Ancient and Illustrious Order Knights of Malta
First Degree - Knight of Malta


Opening Ceremony
 
IMPORTANT: All officers should learn the opening, closing and transfer work. It is much more impressive than to read them from a ritual.
NOTE: All Commanderies working under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Grand Commandery of the Continent of America must be opened in the BLACK DEGREE, and may then be transferred. The Sir Knight Commander having assumed his station, will call the Commandery to order by giving one rap of the gavel.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight Companions, we are about to hold a convocation of Knights of Malta of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. The officers and Sir Knights will clothe themselves with the insignia pertaining to their tank and assume their respective stations and posts.
When all is in readiness.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight Generalissimo, * * what is the first care of a Knight of Malta in a duly convoked Commandery?
Generalissimo: Sir Knight Commander, to see that the Guards are at their posts, the Warder and Sentinel at their respective posts, and to be satisfied of their being in possession of the required grip and words.
Sir Knight Commander: Attend to those duties and report to me.
Generalissimo:
Sir Knight-Guards, present yourselves at this station for inspection.
The Guards advance and give the Generallissimo the grip of the Black Degree, also the semi-annual, entrance and inside or
central password.
Generalissimo: Sir Knight-Guards, report for duty at your posts.
The Guards then return to their posts and announce as follows:
First Guard: Sir Knight Generalissimo, the First Guard is at his post and reports for duty.
Second Guard: Sir Knight Generalissimo, the Second Guard is at his post and reports for duty.
Generalissimo: Sir Knight Warder, present yourself at this station for inspection.
The Warder then advances and gives the Generalissimo the test as did the Guards.
Generalissimo: Sir Knight Warder, retire to the preparation room, relieve the Sentinel and direct him to present himself at this station for inspection.
The Warder then retires to the preparation room, when the Sentinel enters the Council Chamber and gives the Generalissimo the test as did the Guards and Warder.
Generalissimo: Sir Knight Sentinel, retire to the preparation room, resume the duties of your office and direct the Warder to report for duty at his post.
The Sentinel then retires to the preparation room and announces as follows.
Sentinel: Sir Knight Warder, it is the command of the Generalissimo that you report for duty at your post.
The Warder then returns to his post and announces as follows:
Warder: Sir Knight Generalissimo, the Warder is at his post and reports for duty.
Generalissimo: Sir Knight Commander, the Guards are at their posts, the Warder and Sentinel at their respective posts, and I find them in possession of the required grip and words.
Sir Knight Commander: Captain General * * what is the next care of a Knight of Malta in a duly convoked Commandery?
Captain General: Sir Knight Commander, to strictly try and duly examine all present in the grips and passwords of our Illustrious Order, that none but those entitled thereto may be partakers of our solemn mysteries.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight, attend to that duty by inspecting the Senior and Junior Wardens, and by directing them to examine all present, except those already examined by the Generalissimo, and report to me the result. * * *
Captain General: Sir Knights Senior and Junior Wardens, present yourselves at this station for inspection.
The Senior and Junior Wardens then advance and are inspected by the Captain General.
Captain General: Sir Knights, examine all present except those already examined by the Generalissimo, and report to me in accordance with the duties of your office.
The Senior and Junior Wardens then start, one at the right and the other at the left of the Sir Knight Commander, and take from each companion in the Council Chamber, except the Sir Knight Commander, Generalissimo, and Captain General, and those already examined, the grip, semi-annual, entrance and inside or central passwords, in the following manner: The Companion will advance the grip and give the semi-annual, entrance, and inside or central passwords as quickly as possible, the Senior and Junior Wardens remaining silent, passing around the room until they meet. If there be any not in possession of the necessary grip or passwords the Wardens will report to the Captain General, and he to the Sir Knight Commander, who will either demand if any Companion present can vouch for him or them as being in good standing, or request him or them to retire to the preparation room in order to be examined in the work of the Degree by the Senior and Junior Wardens, or such other Companions as may be deputized by the Sir Knight Commander. If vouched for, he or they may be permitted to remain, if not, he or they must withdraw. Sir Knight Commanders should, however, be extremely cautious in accepting vouchers, and as a general rule, should require all visiting Sir Knights to be examined. In cases of a large crowd the Guards or other post officers can assist in making examinations or on special occasions and large crowds the building can be tiled early and the Sentinel and Warder be called to vouch for all who have entered.
SPECIAL NOTE: If the Warder has taken the passwords from all at entrance door at a regular convocation and is qualified to vouch for all Companions assembled, then the Captain General can call upon him to so vouch and dispense with individual opening examination providing there is no objection. When all present are entitled to remain, the Captain General will say:
Captain General: Sir Knight Commander, all present are Companions of our Order.
Sir Knight Commander: *
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight Prelate * * what is the further care of a Knight of Malta in a duly convoked Commandery?
Prelate: Sir Knight Commander, to consult the Divine Word, and to offer up prayers and invocations unto Almighty God that He may be pleased to look down graciously upon us and bless our deliberations.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight, we will attend to this ever important duty; you will lead us in our devotions. Sir Knight Companions, * * *
All Companions arise.
Captain General: Sir Knights, Fall In!
The Sir Knights form into line.
NOTE:            In case of large attendance and where conditions do not warrant: the formation by Companions can be dispensed with and Companions remain in their places
Captain General: Sir Knights, Attention Draw Swords! Sir Knight Prelate, the Commandery is ready.
The Prelate then leaves his station and takes a position in rear of the altar, with his back to the Generalissimo The Sir Knight Commander, Generalissimo and Captain General step in front of their respective stations. The Standard Bearer, with standard, and Sword Bearer, with colors, take positions in rear of the Prelate, facing the Sir Knight Commander. When all are in position, the Prelate will read one of the following passages of Scripture, or if desired, some other passage from the Bible appropriate to the time: for instance a Christmas lesson in that season.
 
