Knights of Pythias
Rank of Knight


When ordered by the Chancellor Commander, the Outer Guard will admit the candidate to the ante-room. The Master at Arms, dad in armor and with sword at a “carry,” will immediately, by order of the Chancellor Commander, retire to the ante-room.
During the preparation of the candidate, no one except the Outer Guard and the Master at Arms shall, under any pretence, be allowed to enter the ante-room.
Master at Arms: Esquire, ere you leave this room in quest of further knowledge of our mysteries, I ask of you a pledge that you will not improperly reveal anything that you may see or heat tonight. Do you make this pledge?
The candidate answers: I do.
To typify the protection which this lodge assures to all who worthily enter its castle hail, I place this shield upon your breast and this helmet on your head; and, that you may not witness mysteries to which as yet you are not entitled, I lower this visor before your face.
While speaking, the Master at Arms places a shield on the candidate’s left arm, an on is head a helmet, which must he provided with a close visor, the lowering of which will completely blindfold him.
Master at Arms takes the candidate by the right arm and conducts him to the armory (or some other suitable room), which may be a temporary apartment arranged inside the lodge room). This room must be in absolute darkness. The monitor must previously have taken his station in one end of the room, or in an adjacent room connected by an opening or a speaking-tube. On reaching the middle of the room, the Master at Arms will say: Esquire, you will be seated here, where you will remain alone. When you shall hear three strokes upon the bell, raise the visor which obscures your sight, and wait in silence.
Appropriate instrumental music may he introduced here.
The Master at Arms retires noiselessly to the end 0f the room opposite the Monitor, and after two or three minutes (or when the music has ceased), gives slowly three strokes upon a gong or bell.
Monitor: He that hath light within his own clear breast may sit in the centre of the night and enjoy bright day; but he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts, benighted walks beneath the midday sun.
The darkness which surrounds you is symbolic of life. Man sits in gloom, and the purpose of his existence is a mystery.
Thus shut out from the light of day—”the world forgetting, by the world forgot”—learn now from me the highest purposes of our order.
As you are now, helpless, alone, an unmanned barque upon an unknown sea, your heart-beats the only chart and log-book, hear what I would say; and, as you hear, resolve that from the ashes of the past you will arise, and, in the spirit of Pythian fidelity, do your duty to your fellows and to your God.
Life has its sunshine arid its shadow; its days and its nights; its seasons of joy and its hours of sorrow. In this great drama every Pythian has a part—a duty to himself, a duty to his family, a duty to his fellowman. Out of the silence of the darkness which entombs you, I would have you learn the duty of a Pythian knight.
When the darkness of death comes to the home of a friend, your duty is there, to comfort, to console, and if possible to point out, through the gloom of sorrow’s night, the stars that shine beyond. To share and have part in the sorrows of our friends broadens the vision, tempers the heart, and makes golden the light that falls upon the hearthstone where we with loved ones dwell.
Night bath glories the day can never reveal. The day tells of the budding flowers, the sparkling stream, the lights and shadows of the grand old wood. We see the majestic mountain, and the peaceful homes brightening the valleys rich in bounteous nature’s golden harvest. We arise in the morning, when dewdrops sparkle like diamonds upon the opening flower; we go forth at eventide, when the sunset glows with rubies—but, look where we may, the vision of the day is prescribed.
When tired day has sunk into the arms of restful night,
“Heaven’s ebon vault,
Studded With Stars unutterably bright,
Seems like a canopy which love has spread
To curtain her sleeping world.”
Gaze on the silent, shining spheres, as in eternal, unerring cycles they move like silver barques upon the azure sea of heaven; and, as from each of them there radiates some light to brighten and to bless, so, when the night of sorrow darkens the home of a friend, be thou a star of sympathy and love, from which, across the path of those to whom life seems a never-ending night, shall come bright beams of hope. Let words of counsel and of cheer, set to the music of fraternal love, fall from your lips, giving a glow to the cheek, a sparkle to the eye, and hope to the heart, of him who hears. May they fall like rays of light from a heaven of peace!
