Templar Times


Monday, October 20, 2014

2015 Masonic Week

The 2015 Masonic Week schedule is now out on the internet. Masonic Week originated with the Allied Masonic Degrees in 1938 and over time, more and more groups have jumped on board and expanded the program. At this one, the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis will not be meeting as they have moved their next Annual Convocation to November 7, 2015, and which is being held at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, KY. The 2015 Masonic Week will be from January 28th through February 1st which is a bit earlier than usual, but this was done due to conflict with the Grand Master's Conference of North America that was occurring on the other side of the States.

Official Program

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
8:00 AM - The Masonic Order of Athelstan, Province of USA
12:00 PM - Athelstan Luncheon
1:30 PM - Consecration of New Courts 
4:00 PM - Opening of the Provincial Grand Court of the United
6:00 PM - Banquet sponsored by the Masonic Order of Athelstan, Province of USA

Thursday, January 29th, 2015
8:00 AM - Trinity Chapel #12, St. Thomas of Acon
10:00 AM - Institution and Consecration of 2 new Chapels in USA
11:00 AM - Grand Preceptor’s Council Meeting
12:00 PM - Festive Board (Acon Members and the Ladies only)
1:30 PM - Grand Master’s Council Special Ceremonies
2:30 PM - The Order of the Scarlet Cord of the United States of America
7:00 PM - All Masonic Banquet

Friday, January 30th, 2015
7:30 AM - Breakfast sponsored by Convent General KYCH
8:30 AM - Grand Council Knight Masons, USA
11:00 AM - Society of Blue Friars
12:00 PM - Luncheon sponsored by the Knight Masons
2:00 PM - Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest, Grand College of America
6:30 PM - Scarlet Cord Consistory Festive Board
6:30 PM - The Masonic Society Annual Dinner
6:30 PM - The Great Priory of America, CBCS Annual Banquet and Meeting
8:00 PM - Conferral of Councillor Grade Conferred in a Council of Elders of the Scarlet Cord
9:00 PM - Ye Antiente Order of Corks

Saturday, January 31st, 2015
7:00 AM - Breakfast sponsored by York Rite Sovereign College 
9:30 AM - Grand College of Rites of the USA 
11:00 AM - Nine Muses Council No. 13 
12:00 PM - Luncheon sponsored by The Philalethes Society
1:00 PM - Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor
2:30 PM - Grand Council of the Allied Masonic
6:00 PM - AMD Social Hour
7:00 PM - Grand Council AMD Installation Banquet
9:00 PM - Masonic Order of the Bath

Sunday, February 1st, 2015
8:30 AM - The Operatives, United States of America Region
9:00 AM - Lodge of Menatzchim V° 
10:30 AM - Lodge of Harodim VI° 
12:00 PM - Operatives Brunch 
1:30 PM - Bull Run Quarry Assemblage (VA)
I plan on attending, but won't make the same mistake I did last year with dealing with the airlines and Mother Nature.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Torch of Light

by Ezekiel Mu'Akil Bey

One dark clear night I looked outside 
And wondered what's beyond the lights 
The twinkle dots a world so vast 
The blinks of stars remind of glass 

My mind began to leave my soul 
To travel far beyond the poles 
The speed of light became a breeze 
I wondered what, what could this be 

An infinite space so broad to grasp 
No human feeling could ever match 
The guide I had I could not see 
Then I remembered my three degrees 

I saw the lights becoming close 
With guides unknown of many host 
I understood what just appeared 
Masonic travel became so clear 

I just perceived what's to unfold 
My first entrance, which I behold 
I thought of all, in mind in me 
And recollected my first degree 

The more I traveled the more I saw 
Between two stars my mind had told 
A story far beyond the spheres 
Of working tools I held so dear 

And then I fell in deep black holes 
Passing in and on in chambers toll 
I thought again what could this be 
And then I thought of two degrees 

My mind controlled all moves I made 
But to return I wished and prayed 
I swore to keep all oaths 
I took The 3rd degree all clear it spoke 

On my return I saw the Lord 
And asked him why, what was this all 
The birth of man is but a porch 
To live the life of burning torch 

Can't you remember I spake the word 
And you appeared with all to learn 
With force and power "LET THERE BE LIGHT" 
And I became a torch of Light.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Installed as Grand Orator

Well, today ended the 147th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Idaho and the 2014-2015 officers, elected and appointed, were installed today. Brother G. Arthur Shoemaker now sits as the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Idaho and I look forward to next year. 

I have the pleasure of serving the Grand Lodge of Idaho as the Grand Orator. Art served as Worshipful Master of my Lodge in 2008 while I served as Senior Warden so I happily accepted the appointment when Art approached me this last Summer. As Grand Orator it is my duty to deliver an address at the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge on a Masonic topic as well as dedications and other times as designated by the Most Worshipful Grand Master. I look forward to serving in this capacity and serving the Brethren of Idaho.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Ancient City of Tyre

In Freemasonry, we learn a bit about the Biblical character Hiram, King of Tyre, or Hiram I, who was an ally of King David and King Solomon, and who was integral in the building of King Solomon's Temple. During Hiram's reign 10th century BC, the height of the kingdom of Tyre, improvements such as cisterns, ports, shipyards, temples, and palaces, were made to the island and made it a jewel in the Mediterranean region.

