Knights of the Royal Arch
The Valiant Commander will give three raps with
beetle and call the Knight to order and say to Grand Master of Ceremonies: Grand Master of Ceremonies, the
hour has arrived and you will give notice to all present that I am about to
open the lodge of the Grand Knights Elect.
GRAND MASTER OF CEREMONIES: Knights Elect, I am commanded to inform you that the Valiant Commander is
about to open this lodge of Grand Knights Elect, and that we must now attend
to the duties of the hour. The officers will clothe themselves and proceed to
their respective stations, and the Knights will prepare for labor.
As soon as this is done the G.M.C. says to the
V.C.: Valiant Commander, your request has been made and we are ready for labor.
V.C.: Grand Master
of Ceremonies, you will see that our sanctuaries are well guarded and that all
present are qualified Knights.
G.M.C. will exact password from all present, and
when done will say: Valiant Commander, we are well guarded, and I find that all present are qualified Knights.
V.C. will now give two raps and say: Attention Sir Knights, arise.
First give me the sign of salutation.
Now give me its answer.
Now, the sign of warning.
Words of distress in the dark.
What is its answer?
The Valiant Commander will now ask the
questions, to be answered by the entire lodge, how to test a Sir Knight Elect
with questions and answers. After that has been done the Valiant Commander
will say to the lodge: Now face each other by twos and
demonstrate the grip, and how Sir Knight Elect password is given.
This being done, they all remain standing until
the Valiant Commander finishes the following lecture, and until the Valiant
Commander declares the lodge open, at the same time lectures the Knights who
have not learned secret work well, their duty, etc.
V.C.: Sir Knights, we assemble here to-night to
demonstrate the excellencies of our chosen fraternity. To once more refresh
our memory in our obligation, the duty we owe to one another. May we avoid
every evil by remaining steadfast in our duty and that no part of our conduct
may in the least reflect discredit upon our illustrious order. By our
harmonious actions school ourselves to control our passions by which means we
are united to Virtue. May God protect us in our duty that we may concentrate
our thoughts upon the business of the hour. We will now sing our opening Ode.
All remain standing until L.C. finishes lecture.
As we are this night called from the busy scenes of life may the lessons of
this occasion have an impression upon our hearts and awaken a fresh
determination to be ever faithful to our craft, devoted to our loved ones and
ever ready to defend each other against adversity and misfortune.
The Valiant Commander gives one rap, followed by
Grand Treasurer one rap, followed by Lieutenant Commander one rap, and then
all are seated.
V.C. will say to the G.M.C.: Grand Master of Ceremonies, are we well tyled in perfect security?
Altogether will say: Yes, hang him!
G.M.C.: We are well tyled, Valiant Commander, and in safe
V.C.: Grand Master of Ceremonies, since it is so,
I declare this lodge of Grand Knights Elect open and ready for
Initiation of Pilgrim
V.C.: Grand Master of Ceremonies, you will retire to the
anteroom, duly obligate the pilgrim, and prepare hint for the ceremonies of
In ante-room G.M.C. will read the following to
pilgrim: The ceremonies in which you are about to engage
are calculated to deeply impress your mind, and I hope it will have a lasting
effect upon your future character. You are about to associate yourself with
friends who will insure to you their friendship and protection. They will
expect you to imitate their example so that you will merit the approbation of
every member of this fraternity. If you have sought to enter our sanctuaries
with any improper motives, it would be better that you now retire. Consult
your heart, and if you wish to proceed, pronounce your name and repeat after
I, …, do solemnly promise and vow on my word of honor that I will never reveal
the secrets or mysteries of this order to anyone, except it be to one whom I
know to he a Sir Knight Elect in good standing and legally entitled to receive
same. That I will not attach any blame to them for the acts or expressions
during the ceremonies of initiation in which I am about to engage. I will wait
with patience without until called on by a proper officer to he legally
installed into this fraternity.
