Friday, December 31, 2021

End of the Year

2021 was a busy year. Between Freemasonry and work, I spent 172 nights in a hotel and flew over 55,000 miles in a plane. January kicked off with two separate work trips to Hawaii (I know, rough).

In February, Masonic Week was virtual and I presided over a quick meeting of the officers of the High Council of the Masonic Order of the Bath of the USA where we decided to keep the officers the same for the ensuing year. March was taken up with work.

With April came the Grand York Rite of Idaho which was the first York Rite jurisdiction in the Northwest region to meet in person. I presided over the Order of the Silver Trowel, Knights of the York Cross of Honor, and Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Idaho. I was also awarded the Order of the Secret Vault and Ephraim A. Kirby Awards. 

At the end of April, Idaho College SRICF and Star Garnet Council No.560 of the AMD were able to meet for the first time since the quarantine restrictions came down. The next weekend, my College's Secretary and I went to Wyoming for their SRICF College and York Rite College meetings.

My time in May and June was taken up with work trips. July took me to Alaska (it was weird having so much daylight). The next week I went to Phoenix to attend the Southwest Regional Red Cross of Constantine where I receive the College of Viceroys degree and the Southwest SRICF Conference hosted by Arizona College.

August took me to Minneapolis to attend the 68th Triennial of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the USA. I was surprised to be asked to serve as Chairman of the Special Committee on Communications.

The first half of September was taken up with attending the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Colorado and the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Wyoming. Except for Idaho, all of the other Grand Chapters in the Northwest had not met in person so much of my job as Deputy General Grand High Priest of the Northwest had been attending virtual meetings. That month I was also appointed as Assistant Alumni Adviser for the Kappa Rho Chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. In October I presided over a portion of the Northwest York Rite Conference in Boise, ID. Two weeks later, I drove nearly 8-hours to attend the Northwest York Rite Festival in Wenatchee, WA.

With November came the 2021 Annual Meeting of the High Council of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis in Louisville, KY. The next weekend was the conferral of the Chivalric Orders that the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Idaho in Boise, ID.

In December I was appointed IV Pillar of Redemption Tabernacle No.XL of the Holy Royal Arch Knights Templar Priests and elected Eminent Viceroy of St. Michael Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine.

I'm looking forward to this next year and it is going to be even busier than 2021!

God bless all of you and have a Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my family, friends, Brothers, Companions, Sir Knights, Companion Knights, Fellows, Knights Companion, Cousins, Knights, and Fratres around the world. 

Today we celebrate the birth of the Logos Incarnate, the Blessed Redeemer, the Glory of the Father, and the True Light of the World.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Christmas Observance

The apex of the York Rite is the Knights Templar. We take the name Knights Templar not out of any claim of descendants or lineage, but rather as a commemoration of those Christian knights. This organization leaves the conventional story of the Symbolic Degrees and transitions us into the Christian knighthoods. A Commandery of Knights Templar does not confer degrees, but rather orders of knighthood. Unlike other Masonic bodies, including the Royal Arch and Cryptic Masons, which don't have specific religious requirements, one must be a Christian to join the Templars. Every local Commandery is encouraged to hold a Christmas Observance in December. This is a joyous occasion to celebrate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, the Savior of Mankind. The Christmas Observance is one of my favorite Templar activities as it allows us to bring together Sir Knights, Companions, Brothers, family, friends, and guests to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

This custom began in 1876 when the first Knights Templar Christmas Toast was proposed by Sir Knight Stephen Berry, Past Commander of Portland Commandery No.2 in Maine, where he later served as the Grand Recorder of the Grand Commandery of Maine from 1892 to 1917. He started the custom when he invited other Grand Commanderies to “drink a toast at noon on Christmas Day in expressing the fine sentiments typical of the great order and its allegiance to the Great Captain of Our Salvation.” It went worldwide and encouraged Sir Knight Berry, in 1885, to broaden the scope of the toast and he was encouraged to request all Sir Knights to join in on Christmas Day at noon, in a libation pledging loyalty and obedience to the Most Eminent Grand Master. This began a custom of Christmas Observance of uniting a Fraternal Embrace on Christmas Day, at noon (Eastern Standard Time). Several Grand Commanders issued invitations to all subordinates in their jurisdictions, and from Maine to Texas, Massachusetts to Oregon and California, at the witching hour, the Templar’s rose simultaneously to honor the sentiment and the response. From there the Christmas Observance became a custom in all jurisdictions albeit that the Grand Commanderies could adjust the day and time of the toasts to bring about more attendance.

Today I attended the Christmas Observance of Twin Falls Commandery No. 10 in Jerome, ID. After a welcome by the Eminent Commander, the "old, old story" was read which tells the prophecy and birth of the Christ child according to the Old and New Testaments.