Tyre, also known in Arabic as Ṣūr, is located 83-km south of Beirut and is the fourth largest city in what is now Lebanon, and which was known for being the dominant city-state of the Phoenician Empire. The literal translation of Tyre is "rock" as the original location of Tyre was very rocky. According to statements made to Herodotus, the city of Tyre was founded around 2750 BC. Originally it was a heavily fortified island, but over the centuries it has been connected to the mainland. The city had many plazas and squares, but due to the space restrictions of the island many of the buildings were built taller and were the sky-scrapers of their time. The Tyrian Island had two harbors, one on the northern and southern sides of the island; these two harbors gave it maritime prominence is ancient days. The northern harbor is still in use today. Prior to Alexander the Great, Tyre was just an island and on the mainland there was a community known as Ushu, but known as Palaetyrus, or Old Tyre, by the Greeks. This mainland city was primarily used for supplying the island as it sat at the foot of mountains and near the gorge of the ancient Leontes River, and they prospered as a result of the maritime wealth accumulated by Tyre.

Tyre has had a profound effect on the history of civilization. Tyre was a maritime power in the Mediterranean and was known as "Queen of the Sea." Around the 700 BC, Phoenician traders began to expand their trade. In turn this expansion led the Tyre establishing colonies around the Mediterranean such as Carthage and as far west as Spain. They traded first with wood, metals, salves, wine, and glass, but one of its trades it was known for, was its rare purple dyes which were used primarily by royalty as it was so costly. It was the purple dye that gave the Phoenicians their name as Phoenician means "purple people," originating from the Greek word "phoinios" meaning "purple." It is said that the alphabet into Greece was attributed to Cadmus of Tyre. The sister of Cadmus was named Europa and which it is believed that the continent was named. It there prowess on the seas and in trade that made them such a great match for King David and King Solomon, and the building of the Temple.

Tyre was continuously attacked by nation and empire; the Persians, the Romans, the Greeks, the Crusaders, and Arabs. The Phoenicians were defeated by Cyrus the Great and Tyre was created one of the four vassal kingdoms of the Empire. Under the Persians, the Tyre was known for furnishing ships. Alexander the Great attempted to lay siege, but was originally unsuccessful. He had to destroy Ushu to build a causeway to the island was he enabled to bring siege engines and scale the walls of Tyre. He was brutal to the people of Tyre; he executed many of the males who were of age to serve in the military, sold thousands to slavery, and razed the city to the ground. This brutality stems from the Tyrians killing an ambassador that Alexander has sent to them asking for a peace treaty. Alexander's primary goal was Egypt, but after the death of his ambassador, he had to set an example. Although the people received brutal treatment, the King, Azemilcus, or Azimilik, was spared. The city would eventually be rebuilt and they regained autonomy, but never to the prominence they once were and eventually they would be enveloped by the Roman Empire.

The city of Tyre was captured by the Crusaders in 1124 and would become an important city in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Tyre was the site for the Archbishop of Tyre, the most notable of whom was William of Tyre who is known for recording the history of the medieval Knights Templar. In 1291, Tyre was taken by the Mameluks and then became a part of the Ottoman Empire. This lasted until the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of the state of Lebanon in 1920. At the present day, Tyre covers a larger part of the island and has expanded along the causeway (expanded greatly since Alexander's time) toward the mainland. It is primarily composed of Shia Muslims, but has a small community of Sunnis as well as Christians. Along with fishing, tourism is a primary source of income. This ancient city has had impact on the world that covers the histories of ancient empires, religious traditions, and even the legends of our ancient and honorable Fraternity.


1. Byers, G. (2010, January 26). The Biblical Cities of Tyre and Sidon. Retrieved from Associates for Biblical Research: http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2010/01/26/the-biblical-cities-of-tyre-and-sidon.aspx#Article 

2. Ellis, E. S., & Home, C. F. (1913). The Ancient City of Tyre. Retrieved from Public Bookshelf: http://www.publicbookshelf.com/public_html/The_Story_of_the_Greatest_Nations_and_the_Worlds_Famous_Events_Vol_1/ancientc_jg.html 

3. List of kings of Tyre. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_kings_of_Tyre 

4. Mark, J. J. (2009, September 2). Phoenicia. Retrieved from Ancient History Encyclopedia: http://www.ancient.eu/phoenicia/ 

5. Mark, J. J. (2009, September 2). Tyre. Retrieved from Ancient History Encyclopedia: http://www.ancient.eu.com/Tyre/ 

6. Padfield, D. (1994). The Destruction Of Tyre. Retrieved from The Church of Christ: http://www.padfield.com/1994/tyre.html 

