Ancient Illustrious Order Knights of Malta
Eleventh Degree – Priestly Pass

 
Ceremony of Initiation
 
The previous order of business having been disposed of, should there be candidates to receive the Priestly Pass Degree, the Most Excellent High Priest will say: Sir Knight Warder, what is the particular cause of our assembling here.
Warder: Most Excellent High Priest, knightly association, the propagation of our Order, and the advancement of such worthy Companions as are desirous thereof.
Most Excellent High Priest: 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: Most Excellent High Priest, there are giving number.
Most Excellent High Priest: Sir Knights Captain General, Senior and Junior Wardens, retire to the preparation room, prepare and introduce the candidates.
The Captain General, Senior and Junior Wardens then retire and prepare the candidate as follows: He is divested of his outer garments, his feet are made bare be is directed to wash his hands and feel and is clad in a white robe. The candidate is then led to the door of the council chamber without being blindfolded. The Captain General then leaves the candidate in charge of the Senior and Junior Wardens, re-enters the council chamber, and announces as follows: Most Excellent High Priest, the candidate is duly prepared and ready to be received.
Most Excellent High Priest, * * *: Sir Knight Companions, assemble around the altar for the purpose of receiving the candidate.
At the sound of the gavel, the Companions will rise and assemble around the altar and form a circle, leaving space for the Most Excellent High Priest. All then kneel and join hands. The Prelate will advance to the centre of the circle and stand facing the Most Excellent High Priest.
Prelate: The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein.
For he hath founded it upon the seas and established it upon the floods.
Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? and who shall stand in his holy place?
He that hath clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in.
Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in.
Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, he is the King of Glory. Selah.
During the reading of the lesson by the Prelate, when be repeats the words, “Lift up your beads, O ye gates,” the Companions will raise their heads and cast their eyes upward. As he reads the words, “Who is this King of Glory” the Most Excellent High Priest will step down from his station toward the space left open for him in the circle, and when the reading is ended the Most Excellent High Priest kneels and joins hands with the other Sir Knights, which closes the circle. All the Companions then rise, disengage hands, raise them above their heads, cast their eyes upward, and then suffer their hands to fall by their sides.
Four Companions, who have been waiting at one side of the room with the Ark of the Covenant, now advance and march slowly around the council chamber and deposit the Ark upon the a tar inside the circle, when the Prelate continues the reading, as follows: Then said Solomon, the Lord hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.
But I have built a house of habitation for thee, and a place for thy dwelling for ever.
And the King turned his face, and blessed the whole congregation of Israel; and all the congregation of Israel stood.
And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who hath with his hands fulfilled that which he spake with his mouth to my father David, saying:
Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build a house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be ruler over my people Israel.
But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.
Now it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of the Lord God of Israel.
But the Lord said to David my father, Forasmuch as it was in thine heart to build a house for my name, thou didst well in that it was in thine heart.
Notwithstanding thou shalt not build the house; but thy son which shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house by my name.
The Lord therefore hath performed his word that he hath spoken; for I am risen up in the room of David my father, and am set on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and have built the house for the name of the Lord God of Israel.
And in it I have put the ark, wherein is the covenant of the Lord, that he made with the children of Israel.
Most Excellent High Priest: *.
At the sound of the gavel the Companions will he seated and the Warder then gives ***    *** raps to signify that the Commandery is prepared for the reception of the candidate.