When the charge of the Monitor has been concluded, the Master at Arms, after waiting a few moments, will quietly approach the candidate, and, without speaking (except, if necessary, the single word, “Come”), will conduct him to the ante-room.
When notified that the Senate chamber is in readiness, the Master at Arms will conduct the candidate to the Senate chamber. Nothing whatever shall be said to the candidate during his progress; and if there are doors to be passed through, they shall be opened without alarm or challenge.
Prior to the introduction of the candidate, the Master of the Work, assisted by such attendants as may be necessary, shall arrange the room (which may be the lodge-room or some adjacent apartment) as follows, or in some other suitable manner:
Everything being in readiness, the Master at Arms will bring the candidate into the room and seat him, remaining with him.
The Scribe, appropriately clad, enters and, taking his position at desk, apparently busies himself with his records.
The Headsman, in appropriate costume and armed with headsman axe, enters and takes his position.
Lodges may, at their option, dispense with the services of the Scribe and the Headsman.
Such floor-work, in the form of drill or otherwise, as may be desired, may precede the entrance of the Senate.
The Senators, clothed in appropriate robes, enter, marching in twos, and escorted, if desired, by spearmen or a detachment of knights in uniform. Each Senator holds in his left hand a aper or parchment scroll, rolled so that only the outside shall be visible. All the scrolls must be identical in appearance externally, but that of the first Senator must be blue on the inside, that of the second Senator yellow, and all the others red. The Senators take their seats, and the escort retires, returning with the King.
King enters, preceded by the Herald and escort, and followed by two attendants in suitable costume.
Herald: The King!
Senators rise. The King takes his position at the station of the Vice Chancellor (or position corresponding thereto), one attendant on each side of him, Herald escorts in rear of Senators.
King, standing: Is every Senator in his proper place?
Herald, saluting: All are present, sire.
King: With knightly courtesy I greet you. Senators salute. Be seated, Senators.
King and Senators take seats. Herald and attendants remain standing.
Senators, you are the chosen guardians of the portals through which must pass all who would attain the honors of Pythian knighthood. Your decisions are supreme; and from your edicts, once formally pronounced, there is no appeal. As Senators, pledged to protect our order against the intrusion of those unfit to wear the armor of a knight, I urge you to be ever on your guard, and to let nothing swerve you from the line of Pythian duty. Do not measure valor by the effrontery which is too often the mask of cowardice, nor count as fear the gentle mien that is frequently the guise of sterling manhood. Seek always to have the full and perfect measure of him who craves from you the honor of the knightly spur. In all you do, be just—and yet be merciful. Remember,
“Wise were the kings who never chose a friend
Till . . . they had unmasked his soul
And seen the bottom of his deepest thoughts.”
There is present an Esquire who seeks to stand upon the summit of Pythian knighthood. Avouching his readiness to undertake any duty, to undergo any test, which your wisdom may prescribe, he awaits with confidence your decree. Ere he is brought before you, I have but this to say: To be held worthy of the honor that he craves, brave he must be, a lover of the right, the foe forever of the wrong, ready to do all and to dare all for the cause of truth.
Herald, instruct the Master at Arms to present the Esquire in presence of the Senate.
Herald salutes and faces about: Master at Arms, by order of the King you will present the Esquire in presence of the Senate. Steps aside.
Master at Arms advances with the candidate: My liege and Senators, II here present an Esquire, who brings an honest name from those who know him well, as his best voucher. Thus commended, he seeks the right to wear the golden spur, and here avouches his readiness, by observance of your mandates, to prove himself a man of iron nerve—a fit companion for our well-tried knights.
King: Esquire, this august body has convened to name a test whereby your valor may be put to proof. Is it your desire that we proceed?
The candidate answers: It is.
King: Senators, the Esquire awaits the announcement of your decree.
