Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Grand Encampment and the Rectified Scottish Rite

Well, it seems I have not paid as much attention to the news and Masonic blogosphere lately as I thought.  I was perusing the Masons of Texas forum when a Brother had pointed out from Brother Chris Hodapp's blog, Freemasons for Dummies, that the Grand Priory of the Reformed and Rectified Rite of the United States of America (CBCS) had been approved by the members of the Grand Encampment as a legitimate appendant order of the Grand Encampment. I wonder if this will reconcile the recent tension between the Grand Encampment and a few Grand Lodges within the US.

From Bro. Hodapp's blog:
One of the first items of business was a resolution declaring those who take membership in un-recognized orders after the date of adoption, upon their membership being known would be issued a letter giving them 30 days to submit a letter of withdrawal from the Order, or they would be issued a permanent demit from Templary under the Grand Encampment. It passed with only two negative votes out of 364. A second resolution adopted the Grand Priory as an official appendant order of the Grand Encampment. It passed with only 10-12 negative votes. Pierre Noel in his remarks pointed out that he was here to honor the good relationship his Priory had with the GEKT.
I did some digging around and found another article written on the Rutgers University Masonic Alumni blog where they discuss the installation of David Goodwin was installed as the national leader by Bill Koon and two other dignitaries of this order.



Updated: 08/27/2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Working Tools magazine

Brother Cory Sigler, Editor, was happy a few days ago to announce the new website is up and running for The Working Tools magazine.  I encourage all to visit the website and subscribe to this excellent monthly magazine.
 
This magazine is for Freemasons written by Freemasons.  Brother Cory does an amazing job and devotes so much time and effort to publishing this magazine each month. He publishes the work of many great men and Brothers from around the world. He has also been very kind to publish some of my articles regularly in the York Rite section of the magazine.

From the website you have a choice of receiving a physical copy or an electronic one.  You may also find a link to download an application from iTunes. There is also a store link for some books and clothing.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor

Founded on February 22nd, 1977, the Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor is an organization for Past and Present Commanders of Constituent and Subordinate Commanderies of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America

This is another invitation-only order within the American York Rite. To be eligible to be elected and invited, one must be a Sir Knight in good standing and a present or past Commander of a regular and duly constituted Commandery of Knights Templar under the auspice of the Grand Encampment. It should be noted that some Chapters of the Order will wait for a candidate to be a Past Commander before they will ballot on them

A Chapter is comprised of the following officers: Preceptor, Deputy Preceptor, Master of Templars, Seneschal, Prelate, Treasurer, Recorder, Marshal, Warden of Regalia, Registrar, and Sentinel. The Grand Chapter which is at the national level is presided over the same officers with the honorific title 'Grand' attached to it. The Grand Chapter of the Order of Knights Preceptor meets annually at the time and place of the Annual Meeting of the Grand Council of Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States of America.

The Insignia of the Order is a cross with a shield at its intersection with a red cross emblazoned upon it (figure on the right). The members of the Order wears the Insignia on a yellow ribbon, officers of a Chapter of the Order wears the Insignia on a black ribbon, the Preceptor of a Chapter of the Order wears the Insignia on a green ribbon, a Past Preceptor of a Chapter of the Order wears the Insignia on a red ribbon, the Officers of the Grand Chapter wear the Insignia on a black and white ribbon, the Sovereign Grand Preceptor of the Grand Chapter wears the Insignia of the Order on a green and white ribbon, and Past Sovereign Grand Preceptors of the Grand Chapter wears the Insignia of the Order on a purple ribbon.

The founding Sovereign Grand Preceptor, Thurman C. Pace, Jr., wrote the following history:
Upon completion of my term as Commander of Trinity Commandery No. 17, K.T., in 1966, I was disappointed that the Grand Commandery of New Jersey didn’t have an organization that recognized Past Commanders. The Grand Royal Arch Chapter had the “Orders of Anointed High Priests,” and the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters had the “Council of T.I.M.s” which in some jurisdictions is referred to as the “Order of the Silver Trowel.”

One of the objectives I had upon being installed as the Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of the State of New Jersey on March 6, 1976, was to establish an organization for those who were serving as Commanders or had previously served as Commanders of their Commanderies. Being fully aware of my inability to write ritual, I requested my best friend, Wallace M. Gage, a Past Grand Commander of New Jersey and an outstanding writer, to write the ritual for what is now known as “The Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor”. The Grand Chapter of the Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor was formed on February 22, 1977, at a meeting held in Westfield, New Jersey, at which time the Constitution, Laws, and Ritual for the Order were adopted.

The purpose and objective of the Order was to promote the cause of Chivalric Masonry through a dedication of Templar Leadership to its principles, and to further the knowledge of its history, background, customs, usage, and traditions.

At the aforementioned meeting of the Grand Chapter, a charter was granted to New Jersey Chapter, Order of Knights Preceptor, with yours truly as its first Preceptor.

The Order was conferred for the first time on Friday, March 4 1977, during the 117th Stated Conclave of the Grand Commandery of New Jersey, held at the Howard Johnson Regency Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Conferral of the Order was carried out by the charter officers of the New Jersey Chapter as follows:
Preceptor: Thurman C. Pace, Jr., Grand Commander
Master of Templars: Theodore F. Voelter, Past Department Commander
Seneschal: W. Percy Edwards, Past Grand Commander
Marshal: Wallace M. Gage, Past Grand Commander
Prelate: Gordon J. Brenner, Past Grand Commander
Sentinel: Robert W. Gibson, Hon. Past Grand Commander
The Charter class of 139 included 86 from New Jersey, 8 from Connecticut, 5 from the District of Columbia, 8 from Massachusetts and Rhode Island, 5 from New York, 3 from Pennsylvania, 7 from Virginia, 2 from Vermont, 5 from Maine, 8 from Maryland, 1 from Alabama, and 1 from Arkansas. The class Exemplar was Sir Knight Kenneth Culver Johnson, Right Eminent Grand Generalissimo of the Grand Encampment or Knights Templar of the U.S.A. Also in the class was Sir Knight John B. Cottrell, Right Eminent Deputy Grand Master. Ironically, Sir Knight Cottrell died two months later and within weeks Sir Knight Johnson suffered a severe stroke.

Over the years, Charters were issued to the following states: Maine, Virginia (1984), Pennsylvania, New York, Kentucky (1985), Texas (August 15, 1994), California (April 29, 2000), and Maryland, bringing our total number of Chapters to 9. I am in correspondence with Tennessee relative to issuing them a Charter.

I have served for over a quarter of a century as Sovereign Grand Preceptor of the Grand Chapter of the Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor.

Since July 9, 2003, when this history was written, Charters have been issued to: Sovereign Grand Preceptors Chapter on March 27, 2004; Idaho Chapter on October 14, 2004; and the Charter of California Chapter was withdrawn on April 12, 2005; bringing the total number of Chapters to 10.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bumper Sticker Fundraiser

Worshipful Brother Cliff Porter, author of The Secret Psychology of Freemasonry and owner of The Sanctum Sanctorum website, is selling these bumper stickers as a fundraiser to update the website:


You can either go onto PayPal or send a check with your mailing address to: CP Communications, 6440 Pitchfork Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80922.  Shipping is FREE and the stickers are only $5 a piece.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Officers of the 66th Triennium

Well, I checked out the Grand Encampment website and it has been updated with some new information, mostly regarding the new officers.  I did not seeing anything updating the Constitution of the Grand Encampment or any edicts on the future of the Rectified Scottish Rite.