After the G.M.C. gives pilgrim above obligation
he will leave candidate and go into the
lodge room and see that everything is prepared to receive pilgrim, then
comes out and puts chain around pilgrim’s shoulders and arms, and advances
with pilgrim to the door, first gives two soft raps, after a little while
three or four very loud raps, and after waiting a few moments, gets impatient,
and gives the door three or four very loud saps with his foot, and continues
to do so until the C.G. opens the door.
C.G., after waiting a while, opens door very
little, when he asks the first question. As soon as that is done he opens the
door wide and allows pilgrim and G.M.C. to step inside. They stand there until
ordered by V.C. to retire and be presented in due form.
C. of G.: Who is this that dares to disturb the sacred
sanctuaries of the Grand Knights Elect?
G.M.C.: Sir Knight, I have a poor, weary pilgrim who
wishes to he examined, and if found worthy, to be admitted into the mysteries
of your illustrious order.
G.M.C. now comes inside of door with pilgrim,
then Greek lights, or red lights, are lighted and kept burning until told by V.C.
to retire with pilgrim to be presented in due form.
C. of G.: Are you aware that you are making a very great
request, that your weary pilgrim may never return, and that he who enters here
must leave all hope behind?
G.M.C.: He has resolved to undergo the trials and
tribulations with firmness, even though his life may be forfeited by so doing.
C. of G.:
Since his motives are such, you will wait with patience until his sad request
is made known to our Valiant Commander.
C. of G. leaves candidate and advances to altar
in front of V.C. and says to Valiant Commander:
Valiant Commander, a weary pilgrim who has traveled for many weary miles,
wishes to present himself before you, if found worthy, brave, and obedient, to
be admitted into your illustrious order.
V.C.: What proof can you give me of his sincerity?
C. of G.: He is ready to swear by the living God to pay due
obedience at all times and to never breathe or reveal the mysteries or secrets
of the Sir Knights Elect?
V.C.: Fortune decides in his favor. Let him retire and
be presented in due form.
Pilgrim is then taken to anteroom
and told that when he sees the boys all standing around in a circle for
him to sneak in and stand up with them. G.M.C. gives pilgrim a password, not right, with false face on so no one
will know him, then when G.M.C. gets around taking up the password, of course
pilgrim will not have the right word.
All the lights should be now turned down very low.
G.M.C., when he finds pilgrim,
will say in a very loud voice to the Valiant Commander: There is an enemy in the camp.
As soon as G.M.C. says “there is an enemy in camp,” three or four of
the members immediately throw bag over pilgrims head, draw ropes tight at each
end, the whole company then swing him, and make him believe they are going to
throw him out of the window, or hang him, etc. Care must be taken not to hurt
him in any way.
One will say: You wolf in sheep’s clothing!
Another will say: Thief and imposter.
Another: Unfit to live among gentlemen!
Another: Kill him! Let us string him up!
After that a short time, the Valiant Commander,
in a very loud voice, demands that the
pilgrim be brought before him, which will be done by several members in a very
rough manner. Then the valiant Commander will reprimand him in this
manner: My dear brother, men
have fallen by the wayside before. You have this night broken your first
obligation and caused a great commotion in the sacred sanctuaries of the Sir
Knights Elect. Your indiscretion this night has caused many a brother, who would
have been an ornament and support to our
lodge, to fall. Lear in mind, brother, that the slightest indiscretion will
infallibly undermine us and our illustrious order be buried in that horrible
abyss from which no traveler e’er returns. If you still persist in your
demands to see the true light in
all its purity, you will be
permitted to proceed, but do not
defile our sanctuary by a spirit of idle curiosity. You
will be required to make a solemn and binding obligation to keep inviolate
anything that you may this night hear,
see, or receive. You know the fate of the first man, Adam, by his perverseness
in disobeying his Great and Awful Creator. You are to endeavor by every just
means to regain our nights and to remember that we are joined together by a society of men whose
courage merits good conduct. Avoid every evil by keeping your obligation, and
wait that happy moment when we all shall be united under our Valiant Commander
in the mansions of eternal bliss. If you wish to proceed, the Grand Master of Ceremonies will conduct you to the
altar in due form.
