Knights, and have been elected to become one of our number but before receiving you as such, you will be required to give some proofs of your consistency and zeal. Advance to the altar and give attention to the Past Commander.
The Past Commander takes position in front of the altar, and the Senior and Junior Aids on the right and left of the altar facing each other.
Past Commander: My Brother, before proceeding further it will be necessary for you, to take an obligation, which, I assure you, will not interfere with your civil or religious liberties, With this assurance are you willing to proceed.
Past Commander: Then kneel at the altar, your hands upon the open Bible and crossed swords.
Commander: Attention, Knights! Draw, swords. Order, swords! Parade, rest!
Past Commander: Say I, pronounce your name, and say after me: I, …, in the presence of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe and those here assembled, do solemnly and unreservedly promise that I will never reveal any of the secrets communicated to me during my initiation into this Commandery; that I will observe the laws, rules and regulations governing Commanderies of the Uniform Rank as now existing, and as from time to time changed by lawful authority that I will yield cheerful obedience to all the lawful commands of those placed in authority over me. I do further pledge myself to renewed exertions in advancing the interest and extending the influence of the Knights of Honor of the World, and to so live as to exemplify by my conduct the lessons taught by our noble Order.
Commander: Attention, Knights! Carry, swords! Return, Swords!
Past Commander: Arise, my brother.
Commander: Aids, our brother now being bound to us by his solemn promise to keep forever secret the mysteries of our Order, he is entitled to further advancement. But first conduct him to the ante-room and there let him wait the signal call. Knights, be seated.
The Aids, with candidate, having retired the pedestals and altar are moved to one side, and the transparency with the letters O. F. F., is placed directly in front of the Commanders station. The lamp in the transparency is lighted, but the front of the transparency is covered. All other lights in the room are extinguished. The signal bar is struck slowly six times. At the sixth stroke the Guard opens the door, and the Aids conduct the candidate, by the light shining through the open door, to a position midway between the First Vice-Commander and the center of the hall. The door is then closed, and all is dark and silent for a minute; then the S.A. raps four times on the floor with the hilt of the sword, and says:
Senior Aid: Let there be light.
The covering of the transparency is removed.
Commander: My Brother, in representing yourself to assume the duties of the Uniformed Rank of the Knights of Honor of the World, we do not require of you any feat of arms or sacrifice such as are exacted of the soldier. Our mission, while not surrounded and accompanied by the glitter and pomp of an army about to engage in battle, is nevertheless as noble and self-sacrificing. We are united for the purpose of ameliorating the condition of humanity, and to bring relief and succor to the distressed and helpless.
Being already a Knight of Honor of the World, you have become familiar with the great work which has been accomplished by the united efforts of our brotherhood. In assuming the additional duties of our rank, you are but placed in a position to more effectually carry on these good deeds.
My brother, you see before you our monogram, the initial letters of the three great principles we would indelibly press upon your memory: Obedience, Fealty, Fraternity.
Second Vice-Commander: In the Commandery we teach and require Obedience and Fealty, as a means of a more perfect Fraternity. It is made my duty to impress upon you the importance of Obedience. Each of us, as members of this Commandery having a full voice in shaping the rules which govern our conduct, demand a loyal compliance after we have adopted them for our guidance. We demand that you obey our laws, respect our rules, and ever yield prompt Obedience.
First Vice-Commander: It is my duty to instruct you in another great principle of our Order, Fealty. As fealty to the flag under which he serves is an indispensable quality in the soldier, so it is your duty to be loyal to the principles of our beloved Order. By deeds of charity and devotion to the cause of humanity, and by observing with fidelity the great lessons taught by our Order you will achieve that pure fraternity which will fit you for all companionship in the Rank. He who is true to every trust will find full competition in the knowledge of having lived a life of usefulness, and in the blessed memory which will remain when he is gone.
Commander: As Commander I am required to impress upon you the importance of Fraternity.
Our Order, the Knights of Honor of the World, is a purely fraternal organization, depending for its success and permanency on those principles of which brotherly love is the cornerstone. The Uniformed Rank, of which the Commandery is the medium, was brought into existence as an ally to encourage sociability, the hand-maiden of Fraternity.
Obedience, as you have been told, is the first duty of a member of our Association. Our second duty is Fealty to our principles and to the Order. The Supreme Lodge has intrusted to us a sacred duty, and we should therefore so regulate our conduct as to be able to discharge it with fidelity. Our flashing swords represent principles of tine manhood and fraternity. As Knights of Honor of the World, it is made our duty to guard the interest of a brother and protect his loved ones after he himself is removed from earth. As members of the Commandery we should be still more zealous in discharging this duty. Retire awhile, my brother, but at the signal call return.
