Knight Commander of the Court of Honor
GRAND COMMANDER, *: Brethren: I am about to open a Court of Honour for the purpose of investing with the rank and dignity of Knight Commander, those Masters of the Royal Secret who have been elected by the Supreme Council to receive it. We will thank all the Brethren who are not active, Emeriti of Honorary members of the Supreme Council, or who have not already been invested with the rank and dignity of Knight Commander to withdraw.
Brethren, be pleased to assume your several stations and assist me in the Ceremonial.
G. COMMANDER: Bro. Grand Master of Ceremonies, satisfy yourself that all who are present are entitled to witness the Ceremonial of Investiture.
M.C. looks them over
GR. M. OF CEREMONIES: Sovereign Grand Commander, all present are entitled to witness the Ceremonial.
GRAND COMMANDER: Bro. G.M. of C., see that the entrances to the Court of Honour are duly guarded and inform the Tyler that I am about to open a Court of Honour and direct him to protect us from intrusion or interruption.
GR. M. OF CEREMONIES: Brother Grand Herald, see that the entrances to the Court of Honour are duly guarded and inform the Tyler that I am about to open a Court of Honour and direct him to protect us from intrusion or interruption.
GRAND HERALD, repeats order to Tyler, closes door and says: Bro. G. M. of Ceremonies, your orders have been executed.
GRAND MASTER OF CEREMONIES: Sovereign Grand Commander, the entrances to the Court of Honour are duly guarded.
GRAND COMMANDER: How, my Brother?
GR. M. OF CEREMONIES: By a Knight Oommander of the Court of Honour, armed with caution and courtesy, who will guard us against intrusion or interruption.
GRAND COMMANDER: Bro. G.M. of C., see that the symbols are properly arranged and displayed on the Altar.
GR. M. OF CEREMONIES: Bro. Grand Herald, arrange and display the symbols on the Altar.
Grand Herald arranges altar.
G. HERALD: Bro. G. M. of Cer., the symbols are properly arranged and displayed on the Altar.
GR. M. OF CEREMONIES: Sovereign Grand Commander, the symbols are properly arranged and displayed on the Altar.
GRAND COMMANDER: Bro. Grand M. of Cer., what are the symbols and how are they properly arranged and displayed on the Altar?
GR. M. OF CEREMONIES: The Holy Book of our Faith, the Great Light of Masonry, lies open on the Altar as a symbol of the revelation of God to Man through Men. On the Book rest the Square and Compasses, the peculiar symbols of Ancient Craft Masonry, teaching the evolution of the Divine in Man through the material and sensual.
Beside them are the Grand Constitutions of the Rite, Symbol of the Hierarchy and of our unswerving loyalty to the principles of the Order and its Government.
GRAND COMMANDER: Thank you, my Brother.
GRAND COMMANDER: Bro. Grand Chaplain, you will please invoke the Divine Blessing on this session of the Court of Honour.
Grand Chaplain goes to Altar.
GRAND CHAPLAIN: Our Father in Heaven, from Whom all good counsels do proceed. We ask Thee to east Thy bright beams of wisdom upon our deliberations, with our Brothers, exalted to the Rank Knight Commander Court of Honour. Defended by Thy gracious help through all the changes of our mortal life, may they and we ever live to the honor of our Fraternity, true to the kindred points of Heaven and Home. And at last, in Thy presence be permitted to partake together of the stream of everlasting love. For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, for ever and ever. AMEN.
After prayer, Grand Chaplain lights censer and retires to station.
GRAND COMMANDER: I now declare this Court of Honour open for the Ceremonial of Investiture.
Bro. G.M. of CER. inform the G. Tyler.
GR. M. OF CEREMONIES: Bro. Gr. Herald, inform the Grand Tyler that this Court of Honour is now open for the Ceremonial of Investiture.
G. HERALD: Bro. G. Tyler, you are informed that this Court of Honour is now open for the Ceremonial of Investiture.
GRAND HERALD: Bro. G. M. of Cer., we are secure against intrusion and interruption.
GR. M. OF CEREMONIES: Sov. Gr. Commander, we are secure against intrusion and interruption and the Altar Light is burning.
