Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander
Thirty-first degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite

Scotland, 1987

The President sits in the East.
The throne is placed under the centre of an arch rising from two pillars, and beneath a canopy of white. From the centre of the arch hangs an equilateral triangle in gold with the Hebrew letter YOD in black arranged in the form of a Tetractys or Pythagoras.
On the pillar on the right hand of the President is a scroll with the word ‘Justice’ on it, and under this hangs a naked sword. On the pillar on the left is a scroll with the word ‘Equity’ on it, and underneath hangs a pair of scales.
In front, i.e. to the West of the President, standing on a pedestal, is the casket of the Archives. This casket has two locks. The key of the first is kept by the President, and that of the second by the Chancellor.
In front of the casket of the Archives is a triangle of lights.
In front of the triangle of lights is the Altar. It is a double cube covered with white plush. On the front of it is embroidered the Cross of the Degree with an Eagle at the junction of the four limbs of the Cross. On top oF it is a Crucifix, the Book of the Constitution, a pair of scales, a drawn sword and two poignards. At the foot are footstools in white plush.
To the West of the Altar is another triangle of lights, arranged in the same manner as that described above, and near to the door of the hall is a third and similar triangle.
At the West end of the Hall are six pillars, three on the North side, and three on the South side. The First pillar has hung from it a white silk banner with the word ‘Alfred’ and an equilateral triangle emitting rays, inside of which is a star of five points embroidered or emblazoned on it.
The second pillar has a similar banner hung from it and the word ‘Socrates’ and a skull surmounted by a wreath of laurel embroidered or emblazoned on it.
The third pillar has a similar banner with the word ‘Confucius’ on it, and a triangle of gold, and within it an agate embroidered or emblazoned on it.
The fourth pillar has a similar banner with the word ‘Minos’; an axe of gold is embroidered or emblazoned on it.
The fifth pillar has a similar banner with the word ‘Zoroaster’ and a dagger with the handle half black and half white embroidered or emblazoned on it.
The sixth pillar has a similar banner with the word ‘Moses’ and a brazen serpent round a Latin Cross embroidered or emblazoned on it.
Beside each pillar stands a Knight guarding it with a drawn sword.
The Chancellor sits on the right hand of the President opposite the first triangle of lights, and the Treasurer sits opposite him.
The Prelate sits on the right hand of the Altar and the Master of Ceremonies on the left.
The Pursuivant sits at the foot of the third triangle of lights, and directly opposite the President.



Most enlightened Brethren, to Order to receive the Most Perfect President and Members of Supreme Council (or Members of the 33°)
Most enlightened Brother, Guarder of the Entrance, you will assure us that we are safely guarded.
Pursuivant, after ascertaining in the usual way:
We are guarded, Most Perfect President.
Most enlightened Brethren, I am about to open the Sovereign Tribunal of Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commanders. Please be upstanding.
The Brethren rise. My very dear and most enlightened Brethren, Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commanders, enter into the sacred Holy of Holies of the Temple of Truth, where reign Justice and Equity. Let us swear to be faithful to the statutes and regulations of this Order.
Extending the right hand the Brethren say:
I swear.
President: And now, my Brethren, let us implore the aid and the protection of Him who alone can give us strength to fulfil our promises.


Eternal and Almighty God, Creator of the heavens and the earth, Father of the spirits of all flesh, whom to know is eternal life and whom to serve is perfect freedom, lift Thou upon us, we beseech Thee, the light of Thy countenance as we draw near to the footstool of Thy glorious throne, and worship Thee in spirit and in truth.
We bless Thee that Thou hast never left Thyself without witness among men, but hast set forth Thy light and Thy truth to enlighten those who, but for Thy holy illumination, would abide in darkness and in the shadow of death.
We thank Thee for the lessons taught us by the wise and good of ancient times who feared and loved Thy righteousness.
Above all, we praise Thy great Name that Thou hast revealed Thyself to us in One who was in Himself the express image of Thy person, and who alone can lead us into all the truth, and set us the example of godliness.
Help us to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Thee our God.
Give us wise and understanding hearts, that we may day by day grow in wisdom and in all goodness, ever striving to promote Thy glory and the relief of Man’s estate, and to know and do Thy will which is our salvation.
Keep us safe in time of danger, patient in time of suffering. Strengthen us to overcome temptation, and to gain victory over all our enemies and those of Thy divine Kingdom.
Forgive us our trespasses and keep us now and ever in Thy faith, fear and love through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Most enlightened Brethren, let us labour for the good of universal Masonry, and aid me with your knowledge.
The Sovereign Tribunal is open.
He gives the Knocks of the Degree.

