The Holy Order of the Grand High Priest
THE HOLY ORDER OF THE GRAND HIGH PRIEST
Issued by the Grand Council of the Order, 1879
The Holy Order of Grand High Priest, which has been worked extensively in
Lancashire and Yorkshire and various other parts of England under the aegis
of certain "Antient" Lodges, was one of the four ceremonies which the Grand
Council took under its control at its formation in 1879. Both in this country
and in the United States it has always been designated an "Order"; that title,
instead of Degree, has been preserved.
Almost everywhere the Order has been closely associated with Royal Arch Masonry.
Under the Constitutions of the Grand Council, no Brother can be admitted
to the Order unless he is an Installed Principal of a Royal Arch Chapter.
Members of the Order are designated "Excellent Companions".
The Ceremony is undoubtedly very old, but the date of its earliest working
and even its country of ongin have not been definitely established. Indeed,
the abrupt transition in our ritual from the blessing of Abram, the Mesopotamian
immigrant, by Melchizedek, the Canaanite Priest-King, to the consecration
four centuries later of Aaron the Levite as the first Jewish High Priest
suggests that our present version of the ceremony, although long established,
may be an amalgamation of two distinct degrees. There is evidence of other
ceremonies under the title of the "Order of Melchizedek" or the "Priesthood
of Metchizedek", in which Abram is attacked, pays tithes and is blessed,
and it may be that the consecration was added at a later date to provide
a High Priest of a Royal Arch Chapter, or to enhance the dignity of the First
Be that as it may. the present evidence is that the principal elements of
the ceremony are not derived from the legends and traditions of seventeenth
century English Masonry, but are descended from one of the alleged 1100 "High
Grades" invented on the Continent in the middle of the eighteenth century;
possibly they derive from an ancestor of "Melchizedek" degree said to have
been worked in Berlin in 1780, or of the "Order of Melchizedek or Royal Priest",
the sixth Degree of the Order of the Asiatic Brothers, a short-lived Rite
founded in Vienna in about 1780 to admit Jews, who were not then eligible
for admission to "Lodges of St. John".
Meanwhile in America, probably from the same ancestor, was derived the Order
of Metchizedik" which was being practised at about the same period by some
Royal Arch Chapters in Massachusetts. A little later, in 1789, William McKean
was "anointed after the Order of Melchizedek" to qualify him to preside,
according to the customs of St. Andrew's Chapter, Boston, at the time of
election as Royal Arch Master of the Royal Arch Lodge.
At the organisation in 1797 of what soon afterwards became the General Grand
Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of the United States, attention was drawn to
this ceremony. The General Grand Chapter approved the Ritual in 1799, but
did not assume control of the Order, which developed under the title of the
"Order of High Priesthood" (recorded in the second (1802) edition of T. S.
Webb's "Masonic Monitor"), but with considerable variations among the different
State Grand Jurisdictions, particularly with regard to the qualification
for reception. Under many Jurisdictions it is an optional degree or "honorarium"
conferred only by Grand Conventions on those who have presided over a subordinate
Chapter: under some a Companion is anointed as a High -Priest before installation
in the First Chair of a Chapter: under others it is an essential qualification
for election to the First Chair: under others it is equivalent to the
Installation of the Third Principal in an English Royal Arch Chapter, or
of the High Priest in an Irish Chapter: and in at least one State Jurisdiction
the ceremony is not worked at all.
This lack of uniformity has led from time to time to criticism, and to proposals
for assimilation of practice. However, the General Grand Chapter, which itself
worked a ceremony based on the meeting of Melchizedek with Abram, who paid
tithes to him, declared in 1853 that "It is not within the province of this
General Grand Chapter, or of any State Grand Chapter, to define the duties
or powers of a Council of High Priests".
A consequence of this variety of qualifications among the American State
Jurisdictions is that in some an English member of this Order is not necessarily
qualified to attend a meeting of a Council of High Priests, the equivalent
of an English Convention of Anointed High Priests.
The Order of High Priesthood, being under the control of the Royal Arch,
is not included among the American Allied Masonic Degrees.
The Order of High Priesthood has been traced in Canada in 1818, but later
it became dormant.
