Order of St. Thomas of Acon
Installation of Worthy Master
INSTALLING MASTER: We will now take Item
I.M.: In accordance with custom, I have the pleasure to announce that our Eminent Prior, Sir of , will be our Master for the ensuing year.
PRIOR: I am not worthy of so high an Office, and beg my brother Knights to reconsider the matter.
He proceeds to sit on a chair near the door.
I.M.: Sir Knights, our Eminent Prior humbly asks us to reconsider his election to the Chair. Is it your wish that his election be confirmed?
All Knights: We will it.
I.M.: The Marshal, assisted by his Deputy, will escort the Eminent Prior to the Altar.
The Prior makes an attempt to leave the Chapel, but is delayed by the closed door. Before he can unlock it, he is seized by the Marshal and Deputy Marshal who take him by the arms and purposefully bring him to the Altar.
I.M., standing: YOU ARE THE MASTER!
MARSHAL: Sir Knights, to order.
I.M.: You will kneel on both knees, place your right hand on the Holy Bible, and with your left hand hold this sword taken from the Altar, hilt uppermost, to your lips. I will recite the Obligation of Master to which you will signify your assent:
"I promise on my Knightly honour to maintain and uphold, as far as in my power lies, this commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon, and to rule this Chapel according to its laws. I further promise obedience to the Grand Master of the Order, and to exercise mercy when justice will permit."
Repeats: "All this I promise, God being my help. Amen."
I.M.: As tokens of your assent, you will salute the cross of the sword four times, and the Holy Bible four times.
Rise, duly obligated Worthy Master.
Descending: I now communicate to you the word of a Worthy Master, which is whispered in his ear.
Leading him by both hands: I now place you in the Chair of Master of this Chapel of the Order of St. Thomas of Acon.
MARSHAL: Sir Knights, you will salute your new Worthy Master with four, taking the time with me. Done with flourish of swords.
Sir Knights, be seated.
I.M.: You will now conduct the election of a Treasurer, after which you will appoint your Officers.
The ballot for Treasurer is taken.
MARSHAL: Worthy Master, whom do you appoint Prior?
MASTER: Sir C... of D.
Then follows the Marshal, Deputy Marshal, elected Treasurer, Secretary, Historian, Almoner, Working Knights Nos. l, 2, 3 & 4, Doorkeeper and Sentry. Other Officers may be appointed if required.
MARSHAL: That completes the appointment and investiture.
I.M.: In the year AD 1510, no one could be found prepared to accept the office of Master, although every Knight was asked in turn from the oldest to the youngest. In desperation a deputation was sent to the Dean of St. Paul's he being Patron of the Order - requesting him to select a Master and pledging themselves to abide by his choice.
Whereupon, on Monday 16th September in that year, the Dean assembled the Knights in Chapel and announced that the Vicar of Honey Lane Market would be their Master.
The Vicar, a very humble Knight, had seated himself at the lowliest position in the Chapel. He was so alarmed at this announcement that he would have fled had not the Marshal and his Deputy seized him before he could open the heavy door and dragged him before the Dean, who told him: "YOU ARE THE MASTER".
This incident, recorded by the Dean's scribe, is preserved in the Archives of Guildhall Library. It reminds us of that great lesson on humility, as reported by St. Luke, where Our Lord told his disciples: "When thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher .... For he that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
When an Ordained Minister is present, the short Communion (basically that compiled by Bishop Hippolytus) is now Celebrated. The Minister is assisted by the new Prior, or a Past Prior should the Minister himself be the current Prior. In the absence of an Ordained Minister, the form of Agape is to be used.