Independent Order of Odd Fellows,
Ritual of the Degree for Uniformed Patriarchs


Qualifications for membership

Patriarchs in good standing in Encampments under the jurisdiction of the Sovereign Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and who have attained the Royal Purple Degree, may be admitted to and retain membership in a Uniformed Degree Camp, subject to the regulations applicable to this degree.


The word at the outer door to be given to the Picket is the Check Password given in the Subordinate Encampment, and is determined by the Grand Patriarchs of the several jurisdictions.
When the Commander is absent, the Vice Commander takes his tent. The Officer of the Guard the Vice Commander’s tent. The last named officer will detail some one of the comrades to fill his position and perform his duties for the evening.
No officer or member can enter or retire from the Camp when in session without the proper sign, and in the manner as designated in the work.
The uniform to be used in this degree is the uniform adopted by the Sovereign Grand Lodge. Eddy’s tactics are to be used.
When the Camp is opened and at work, it will be necessary for each comrade to be clothed in the uniform appropriate to the degree.
In order to become a Uniformed Degree Camp member it will be necessary to have a certificate from the Encampment that the Patriarch is a member of, showing that he is a Royal Purple Degree member and in good standing, said certificate to accompany the application.
The elective officers of a Uniformed Degree Camp are a Commander, Vice Commander, Officer of the Guard, Secretary, and Treasurer, to hold their office for one year, ending with the installation of a successor at the first meeting in January of each year.
The appointed officers are a Picket, Guard, Guard of the Tent, Standard Bearer, and two standard Guards, who shall be appointed by the Commander, and serve for a regular term.
The quorum for a Uniformed Degree Camp is five members.
Balloting on applications for membership in a Uniformed Degree Camp is in the same manner as now provided in Subordinate Encampments.
The manner of voting (except upon application for membership shall be Yes and No.
Whenever a Uniformed Degree Camp shall have been instituted in any city, town, or village, no other Uniformed Degree Camp shall be instituted in such place until the consent of all previously instituted Uniformed Degree Camps in that city, town, or village, be first had and obtained.


Opening a Uniformed Degree Camp

The Commander is in his tent. At the time appointed for opening, the Officer of the Guard will station the Guard, Picket, Guard of the Tent, Standard Bearer, and Standard Guards; and also communicate to the Guard the evening pass, after which he will form the comrades in line, open the ranks, and bring the comrades to the position of "Present; Swords." He will then advance in front of the Commander, salute that officer, and report as follows:
Officer of the Guard:
Commander, the Picket and Guards are at their stations, the evening pass has been given, and the lines are formed.
Carry, Swords. Officer of the Guard, von will assist the Vice Commander in ascertaining if all present are in possession of the pass.
The Officer of the Guard will take his position in front of the first man in the rear rank, and the Vice Commander in front of the first men in the front rank.
Vice Commander to the first man in front rank, and Officer of the Guard to first man in rear rank:
Attention, comrades. Advance and give the pass.
First comrade comes to position of "sword port," advances one step with left foot and communicates the pass in a whisper to the Officer. The Officer will say "correct," when the comrade will resume his position in line with sword at "carry." The Officer will then pass to front of next man, and so on down the line, with sword at "carry," receiving the pass in like manner from each comrade in the rank.
The Officer of the Guard salutes, and reports to the Vice Commander, "all correct," in rear rank. The Vice Commander then reports to the Commander:
Vice Commander:
Commander, all comrades are in possession of the pass.
Vice Commander, you will accompany me in the inspection.
The Vice Commander gives the order "Present, Swords," and accompanies the Commander. The Commander will pass in front and rear of each line, examining, while the men are at "present, swords." The Commander will then pass to his position, and go through with such part of the sword exercise and drill as he desires, after which he will command:
Comrades. Return, Swords; Right, Face; Break ranks, March.


The Commander is in his tent; the Officer of the Guard is drilling four or more Guards in the use of the sword; the comrades are scattered about the Camp in fatigue uniform. The candidate is taken in charge at the door by the Picket, and is conducted by him to the inner door, where the Picket gives the entersign, and in reply is challenged by the Guard.
Who comes there?
A friend, who desires an interview with the Commander.
Guard, turning to the Officer of the Guard:
Officer of the Guard, I have here one who calls himself a friend to our cause, and who says that he desires to communicate with our Commander.
Officer of the Guard, stepping forward and addressing the candidate:
Who are you?
Guard, replying for the candidate:
I am of the Patriarchal Order.
Officer of the Guard:
How old are you?
I am of lawful age.
Officer of the Guard:
Whence came you?
From the society of the Patriarchs.
Officer of the Guard:
Your answers are satisfactory. You may pass through our lines, under guard, to the tent of our Commander, upon the strict condition that you pledge your sacred honor that you are not an enemy or a spy, and that you will not disclose anything that you may discover during your stay within our lines. Are you willing to bind yourself by such an obligation?
I am,
Officer of the Guard:
Then kneel, and repeat after me the following obligation:
The candidate kneels just Inside of the inner door, which has been closed behind him, and repeats after the Officer of the Guard the following obligation.