GRAND COMMANDER, * * *: In the name of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, we welcome you to this Court of Honour, where you will unite in the plaudits whereby we express our joy and gratitude at being again permitted to participate in the Ceremonial for which we have assembled. With me, my Brethren. *** *.
G. COMMANDER: Bro. G. M. of CER., please ascertain whether there are in waiting any Masters of the Royal Secret who have been nominated in and elected by the Supreme Council to receive the rank and dignity of Knight Commander of the Court of Honour, announcing their nrumes and place of residence.
GR. M. OF CEREMONIES salutes and retires, returning with list of Candidates.
GR. M. OF CEREMONIES: Sov. G. Com., there are without the following named Masters of the Royal Secret seeking to be inducted into rank and dignity of Knight Commander of the Court of Honour.
GR. M. OF CEREMONIES reads names.
GRAND COMMANDER: Bro. Sec'y Gen., have these Masters of the Royal Secret been duly nominated in and elected by the Supreme Council to receive the rank and dignity of Knights Commander of the Court of Honour?
SEC. GEN: Sov. Grand Commander, they have.
GRAND COMMANDER: Bro. G. M. of Cer., you will introduce the Brethren who are ready for the Investiture.
GR. M. OF CEREMONIES brings Candidates in, conducts them about the Altar once and places them in the West, facing the Gr. Commander, where they remain standing.
Music for the march, if possible.
GRAND COMMANDER: Brethren, the rank and dignity of Knight Commander of the Court of Honor was created by the Supreme Council on May 5, 1870, at the instance of the Grand Commander, Albert Pike. We must remind you that it is not a Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, nor a degree of any Rite in Masonry. It is a ceremonial of investiture which is intended to emphasize our pleasure in welcoming you among those who have already .been honored by selection as members of this unique organization; to recall to our memories some of the more striking tenets of the Order; to renew our pledges to its teachings and its government and to strengthen our hopes in the ultimate success of its mission.
The rank and dignity of Knight Commander of the Court of Honour cannot be conferred upon any Brethren except those who are members of Consistories chartered by and existing under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Council of the Thirty-third Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Bite of Freemasonry for the Southern Jurisdiction or· the United States of America. It was established to point and honor those Brethren who have deserved well of the Rite. It can never be applied for or bought and if solicited or applied for, must be refused.
The number of those who can be admitted to the Court of Honour at any session of the Supreme Council is limited in accordance with the rules laid down in its Statutes which expressly provide that more than twice as many Knights Commander of the Court of Honour may be elected than the number of Knights Commander who may be elected to receive the Thirtythird Degree, Honorary. The slightest reflection will convince anyone that under these circumstances the idea that if a Master of the Royal Secret is invested with the rank and dignity of a Knight Commander he is bound to receive the Thirty-third Degree, Honorary, is erroneous.
We desire, my Brethren, to impress upon you as strongly as possible that this Investiture constitutes neither a Degree nor a half-degree, neither a promise or a hint that you will hereafter receive the Thirty-third Degree, Honorary. It indicates that up until this time your conduct, zeal and fidelity have been such as to mark you as a faithful Scottish Rite Mason.
Whether this opinion will prevail, depends on a continuation or an increased exercise of these commendable qualities which have earned our approbation of your past efforts, and without that approbation, the election to the Thirty-third Degree, Honorary, is impossible.
It is true that no Brother can be elected an honorary member of the Supreme Council until after he has been nominated in and elected by the Supreme Council to receive this rank and dignity of Knight Commander of the Court of Honour, but the purpose and intention of the Governing Body of the Rite was to for.m a body of men from whom it could and would select its members. It provided that these men should be selected like the Ancient Charges of Freemasons required, for their merit and without any suggestion or solicitation by them and without any payment in money. The Council desired to prevent the cheapening of the Thirty-third Degree and limit the number of recipients to those Brethren who have worked for and served the Order, being content to await a time with patience for their merits to be recognized by their Brethren. If you do not in future years, receive the last Degree, remember that you have been signally honored in this Investiture by the Supreme Council and that it is a solemn duty to be true, loyal and devoted to the Rite and its Government.