7. Phoenicians. (n.d.). Retrieved from Time Maps: http://www.timemaps.com/civilization/Phoenicians 

8. Tyre. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyre,_Lebanon 

9. Tyre. (n.d.). Retrieved from Encyclopedia Brittanica: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/611914/Tyre/ 

10. Tyre (Sour). (n.d.). Retrieved from Tyre City Webpage: http://tyros.leb.net/tyre/ 

11. Tyre, Lebanon. (n.d.). Retrieved from About: http://atheism.about.com/od/bibleplacescities/ig/Tyre-Lebanon-Phoenician-Photos/Tomb-of-Hiram-1.htm

Saturday, September 6, 2014

30th Birthday

Well, here's to 30 amazing years on this planet!!! I have a great family, I've traveled around the world, I've had the pleasure of serving in the military, I'm going through an amazing journey through Freemasonry, I'm in my final semester as an undergraduate at Boise State, and I look forward to what the future may bring to my life.

Now it's time to relax before going to dinner tonight with the family and then a night on the town with my friends.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Teutonic Knights

Another chivalric order that was established during the Crusades was the "Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen Haus St. Mariens in Jerusalem" or Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem, or also known as the Teutonic Knights. This medieval order was primarily composed of German nobles and, similar in duty with the Templars and Hospitalliers, it was established to aid Christians on their pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to establish hospitals, but in comparison to other knighthoods was relatively small.

Noblemen would serve as either Knights or Priests (thought nobility was not required for priests) while those of common lineage would compose the infantry or work as book-keepers or in the hospitals (this third class was often referred to as serving brothers). The knights took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Life as a knight was communal, they owned nothing personally and, in keeping of their vows, the armor they donned in battle was plain and simple. The uniform of the knights was a white surcoat with a black cross (often a cross pattée) upon the left shoulder. The squires also used these same colors so they could be identified with the Teutonic order. The motto of the Order was: "Helfen, Wehren, Heilen" or "Help, Defend, Heal". 


The members of the order assembled to form the "Generalkapitel," or General Chapter, which was often used to elect the new Grand Master met annually and usually was only attended by the higher officer. For the elections, the Großkomtur of the late Hochmeister set the date and location of the elections, and once assembled he nominated a knight to serve as first elector. If approved, the first elector then nominated a second elector. This process continued until eight knights, one priest, and four members of common lineage were selected. This committee would meet privately where the first elector would make nominations for Hochmeister and only a majority vote would result in a new Hochmeister. The decision would be taken before the Generalkapitel where priests would escort the new Hochmeister to the altar to take the oath of office all the while singing the hymn "Te deum laudamus."

The order was led by the "Hochmeister" or Grand Master who was still considered "first among equals" and who served for life or resignation. This position had to be chosen from the knight class only which meant that the Hochmeister was of noble birth. Until 1525, this position was elected by the Generalkapitel and until 1466 was also sovereign prince of Prussia.

Appointed by the Hochmeister, the Großgebietiger were high officers that filled the following offices: 
The Großkomtur who was the deputy of the Hochmeister and had supervision over the clergy; sometimes referred to as Preceptor
The Treßler or Treasurer
The Spitler who was responsible for all hospital affairs
The Trapier who was responsible for dressing and armament
The Marschall who was the chief of military affairs
There were also a variety of special offices that worked for the Hochmeister. The Kanzler, or Chancellor, of the Hochmeister and the Deutschmeister. The Chancellor took care of the keys and seals and was recording clerk of the GeneralkapitelThe order was given the right to mint their own currency in 1246 and the production was overseen by the Münzmeister, or master of the mint, of Thorn. The Pfundmeister, or customs master, of Danzig. The Generalprokurator represented the order at the Holy See. The Großschäffer was a trading representative with special authority.

The Teutonic Knights were divided into three national chapters: Prussia, Livland and the territory of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. Each national chapter was led by a Landmeister which position was elected by the regional chapters. After 1309, the Landmeister of Prussia was also the Hochmeister. The Landmeister of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation was also known as the Deutschmeister, and after Prussia and Livland were lost became the Hochmeister. With the order spread throughout the Holy Roman Empire, there was also a regional structure with supervision being left to a Bailiwick. The administrative unit at the local level was known as a Kommende and was ruled by a Komtur (Commander)


The Teutonic Knights were formed and recognized by Pope Celestine III in 1192 in Acre. This order was started by merchants from Lübeck and Bremen who had set up a field hospital during the Siege of Acre. This hospital was needed as German knights and soldiers suffering from sickness or wounds were left unattended as most of them did not speak Latin or French. Eventually a site within the walls of Acre were purchased. It was enlarged to include quarters for members, pilgrims and soldiers.