Candidate having been conducted to the ante-room, the gas is lighted. If the room is lighted with electricity it is unnecessary to send the candidate to the ante-room.
Commander: Attention. Knight! Form, ranks! Right and left, dress! Draw, swords!
Sir Knights form in front of the Commanders station in two parallel lines, facing in, and not over six feet apart.
If candidate has retired the signal is given (six raps on bar) and candidate is conducted to foot of column.
Commander: I will now instruct you in the secret work in this degree. Desiring to visit a Commandery, give an alarm at the outer door. It will be opened by the Sentry, to whom you have given the usual countersign, which is: …. This will admit you to the ante-room. To gain admittance to the Commandery room you must be in fatigue dress, which consists of the regulation cap and sword also, attached to your left breast the insignia of the rank. Approach the inner door and give four raps, thus * * * *. The Guard will open the door or wicket, and to him give your name, if visiting your own Commandery, if visiting another, add the name, number and location of your Commandery. The Guard will announce your presence and again open the door, when you will give him the general countersign, which is the permanent word of the Commandery, and is …. This will admit you, and advancing at right angles to the altar, past the station of the First Vice-Commander saluting the Commander in this manner: …. He will recognize you thus …. You will then be seated. Desiring to make or second a motion, or otherwise address the Commander, rise, and salute with the same sign, Should you wish to retire before the Commandery is closed, after obtaining permission from the Commander, advance to the altar at right angles and salute the Commander as on entering. The monogram of the Rank is composed of the letters O. F. F., and their explanation is only intended to be known by the members of the Rank. We also have a grip, which the First Vice-Commander will now give you.
First Vice gives grip and instructs candidate regarding it.
Commander: Attention, Sir Knights ! Present, swords! My brother, you will now advance and inscribe your name upon our records.
S.A. conducts candidate between the line to Commander’s station and thence to the Secretary’s desk where he inscribes his name.
Commander: Carry, sword!
The candidate is then conducted outside of the line to the foot of the column and stands facing the Commander. While this is being done the Junior Aid lays a cushion on the floor in front of the Commander’s station.
Commander: Attention. Sir Knights! Form, arch!
Arch is formed by crossing swords at sufficient height to admit passage of candidate beneath.
Commander: And now, my brother, it simply remains for me to confer upon you the Order of Knighthood, and thereby receive you into full companionship as a Sir Knight of this Commandery. Advance underneath this arch and kneel before me.
As the candidate starts to advance the Knights should quickly bring their swords from a cross above to a cross below and thereby completely barring the candidate’s passage.
Senior Aid: Commander, the passage is barred.
Commander: Sir Knights what means this?
Knights: We were not so Knighted.
Second Vice Commander: Commander, it was only after we had labored long in the interests of our beloved Order that we were Knighted. Is it right or just that this brother, admitted here only this very night, and in whose hand no sword has yet been placed, should be so honored?
First Vice Commander: Has this brother ever struck a blow for humanity? Has he yielded prompt obedience to our laws, and by his efforts shown himself loyal to the Knights of Honor of the World with unswerving fealty to our flag? Until he has proven himself worthy shall he be allowed to advance?
Commander: Sir Knights, you are right. Return your swords to their scabbard. My brother, strive, by patient, untiring effort to prove your loyalty to our Order. Wherever you may be, help to uplift the downtrodden and oppressed. Fight manfully in the cause of humanity. Be a good man and true: true to yourself and true to the Knights of Honor of the World. Prove yourself worthy, by act of charity and love, to belong to this great Fraternity. Then, my brother, you will be royally knighted a ‘Sir’ Knight. Sir Knights, speak encouragement and cheer to our brother, and stretch forth your hand to aid and help him on his way.
Knights are given freedom of room to speak to candidate.
Commander: I am now about to close this Commandery. Guard, inform the Sentry.
Guard opens door, informs Sentry and returns, salutes and says:
Guard: Commander, the Sentry has been notified.
Commander: Aids, collect the property of the Commandery.
The Aids will collect the rituals and insignia and place them on the station of the Commander.
Commander: Aids, form the ranks.
The ranks are formed about the altar in the same manner as at the opening, the officers occupying the same positions: following instructions down to and including the command:
Commander: Past Commammder, lead in prayer.
Past Commander repeats the Lord’s prayer.
Commander: Be covered!
Commander resumes his station and says:
Commander: Knights our work for the evening is finished. In mingling with the outer world, do not forget to exemplify by your lives the lessons taught in the Commandery. We will meet again on the day of … at … o’clock. Be punctual in your attendance. I now declare this Commandery closed. Break ranks, march!