Two versions of the Order seem to have reached Ireland through different
channels. One version was brought in about 1770 almost certainly directly
from France: it was shewn to a body of Knights Templar, who decided to keep
it as a Christian Degree. It was therefore worked in Encampments of Knights
Templar and in Lodges which had Royal Arch and Knight Templar sections: or,
if a single Lodge had not enough qualified Brethren, two or more Lodges formed
a "Union Band" to work it. By 1780 the Order was fairly widespread in Ireland:
many certificates, mostly dated in the 1790s, survive with the heading "Sacred
Band of Royal Arch Templar Priests after the Order of Melchizedek".
After about one hundred years this.version ceased to be worked in Ireland.
This French version had, however, also spread as a Priesthood of Holy Royal
Arch Knight Templar Priests (K.T.P.) to North-West England and to Scotland,
and thence to Newcastle, where it has been worked without interruption since
at least 1810. It has since spread all over England. From New Zealand it
was carried to the United States, to complete an almost perfect circle: for
there it became linked with the Priestly Order of the Temple, a body dating
back to at least the 1820s and using a ritual which overlaps that of the
American Order of High Priesthood already mentioned.
The other version which reached Ireland was the Order of High Priesthood
itself from the United States. This was adopted by the Royal Arch and by
the Early Grand Rite. It does not appear to have made so great an impact
and was quietly dropped, but not before it had been carried to Lancashire
and other parts of England, particularly ports which had direct access to
and from Ireland: it may thus be regarded as the parent of the English Order
of Grand High Priest.
This American version also travelled to Scotland where, as the Degree of
High Priest, it was worked unofficially in Craft Lodges before 1800. On the
foundation of the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Scotland in 1817,
negotiations with the (Templar) Royal Grand Conclave led to a redistribution
of the control of some nineteen degrees, and the High Priest became the final
legree of the Royal Arch series. It is apparently not known when it ceased
to be worked under the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter, but it is not mentioned
in an "intimation" in 1845 of the degrees which subordinate Chapters were
entitled to confer. The exact ritual used is no longer extant.
This American version, under the title of "Sublime Order of High Priesthood"
was also received in Scotland under a Charter dated 1822 from the Early Grand
Encampment of Ireland for the erection of the Early Grand Encampment of Scotland.
Under that body, and its successor the Early Grand Royal Arch Chapter of
Scotland, an Installed Third Principal was entitled to claim admission to
this Order in a "Council of High Priests of Royal Arch Masons after the Order
of Melchizedek". This ritual has many details in common with the Capitular
version, but has additions common to the early Templar working of the Holy
Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests.
In the old Knight Templar working of the Royal Grand Conclave of Scotland
the candidate partook of bread from the point of a sword and wine from a
chalice placed on the blade. A similar detail is found in the early workings
of the Mediterranean Pass in some Priories of Malta under the English
Constitution. It may be noted that ceremonies involving bread and wine have
been practised from the earliest times.
Melchizedek is a mysterious figure, who appears in person in the Volume of
the Sacred Law only in three verses of the passage read by the Chaplain from
Chapter 14 of the Book of Genesis: these verses, 18 to 20, curiously interrupt
the connection between verses 17 and 21, as if they were a later interpolation.
He is mentioned rather casually therein as King of Salem and the Priest of
the Most High God, and then disappears from the Old Testament except for
a reference in Psalm 110: "The Lord hath sworn and will not repent, Thou
art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek". The tradition of his
priesthood must therefore have continued for nearly nine hundred years, until
the reign of David. His importance is that, unlike the other local kings
who had warred and carried off Abrain's nephew, he was also a priest.
Nevertheless it is surprising that Abram, the Mesopotamian, recognised by
the payment of tithes the authenticity and authority of a Canaaffite (i.e.
The name Melchizedek means "King of righteousness", and Salem, of which he
was King, means "peace". Salem also occurs in only one other passage in the
Old Testament, and that likewise is in a Psalm, No. 76:-"1n Judah is God
known: his name is great in Israel. In Salem also is his tabernacle, and
his dwelling place is in Zion". In Jurisdictions where a Third Principal
is eligible for this Order, Salem has sometimes been identified, for obvious
Masonic reasons, with Shalem, a city of Shechem in the land of Canaan, where
Jacob pitched his tent on his return from Mesopotamia and built an altar
(GenesIs 33, vv. 18-20). Josephus, however, states that the capital of
Melchizedek's Kingdom was "Jeru-Salem'. Among many fabulous stories purporting
to give the history of Melchizedek, Arabian sources say that twelve neighbouring
kings built in his honour a city, to which he gave the name "Jerusalem".