Lesson One
 
And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita.
And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness; for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain and because of the cold.
And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.
And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man 15 a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live,
And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm,
Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said he was a god.
 
Lesson Two
 
For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.
 
Lesson Three
 
But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into his side, I will not believe.
And after eight days again his disciples were within and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then he saith to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands, and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and My God.
 
Lesson Four
 
Fear none of these things which thou shalt suffer; behold the devil shalt cast some of you into prison, that ye shall be tried, and each shall have tribulation ten days; be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life.
 
Lesson Five
 
And they came to a place which is named Gethsemane, and he saith to his disciples, sit ye here, while I shall pray. And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy. And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
And he cometh and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou ? Couldst thou not watch one hour?
Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.
And again he went away, and prayed and spake the same words. And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him, And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.
After reading of the lesson the Captain General will command.
Captain General: Sir Knights, uncover. To your devotions.
At this command each Officer will drop the point of his sword between his feet, the sword perpendicular, flat of the blade to the front, with right hand resting upon the hilt; (TWO) place the left hand on top of the right; (THREE) carry left foot about 28 Inches to the rear, (FOUR) kneel on left knee, so that front of knee will he on a line with the hollow of the right foot; (FIVE) incline the head to the front, resting the forehead upon the hands. All Sir Knights kneel on left knee
Prelate: Let us pray: “Oh Lord God Almighty, grant us aid in propagating the divine mysteries which this our justitution celebrates. As Thy servant Moses received from Thee the Tables of the Law, so let us follow Thee according to the commandments then transferred to us, and let our actions be in strict accordance with the dictates of the gospel dispensation.”
Prelate and Companions: Amen, Amen, Amen.
Captain General: Sir Knights, Attention! Recover.
At this command the Sir Knights raise their heads, (TWO) rise, at the same time bring the left foot to the side of the right, (THREE) drop the left hand to the side.
Captain General: Sir Knights, Carry Swords! Return Swords!
Sir Knight Commander: Officers, to your stations and posts.
At this order the Sir Knight Commander, Generalissimo, Captain General, Prelate, Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Standard Bearer and Sword Bearer return to their stations and posts. The Warder and Sentinel do not take part in this formation, hut remain at their posts.
The opening ode will now be sung.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight Senior Warden, arrange the altar.
The Senior Warden than goes to the altar, opens the Bible and places the Swords in proper position (crossed left on top) arranges the triangular lights, returns to altar, faces the Sir Knight Commander.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knights, observe your Commander.
All Companions must advance the hailing sign of the Black Degree.
Sir Knight Commander: By virtue of the authority vested in me, I do now declare ... Commandery, No. ..., opened in due and ancient form, strictly prohibiting any language or conduct that may tend to disturb the harmony thereof; in memory of our ancient forefathers, the KNIGHTS OF MALTA AND ST. JOHN.
The Sir Knight Commander will give *** *** * which will be repeated by the Generalissimo, Warder and Sentinel, after which the Sir Knight Commander will give one rap with the gavel, and all will be seated.
No Companion shall be permitted to retire after the Commandery has been opened without permission of the Sir Knight Commander. When permitted to retire he must advance to the altar and salute the Sir Knight Commander with the hailing sign of the degree in which the Commandery is then open. When crossing the Chamber, or when addressing the Sir Knight Commander, the hailing sign of the degree in which the Commandery is open must also invariably be given, and in crossing the door Companions are required to pass behind the altar: that is between the altar and the Generalissimo.
 