G. COMMANDER: Bro. G. M. of C., form the Living Triangle of the Hierarchy.
After triangle is formed:
GR. M. OF CEREMONIES: Sov. Grand Com., the Living Triangle of the Hierarchy is formed.
GRAND COMMANDER: My Brethren, the form of Government of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is that of a Hierarchy, and in this Triangle we present to you its living symbol. Do not, my Brethren, imagine that we imitate the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy which has so long sought to dominate the, minds, the hearts and souls of men and to make all wills subservient to their power.
In the ancient books of our Masonic ancestors, the number of .the Angelic Hierarchy was nine. It had its earthly counterpart, likewise nine in number. From the Celestial Hierarchy emanated and flowed down into the mundane sphere all the good and perfect gifts which the Grand Architect bestows on his creatures, and the Divine current flows through the Celestial Hierarchy.
The Altar is the center by which we represent the Celestial Hierarchy and the nine members of the Supreme Council, as originally constituted, and as some Supreme Councils are still constituted, symbolize the Terrestial or Earthly Hierarchy which seeks to seize and hold the rays of Divine Truth emanating from its counterpart on the other side of Being and diffuse them among their fellow men, thus promoting their happiness and welfare.
The form of Government adopted by the men who founded the Scottish Rite is the most stable and permanent which has ever been established on earth. Even in its spurious forms, like that of the great Church which has endured for so many centuries, it has outlived all the governments of the world. In our Rite, the symbol of the Hierarchy teaches us that power descends from on high and does not rise up from the depths; that the Body which represents the Hierarchy should be the center of light and knowledge radiating its beneficent beams into the darkness surrounding it.
The splendid ideal of the Hierarchy is the basic truth of Scottish Rite Masonry. Its governing body is self perpetuating and deathless. It bestows power and rank at its will while it endeavors to make virtue and intellect and the service of our fellowmen the sole basis of its favors.
In the York, or American Rite of Masonry, when all the subordinate lodges die, the Grand Lodge which governs them dies, but in the Scottish Rite all its subordinate bodies may die and yet the power of the Supreme Council persists in unabated vigor and it may create new Lodges, Chapters, Councils and Consistories.
Freemasonry of all Rites is, however, a voluntary association of good men, and if any Brother of the Rite should object to the principles o:f' the Scottish Rite or to its form of government to which he swore allegiance, he should withdraw from it and leave those who believe in it to follow their own convictions of duty.
If you should hear any unfaithful or false Brother objecting to our form of Government, or any clandestine pretender using his demagogical arguments against the Hierarchial form of government, remember that ignorance is the mother of prejudice and that ours is the true voluntary government by a benevolent Hierarchy and not a false and spurious system of Ecclesiastical tyranny.
Are you willing to assume the vow of Knighthood?
GRAND COMMANDER: Under the sign of Fidelity, you will say I, pronounce your full name and repeat after me:
I, …, do most solemnly vow on my honor as a man and Mason that I will not reveal any part of the ceremonial of my Investiture with the rank and dignity of Knight Commander of the Court of Honour to any person in the world except it be to one to whom I am authorized to eommunicate it.
That I will be faithful to the teachings and principles of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry; that I will be loyal to its Government and its chiefs;
That I will endeavor to be a Freemason in truth and in deed as well as in name, by living the best life which is possible for me;
That I will not engage in, countenance or concur in any disloyalty to the Supreme Council, its officers or its members;
That I will aid to the best of my ability all its efforts to extend the influence of Scottish Rite Masonry and the activities of the Supreme Council in combatting superstition, ignorance and despotism;
That I will always be the advocate and true friend of liberty, equality and fraternity.
I invoke upon myself all the penalties contained in all my Masonic obligations, vows and promises if I should knowingly or willingly violate this vow of loyalty.
GRAND COMMANDER, LT. GRAND COMMANDER and GRAND PRIOR resume stations.
GRAND COMMANDER: Bro. G. M. of CER., dissolve the triangle.
GR. M. OF CEREMONIES: Brethren, you may resume your stations and places.