Observe me Brethren.
All make the sign.

Be seated, Brethren.
The Brethren resume their seats.
Any Presentations taken now.

Most enlightened Master of Ceremonies, you will be good enough to retire and ascertain if it be the case that there awaits without one (or two, three, etc.) Illustrious Brother (or Brethren) who craves (or crave) admission to our Tribunal. If this be so, you will remain in attendance on him (them), and will present his (their) petition in due form and at the appropriate moment.
The Master of Ceremonies retires.

Most enlightened Brother Chancellor, let us proceed to open the casket of the Archives of the Sovereign Tribunal, and let us take therefrom such as are required for our present labours.
The President and the Chancellor proceed to the casket of the Archives, each holding a key. Each opens one of the locks. They raise the lid and take out the Record Book and any papers which are required.



(The Candidate(s), having been elected to fill a vacancy in the Degree by the Supreme Council, is (are) brought to the door of the Sovereign Tribunal, habited as a Grand Elect Knight Kadosh and wearing the jewels of the Degrees which he (they) has (have) received. The Master of Ceremonies accompanies him (them) and makes an alarm).
Most Perfect President, there is an alarm at the door.
Enquire the cause.
Pursuivant, opening the door:
Who goes there?
M.C.: Illustrious Brother (Brethren), ..., Entered Apprentice(s), Fellowcraft, Master Mason(s), Master(s) Elect of Nine, Grand Scottish Knight(s), Knight(s) of the East, Sovereign Prince(s) Rose Croix and Grand Elect Knight(s) Kadosh who, having been elected to fill a vacancy in this Sovereign Tribunal by the Supreme Council for Scotland of the Thirty-third and last Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, now craves (crave) to be introduced into the Sovereign Tribunal and instructed in the Degree that he (they) may be able to discharge his (their) duties as a Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander(s).
Pursuivant: I shall communicate your request to the President.
He closes the door and addresses the President as follows:
Most Perfect President, there stands at the door of the Sovereign Tribunal, Illustrious Brother (Brethren) KB. who claims to be Entered Apprentice(s), Fellowcraft(s), Master Mason(s), Master(s) Elect of Nine, Grand Scottish Knight(s), Knight(s) of the East, Sovereign Prince(s) Rose Croix, and Grand Elect Knight(s) Kadosh, and also to have been elected by the Supreme Council for Scotland of the Thirty-third and last Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite to fill a vacancy in this Sovereign Tribunal. For these reasons he (they) craves (crave) admission, and requests you to instruct him (them) in all parts of this Degree that he (they) may be able to discharge his (their) duties as a Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander(s).
My Brother (Brethren), it consists with our knowledge that the Supreme Council has placed at the disposal of the Illustrious Brother (Brethren) who stand without a vacancy which has occurred in our Sovereign Tribunal, but, as we are very scrupulous as to the qualifications of any Candidate who desires to fill a post in our Tribunal, before we accede to his (their) request we shall appoint examiners to enquire into his (their) knowledge of the preceding Degrees, and, should their report be favourable, we shall gladly admit him (them) to our presence.
Inform the Master of Ceremonies of this, and instruct him to conduct the Candidate(s) to a suitable place for questioning.
The M. C. conducts the Candidate(s) to a suitable place, and the President nominates two brethren (having previously warned them) to retire and examine him (them). They do so and return to the Sovereign Tribunal.
President to the examiners:
My Brethren, you have examined the Candidate(s). Are you satisfied that he (each) possesses the requisite knowledge of the preceding Degrees which warrants us admitting him (them) to our Sovereign Tribunal?
An Examiner:
We are, Most Perfect President.
Thank you. Please resume your seats.
President to the Pursuivant:
Let him (them) be admitted.
The M. C. brings in the Candidate(s) and conducts him (them) to the President.