As for the officers of the 66th Triennium, Sir Knight David D Goodwin is now the Most Eminent Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America.
David Dixon Goodwin was born on August 15, 1949, in Johnson City, New York, to the late Mary Isabel and John Walter Goodwin. He was raised in Binghamton, NY, and confirmed in Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church. He attended the Binghamton Public Schools and graduated from Binghamton Central High School in 1967. He attended Broome Community College and graduated from Union University, Albany (NY) College of Pharmacy in 1972 with a B.S. in Pharmacy.

Following his graduation he was employed by CVS Pharmacy in several locations. He was the owner of four retail pharmacies in the Binghamton area from 1977-1988. He was employed as a pharmacist at Arnot Ogden Medical Center in Elmira, NY, from 1988 until his retirement in 2010. His memberships have included local, state, and national pharmaceutical societies as well as health related community organizations, and the Endicott Rotary Club. He is a commissioned Notary Public in the State of NY.  

He married Marci Lynn Sternberg on July 15, 1979. They have two daughters, Jennifer and Samantha. They currently reside in Vestal, NY.  

Right Worshipful Brother Goodwin was raised a Master Mason in Binghamton Lodge #177, F&AM, Binghamton, NY, in September of 1977. He served through the line as was elected Master in 1982. The following year he was elected Secretary, a position he held until 1999. He was named Mason of the Year by his Lodge in 1988. He has served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Broome-Chenango District Masters Council, District Masonic Brotherhood Fund Chairman, and as a member of the Grand Lodge Committee on Related Organizations. He served as a director and president of the Masonic Youth Foundation of New York. He was commissioned as the Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Austria near the Grand Lodge of New York in September of 2000.  

Right Excellent Companion Goodwin was a member of Binghamton Chapter #139, Royal Arch Masons, having served as High Priest and as Secretary for several years. He is now a member of Western Broome Chapter #332. He served the Grand Chapter of New York as an Assistant Grand Lecturer, District Deputy Grand High Priest, and a Custodian of the Work. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal in Bronze by the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International in 2011.  

Right Illustrious Companion Goodwin was a member of Binghamton Council #24, Cryptic Masons where he served as Illustrious Master and treasurer. He is now a member of Ahwaga Council #30 following a merger. He is a member of St. George Council, Order of Anointed Kings of New York, where he served as the Thrice Illustrious Master. He was commissioned by the Grand Council of Delaware as their Grand Representative near the Grand Council of New York.  

Sir Knight Goodwin was Knighted in Malta Commandery #21, Knights Templar, stationed at Binghamton, now in Endicott, NY, where he served as Commander in 1988 and recorder for many years. He was Captain of the Zone Drill Team for ten years. He holds plural memberships in The Empire State Commandery #83, NY, St. George Commandery #76, Ohio, St. Bernard Commandery #41, CO, Blaney Commandery #5, IL, and Anchorage Commandery #2, AK. He is a member of the Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor, the Knight Crusaders of the Cross, and Past Commander Associations in many jurisdictions. He holds Honorary Memberships in many Commanderies, Grand Commanderies, and Grand York Rite Bodies across the country.  

He served the Grand Commandery of New York as a Zone Commander, Grand Representative of the Grand Commandery of Kentucky near New York, and was elected Grand Warder in 1991. He served through the line and was elected and installed as the 149th Grand Commander at the 186th Annual Conclave at Suffern, NY, on September 18, 1999. Sir Knight James Morris Ward, Most Eminent Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America awarded him the rank and dignity of Knight Commander of the Temple in 1998.  

He was appointed Right Eminent Department Commander of the Northeastern Department by Sir Knight William Jackson Jones, Most Eminent Grand Master at the 61st Triennial Conclave in Nashville, TN in 2000. He was elected to the Line of the Grand Encampment as Right Eminent Grand Captain General at the 62nd Triennial Conclave in August 2003 in St. Louis, MO, and invested with the Knight Grand Cross of the Temple. He was elected as a Trustee of the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc. He was elected Right Eminent Grand Generalissimo at the 63rd Triennial Conclave in August 2006 in Houston, TX where he was also elected Vice President of the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc. He was advanced to Deputy Grand Master upon the resignation of SK Richard Burditt Baldwin, Most Eminent Grand Master in August of 2007, and reelected Deputy Grand Master at the 64th Triennial Conclave in Roanoke, VA in August of 2009.  

Illustrious Brother Goodwin is a member and past officer of Otseningo Bodies, Valley of Binghamton, NY, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, USA. He was coroneted a Sovereign Grand Inspector General, 33°, Honorary Member of the Supreme Council, in Boston, MA in 2002. He is a dual member in the Valley of Toledo, OH.  

He was awarded the Honorary Legion of Honor from DeMolay International and is a member and Past Dean of the Central New York Preceptory, LOH. He was elected a Deputy Member of the International Supreme Council in Seattle, WA in 2006 and an Active Member in Louisville, KY in 2012. He served DeMolay International as its Grand First Preceptor 2008-9.  

He was a Charter Member of the Southern Tier York Rite College #126 and served as Governor. He was awarded the Order of the Purple Cross in 1993 from the York Rite Sovereign College of North America.   

He holds memberships in Christian Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine, Past Sovereign; Charlemagne Conclave (hon), OH; Crusade Priory #57, Knights of the York Cross of Honor, holds KYGCH, 1 quadrant; Gen. Henry Knox Council #139, Allied Masonic Degrees, Past Sovereign Master, Red Branch of Eri; Charles Smith Council #324, AMD; The Grand Council of Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States of America, line officer; Royal Order of Scotland; Star of Bethlehem Tabernacle, No.V, Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests, created a Past Preceptor; Good Shepherd Tabernacle, No XXX (hon); Grand College of America, HRAKTP, line officer; Celtic Council No. XXV, Knight Masons; Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis, Long Island College, SRICF, IX°, The High Council SRICF, Junior Deputy Supreme Magus, KGC; Grand College of Rites of the USA, Grand Chancellor, 2009; Kalurah Shriners; Aahmes Grotto, MOVPER; Lafayette Chapter #340, Order of the Eastern Star; Pilgrim Chapel #11 and Novum Eboracum Chapel #51, St. Thomas of Acon, and Trinity Church Assemblage of the Operatives. He was a Masonic Supervisor of Endicott Triangle #43, Organization of Triangles, Inc., a Masonic youth organization for girls in New York for many years.
Something I was surprised to see is that the former Department Commander for the Northwest, Sir Knight Michael Johnson, was elected as Grand Captain General of the Grand Encampment. In his place Sir Knight Steve Guffy has taken over as the Northwest Department Commander. The list of officers is as follows:
Right Eminent Deputy Grand Master: Sir Knight Duane L. Vaught

Right Eminent Grand Generalissimo: Sir Knight Jeffrey N. Nelson

Right Eminent Grand Captain General: Sir Knight Michael Burke Johnson

Right Eminent Grand Treasurer: Sir Knight James McCrorry Willson

Right Eminent Grand Recorder: Sir Knight Lawrence E. Tucker

Right Eminent Grand Prelate: Reverend and Sir Knight William D. Hartman
The Department Commanders appointed for this Triennium are as follows:
Northeastern Deparment: Sir Knight Thomas Tsirimokos

Mid-Atlantic Department: Sir Knight Jeffrey Burcham

Southeastern Department: Sir Knight Howard T. Burgess

East Central Department: Sir Knight Larry Brown

North Central Department: Sir Knight Lauren Handeland

South Central Department: Sir Knight T. Michael Fegan

Northwestern Department: Sir Knight Steven Guffy

Southwestern Department: Sir Knight David Kussman

Far-East Department: Sir Knight Evaristo Leviste

Europe Department: Sir Knight Emilio Attina

Subordinates Department: Sir Knight Edward Trosin
As soon as I find out any more relevant information I will have it posted. Particularly the Constitution may take some time as they have to revise it according to what legislation passed.  For any news on the Rectified Scottish Rite, I'm sure we'll see an edict come forth from the Most Eminent Grand Master concerning this issue.