First Senator rises: Your majesty, the fame of our illustrious order has spread from sea to sea—not so much by deeds of valor and high emprise, as by unobtrusive acts of love and tender sympathy.
No man should pass our portals who is not fearless in the cause of right and of humanity; nor should he wear the golden spur until by some sure test we prove the truth of his pretensions. Not, indeed, by rude barbaric torture; that comes from other and darker days, and tells the story of man’s savagery; but, in the kindly spirit of our order, let him be tested by an oath, pledging his honor to the defence of virtue and the maintenance of right. This, far better than any mere physical test, will appeal to his manhood and reach his moral nature, and thus give a true impression of an order whose mission is one of love.
Takes his seat.
Second Senator rises: Such test will not suffice. It fails to compass the full intendment of our ceremonies. Vows are easily made, and pledges soon forgotten. The waves of shame and sorrow roll over the ruins of many lives that have found shipwreck in a sea of promises.
Than the pledged word of a knight there is no higher test of fealty; and were this man already one of us, I would ask no more. We know him, however, but as an untried neophyte; and we should make acquaintance with his mettle by means of deeds, not words—deeds that have no hidden or uncertain meaning. Put on him the armor of a knight, give him a sword, and in the full strength of his manhood let him prove his skill and valor, face to face with one of our tried and trusty knights. Thus may we learn the temper of this Esquire, and test his coolness under trial see if he face danger without fear, and mark his bearing when confronted by one worthy of his best defence and equal to his most skilled attack.
I for one desire a test in which every movement shall proclaim the man, that we may see him as he is, stripped of the mask that all men wear.
Takes his seat.
Third Senator rises: In this chamber, where each Senator is the peer of every other, perfect freedom should abound, and candor mark our speaking.
I prize at their full worth the counsels of my fellow Senators; and yet II do not agree to either of the tests proposed. One of them is scarcely a test at all; and the other is by no means sure. This man, it may be, lacks skill in fencing; and, if so, it were the sheerest folly for him to stand against one who is master of the art. We should name a test in which his act alone would prove his fitness for our favor. He is a man of goodly presence and courageous bearing, and comes to us with confidence, ready to undergo any ordeal we may name— To the candidate—Is it not so?
I wish for him a thorough test, that all may see the truth of boasted valor, and that, when we shall prove that he is worthy of it, he may gain and hold our warmest friendship. And so, let him be made to upon a ... of ... of ..., set firmly in a solid slab of oak; and as he does, let each one look and listen, to see if in his face he show the pallid flag of fear, or by a groan give token of a coward soul.
Takes his seat.
Fourth Senator rises: My sovereign liege, the lesson of to-night should brighten the path of life of him who stands before us, and be the crowning jewel in the casket of Pythian gems.
Proud of our order as we are, guardians of its portals as we must be, it should be our earnest care that no harsh line shall mark the Pythian page.
This man needs no test. We know him well. We have watched his daily life, and we should be proud to have his name upon our roster. Mindful of the friendship which is the foundation of our order, and which every one of us has pledged to this Esquire, I ask you, Senators, to forego the test, that no act of injustice or cruelty may mar our records. The encouragement of moral worth is one of the objects of our order, and our duty is to guard as a sacred trust the honor of our membership. This man stands now upon the threshold of knighthood; and to admit him upon our faith in his integrity would be a lesson grander in its results than any test that has been named.
Takes his seat.
Fifth Senator rises: The utterances of the Senator do credit to his manhood and honor to our order; and yet we must remember that nothing is more inflexible than Pythian law.
This man can not be knighted until we test him.
I too would know the Esquire as does the valiant Senator; I too desire to hold his friendship at its highest worth; but, sirs, the merest prudence demands a strict observance of our statutes.
Give no man your perfect confidence until you have proved him worthy; and then,
“The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatched, unfledged comrade.”
This man may be all that’s claimed for him. If so, he will bravely meet the test, whatever it may be.
Takes his seat.
King: In all that has been said there is much wisdom; and the several tests proposed bear each so much of merit as to leave but little room for choice.
