Saturday, September 30, 2023

A Masonic Month

Well, September is done. For most of the US, September means the resumption of Masonic activity since most go dark for the summer (and hot) months. For me, September started with attending the Convent General of the Knights of the York Cross of Honor. This month had two Blue Lodge meetings, including celebrating the 113th Anniversary of my home Lodge, Oriental Lodge No.60 in Boise, and conferring two Third Degrees where I conferred one of them and gave the Third Degree Lecture to both. I also attended a Commandery of Knights Templar, the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Idaho, and the Masonic Order of Athelstan. 

I have been a member of the Masonic Order of Athelstan since 2015, but due to work and Masonic obligations, I haven't been able to attend a meeting in some time so it was nice to make it. The one I belong to is in Issaquah, WA, so I flew up as it would be over 9 hours of driving. The Court instructed (or initiated) 4 candidates and we voted on more. The installation of officers for the 2023-2024 year happened and I was appointed as the Captain of the Guard.

Now, I'm back home getting ready for a busy last quarter of the year.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Grand Lodge of Idaho

This weekend (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) was the 156th Annual Communication of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Idaho. It was the first time I was able to attend Grand Lodge since 2019 as my duties as Deputy General Grand High Priest required me to travel to the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Wyoming which often meets the same weekend.

Thursday morning, I and three other Sir Knights served as the Flag Bearers for the Opening of the Grand Lodge. Introductions were performed; there were visitors from Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, Arizona, Hawaii, and Paraguay.

We had 12 Resolutions this year that could be combined into 4 groups of resolutions: 1 was adding another certificate of proficiency for those wishing to serve as Masters of Lodges, 7 of them concerned amending and cleaning up our Penal Code, 3 concerned adding a Budget Committee and the procedures it would follow, and the last one wanted to allow lectures to be done through a video presentation. The only ones that were approved by the voting members of the Grand Lodge were those concerning the housekeeping of the Penal Code. All others were soundly defeated.

The first one, in my opinion, further muddied the waters. In Idaho, our Wardens must demonstrate proficiency in opening and closing a Lodge in all three degrees and pass the designated examination on Masonic Law. To serve as a Worshipful Master, a Brother currently needs a Full Worshipful Masters Certificate of Proficiency or an alternate Worshipful Masters Certificate of Proficiency (known as a "Secondary Worshipful Masters Certificate of Proficiency"). To gain full proficiency, one must have done everything in the Warden's Certificate as well as confer all three degrees, deliver the Masters Geometry Lecture in the Second Degree, serve as Master in the Second Section of the Third Degree, conduct a Stated Communication, deliver the First Degree Lecture, the Senior Deacons Lecture (often called "The Staircase Lecture") in the Second Degree, the Third Degree Lecture in open Lodge or before the District Deputy Grand Master of his District. An alternate certificate only requires one of the lectures instead of all of them. Some Lodges are struggling with getting Brothers to meet these standards and instead of mentoring they are trying to lower the bar.

Saturday morning, Masons and guests assembled at the Westgate Masonic Center, the new location for Boise Masonry, and performed a Cornerstone Dedication. I counted 94 people in the room and there were still several without the door that I wasn't able to get a good count on. I wore my Templar uniform and represented Idaho Commandery No.1 (one of the six owner bodies of the Westgate).

I want to congratulate Bro. H. Sherman Burger III, now Junior Past Grand Master of Idaho, for his year in the East and governing this Grand Lodge. I want to thank him for appointing me as Chairman of the Committee on Masonic Research and Education. I wish the best for the new Grand Master, Bro. Gary A.S. LaBruyere, and his officers. I've known Gary for some time and have served with him in several capacities in the Grand York Rite of Idaho where he has served as Grand High Priest of Royal Arch Masons of Idaho, Grand Master of Cryptic Masons of Idaho, and Grand Commander of Knights Templar of Idaho. I also wish the best of luck to the newly elected and installed Grand Secretary. Our last Grand Secretary decided to retire after 15 years of service and a Past Grand Master stepped into that position.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Sovereign Great Priory

In “The Hierarchy of the Knights Templars”, I compared the officers of the American Templary to that of the medieval progenitors. I have recently started researching the officer line of the British Templars. Like other British Masonic organizations, they have a governing body broken up into provinces and down to the constituent or local bodies.

