Ancient Illustrious Order Knights of Malta
Eighth Degree – Apron Green

Ceremony of Initiation
 
The previous order of business having been disposed of, should there be a candidate or candidates to receive the Apron Green Degree, the Sir
Knight Commander will say:
Sir Knight Warder, what is the particular cause of our assembling here.
Warder: Sir Knight Commander, knightly association, the propagation of our Order, and the advancement of such worthy Companions as are desirous thereof.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight Warder, ascertain if there be any such in the preparation room, by raising the wicket and inquiring of the Sentinel.
Warder, having done so: Sir Knight Commander, there are.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knights Captain General, Senior and Junior Wardens, retire to the preparation room, prepare and introduce the candidates.
These officers then retire to the preparation room and prepare the candidates as follows: They are divested of all their clothing and invested with flesh colored Union suits (Care must be taken that the preparation room and council chamber are comfortably warm before candidates are allowed to disrobe). They are then blindfolded and conducted to the door of the council chamber. (No levity or immodesty will be permitted under any circumstances, but the utmost respect must be observed toward the persons of the candidates ) The Captain General then leaves the Senior and Junior Wardens, re-enters the council chamber and announces as follows: Sir Knight Commander, the candidates are duly prepared and ready to be received.
The Warder will then rap the number of the degree (6 -12) on the door of the preparation room, to signify that all is in readiness in the council chamber. The Senior Warden then gives ***   ***   ****   ****   **** loud raps upon the door of the council chamber, and the Warder says: Sir Knight Commander, there is an alarm from the Sentinel.
Sir Knight Commander: Ascertain the cause.
The warder then gives ***   ***   ****   ****   **** raps, opens the door of the preparation room, and says: Who comes here to disturb the peace and harmony of this duly convoked Apron Green Commandery?
Senior Warden: Two true and worthy Sir Knights who, having received the first seven degrees of our Order, now desire to be advanced to the dignity of Companions of the Apron Green Degree.
Warder: How do they expect to gain admission?
Senior Warden: By the benefit of a password.
Warder: Have they that password?
Senior Warden: No, but I have it for them.
Warder: Advance and give it.
Senior Warden gives the entrance password to the Warder.
Warder: The pass is right. I will acquaint the Sir Knight Commander with their request.
The Warder will then close the door.
Warder: Sir Knight Commander, there are without two true and worthy Sir Knights who, having received the first seven degrees of our Order, now desire to be advanced to the dignity of Companions of the Apron Green Degree.
Sir Knight Commander: What recommendation have they?
Warder: The entrance password of this Degree, which has been presented for them by the Senior Warden of this Commandery.
Sir Knight Commander: Being vouched for by our Senior Warden, their claim is just. You have therefore my command to permit the candidates to enter.
All lights in the room are turned low. The Warder then opens the door and the candidates are conducted a few steps into the council chamber, and stop. A green cloth covering is then thrown over the candidates, and they are conducted slowly around the room, the Prelate at the same time reading as follows: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.
At the word ‘light’ all lights in the room are instantly turned up, and all Companions clap their hands.
Prelate: “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night.”
At the word ‘night’ all lights in the room are instantly turned low, and the candidates are led to the center of the room, and stand facing the Sir Knight Commander’s station.
Prelate: And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.
The green covering is now removed and the candidates are conducted six times around the room, while the Prelate reads as follows: And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and the foul of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed, and to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat; and it was so. And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
The candidates are now brought before a transparency of “Adam and Eve in Paradise,” the blindfold is removed, and the Prelate reads as follows: Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.
The blindf old is now again put on and the Prelate will resume his reading as follows: But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
The candidates are now sprinkled.
Prelate: And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
The blindfold is now removed for a moment, and the candidates behold a slide of a “Serpent in the Garden of Eden.” The Prelate reads: And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Aprons are now put upon the candidates.
Prelate: And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
The Senior Warden now directs the candidates to lie down upon the floor and they are covered with a green cloth.
Prelate:
And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gayest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
The covering is now removed and the candidates rise to their feet.
Prelate: And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
The candidates again lie down upon the floor and are covered with a green cloth.
Prelate: And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat of the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return.
The candidates are now raised from the floor and are given a hoe, a rake and a shovel. They are then slowly led toward the door of the preparation room while the Prelate reads as follows: And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also 6f the tree of life, and eat, and live forever: therefore the Lord sent him forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So He drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the Garden of Eden cherubins, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
The candidates stop before the Warder, and as soon as the Prelate has finished reading the Warder says: Where are you from?
Candidate, prompted: The garden.
Warder: What garden?
Candidate, prompted: The Garden of Eden.
Warder: And whither are you going?
Candidate, prompted: To till the ground whence we were taken.
Warder: Pass on.
The candidates then pass on to the door of the preparation room, and are turned around so as to look into the council chamber, and they see a transparency of an “Angel with Flaming Sword,” which should be ready to be displayed at the proper moment. The door of the council chamber is then closed, and the candidates put on their clothing, after which they are again blindfolded and returned to the council chamber, conducted to the altar, and p laced in proper position (same as in the Malta degree) to receive the obligation. The Prelate then reads: God will render to every man according to his deeds. To them that by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth but follow unrighteousness, indignation and wrath.
Sir Knight Commander: * * *.
All companions rise and advance the hailing sign of the Apron Green Degree, and the Sir Knight Commander will administer the following
 