Recent research tends to favour this identification.
This Order carries us to a high realm of Masonic thought. The Companion who
is admitted to it is left in no doubt that he is set apart for high duties
and responsibilities in life, both as a Mason and as a man: he is taught
that, to carry them out, he is called upon to dedicate himself to the service
of the Most High God and also to that of his fellow-men.
In former times it was customary for some of the companions to form two sides
of an equilateral triangle and to kneel during prayer in the Opening and
Closing of a Convention. In most Councils this is no longer practised.
Although the Ritual makes reference to the presence of the "indispensable
number of three", should nine Anointed High Priests be present, then
traditionally it is said that the Ceremony is performed in "due and ample
All quotations from the Volume of the Sacred Law are taken from the Authorised
Version, which must be used in this Ceremony.
A Tabernacle of the Order represents the encampment of Melchizedek in the
valley of Shaveh (the King's dale) and should be arranged as shewn in the
sketch. The room is divided by curtains which must be capable of being opened
and closed. The Eastern part represents the royal tent of Melchizedek. These
curtains are open during the Opening of the Convention: they are closed for
Part I of the Ceremony of Reception and for the first portion of Part II,
until the Candidate is invited to enter the Tent: thereafter they remain
During Part II, if there is room, all the companions move inside the Tent
and stand in the North and South in order to partake of bread and wine: if
there is not sufficient room, as many companions should move in as is consistent
with the dignity of the Ceremony.
An equilateral Triangle is placed in the centre of the floor outside the
Tent: three candles on tall candlesticks form a further equilateral Triangle
outside the former: the apex of each Triangle points towards the East.
During Part 1 there is a pedestal in the centre of the inner Triangle on
which is placed a V.S.L., opened at Genesis, chapter 14. For Part II both
pedestal and V.S.L. are moved inside the Tent and placed in front of the
President's chair: a small kneeling stool or cushion is then placed in the
centre of the inner Triangle. No square or grid-iron or other object is to
be placed on the V.S.L. when opened. There are no lights or candlesticks
beside the chairs of the Principals in the East.
The titles of the Officers of a Convention of the Order are:-
Most Excellent President
Master of Ceremonies
Assistant Master of Ceremonies
The President wears a white robe, with a breastplate over it, and a mitre.
The Vice-President wears a scarlet robe and the Chaplain a light blue robe:
for these two Officers, Royal Arch robes are appropriate. It is not normal
practice for Officers to wear the Collars of the Officers of a Lodge of St.
Lawrence: nor do they usually carry wands.
If there are two or more candidates for the Ceremony of Reception (if more
than three, by dispensation), one must be selected as the Representative
Candidate. The others should be led into the Tabernacle before the Ceremony
starts, and be seated in the Western part of the room (i.e. outside the Tent).
Only the Representative Candidate will take the Obligation at the pedestal
in the centre: the other candidates will take the Obligation standing in
their places, each supporting an open V.S.L. on his left hand with his right
The other candidates may, if desired, be led out when the Representative
Candidate retires at the end of Part 1, so that they can attend to the
instruction given to the Representative Candidate with regard to his defence
with the sword: in that case they will be brought back into the Tabernacle
and seated as before, before the start of Part II.
When the Representative Candidate is invited to enter the Tent, he will be
placed on the extreme right of the opening formed by the curtains: the other
candidates will then be led up to stand in line with him, in order that they
may all partake of bread and wine which must be offered to each candidate
in the traditional manner by the President.
During the partaking of wine, the sword may be passed along the line, handed
from one candidate to the next, for each in turn to hold horizontally in
front of him: alternatively the M.:. of C.: from behind may hold the sword
horizontally in front of each candidate in turn.
When the Conductor is directed to place the Representative Candidate in the
centre of anointing, the other candidates will be formed behind him in the
West. After the Representative Candidate has been anointed and raised, he
will be temporarily led aside: each other candidate in turn will then kneel
in the centre of the Triangle, be anointed, raised and conducted back to
his place. After all anointing has been completed, the Representative Candidate
alone will be entrusted and invested in the centre of the Triangle by the
A candidate in this Order is said to be "admitted and anointed, consecrated
and set apart to the Holy Office of Grand High Priest".
The Regalia traditionally worn in this Order consists only of a Jewel in
the form of a mitre on an equilateral triangle, both in gold, suspended by
a red ribbon: the apex of the triangle points upwards.
