KNIGHT OF THE EAST OR SWORD
The Fifteenth Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and the First
Degree of the Historical Series
The annual meetings of all Councils of Princes of Jerusalem are held on the
20th day of the tenth month Tebet: stated meetings, at such other times as
may suit their convenience. Officers should be elected at every annual meeting,
all installed on the 23rd day of the eleventh month - Adar - thereafter
Originally, it was the province of every Council of Princes of Jerusalem
to inspect and watch over, with due care and fidelity, Lodges of Perfection,
and see that their "work" was done in conformity with the regulations and
landmarks of the order. This duty of a Council has never been abrogated,
but is seldom exercised.
The Grand Feast-day of Princes of Jerusalem shall be celebrated on the 23rd
day of the eleventh month, Adar, which is the anniversary of the day when
thanks were given to the Almighty for the reconstruction of the Temple. Their
other Feast-days are as follows:
The 20th day of the tenth month, called Tebet, when " the ambassadors made
a triumphant entry into Jerusalem, on their return from Babylon."
The equinoctial days, in the months of March and September, in memory of
the Temple having been built twice.
Five members constitute a quorum: a Council can not be opened with a less
If a Prince gives another Prince a challenge, he should be excluded forever.
Princes are strictly to observe the rule enforcing justice and good order,
and their conduct in life should be irreproachable.
If any member of a Council or Lodge shall be present at, or aid, or assist
in giving or receiving any of the sublime or symbolic degrees in a clandestine
or irregular manner, contrary to the true intent and meaning of the statutes
and regulations of the Supreme Council, or of the constitutions and laws
of true Ancient, Free and Accepted Masonry, he subjects himself to expulsion.
A Prince of Jerusalem who visits an inferior Council or Lodge, should present
himself clothed with the dress and ornaments of a Prince; and when his approach
is announced, the presiding officer sends a Prince of Jerusalem to examine
him, and if he reports in his favour he should be received under the arch
of steel, and be escorted by four Brethren, and seated on the right hand
of the presiding officer. An entry of his name and rank should be made on
the engraved tablets, that he may thereafter receive due honours without
examination; the same ceremonies should be observed when he retires as when
Princes have the right of being covered in all subordinate Lodges, Chapters,
or Councils, and of addressing the Chair without first asking permission.
If at any election of officers, a Prince of Jerusalem solicits votes for
himself or any other person, he should be forever expelled.
This degree, which is intimately connected with the one that succeeds it,
relates to the Babylonish captivity, which lasted seventy years, the release
and return of the 42,360 captives to Jerusalem, and the attempt to build
the Second Temple under the direction of Zerubbabel or Sheshbazzar. King
Cyrus also permitted the return of the Holy Vessels and Ornaments which had
been removed by Nebuzaradan at the time of the destruction of the First Temple.
The return of the captives was contested at the bridge over the river Euphrates,
but unsuccessfully; and finally, when labouring to lay the foundation of
the Temple, beset on every side by enemies, Zerubbabel ordered that the Masons
should work with the sword in one hand and a trowel in the other, that they
might be able at any moment to defend themselves from attack.
The Second Temple was forty-six years in construction.
The purpose of the Degree of Knight of the East or Sword is to animate and
encourage the Mason to be active in his duties, by presenting in an effective
manner some illustrious examples of Humility, Patience, Truth, Wisdom, Chivalric
courage and Devotion, as displayed by our ancient Brethren. and also to preserve
the remembrance of the events upon which the grade is founded. In this, and
the succeeding degree, the initiate appears in a double capacity, as a Craftsman
and a Warrior, who must be constantly on the alert, ready either for work
or for combat.
A Council of Knights of the East or Sword requires three apartments:
First - Hall of the West.
Second - Hall of the East.
Third - Road from Jerusalem to Persia.
Represents a Grand Lodge of Perfection at Jerusalem. The hall is decorated
with red, the furniture in general disorder, and the altars prostrated. The
lights are seventy in number, arranged in groups of seven each. A curtain
at the East end of the hall conceals a blazing glory.