Would that all men were pledged to the defence of virtue and the maintenance of right. Then indeed would the sunlight of love and happiness dispel the shadows of cruelty and wrong, and all mankind rejoice in the reign of universal equity.
In the second test you have but outlined the duty of those who pass our gates. Welcome the day when all shall wear the armor of truth, and in the strength of manhood put away the petty jealousies that mar and dwarf, and tell the story of our weakness. Then shall character be rated the standard of eminence, and moral worth held higher than royal blood; then shall slander and hyprocrisy seek sepulture forever in the shadow of eternal night.
In the test of steel there is a double meaning. It calls for a deed of daring unknown to history, yet marks the boundary of human confidence—a virtue found only in men of sterling worth and fixed integrity.
What say you, Senators—is it your will now to decide upon the test for this Esquire?
Sixth Senator rises: It had not been my purpose to take part in these deliberations, except to exercise the right of suffrage secured to every Senator. I am, as all of you do know, a plain, blunt soldier. Trope and metaphor flow not readily from my tongue, and the graces of the orator’s art are to me unknown. But, sire, I crave permission to say a few brief words for this Esquire.
As I have listened to the utterances of my colleagues, my mind has been busy with memories of the long ago. One scene stands out, upon the canvas of the past, distinct and vivid. I see a battlefield, the flash of lances and the gleam of swords, the charge of squadrons met and repulsed, and met again. I see two horsemen, clad in glittering armor, meet in the shock of conflict. One is unhorsed and sorely hurt, and the other rides away, leaving his vanquished foeman stretched upon the ground, to die alone. Ere long, an Esquire chances to pass that way. He sees the helpless soldier. Pausing, he bends above him, and staunches the life-blood well-in g from his wounds; then tenderly he bears him to a safe retreat, and in his helmet brings water quickly from the brook to cool the raging fever of his blood. Sire, I was that stricken soldier—and, but for the kindly care and gentle ministrations of that simple Esquire, whose name I never learned, I had not been alive to-day.
No nobler virtue warms the knightly heart than gratitude. There, in that hour of dire extremity, I registered an oath, that no Esquire in need of succor or of counsel should ever appeal to me in vain. In fulfillment of that vow, I ask you, sire, that I may be allowed to meet the test imposed on this Esquire. Steps to his side. Thus may I discharge part of the debt of gratitude I owe, and thus may he learn that the true knight is the champion and the defender of suffering humanity, always and everywhere.
Seventh Senator rises: The words just spoken honor him who gave them utterance. I am glad the Senator has spoken. My admiration for him as a soldier pales before my appreciation of the nobler qualities he has displayed. Gratitude fills his heart as he remembers the favors on him bestowed in time of need. In this busy, bustling world, men nurse the recollection of a wrong, but too oft forget the kindnesses received. Not so with us. We teach no grander lesson than that of friendship, and from it spring the golden fruits of gratitude. The exercise of this virtue has our warmest commendation; and we would so emphasize it in our ceremonies that it may be a living principle of our order.
Yet sentiment must not usurp the place of judgment. The Esquire’s merit must be known, and our duty must be done. I have naught but the kindliest feeling for the Senator who has made this offer, but justice to him and to the Esquire demands that we refuse it.
Takes his seat.
Eighth Senator rises: The Senator has voiced my judgment. It cannot be. He who stands before us must not put aside the robe of his high office to assume the garb of one whose valor we would know. He is a valiant knight, high in rank, brave on the field of battle, and wise in counsel. Shall we permit one whose fame is our delight to bear the test
for this Esquire? No! No! Who wears the spurs must win them—and I would urge that he be made to carve his way to the high honor he sees fit to claim.
As one who guards these portals as he would his home, I insist that the Senator remain, and that his knightly offer be courteously refused.
Takes his seat.