The traditional knocks in this order are: ****-*****
The following items are required for the Ceremony of Reception:-
Curtains cutting off the Eastern end of the room, if practicable; otherwise,
Large wooden or brass Triangle for centre of floor (that used in a Royal
Ark Mariner Lodge is suitable).
Three candles on tall candlesticks.
Pedestal and V.S.L. (placed in the centre of the Triangle during Part I,
and inside the Tent in front of the President's chair during Part II).
Small kneeling stool or cushion (placed in the centre of the Triangle during
Small V.S.L. for Chaplain; extra Vs.S.L. for use by additional candidates.
White surplice or alb for President (this must be clean).
For President, a plain Mitre (without a cross) and a Breastplate with twelve
small jewelled squares thereon (see Exodus, chap. 39, vv. 8-13).
Scarlet robe for Vice-President and light blue robe for Chaplain (Royal Arch
robes may be worn).
On side table within or adjacent to Tent:-
one sword, unsheathed;
On a plate, bread or breakfast roll broken or cut into two unequal pieces;
goblet containing red or white wine, with a napkin; oil and wine for anointing,
in suitable containers, and a small towel or napkin;
jewel for candidate.
Outside the door one sword, unsheathed, for candidate.
A. M.E. President
D. Master of Ceremonies
DI . Assistant Master of Ceremonies
H. Entrance to Tent
J . Triangle
j1 j2 j3 Candles on tall candlesticks
KI, K2 alternative positions for Pedestal with V. S. L. theron
L. Table located where convenient within or adjacent to Tent, on which
are placed:- one sword, unsheathed; plate with bread or breakfast roll broken
or cut into two unequal pieces; goblet containing wine, with napkin;
vessels with oil and wine for anointing, and towel or napkin; jewel for
Form of Opening a Convention of the Holy Order of the Grand High Priest.
During the Opening the curtains of the Tent are open.
Pres.: Excellent Companions, assist me to open this Convention of the
Holy Order of Grand High Priest. (All rise.) Ex.: Comp.: Herald, what
is the first care of Anointed High Priests when in Convention assembled?
Her.: (no sign) To ensure that the outer avenue is secure and that the Tabernacle
is duly guarded.
Pres.: Direct that duty to be done.
Her.: Ex.Comp. Steward, you will see that the outer avenue is secure. Steward
gives one knock on door, answered by Sentinel.
Stwd.: Ex.:Comp.: Herald all is secure and the Tabernacle is properly guarded.
Her.: (whilst giving sign.) M.: E.: Pres.: the avenues to the Sanctuary are
secure and the Tabernacle is properly guarded.
Pres.: Ex.: Comp.: M. :of C.: are you an Anointed High Priest?
M.: of C.: (whilst giving sign.) M.:.E.: Pres.:, I have partaken from the
point of the sword that in which we may all participate.
Pres.: Where did you receive that exalted honour?
M.: of C.: In a just and lawfully constituted Convention of the Holy Order
of Grand High Priest, consisting of the indispensable number of three.
Pres.: Do you find that indispensable number now present?
M.; of C.; I do, M. ;E.; Pres.:
Pres.: Speak the Sacred Word.
M.: of C.: El Shaddai.
Pres.: Ex.: Comps.:, to order for prayer.
Chap.: May the Supreme High Priest of Heaven and Earth enlighten us
with the knowledge of His truth, and grant that the members of this Convention
may be endued with wisdom to understand and explain the mysteries of our
Holy Order. May He be with us in all our assemblies, guide us in the paths
of rectitude, enable us to keep all His statutes while life shall last, and
finally bring us to the perfect knowledge of His holy Name.
Pres:. Ex.: Comps.:, in the name of Melchizedek, I declare this Convention
of the Holy Order of Grand High Priest duly opened.
Stwd.: gives one knock on door, answered by Sentinel. M.: of C.: opens V.
S. L. on Pedestal at Genesis, chap. 14.
Ceremony of Reception: First Part
The President, Vice-President and Chaplain are seated within the Tent, the
curtains of which are drawn closed. As many of the Companions as possible
sit outside the Tent for Part I: all Companions should stand outside the
Tent during the Obligation.
Conductor leaves Tabernacle to take charge of Candidate: he explains to him
that the drawn curtain towards the Eastern end of the Tabernacle represent
the Tent of Melchizedek, King of Salem.