I read the Toast of the Grand Encampment Committee on Religious Activity and a Toast to the Most Eminent Grand Master was given. Toasts to the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons of Idaho, Most Excellent Grand High Priest of Royal Arch Masons of Idaho, Most Illustrious Grand Master of Cryptic Masons of Idaho, Right Eminent Grand Commander of Knights Templar of Idaho, and their responses were also given. I had the pleasure of representing the Right Eminent Grand Commander as he is currently out of the state. Now for the drive home to get everything ready for Christmas Day.

I’d like to end this article with a quote from James Allan Francis:

“Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another obscure village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty, and then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put his foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself. He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of His divine manhood. While still a young man, the tide of public opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth while He was dying—and that was his coat. When he was dead He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today He is the centerpiece of the human race and the leader of the column of progress. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that One Solitary Life.”

Monday, December 6, 2021

Feast Day of Holy St. Nicholas


Today, Christians around the world are celebrating the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas who was a 4th Century Bishop of Myra and now considered the patron saint of Russia, Greece, several cities, sailors, children, merchants, travelers, victims of judicial mistakes, captives, archers, repentant thieves, brewers, pawnbrokers, the unmarried, pharmacists, and coopers. Known for his generosity and pension for secret gift-giving, St. Nicholas was the precursor to the modern figure known as Santa Claus in Western culture.

Little is known about the historical Saint Nicholas as the earliest accounts of his life were written centuries after his death and contain many legendary exaggerations. Ancient historical records were often kept on papyrus and parchment which was not very durable and often had to be rewritten onto new material to preserve it. Thus, it is not surprising that some of the earliest references to his name only trace to the 6th century. There are other such references as we know that Theodosius II and Justinian I dedicated churches to St. Nicholas. In the later middles ages, there were nearly 400 churches dedicated to St. Nicholas in England, 300 in Belgium, 34 in Rome, and 23 in the Netherlands; and was represented by Christian artists more frequently than any other saint, saving the Mary Theotokos.


Nicholas is said to have been born in a city called Patara, a maritime city a part of the Roman Empire (in what is now the city of Demre in Turkey) on March 15, 270 AD to two Christians named Epiphanes and Johane (some accounts name them Theophanes and Nonna). Nicholas lost his parents at a young age during an epidemic and was left a large inheritance, but because of his piety and faith, it is said that Nicholas used the wealth to help the poor and sick. I found one story stating that he was raised by his uncle who was the local Bishop. At some point in his youth, his uncle mentored him as a Reader and then later ordained him as a Priest of the church.

Around his 30th year, he made a pilgrimage to Egypt and the Levant to walk in the steps of Christ. On his return, he stopped through Myra. At the time, the clergy were in session to elect a new Bishop of Myra. The presiding bishop is said to have received a vision that whoever came first through the church doors at the hour of matins (a canonical hour before dawn) would be the new Bishop of Myra. As it happened, Nicholas was that man and at the age of 30 became a Bishop.

Nicholas served as Bishop during the religious turmoil of the late Roman Empire when Christians were still being persecuted. Under the reign of Diocletian (Emperor from 284 to 305), Nicholas was imprisoned and tortured. His incarceration lasted until Constantine assumed the imperial throne and released the Christians.

Some stories record that Nicholas attended the First Council of Nicaea (325 AD), but he isn’t mentioned in any writings by people who were actually at the council such as Athanasius of Alexandria or Eusebius. Some say that he was intentionally left off of the list because legend states that he slapped Arius for his argument that Jesus was divine, but not co-equal to God. For his aggression, Nicholas was said to have been defrocked and temporarily imprisoned, but was freed after the other clergy received a holy vision.


Known for his kindness, generosity, and piety, many legends are attributed to Nicholas which led to his canonization. The most famous concerns saving three daughters of a local man. Nicholas heard about a devout man who had lost his wealth and could not afford proper dowries for his daughters which, if remaining unmarried, would have been shunned and left to work as prostitutes or sold into slavery. Nicholas decided to help the father and save the girls. On three different nights, Nicholas left purses of money which allowed the father to arrange proper marriages for each of them. On the final night, the father followed and discovered that it was Nicholas who saved him and his daughters. Nicholas ordered the man not to reveal his charity and his scene is one of the most popular scenes in devotional art.

Other legends include Nicholas saving three men who were falsely imprisoned and sentenced to death. Another story recounts how Nicholas saved a ship he was on and held back a storm which caused Nicholas to become venerated as the patron saint of sailors. There is a legend that occurred during a famine when Nicholas was able to get wheat from maritime merchants without them losing their stores owed to the Empire, but enough to feed all in the area (feels reminiscent of Jesus’ miracle at the Wedding at Cana). Another legend tells how he resurrected three children, who had been murdered and pickled by a butcher planning to sell them as pork during a famine. This last legend is often depicted with Saint Nicholas with three naked children and a wooden barrel at his feet. This depiction became so widespread that many forgot the exact story and misrepresented it so Nicholas became the patron saint of children and, due to the barrels, patron saint of brewers.