King to sixth Senator: Senator, you have in a few brief words, at once gained a stronger hold on our affection and told the sum of Pythian duty. We appreciate the motives that prompt this generous offer; but, in compliance with
our law, we must refuse it. You will remain with us sixth Senator takes his seat; while you, Esquire, must win the spurs you seek to wear.
Ninth Senator rises: In proving this man’s valor, we must teach him the crowning virtue of our order.
He will ever remember the friendship of Damon and Pythias; and, in so doing, will border the path of life with the flowers of love. He has learned that the exercise of caution, care and prudence is a necessity in every successful life. We have shown him that weakness is the common heritage of man, and that Pythian charity is as boundless as the shores of time. To-night, he is upon the border of an unknown land. There is to him an air of mystery about our ceremonies; and our words, to which he gives a double meaning, fill him with doubt as to our purposes. We must teach him that the true knight does no man wrong; but, with friendship for all, with charity for the weak and erring, with confidence in his brethren, he is, in the pride of a better manhood, an exemplar of our teachings, doing honor to our order and to himself.
In this spirit, with this purpose, looking only to his good, impressing a lesson that must appeal to his best intelligence and enlist him in our work for all humanity, we should, with the same friendship, the same prudence, the same charity, we have taught, name for him a test.
Takes his seat.
King rises: Senators, in recognition of the suggestion of your colleague just made—as you display your scrolls, so will I note the choice of tests.
Those of you who wish that this Esquire be tested by an oath will display the blue; those who desire that he shall prove his valor with his sword, the yellow; those who demand the test of steel, the red.
Senators, your choice.
Each Senator (except the sixth) unrolls and holds in front of him his scroll—that displayed by the first Senator being blue; that by the second, yellow, and all the others red. The sixth Senator grasps tightly his scroll and averts his face.
King: The red predominates. Attendants!
The attendants step forward, face inward and make obeisance to the King.
The test of steel.
The attendants retire and bring the real test, which they place in front of the King, and then step to the right and left and face inward.
The Master at Arms then leads the candidate to the station occupied by the King. The Master of the Work then causes the floor-cloth and steps to be placed in position.
King: Esquire, you will carefully examine this instrument, and fully satisfy yourself as to its composition.
Pauses until the candidate has examined the test.
You see that it is a solid slab of oak, in which are firmly set sharp ... of ...
Attendants, place the test.
The attendants retire to the rear of the candidate, giving the real test to the Master of the Work, who thereupon places the fictitious test in proper position, the attendants promptly returning to a point in the rear of the Master at Arms and the candidate. The real test must never he placed on the floor.
Esquire, this test may seem to you cruel and uncalled for; and, while there is much I dare not reveal, I wish to say: a moral coward is often tempted to deeds of reckless daring, rather than face the jeers of those about him. A man of courage and noble purpose will by no act of his do violence to his manhood. With confidence in himself and in his friends, prudence marks his conduct and success crowns his life.
With this admonition, and the assurance that you are to be the judge of what is prudent, I bid you meet the test.
Master at Arms, conduct the Esquire to a seat, prepare him properly, and present him before the test.
Master at Arms conducts the candidate to a seat near the steps, requires him to remove his shoes, and causes him to stand on the top step. The attendants take their places on the right and left of the steps, facing inward.
During the entire ceremony of the test, the members shall retain their seats.
Master at Arms: Sire, your order has been obeyed.
King: Esquire, you have presented yourself as an aspirant for the honors of knighthood, avowing your readiness to undergo any test that might be imposed upon you. The wisdom of the Senate, after full debate, decreed the test of steel. That decision is supreme; from that edict, thus formally pronounced, there is no appeal. Therefore, I bid you instantly to ..., ... ... ..., ... ... ...!
 If the candidate fails or refuses to obey, the King will order: Attendants, do your duty!
The attendants will at once seize the candidate firmly but without violence, and place both his feet on the test.
If there is more than one candidate for the rank, they shall proceed singly to this point, and afterwards in a body.
The King and Senators retire.
Brief intermission.
Chancellor Commander: Master at Arms, present the Esquire at this station.