Sentinel knocks on door
Her. :(whilst giving sign.) M.:.E.: Pres.:, there is an alarm at the inner
Pres.: Attend to the alarm and see who seeks admission.
Her.: goes to door, which is opened by Steward.
Her.: Who comes here?
Cond:. A Companion of the Holy Royal Arch who desires further light in Masonry
by being Anointed, Consecrated and Set Apart to the Office of High
Her.: How does he hope to gain admission?
Cond. :By having been found worthy by the voice of his Brethren and the approval
of his Companions.
Her. :Halt, while I make a report.
Steward. closes door.
Her.: (whilst giving sign.) M.: E:. Pres.:, a Companion of the Holy Royal
Arch, who desires further light in Masonry by being Anointed, Consecrated
and Set Apart to the Office of High Priest.
Pres.: How does he hope to gain admission?
Her.: By having been found worthy by the voice of his Brethren and the approval
of his Companions.
Pres.:, Vice-Pres.:. and Chap.: rise, pass through curtains and stand
facing West: curtains must be closed behind them.
Pres. :Let him be admitted.
Steward. opens door: Cond.: and Can.: enter and stand in West.
Pres.: Ex.: Comp.: M.: of C.: you will instruct the Candiate. how to advance
to the pedestal in due form.
M.: of C.: places Candidate in West at correct distance from pedestal.
M.: of C:. The method of advancing to the pedestal in due form is by nine
complete steps, halting and bowing at the third, sixth. and nineth.
Candiate advances to pedestal.
Pres.: Companion you have duly presented yourself to be Anointed, Consecrated
and Set Apart to the Holy Office of High Priest. The members of this Convention,
yielding a ready response to your wishes, are now prepared to confer on you
that exalted honour. You must first, however, take a solemn Obligation to
keep inviolate the secrets of this Holy Order. You will stand erect; place
your right hand on the V.S.L.; and raise your left hand towards Heaven.
M:. of C.: Ex.: Comps.:, to order.
Pres. :State your names at length and repeat after me:-
I ........ in the presence of this Convention of the Holy Order of Grand
High Priest, erected to the glory of the Supreme High Priest of Heaven and
Earth, and dedicated to Melchizedek do hereby and hereon most solemnly and
sincerely promise and swear never to reveal any of the secrets or mysteries
of this Holy Order, except to a Companion Anointed High Priest, or within
the body of a just and lawful Convention of this Holy Order to a Candidate
duly presented, and even then only in the presence of Companion High Priests
no fewer in number than the indispensable three, duly summoned for that purpose.
1 further engage that 1 will assist a Companion High Priest even to the dividing
of my last loaf, and should his necessities demand it, even though he be
a personal enemy, 1 will feed him at the point of my sword.
1 further promise that 1 will not wrong a Companion Anointed High Priest,
or unlawfully take from him anything, from a thread even to a shoe latchet;
and should unhappily any different arise between us, on his giving to me
the sign of this Holy Order, all animosity on my part shall cease, and I
will hail him as a Companion and a friend.
These several points I solemnly swear to observe, without evasion, equivocation,
or mental reservation of any kind, under no less a penalty, on the violation
of any of them, than that the earth may open and swallow me up as it did
Krah, Dathan and Abiram.
So help me the Great Disposer of All and keep me steadfast in this my solemn
obligation of a Companion Anointed High Priest.
As a pledge of your fidelity, you will seal this Obligation once on the V.S.L.
M.: of C.: Ex.: Comps.: be seated.
Pres.:, Vice-Pres.: and Chap.: remain standing outside closed curtains.
Pres.: You will now attend to a portion of the V.S.L.
Chap.: reads from small V.S.L. held in hand Genesis, chap. 14, vv. 1 to 4
and 8 to 24.
1. "And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king
of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaorner king of Elam, and Tidal
king of nations;
2. That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with
Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim,
and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.
3. All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim,
which is the salt sea.
4. Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and
in the thirteenth year they rebelled."
8. "And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the
king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king
of Bela (the same is Zoar); and they joined battle with them in the vale
9. With Chedorlaorner the king of Elam, and with Tidal
king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar;
four kings with five.
10. And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits;
and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained
fled to the mountain.
11. and they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals,
and went their way.
12. And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son who dwelt
in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
13. And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he
dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eschol, and brother of
Aner: and these were confederate with Abram.