By 1198 the order started to turn into military order which also started the position of Hochmeister or Grand Master. In 1209 the order dropped its hospital mission and became strictly a military order. The order was given land in present day Germany and Italy, but also had property in Turkey and in the Levant (northeast of Acre). Most of the donations coming from the Holy Roman Empire. In 1214, Emperor Frederick I gave the position of Grand Master a spot in the imperial court and Frederick II exempted them from taxes and allowed use of imperial lands.

Not as strong or popular as their Templar and Hospitallier orders, the Teutonic Knights were still known for their battle prowess. They moved most of their forces to Transylvania in 1211 to help defend the borders of the Kingdom of Hungary against the Kipchaks, a Turkic tribal confederation. This didn't last long and in 1225 these knights were expelled by force by King Andrew II of Hungary as it was alleged the knights were attempting to place themselves under Papal instead of Hungarian sovereignty.

In 1226, Konrad I, Duke of Masovia (northeast Poland) requested help from the order to protect the borders from the pagan Prussians who were accused of destroying crops, stealing cattle, razing towns, destroying convents, murder, and sacrificing victims to their pagan gods. In 1230, the Teutonic Knights took part in the Prussian Crusade which was a joint invasion of Prussia intended to Christianize the inhabitants of the area. The Holy Roman Emperor gave the order rights of conquest and possession of Prussia. The order erected a fortress at Thorn, or Toruń (birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus) near the Vistula River and on a grove of oaks considered sacred by the pagan inhabitants.

The Teutonic Knights ruled Prussia as a sovereign monastic state (comparable to Knights Hospitallers in Rhodes and Malta). Fighting was fierce between the order and the native Prussians, but eventually the fighting died down and the people started to assimilate to the culture, religion, and language perpetuated by the order. Eventually Europeans (primarily Germanic, Flemish, or Dutch) started to emigrate to Prussia. In their conquest through the Baltic region, they defeated the Livonian Brothers of the Sword in 1237 at the Battle of Saule which resulted in the Livonian order being absorbed into the Teutonic Knights. During this time the order continued to conquer Prussian territory and even attempted to expand into the Russian Empire, but was repelled. The order then turned its focus to pagan Lithuania which was seen as equally brutal conflict as that in Prussia, but fighting in Lithuania would last for two centuries.

In Poland, the knights took over property in Chelmno Land (northern central Poland) as a base of their operations. From this the knights were able to create the independent Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights. This caused friction with the Polish monarchs and with problems with succession land disputes erupted. War erupted between Poland and the order. In 1291, the order moved its headquarters to Venice after the loss of Acre and the last Western holds in the Holy Land.

In 1309 the Knights moved their headquarters to Marienburg and the Landmeister of Prussia was merged with that of the Hochmeister. Fighting continued until 1343 when the papacy ended the conflict with the Treaty of Kalisz which left Chelmno Land to the knights, but the Poles regained Kuyavia and the Lands of Dobrzyń.

While fighting in Lithuania continued, the order was also involved with ending piracy in the Baltic Sea. The Victual Brothers were stationed on island, but were besieged and conquered in 1398.

Troubles with Poland woould be reignited after the Grand Duke Jogaila of Lithuania was baptized into Christianity and married Queen Jadwiga of Poland, and subsequently became King of Poland. By 1407, the order had the lands of Prussia, Pomerelia, Samogitia, Courland, Livonia, Estonia, Gotland, Dagö, Ösel, and the Neumark. The new Lithuanian-Polish alliance did not trust the order and in 1409 the "Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War" began. The Teutonic Knights were defeated in 1410 by a Polish-Lithuanian army at the Battle of Grunwald. An attempt was made to take Marienburg (headquarters of the order), but this failed due to strong resistance.

The First Peace of Thorn was signed in 1411 which allowed the Teutonic Knights to retain most of their land, but their reputation was damaged and their power began to dwindle while Poland and Lithuania rose in power. Infighting began and after a decade they began to lose lands. The knights fought against Poland again with the Polish–Teutonic War which lasted from 1431 to 1435. This war was a result of the alliance between the Teutonic order and Švitrigaila, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, who was waging a civil war against his brother King Jogaila of Poland. The Teutonic Knights invaded Poland, but was defeated. Poland allied with the Hussites to prevent Teutonic support of Švitrigaila. In 1435, Polish forces defeated and suppressed the rebellion, and the Teutonic Knights signed the Peace of Brześć Kujawski.

In the next few decades Prussia began to fall apart. Starting in 1454, the Prussian gentry and burghers rose against the order in what is known as the Thirteen Years' War. The Prussian gentry and burghers were supported by Poland and in 1466, the Second Peace of Thorn was signed recognizing Poland's rights over western Prussia. 

The Order maintained eastern Prussia with Königsberg as its headquarters and capitol. However they were no longer considered sovereign and independent, but vassals of the King of Poland. By the end of the end of 15th century it lost its property in Sicily and influence with the Papacy. The order lost complete control of Prussia and was ousted after the Polish-Teutonic War (1519-1521).

