Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests
Degree of the Knight of Death

1998/2015


Compiler's Notes: A Funeral Assembly of Knights of Death consists of the Very Eminent Knight Funeral Master, Eminent Knight Senior General, Eminent Knight Junior General, the Knights Clerk, Chamberlain, Conductor, Inner Guardian and Guardian. The Members wear black mantles and black caps. On front of the caps, the letters MM are embroidered in red.
The Assembly is laid out as for a Craft Lodge except that the Prelate sits to the left of the SG and the Conductor to the right of the JG, with the Chamberlain to the left of the VEKFM.

 

Opening

VEKFM, gives ***********:
Sorrowful Knights, it is low twelve, the hour when the Funeral Assembly opens and meditates upon the sadness of life. You will quietly kneel and give up a silent prayer. A short pause ensues. Arise Brother Knights. Brother Chamberlain attend at the altar.
Cham. covers the altar with a black cloth, and places on it a seven branched candle holder, a funeral lily, a skull and a Holy Bible, laid upon the shape of a coffin. The Bible remains closed.
VEKFM:
Brother Knight Junior General, you will ensure that this Assembly is safe and closed against the eyes and ears of the profane.
EJG:
Brother Knight Inner Guardian, is the Knight Guardian at his post and armed with the Sword of Fate?
KIG opens the door and ascertains that the Guardian is at his post, armed with a drawn sword.
KIG:
EJG, Our Assembly is properly guarded and is both safe and secure.
EJG reports the same to the VEKFM.
VEKFM:
Then Brother Knights, by my will and pleasure and the authority vested in me as KFM, I hereby declare this Assembly of Knights of Death, duly, regularly and lawfully open. Gives *.
VEKFM:
Brother Knights, while so assembled, this shall be our Sign. Gives Sign of the Order, which is copied by all present, after which all take their seats.
VEKFM:
Knight Clerk, do we have any business to bring before the Assembly, for consideration by the Knights?
KCk:
None, other than that I am informed that without, there awaits at your pleasure, one who desires advancement to the Order of Death.
VEKFM:
By what proficiency does he hope to advance and join with us under the Banner of this Order.
KCk:
By his proven proficiency as a Master Mason and his Knightly manner, him being a Knight of the Order of the Temple.
VEKFM:
Substantial as bis qualifications may be, these are not sufficient to enable advancement to this degree.
KCk:
He also brings with him the Pass Word of a Knight of the White Cross.
VEKFM:
Such would bring him to the portal of our door but would not entitle him to enter.
KCk:
He would also bring with him the Pass Word of a Knight of Death.
VEKFM:
Have you received such from the Stranger Knight?
KCk:
I have not, but the Knight Conductor bas given the Word to me on his behalf.
VEKFM:
Knight Conductor, do you indeed speak for this Stranger Knight who now awaits without the door?
KCond:
VEKFM, upon my honour, I speak for him as a worthy Mason and Knight.
VEKFM:
Very well, Knight Conductor, but do you agree that we must expel you from our Knighthood, should this Stranger prove unworthy?
KCond:
I so agree.
VEKFM:
Then let the Stranger be admitted and welcomed amongst us. Knight Conductor you may now retire and introduce this Stranger Knight.
Conductor signs and retires, The Candidate is clothed in a coat of white, representing a shroud, and his hands are loosely bound with a white cord. When prepared, the Cand. is admitted info the Assembly without fluffier interrogation and is led before the VEKFM, where he is made to kneel on both knees white the Prelate reads Matthew Ch. XXVII vs xxxii to xxxxvi and John Ch. XIX vs xxviii to xxx, After the reading the Cand. is raised and led around the floor until he returns again before the VEKFM.
VEKFM:
Brother Knights, the Stranger Knight has illustrated his firm convictions and worthy intentions by his demeanour and attention to the readings from the Holy Word. I see no reason to doubt his intention and therefore suggest that it is not necessary to keep him bound and that he should be returned to liberty, do you agree?
All:
We agree.
VEKFM:
Then let his bonds be removed from his wrists and let him be refreshed after the manner of our Lord, such as we have now heard from the Knight Prelate.
The Chamberlain now comes forward with a small bowl of water and a sponge. [ln former times a mixture of water, vinegar and herbs was used but this is no longer deemed necessary.] The Cand. then draws moisture from the sponge, or motions to do so and afterwards is given a linen cloth to wipe his face. The Cham. then returns to his station with the bowl.
VEKFM:
Stranger, being now refreshed and rested, how are you called?