The Senior Warden gives ***   *** raps, which are answered by a corresponding number from within by the Warder, who opens the door and says: Who comes here to disturb the peace and harmony of this tabernacle of the Priesthood, which has been consecrated to the service of the Most High?
Senior Warden: A worthy Companion of the Gold Degree, who has seen active service with King Solomon and who has also assisted at the building, consecration. and dedication of the temple, is now desirous of receiving consecration.
Warder: Why does he expect so great a privilege?
Senior Warden: Because he is a lineal descendant of Aaron the High Priest, of free and legitimate birth, and free from bodily defect and blemish.
Warder: What further qualification has he?
Senior Warden: He has observed the law, having not eaten of anything that died of itself, or was torn of beasts, and having performed the necessary ablutions.
Warder: Most Excellent High Priest, there is without a true and worthy Sir Knight who, having received the previous ten degrees of our Order, is now desirous of receiving consecration.
Most Excellent High Priest: Let him be admitted.
The candidate is then admitted, and conducted slowly around the council chamber six times, during which the Prelate reads as follows: And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.
And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, for glory and for beauty.
And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
At the conclusion of the lesson, the candidate is placed upon the table or elevation. The Most Excellent High Priest will then advance to the side of the candidate, the Senior Warden will see that the proper emblems of the priest’s office are in readiness for the use of the Most Excellent High Priest at the proper moment. The Prelate then continues the reading of the lesson, but should pause at the proper time to allow the Most Excellent High Priest to place the robes and emblems of the priest’s office upon the candidate.
Prelate: And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take Aaron, and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bullock for the sin offering, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread.
And gather thou all the congregation together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
As the Prelate reads the words, “Gather thou all the congregation together,” the Companions will rise, advance, and form a circle around the table or elevation. The Prelate will then continue reading as follows: And Moses said unto the congregation, This is the thing which the Lord commanded to be done.
And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water.
And he put upon him the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it unto him therewith.
And he put the breastplate upon him; also he put in the breastplate the Urim and the Thummim.
And he pat the mitre upon his head: also upon the mitre, even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the Lord commanded Moses.
And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein, and sanctified them.
And he sprinkled thereof upon the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all his vessels, both the layer and his foot, to sanctify them.
At the close of the lesson, the Most excellent High Priest sprinkles the altar seven times.
The Most Excellent High Priest now requests the candidate to place his right hand in a basin of water, which has been prepared by the Senior Warden.
Most Excellent High Priest: This is to admonish you to maintain that purity of heart of which this is a symbolic emblem.
Most Excellent High Priest, touching the candidate’s eyes:  May your view extend and open to the light of truth, and may it give you the faculty to discover evil in order to combat it, and the road to happiness, that you may lead your companions along it.
Most Excellent High Priest, touching the ears of candidate: May your ears be opened to hear in its fullest acceptance that great fraternal maxim, “Love one another and aid one another.”
Most Excellent High Priest, touching candidate’s lips with honey: May your mouth never utter any but words sweet as honey, that calumny and anger may never come from it.
Most Excellent High Priest (a cup of unfermented wine is placed to the lips of the candidate): May this wine, symbolic of power, give to your soul the courage to resist adversity and temptation, that it may impress upon you the fervent and constant desire for good, and the wisdom of our Grand Master Solomon.
Prelate: And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron’s head, and anointed him, to sanctify him.
The Most Excellent High Priest will anoint the head of the candidate with oil.
Prelate: And Moses brought Aaron’s sons, and put coats upon them and girded them with girdles, and put bonnets upon them; as the Lord commanded Moses.
The Companions put on their girdles, bonnets, etc.
Prelate: And he brought the bullock for the sin offering; and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bullock for the sin offering.
And he slew it; and Moses took the blood and put it upon the horns of the altar, and poured the blood at the bottom of the altar, and sanctified it, to make reconciliation upon it.
And he took all the fat that was upon the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys and their fat, and Moses burned it upon the altar.
The Sir Knight Companions all kneel and repeat the Lord’s prayer, as follows:
Prelate and all the Companions: Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil; for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Prelate: Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house.
And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house.
And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the Lord.
As the Prelate reads the first clause of the above lesson, a Companion lights a piece of gum camphor and throws it into the pot of incense which stands on the altar. As the Prelate reads the words, “they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground,” etc, all Companions will bow their faces to the floor, and say together, six times, as follows:
Response: For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
After which all Companions rise.
Prelate: Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.
And the holy garments of Aaron shall be his sons’ after him, to be anointed therein, and to be consecrated in them.
And that son that is priest in his stead shall put them on seven days, when he cometh into the tabernacle of the congregation to minister in the holy place.
Most Excellent High Priest, anointing the candidate and taking him by the right hand: I hereby consecrate you a priest for ever unto God and his righteousness.
The Most Excellent High Priest now returns to his station, and the Senior Warden assists the candidate to descend from the table or elevation.
The Companions then form in line three abreast, with the Senior Warden and candidate in the rear; four Companions, bearing the Ark of the Covenant, take position in the centre of the line and march slowly around the council chamber to slow music or the singing of an appropriate ode.
As they pass the station of the Most Excellent High Priest tbcy give the hailing sign of each degree in rotation, as received by them, viz:
Malta, Black, Scarlet, Mark, Blueman Master Builder, White, Apron Green, Knight of the Green and Gold Degrees, which are recognized by him.
When the signs have all been given, the procession will halt, and the four Companions bearing the Ark ot the Covenant will advance and deposit the same on the altar.
Most Excellent High Priest: Companions will now form in mystic circle around the altar.
The Companions will now form a circle, leaving an open space in front of the High Priest’s throne, and the candidate will be conducted to the side of the Most Excellent High Priest and seated; Companions will then kneel and join hands, leaving the open space as mentioned above. The Prelate will then read, as follows: The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.
Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? and who shall stand in his holy place?
He that hath clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and. righteousness from the4- God of his salvation.
This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in.
Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in.
Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of Glory. Selah.
As the Prelate reads the words, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates,” the Companions will raise their heads, and cast their eyes upward, and as he reads the words, “Who is this Ring of Glory?” the candidate, assisted by the Senior Warden, will step forward to the open apace in the circle left open for him, and when the reading is ended the candidate kneels and joins hands with the other Sir Knights, which closes the circle. All the Companions then rise, disengage hands, raise them above their heads, cast their eyes upward, and then suffer their hands to fall by their aides.
Most Excellent High Priest: *.
The candidate will now be conducted to the front of the station of the Most Excellent High Priest, who will instruct him as follows: You are appointed Chaplain of this Commandery. Your badge of office is a circular jewel. It is emblematical of eternity, and reminds us that here is not our abiding place.
Let the mitre with which you are invested remind you of the dignity of the office you sustain, and its inscription impress upon your mind a sense of your dependence upon God; that perfection is not given to man upon earth, and that perfect holiness belongeth alone unto the Lord.
The breastplate with which you are decorated is an imitation of that upon which were engraved the names ol the twelve tribes and worn by the High Priest of Israel.
It is to teach you that you are always to bear in mind your responsibility to the laws and the ordinances of the institution, and that the honor and interests of your Commandery should be always near your heart.
The various colors of the robes you wear are emblematic of every grace and virtue which can adorn and beautify the human mind.
Worthy Companion: By the consent and assistance of the members of this Order, you are now exalted to the sublime and honorable degree of the Priestly Pass. The rites and mysteries developed have been handed down through a chosen few, unchanged by time and uncontrolled by prejudice; and we expect and trust that they will be regarded by you with the same veneration, and transmitted with the same scrupulous purity to your successors.
No one can reflect on the ceremonies of admission here without being forcibly struck with the important lessons which they teach. Here we are necessarily led to contemplate, with gratitude and admiration, the sacred source whence all earthly comforts flow.
Prelate: Let us pray.
By the wisdom of the Supreme High Priest may we be directed; by His strength may we be incited to perform the obligations enjoined upon us to keep inviolable the mysteries here unfolded to us; and invariably to practise out of the council chamber all those duties which are inculcated in it.
Response: Amen, Amen, Amen.
The Companion is instructed in the grip, passwords, etc., and the Senior and Junior Wardens will repeat the
 
