Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests
The Degree of Knight of the Christian Mark

1997/2015


Compiler's Notes: Three versions of this ceremony have been discovered and the latest, which was supplied by a Member of the Order of HRAKTP, was accompanied by a note in which the writer suggested that the ritual which he had sent was that worked in the North East of England in the last century. Unfortunately this appears to be snore than a little doubtful since the text of that ritual is identical to the copy held by the Grand College of the United States of America. The only difference being is that on the frontispiece of the American ritual there is a note staling that the ritual was supplied by Sidney Clifford Bingham. Bingham, who illegally admitted American Freemasons as Knight Templar Priests and then further, without any authority to do so, warranted three Tabernacles in the USA., used rituals that had been worked at Manchester, probably with John Yarker, and it therefore unlikely that this form was worked in the North East of England.
There are however, few differences from the version used here with the exception of two main points. The first difference is that in the ritual reproduced here, the papal authority is given as POPE ALEXANDER while in the other it is POPE SYLVESTER. The second variance in the Bingham ritual is the presence of six Grand Ministers. What is peculiar is that in all three versions there are several references to the words TAMMUZ TOULIMETH (or similar) but their meaning or application is never explained! Needless to say, the ritual is of some interest in all its three versions!
The meetings of this Order are held in Conclaves and the presiding Invincible Knight is assisted by the Senior and Junior Knights, and Knights Prelate, Recorder, Conductor, Beadle and Monitor. The regalia worn consists of a plain white mantle and a cap of purple emblazoned with a double papal cross in gold, on the right of the cross are the letters C.R. and on the left V.T. All candidates must be Knights of Malta.
The altar is centrally placed and upon it are the following items. A copy of the New Testament opened at the Beatitudes, a bunch of fresh herbs, parsley, chives etc, a single white candle and sheet of paper representing a Papal Bull or Authority.

 

Opening

IK:
Sir Knights as I am about to open this Conclave of Knights of the Christian Mark, you will now attend your stations.
All in attendance assume their places in the Conclave.
IK:
Sir Junior Knight, are we now convened in a secret place, and are we secure from the prying eyes of the profane?
JK:
The Knight Monitor is at his post and we are both secret and secure, Invincible.
IK:
Sir Senior Knight, what is our bounden duty?
SK:
To gather under the banner of the Blessed St. John and to serve the highest of the Church.
IK:
Knights you will form together for the purpose of opening this Conclave.
All leave their places and form a circle around the altar, kneeling upon the right knee, with the right hand upon the heart. When the members are thus formed the IK joins them and says:
IK:
Knight Prelate, pray for our souls.
Prel.:
Eternal Giver of Life, Source of Light and Image of Perfection, Supreme Deity and Mentor of All, we give praise in Thy Name and crave your every blessing. For the sake and in the Name of Thy Atoning Son, we approach Thee and come before Thee as lost and imperfect children and request the favour of Thy mercy. At the foot of the Cross we come, supplicating pardon for any previous sins and that they may be erased from the Book of Thy remembrance and that the remaining days of our lives shall be spent as would become followers of the Holy Trinity and graciously grant that we may achieve love, attain harmony and, that peace and unity will surround this Conclave and enfold us in Thy embrace. May one God reign over us and that one Heaven receive us, there to dwell with Thee in Thy ineffable presence, forever and forever, Amen.
All:
SMIB and may God bless us.
All rise, give the Sign of the Order and cry out REX REGNANTIUM ET DOMINUS DOMINATIUM and retire to their places.
IK:
Sir Knight Recorder, do we have business to come before this gathering?
Rec.:
All business has been dispatched save that the Knight Conductor requests that he may address you.
IK:
Sir Knight Conductor, you may rise and speak.
Cond., rises and gives the Sign:
Invincible Knight, I crave your permission to present before the Conclave, one who desires to be Advanced as a Knight of the Christian Mark.
IK:
What qualifications does be bring to secure such Advancement.
Cond.:
He is well skilled in the Art of Masonry and has been proclaimed as a Knight of St. John.
IK:
The first indicates his strength of character and the second fulfills a point of necessity. Sir Knights, you have heard the request of our Brother the Conductor, do you accede to his entreaty. All indicate their assent by a nod of the head.
IK:
Knight Conductor, The Knights of this Conclave having expressed their will, you may now retire and introduce the Candidate in the proper form.
 