 
Obligation
 
I, your name, Knight, do solemnly promise, declare and swear, that I will keep forever secret the signs and mysteries of the Apron Green Degree from all who are not entitled to receive the same. That I will ever remember the teachings of this degree, and be obedient to the laws of God and of our beloved Order. So help me God and keep me steadfast in this my solemn obligation.
You will now kiss the holy Bible.
Sir Knight Commander: Companions, in your present position, what are you most in need of?
Candidate, prompted: Light.
Sir Knight Commander: And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.
The blindfold is now removed and the candidates will see eighteen lights which had previously been placed in position, six before and twelve behind the candidates.
Sir Knight Commander: Companions, how many lights do you see?
Candidates, after counting them: Eighteen.
Sir Knight Commander: These lights, six and twelve, represent the number of this degree.
The Sir Knight Commander will then grasp the right hand of each of the candidates in tuin and raising him to his feet will say: Arise, Sir Knight Companion of the Apron Green Degree. *.
The Sir Knight Commander will then instruct the candidates in the hailing sign, raps and passwords. The Senior and Junior Wardens, or other Companions will repeat the
 
 
Lecture
 
S.W.: Why do you wear that apron?
J.W.: Because I am naked.
S.W.: Why are you naked?
J.W.: Because of my disobedience of the Lord’s commands.
S.W.: Where are you from?
J.W.: The Garden of Eden.
S.W.: Whither are you going?
J.W.: To till the ground whence I was taken.
S.W.: How do you expect to get there?
J.W.: By the benefit of a password.
S.W.: Have you that password?
J.W.: I have.
S.W.: Will you give it to me?
J. W.: I will if you begin.
S.W.: T...
J.W.: F...
S.W.: S... What F... S...

J.W.: The sword that was placed eastward of the Garden of Eden, and which turned every way, to prevent Adam from eating of the tree of life and living forever.
S.W.: Have you a number?
J.W.: I have.
S.W.: What is your number?
J.W.: Six before and twelve behind.
S.W.: Your six before?
J.W.: In representation of the six days in which God created the heavens and the earth, and He also made man.
S.W.: Your twelve behind?
J.W.: In representation of the tree that grew in the midst of the garden, that bore twelve manner of fruits, and yielded its fruit every month, and whose leaves were for the healing of the nations.
S.W.: Have you the central password of an Apron Green man?
J.W: I have.
S.W.: Will you give it to me?
J.W.: I will if you begin.
S.W.: T...
J.W.: C...
S.W.: M...
J.W.: M...
S.W.: What C...?
J.W.: The C... that God gave to Adam, saying: “Of all the trees in the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not ear, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

 
 
Charge to the Candidates
 
Sir Knight Companions: In the several degrees you have hitherto received in our Order, you had impressed upon your mind in many instances the immutable and unlimited power of the great Jehovah, as exemplified in His care of His chosen people; but when we come to consider the subject of this degree, man in his weakness may well stand aghast, struck with wonder and astonishment at the power which created all things. Let us picture to our minds’ eyes a world without form and void, with darkness reigning on all sides, when God breathed His spirit upon the face of nature. The darkness is dispelled, the waters recede, dry land appears, and a new created world springs up at His command; but all the work was not yet complete; there wanted yet that wonderful being, man, who, grateful, should God’s power admire, with heart and voice His goodness praise. And God created man in his own image, pure and holy from his Creator’s hand; in the garden of Eden stands forth “the king of nature all”; with fondness leans upon his side the partner for him formed. How happy our first parents might have been in their terrestrial paradise, had they obeyed the mandates of their Creator, and rejected the tempter’s advice! How wonderful the beams of divine love in God’s first promise to man, “the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head!”
The Garden was stored with every tree pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life in the midst, watered with the silvery streams of Eden. But how much more richly stored is the Garden of the Church of Christ, where flourish in immortal bloom the tree of knowledge, and Jesus the Tree of Life, whose leaves heal all the nations of the earth.
The Commandery will now be at ease.

 

 

         

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