The Chinon Parchment

The Chinon Parchment is a historical document that was discovered in September of 2001 by Barbara Frale who is an Italian paleographer at the Vatican Secret Archives. A paleographer is someone studies ancient writing systems and the deciphering, and dating of historical manuscripts.

Barbara dates this parchment back to around August 17-20, 1308 wherein the parchment claims that Pope Clement V secretly absolved Jacques De Molay, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, and the rest of the arrested leadership from the charges brought against them by the French Crown.  It is said to have been written in Chinon, France, by Bérenger, Cardinal priest of Saints Nereus and Achileus, Stephanus, Cardinal priest of St. Cyriac in Thermis, and Landolf, cardinal deacon of Sant'Angelo in Pescheria, who questioned De Molay.

Here is a English translation of the parchment:
Investigation carried out by the fathers commissioned by Pope Clement V in the town of Chinon, diocese of Tours.

Chinon, August 17-20, 1308

In the name of the Lord, amen. We, Berengar, by the mercy of God cardinal presbyter of SS. Nereus and Achileus, and Stephanus, cardinal presbyter of St. Ciriacus in Therminis, and Landolf, cardinal deacon of St. Angel, declare through this official statement directed to all who will read it that since our most holy father and lord Clement, by divine providence the supreme pontific of the holy Roman and universal church, after receiving the word of mouth and also clamorous reports from the illustrious king of France and prelates, dukes, counts, barons and other subjects of the said kingdom, both noblemen and commoners, along with some brothers, presbyters, knights, preceptors and servants of the Templar order, had initiated an inquiry into matters concerning the brothers, [questions of Catholic faith] and the Rule of the said Order, because of which it suffered public infamy, the very same lord Pope wishing and intending to know the pure, complete and uncompromised truth from the leaders of the said Order, namely brother Jacques de Molay, grandmaster of the Order of Knights Tempar, brother Raymbaud de Caron, preceptor the commandaries of Templar Knights in Outremer, brother Hugo de Pérraud, preceptor of France, brother Geoffroy de Gonneville, preceptor of Aquitania and Poitou, and Geoffroy of Charny, preceptor of Normandy, ordered and commissioned us specifically and by his verbally expressed will in order that we might with diligence examine the truth by questioning the grandmaster and the aforementioned preceptors – one by one and individually, having summoned notaries public and trustworthy witnesses.

And having acted according to the mandate and commissioned by the said Lord Supreme Pontific, we questioned the aforementioned grandmaster and the preceptors and examined them concerning the matters described above. Their words and confessions were written down exactly the way they are included here by the notaries whose names are listed below in the presence of witnesses listed below. We also ordered these things drawn up in this official form and validated by the protection of our seals.

In the year of our Lord 1308, the 6th indiction, on the 17th day of August, in the 3d year of the pontificate of the said Pope Clement V, brother Raymbaud de Caron, preceptor the commandaries of Templar Knights in Outremer, was brought in front of us, the aforementioned fathers, to the town of Chinon of the Tours diocese. With his hand on the Holy Gospel of the Lord he took an oath that he would speak pure and complete truth about himself as well individuals and brothers of the Order, and about the Order itself, concerning questions of Catholic faith and the Rule of the said Order, and also about five particular individuals and brothers of the Order. Diligently interrogated by us about the time and circumstances of his initiation in the order he said that it was been forty-thee years or thereabouts since he had been knighted and admitted into the Templar Order by brother Roncelin de Fos, at the time preceptor of Provence, in the town of Richarenchess, in the diocese of Carpentras or Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux, in the chapel of the local Templar commandery. During the ceremony the patron said nothing to the novice that was not proper, but after the admittance a servant-brother came up to him whose name he does not recall, for he has been dead for a long time. He took him aside holding a small cross under his cloak, and when all the brothers exited and they remained alone, that is this brother-servant and the speaker, this brother-servant showed this cross to the speaker who does not recall whether it bore the effigy of the crucifix or not, but believes however, that there was a crucifix either painted or carved. And this brother-servant told the speaker: “You must denounce this one.” And the speaker, not believing himself to be committing a sin, said: “And so, I denounce.” That brother-servant also told the speaker that he should preserve purity and chastity, but if he could not do so, it was better to be done secretly than publicly. The speaker also said that his denunciation did not come from the heart, but from the mouth. Then he said that the next day he revealed this to the bishop of Carpentras, his blood relative, who was present in the said place, and the bishop told him that he had acted wrongly and committed a sin. Then the interrogated confessed on this account to the same bishop and was assigned penances with he completed, according to him.

When asked about the sin of sodomy, he said that he never was a part of it neither performing or enduring, and that he never heard that knights Templar engaged in this sin, apart from those three knights who had been punished by perpetual incarceration in Castle Pilgrim. When asked whether the brothers of the said Order were received into the order in the same manner he was received into it, he replied that he did not know that, because he never initiated anyone himself and did not see anyone being accepted in the Order other than two or three brothers. Regarding them he did not know whether they denounced Christ or not. When he was asked about the names of these brothers he said that one had the name of Peter, but that he did not remember his family name. When he was asked how old he was when he was made brother of the said Order he replied that he was seventeen years of age or thereabouts. When he was asked about the spitting on the cross and about the worshipped head, he said that he knew nothing, adding that he had never heard any mention of that head until he heard the lord Pope Clement speak of it this past year. When he was asked about the practice of kissing, he replied that the aforementioned brother Roncelin kissed him on the mouth when he received him as a brother; he said that he knew nothing about other kisses. When he was asked whether he wanted to maintain what he had said during the confession, whether it was done according to the truth, and whether he had added anything untruthful or withheld anything that is truthful, he replied that he wanted to maintain what he had previously said in his confession, that it was truthful and that he neither added anything that was untruthful nor omitted anything that was truthful. When he was asked whether he had confessed due to a request, reward, gratitude, favor, fear, hatred or persuasion by someone else, or the use of force, or fear of impending torture, he replied that he did not.

Afterwards, this very brother Raymbaud standing on his knees with his hands folded asked for our forgiveness and mercy regarding the abovementioned deeds. And as he pleaded so, brother Raymbaud denounced in our presence the abovementioned heresy, as well as any other heresy. For the second time he took an oath with his hand upon the Holy Gospel of our Lord in that he will obey the teachings of the Church, that he will maintain, uphold and observe the Catholic faith which the Roman Church maintains, upholds and proclaims, as well as teaches and requires of others to observe it, and that he will live and die as a faithful Christian. After this oath, by the authority of lord Pope specifically granted to us for that purpose, we extended to this humbly asking brother Raymbaud, in a form accepted by the Church the mercy of absolution from the verdict of excommunication that had been incurred by the aforementioned deeds, restoring him to unity with the Church and reinstating him for communion of the faithful and sacraments of the Church.

