Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon
Ritual for Installation of Worthy Master
The Marshal removes
the Installation candle from the Almoner's table and places
it on the Altar. The Prior then lights it.
Installing Master: We will now take the election of a Worthy Master, for the ensuing year, Brother Secretary.
Secretary: Worthy Master, none of the Knights is willing to be considered for this office.
Installing Master: In accordance with custom, I have the pleasure to announce that our Eminent Prior, (or Sir ... of ...,) will be our Worthy Master for the ensuing year.
Prior or named Kt.: I am not worthy of so high an office, and I beg my brother Knights to reconsider the matter.
He proceeds to sit on a chair near the door.
Installing Master: Sir Knights, Sir ... of ... humbly asks us to reconsider his election to the Chair. Is it your wish that his election be confirmed?
All Knights: We will it.
The Master Elect should now be wearing his sword and scabbard: i.e. if he was the Prior or Almoner he should have previously put them near the door for that purpose.
Installing Master: The Marshal assisted by his Deputy will escort Sir ... of ... to the Altar.
The Incoming Master makes an attempt to leave the Chapel, but is delayed by the closed door and Doorkeeper. 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.
Installing Master, stands: You are the Master! Puts down his baton, but remains at his place.
Marshal: Sir Knights - To order.
The incoming Master's sword is placed on the Altar; hilt to the south by the Marshal.
If the Master Elect is wearing gloves he removes them.
The Marshal returns to his place at the side of Master Elect.
Deputy Marshal then removes his gloves and collects a small Bible opened at Matthew XXV, 35 from the Prior's table, and stands to south of Master Elect supporting the open Bible.
Installing Master, still at his place: You will kneel on both knees, place your right hand on the Holy Bible, moves to Altar to pick up Sword and with your left hand hold this sword taken from the Altar by In stalling Master, hilt uppermost, to your lips. I will recite the Oath of Master to which you will signify your assent:
"I promise on my knightly honour to maintain and uphold, as far in my power lies, this Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon, and 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".
You will repeat after me, "All this I promise, God being my help. Amen".
Installing Master: As tokens of your assent, you will salute the cross of the sword four times. Master Elect does so. The In stalling Master takes the sword from the new Master and replaces on the Altar.
And the Holy Bible four times. Master Elect does so.
Deputy Marshal returns Bible to Prior's table, proceeds back to his place in the Chapel, and
replaces his gloves.
Rise duly obligated Worthy Master.
The New Master puts on his gloves. The Installing Master picks up the sword from the Altar.
Receive your sword and sheath it. The Installing Master gives the sword to the new Master who sheaths it.
I now communicate to you the word of a Worthy Master, which is B... (whispered in his ear)
(leading him by both hands): I now place you in the Chair of Master of this Chapel of the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon, and surrender to you this baton. Worthy Master, you will now invest the Immediate Past Master.
It gives me great pleasure to invest you with the jewel of a Past Master, which is a Canterbury Cross.
May you wear it for many years. From the manner in which you have conducted the affairs of this Chapel during your incumbency, I am satisfied that you will be able to offer me every assistance should I so desire it.
Marshal: Sir Knights you will salute your new Worthy Master with four, taking your time with me.
A..., A..., A..., A.... (Done).
Marshal: Sir Knights - Be seated.
Worthy Master stands to receive the Warrant.
Installing Master: I now present you with the Warrant of the Chapel, which is the authority by which we act. Since time immemorial, it has passed unsullied through the keeping of many Worthy Knights and will, I trust, be handed to your successor in the same pristine condition that you now receive it. I now present to you the Constitutions of this Commemorative Order, the By-Laws of the Province and the By-Laws of this Chapel.
Installing Master: You will now conduct the election of the Treasurer after which you will appoint your Officers.
Installing Master: Worthy Master, I wish to propose Sir ... of ..., be elected Treasurer.
This proposition must be seconded by a member of the Chapel.
Master: Worthy Knights, you have heard that proposition duly seconded. All those in favour remain silent.
Then I declare the motion carried, and I hereby declare Sir ... of ... elected Treasurer.
Marshal: Worthy Master, whom do you appoint Prior?
Master: Sir ... of ....
The new Prior rises, removes his belt and sword, if worn, and gloves and hands them to the Deputy Marshal, who takes them back to his place and remains there. The Marshal escorts the named Prior to the kneeling stool
Master: Sir ... of ..., as Eminent Prior of this Chapel you take upon yourself certain duties and
responsibilities, of which you should ever try to be mindful. Remember that as Eminent Prior you are the Servant of God, so that your best, and only your best, are offered to Him. When performing your ceremonial duties, let your thoughts be of devotion and reverence, as you are responsible for the spiritual welfare of all the members in your Chapel.
Will you strive to show forth in your thoughts, your words and your works, the power of Almighty God, which is within you?
Prior Nom.: I will.
Master: Will you strive earnestly to fulfil the office to which you have been appointed?
Prior Nom.: I will.
Master: Then you will kneel on both knees.
Marshal: Sir Knights - To order.
The Master places his right hand on the left shoulder of the Prior Nominate.
Master: By the power vested in me, I confer on thee the office of Prior of the Chapel. Rise.
The Master hands the new Prior into his seat, instructs him to sit and returns to his place and sits.
Marshal: Sir Knights - Be seated.
Then follows the Marshal, elected Treasurer, Secretary, Deputy Marshal, Almoner, Working
Knights Nos. 1, 2, 3 & 4, Herald, Organist, Doorkeeper, Cellarers and Sentry.
When the new Almoner is announced, he rises, removes his belt and sword and hands them to the Deputy Marshal, who places them behind the Almoner's table.
If the retiring Almoner is not appointed to higher office he waits until the new Almoner has been invested and taken his place in the Chapel, before being conducted to another seat by the Deputy Marshal.
The objective is to conduct a ceremony without interruption. The Deputy Marshal can deal with the business of putting on and discarding swords, escorting the Officers etc, whilst the Marshal deals with the investiture. The Deputy Marshal conducts the Officers to and from the Master. No movement should take place whilst the Master is investing an Officer.
Installing Master: In the year A.D. 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."
Marshal: Worthy Master, that completes the appointment and investiture of the Officers, and the ceremony of your Installation.
Prior extinguishes the Installation candle and the Marshall replaces it on the Almoner's table.