Illustrious Potentate, gives one knock, not
repeated: Sir Knights, assist me to open this Council of Knights
Ill. Pot.: Sir Knight Guarder, what is your duty?
Guarder: To see that the Council Chamber is guarded, and the Sentinel is at his post.
Ill. Pot.: Sir Knight Guarder, perform that duty.
Guarder, opens door, sees that Sentinel is at his post, closes door: Illustrious Potentate, the Council Chamber is duly guarded.
Ill. Pot.: Sir Knight Anthemius, Chief of the Artisans, do you vouch that all present are Knights of Constantinople?
C. of A.: Illustrious Potentate, they are.
Ill. Pot.: Let us pray.
May the ever-blessed Sovereign of the Universe endow the members of this Council with every knightly virtue, so that they may faithfully discharge their duties as worthy citizens and true Knights of Constantinople.
Ill. Pot.: Sir Knights, in the name of Constantine our Royal Founder, I declare this Council of Knights of Constantinople duly open.
Gives one knock, repeated by Chief of the Builders, Chief of the Artisans, Guarder and Sentinel.
Past Illustrious Potentate opens Volume of Sacred Law at Psalm 15.
Ceremony of Admission
Ill. Pot.: Sir Knight Conductor,
you will retire and introduce the Candidate.
Conductor retires. DC instructs Brethren to simulate sounds of work of artisans, labourers, etc., as appropriate, when Conductor and Candidate are moving about in the Council, but to cease all noise when they halt and speak, all on direction from Director of Ceremonies.
Director of Ceremonies also nominates a suitable number of Knights each armed with a sword, to be prepared, on his direction, to form a crescent round the Candidate immediately prior to the Obligation.
Guarder then unlocks the door. Conductor takes Candidate friendly by the right arm, opens door without ceremony; sounds of work begin; Conductor leads Candidate directly to East, and both bow low to Illustrious Potentate; noises cease; Guarder closes door.
Conductor: Your Majesty’s most humble servants. We have long observed that it has pleased Your Majesty to show favour to the common people, while we, the nobility, have been neglected. We desire to know the reason for this; if for crimes, then may we be punished and make amends, so that we may again receive Your Majesty’s favour.
Ill. Pot.: None Candidate expect to receive my favour but the Knights of Constantinople.
Conductor: Ah! I see. The Knights of Constantinople. Conductor and Candidate turn and walk slowly away, obviously reflecting; sounds of work are resumed; they pause in the West; noises cease.
Conductor, contemptuously: These are the common people, they are beneath our notice, it would be degrading for us, the nobility, to speak to them.
Our Sovereign says that none Candidate receive his favour but the Knights of Constantinople. Let us return and request him to confer that Degree on us.
Sounds of work are resumed. Conductor and Candidate return to Illustrious Potentate in East, and both bow; noises cease.
Conductor, somewhat arrogantly: Will Your Majesty confer the Degree of Knight of Constantinople upon us, your humble servants?
Ill. Pot., with emphasis: I confer it on no man.
Conductor: From whom then Candidate we expect to receive it?
Ill. Pot.: From those labouring people whom you have just observed to be your inferiors, the Knights of Constantinople.
Conductor: Ah! from the Knights of Constantinople.
Conductor and Candidate turn and proceed to West; no sounds of work; they halt and face East.
Conductor, addressing the Brethren generally: Are you the Knights of Constantinople?
All: We are the Knights of Constantinople.
Conductor: Will you confer that Degree on us?
All: O yes, o yes, o yes; provided that you are willing to enter into our Obligation.
Conductor: We are. Conductor and Candidate return to Illustrious Potentate in East; no sounds of work; both bow low.
Conductor, very humbly: Illustrious Potentate, the Knights of Constantinople here present are willing to receive us into this Degree, provided that we enter into the Obligation, which we are prepared to do.
Ill. Pot.: Then you will stand erect, and place your right hand on the Volume of Sacred Law.
Ill. Pot. pauses; Candidate complies. Ill. Pot. gives one knock; all rise. DC quietly marshals the nominated Knights into a crescent close behind the Candidate.
Ill. Pot.: State your names at length, and repeat after me: I, ... in the presence of these Knights of Constantinople, do solemnly and sincerely swear, in addition to my former Obligations, that I will not confer this Degree upon any person, unless he be a regularly admitted Brother of St. Lawrence.
I also promise that I will not communicate the secrets of this Degree to any person, unless he shall acknowledge that all men are equal in the sight of God.
So help me the Great Disposer of All and keep me steadfast in this my oath and Obligation of a Knight of Constantinople.
Ill. Pot.: As a pledge of your fidelity you will seal this Obligation once on the Volume of Sacred Law.
Candidate does so. Illustrious Potentate or Conductor removes Candidate’s right hand from the Volume of Sacred Law.
As soon as Candidate has sealed Obligation, Knights forming crescent point their swords at Candidate’s body; Conductor turns Candidate to face West.
Director of Ceremonies and Knights, all together: Are all men equal in the sight of God?
Candidate answers. Conductor turns Candidate back to face East.
Director of Ceremonies: Sir Knights be seated.
Knights forming crescent resume their seats.
Ill. Pot.: Now that you have taken the solemn Obligation of a Knight of Constantinople, and have also publicly admitted that all men are equal an the sight of God, I am permitted to entrust you with the Sign, Token and Words of the Degree.