Reception

The Cand. wears the sash of a Knight of Malta and over his shoulders, a mantle or cloak of poor brown or dark material.
The Conductor approaches the door of the Conclave and gives ** ***** **.
Beadle:
Sir Junior Knight, there is an alarm.
JK:
Invincible Knight, there is an alarm.
IK:
Sir Junior Knight. you will see who comes and report JK leaves his station and goes to the door which he opens slightly and enquires:
JK:
Whom have we here?
Cond.:
One who has seen the Sign of the Cross in the East, who has read the mystic words and who, to the best of his ability, has been faithful in good works. He has also proved that he is in possession of the Word of a Knight of St. John. JK motions the Cond. and Cand. to remain and closes the door.
JK:
Invincible Knight, at the door stands one who has seen the Sign of the Cross in the East, who has read the mystic words and who, to the best of his ability, has been faithful in good works. He has also proved that he is in possession of the Word of a Knight of St. John.
IK:
What good works has he undertaken?
JK:
He hath given food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty and the naked he has clothed with a garment.
IK:
What does he seek here?
JK:
He seeks to numbered amongst those who have been marked with the Mystic Mark of the Conclave.
IK:
How shall we know that he is worthy of such an honour?
JK:
He has given the word of a Knight of St. John of Jerusalem
IK:
Thus far he has done well but there is still much for him to do. "To be faithful in My house", saith the Lord, "he should be filled with the love of My people". If he is so, let him enter this Conclave under the penalties of his former obligations.
Cand. enters under the direction of the Conductor and they slowly circle the Conclave while the Knight Prelate reads Matthew Ch. V vs ii - xi. When the reading is concluded the Cand. is placed at the West side of the altar facing the Invincible Knight who he is directed to salute with the Sign of a Knight of Malta. IK acknowledges the salutation with a slight nod of the head.
IK:
Sir Knight, do you agree to assume the Vow pertaining to this Order, for if you do not then you must be escorted back from whence you came. Cand. assents. Then you will kneel on both knees at the foot of the Altar, lift the New Testament with both hands and hold against your heart, that vessel whereby all promises are truly founded. Cand. does so. You will now repeat after me inserting your name where I use mine.
SK:
Knights, to order. (All stand.)
 