I, …, do solemnly declare, that I am of the Patriarchal Order; that Ii am a friend to the cause which this army is endeavoring to vindicate; that I am actuated by honest and worthy motives, and am not an enemy seeking to pass through these lines for hostile or unworthy purposes. I will never improperly disclose anything that I may learn while within the lines of this Camp. All this I promise upon my honor as a Patriarch of the Royal Purple Degree.
Officer of the Guard:
Arise! If you are what you profess to be you have nothing to fear. I will escort you, under strict guard, to the tent of our Commander.
The Officer of the Guard forms the Guard around the candidate in the form of a hollow square, and marches them to position in front of the Commander’s tent and there halts; the Guards are then ordered to fall back upon a line, a few feet in the rear of the candidate.
Officer of the Guard:
Guard of the Tent, I have here, under strict guard, one who declares that he is of the Patriarchal Order; of lawful age; recently from the society of the Patriarchs, and that he desires to confer with our Commander. You will ascertain the will and pleasure of our Commander and make the same known to me.
Guard of the Tent, approaching the commander in his tent:
Commander, the Officer of the Guard stands before your tent, having under strict guard one who desires to confer with you. He says that he is of the Patriarchal Order, of lawful age, and recently from the society of the Patriarchs.
Commander, coming to the door of his tent and addressing the Officer of the Guard:
Why has this stranger been allowed to pass through our lines and approach my tent? Do you not know that upon the tented field every precaution must be taken to admit no one within the lines who may be an enemy or a spy?
Officer of the Guard:
This stranger has assured me that he is not an enemy or a spy, but that he has come here to request of you permission to join the great army which you so ably command.
Commander, to the candidate:
Why do you make such a request?
Officer of the Guard, answering for the candidate:
Because I early learned that it was my mission on earth "to war against vice in all its forms." I have long been seeking for the tented field where the friends of virtue and morality are waging their fierce fight against this great enemy to the human race. Hearing that you were encamped here, I have come desiring to enroll myself beneath your banner, to do battle for Cod, for my country, and for the right.
Your purpose, if you are sincere, is most worthy; but you cannot be enrolled under our banner until we are Certain that you are neither an enemy nor a spy, but a true and an honest man. I must first ascertain whether you are truly of the Patriarchal Order, of lawful age, and recently from the society of the Patriarchs. Advance the Sign of Recognition in the Initiatory Degree.
Candidate gives the Sign.
Advance the Sign of Safety in the Degree of Friendship.
Candidate gives the Sign.
What is the Token of the Degree of Brotherly Love?
Candidate gives the Token.
Advance the Principal Sign of the Degree of Truth.
Candidate gives the Sign.
If the candidate answers the foregoing questions correctly, the Commander may call for other proofs, in any of the Lodge or Encampment degrees. As soon as the candidate fails or hesitates to answer any question the Commander may put to him, the Commander will proceed as follows:
Now I know that you are an enemy and a spy. Officer of the Guard, why did you allow this person to pass through our lines without some pledge as to the truth of his statements?
Officer of the Guard:
Commander, I did require of him a solemn pledge that he was neither an enemy, nor a spy, but a true and honest Patriarch.
Can it be possible that our enemy is so base, and is so devoid of honor? Place this man under arrest; lead him forth immediately to execution, as a merited reward for his perfidy.
The Officer of the Guard forms his men about the candidate as before, and conducts him to the centre of the room, where he is made to kneel, the Officer of the Guard draws his men up in line in front of the candidate, gives the usual commands to "load," "aim," etc. The Vice Commander, recognizing the candidate from his station, comes running up, between the candidate and Guard, and, while in the act of thus approaching, proceeds in season to prevent the order "fire," being given. No rough treatment of the candidate in this part of the work is permitted.
Vice Commander:
Officer of the Guard, Hold! Why this outrage to my friend. I will save him Aye! at the risk of my own life.
Officer of the Guard:
Call this man your friend!
He has come here pretending that he is a friend and a Patriarch, and asks to be enrolled in our ranks; yet, out of his own mouth has he been condemned. An order has therefore gone forth that he be immediately shot as a merited reward for his perfidious conduct.
Vice commander:
He is no enemy or spy. I know him well. Halt here, while I proceed to the tent and confer with our Commander.
The Vice Commander proceeds rapidly to a position in front of the Commander’s tent.
Vice Commander:
Guard of the Tent, is our Commander at leisure? I would confer with him upon matters of pressing importance.
Guard of the Tent, approaching the door of the tent:
Commander, our Vice Commander stands at the door of your tent, and desires to confer wit upon matters of pressing importance.
Commander, approaching the door of his tent:
Vice Commander, what do you desire?
Vice Commander:
Commander, a deserving friend of mine this day presented himself before your tent, desiring to be enrolled under our banner; he was not allowed to do so; but has been ordered to suffer death, I saw him, recognized his deplorable condition, and commanded the Officer of the Guard to halt. I beseech that he may be returned to your tent, and his request complied with.
Permit him to be enrolled under our flag! Impossible. We admit no enemy or spy within our ranks.
Vice commander:
He is neither an enemy nor a spy, but a true and an honest man.
How do you know all this?
Vice commander:
I have known him long and well. I first saw him sitting at the feet of "age and experience," patiently learning that in the practice of friendship, love, and truth would be found the best safeguards against the ills of life after this I observed him at the "Stone Ezel," where he devoutly studied the beautiful truths taught by the Degree of Friendship; I next met him "traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho on a mission of humanity"; afterward, I saw him with those of the Priestly Order, inculcating the principles of the Degree of Truth; later, I sat with him in the High Priest’s tent, where he partook of refreshment; from thence he went, out to impress upon the different nations of the earth, the important doctrine of toleration; and, before to-day, I last saw him pursuing his weary way past the four Watches in the wilderness, determined to "go on" until, at last, I saw him presented as a weary and worn pilgrim at the tent of the High Priest, and surrounded by the Patriarchs.
Can this be so? If it be true, he is no enemy or spy, but worthy to be enrolled under our banner Command the Officer of the Guard to return him to my presence at once, that I may examine him further.
The Vice Commander hastens to the Officer of the Guard, and then proceeds.
Vice Commander:
Officer of the Guard, our Commander directs that you immediately return this, my friend, to his presence.
The Officer of the Guard removes the … forms the Guards about the candidate, in the form of a hollow square, as before, and marches them to the Commander’s tent. The Commander stands at the door of his tent watching for them.
Stranger, our Vice Commander has spoken in your behalf; at his earnest entreaty I am inclined to examine you further and ascertain whether you be what you profess. How did you first come into the society of the Patriarchs?
Vice commander, answering for the candidate:
I came through the wilderness, passed the four Watches; at one time I was beset by wild beasts; at another, the clash of arms sounded in my ears; then again I heard the voice of mirth and revelry; over rough roads and dangerous ways my path lay; the flood-gates of heaven opened upon me, I sought the shelter of a friendly oak; at last there appeared in the heavens above, the bright "Rainbow of Promise," reminding me that ours is a Covenant-keeping Father; soon the sweet music of the Patriarchs greeted my ears, and under its sublime influence, I found my way to the tent of the Most Excellent High Priest, and was safe.
Had you a word in mind to cheer you while upon that dreary journey?
Vice Commander:
I had such a word; aye, it was my countersign.
What was it?
Vice Commander:
"Go on."
It was a good word. Your zeal and determination to enlist in our cause betokens how well you have lived up to the injunction so solemnly given to you before you entered the wilderness. Vice Commander, enroll our friend beneath the folds of our banner.
Officer of the Guard:
Standard Bearer, Attention. your post, March.
At the command, Attention, the Standard Bearer will take the banner, supported on either side by a Guard, march to and in front of the Commander, salute; then march to the center of the room; halt, and face the Commander.
Officer of the Guard:
Comrades, Attention. Form Rainbow.
The comrades will then fall in on the right and left, of the Standard Bearer, forming Rainbow. The Vice Commander will then march with the candidate within a short distance of the Standard Bearer, and cause him to kneel. The Officer of the Guard will then give the command, Charge, Swords; at the command Swords, the Standard Bearer will incline the banner over the head of the candidate, at the same time that the comrades execute the command, Charge, Swords; in this position the candidate takes the obligation, administered by the Vice Commander.