Also, on the same day, brother knight Geoffroy of Charny, preceptor of commanderies of the Templar Order in Normandy, appearing personally in the previously described manner and form, in our presence, and in the presence of notaries, as well as witnesses, modestly swore with his hand on the Gospel of the Lord and was questioned about the manner of his reception into the said Order. He testified that it has well been forty years or thereabouts since he was accepted into the Order of Knights Templar by brother Amaury de la Roche, the preceptor of France in Étamps of the diocese of Sens, in the chapel of the local Templar commandery. Present at the ceremony were brother Jean le Franceys, preceptor of Pédenac, and nine, ten or so brothers of the said Order whom he all believed to be dead now. And then, once he had been accepted in the order and the cloak of the order had been placed on his shoulders, the brother who performed the ceremony took him aside within the same chapel and showed him a crucifix with an effigy of Christ, and told him that he should not believe in the Crucified, but should in fact denounce Him. Then the newly accepted brother at the demand of the said recipient denounced Him verbally, but not in his heart. Also, he said that at the time of his induction, the novice kissed the recipient on the mouth and in his chest through the garment as a sign of reverence.

When asked whether brothers of the Templar Order while being initiated into the order were accepted in the same manner that he was, he said that he did not know. He also said that he himself received one brother into the said Order through the same ceremony through which he himself was accepted. Afterwards he accepted many others without the denunciation described earlier and in good manner. He also said that he confessed about the denunciation of the cross which he had done during the ceremony of induction and about being forced to do so by the brother performing the ceremony, to the Patriarch of Jerusalem of the time, and was absolved by him.

When diligently questioned regarding the spitting on the cross, the practice of kissing, the vice of sodomy and the worshipped head, he replied that he knew nothing of it. Further interrogated, he said that he believed that other brothers had been accepted into the Order in the same manner that he was. He said however that he did not know that for sure since when these things took place the newly received were taken aside so that other brothers who were present in the building would neither see nor hear what went on with them. Asked about the age that he was in when accepted into the said Order, he replied that he was sixteen, seventeen or thereabouts.

When he was asked whether he had said these things due to a request, reward, gratitude, favor, fear, hatred or persuasion by someone else, or the use of force, or fear of impending torture, he replied that he did not. When he was asked whether he wanted to maintain what he had said during the confession, whether it was done according to the truth, and whether he had added anything untruthful or withheld anything that is truthful, he replied that he wanted to maintain what he had previously said in his confession during which he had only said what was true, that what he said was according to the truth and that he neither added anything that was untruthful nor omitted anything that was truthful.

After this, we concluded to extend the mercy of absolution for these acts to brother Geoffroy, who in the form and manner described above had denounced in our presence the described and any other heresy, and swore in person on the Lord’s Holy Gospel, and humbly asked for the mercy of absolution, restoring him to unity with the Church and reinstating him for communion of the faithful and sacraments of the Church.

On the same day, in our presence and the presence of notaries, as well as the witnesses listed below, brother Geoffroy de Gonneville personally appeared and was diligently questioned about the time and circumstances of his reception and about other matters described above. He replied that it has been twenty eight years or thereabouts since he was received as a brother of the Order of the Knights Templar by brother-knight Robert de Torville, preceptor of the commandaries of the Templar order in England , in the city of London , at the chapel of the local commandery. And this receptor, after bestowing the cloak of the Knights Templar upon the this newly received member, showed him the cross depicted in some book and said that he should denounce the one whose image was depicted on that cross. When the newly received did not want to do so, the receptor told him multiple times that he should do so. And since he completely refused to do it, the receptor, seeing his resistance, said to him: “Will you swear to me that if asked by any of the brothers you would say that you had made this denouncement, provided that I allow you not to make it?” And the newly received answered “yes”, and promised that if he was questioned by any of the brother of the said Order he would say that he had performed the said denouncement. And, as he said, he made no denouncement otherwise. He also said that the said receptor told him that she should spit on the described cross. When the newly received did not wish to do so, the receptor placed his own hand over the depiction of the cross and said: “At least spit on my hand!” And since the received feared that the receptor would remove his hand and some of this spit would get on the cross, he did not want to spit on the hand with the cross being near.

When diligently questioned regarding the sin of sodomy, the worshipped head, about the practice of kissing and other things for which the brothers of the said order received a bad reputation, he said that he knew nothing. When asked whether other brothers of the Order were accepted into the Order in the same way as he was, he said that he believed that the same was done to others as it was done to him at the time of his described initiation.

When he was asked whether he had said these things due to a request, reward, gratitude, favor, fear, hatred or persuasion by someone else, or the use of force, or fear of impending torture, he replied that he did not. After this, we concluded to extend the mercy of absolution for these acts to brother Geoffroy de Goneville, who in the form and manner described above had denounced in our presence the described and any other heresy, and swore in person on the Lord’s Holy Gospel, and humbly asked for the mercy of absolution, restoring him to unity with the Church and reinstating him for communion of the faithful and sacraments of the Church.

Then on the nineteenth day of the month, in our presence, and in the presence of notaries and the same witnesses, brother Hugo de Pérraud, preceptor of Templar commanderies in France appeared personally and took an oath on the Holy Gospel of the Lord, placing his hand upon it in the manner described above. This brother Hugo, having sworn as indicated, and being diligently questioned said about the manner of his initiation that he was received in London at local Templar commandary, in its church. It was forty six years ago this past feast of St. Magdalene. He was inducted as a brother of the Order by brother Hubet de Perraud, his own father, a Visitator of the Templar commanderies in France and Poitou , who placed upon his shoulders the cloak of the said Order. This having been done, some brother of the said Order, by the name of John, who afterwards became preceptor of de La Muce, took him to a certain part of that chapel, showed him a cross with an effigy of Christ, and ordered him to denounce the One whose image was depicted there. He refused, as much as he could, according to him. Eventually, however, overcome by fear and menaces of brother John, he denounced the One whose image was depicted there only once. And although brother John multiple times demanded that he spit on that cross, he refused to do so.

When asked whether he had to kiss the receptor, he said that he did, only on the mouth.

When asked about the sin of sodomy, he replied that it was never imposed on him and he never committed it.

When asked whether he accepted others into the Order, he replied that he did many times, and that he accepted more people than any other living member of the Order.

When asked about the ceremony through which he accepted them, he said that after they were received and given the cloaks of the Order, he ordered them to denounce the crucifix and to kiss him at the bottom of the back, in the navel and then on the mouth. He also said that he imposed on them to abstain from partnership with women, and, if they were unable to restrain their lust, to join themselves with brothers of the Order.

He also said under oath that the aforementioned denunciation, which he performed during initiation, as well as other things described that he demanded from those received by him, was done in word only, and not in spirit. When asked why he felt pained and did not perform in spirit the things that he did, he replied that such were the statutes or rather traditions of the Order and that he always hoped that this error would be removed from the said Order.

When asked whether any of the members newly received by him refused to perform the described spitting and other dishonest things listed above, he replied that only few, and eventually all did as ordered. He also said that although he himself instructed brothers of the order whom he initiated to join with other brothers, nevertheless he never did that, nor heard that anyone else commit this sin, except for the two or three brothers in Outremer who were incarcerated for this in Castle Pilgrim.

When asked whether he knew if all brothers of the said Order were initiated in the same manner as he initiated others, he said that he did not know for sure about others, only about himself and those whom he initiated, because brothers are initiated in such secrecy that nothing can be known other than through those who are present. When asked whether he believed that they were all initiated in this manner, he said that he believed that the same ritual is used while initiating others as it was used in his case and as he himself administered when he received others.