Represents the interior of the Palace of King Cyrus, and should be decorated
according to the usual custom of the Orientals. A throne occupies one end
of the hall, with seats for the Minister of State and Counsellors. The room
is hung in green. It is brilliantly lighted, by no particular number or
arrangement of lights. In the East is a superb throne. In the West are two
oriental seats in the North and South, seats for the brethren. The Throne
is elevated by two steps, and adorned with gold-lace and fringe.
Behind the throne is a transparency representing the dream of Cyrus to wit,
a roaring lion ready to spring upon him; above it a brilliant Glory, surrounded
with luminous clouds; and in the centre of the Glory the Ineffable name of
God, in Samaritan letters. Out of the clouds an eagle emerges, bearing in
his beak a pennant, upon which are the words, "Restore Liberty to the Captives."
Below the luminous clouds are Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, loaded with
chains, the former on all-fours, eating grass.
IN THE THIRD APARTMENT
A bridge is represented extended, over a river, and a rude altar at the end
near the first apartment.
OFFICERS IN THE FIRST APARTMENT
1. Thrice Potent Grand Master.
2. Senior Grand Warden.
3. Junior Grand Warden.
4. Grand Orator.
5. Grand Master of Ceremonies.
6. Grand Captain of the Guards.
All in black robes with their appropriate jewels.
CHARACTERS IN THE SECOND APARTMENT
1. Cyrus, King of Persia, in royal robes.
2. Grand Master of Cavalry.
3. Grand Master of Infantry.
4. Grand Master of Palace.
5. Grand C. of Guards.
All in appropriate costumes.
Guard, soldiers, etc, with javelins or pikes.
King Cyrus and the Grand Masters of Cavalry, Infantry, and of the Palace,
wear an order, or broad watergreen colored sash, with a green rosette at
the bottom, worn from the right shoulder to the left hip.
The green turbans have a golden sun embroidered on the front.
The apron, worn only in the first apartment, is of crimson velvet edged with
green; on the flap are embroidered in gold a bleeding head and two swords
crossed; in the centre of the apron, three triangles forming a chain with
The jewel of gold is three triangles, one within the other, diminishing in
size, and enclosing two naked swords crossed, hilts downward, resting on
the base of the inner triangle.
The term knight will be added to all titles except the Master's. Each Knight
wears a silver trowel with an ebony handle at his right side.
Step - advance boldly by four and one, sword in hand.
Age - ten weeks of years.
Battery - five and two.
Banner of the order - green silk bordered with red; on it are represented
a lion and a wolf.
OPENING AND RECEPTION
The labours in the Council of Princes of Jerusalem being suspended, the members
who are to sustain the parts in the second apartment, or Hall of the East,
will immediately repair to that apartment and robe themselves, in order that
they may be in readiness when Zerubbabel arrives, and will be stationed as
While the second apartment is being prepared, the candidate, who has been
clothed with a black robe, is permitted to enter the first apartment without
obstruction, where he discovers the brethren engaged in earnest conversation,
in groups of two or more.
Previous to admitting the candidate into the Lodge, a copy of the following
will be placed in his hands by the Tyler:
Brother-You are summoned to appear this day at a convocation of Grand, Elect,
Perfect and Sublime Masons, at our usual rendezvous. The seventy years of
captivity have nearly expired. Cyrus has ascended the throne. We may now
be restored to liberty. Come to us. Obey the sign.
PRAYER BY THE GRAND ORATOR
O Lord our God, and the God of our fathers! thou didst appoint a stated period
for the captivity of thy people in Egypt and Babylon, and thou hast taught
us the signs whereby we may learn the approach of our redemption from the
long captivity which thy just judgment inflicted upon us. Arise, O Lord!
and have mercy upon thy Zion, for the time to favour her, yea, the set time,
is come. Stir up the heart of Cyrus, thy servant; for it is written, "The
heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy
glory." Into thy hands we commit our undertaking. From thee alone do we expect
success in our endeavours; for vain is the help of man without thee.
Finally, O Lord, we pray thee to incline the hearts of all our brethren to
assist in the work on which we this day solicit thy blessing.