I, …, do solemnly promise, declare, and say, in the presence of these Uniformed Patriarchs, that I will never, in any manner whatever, communicate, or cause to be communicated, any of the signs, secrets, mysteries, rites, written or unwritten work of this degree, to any person or persons whomsoever, unless lie or they be legally entitled to receive the same from me; that I will promptly and cheerfully obey the commands of my superior officers in this or any other Camp to which I may be attached and will, at all tunes, render to them that respect which their official position entitles them to receive at my hands; that I will always use my best endeavors to promote harmony peace, and concord within the ranks, always avoiding discord and strife. For the faithful performance of all these duties and obligations I pledge my sacred honor as a
Patriarch of the Royal Purple Degree.
The Officer of the Guard will give the command "Carry Swords," at which command the Standard Bearer will come to an "Attention." The candidate will be taken in charge by the Vice Commander and conducted to the Secretary’s desk, when he will sign the roll. The Officer of the Guard will give the command, "Standard Bearer to your post, March." The Standard Bearer, with Guards, will march to and in front of the Commander, "Salute" and return to their proper stations and deposit the banner in its proper place. After which the Officer of the Guard will dismiss the comrades forming the Rainbow; then the Officer of the Guard brings the candidate before the Commander, who instructs him in the unwritten work of the degree:
Desirous of being admitted into a Camp of Uniformed Patriarchs you will give at the outer door the same alarm as in the Patriarchal Degree. The Picket will thereupon open the wicket and require of you the check Password of the term, which is given in full. If correct, he will you to the anteroom. You will there clothe yourself with a fatigue cap, belt, and black gloves. You will then "carry swords" advance to the inner door and give two raps; the Guard will respond by giving two raps and will then throw open the door, and, with the Guard, will
give the pass sign and the password of the degree lettered; if correct you will then come to the position of "carry," advance to the center of the room, face the Commander’s tent and address him with the sign of the degree. He will acknowledge you as a comrade of this degree by the proper answer to the sign, after which you will come to the position of "carry," "right lace" or "left face" (as the case may require) march to a seat and "return sword."
On leaving the Camp before it is closed, you come to the position of "carry", march to the center of the floor facing the Commander’s tent and give the retiring sign, which he will acknowledge by the proper answer to that sign. You will then advance to the Officer of the Guard, salute him, and receive from him the P.W. of the evening, which you must give to the Guard before he can allow you to retire.
You will always salute when addressing a superior in point of official rank.
After the instruction in the unwritten work, the candidate is conducted to the anteroom by the Officer of the Guard, and there puts on a fatigue cap, belt, and black gloves, after which he is returned before the Commander’s tent, and the Commander proceeds as follows:
Comrade, you have now attained a high and exalted rank in Odd Fellowship. Step by step you have been advanced to this high and honorable position. Your hitherto uniform and worthy character, your attention and diligent study of the principles inculcated at every step, combine to satisfy us that you are worthily enrolled as one of our number.
The true soldier, engaged in a just warfare, presses straight forward and strikes valiantly against the stronghold of the adversary, never yielding until that adversary capitulates. He is not easily turned aside, he fears no danger, he heeds no voice excepting that of his commander; and yet, when the conflict is ended, he is kind, sympathetic, regardful of the lights and opinions of others, and never intentionally, by word or deed, does anything to wound or disturb the feelings of another.
So you, as a soldier in our cause, must always earnestly contend for those reforms best calculated to promote the moral welfare and advance the condition of mankind. Upon all questions affecting the good and welfare of the community in which you live you must have an opinion of your own, which you should fearlessly express whenever occasion may require; yet at all times bearing in mind that others have an equal right to entertain honest opinions of their own.
Your inability to satisfactorily prove yourself a Patriarch would have prevented your admission to our ranks, arid might have resulted in fatal consequences to yourself, had it not been for the timely interference of a friend who interceded for you.
Learn from this, that you are to condemn no one hastily, simply because he unintentionally errs; strive rather, by kindly words, to correct and counteract the influence of the error. Do all in your power to restore such a person to the confidence and respect of his associates, never forgetting that "to err is human, to forgive, divine."
Such is the lesson that we would inculcate at this time, and we trust that its influence shall not be without good effect upon your future life.
The Officer of this Guard then forms the comrades in a line on each side of the candidate; they bring their swords to the position of "carry."