When asked about the head of an idol that was reportedly worshiped by the Templars, he said that it was shown to him in Montpellier by brother Peter Alemandin, preceptor of that place, and that this head remained in possession of brother Peter.

When asked how old he was when accepted into the said Order, he replied that he heard his mother say that he was eighteen. He also said that previously he had confessed about these things in the presence of brother Guillaume of Paris, inquisitor of heretical actions, or his deputy. This confession was written down in the hand of the undersigning Amise d’Orleans and some other notaries public. He wishes to maintain that confession, just as it is, as well as maintain in the present confession that which is in concord with the previous one. And if there is anything additional in this confession in front of the Inquisitor or his deputy, as has been said above, he ratifies, approves and confirms it.

When he was asked whether he had confessed to these things due to a request, reward, gratitude, favor, fear, hatred or persuasion by someone else, or the use of force, or fear of impending torture, he replied that he did not. When he was asked whether he, after being apprehended, was submitted to any questioning or torture, he replied that he did not.

After this, we concluded to extend the mercy of absolution for these acts to brother Hugo, who in the form and manner described above had denounced in our presence the described and any other heresy, and swore in person on the Lord’s Holy Gospel, and humbly asked for the mercy of absolution, restoring him to unity with the Church and reinstating him to communion of the faithful and sacraments of the Church.

Then on the twentieth day of the month, in our presence, and in the presence of notaries and the same witnesses, brother-knight Jacques de Molay, grandmaster of  the Order of Knights Templar appeared personally and having sworn in the form and manner indicated above, and having been diligently questioned, said it has been forty-two years or thereabouts since he was received as a brother of the said Order by brother-knight Hubert de Pérraud, at the time Visitator of France and Poitou, in Beune, diocese of Autun, in the chapel of the local Templar commandery of that place.

Concerning the way of his initiation into the Order, he said that having given him the cloak the receptor showed to him and told him that he should denounce the God whose image was depicted on that cross, and that he should spit on the cross. Which he did, although he did not spit on the cross, by near it, according to his words. He also said that performed this denunciation in words, not in spirit. Regarding the sin of sodomy, the worshipped head and the practice of illicit kisses, he, diligently questioned, said that he knew nothing of that.

When he was asked whether he had confessed to these things due to a request, reward, gratitude, favor, fear, hatred or persuasion by someone else, or the use of force, or fear of impending torture, he replied that he did not. When he was asked whether he, after being apprehended, was submitted to any questioning or torture, he replied that he did not.

After this, we concluded to extend the mercy of absolution for these acts to brother Jaques de Molay, the grandmaster of the said order, who in the form and manner described above had denounced in our presence the described and any other heresy, and swore in person on the Lord’s Holy Gospel, and humbly asked for the mercy of absolution, restoring him to unity with the Church and reinstating him to communion of the faithful and sacraments of the Church.

On the same twentieth day of the month, in our presence, and in the presence of notaries and the same witnesses, brother Geoffroy de Gonneville freely and willingly ratified, approved and confirmed his signed confession that was read to him in his native tongue, and gave assurances that he intended to stand by and maintain both this confession and the confession he made on a different occasion in front of the Inquisitor or inquisitors regarding the aforementioned heretic transgressions, in as much as it was in concordance with the confession made in front of us, the notaries and the aforementioned witnesses; and that if there is something extra contained in the confession made in front of the Inquisitor and inquisitors, as it was said earlier, he ratifies, approves and confirms that.

On the same twentieth day of the month, in our presence, and in the presence of notaries and the same witnesses, brother-preceptor Hugo de Perraud in a similar way freely and willingly ratified, approved and confirmed his signed confession that was read to him in his native tongue.

We ordered Robert de Condet, cleric of the diocese of Soissons, a notary by apostolic power, who was among us together with notaries and witnesses listed below, to record and make public as evidence these confessions, as well as each and every thing described above that occurred in front of us, the notaries and the witnesses, and also everything done by us, exactly as it is shown above, and to validate it by attaching our seal.

This was done on the year, indiction, month, day, pontificate and the place indicated above, in our presence and the presence of Umberto Vercellani, Nicolo Nicolai de Benvenuto and the aforementioned Robert de Condet, and also master Amise d’Orleans le Ratif, notaries public by the apostolic power, as well as pious and distinguished brother Raymond, abbot of the Benedictine monastery of St. Theofred, Annecy diocese, master Berard de Boiano, archdeacon of Troia, Raoul de Boset, confessor and canon from Paris, and Pierre de Soire, overseer of Saint-Gaugery in Cambresis, who were gathered specifically as witnesses.

And I, Robert de Condet, cleric of the diocese of Soissons, notary by apostolic power, observed with other notaries and witnesses each and every thing described above that occurred in the presence of the aforementioned reverend fathers lords cardinal presbyters, myself and other notaries and witnesses, as well as what was done by their lordships. On the orders from their lordships the cardinal presbyters, I made this record, and put in the official form, and sealed it with my seal, having been asked to do so.

And also I, Umberto Vercellani, cleric of Béziers, notary by apostolic power, observed with other notaries and witnesses each and every thing described above that occurred in the presence of the aforementioned lords cardinal presbyters, as well as what was done by their lordships cardinal presbyters just as it is shown above in fuller detail. On the orders from these cardinal presbyters, for further assurance, I wrote underneath this record and sealed it with my seal.

And also I, Nicolo Nicolai di Benevento, notary by apostolic decree, observed with other aforementioned notaries and witnesses each and every thing described above that occurred in the presence of the aforementioned lords cardinal presbyters, as well as what was done by their lordships just as it is shown above in fuller detail. On the orders from these cardinal presbyters, for further assurance, I wrote underneath this record and sealed it with my seal.

And also I, Arnulphe d’Orléans called le Ratif, notary by the power of the Holy Roman Church, observed with other aforementioned notaries and witnesses confessions, depositions and other each and every thing described above that occurred in the presence of the aforementioned reverend fathers lords cardinal presbyters, as well as what was done by their lordships just as it is shown above in fuller detail. On the orders from these cardinal presbyters, as a testimony of truth, I wrote underneath this record and sealed it with my seal, having been asked to do so.
This translation may not be reproduced without permission of InRebus.com.

This absolution didn't do much good because in March of 1312 the Pope issued the Bull "Vox in Excelso" which disbanded the Templars and eventually their property was given to the Hospitallier order. As well as the French King killed Jacques De Molay, Grand Master, and two other leaders of the Templar Order by burning them at the stake in 1314.

References

1. Chinon Parchment. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinon_Parchment 

2. Knights Templar: Chinon Parchment. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knights_Templar#Chinon_Parchment 

3. The Chinon Parchment: Were the Knights Templar pardoned? (n.d.). Retrieved from In Rebus: http://www.inrebus.com/chinon.php

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Alchemy

By Correctura from "Rosicrucian Writings Online"

Come, Sweet Day, and cool my burning brow!
Drift o'er me, dim Forgetfulness! And thou,
Dear Hope, come thou, to cheer the morrow!
Bring thou the joy! Lift thou the sorrow!
Clear thou mine eyes, whence all the light hath fled
Liven my heart, where all the joy is dead;
Till I can laugh at pain, and say "'Twas best!
Man broke my heart----. God took it in his hands
And blest it; gave it back more strong and brave
To fill my mission, live my life, and save
Some other soul, despondent, worn with grief,
And in that very service find relief,
Till joy return--and ere I comprehend,
Lo! Love is refashioned, in--a Friend!"