Cand.:
I am known as Sir Gives birth or first name.
VEKFM:
I am advised that you wish to advance to the Order of Death, do you still wish to do so?
Cand.:
I do.
VEKFM:
Then Knight Conductor, you will take Sir , in turn, to the Eminent Junior & Senior Generals.
This is done and Cand. is placed before the JG.
EJG:
Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath,
Can honour's voice provoke the silent dust or flattery
soothe the dull cold ear of death.
Cand. is led before the SG.
ESG:
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power
And all that beauty that wealth e'er gave,
Await alike the inevitable hour,
The paths of glory lead but to the grave!
VEKFM:
Knight Prelate, prepare the Altar. The KP lights the seven candles on the altar and when they are fit, all other lighting is extinguished. As the lights go out, all stand. Sir ..., you will approach the Altar. Kneel on both knees, pause place your left hand on the Scriptures and your right upon that emblem of mortality. You will now repeat I, Sir , do, upon the Holy Word and this emblem of mortality, pledge my honour that I will from this day forth be ever mindful of my acts here on Earth, that I might be prepared when the Angel of Death shall sound the trump that calls me unto him. l shall ever bear in remembrance the awful death of the Christ and strive to irritate His good example, doing good to all men. And should I violate this Obligation may I be placed upon a Cross of Infamy, my parched lips be fed vinegar and hyssop when I thirst and a spear of shame be thrust through my side and then my body buried in an unhallowed grave, where none will ever find it.
The members are seated.
VEKFM:
You may now rise and be divested of your garment then hear the Lecture. The white coat is removed and the Cand. is dressed in the black man tie and cap of the degree.
ESG:
You must be aware that man only transcends this world for but a brief period of time. Irrespective of his station in life, be he lord or pauper, he can no more affect his duration upon this earthly plane than he can affect the movement of the stars. You cannot avoid death the Great Leveller for, since it is known that he is no respecter of personage or position, he will eventually visit us all. Be certain then that when your time comes and Death calls, that your spirit and soul are such, that Death will have no fear for you. Brother Knight, in this degree there are several secrets which it is now my pleasure to impart to you. The Pass Word is Consummatum est or It is finished. The sign is given by holding the right hand up to the mouth with fingers slightly spread as if holding the sponge of vinegar and hyssop. The grip is given by laying your right hand upon the others left side, in allusion to the spear thrust suffered by our Lord. The Grand Word is Momento Mori, alluding to the method by which you took your vow of obligation. All these secrets further allude to the pain and suffering which Jesus Christ endured for you and I, and should ever be kept in mind throughout your life. This degree is a sad and sorrowful journey and tends to teach Freemasons that all paths do but lead to the grave, hence, we should always be prepared for that journey and know also, within our hearts, that we are ready and willing to travel on that final path. The ceremony should further teach us that it is not the idle honours of this life that count for anything in the scheme of eternity. It is only the spiritual, everlasting aspects of life which have any worthwhile meaning. Let us then, lay by a store from the light of Jesus Christ, against that day which cometh.
ESG resumes his place and the Cand. is congratulated and shown to a seat. Thereafter the Conductor resumes his place.
VEKFM:
Knight Clerk, does this conclude the business of the Assembly?
KCk.:
VEKFM, I have nothing further of import upon my table.
VEKFM:
Sir Knights, do you have further business? There being none. Then let us close the Assembly and retire to our refectory. Em. Knight Junior General, is the Knight Guardian still at his post?
EJG charges the KIG who raps and receives a response. KIG replies.
EJG:
The Assembly remains safe and secure, VEKFM.
VEKFM:
Knight Chamberlain, are the effects of the degree safely held.
The Cham. rises, lifts the edges of the black cloth, covers over the altar and returns.
K Ch.:
Our effects are safely held, VEKFM.
VEKFM:
Then Em. Knight SG, it is my will and pleasure that this Assembly of the Order of Death be closed and the Knights retired.
ESG:
Sir Knights, by the will and pleasure of the VEKFM, it is declared and it is hereby declared, that this Assembly is now closed. Gives *, repeated by JG, Guardian and Sentinel.


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