I am pleased, my Brother (Brethren), that the lot of selection has fallen upon you, and I feel sure that the Supreme Council will not regret the choice which it has made. It is now my duty to point out to you that you are about to take upon yourself the arduous and responsible office of a Judge. There is but one infallible and unerring Judge.
All human judgment is uncertain. The errors of the human judge have consequences just as serious as the crimes of other men, and they must often, however innocently and inadvertently committed, produce sorrow and regret.
It is not wise to seek to judge our fellow men. It is a duty and a task only to be performed when it cannot honourably be avoided, and is never a privilege to be coveted.
In our Rite the Order is divided into two sections, the judicial and the military. The Degree to which you aspire is, as its name suggests, the former, and confers upon the Candidate the powers of a supreme judge in Freemasonry. I have to ask if you are satisfied that proper motives only lead you to seek that power, and that you may with safety to yourself take it into your hands.
I trust so.
It is well, my Brother (Brethren). Go with your guide, heed well the lessons and warnings which you will receive and return again to me.
The Master of Ceremonies and the Candidate(s) retire to the west end of the room, where there are six pillars, at each of which there is a Guard. The Master of Ceremonies leads the Candidate(s) once round the pillars, halts at the first and orders him (them) to draw and present sword(s). The Guard of the first pillar then addresses the Candidate(s).
1st Guard:
My Brother (Brethren), you have heard of Alfred the Great, King of Saxon England. He framed wise laws, made upright judges independent of his own will, and caused just and speedy judgments to be given. In all his realm justice and right were sold to none, denied to none, delayed to none. He reigned to bless those over whom he had dominion. He has vanished into the distant past, and many ages have marched in solemn procession by his grave. Yet he still lives in the memory of men. They call him great King, wise law-giver, just judge. Follow thou his example or fear to sit in judgment on thy fellows.
The M. C. orders the Candidate(s) to recover his (their) sword(s), leads him (them) to the second pillar and orders him (them) to present sword(s).
2nd Guard:
In the famed city of Athens in ancient Greece lived Socrates. He knew the holy mysteries and reverenced God in nature. In the sacred groves in Athens he taught his disciples to know God, and that the soul of man is immortal. He taught obedience to the laws, and when he sat in the Court of the Areopagus he swore that he would give sentence uprightly and according to law, or, where law was silent, to the best of his judgment, and that he would not receive gifts, nor should any other for him, nor do anything to prevent justice in the Court. When an unjust judgment of the same Court condemned him to die he refused to flee away and escape, lest he should bring the laws into disrepute, holding that a good citizen was bound to submit to the unjust judgment of the State. My Brother, if you would become a Judge, first prepare yourself by learning, like Socrates, to obey the laws.
The M. C. orders the Candidate(s) to recover his (their) sword(s), leads him (them) to the third pillar, and orders him (them) to present sword(s).
3rd Guard:
Confucius interpreted to the people of China in ancient times the great laws engraved by the finger of God in everlasting letters upon the pages of the many-leaved book of nature. He said to them "Desire not for your country any other benefit than justice."
Justice is equity, to render to every man that to which he is entitled. He who would stand above the ordinary level of man must be exempt from prejudice and self-conceit and obstinacy, and be governed by the mandates of justice alone. Cultivate justice and piety which, great towards your parents and relations, should be greatest towards your country. Let doubt of guilt be acquittal and presumption of innocence solid proof.
So he taught, and his influence lived after him, and gave good fortune to his country. That is the noblest recompence of human virtue. Do thou, my Brother (Brethren), strive to live and to act, to obey and govern, and you too may live in the good opinion of men after you are passed away.
The Master of Ceremonies orders the Candidate(s) to recover his (their) sword(s), leads him (them) to the fourth pillar, and orders him (them) to present sword(s).