Master at Arms conducts the candidate to the station of the Chancellor Commander.
Chancellor Commander standing: In the ceremonies just ended, there are lessons which you may apply with profit to the affairs of life.
In the caution, care and prudence of the Senate in naming a test which should fully prove your confidence, you were given a practical exemplification of the motto of the rank of Esquire.
In the proposition that your personal pledge should be accepted as a sufficient guaranty, we endeavored to teach you that, between members of this order, the word of a Knight of Pythias, given as such, is as sacred and binding as any statement made under the most s6lemn oath known to man.
In proposing that you should be clad in the armor of a knight, and caused to prove your valor with the sword, you were instructed that a Knight of Pythias should ever wear the armor of truth and the shield of virtue, against which the shafts of vice and falsehood can not prevail.
In the test you were called upon to meet, we sought to impress you that a Knight of Pythias should be obedient to every official command, and that, with confidence in his brethren, he should fearlessly do his duty.
In the proffer of the Senator to suffer in your stead, there was exemplified the highest type of friendship known to man.
Confidence is an outgrowth of friendship. Damon and Pythias were Friends; and, as a result, Pythias became a hostage for Damon, with perfect confidence that his friend would return to meet the fate the tyrant had imposed. The absence of Damon, as the hours rushed on to the time for the execution, did not lessen the confidence of Pythias in the honor and integrity of his friend. Even as he stepped upon the scaffold, the warmth of his friendship was not chilled by the winds that came from the valley of death, and his love for Damon gave him courage to bless the fate that was preventing his return.
Damon’s return proved his honor, and confirmed the judgment of Pythias in the confidence by him reposed His example we commend; and we would have our members prove themselves worthy of every confidence.
With this explanation, I ask you: Will you endeavor to aid in disseminating the principles of our order?
The candidate answers: I will.
Chancellor Commander: Master at Arms, the Esquire having expressed his willingness to aid in disseminating the principles of our order, you will present him to the Prelate, who will administer to him the obligation of the rank of Knight.
Prelate takes position at the altar, facing the station of the Vice Chancellor.
Master at Arms presents the candidate at the altar, facing the station of the Chancellor Commander: Prelate, by order of the Chancellor Commander, I present an Esquire, that he may assume the obligation of the rank of Knight.
Chancellor Commander gives two raps.
Prelate: Advance your right foot, place your left hand on your left breast, bring your right hand in front of your body, grasping the hilt of the sword, as it rests on the book of law, and repeat after me.
I solemnly promise that I will never reveal the password, grip, signs or any other secret or mystery of this rank, except in a lodge of this order, recognized by and under the control of the Supreme Lodge Knights of Pythias, or when being examined by the proper officer of a lodge, or to one whom I know to be a member of this rank.
I further promise that I will always, to the extent of my ability, relieve a worthy knight in distress, endeavor to warn him of any danger which I may know to threaten him or his family, and to aid him whenever and wherever I may be convinced that he is in need.
I further promise that I will never, by any act of mine, voluntarily disturb the domestic relations of a brother knight; but that, so far as possible, I will protect the peace and purity of his household as I would my own.
I further promise that I will not expose any part of the proceedings of this or of any other lodge, nor discuss them in the presence of any one whom I do not know to be a member of the order.
I further promise that I will obey the orders of this lodge, the Grand Lodge having jurisdiction over it, and of the Supreme Lodge Knights of Pythias, and the official mandates of the executive officers thereof.
To the faithful observance of this obligation I pledge my sacred word of honor. So help me God—and may he keep me steadfast.
Chancellor Commander gives three raps.
Prelate: Master at Arms, conduct the Esquire to the Vice Chancellor for instruction.
Returns to his station.
Master at Arms conducts the candidate to the station of the Vice Chancellor: Vice Chancellor, by direction of the Prelate, I present to you an Esquire for instruction.
Vice Chancellor, standing: I will now instruct you in the secret work of this rank.