Commander: Comrade …, by virtue of the authority conferred upon me, as Commander of this Camp, I declare you to have been duly enrolled as a member of the Degree of Uniformed Patriarchs. Receive this sword as the emblem if your rank and station; let it never he sheathed until the last foe to human progress and advancement shall have been trampled in the dust. Officer of’ the Guard, conduct this, our comrade, to the station of the Vice Commander, that he may witness a drill of our comrades, and become acquainted with the use of the sword.
The two lines of comrades face each other end bring their swords tot e position of "present." The Officer of the Guard conducts the candidate down between the lines, to the station of the Vice Commander; alter which, the Commander, Vice Commander, or Officer of the Guard forms the whole or a portion of the comrades into proper position, and drills them in the use of this sword, until otherwise ordered by the Commander.



Attention, Vice Commander. You will form the lines, and announce that the Camp will now be closed, and that the lines will be re-formed upon the next Camp night at — o’clock.
Vice Commander:
Attention, comrades. Fall in. Front. Right dress, Front. Draw, Swords. Present, Swords. Comrades, it is the order of the Commander that the Camp be now closed; the lines to be re-formed at the next Camp night, at — o’clock. Commander, your orders have been announced.
Carry, Swords. Together with the sign. Sign given the same as when retiring. Remember thy vow. Return, Swords ; Right, Face; Break ranks, March.