The Protestant Reformation had a strong effect on the order and in 1522 the Grand Master Albert of Brandenburg converted to Lutheranism, resigned from the order, and became the Duke of Prussia (a vassal of Poland). Martin Luther held a negative view of the order and actually wrote a letter to the knights trying to convince them break their vows as he said they were no use for God.

The order continued to lose its lands during the following century, but did maintain many of its holdings in Protestant regions of Germany and Livonia. The Livonian property was lost in 1561 when neighboring powers started partitioning off the territory during the Livonian War. The remainder of the property was in the Holy Roman Empipre and restructured the order with a 3-tier system: commanderies, bailiwicks, and the general chapter. After the Peace of Augsburg in 1555, the order was open to Protestants, but most were Catholic.

On February 9, 1801, the Treaty of Lunéville which signed the peace between France and Holy Roman Empire, the latter being defeated and which resulted for the Teutonic Knights, the loss of their lands and possessions on the left bank of the Rhine River. In 1809 Napoleon Bonaparte forced its dissolution and lost control over its holdings to Napoleon's allies. It continued to exist, but only as a ceremonial organization in Tyrol and Austria until it was banned by Hitler in 1938. It was reestablished after the end of WWII. Today it continues to exist as a philanthropic order in Vienna, Austria, seeking to care for German-speaking communities in foreign lands which was the original mission of the order. There is a Protestant branch still in existence in Utrecht, a province of Kingdom of the Netherlands.


1. Moeller, C. (1912). Teutonic Order. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved August 14, 2014 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14541b.htm

2. Teutonic Knights. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teutonic_Knights

3. Teutonic Knights. (n.d.). Retrieved from Middle Ages: http://www.lordsandladies.org/teutonic-knights.htm

4. Urban, W. L. (2000). The Early Years of the Teutonic Order. In The Prussian Crusade. Chicago: Lithuanian Research and Studies Center. Retrieved from Monmouth College: http://department.monm.edu/history/urban/books/PrussianCrusade2.htm

5. Woodhouse, F. C. (n.d.). Teutonic Knights: Their Organization And History. Retrieved from World History Center: http://history-world.org/teutonic_knights.htm

Monday, August 25, 2014

Last Semester at Boise State

Today marks the first day of my last semester as an Undergraduate student at Boise State University. This semester will be a heavy course load as I'm taking 5-courses, or 16-credits, with 4 of those classes being upper division classes: 3 History and 1 Political Science.

Fight Broncos, celebrate the orange and blue 

Boise, we'll stand and cheer for you 

Fight for distinction & our alma mater 

Bravely defending B-S-U! 

Fight on Courageously for Boise State 

Success and honor make her great 

Boise's proud tradition- 

Head's up competition- 

Glory for B - S - U 

Go! Orange! 

Go! big! blue! 

Fight! Fight! B-S-U!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Knight Crusader of the Cross

Another "chair degree," within the York Rite system, available for present and past Eminent Commanders is the Knight Crusader of the Cross. The other one is the Order of Knights PreceptorThis order is not used everywhere, but is still growing.

The body is referred to as "Asylum" and is supported by the following officers:
Knight Crusader of the East
Knight Crusader of the West
Knight Crusader of the South
Knight Crusader of the North
Knight Crusader Treasurer-Recorder
Knight Crusader of the Holy Cross
Knight Crusader of the Asylum
Knight Crusader of the Temple
This order was established in Florida in 1969. Like the other chair degrees in the York Rite, this order meets and confers this degree at the state Grand Commandery meeting which is how most "chair degrees" operate.

The initiation is opened with three brief lectures on Masonic Templary and the duties of a Commander. The candidates are then arranged according to the ritual and dubbed "Knight Crusaders of the Cross." It ends with a brief lecture on the ancient Knight Templars and an explanation of the emblem of the order and the modes of recognition of the order. The emblem of the order is the Jerusalem Cross with the motto "Non Nobis Domine Non Nobis Sed Nomini Tua Da Gloriam" or "Not to us, not to us, O Lord, But to thy name give glory."


1. Knight Crusaders of the Cross. (n.d.). Retrieved from Grand York Rite Bodies of Tennessee: http://www.tngrandyorkrite.org/index.php?chapters=Y&page=KCC 

2. Knight Crusaders of the Cross of South Carolina. (2008). Retrieved from Grand York Rite of South Carolina: http://www.yorkrite.org/sc/kcc.pdf 

3. The "Chair Degrees" of York Rite masonry. (n.d.). Retrieved from York Rite of Freemasonry: http://www.yorkrite.com/degrees/#4

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Officers of the Order of the Red Cross

The Illustrious Order of the Red Cross is the first in the line of succession of Orders of Knighthood conferred by a Commandery of Knights Templar. When this order is conferred, a Commandery of Knights Templar opens a Council of the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross which is composed of the following officers: Sovereign Master, Prince Chancellor, Prince Master of the Palace, Master of Cavalry, Master of Infantry, Excellent High Priest, Master of Finance, Master of Dispatches, Standard Bearer, Sword Bearer, Warder, Sentinel, and Guards.