The pilgrim is now blindfolded,
and form march as follows: The G.M.C. walks on the right of pilgrim and
the Captain of the Guards on his left. They march the pilgrim several times around the room, walking him over
several obstacles, assisted by the
other members of the lodge,
after which the pilgrim is halted before the altar by the Valiant
Commander, hitting him very hard on the shoulders with both hands, exclaiming in
a loud and abrupt manner, Halt!
Valiant Commander will say the following to pilgrim: You are about to take a solemn and binding obligation which will not in
any way interfere with the duty you owe to your country, your religion or your
Maker. If you are willing to proceed, you will pronounce your name and say after
me, otherwise you are at liberty to withdraw.
As soon as pilgrim announces his
name, some brother will say to V.C.: Valiant
Commander, I will not consent to have this degree conferred on the pilgrim
V C. will, in a surprised manner, say: Why?
Brother: He is an habitual drunkard, also I know that he
consorts with women of a bad
character, and a brother tells me that he has slandered the good name of one of
our prominent Knights.
The Valiant Commander will, of course, take
pilgrim’s part and do all he can for him , also the
Grand Master of Ceremonies will assist the Valiant Commander in so doing; but at
last he will be tried and condemned, found guilty, and fined by setting up the
drinks and cigars, or for each Knight present to give him a bump. Pilgrim is to
be placed on hands and knees and bump is to he given, or, if he will give $2
into general banquet fund, bump will not be given. If the members do not think
best to make any complaint or accusation against his character, then some member
will say: “I don’t think it is fair treatment towards the members of this lodge to allow this man to be
initiated until he receives the same penalty you gave us.” Then the members
will all join in together and insist that the pilgrim shall receive the penalty,
which consists of him having to pass through the needle’s eye and his stern
attended to in a proper manner.
After he has passed through the needle’s eye
they then take blindfold off of pilgrim and all form and march In the following
manner to altar before V.C., where pilgrim now takes final obligation, the C.G.
taking the lead, then the G.M.C. follows with the pilgrim on his left, all the
members of the lodge forming in twos behind them. They all march around the hall
twice, going to the right, on coming in front of the V.C.’s station the third
time, the C.G., with the G.M.C. and pilgrim, continue around the hall to the
L.C. station, but the members of the
lodge column right at V.C. station and march down the center of the hall to the
L.C. station until all have passed in turn, after which they halt and face
each other and form an open column, the opposite members forming arch by
clasping hands when the C.G., G.M.C., and
pilgrim reach the L.C. station, the C.G.
marches directly under the arch formed by the members, followed by the
G.M.C. and pilgrim to the altar. As the G.M.C. and pilgrim pass under an arch
the members forming the arch fall in directly after them. When the C.G. and G.M.C. and pilgrim reach the
altar they halt, the members dividing,
the right column proceeding to the right of the altar and the left column going
to the left and forming a semicircle around the pilgrim and altar The C.G. and
the G.M.C. form an arch by crossing swords ever the pilgrim’s head.
All the members take hold of the chain, the pilgrim holding each end of the
chain. The pilgrim is now in position to take the obligation, after washing his
hands in a bowl of water, which will be prepared and sitting on the altar. The
V.C. now says as follows: Before
taking your obligation you are required to wash your hands in this pure water,
in token of the purity of your intentions. Let it represent to you that you have
resolved with clean hands and pure heart to consecrate yourself to the service
of the Sir Knights Elect.
Now pilgrim takes hold of Each end of the chain
while taking the obligation.