The Sign of this Degree is given by clenching the right hand with the thumb erect, then striking the left breast with the right thumb. This alludes to the Ancient Penalty, formerly used in this Degree, of being thrust through with a dagger, if ever a Brother should violate his Oath and Obligation of a Knight of Constantinople.
This Sign is given on entering or leaving the Council, or when addressing the Illustrious Potentate.
The Grip or Token is given by interlacing the fingers of the right hand.
The Words are Constantine and Helena, our Royal Founder and his Mother.
I must inform you that, although I am the Chief of this Illustrious Order of Knighthood, I have bound myself by a solemn engagement never to confer it on anyone I will, therefore, request you to proceed to the West, where I have no doubt that Sir Knight Eusebius, the Chief of the Builders, will admit you to the honour of knighthood and invest you with the Jewel.
Director of Ceremonies places kneeling stool in middle of Council Chamber. Conductor leads Candidate to kneeling stool, and instructs him to kneel on both knees, facing West. Chief of the Builders leaves his pedestal and advances to West of Candidate. Director of Ceremonies proffers sword to him.
Director of Ceremonies: Sir Knights, to order.
Chief of the Builders: By virtue of the power and authority vested in me by our Illustrious Potentate, I make, create and constitute you, now and for ever, a Knight of Constantinople.
Chief of the Builders lays sword first on Candidate’s left shoulder, then on his right shoulder, and then on his head, as he pronounces the following words: Be loyal; brave; and humble.
Chief of the Builders hands sword back to Director of the Ceremonies; he raises Candidate by right hand with the words: Arise, Sir Knight
Director of Ceremonies: Sir Knights, be seated.
Director of Ceremonies removes kneeling stool.
Chief of the Builders: I now invest you with the Jewel of this Degree. It consists of a cross surmounted by a crescent, suspended from a green ribbon, on which are placed three poignards.
Chief of the Builders returns to his pedestal and sits; Conductor turns Candidate to face East; Director of Ceremonies returns to his seat.
Ill. Pot.: According to tradition,
this Degree was founded by the Emperor Constantine the Great, in order
to remedy certain evils which threatened his sovereignty. The pride and
arrogance of the nobility, and their power, had greatly increased under
the weak rule of several of his predecessors; he foresaw that his throne
would be endangered unless he could bring them into a state of submission.
In order therefore to curb the nobility and bring them to a proper level with his more humble subjects, he instituted an order of knighthood, which he conferred upon sonic of his common people, the artisans and labourers. The Emperor then bound himself by a solemn engagement that he personally would never again confer this knighthood upon any man whosoever desired to obtain it must have it awarded by those common people who had already been created Knights of the Order. He also agreed that he would not shew his favour to any but the Knights of Constantinople. And he gave them orders to put to instant death any person who received the Degree and would not acknowledge that all men were equal in the sight of God.
The nobles quickly perceived that they had lost the confidence of their Sovereign. A deputation was informed that his favour would only be shown to the Knights of Constantinople.
The realisation that they could not survive without the favour and friendship of their Emperor caused the honour to be eagerly sought. Many of the nobility, having complied with the requirements of the Degree, received this Order of Knighthood from the duly constituted authorities. Thus Constantine succeeded both in humbling his haughty subjects and in preserving the authority of his throne.
This Degree inculcates the virtue of humility. It teaches us to hate, arrogance and pride, to remember that those who occupy a lower station of life may have more intrinsic merit than ourselves, and above all never to forget that he that exalteth himself shall be abased, but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Conductor leads Candidate directly to Illustrious Potentate.
Ill. Pot.: Sir Knight …, on behalf of your Brother Knights I welcome you. You are now entitled to take your seat in this Council of Knights of Constantinople.
Conductor leads Candidate to a suitable seat, and then resumes his own.
Ill. Pot., gives one knock, not repeated:
Sir Knights, assist me to close this Council of Knights of Constantinople.
Ill. Pot.: Sir Knight Guarder, is the Council Chamber duly guarded?
Guarder, gives one knock on door, answered by Sentinel: Illustrious Potentate, the Council Chamber is duly guarded within and without.
Ill. Pot.: Sir Knight Eusebius, Chief of the Builders, have the Knights completed their labours?
Chief of the Builders: Illustrious Potentate, they have, and they await your commands.
Ill. Pot.: Let us pray.
May the ever-blessed Sovereign of the Universe take the members of this Council into His holy keeping throughout the watches of the night and the labours of the day, so that they may be prepared for the coming of that night when no man can work.
Ill. Pot.: Sir Knight Eusebius, our labours being at an end, you have my command to close this Council of Knights of Constantinople.
Ill. Pot. gives one knock.
Chief of the Builders: In the name of Constantine, our Royal Founder, and by command of the Illustrious Potentate, I close this Council of Knights of Constantinople.
Chief of the Builder gives one knock.
Chief of the Artisans: And it is closed accordingly.
Chief of the Artisans gives one knock, repeated by Guarder amid Sentinel.
Past Illustrious Potentate, closes Volume of Sacred Law: Nothing now remains save to treasure up our secrets in a safe repository.
Ill. Pot.: Sir Knights, depart in peace.