Some scholars and critics believe that some of these legends originated in pagans and were then attributed to Nicholas. Counter arguments have been made that Nicholas’s opinion of women was more in line with that of 4th century Christianity when women played prominent roles in the movement before they were downplayed and subjugated in later centuries.

Death and Relics

Nicholas lived until December 6, 343, where he died in Myra. Under Theodosius II, a new church was built and the remains of Nicholas were entombed there. By the 11th century, the Seljuk Turks were conquering the Holy Land and were making their way through Anatolia (modern Turkey). By 1087, the inhabitants of Myra were now under the subjugation of the Seljuk Turks. This combined with the Great Schism of 1054 which divided the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches, prompted a group of Italian merchants from Bari to sail to Myra and remove the major bones of Nicholas’s skeleton from his sarcophagus without any ecclesiastical authority. They brought them back to Bari where a church, named Basilica di San Nicola, was erected and inaugurated by Pope Urban II. Nicholas’s popularity was such that when word was spread that his remains were in Bari, demands flooded the basilica and small fragments of his bones were dispersed around western Europe which also spread and promoted the cult of St. Nicholas. Several more bone fragments were taken from Myra by Venetian sailors during the First Crusade and placed in the San Nicolò al Lido monastery in Venice. Others have reported that some fragments were taken by Normans in the 12-century and taken to Ireland (County Kilkenny). It is noted that St. Nicholas has the most bones still preserved in one spot (the crypt in Bari, Italy).

Veneration and Transformation

Christians in the Middle Ages celebrated him as a gift-giver: children would leave out their shoes or stockings on December 5 and find coins within them the next morning. One legend had nuns using the night of December 6 to pass out food and clothes on the doorstep of the needy. Veneration for St. Nicolas continued throughout the Middle Ages, but stopped abruptly with the Reformation when Protestantism rejected the idea of honoring saints.

The memory and adoration of St. Nicholas were preserved in Holland (western Netherlands) whom they called “Sinterklaas.” The Dutch portrayed him dressed in the red robes and miter of a bishop who would give out candies and presents to the good children while the bad kids received coal or potatoes. The tradition of Sinterklaas followed the Dutch to the American colonies when they established New Amsterdam (now New York City). The name Sinterklaas changed to Santa Claus with the English-speaking majority of the colonies and instead of celebrating him purely on December 6, Santa Claus became a part of the Christmas Season in the US. The modern image of Santa being of a jolly old man in a red suit trimmed with white fur and the idea of him being transported by a magical reindeer-drawn sleigh was cemented in the 19th century with depictions and publications by cartoonist Thomas Nast and poet Clement Clarke Moore.

In much of Europe, St. Nicholas Day is still celebrated by the giving of gifts and merrymaking so as to preserve the focus on Christ during Christmas. Even though Christmas has been heavily commercialized in the US, we can still remember St. Nicholas as a great example of generosity and a model for compassion.


1. Castelow, E. (n.d.). St Nicholas Day. Retrieved from Historic UK: 

2. McCann (IOHANNES IV), S. (n.d.). Holy St. Nicholas. Retrieved from Apostolic Johannite Church: 

3. Saint Nicholas. (2014, April 1). Retrieved from Biography: 

4. Saint Nicholas Day. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: 

5. St. Nicholas. (n.d.). Retrieved from Catholic Online: 

6. St. Nicholas Day. (n.d.). Retrieved from National Today: 

7. St. Nicholas Day (Feast of St. Nicholas). (n.d.). Retrieved from Holidays Calendar: 

8. St. Nicholas Day. (2021, October 6). Retrieved from Encyclopedia Britannica: 

9. St. Nicholas Day: What is it & How is it Celebrated? (2020, December 3). Retrieved from FTD by Design: 

10. Who is St. Nicholas? (n.d.). Retrieved from St. Nicholas Center:

Saturday, December 4, 2021


Today was a busy day for the appendant bodies of the Idaho York Rite of Freemasonry. Before lunch, Tri-Valley College No.178 of the York Rite Sovereign College of North America had a quick business meeting. Several of us went to a local brewery for lunch.

After lunch, Redemption Tabernacle No.XL of the Holy Royal Arch Knights Templar Priests held its annual meeting where I was appointed and installed as the IV Pillar for the ensuing year. St. Michael Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine then held its annual meeting where we initiated the Puissant Sovereign's son. Elections were then held and I am honored to have been elected and installed as the Eminent Viceroy (also styled "Venerable Eusebius"). After the installation, we went to a local steakhouse on the river for dinner. It's been a long, but great day.