When the lodge is open in the rank of Knight, and you desire admittance to the ante-room, you will make your presence known at the outer door. The Outer Guard will open the door, and you will give him, in a whisper, the semi-annual password. He will then admit you to the ante-room. You will approach the inner door, and give thereon ... , which will be answered from within by ...
The wicket will then be opened, and through it you will give your name and rank. These will be reported to the Vice Chancellor, who will order you admitted if correct. The wicket will again be opened, and through it you will give in a whisper the password of this rank, which is ... You will then be admitted to the lodge-room, and will advance to the altar, on which will rest the open book of law, with one sword lying diagonally across the book, the hilt toward your right hand. There you will salute the flag of our country, as in the preceding ranks. You will then give to the Chancellor Commander the sign of courtesy, thus: ...
This sign must be given by all who enter the lodge while open in this rank, except by those who are returning after having executed an order of the Chancellor Commander. The Chancellor Commander will answer it by ... which indicates permission to be seated.
Should you desire to retire before the lodge has been closed, unless leaving the lodge-room to execute an order of the Chancellor Commander, you will advance to the altar and salute the flag of our country. You will then make this sign ... Should the Chancellor Commander answer it by ..., you may retire—otherwise, you will return to your seat. In both these signs, your fingers represent the bars of an open-barred visor, such as knights formerly wore on their helmets. As, in ancient times, a knight, entering a castle or camp of his friends, raised his visor to disclose his identity, so you, entering a Pythian castle hall, make this sign: ... When going outside, where he would surely meet strangers and possibly enemies, he lowered his visor, to protect his face and conceal his identity; so you, when leaving a castle hall, make this sign: ...
In the examination of those present prior to the opening of the lodge, you will give to the Master at Arms the semi-annual password and the password of the rank of Knight.
At the opening of the lodge, when the question is asked, “What is the duty of every member of this order?” you will assume the position taken when the obligation of the rank of Knight was administered, and respond, “To avoid anger and dissension, to work together in the spirit of fraternity, to exemplify the friendship of Damon and Pythias.”
The motto of this rank is ...
The grip is given thus: ...
There is a cover key, which may be used in connection with this grip, as an additional test. Its use as such will now be exemplified for your benefit, the Master at Arms representing the person being tested, and I the person applying the test.
The Vice Chancellor and the Master at Arms then rehearse the following dialogue:
V.C.: ..., ... ... ...?
M.A.: ... ... ...      
V.C.: ... ... ... ... ...
M.A.: ... ...
V.C.: ..., ... ...?
M.A.: ... ...
Vice Chancellor: You will observe that this dialogue is an acrostic, and that the first letter of each sentence, arranged consecutively, form the word ... This word, in ancient times, was the synonym of strength; and we use it here as typical of the strength of that friendship on which this order is founded.
The Grand Honors, to which only the Grand Chancellor or his duly commissioned Deputy, when making an official visit, is entitled, are given thus: ... They indicate fealty to the Grand Lodge and readiness to obey its laws.
The Supreme Honors, to which only the Supreme Chancellor or his duly commissioned Deputy, when making an official visit, is entitled, are given thus: ...
They indicate tribute to the Supreme Lodge and defence of its authority.
The voting sign, which is used in the transaction of the ordinary business of the lodge, in the rank of Knight, is made thus: ... the same sign being used for an affirmative or negative vote.
The use of the gavel is the same as in the preceding ranks.
You must remember that you are positively forbidden to use any of the signs, passwords or other instruction which has been or may be hereafter given you in this order, as a means by which you may violate the law of the land or transgress the established rules of society; nor are you bound to recognize any of them when they are made use of by any one guilty of these of Fences. The secret work of this order is for the assistance and protection of its members only when they are doing right.
The arrangement of the book of law and the swords of defence on the altar, which, as you have seen, differs in each rank, is to indicate to the members the rank in which the lodge is open, so that they may give the appropriate sign of courtesy, and thus avoid disclosing to others a secret to which they are not legally entitled.