Vow

IK:
I, , kneeling before this Altar, do promise and vow, with this Sacred Testament pressed over my heart, that l will keep secret the Words, Signs, and Tokens of this Order of Knighthood from all but those who are Hospitaller Knights of the Order of St. John, who have shown a Christian disposition to all mankind, who are professors of the one true Faith and who have passed through the Degrees of Symbolic and Royal Arch Masonry; and, that I will protect, succour and support, as far as lies within my providence, those who follow the Lord Jesus Christ, that I shall feed them if they be hungry, give them drink if they thirst, clothe them if naked, show them the path if they have strayed and advise them only to their benefit. I further vow, that I will never be a party to the making of a Knight of this Order unless it be done in a properly and legally constituted Conclave of Knights of the Christian Mark. All this I vow in the name of the Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost and if I prove faithless to this vow, may I become an ANATHEMA MARANTHA, that is, accursed at the coming of the Lord. The IK takes the NT from the Cand. and circles it around the Candidate's head four times, kisses it and replaces it on the altar. The IK then raises the Cand. by interlocking the fingers of the left hands. When the Cand. is raised, the SK moves behind him and stands a pace or so from him. The IK and SK then draw their swords together. The IK places his on the right shoulder of the Cand., the SK places his on the left shoulder.
IK:
By the high power in me vested as Invincible Knight of this Conclave, such power given by Papal Bull of Pope Alexander, I now dub you a Knight of the Christian Mark. The swords are sheathed and the SK returns to his station, and all resume their seats.
IK:
Know you that the command hath gone forth to the Ministers of His wrath. Go through the city, run in the midst thereof and smite, let not thine eye spare, neither have pity, for they have not executed my judgments with clean hands, saith the Lord of Hosts.
Cond., for the Candidate:
Woe unto me, for I am a man of unclean lips and my dwelling has been in the tents of Keder and my life among the children of Meshec.
The Knight Prelate rises and takes up the bunch of herbs from the altar and brushes them against the lips of the Candidate.
Prel.:
If ye truly believe, then thy iniquities shall be taken away, thy sins shall be purged, l will that these be clear by the sweet herbs given up before me. All thy sins are removed and thy iniquities blotted out of the book of thy life.
Refuse not therefore to hearken, draw not away not away thy shoulders, close not thy ears that thou should not hear.
The Prelate returns the bunch of herbs to the altar and resumes his place. The JK rises draws his sword and approaches the Cand. As he nears him he lifts the sword as if to strike at him.
IK:
Stay. Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, saith the Lord of Hosts. The JK halts, pauses as if in contemplation, sheaths his sword and returns to his station. The SK rises and with the inked seal approaches and presses it on the forehead of the Cand. leaving the letters RRDD, in red lettering)
SK:
Set the mark upon the forehead of my people that have passed through great tribulation and have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb, which was slain for the foundation of the World.
IK:
Junior Knight, what is the number of those that are sealed?
SK:
Set the mark upon the forehead of my people that have passed through great tribulation and have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb, which was slain for the foundation of the World.
IK:
Junior Knight, what is the number of those that are sealed?
JK:
There are of the sealed, one hundred and forty and four thousand.
IK:
Salvation belongeth to our God, who sitteth upon the Throne of Heaven, and unto the Lamb.
The SK resumes his station and sits.
IK:
Knight Conductor, place our new Knight before me. Does so. Knight , we congratulate you on having been w01thy of admission into this Order. Let me first remove this drab garment as a sign of your elevation and clothe you with this mantle of white and the cap of your rank. Whispers in ear Tammuz Toulimeth. You now represent one of the bodyguard of Knights, recommended by the Grand Master of the Hospital, to Pope Alexander to form his personal bodyguard. The position that you now fill was much desired among the noblemen of the great families of Italy but such was the ambition, jealously and envy wrought by those wishing to guard the person of the Pope and the Holy See, that Alexander turned to his friend the Grand Master of the Order of St. John and asked him to provide a Guard of Knights who were both well-grounded in the Faith and zealous in its protection. The Pope created the Guard by the issuance of a Bull. The knights were chosen on account of their countenances for it was held that a plain countenance was an indication of a true heart. In order that no stranger would gain admission to their Conclave and discover the secrets of this august body, the Order of the Christian Mark was conferred on those whose life had been of great benefit to others less fortunate, thereby following the example of their Illustrious Master, Jesus Christ. We say unto you, Go thou and do likewise. The Pass Word of this degree is that represented by the letters pressed upon your forehead Rex Regnantium et Dominus Dominiantium or, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The token is given in the manner that you were raised after taking your vow, by interlocking the fingers of the left hands. The Challenge is made after the token bas been given, the first says RR, to which the other replies DD. The words as before. The sign of the Order is given by placing the right hand on the forehead, this being symbolic of the Mark placed there. There is in this Order, also the Grand Challenge, which is undertaken by two Knights when armed with swords. They again interlock the fingers of the left hand, draw swords, point them at the others heart and the first says TAMMUZ to which the second replies TOULIMETH.
The whiteness of the man tie you now wear befits the purity of thought that all Knights of the Order should possess. The cap of rank, is purple being the colour of ecclesiastic authority, the Papal Cross is shown alluding to the direct authority given to the Knights of the Christian Mark by Pope Alexander, who permitted the cross to be used as the device of the Order. The letters, CR and VT, on each side of the Cross, denote the motto of the Order, CHRISTUS REGNAT, VINCIT TRIUMPHAT, meaning Christ rules, conquers, triumphs.
IK:
Go now, join the ranks of the Guard, serve faithfully and diligently.
Conductor escorts the Knight to a suitable place and resumes his own station.

 

Closing

IK:
Knights, attend your devotions. All kneel on the right knee. Knight Prelate, lead us in prayer.
Prelate leads the Knights in repeating the lord's Prayer.
IK:
Arise, All do so. I now declare this Conclave, properly, duly and amply closed. ** ****** **.


Home