G. COM. seats Brethren with one rap.
GRAND COMMANDER: Brethren, you will now, in charge of our Bro. the Grand Master of Ceremonies, take four symbolic circuits about the Council Chamber. Let them remind you that by keeping your right hand toward the Altar and traveling from the West to the East by way of the North, you imitate the course of the sun which gives light to the world, by which you are reminded that it is your duty to disseminate Truth and follow the rules of life that the
God of Nature has ordained.
Class should now be seated and one candidate selected to make circuits.
Make one full circuit with Cand. and stop at station of Grand Prior.
Music for circuit, if possible.
GRAND PRIOR: I invest you with the jewel of a Knight Commander of the Court of Honour. It is a passion cross of gold, as described by the statutes of this Supreme Council. The gold laurel leaves symbolize the well deserved reward of your promotion, now your precious possession. The gold beads are a symbol of that prayerful devotion to the interests of our Brethren by which the circle of our friendship is strengthened, binding us more firmly together in our noble mission; the Cross, symbol of the higher life which we hope to deserve by good deeds, bears within it the three leaved green plant, symbol of that Trinity in Unity which shines throughout the Universe.
May the mystic meaning of this significant symbol and jewel enable you to understand plainly the wonderful bond which unites all God's creatures.
Another circuit, ending at station of the G. Chancellor.
GRAND CHANCELLOR: This red cap is a symbol of the red robe or kirtle which was donned by the Postulant in the ancient ceremony of Investiture. It was, in those days, the symbol of blood, his own blood, which the Knight declared he was ready to shed in behalf of the Church. But for the Knight Commander of the Court of Honour the blood red cap is a symbol of that nobility of soul which is the parent of all knightly virtues.
I place it on your head that you may wear it and be reminded of the zeal which you should now, greater than ever, display in the cause of the Scottish Rite, to demonstrate that you are not an ingrate who has forgotten the cause or the men who have honored it.
Another eircuit, ending at the station of the G. MINISTER OF STATE.
GRAND MINISTER OF STATE: I now invest you with the synthetic badge; so called because, like the points of the compass, the tenets of Masonry are contained within its bounds.
It is a rectangle of gold in the form of an oblong square. In it are imbedded three sparkling jewels in the form of a triangle with three equal sides, the apex pointing upward.
Badges were originally trophies of the battle field, the chase or the hunt. When men had, through difficulty and danger, performed some feat of daring or heroism, the trophy was a reminder of the conflict or the danger through which they had passed.
You are entitled to wear this badge as a fitting trophy of the days and nights of toil you have spent in the service of Masonry. Its form will remind you of the first steps in Masonry; the oblong square of the step of the Entered Apprentice; its body of gold, the metal of the Sun, itself a symbol of intellectual light and knowledge, as its genial warmth is of loving kindness and sympathy, may suggest to you that you continue in the duties of spreading the blessings of education and abound in charitable deeds; while its triangle of reflected light will impress you and each of us that the highest teachings of Freemasonry are symbolized by the triangle of Truth, Justice and Mercy.
Another circuit, stop in front of Grand Commander.
GRAND COMMANDER: My Brother, the final act of your Investiture as a Knight Commander of the Court of Honour is to bind the belt of Knighthood about your body. It may well remind you of the scene in the Lodge of Apprentices when you were invested with the lambskin, the emblem of innocence and the badge of a Mason, or of the Zennar or Sacred Thread, or the Aprons of our ancient Brethren of Egypt. Here we derive it by adopting from that custom of creating Knights in which it has been employed from primeval times. History tells us that sometimes both the Belt and Sword were given the Postulant and at other times the Belt alone. It was to teach the Knight that he must be ever ready to do battle for the cause in which he was engaged.
Masonic Knights are men of Peace, and I now gird about your waist this belt without sword, to complete your Investiture with the rank and dignity of a Knight Commander of the Court of Honour.
The enemies of these Knights are those of the Grand Master of the Templars ― Greed, Cowardice and Fanaticism, as well as those of the Master Khurom: ― Ignorance, Superstition and Tyranny, and our weapons against them are an enlightened reason, a clean heart and a strong will, symbolized by the Badges you now wear.