In American Templary, the constituent or local body is known as a Commandery, then a State (or countries for those outside of the US) it is a Grand Commandery that may fall under a Department, and then all authority is vested in the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar USA. American Templary comprises the three Orders of Red Cross, Malta, and Temple. In the British system, the basic organizational unit is the Preceptory which falls under a Provincial Priory and the governing authority is known as the Great Priory of the United Religious, Military, and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta of England and Wales and its Provinces Overseas. Also, In the British system, the Order of Malta comes after the Templar order and is conferred in a Priory, not the Preceptory

A Preceptory of Knights Templar is presided over by an Eminent Preceptor and the following officers:


First Constable 

Second Constable




Deputy Marshal


First Herald

Second Herald

Standard Bearer (Beauceant)

Standard Bearer (Vexillum Belli or Banner of War)

Banner Bearer

Captain of the Guards



An Eminent Preceptor only needs to appoint a Chaplain, First Constable, Second Constable, Treasurer, Registrar, Marshal, Captain of Guards, and Guard. There could be a Pro Preceptor appointed if a Prince of the blood royal is elected and accepts being Preceptor. 

Most Preceptories fall under a Provincial Priory which is presided over by a Right Eminent Provincial Prior and the following officers:

Very Eminent Provincial Sub-Prior 

Eminent Provincial Prelate 

Eminent Provincial Chancellor 

Eminent Provincial First Constable 

Eminent Provincial Second Constable 

Eminent Provincial Treasurer 

Eminent Provincial Registrar 

Eminent Provincial Vice-Chancellor 

Eminent Provincial Marshal 

Eminent Provincial Deputy Marshal 

Eminent Provincial Almoner 

Eminent Provincial Herald 

Eminent Provincial Standard Bearer (Beauceant) 

Eminent Provincial Standard Bearer (Vexillum Belli) 

Eminent Provincial Banner Bearer 

Eminent Provincial Sword Bearer 

Eminent Provincial Aide-de-Camp 

Eminent Provincial Warden of Regalia 

Eminent Provincial Chamberlain 

Eminent Provincial Captain of the Guard 

Eminent Provincial Organist 

Eminent Provincial Guard

Every Provincial Priory shall be composed of the Provincial Prior, past and present officers, Preceptors, Past Preceptors, Constables of every Preceptory in the Province, and any Installed Preceptors who are members of a Preceptory within the Province. 

Some Preceptories do not fall under a Province and are referred to as Unattached Preceptories similar to our Subordinate Commanderies. These Unattached Preceptories report directly to the Great Priory, but they may also be grouped and overseen by a Group Inspector. 

Provinces, Groups, and Unattached Preceptories fall under the Great Priory, the supreme Templar authority headquartered in England. The Great Priory is presided over by the Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master and the following officers:

Most Eminent and Supreme Pro-Grand Master

Very High and Right Eminent Great Seneschal

Very Eminent Great Prelate

Very Eminent Great Chancellor  

Very Eminent First Great Constable  

Very Eminent Second Great Constable  

Very Eminent Great Treasurer  

Very Eminent Great Registrar  

Very Eminent President Grand Masters Council

Very Eminent Group Inspector

Very Eminent Great Vice-Chancellor

Very Eminent Great Marshal

Eminent Deputy Great Vice-Chancellor  

Eminent Deputy Great Marshal  

Eminent Great Almoner  

Eminent Great Herald  

Eminent Great Standard Bearer (Beauceant)

Eminent Great Standard Bearer (Vexillum Belli)

Eminent Grand Masters Banner Bearer  

Eminent Great Sword Bearer

Eminent Deputy Great Registrar

Eminent Deputy Great Almoner  

Eminent Assistant Great Vice-Chancellor

Eminent Deputy Great Sword Bearer

Eminent Assistant Great Chancellor

Eminent Great Aide-de-Camp

Eminent Great Warden of Regalia

Eminent Great Chamberlain

Eminent Great Captain of Guards

Eminent Great Organist

Eminent Deputy Great Organist

Eminent Great Guard

For the purposes of rank, the Provincial Prior ranks after the Great Seneschal. 