The presiding officer of the Council, correspondent to the Eminent Commander in the Commandery, and who, in the ritual, represents the Persian King, is known as the Sovereign Master. A Master is someone who is a master or authority in a skill or profession as well as someone is seen as a ruler or governor. This Master has an honorary title of Sovereign which is defined as someone possessing supreme power or authority within a sphere of influence. Sovereign is came to us from Old French word "soverain" meaning "highest, supreme, chief" and this was deriving from the Vulgar Latin word "superanus" meaning "chief or principal." The word "master" originates in the Latin word "magister" translating as "chief, head, director, or teacher." These two words establish this position as the unquestionable leader of a Council of the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross.

Corresponding with the Generalissimo in the Commandery, the Prince Chancellor is the second in command. Traditionally, this position was a nobleman who was secretary to someone such as a King or acted as the Minister of State. The etymological root of the word "prince" is "princeps" which is Latin for "first man, chief leader; ruler, and sovereign." Chancellor stems from the Late Latin word "cancellarius" translating as "keeper of the barrier, secretary, usher of a law court."

The Prince Master of the Palace is the third and last of the dais officers of the Council. In Persian courts, officers with noble blood were referred to as 'prince' and the senior ranking Prince often served as the Master of the Palace whose duty it was to supervise the affairs of the Royal household. We've seen previously where 'prince' and 'master' come from, but from these two words that we see that this position was seen as the authority over the household, similar to the Steward used in English courts. Palace came to the English language from old French word "palais" meaning "palace or court" that stemmed from the Medieval Latin "palacium" and originating the Latin word "palatiummeaning the same. "Palatium" was most likely inspired by the Palatine Hill, one of the seven hills of ancient Rome where Caesar's house was located.

The Master of Cavalry corresponds with the Senior Warden of the Commandery. This officer is the authority of and holds superior knowledge over the Cavalry, which traditionally the component of the military that was mounted on horseback. In the Middle Ages, the Cavalry was a force to be reckoned with as a man fighting from horseback also had the advantages of greater height, speed, and inertial mass over an opponent on foot. Cavalry started to become synonymous with knights as the purchase of a warhorse and its maintenance was expensive, and knights usually came from noble families. Cavalry has evolved from the Italian word "cavalleria" meaning "mounted militia" and rooted in the Latin word "caballarius" which translates to "horseman."

Also referred to as the Companion Conductor, the Master of Infantry, corresponds to the Junior Warden of the Commandery. In comparison to Cavalry, Infantry was often composed of common folk were the troops who fought on foot (direct combat) and often suffer the greatest number of casualties in a battle. Their role on the battlefield expanded as they were inexpensive and it was much easier to recruit more infantry versus the cavalry. it is the from the Latin tongue that we find the etymological definition of infantry whereby we it derive from the word "infantem" referring to someone in their "youth" or infancy which was used to refer to soldiers that were too young, inexperienced, or of low rank.

The Excellent High Priest is in charge of a representation of the Jewish council that presided over the second building of the Temple in Jerusalem and is the one who charges Zerubabel to travel to the Persian court. As this order ties together Chivalric Masonry to Royal Arch Masonry, this officer only further strengthen this bond as the High Priest presides over a Chapter of Royal Arch Masonry in America. According to the Bible, the High Priest was the supreme religious leader of the Israelites and was a hereditary position stemming from Aaron, the brother of Moses. Once the Temple of Solomon was constructed, the High Priest was the lone person who could enter the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement and give sacrifice to God; the High Priest also had duties over other classes of priest and other sacred duties. For the Christian, Christ is seen as the greatest High Priest whereby He sacrificed himself for the atonement of the world. This officer has the honorary title of "Excellent" which stems from the Latin word "excellentem" meaning "superior, excellent, or of first-class." The word "high" is comes to us from Germanic languages; "Heh" (Anglian), "heah" (West Saxon), and haukhaz (Proto-Germanic) translate as "of great height, lofty, tall, exalted, high-class." Priest is rooted in the Latin word "prester" meaning "priest or elder."

The Master of Finance corresponds to the Treasurer and the Master of Dispatches corresponds to the Recorder or Secretary. Finance comes from the Latin word "finis" meaning "a payment in settlement, fine or tax." The origin of "dispatch" is not known, but we see it in 16th century Spanish (despachar) and Italian (dispacciare), both meaning "to expedite or hasten."