Kneel, my Brother, on both knees, and receive the accolade in the ancient manner.
Strikes CAND. with flat of hand on neck or shoulder and says: I dub and create thee a Knight Commander of the Court of Honour, and may our Father who is in Heaven make thee a good Knight in the service of our fellow men. AMEN.
Takes CAND. by hand and says: Arise, my Brother.
Each CAND should be Knighted by the same process.
G. COMMANDER: Venerable Brother Lieut. Commander, are you a Secret Master?
LT. COM: I have learned Secrecy, Obedience and Fidelity.
G. COMMANDER: What Secrecy?
LT. COM: The Secrecy which keeps sacred things from the vulgar and vicious.
G. COMMANDER: What obedience?
LT. COM: That which binds me to the demands of Honor and Duty.
G. COMMANDER: What Fidelity?
LT. COM: That which requires loyalty to the Supreme Council, to the Rite and to those principles and ideals on which its teachings are based.
G. COMMANDER: Are you a Perfect Master?
LT. COM: I have promised to be ever faithful and zealous in the service or Masonry, the Master and my Brother, and I know that it is only by such service that I gained admission among the Knights Commander of the Court of Honour.
G. COMMANDER: Are you an Elu of the Nine?
LT. COM: I have sworn to aid in instructing and enlightening the people to war against intolerance, oppression and persecution and against ignorance and fanaticism.
G. COMMANDER: Are you a Perfect Elu?
LT. COM: I have devoted myself to virtue and the cause of Humanity and have become the firm Ally of the Wise and the Good, of which this ring I wear is the token.
G. COMMANDER: Are you a Knight Rose Croix?
LT. COM: I have seen the Constellations, have heard the lessons of Faith, Hope and Charity and I await the dawn of the Age when the True Light shall dispel the darkness of Ignorance and the New Law begin to rule on Earth.
G. COMMANDER: Are you a Knight Kadosh?
LT. COM: I have sacrificed on the Altar of Masonry and the Kadosh, have offered up incense at the Shrine of Infinite Wisdom, have undergone the trial of the Frank Judges as to my opinion and have taken a solemn obligation to help every true brother even at the peril of my life, if he is persecuted for his religion, for his devotion to the Holy Cause of Freedom, for his political opinions, or as a member of the more advanced Masonic bodies.
G. COMMANDER: Are you an Inspector Inquisitor?
LT. COM: I have passed through the judgment ceremony of the Court of the Dead, have listened to the voices and the teachings of the Sages of olden times and have pledged myself the behests of Justice, Equity and Truth.
G. COMMANDER: Are you a Master of the Royal Secret?
LT. COM: I have received the degree which bears that name.
G. COMMANDER: What is the Royal Secret?
LT. COM: It is a true secret. Each soul must discover it for itself.
G. COMMANDER: Are you a Knight Commander of the Court of Honour?
LT. COM: My Brethren of the Supreme Council have judged me to be worthy of that rank and dignity.
G. COMMANDER: To what are you pledged as a Knight Commander of the Court of Honour?
LT. COM: Like the outer triangle of our Hierarchy, I am pledged to protect the interests of the
Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, to support its government and aid in the promotion of its mission in the world.
G. COMMANDER: Thank you, my Brother; may the beneficent influence of the faithful performance of the duties and obligations of the preceding Degrees of Freemasonry enable us the more efficiently to serve the Order of Knights Commander of the Court of Honour in this glorious work for Humanity.
Bro. Grand Master of Ceremonies, give orders that the members of this Court of Honour assemble around the Altar to assist me in the closing ceremonies.
This order is repeated by the Gr. M. of C.
GR. COM., LT. COM. and G. PRIOR form triangle around altar. All others form chain of union. G. COM. puts out light, then says:
G. COMMANDER: Knights Commander, as the central Light representing the pure light of Reason of the Celestial Hierarchy is now extinguished, this Court of Honour is dissolved, but forget not that it is your duty to keep this influence of these beneficent rays in active glow through your efforts in the outer world, that when we meet again we may not be accused of permitting any dimming of its lustre by our apathy, selfishness or neglect.
May God be with you till we meet again!
Chain is broken. Knights disperse.