The Great Priory is composed of the Preceptors and Constables of its constituent Preceptories, and all Great Officers must be Installed Preceptors. 

As I mentioned earlier, the Order of Malta is separate and comes last in English Templary, but is still tied in with the hierarchy. Every Templar Preceptory is also a Priory of Malta. In most cases, the officers are the same although it depends on the nature of the Preceptory and Priory (sometimes the Eminent Preceptor is not the Prior). For a Preceptor to be also be a Prior, he must be a member first which requires you to have been elected to membership in a Priory of Malta. It is interesting to see how much closer an American Priory of Malta and a British Priory of Malta are in terms of their officer titles versus that seen in Templary. 

A Priory is presided over by an Eminent Prior and the following officers:

Captain General

Lieutenant General

First Lieutenant

Second Lieutenant



Deputy Mareschal 








Captain of the Outposts


Just like the Knights Templar, a Provincial Priory is presided over by a Rt. Em. Prov. Prior. A Provincial Prior may appoint a Provincial Sub-Prior and officers corresponding to the Great Priory.

The Order of Malta is governed by the Great Priory and is presided over by the Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master and the following officers:

Very Eminent Great Prior of Malta 

Very Eminent Great Captain General 

Very Eminent Great Lieutenant General 

Very Eminent Great First Lieutenant 

Eminent Great Second Lieutenant 

Eminent Great Sub-Prior of Malta 

Very Eminent Great Prelate 

Eminent Great Mareschal 

Eminent Great Hospitaller 

Eminent Great Admiral 

Eminent Great Conservator 

Eminent Great Baillie 

Eminent Great Turcopolier 

Eminent Great Chancellor 

Eminent Great Treasurer 

Eminent Deputy Great Mareschals 

Eminent Great Banner Bearer 

Eminent Great Sword Bearer 

Eminent Great Captain of Outposts 

Eminent Great Organist 

Eminent Deputy Great Organist 

Eminent Great Guard

The Great Seneschal, Great Chancellor, President of the Grand Masters Council, Great Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Great Registrar, and Assistant Great Chancellor have no ceremonial duties but rank as Grand officers of Malta. 

There are also two awards given to those who have earned them: the Knight Grand Cross of the United Orders (KGC) and the Knights Commander of the United Orders (KCC).

Also see: The Rite of Baldwyn


Knights of Malta. (n.d.). Retrieved from Mark Masons' Hall, London: 

Statutes. (2022). Retrieved from Great Priory of the United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta of England and Wales and its Provinces Overseas:

Saturday, September 2, 2023

2023 Convent General

This Labor Day Weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 88th Annual Conclave of the Convent General of the Knights of the York Cross of Honor. I took a red-eye flight and arrived in the late morning, so I missed the tours to the Guthrie Scottish Rite Temple and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. I grabbed lunch with a good friend from Alabama.

After dinner on Friday, we took a tour of the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial. It's a moving memorial and the Grand Master General was very knowledgeable on the subject. The rest of the night was spent hanging out with Knights from all over North America.

Saturday morning, the Annual Conclave was opened by Oklahoma Priory No.9 before the gavel was given to the Grand Master General. Normal business was taken care of, but one notable item of business is that four amendments were brought to the floor. These resolutions would update our Constitution and Bylaws, but will be carried over to next year. The four concern several updates including increasing the fees that the Convent General charges Priories.

The annual meeting of the York Cross of Honor Medical Research Foundation was held and included an update on the cancer research being done at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.

After a Memorial Service, the following officers were installed for the ensuing year:

Grand Master-General: Gary Miller

Deputy Grand Master-General: Jim McGee

Grand Warder of the Temple: Leland Burlison

Grand Treasurer-General: Reese Harrison

Grand Registrar-General: D. Allen Surratt

Grand Seneschal: Bart Henderson

Grand Marshal: Charles A. McCollum

Grand Sentinel: Chris Larsen

After some dinner with friends, now it's time to pack for my trip home in the morning. I hope everyone has a good Labor Day Weekend.