Amen. So mote it be.
Rise, my brethren! The God of Battles is with us. Our petition. has been
heard. Let our deliberations to-day be guided by sound discretion. Have faith,
my brethren, and success will attend us.
God speaketh once -yea, twice - but man perceiveth it not. In a dream - in
a vision of the night - when deep sleep falleth upon men, then he openeth
the ears of men, and sealeth their instructions.
"An angry lion was about to throw himself upon me and devour me, and, while
quaking with fear, I looked for some place of shelter. A splendid light,
proceeding from a 'glory,' suddenly dazzled my sight, and I perceived two
of my predecessors, Nebuchadnezzar and Balthasar, in the garb of slaves,
and loaded with chains. I heard a voice saying to me: 'Loose the bonds of
wickedness.' ' Undo the heavy burdens.' 'Let the oppressed go free.' Break
My spirit was troubled, and my sleep fled from me.
Thus saith Cyrus, King of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth hath the
Lord God of heaven build him a given me, and he has charged me to house in
Jerusalem, in Judea. Who among you are of his people? The Lord his God be
with him, and let him go up.
You see represented, my brethren, the desolation into which has fallen the
work of the greatest of Masons; the walls of the Temple demolished, the altar
overthrown, the ornaments devastated, and fear and suspicion among the workmen.
But at length a change is taking place; our hopes are revived, our chains
are broken, our losses are about to be repaired, and our works recommenced.
The stones for rebuilding will be taken from the quarries of Tyre, and the
wood from the forests of Lebanon, because the second Temple should in all
parts be like unto the first, to signify that Masonry is a unity and cannot
suffer any material change. You will now visit the outer works and reflect;
for of the principal architects of the first Temple, God was the first, Solomon
was the second, and Hiram was the third.
Knights, the glorious work of rebuilding the Temple is now our object. For
you, Zerubbabel and your companions, has been reserved so great a work. The
obligation which you have just taken secures its execution. We stand in need
of chiefs to guide us, and who, at the same time, will be our defenders.
In the swords with which you are armed, and which you know so well how to
preserve, we have the warrant of a successful protection.
Knights, if you consent that Zerubbabel and his associates shall rule the
labours of Masonry, building temples and tabernacles in our hearts, and
protecting the workmen from their enemies, give the + of assent.
Approach and receive the attributes of your new state, and a knowledge of
the mysteries of our reunion.
You have been decorated by King Cyrus with the title of "Knight of the East,"
and I now decorate you with that of "Knight Mason." This trowel is its symbol.
You will work henceforth, Sir Knights,' with the trowel in one 'hand and
the sword in the other. This sash of water-green colour must accompany you
in all Lodges. It is the mark of knighthood, to which you were admitted by
the king, and signifies our hope of being re-established. We have added,
in order to preserve the memory of our liberator, this rosette, which is
Placed at the bottom of the sash.
Cyrus, The King, to Sysina and Sarabason, sendeth greeting.
Be it known unto you, that I have given leave to all the Jews that are in
my dominions, to return into their own Country, and there to rebuild their
Capital City, with the Holy Temple at Jerusalem, in the same place where
it stood before. I have likewise sent my messenger, Mithridates and Zerubbabel,
the Governor of Judea, to superintend the building, and to see it raised
sixty cubits upward from the ground and as many over; the walls to be three
rows of polished stones, and one of the wood of the Country, together with
an Altar for Sacrifices; and all this to be done at my charge.
It is my further pleasure that they receive entire to themselves, all the
profits and revenues that were formerly enjoyed by their predecessors, and
that they have an allowance paid them of 205,500 drachmas, in consideration
of beasts for Sacrifices, wine and oil; and 2,500 measures of wheat, in lieu
of fine flour, and all this to be raised upon the tribute of Samaria; that
the priests may offer up sacrifices according to the laws and ceremonies
of Moses, and pray daily for the King and the Royal family, and for the welfare
and happiness of the Persian Empire: and let no man presume to do anything
contrary to the tenor of this my royal will and proclamation, upon pain of
forfeiting life and estate.