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sights and Places: Pennsylvania Grand Lodge

Last year I had the pleasure of visiting the Pennsylvania Grand Lodge and I would encourage all to visit it, it is a beautiful building. This building is an amazing building has been described as "one of the wonders of the Masonic world."


This Masonic jewel is located on Broad Street just adjacent to City Hall Plaza in Philadelphia.

The land for this building was purchased on July 1, 1867, by the Grand Lodge for $156,793.16. The building was designed by Bro. James H. WIndrim of Philadelphia Lodge #72.

The cornerstone was laid on St. John the Baptist's Day (June 24th) of 1868 in the Northeast corner of the foundation wall by the Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother Richard Vaux. According to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania's website, the cornerstone was from the Havre-de-Grace quarries, and its dimensions were 5-feet 6.5-inches long, 2-feet 4.5-inches deep, and 4-feet 9.5-inches wide. This cornerstone weighed around 19,000-lbs. To dedicate this cornerstone the Grand Master used the same gavel used by George Washington used to lay the cornerstone of the Nation's Capitol at Washington, DC.

Once completed, the Temple cost $1,600,000, not including the decorations and furnishings. It was dedicated on September 26, 1873, on the 87th anniversary of the independence of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. The dedication included a Masonic parade, divided into 26 divisions and included 14,000 marchers.

The stone used on the exterior is different with each street it faces. From the website:
The exterior of the building at Broad and Filbert Streets is of Cape Ann syenite, which takes its name from Syne in Upper Egypt, where it was quarried for monuments by the ancient Egyptians. The Juniper and Cuthbert Street exteriors are of Fox Island granite from the coast of Maine. In accordance with Masonic tradition, the stones were cut, squared, marked and numbered at the quarries and brought to the Temple ready for use.
Prominent in the Philly skyline are the two Grand Towers (also known as the Southwest and Northwest  Towers).  the Southwest Tower at Broad and Filbert Streets is 250-feet tall.

The building contains a private suite for the Right Worshipful Grand Master; offices for the Grand Secretary and Grand Treasurer; administrative offices; offices for the Grand Holy Royal Arch Chapter of Pennsylvania, Grand Commandery of Knights Templar, and the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite's Valley of Philadelphia; the Benjamin Franklin Room, a private dining room; a Grand Banquet Hall; several Lodge rooms (Oriental Hall, Corinthian Hall, Renaissance Hall, Ionic Hall, Egyptian Hall, Gothic Hall, and Norman Hall); Masonic Library and Museum; and Giftshop. The stairwell walls are decorated with murals from the masterpieces of ancient Egypt, Assyria, Athens, Rome, Jerusalem, Rosslyn Chapel, Temple of the Dioscuri, and Temple of Vesta.

John Wanamaker Dining Room

This formal dining room was created in 1998 to provide an Executive Dining Room for the Grand Master to use when entertaining dignitaries at the Masonic Temple. Even though it is one of several dining rooms, it is by far the nicest of them all.

The Masonic Library and Museum

This museum contains a great deal of Masonic treasures such as one of George Washington's apron (donated by the Washington Benevolent Society), letters written by Washington addressed to his Brothers, Ben Franklin's Masonic sash worn when he was Master of the Lodge of the Nine Muses in Paris, and a book written before 1501. The museum is of Byzantine architecture with several Latin phrases on the frieze.

On the North Wall of the museum are depicted the figures of human knowledge: medicine, philosophy, poetry, history, astronomy, and mathematics. On the South Wall, you will see the sources of natural happiness: charity, peace, industry, internal trade, commerce, and reflection/meditation. On the East Wall, are figures depicting the four great cities of the ancient world: Rome, Alexandria, Corinth, and Athens. On the West Wall, the symbolized cities continue to be depicted and they are: Byzantium and Ravenna. On the West Wall is also seen figures depicting Fidelity guarded by a St. Bernard dog and Virtue guarding herself with the shield of Purity and the sword of Courage, with the lion crouched next to her representing Fortitude and Strength of Character.

Grand Banquet Room


From the website:
The rich decorations can be enjoyed by as many as five hundred during the dinners. The hall features the Composite style of architecture. There are eighteen fluted columns, whose capitals are adorned with birds, flowers and fruits. Murals and oil portraits decorate the walls, while the floor is laid in small tile patterns.  The hall is ninety-five feet long, forty-nine feet wide and twenty-five feet high.
Benjamin Franklin Room

At the eastern end of the Grand Foyer, the huge bronze doors open into the Benjamin Franklin Room, furnished and decorated from 1903 to 1904. This room is for the leisure of the Brethren and their guests. Upon the wall hangs oil portraits of the living Right Worshipful Past Grand Masters as well as 11 murals: Meditation, Marriage, Mother Love, Mealtime, Music, Tradition, Feeding the Young, The Madonna, The Teacher, and Night.

Renaissance Hall

Renaissance Hall is seventy-three feet long, forty-six feet wide and fifty feet high, and the furniture is walnut inlaid with mahogany and California redwood. It used primarily by Royal Arch Chapters, but is also used for conferring the Blue Lodge degrees. Since the room is primarily used by the Royal Arch Chapter, the prevailing color of the room is scarlet.

Along the walls are paintings of characters important to the Craft and Capitular degrees. On the North wall are paintings of Moses and King Solomon.  On the South wall are paintings of both Hiram, King of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff.  On the East wall is a full-length painting of Joshua, the High Priest. A painting of St. John the Evangelist is on the West wall.

The columns come in two stages, one stacked on another.  The lower columns are Corinthian with elaborate ornamental detail and the upper columns are foliated capitals.  From these upper columns springs the vaulted ceiling.  The ceiling is divided into three sections; the center is a skylight with elliptical panels on either side. Throughout the walls and ceiling are emblems of Royal Arch Masonry.

Corinthian Hall

This room is mostly known as the meeting place of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Finished in 1903, the room is designed around the Grecian classical architecture, mostly notably Corinthian for which the room takes its name.

The columns and capitals are modeled after the ones found at the monument of Lysicrates in Athens. The seats on the platform in the East are modeled after those found in ancient Theater of Dionysus.

From the website:
Pictorial representations in the panels on the large frieze running around the four enclosing walls of the room are copies of historical fragments from Greek mythology relating mostly to spiritual life.
The color scheme of the room is dull ivory, gold to accentuate certain details, and shades of deep blue to give a sky effect.

On the South, West, and East walls, there are also to be found murals and Latin phrases written upon the frieze.  On the Eastern Wall, one will see "Fiat Lux" (Let there be Light) inscribed on the frieze below the pediment. There are 5 murals on the eastern wall:  depicting the Rising of the Sun (a young Hellos rising from the waves in a chariot drawn by 4 horses); Aurora pouring dew upon the Earth; the Psychotasia (weighing of the souls in Greek mythology); Apollo seated on a high tripod; and Triptolemus, holding a patera in his right hand and heads of grain in his left.