4th Guard:
In the island of Crete in ancient times lived Minos, the law-giver. He taught the Cretans that the laws which he enacted were dictated by the Father of all, for all true laws and all human justice were but the development of that infinite justice which is the essence of the Deity; that he who assumes to judge his brethren clothes himself with a power like that of God, and to usurp His jurisdiction is to invade the territory of His prerogatives.
He counseled them to act so that men might praise their moderation, their inflexibility, their equity and their integrity, and yet not to regard alone the opinion and judgment of the living, but to seek the approval of those who should live hereafter, those whose approval would be more just if more severe. Anyone, being himself vicious or criminal, who assumes to judge others, and still more if he give corrupt judgment, may rest assured that his memory will be execrated, and in all time it will be the bitterest reproach to call an unjust judge by his name.
See to it then, my Brother (Brethren), that you ponder well the step which you are taking, and strive to act up to the counsels of this ancient sage.
The Master of Ceremonies orders the Candidate(s) to recover his (their) sword(s), leads him (them) to the fifth pillar, and orders him (them) to present sword(s).
5th Guard:
The words of Zoroaster became a law to the Persians. He said ‘He is the best servant of God whose heart is upright, who is liberal with regard to all men. So act towards all men that when they die you shall not have to regret their death because you have done them wrong and can no longer make reparation. He alone is just who is merciful in his judgment, and he alone is wise who thinks well and not evil of all men. Attempt not to break through the laws of Providence, nor impiously presume to correct the ways of God, nor measure the ocean of His wisdom with the line of your little conceptions. Satisfy your own conscience, and fear neither the outrages of fortune nor the injuries of enemies. Study the dominion of yourself and quiet your commotions. Hold it the noblest vocation to triumph over your passions. Let the long train of your trophies be with you, and not without you; and when you sit in judgment on others let malice be manacled and envy fettered behind your judgment seat.’
Listen, my Brother (Brethren), to the precepts coming down to us from a hoary antiquity, and if you follow them you will do well.
The Master of Ceremonies orders the Candidate(s) to recover his (their) sword(s), leads him (them) to the sixth pillar, and orders him (them) to present sword(s).
6th Guard:
Moses, the great law-giver of Israel, was initiated into the mysteries of ancient Egypt, and dictated the statutes by which the people were governed. He said to them ‘Thou shalt take no gift, for the gift blindeth the wise and preventeth the words of the righteous. Ye shall do righteousness in judgment. Thou shalt not despise the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty. Ye shall hear the small as well as the great. Ye shall not fear the face of man for the judgment is God’s.’
The Master of Ceremonies now orders the Candidate(s) to return sword(s), leads him (them) from between the pillars to the circle of lights before the altar, facing the East, and addresses him (them).
M.C. to Candidate(s):
My Brother (Brethren), you have now heard the words of the great sages, law-givers, and philosophers of antiquity. Hear now the words of a greater than these, and listen with reverence to His teaching.’
‘If ye forgive men their trespasses your Heavenly Father will forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses neither will your Heavenly Father forgive your trespasses.’
‘With what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged, and with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again.’
‘If thy brother offend against thee go and tell him his faults between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee thou hast gained thy brother.’
‘Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment.’
‘If thy brother trespass against thee rebuke him, and if he shall repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee saying ‘I repent’ thou shalt forgive him.’
‘Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.’
The Master of Ceremonies then conducts the Candidate(s) to the East.