14. And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his
trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and
pursued them unto Dan.
15. And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and
smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.
16. And he brough back all the goods, and also brought again his brother
Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.
17. And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the
slaughter of Chedorlaorner, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley
of Shaveh, which is the king's dale.
18. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread
and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
19. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God,
possessor of heaven and earth:
20. And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies
into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
21. And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the
persons, and take the goods to thyself.
22. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine
hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of
heaven and earth,
23. That I will not take from a thread even to a shoe latchet, and that I
will not take anything that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, 1 have made
24. Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the
men which went with me, Aner, Eschol, and Marnre; let them take their portion."
Pres.: Companion AB. I am now permitted to inform you that the Most
.Excellent President of a Convention of the Holy Order of Grand High Priest
repre sents Melchizidek King of Salem. and the Priest of the Most High God.
You may now retire to reflect on this first part of the Ceremony of your
Reception. On your re-admission you will represent the Patriarch Abram on
his journey over the plains, when returning from the slaughter of the kings.
Principals retire within curtains and resume their chairs. Conductor and
Ceremony of Reception: Second Part
Pedestal is moved from centre of Triangle and placed within Tent in front
of President's chair: small kneeling stool or cushion is placed in centre
All the Companions move inside the Tent and stand in the North and South
in order to partake of bread and wine: if there is not sufficient room, as
many Companions should move in as is consistent with the dignity of the ceremony:
those remaining outside take no active part in the ceremony, apart from standing
to order as directed.
The curtains remain closed: M. of C. details two Companions inside the Tent
to draw curtains open when so directed by him.
Outside the door Candidate is armed with a sword unsheathed, which he holds
at the carry. Conductor instructs Candidate how to parry blow with his sword
by sinking on one knee and holding sword horizontally above his head by the
hilt in his right hand and by the point in his left hand.
M.: of C:. picks up sword from Table "L " and hands to Pres.: He then directs
Steward to open door and admit Conductor and Candidate without report.
Conductor and Candatidate enter: instructed by Conductor, Candidate advanced
slowly via North towards the East. Pres.: with sword in right hand hastens
out through curtains, and aims a downward blow at head of Candidate who parries
it in the manner taught.
Pres.: Who art thou?
Cond. :(answers for Candidate. throughout) Thy friend and brother Abram.
Pres.: My friend and brother Abram?
Pres. :brings sword to carry: Cond.: takes sword from Can.: and holds it
Cond.: (Can.: still kneeling) Behold the captives and
the spoils: I give thee tithes of all.
Pres.: (still with sword at carry) Blessed be Abram of the Most High God,
possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be the Most High God, which hath
delivered thine enemies into thy hand. transfers sword to left hand.
Arise, my friend and brother Abram.
raises Can.: to his feet by right hand, and starts to lead him towards Tent.
Pres.: Enter my Tent, eat of my bread and drink of my wine.
As - Pres.: speaks these words, two Comps.: previously detailed draw curtains
open under direction of M.: of C.: Pres.: leads Can.: to Tent and places
him at Point "H" Cond.: remains standing in North with sword at carry.
M.: of C.: Ex.:. Comps.:, to order.
All rise. Pres.: stands in centre of Tent facing West
with sword still in left hand. M.: of C.: takes from Table "L" plate with
bread already broken into two unequal pieces: he proffers plate to Pres.:,
who with right hand takes larger piece of bread and impales it on the sword
up to the hilt: he fixes smaller piece firmly on the point of the sword,
which he then holds at carry in left hand.
M.: of C.: replaces plate on Table "L", and takes post behind Can.
Pres.: breaks of small piece of bread from hilt with right hand and eats
it. He then changes sword to right hand, held at carry: he presents sword
vertically to each Companion in turn within Tent, who breaks off a small
piece of bread from the hilt with his own right hand and eats it.
Pres.: offers first to Vice-Pres.:, then to Chap.:; then to Comps. in North
from West to East; finally to Comps. in South from East to West: during this
progress Pres.: recites slowly Psalm 133.
Pres. :"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for
brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the
precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's
beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon,
and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord
commanded the blessing, even life for evermore."
Pres.: then stands facing West in front of Can.:
Pres.: Eat with us this bread, which you receive at the point of the sword,
to teach you that y ou should ever be ready to divide your last loaf with
a Companion Anointed High Priest, and should his necessities demand it, even
though he be a personal enemy, to feed him at the point of the sword.