In the West, bears "Fide et Fiducia" (By Fidelity and Confidence) is written upon the wall. On this wall there are 3 murals, depicting: Jason and Hercules, with the help of Medea, attacking the dragon which is said to have guarded the Golden Fleece; Orestes (son of Agamemnon) guarded by Apollo in a shelter at Delphi; and Eumolpus (son of Poseidon, one of the first priests of Demeter, and one of the founders of the Eleusinian Mysteries) seated with a scepter in his hand with other Greek gods and goddesses around him. One will also see several medallions over doors and on pedastals which are copied from ancient coins and medallions and are described as follows:
Above the door to the left, looking toward the west wall: center, taken from a bronze coin, are the eight Phoenician Kabeiroi. Left, from a bronze coin of Ephesus, is the effigy of Marcus Aurelius. Lucius Verus and Marcus Aurelius stand at the lighted altar before the statue of Artemis of Ephesus. Right, from a coin of Ariathes, is the Baal of Gazioura. Seated, his left hand resting on a scepter, he holds an eagle in his right hand. Above the door to the right: center, from a bronze medallion, is the Temple of Zeus at Pergamos. Under the portico is Zeus, before him is a priest holding a patera, about to sacrifice a bull. Left, from a coin of Chios, Dionysus, crowned with ivy, stands holding a thyrsus (a staff or spear tipped with an ornament). Right, from a gold coin of Alexander, is a winged Victory; in a field is a thunderbolt, also a letter, which is a mint mark. On the pedestal to the right: from an Athenian coin, A.O.E., the names of magistrates. The owl is a symbol of wisdom; the lion of strength.
"Labore et Honore" (By Labor and Honor) is the inscription upon the Southern Wall. There are 5 murals depicting the following: the birth of Athena, being brought forth from the head of Zeus after being split by Hephaestus (or Vulcan) with many Greek gods and goddesses in attendance; Nike, the goddess of victory and success, pouring wine for libation into a cup, and is accompanied by two assistants carrying a wand and a flute player following them all; the Judgement of Paris; the Three Sirens seeking to attract Odysseus and his companions; and Greece personified by Hellas standing between Zeus on his throne and Athena. Beneath the first (and center) mural is a pilaster which has more coins upon it.

The Corinthian Hall, Renaissance Hall, and the Benjamin Franklin Rooms are examples of rooms that were decorated and completed under the direction of a Committee.

Gothic Hall

Early on, the Gothic Hall, dedicated on September 30, 1873, was decorated largely by contributions collected by Commanderies meeting in Philadelphia. The Gothic Hall which is primarily used by the Knights Templar, but is also used by the Scottish Rite. The room is 87-feet long, 50-feet wide, and 26-feet high.

As its name implies the architectural style of this room is Gothic to include its furniture which is covered in black leather. There are 4-rows of benches on each side of the room. Above the chair of the Eminent Commander hangs the Crown and Cross.  Upon the walls hang the pictures of Past Grand Commanders.

Egyptian Hall

Completed in 1889, this room as the name implies is decorated in ancient Egyptian motif, particularly of the Nile Valley. The room is 51-feet long, 43-feet wide, and 22-feet high.

There are 12 columns that stand along the four sides of the room.  Each column is a replica of an original column in Egypt.  The columns are surmounted by capitals peculiar of famous Temples and other ancient Egyptian edifices such as the Luxor, Karnak, and Philae. The columns have borders of reeds and rushes, and at their base are lotus flowers. In the between the columns at their tops are panels that display pyramids.

The furniture is also in Egyptian styles.  The Worshipful Master's throne is gilded ebony and his pedestal is flanked by Sphinxes (the Sr. and Jr. Warden's pedestals are similar).

Along the walls are murals depicting domestic life in Ancient Egypt as depicted in hypogeum (underground chambers or tombs) and sepulchral chambers.

The ceiling is blue to represent the sky and the heavens. Above the Worshipful Master's, on the ceiling, is a lighted sun disk from which emanates rays that are tipped with the ancient Ankh. Along the ceiling the seven planets are represented as are the symbolic representation of the 12-months as seen in the Temple of Ramses at Thebes, and on the intersection of the crossbeams are ancient Mason Marks. Along the frieze are depictions of the seasons and the hours of the day

The Eastern Wall is beautifully decorated and website describes it best as:
On the east wall, the cornice of the pylon contains as its central figure the all-seeing eye of Horus. The sloping jambs of the pylon represent the adoration of a Theban deity by Egyptian kings. The panel above the door depicts the goddess having jurisdiction over the east bank of the Nile. The soffits of the pylon contain the names of the principal gods.
In the room there are 12 columns and 14 panels.  In the East, the 1st column is divided into two parts where the upper represents the sovereign (and family) adoring the Sun and the lower depicts Horus and Thoth purifying Amenophis II. The next column is also split into two sections where the upper depicts the Judgement of the Dead while the lower section shows Horus, Osiris, and Isis. Four of the panels are on this wall and they depict the four great Egyptian deities: Osiris, Horus, Isis, and Amon-Ra.

On the North Wall, the first column represents King Sheshonk worshiping the great traid of Memphis: Ptah, Sekhet, and Imhotep. The next column depicts Ramses II praying to the Theban triad: Ammon-Ra, Mut, and Khonsu. Third column of this wall is illustrated with Amenophis II offering floral tributes to the gods of Elephantine and Cataract, Khnum, and his two female companions. The last column represents King Seti making a milk offering to Osiris, Isis, and Horus. There are 5 panels on this wall and they illustrate the following: the child King Amenophis sitting on the lap of a goddess, a man and his family, huntinig in the marshes, Seti I striking prisoners of war with a mace, and a Harper as depicted in Ramses III tomb in Thebes.

In the West, the pylon is dedicated to the industrial arts. As in the East, the West has two columns. The first column displays the following deities: Selk, Hathor, Seb and Sebek. The second column represents Thoth. Above the Sr. Warden's chair on the wall is a bronze relief of Right Worshipful Brother Thomas R. Patton, Past Grand Treasurer of Pennsylvania and benefactor of the Thomas Ranken Patton Masonic Institution for Boys, now the home of the Pennsylvania Youth Foundation.

Finally upon the Southern wall are depicted the rest of the columns and panels. The first column is dedicated to Neith and Tanen (an avatar of Ptah). The second column is consecrated to Maat (goddess of Truth), Thoth, and Sefekh. The third column represents a form of Horus and Set.  The last column represents Osiris, Isis, and Anubis. The panels displayed on this wall illustrate: another Harper, Ramses in his war chariot, a bari (or sacred boat) from the Temple of Elephantine, Ramses II celebrating a festival, and Anubis presiding over the dead holding symbols of life and death in his hands.

Oriental Hall

This hall is decorated like that of Alhambra (Arabic for "the red castle") in Granada, Spain, which is a Moorish style. This hall is 53-feet long, 41-feet wide, and 23-feet high.

This room is so decorated and ornamented (like that of its original counterpart) that it is to give the idea of grandeur and magnificence.

The ceiling is divided into 7,000 panels of various shapes and size copied from the Hall of Ambassadors.  The border that surrounds the ceiling has a lotus flower pattern is copied from the Salon of Tribunals.

The screens between the arches and the panels above the columns are copies of those found in the Court of the Fish Pond. The soffits of the arches and the spandrels above them are from the "Hall of the Two Sisters." The borders on the lines of the capitals were copied from the "Hall of the Abencerrages."  

Ionic Hall

This room is 64-feet long, 41-feet wide, and 21-feet wide, and is designed in the elegant characteristics of the Ionic style.

The columns of this room are decorate in cream-tone ivory and their capitals are enriched with gold, vermillion, and blue. Between the pillars are full-length portraits of Past Grand Masters. The walls themselves are of a delicate blue.

The ceiling as with other Halls represents the blue vault of heaven.  In the center blazes a representation of the midday sun and is surrounded by the 12 Signs of the Zodiac which represent the twelve portions of the heavens through which the sun courses during the year.

