Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Officers of the College of the SRICF

The officers of a College of Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (SRICF) are Chief Adept, Celebrant, Suffragan, Treasurer, Secretary, First Ancient, Second Ancient, Third Ancient, Fourth Ancient, Conductor of Novices, First Herald, Second Herald, Torch Bearer, Guardian of the Caverns, Prelate, Medalist, and Acolyte. These titles demonstrate the influence of the history of Rosicrucianism and how Masons incorporated them into the hierarchy of this order.

The basic organization of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis is known as the College and, within the United States, there is one per State (exceptions being New York and California). This body is presided over by the Chief Adept who, along with the Secretary and Treasurer, is appointed by the Supreme Magus, the head of the national organization. The Celebrant, Suffragan, and the four Ancients are elected annually by the members of that particular College. The other officers of the College are appointed by the Chief Adept.

The Chief Adept is the presiding officer of the convocations of a College of the SRICF in the First Order (I° - IV°) and Second Order (V° - VII°); the Third Order (VIII° & IX°) is under the charge of the Supreme Magus and the High Council of the SRICF. The use of "chief" has traditionally been used to mark a leader such as the chief of a clan or tribe, or, in America, the "Commander-in-Chief" or "Chief of Staff." Chief comes to us from the French language meaning "highest in rank, most important or prominent, or supreme" which itself derives from the Latin word 'caput' meaning "head or leader." An adept is a skilled individual or one who has gained a level of knowledge or skill to be considered an expert. This word comes to us from the Latin word 'adeptus' meaning "to attain or acquire." Traditionally this title was reserved for those not just masters of skills relevant in the material world, but also spiritually.

The top elected officer of the College is the Celebrant is to preside over the First Order, if not done by the Chief Adept, and in the absence of the Chief, the Celebrant shall become the presiding officer of the College. A Celebrant can literally mean anyone who takes part in a celebratory rite, but it is also used to indicate an officiating priest or clergyman who specializes in certain rites. This word is rooted in the French word 'célébrant' which means "officiating clergyman."

The next elected officer is the Suffragan, like the Celebrant, has duties and responsibilities to discharge during the rituals, and, in the absence of the Chief Adept and Celebrant, is to preside over the convocations of the College. A Suffragan is a bishop who is often an assistant a diocesan bishop, which makes this title appropriate to this officer as he is subordinate to and assists the Celebrant. The etymology of this word is 'suffraganeus,' a Medieval Latin word, meaning "an assistant."

The Treasurer and Secretary have duties similar to those found in other Masonic and non-Masonic organizations as the financial and administrative officers respectively.

The four Ancients are the last of the elected officers. These four officers have administrative and ritualistic duties, particularly giving instruction of Rosicrucian principles and philosophy to the members and aspirants of the College. Etymologically there are two ways to looks at these officers: ancient as an adjective comes to us from the Latin word 'anteanus' meaning "from before" while ancient as a noun refers to a "standard bearer" as a bastardization of the word 'ensign' from the Latin word 'insignia' and which is used by the military often as a designation of the junior most commissioned officer. These four are the collective junior elected officers of the College who are indeed ancient being the keepers of ancient wisdom held by the order.

The Conductor of Novices has duties similar to the Stewards and Senior Deacon of the Blue Lodge as he is the one who ensures the preparation of and guides the candidates, or aspirants. A conductor is a director or guide, and comes to us from Latin via Middle French from the word 'conductus' meaning "a carrier". A novice is a beginner or inexperienced in a skill or knowledge, and which derives from the Latin word 'novicius' meaning "inexperienced."

The First Herald and Second Herald assist the Conductor of Novices; have charge of the ballot, and other duties as defined in the ritual. A Herald was traditionally an officer who conveyed messages or proclamations as well as acted as diplomats or ambassadors for monarchs. This word derives from the old French word 'heraut' meaning "messenger or envoy."

The Torch Bearer assists the Conductor of Novices and has duties during the opening of a College; this officer has duties that correspond with the Senior Deacon and Marshal in the Blue Lodge. While this title has a literal meaning it is also used to indicate someone who leads others, frequently in a campaign or movement. The etymology of torch has to do with the traditional composition of a torch more than what it does as it derive from the old French word 'torche' meaning "handful of straw." Bearer is derived from the 'beran,' an old English word meaning "to bear or bring."

The Guardian of the Caverns corresponds with the Junior Deacon of the Blue Lodge and holds the corresponding duty of protecting the entrances of the College from the unworthy. The word Guardian stems from the old French word 'gardien' meaning "keeper or custodian." Cavern has its roots from the Late Latin word 'caverna' meaning "cave" which comes originates from the Latin 'cavus' meaning "hollow."

Like the Chaplain found in the Lodge, the Prelate has the duty of offering prayers to God. A Prelate is traditionally a high ranking member of the clergy and the word is derived from the Latin word 'prelatus' referring to a clergyman of "high rank or of preference over others."

Like the other names used for the title of officers, the Medalist denotes "one who is skilled in metals" or "medal maker".

Traditionally an Acolyte was a junior officer in the church who assists the clergy, but in the College acts as the outer guard which corresponds to the Tiler of the Blue Lodge. This word has come to its current use traveling from French by Latin, but originating from the Greek word 'akolouthos' meaning "following, attending on."

Throughout Freemasonry we use certain appellations or honorary titles to show respect for certain stations or offices in a given body. It is no different in the SRICF. For the Supreme Magus, the title of "Most Worthy" is attached while members of the Third Order are denominated as "Right Worthy". Celebrants and Suffragans who have not yet attainted the Third Order are regarded as "Very Worthy" and members of the First and Second Orders are called "Worthy"; worthy as meaning "having merit".

References

1. Acolyte. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=acolyte&allowed_in_frame=0.

2. Acolyte. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acolyte.

3. Adept. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=adept&allowed_in_frame=0.

4. Adept. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adept.

5. Ancient. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=ancient&allowed_in_frame=0.

6. Bear. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=bear&allowed_in_frame=0.

7. Cavern. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=cavern&allowed_in_frame=0.

8. Cavern. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cavern.

9. Celebrant. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=Celebrant.

10. Celebrant. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/celebrant.

11. Chief. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=chief&allowed_in_frame=0.

12. Chief. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chief.

13. Conductor. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=conductor&allowed_in_frame=0.

14. Conductor. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conductor.

15. Ensign. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=ensign&allowed_in_frame=0.

16. Guardian. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=guardian&allowed_in_frame=0.

17. Guardian. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/guardian.

18. Herald. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=herald.

19. Herald. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/herald.

20. Medalist. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=medalist&searchmode=none.

21. Medalist. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/medalist.

22. Novice. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=novice&allowed_in_frame=0.

23. Novice. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/novice.

24. Ordinances and Regulations. n.d. http://iasricf.org/ordinances/.

25. Prelate. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=prelate&allowed_in_frame=0.

26. Prelate. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prelate.

27. Suffragan. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=suffragan&allowed_in_frame=0.

28. Suffragan. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/suffragan.

29. Torch. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=torch&allowed_in_frame=0.

30. Torchbearer. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/torchbearer.

31. Adept. n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adept.

32. Celebrants. n.d. http://lifethreads.ca/about/what-is-a-celebrant/.

33. Ensign (rank). n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ensign_(rank).

34. Acolyte. n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acolyte.

35. Celebrant. n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celebrant.

36. Herald. n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herald.

37. Medalist. n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medalist.

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