President Be seated, my Brother (Brethren).
The Master of Ceremonies conducts the Candidate(s) to a seat on the left of the President.
You have heard the lessons of immortal wisdom once uttered by lips that have long since mouldered into dust; and you have also heard the words of Him Who liveth and reigneth world without end.
Through these lips, God spake unto men for of Him alone cometh all wisdom.
You desire to become a member of this Sovereign Tribunal and a Supreme Judge in Masonry. The Supreme Council, satisfied of your qualifications, your impartiality and your justice has, in its wisdom, granted your request.
Listen then to the following charges which our Prelate will rehearse to you.
The Prelate proceeds to the Lectern and reads the following Charges to the Candidate(s). The Candidate(s) remain(s) seated.



Most of us are aware of the mighty victories of Alfred the Great, of the beneficent teaching of Zoroaster, of the wisdom of Confucius, and the vast influence of Moses, law-giver and Ruler, as well as of Socrates and Minos.
But all of these pale into insignificance when compared with the awful majesty of Him Who inspired these and other great men of the world with glimpses of the sublime vision of divine truth.
It is therefore my duty and high privilege to direct your thoughts to the universal and beneficent Creator and Father of us all, to Whom we owe, by every right, homage and faithful service; to Him of Whose throne justice and judgment are the habitation; by Whom princes decree justice; in Whose word we are urgently bidden on all occasions to do justice; and Who will severely punish those who pervert it; and Who will one day judge the world and the people with equity.
Justice and Equity are the watchwords of our Order, and, as you are shortly to be constituted in this solemn Tribunal a Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander, it will be your duty to administer the justice of the Order, and, in that, Equity must be your guide. In every matter submitted to your judgment you must listen sympathetically, deliberate calmly and yield to no other influences than those of justice and equity, of judgment and mercy, the four sacred words that with their splendour light every Sovereign Tribunal of Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commanders.
The word ‘Inquisitor’ means one who seeks and searches for, enquires after and investigates the truth, and the truth alone.
The Prelate now leaves the Lectern and resumes his seat.
President to the Candidate(s):
Do you feel that it is in your power so to perform these duties? Rise and answer.
Candidate(s), rising:
I trust so.
Are you ready to endeavour to renounce all passions and overcome all weaknesses which could lead you to commit acts of injustice, or to give rash and inconsiderate judgments?
I trust so.
Do you believe that you can sacrifice your pride of opinion and love of self to maintain the holy cause of justice and equity?
I trust so.
Go then to our holy Altar in charge of our most Enlightened Brother, the Master of Ceremonies, and there kneel with all sincerity and reverence, having no thought in your heart and no word upon your lips but those of soberness and truth.
The Master of Ceremonies conducts the Candidate(s) to the Altar, instructs him (them) to kneel on his (their) right knee, to place his (their) left hand on the Book of Constitution, and to take in his (their) right hand the scales of justice.
To order, Brethren.
President advances to the Altar.
Form circle.
The Brethren form circle round the Altar. The Candidate(s) then take(s) the following Obligation which is administered to him (them) by the President.
You are required to take the following Obligation as I shall dictate it, and you will say (together) after me:
I promise and declare on my sacred word of honour that I shall never reveal the secrets of a Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander which are about to be confided to me; that I shall never write, print, engrave or trace them, on any pretext whatever, without premission from this Sovereign Tribunal.
I promise likewise scrupulously to observe the Statutes and Rules of this sublime Order.
The President quietly instructs the Candidate(s) to lower the scales of justice — and continues the Obligation.