 
Lecture
 
S.W.: Brother, what are you?
J.W.: A member of the Priesthood.
S.W.: What proof have you to offer that you are?
J.W.: I have the Priestly Pass.
S.W.: Will you give it to me?
J.W.: I will if you begin.
S.W.: E...
J.W.: L...
S.W.: E...
J.W.: A...
S.W.: Z...
J. W.: A...
S.W.: R... Why do you take E... for your password?
J.W.: Because he succeeded Aaron as High Priest.
S.W.: How were you prepared for that degree?
J.W.: I was divested of all my outer raiment, invested with a plain white robe, also one adorned with bells and pomegranates. I was then elevated, and to sweet music and tinkling bells I was admitted into the sacred circle of the priesthood.
S.W.: Have you the central password of this degree?
J.W.: I have.
S.W.: Will you give it to me?
J.W.: I will if you begin.
S.W.: H...
J.W.: T...
S.W.: T...
J.W.: L...
S.W.: Why do you take H... T... T... L... for your central password?
J.W.: Because it was engraven upon the mitre on Aaron’s forehead, that he might bear the iniquity of the holy things, and that they might be accepted before the Lord.
S.W.: Have you a number?
J.W.: I have.
S.W.: What is your number?
J.W.: Six.
S.W.: What does that represent?
J.W.: It represents the six holy garments worn by Aaron, the High Priest; viz., the breastplate, ephod, robe, embroidered coat, mitre and girdle.
S.W.: How were you received in this degree?
J.W.: I was properly clothed with the garments worn by the High Priest, and by him anointed as a priest for ever unto God and His righteousness.
S.W.: What are the two grand Christian virtues?
J.W.: Love of God and love of neighbor, which stand at the entrance of the Christian temple of the soul, and which are indispensable to the symmetrical completion of the Christian character.

 

 

         

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