Norman Hall

This hall was finished in 1891 and the style is Rhenish Romanseque, and the term "Norman" is used for the round-arch architecture found in this room. This room is 51-feet long, 41-feet wide, and 23-feet high.  The decorations are patterned after those found in ancient Ireland and Scandinavia.

The walls are divided into bays by broad piers with heavy arching. For the East, West, and South, the bays have pedimented niches carried on short columns with foliated caps. The curved ribs support the beams which divide the ceiling into 25-panels.

The piers are deep olive green and gold. The panels between the piers have life sized figures on a gold mosaic background.  These figures are carrying the working tools of Freemasonry: Plumb, Trowel, Square, Mallet, and Compasses. The ceiling panels are deep blue and the border is tinted chocolate brown. The rug has a background of deep greenish blue, necked with figures in shades of gold, red and black. The result is interlacing designs that produce the effect of a larger room.

Grand Staircase

The Grand Staircase is just off the main entrance from North Broad Street. This staircase is made up of Tennessee marble. From beneath the staircase one may look up to see the Seal of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, the Great Seal of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and a large plaque encircled with the representations of the Four Cardinal Virtues: Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice.

On the second floor of the Grand Staircase one can see a beautiful stained glass window depicting the Burning Bush where Moses received instruction from God. At the top of the window, within the stained glass rose, are emblems of the Masonic fraternity.  At the base of the window are portrayed the four cardinal virtues.

Above the Grand Staircase are 4 large paintings. On the North wall is Demeter, the Greek goddess of vegetation and fruits, riding in a chariot . On the South wall is a depiction of "Bringing in the Harvest". On the Western wall, the "Woodlands". On the East wall, "Group of Singers," with heads uplifted toward the heavens, singing praises to the Lord for the bountiful crops at harvest time.

References

1. History of the Masonic Temple of Philadelphia. (n.d.). Retrieved from Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania: http://www.pagrandlodge.org/tour/historye.html

2. Masonic Temple (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masonic_Temple_%28Philadelphia,_Pennsylvania%29

3. Self-Guided Tour. (n.d.). Retrieved from Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania: http://www.pagrandlodge.org/tour/mtemplesg.html

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The 65th Triennial Conclave Information Packet

So I was perusing the Grand Encampment website and found the information packet sent out to members of delegates of the Grand Encampment discussing the upcoming Conclave. The Triennial Conclave will be held in Alexandria, VA, starting on the 11th through the 15th of August.

The 65th Triennial Conclave will begin with the drill competition on Saturday, August 11, 2012, followed by a “Pass in Review.” Sunday, August 12, brings the Divine service at 4:00 PM followed by the Grand Master’s reception at 6:00 PM. The business sessions will begin on Monday, morning, August 13, with the reception of distinguished guests and the Grand Commanders. The business session will continue on Tuesday, August 14, and the Grand Master’s banquet on Tuesday evening. Installation will occur on Wednesday morning.

In the information packet you will find the Allocution of the Most Eminent Grand Master, William H. Koon, II, which covers the vision statement of the Grand Encampment "Chivalry, Christianity, Templary - A Way of Life!", the decision of the Hand Salute edict he handed down, the Knights Templar magazine, leadership training, the development of Templary outside the United States, the death and progression during the Triennium, Easter Services on the West and East Coast, the discussion of the conflict over the Rectified Scottish Rite, resignations, removals,appeals, the long range plans of the Grand Encampment, YRIS (York Rite Information System), Knights Templar Eye Foundation, the Holy Land Pilgrimage, and the financials of the Grand Encampment.

In it you will also find the proposed legislation which I will give a brief summary of each one. I highlighted in red which ones I thought are the most interesting.
2012-01: This proposal is for housekeeping purposes to give the members a better understanding of the rules governing Honorary Memberships. This was proposed by Sir Knight Duane L. Vaught, R.E. Grand Generalissimo.

2012-02: This proposal is for housekeeping purposes to give the members a better understanding of the rules governing Life Membership. This was proposed by Sir Knight Duane L. Vaught, R.E. Grand Generalissimo.

2012-03: This proposal goes along with 2012-01 & 2012-02 to clarify the dues and assessments that Commanderies may levy against its measures which may change with the approval or rejection of the first two proposals. This was proposed by Sir Knight Duane L. Vaught, R.E. Grand Generalissimo.

2012-04: This proposal would remove the prohibition amendment from being used in Section 79 and the acceptance of a petitioner for the Chivalric Orders. This was proposed by Sir Knight Duane L. Vaught, R.E. Grand Generalissimo.

2012-05: This proposal would clean up and integrate the existing laws and remove the outdated laws surrounding the creation of Commanderies and jurisdictions. This was proposed by Sir Knight Duane L. Vaught, R.E. Grand Generalissimo.

2012-06: This proposal would also clean up the existing laws and remove the outdated, and contradictory, laws surrounding the relocation of a Commandery. This was proposed by Sir Knight Duane L. Vaught, R.E. Grand Generalissimo.

2012-07: This proposal would increase the number of Department Commanders from no less than 6 and no more than 10 to no less than 6 and no more than 15.  Due to the fact that Masonic Templary is spreading farther and farther outside the United States the Most Eminent Grand Master cannot be everywhere himself and the Department Commanders are too few so this would assist in the growth and development of these new Commanderies and Grand Commanderies around the world. This was proposed by Sir Knight Duane L. Vaught, R.E. Grand Generalissimo.

2012-08: This proposal would integrate and clarify the laws concerning the uniforms of Grand and constituent Commanderies. This was proposed by Sir Knight Duane L. Vaught, R.E. Grand Generalissimo.

2012-09: This proposal is made to allow for an appeal before one is suspended from Templary for losing membership in prerequisite affiliations (Lodge, Chapter and Council) by possible illegal or improper motives. This is proposed to prevent the Chapter and Council from any possible intimidation via threats of arbitrary suspension against the members of the Templar Order. This was proposed by Sir Knight Duane L. Vaught, R.E. Grand Generalissimo.

2012-10: This proposal clarifies what constitutes appearance in public by Knights Templar and what approval is needed. This was proposed by Sir Knight Duane L. Vaught, R.E. Grand Generalissimo.

2012-11: This proposal would add a section that would add a Mission Statement in the Constitution of the Grand Encampment, which would be "The preeminent mission of this fraternal organization shall be The Support and Defense of the Christian Religion". This was proposed by Sir Knight Michael H. Shively, PGC (Texas).

2012-12: This proposal would add to the Constitution the rules governing "Outpost" Commanderies which are those who cannot comply with the requirements specified in the laws of a Grand Commandery, but may keep their Charter by complying with a set of rules listed in that section. This was proposed by Sir Knight Michael H. Shively, PGC (Texas).

2012-13: This proposal would integrate and clean up the rules concerning the eligibility of members to the offices of the Commandery and put certain requirements before one can be elected as Eminent Commander. This was proposed by Sir Knight Michael H. Shively, PGC (Texas).

2012-14: This proposal would add the KYCH Recognition Bar as a bar to be worn on the uniform, and gives the rules specifying the design, where and how to be worn. This was proposed by Sir Knight Michael H. Shively, PGC (Texas).
I will be interesting to see which ones pass and how this will change the Constitution and By-Laws of Grand and constituent Commanderies.  Once I hear the news I will post on the results of this Triennial Conclave, particularly on the subject of the status of both American Rectified Scottish Rite bodies.