Grand Knight’s Elect Obligation
I, …, of my own free will and accord, in the
presence of these Knights present and Almighty God, do hereby and hereon most
sincerely promise and vow upon my sacred word of honor, that I will not reveal
the secrets of this order to anyone in the known world except it
he to one whom I know to be a Sir Knight Elect in good standing, and
legally authorized to receive same. I further promise and vow that I will not
wrong a Brother Knight of this order out of the value of anything or suffer it
to be done by any other person if in my power to prevent it. I will not slander
the good name or speak evil of a Brother Knight or any member of his family or
suffer the same to be done. I will support the laws, rules, and regulations and
constitution of this order, and will pay all just demands made upon me for the
payment of its expenses. I will not strike a member of this order or draw one
drop of his blood in anger, and should I see him in difficulty, I will render
him every assistance in my power
to extricate him from same. I will assist a Brother Knight in preference to
other persons in my financial
dealings, also in sending him
custom when not detrimental to my own interests. I will never revile a Brother
Knight or suffer others to reflect upon his good manner in his absence, but
will, at all times, when he has justice on his side, defend him against his
enemies. I promise to visit the sick, especially when called on to do so by any
member of the sick committee, when in my power to act. I will assist in the
obsequies of the deceased Knights and render their widows and orphans such
assistance as my circumstances will permit. I will keep sacred a brother’s
secrets when such is required for his welfare, when same is delivered to me by
the sacred and true grip of a Sir Knight Elect. I will never debauch, or suffer
it to he done by others, any of his female relations, but will protect their
chastity and virtue when in my power to do so. I will hold myself bound to pay
all just debts due a Brother Knight in as equitable and prompt manner as
possible. I vow to observe the most sacred union of sentiment and brotherly love
in giving and finding a Sir Knight Elect employment in preference to others when
not detrimental to my business. I further promise and vow should I intentionally
violate this my most solemn and binding obligation, may I become devoid of all
decency, honor, and respect, and expelled from the order as unworthy of
recognition from members of the Knights of the Royal Arch, and be branded as a
perjurer, dishonored, and unfit to live among my fellow-men. In token of my
sincerity, I now seal the same by extending to you the right hand of fellowship.
then responds with pilgrim by a
firm and hearty shake of the hand.
The Valiant Commander will then
anoint him with oil by dipping point of sword in vessel of oil
and place same on forehead, and in a very
grave voice say: I anoint you with this oil on thy forehead as a token of remembrance of
your obligation, that you may live up to its precepts; that we may all meet
around the throne of our Great Commander in that eternal city where the Lord
redeemeth the soul with his presence as a shining monument of God’s glory.
will now say to Grand Master of Ceremonies, same time also addressing the
pilgrim: You will now divest the weary brother of those
chains, which are representatives of ancient times. When the Gauls went into
battle they chained themselves together so that if they were defeated they would
all die together. Thus let us bind ourselves together with chains of fidelity,
so that we may be unconquerable in this great battle of life. If you ever desert
a fellow Knight in trouble, may you be treated as the only survivor of that
glorious battle at thee pass of Thermopylae, when a body of fourteen hundred
Spartans withstood a party of a million and a half Persians, and this great army
had to resort to treachery to overcome them. When he, the only survivor,
returned home, he was treated as a coward, and scourged front the country in
disgrace for not dying with his fellow knights. May this lesson teach you to
stand firm and steadfast in all your actions that you may never be called a
coward or be found wanting.
V.C. now invests pilgrim with the secret work: To enter the lodge room at the outside door, you will give two raps, or
ring a bell, and give to the Grand Tyler the outer door password. In visiting
another lodge, give your name, number of lodge, and location of same. Then
advance to inner door and give three raps, which will be responded by two raps
from within by the Captain of the Guards, and to hull give your name, number of
lodge, and location, if visiting another lodge, and the semiannual password. He
will report same to the Valiant Commander, and if Recorder finds you are in good
standing, he will order you to be admitted. You will then proceed to the altar
in the center of the room, and salute the Valiant Commander with salutation
sign. When answered, you may be seated. Wishing to leave the lodge room you must
proceed in the same manner, by advancing to altar and salute the Valiant
Commander. When answered you can then retire. Wishing to change your location in
the hall, or speaking before the lodge, you will arise and salute the Valiant
Commander. He will answer in the same manner. You must then say before
addressing the lodge, “Valiant Commander”; then you can address the lodge or
make a motion.