Master at Arms, conduct the Esquire to the Chancellor Commander.
Takes his seat.
Master at Arms conducts the candidate to the station of the Chancellor Commander, halting about five feet from it. A naked sword must he lying diagonally across the station, the hilt toward the Chancellor Commander’s right hand: Chancellor Commander, by direction of the Vice Chancellor, I present this Esquire to you.
Chancellor Commander, standing: Esquire, you have been informed by the Vice Chancellor that, in order to gain admittance to the ante-room, when the lodge is open in the rank of Knight, you must give to the Outer Guard the semi-annual password.
The semi-annual password, as its name indicates, is a word which is changed twice in each calendar year. Every subordinate lodge of Knights of Pythias uses the same semi-annual password during the current semiannual term. This word must be given at the outer door, in every rank, by all who have attained the rank of Knight. If, on seeking admission to the ante-room of your own lodge, you should be without it, you will so inform the Outer Guard, who will report that fact to the Inner Guard, and he will report it to the Chancellor Commander. If you are not entitled under the law to the semi-annual password, you will be so informed, and you cannot be admitted until you take the steps necessary to entitle you to it. No one, under any circumstances, except a candidate for the rank, under escort, can be permitted to enter or to remain in a lodge open in the rank of Knight, unless he is in possession of or entitled to the semi-annual password. If you are entitled to it, the Outer Guard will be ordered to admit you to the ante room. Immediately on entering the lodge-room, you will proceed to the station of the Chancellor Commander and receive the word. You can receive it only from the Chancellor Commander of
the lodge of which you are a member (who may communicate it to you in or Out of the lodge-room), or from the Chancellor Commander of another lodge, to whom you present an official receipt for all indebtedness to your own lodge to the beginning of the current semi-annual term, bearing the seal of your own lodge and signed by the Financial Secretary thereof— and proving yourself, by proper identification, or examination in the secret work, to be the person designated in such official receipt.
The semi-annual password for the present term is ...
You will knee on your right knee.
Two raps.
Takes up the sword and advances to the candidate: By virtue of the power vested in me as Chancellor Commander of this lodge, and in the name of the order universal, I create you a Pythian knight.
Strikes the candidate lightly on the left shoulder with the flat of the sword blade.
Be friendly one blow, be cautious one blow, be brave one blow. Returns sword.
Who wins the spurs should wear them. Rise, Knight ..., and stand among your peers.
The Chancellor Commander places a Knight’s jewel on the candidate’s left breast, saying as he does so: I now invest you with the insignia of Knighthood. This jewel is an emblem of the highest rank this lodge can confer; that you will wear it worthily we earnestly believe.
As a Knights of Pythias, speak the truth; uphold the right; protect the weak; relieve the distressed. Remember always that, as you illustrate in your daily life the friendship, the charity, the benevolence, that we teach, you will bring honor to the order which now gives you welcome.
The Chancellor Commander extends his right hand, giving the grip of the rank of Knight, and returns to his station.
The Master at Arms and the Knight remain in their places.
Three raps.
If fraternal love held all men bound, how beautiful this world would be! Whenever in your power, guide the steps of those who trust in you to goodness and to truth. From out your heart cast every grudge; banish every unkind thought; put away every personal prejudice; and as the gleam of the calm blue heaven of fraternal love shines soft and pure into your soul, remember that only stainless garments befit a Knight of Pythias. Evil exists—let it not be found in your heart; but from its presence learn to know the value of the good and true. As sunset, veiled in night, is oft the promise of the red dawn of a new day, so oftentimes the evils which exist but show the good that lies beyond. And when the western hills obscure life’s sun, may you sleep secure in the promise of the dawn of a never-ending day.
Master at Arms, face the Knight to the lodge.
Master at Arms faces the Knight toward the station of the Vice Chancellor.
Chancellor Commander gives two raps: Officers and members of ... Lodge, No. ..., I present to you Knight ...
The lodge will be at ease.