I swear raising the two first fingers of the right hand towards heaven in the presence of the Great Judge of Heaven and Earth never to prove unfaithful to the solemn obligation which I have now undertaken.
Amen. Amen. Amen.
Witness this solemn vow, my Brethren, and let it be recorded.
We witness it.
Chancellor: And I record it.
Rise, my Brother(s).
The Candidate(s) rise(s) and the Brethren remain in circle.
Most enlightened Master of Ceremonies, you will now perform your duty.
The Master of Ceremonies divests the Candidate(s) of all his (their) decorations, and lays them on the Altar.
We divest you of all your decorations because the Degree on which you are now entering is above all that you have so far received, and in it you will enter the judicial branch of the Order.
Most enlightened Brother, Master of Ceremonies, teach the Candidate(s) the steps of a Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander, and conduct him (them) to me.
Resume your seats, most enlightened Brethren.
The Office-bearers and members resume their places. The Master of Ceremonies puts the Candidate(s) in position — the hands being crossed before him. He takes a step forward with the left foot and forms a square by bringing the right heel into the hollow. Raising the hands above the head he takes a second step as before, and separating the hands he takes a third step and finds himself before the Throne. When the Candidate(s) has (have) taken his (their) position the President invests him (them) with the white collar and jewel of the Degree, and addresses him (them).
I invest you with the white Collar and the Jewel of this Degree. This is said to each. See that the purity of the former and the lustre of the latter be never sullied or dimmed by injustice, inhumanity or impurity. This is said to all collectively.
Return to the Altar, my Brother (Brethren), and there kneel.
M.C.: To order, Brethren.
The Candidate(s) kneels (kneel) and the President, laying both hands on his head (or on the head of the first Candidate), says:
By the power with which I am vested, and in the body of this Sovereign Tribunal I create you a Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander of the Thirty-first Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. This is said to each.
May the great Judge of Heaven and Earth guide and direct you by His infinite wisdom in the paths of justice and equity. This is said to each.
M.C.: Most enlightened Brethren, be seated.
The Brethren resume their seats.
President to the Candidate(s): Arise, most enlightened Brother (Brethren).
The Candidate(s) rises (rise).
Take up the poignards which lie before you.
The Candidate(s) takes them in his (their) hands.

These are weapons which you have borne before in Masonry, and we yet retain them because they were in ancient times given to the Candidate that he might punish perjury and protect innocence.
Lay them down, my Brother (Brethren).
The Candidate(s) lays (lay) them down on the Altar.

They no longer belong to a Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander for he is a Judge and not a soldier. The moral forces of the law and of this Sovereign Tribunal are more potent than a thousand daggers. Perjury, like all other crimes, is now punishable by law, or by general contempt and execration; and innocence no longer requires to be protected by the poignard.
Most enlightened Brother, Master of Ceremonies, the newly received Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander(s) has (have) laid aside the steel which is symbolic of violence. Instruct him (them) therefore in the Sign and Words of this Degree.
The President resumes his Throne in the East) and the Master of Ceremonies instructs the Candidate(s) in the Sign and Words.
The Sign of a most enlightened Brother is to hold the two hands crossed before you. This is also the Sign of Salute in this Degree.
The Words of this Degree are Justice and Equity.
The Knocks of the Degree are * *** **** *.
You are now a most enlightened Brother and a Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander. This said to each.
Most Perfect President, the Sign and Words of the Degree are made known to our newly admitted most enlightened Brother (Brethren).
President To order, most enlightened Brethren, Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commanders.
All rise and stand to order.

I hereby proclaim most enlightened Brother (Brethren) A.B. etc., Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander(s) of the Thirty-first Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, regularly constituted, and I commend him (them) as such to all Freemasons of that Rite over the surface of the globe, and require them to receive and acknowledge him (them) as such.
Be seated Brethren.
The Candidate(s) is (are) welcomed on behalf of the members of the Sovereign Tribunal by the President.
Most enlightened Brother, Master of Ceremonies, conduct our newly proclaimed Brother (Brethren) to his (their) seat(s).
The Master of Ceremonies conducts the Candidate(s) to a suitable seat.
Is there any further business before the Sovereign Tribunal?
Should there be none, the Chancellor leaves his post, places the records in the casket of the Archive and says:
Most Perfect President, I await your pleasure.
The President then goes to the casket. He and the Chancellor lock it.


To order, most enlightened Brethren.
My very dear and most enlightened Brethren, Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commanders, in departing from the sacred Holy of Holies of the Temple of Truth where reign Justice and Equity, let us swear to be faithful to the Statutes and Regulations of this Order.
The Brethren extend the right hand and say:
I swear.
I hereby declare this Sovereign Tribunal closed and to remain closed until I, or some other lawful authority, shall reopen the same. And now my Brethren let us depart in peace.
Gives Knocks.
May the peace of God which passeth all understanding keep your hearts and lives in His faith henceforth and for evermore. Amen.
Most enlightened Brethren, salute the most perfect President with the Sign of the Degree.
All salute and the President returns the salute.
Most enlightened Brethren remain upstanding whilst the Most Perfect President, and members of Supreme Council (or members of the 33°) retire.