Pres.: presents point of sword to Can., who, prompt d by M.: of C.:, breaks
off with right hand a small piece of bread from point of sword and eats it.
Pres.: hands sword to M.: of C.:, who lays it aside on Table "W"; he brings
goblet and napkin from the Table and hands them to Pres.: M.: of C.: takes
sword from Cond.: and resumes place behind Can.:
Pres.: stands in centre of Tent, facing West, and drinks from goblet.. he
offers it to each Companion in turn with the, Tent, who
takes it and drinks: as before, Pres.: offers goblet first to Vice-Pres.:,
then to Chap.:, then to Comps. in North, and finally to Comps. in South..
after each Comp. has drunk Pres. :wipes goblet with nakin: during this progress
Pres. recites slowly Psalm 134.
Pres.: "Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, which by
night stand in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary,
and bless the Lord. The Lord that made heaven and earth bless thee out of
Pres.: stands facing West in front of Can.: either: M.: of C.: hands sword
to Can.: and instructs him to hold it in his right hand horizontally across
his body at breast level, hilt to the right.
M.: of C.:, from behind, holds sword at arm's length horizontally in
front of Can.'s breast, hilt to the right.
Pres. :Drink with us this wine, which you receive over the sword, to teach
you that you should ever be ready to divide the luxuries as well as the
necessities of life with a Companion Anointed High Priest.
Pres.: passes goblet over sword to Can.: who, prompted by M.: of C.:, takes
it and drinks. Pres.: takes back goblet over sword.
M.: of C.: either removes sword from Can.: or takes it away from in front
of him: he holds sword at carry. M.: of C.: takes goblet from Pres.: and
lays aside both goblet and sword on Table "W".
Pres.: from centre of Tent, facing West, addresses all Comps.
Pres.: Ex. Comps., as often as ye eat bread or drink wine, learn therefrom
to succour, protect and defend a Companion Anointed High Priest. If he hunger,
feed him; if he thirst, give him to drink; if he be naked, clothe him; if
he be sick or afflicted, visit him and minister unto him; sympathise with
him in his sorrows, and rejoice with him in his joys. These things do unto
him, and never forsake him.
Ex.: Comp.: Cond.:, you will place our friend and brother in the centre of
M.: of C.: Ex. Comps:., resume your places.
Comps.: who have been standing inside Tent return to their places and remain
Cond.: leads Can. via North to the base of Triangle
in West, facing East: he instructs him to kneel on his right knee on the
stool or cushion in the centre of the Triangle, and to assume an attitude
Pres.:, Vice-Pres.: and Chap.: advance to apex of Triangle, where they halt
All Comps. assume attitude of prayer.
Chap.: May the Supreme High Priest of Heaven and Earth
grant His blessing to this our Companion, so that he may teach the laws and
commandments of the Lord, and perform the duties of his office with fervency,
fidelity and zeal.
M. :of C.: fetches from Table "L" vessels containing oil and wine,
and napkin: he stands in a convenient place on the right of Pres.: Pres.:,
Vice-Pres.: and Chap.:, each together form the Triangular Anointiing Sign,
apex to East, on top of head of Can.
Pres.: with right hand dips finger or dropper into vessel of oil held by
M.: of C.: he anoints Can. on head within T.A.S. three times as he
Pres.: By virtue of the power in me vested as the representative of
Melchizedek King of Salem and the Priest of the Most High God.
I Anoint you. Consecrate you, and Set you Apart to the Holy Office
of Grand High Priest.
Pres.: takes napkin from M.: of C.:, dries head of Can. and returns it.
Pres.:, Vice-Pres.: and Chap. : retain T.A.S. overhead of Can.
Pres.: with right hand dips finger or dropper into vessel of wine held by
M.: of C:.; while pronouncing the blessing he anoints Can. on head within
T.A.S. three times as he speaks words of Numbers, chap. 6, vv 24 to
Pres. :'The Lord bless thee and keep thee: The Lord make
his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his
countenance upon thee, and give thee peace."
Pres.: takes napkin from M.; of C.:, dries head of Can.: and returns it.
Pres.:, Vice-Pres.: and Chap. ; drop T.A.S.. Pres.: takes Can. by right hand
Pres.: Rise A B.