I will now instruct you in the signs and tests of
First—Salutation sign and its answer.
Second—Sign of warning and its answer.
Third—Words of distress in the dark and its
Fourth—How to test a Sir Knight Elect.
Fifth—Grip and Password and how given.
V.C. will now say to the
G.M.C.: You will now conduct the pilgrim to the Lieutenant Commander for further
All form in line and march as before to the L.C.
L.C.: I congratulate you upon having been found worthy
to become a member of this honorable order. Let it impress upon your mind that
it is your duty to endeavor to have your conduct among us such as may be an
honor to yourself, that you may live respected and have the confidence of every
member of this fraternity. With us you will find friends who will administer to
your afflictions and distresses and insure to you their friendship and
protection. We hope it will be your constant care to prove yourself worthy of
the confidence reposed in you in admitting you into this fraternity. You must be
clothed with charity, humanity, and hospitality, so that you may help the weary
pilgrim, traveling from afar, and who may chance to sojourn in our midst; feed
the hungry, bind up the wounds of the afflicted and care for the sick. Should
envy traduce your good name and malice persecute you, yet may you have
confidence that among Sir Knights Elect you will find friends who will
administer to your comfort in time of trouble. The escort will now conduct von
to the Grand Treasurer for further instructions.
The pilgrim is now blindfolded and
brought before the Grand Treasurer.
G.M.C.: Worthy Grand Treasurer, in this hour of human
events I present before you a stranger with coin, who wishes to ascertain if there is any coin in the
treasury, any wherewith to pay gas bills, ball rent, and meet the electric
current expense of our illustrious order.
G.T.: WHAT? Who have you there?
G.M.C.: A stranger with coin.
G.T.: Has he any prayers to make, any word to leave to
family or friends should he succumb to the horrible perils that await him in
this howling wilderness? Answer quick. Harshly.
G.M.C.: I submit him into your tender care, Grand
G.T.: I command you to rob him; kill him if necessary;
go into the deepest recesses of his trousers and produce his coin, it shall be
ours; nevermore will he need it again.
Four or five now seize him and rob him of every
valuable he has, money, watch, etc.
G.T.: Away with him, hasten the stranger to the tortures
Stranger is immediately escorted in a rapid
movement around the hall, stumbling over boxes, chairs, etc , horns
blowing in his ears, and general confusion. After once or twice around the hall,
halts before Chief Orator.
C.O.: Stranger, it may be well to impress upon your mind
that life at best is not a bed of roses; that fragrant couch lies above the
clouds where angels tread. To achieve it, you must encounter tortuous paths;
many snares and pitfalls will beset you in your journey. If it is your heart’s
desire to reach the flowery throne in all its glory you will be required to
kneel on both knees and bow three times in humble submission to the edicts of
the Grand Knights Elect.
Directions: when he bows the second time give
him the spanker when he arises the Chief Orator will say: Refresh yourself with this
Then give him a cup to drink out of.
After that, recess for refreshments and
congratulations of the newly made Knight, then closing ceremonies.
V.C.: Has any of
the Knights present anything to offer for the good of the order? If not,
I shall give notice that this lodge of Sir Knights Elect is going to be closed
in due form.
V.C.: Lieutenant Commander do you know of any reason why
this lodge should not be closed in due form?
L.C.: I know of no reason, Valiant Commander.
V.C.: Captain of the Guard, please give notice to the
Grand Tyler that we are about to close this convention of the Sir Knights Elect.
C. of G.: Valiant Commander, your request has been made
V.C.: Sir Knights Elect, it is time to close our labors
of the hour. Let us now depart and may we sustain each other against the attacks
of our enemies and endeavor to inspire them with the desire of knowing the pure
source of all perfection. And may the Valiant Commander of the universe fill us
with joy and prosperity. Arise, we will now sing the closing ode.