An officer in both the Commandery and the Council of the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, the Standard Bearer is an officer whose duty to carry and protect the banner, ensign, or standard of the Order; he would correspond with the Marshal in the Lodge. The standard is a mobile symbol or representation of a military unit, state, household, or organization. To orders of knighthood, the standard served as a rallying point during battle. Some theorize that the word "standard" stems from the Old French word "estandart" meaning "military standard, banner" which came from the Frankish word "standhard" translated literally as "stand fast." Others theorize that it came from the Old French word "estendre" meaning "to stretch out," from the Latin word "extendere" meaning the same. This is thought to have been used as the banners or flags were often placed on long poles that would extend into the air for all to see.

The Sword Bearer that is also found in both the Commandery and the Council, and whose duty it was to carry the sword for the head of the order as well as assist in the protection of the standard. The word "sword" is Germanic in origin and rooted in the word "swer" which translated to mean as "to hurt or to cut."

In the Commandery and the Council, the officer charged with guarding over the entrance is known as the Warder. Traditionally a Warder referred to a watchman, a prison guard, or warden. Warder comes from the Anglo-French words "wardere" or "wardour" meaning "guardian, keeper, or custodian."

The Sentinel guards the Commandery and Council from without the door to ensure the knights are not caught or taken by surprise by those wishing to cause harm or those who are not entitled to be there. This word is rooted in the Latin word "sentire" translating as "feel or perceive by the senses."

Lastly, in the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, there are found Jewish and Persian Guards who don't correspond to any officer in the Commandery, but only serve in a ritualistic capacity. The word "guard" is defined as "one assigned to protect or oversee another." This word is derived from the Proto-Germanic word "wardo" translating as "to guard."


1. Chivalric Orders. (n.d.). Retrieved from York Rite of Freemasonry: http://www.yorkrite.com/degrees/#3

2. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymological Dictionary: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php

3. Denslow, R. V. (1951). A Templar Encyclopedia. Retrieved from Phoenix Masonry: www.phoenixmasonry.org/templar_encyclopedia.htm

4. Connor, G. C. (1894). Order of the Red Cross. Retrieved from Shibboleth: A Templar Monitor: http://www.sacred-texts.com/mas/shib/shib05.htm

5. Tierney, J. (1911). The High Priest. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12407b.htm (August 13, 2014 ).

6. Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved from Merriam-Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/

7. Macoy, R. (1867). The Masonic Manual. Retrieved from Phoenix Masonry: http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masonic_manual/knights_of_the_red_cross.htm

8. Speidel, F. G. (1978). The York Rite of Freemasonry. Raleigh: Press of Oxford Orphanage.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Illustrious Order of the Red Cross

The first order conferred by a Commandery of Knights Templar is the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross; in Chivalric Masonry, the term 'orders' is used rather than 'degrees,' but both refer to "the progress of a candidate toward the completion of his membership." In the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, the candidate represents Zerrubabel and presents himself as a Royal Arch Mason to a Grand Council that just convened in Jerusalem to deliberate upon the unhappy condition of the country and which desires to find a means to secure the favor of King Darius in order to proceed with the rebuilding dealt with in the Royal Arch degree. The candidate is detained and guided to the Persian court and reminds the King of his promises to aid the Jews in their work. Debate ensues and Zerrubabel boldly proclaims that Truth is on his side of the issue. So impressed with the speech, King Darius decrees his support for the continuation of the rebuilding, establishes the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross founded up on Truth, and confers it upon Zerrubabel. This legend is based upon the accounts found in the Book of II Esdras in the Apocrapha and in the writings of the famous Jewish historian, Josephus.

This order is a transitional degree that bridges Royal Arch Masonry to Chivalric Masonry. The lessons taught encourage the constant search for Truth, and emphasize the importance of Liberty and Justice with a right to worship Deity under whatever name he may be called. Historically, elements of this Order were practiced in Ancient Lodges before the final form of the Master Mason Degree came into use. It is still practiced in the full ceremonial form by the Knight Masons of Ireland and the Knight Masons of the United States, and as the Red Cross of Babylon in the English Order of the Allied Masonic Degrees.

The degree is conferred in a "Council of the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross" which is presided over by the Sovereign Master, and supported by other officers, and will create a "Companion" of this Order. This Order, in American, has been under the control of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the USA since its founding.

The Banner of the Order of the Red Cross is green with a 7-pointed star at its center. Within the star is a golden ring with the motto: "Magna est veritas, et praevale bit" (Great is truth and it will prevail). Within the golden ring is a white circular field with a red Greek cross upon it. On each of the four arms is a letter which represents Deity, Truth, Justice, and Liberty. These will commemorate our faith in God and in the Grand Characteristics of this Illustrious Order.

When studying the history of the Order of the Red Cross, it is important to note that there are a number of degrees that use the same name, but have no relationship with each other. How this order came to be in existence is not exactly known, but most scholars agree that it was first conferred in the American Colonies by Scottish or Irish troops. It was through the efforts of Thomas Smith-Webb and Henry Fowle that this Order survived and came to be attached to the American Templar system. Some have claimed that it was taken from the Scottish Rite, but according to Ward St. Clair states that this is erroneous and  W.J.B. MacLeod Moore (Provincial Grand Commander in Canada) stated that after examining the ritual he concludes that the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross used in America comes from the Irish degrees known as "Knights of the Sword, Knights of the East, and Knights of the East and West," has given under the Templar warrants of Ireland, and the Royal Arch Chapters of Scotland." These names are not to be confused with the degrees, with the same name, found in the Scottish Rite. 