Pres.: then raises Can.: the words must be said while Can. is still kneeling,
and before he is raised. Cond.: removes kneeling stool or cushion, and
re-positions Can.: in centre of Triangle.
M. :of C.: Ex. Comps.:, be seated.
M.: of C.: lays aside oil, wine and napkin on Table "W": he picks up sword
which he holds at carry, and resumes his place close to the right of Pres.:,
ready to hand sword to him during explanation of Hailing Sign.
Principals remain standing at apex of Triangle, but Vice-Pres.: and Chap.:
step back two paces.
Pres.: I will now explain to you the secrets of this
Holy Order. Which is done.
M.: of C.: lays aside sword on Table "L"; he takes Jewel to Pres.:
Pres.: I now invest you with the Jewel worn by a Companion Anointed High
Pres.:, Vice-Pres.: and Chap.: return to the East and resume their chairs.
Can.: remains standing in centre of Triangle, with Cond.: behind him. M.:
of C.: resumes his seat.
Pres.: Ex. Comp AB anointing with oil was the principal and divinely
appointed ceremony in the inauguration into each of the three typical offices
of the Jewish Commonwealth - Prophet, Priest and King. It was received as
a symbol of sanctification, and of dedication to the service of the Most
In this ceremony you were anointed first three times
with oil, and then three times with wine: both these triple anointings are
in allusion to the Triangle, a symbol of the Deity. We are thus reminded
that the true Mason should so dedicate himself to the service of the Most
High God. As the unchangeable Priesthood of
Melchizedek was superior to that of Aaron, which passed away, so do we look
forward, after the close of this earthly existence, to an entrance into that
Tabernacle "not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens".
Remember, my Companion, that the responsibilities of this
Holy Order rest not alone upon the Officers, but equally
upon the individual members of the Order, a dereliction of duty being equally
destructive in the one case as in the other.
As you value, then, your honour as a man and a Mason; as you prize the purity
and permanency of the Order; as you fear to displease the
Almighty, Whose Name you have solemnly invoked; so
keep inviolate every pledge you have made, and perform with fidelity every
duty to which you have become bound.
Let the Lion of the Tribe of Judah be the symbol of your
strength and boldness in the cause of truth and justice. Be as patient as
the Ox with the foibles and errors of your Brethren, and as swift as the
Eagle to do every good work. Set before your Companions of the Royal Craft
the bright example of an upright and perfect Man, and especially of a Companion
Anointed High Priest.
Let "Holiness to the Lord" be engraven upon all your thoughts,
words and actions. Finally, after this painful life is ended, may the Most
High, Who dwelleth between the Cherubim, admit you
into His glorious and everlasting Sanctuary, there to adore Him for evermore.
Pres. :Ex. Comp AB now a Companion Anointed High Priest, we welcome you.
I bid you take your seat in this Convention of the Holy Order of Grand High
Cond.: leads new Companion Anoited High Priest. to a convenient seat, and
resumes his own.
Form of Closing a Convention of The Holy Order of the Grand High Priest
During the Closing the curtains of the Tent are open.
Pres.: Ex. Comps., assist me to close this Convention of the Holy Order of
Grand High Priest. (All rise). Ex. Comp. Herald, what is the last great
care of every Anointed High Priest?
Her.: (whilst giving sign) To ensure that the outer avenue is secure
and that the Tabernacle is duly guarded.
Pres.: Direct that duty to be done.
Her.: Ex. Comp. Steward, you will see that the outer avenue is secure.
Steward. gives one knock on door, answered by Sentinel.
Steward. Ex. Comp. Herald, all is secure and the Tabernacle is properly guarded.
Her.: (whilst giving sign.) M.:. E.:. Pres.:, the avenues are secure and
the Tabernacle is properly guarded.
Pres.: Ex. Comps., to order for prayer.
Chap.: May the Lord save us and gather us from among the nations to give
thanks unto His holy Name. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, and let all
the people say Amen. Praise ye the Lord.
Pres.: Ex. Comp. M. :of C.: give me the Sacred Word.
M.: of C.; Adonai
Pres.: Ex. Comp. M.: of C.: our labours being ended, you have my command
to close this Convention.
M.: of C.: In the name of Melchizedek and by command of the M.:.E.: Pres.:
, I close this Convention of the Holy Order of Grand High Priest.
Steward. And it is closed accordingly.
Gives one knock on door, answered by Sentinel.
Chap. closes V. S. L. on Pedestal "K2"