While Thomas Smith-Webb is seen as the main driving force behind the continuation of the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, it needs to be remembered that it existed prior to his efforts. The first mention of the Order of the Red Cross is in the “Beaumont” diploma issued by South Carolina Encampment #1 on August 1, 1783 and which associated in with the Order of the Temple. Another record is found in New England where a certificate from the Encampment at Newburyport, Massachusetts, was issued to Hamilton Moore on February 16, 1796.

Looking back at the history of the York Rite in America, we see that the earliest recorded conferral of the "four steps" on William Davis in St. Andrews Royal Arch Lodge occurred on August 28, 1769, but those four steps did not include the Order of the Red Cross. Some theorize that the Order of the Red Cross was brought to Boston through Benjamin Hurd Jr., a merchant whose travels took him to Europe. In St. Andrews Royal Arch Lodge there is no mention of the Red Cross until the minutes of February 3rd, 1797 reflect the efforts of Benjamin Hurd, Jr. to establish an association and that they be recorded in the "book of the chapter". It is theorized that while on a trip to Europe that Benjamin Hurd, Jr. received the Order of the Red Cross and brought it with him to Boston. He organized an "Association of Red Cross Knights” that was independent from St. Andrews. This group would reorganize into "Boston Council of Knights of the Red Cross." Then on December 21, 1805, it was disbanded and reorganized "Boston Encampment of Knights Templar" who took over the property and ritual of the Council of Knights of the Red Cross along with the Order of Malta and Order of the Temple. Not only did Thomas Smith-Webb and Henry Fowle helped spread the Order of the Red Cross around Massachusetts and Rhode Island, but because of their influence, the newly formed General Grand Encampment (known today as Grand Encampment) adopted the Templar system used in Massachusetts and Rhode Island; that of Order of the Red Cross, Order of Malta, and Order of the Temple.

The Order of the Red Cross was a point of contention when the Sir Knights from New England and Pennsylvania came together to form a national Templar organization. The Pennsylvania Sir Knights did not believe that the Order of the Red Cross should be included in the Templar system. The controversy over the Order of the Red Cross would continue throughout the 19th century. Many attempts were made to remove and eliminate the Order of the Red Cross from the American Templar system. Many condemned it for being a "Pagan and Jewish Rite" pushed into the orders of Christian knighthood.

Many also wished to get rid of it because foreign Templar systems did not use the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross as a prerequisite to the Order of the Temple. The Constitution also required visiting Sir Knights to be in possession of the Order of the Red Cross, and many wanted to get rid of the Red Cross because they wanted to keep harmony between all Sir Knights around the world and allow them to visit. Eventually the Grand Encampment would amend the Constitution with addition of Section XXI which stated:
“A Knight Templar created in a foreign jurisdiction, and who has not received the Order of Red Cross may, at his examination, take the valve and have that order communicated to him and hereafter may be admitted to the Asylum.”
Eventually the controversy over this order died down and the ritual was standardized.

The Illustrious Order of the Red Cross is important as it ties in Ancient Craft Masonry with Chivalric Masonry, the Old Testament with the New Testament. The Illustrious Order of the Red Cross reminds us of the important lessons of Truth and we can see that the legend foreshadows the message of Christ when he declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the Life.”


1. Chivalric Orders. (n.d.). Retrieved from York Rite of Freemasonry: http://www.yorkrite.com/degrees/#3

2. Chivalric Orders. (n.d.). Retrieved from Albertus Magnus Commandery #92: http://www.chicagoyorkrite.org/commanderyresearch/ChivalricOrders.html#RedCross

3. Commandery. (n.d.). Retrieved from York Rite USA: http://www.yorkriteusa.org/commandery.htm

4. Connor, G. C. (1894). Order of the Red Cross. Retrieved from Shibboleth: A Templar Monitor: http://www.sacred-texts.com/mas/shib/shib05.htm

5. Degree. (n.d.). Retrieved from Merriam-Webster dictionary: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/degree

6. Scully, F. J. (1952). History of the Grand Encampment Knights Templar of the USA. Greenfield, IN, USA: Wm. Mitchell Printing Co.

7. The Illustrious Order of the Red Cross. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knights_Templar_(Freemasonry)#The_Illustrious_Order_of_the_Red_Cross_.28Order_of_the_Red_Cross.29 

8. The Illustrious Order of the Red Cross. (n.d.). Retrieved from Rainier Commandery #28: http://rainiercommandery.weebly.com/the-illustrious-order-of-the-red-cross.html