 
Ceremony of Entrance
 
At time set for initiation the working novice shall have been prepared by the Senior Warden All officers retire from Commandery room.
A military march will be played and the class brought in and seated. At the completion of the march music, the Herald with a bugle calls (Attention).
March music is resumed and all officers except the Standard Bearer and Color Bearer, enter in column of twos, with swords at carry. The Sir Knight Commander entering last Column marches to foot of throne, halts, faces inward, each rank back steps four paces, presents swords and the Sir Knight Commander passes through and ascends his throne. Bugle call.
Warder steps two paces forward, faces Commandery and announces, “Sir Knight Commander (name given) Warder resumes his position in ranks
Bugle call, Commander signals * * * *, all Sir Knights arise.
(Colors) Choir sings National Anthem as Color Bearer enters and moves to position (All men under arms present swords, all others stand at attention.)
Bugle call, Choir sings Onward Christian Soldiers as Malta Standard Bearer enters. All men under arms present swords, all others stand at attention. After Colors and Standard are in position; Captain General closes ranks, faces officers front, commands officers to stations and posts. After officers reach their respective stations and posts return swords at command of Captain General. Commander seats Commandery.

 
 
Introduction of Candidate
 
Sir Knight Commander: 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 initiation of such worthy novices as are desirous thereof.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight Warder, are there any such worthy novices awaiting the pleasure of this Commandery?
Warder: Sir Knight Commander, there are (number) such novices.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight Warder, have these novices been regularly elected, complied with the requirements of our Order, and are they duly enrolled upon the register of this Commandery?
Warder: Sir Knight Commander, these novices have been regularly elected, have complied with the requirements of our Order, and are duly enrolled on the register of this Commandery.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knights Senior and Junior Wardens, you will retire and see that the novice is properly prepared and ready to be introduced and then sound the alarm.
Those officers march to the altar, salute the Sir Knight Commander, and retire to the preparation room where the working novice is waiting, having been previously prepared. Senior Warden gives alarm ****    ****.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight Warder, you will attend the alarm.
Warder retires to the door and gives ****    ****. Door is opened and Senior and Junior Wardens advance just inside of Commandery with novice.
Warder: Sir Knights Senior and Junior Wardens, whom do you bring within the portals of this duly convoked Commandery, erected to God and dedicated to St. John the Almoner.
Senior Warden: Christian novices who are desirous of serving the required probationary term, to qualify them for enrollment among those valiant knights who guard and defend the Christian Faith.
Warder: How do they expect to gain admission?
Senior Warden: All novices have declared that they are white males over eighteen years of age, and are true Protestants believing in the doctrines of the Holy Trinity as expressed in the Apostles’ Creed and are in good health and physically and mentally able to travel the work.
Warder: What further do they declare?
Senior Warden: Each declares that he is now married to a Protestant or, being unmarried, will only marry one of that Faith, and further, that he will only allow his children to be educated in the Public Schools or in Protestant Institutions and in the Protestant Faith.
Warder: Is this enough to gain them admission?
Senior Warden: No! But they declare they are able to speak, read and write the English language, and pursue some useful and gainful occupation and are law abiding citizens.
Warder:
Do you vouch for these matters and these novices?
Senior Warden: I do.
Warder:
I am satisfied and will report to the Sir Knight Commander. You will await his further orders.
Warder returns to altar in center of Commandery, salutes Sir Knight Commander
Warder: Sir Knight Commander, there are within our portals (number) Christian Novices, who are desirous of serving the required probationary term to qualify them for enrollment among those valiant knights who guard and defend the Christian Faith.
Sir Knight Commander: How do you know them to be Christian Novices?
Warder: They come to us highly recommended, have complied with all our requirements and have been admitted within our portals and vouched for by our Senior Warden.
Sir Knight Commander: Being vouched for by our Senior Warden their claim is just. You, therefore, are commanded to permit their representative to advance under an arch of steel.
Bugle call. Guards arise, advance to front of throne. Under orders of Captain General form arch of steel. Wardens advance novice under forward arch. Bugle call.
Sir Knight Commander: Whereas our Christian Forefathers, the Knight Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, were joined together in a holy bond of brotherhood to guard and defend the Christian religion against Turks and Infidels, so we, the members of the same Illustrious Order, will, so far as in our power lies, imitate their glorious acts and achievements with our lives and fortunes, by supporting and defending the Christian Religion against all foes whatsoever.
Commander takes taper from his pedestal and descends to just in front of novice.
Sir Knight Commander: As a Christian novice, I greet thee, but before you can be admitted to our number you must pass around the Commandery Chamber seven times, with this burning taper in’ your hand, which is an emblem of faith, in order to prepare yourself to take the solemn obligation.
Commander puts taper Into hand of novice and returns to his station.
Captain General: Carry, Swords! Close, ranks; MARCH Front, FACE!
The wardens then move slowly forward and the officers who formed arch follow forming a procession. Chamber darkened for pictures. Soft music continues throughout the seven journeys around the chamber. Each time novice will, be accosted by Generalissimo as procession approaches that station.
First time.
Generalissimo: Halt! Novice, I greet thee. Go feed the hungry. For it is written, “I was an hungered and ye gave the meat”. Pass on. (Slide 1).
Second time.
Generalissimo: Halt! Novice, I greet thee. Give drink to the thirsty. For it is written, “I was thirsty and ye gave me drink”. Pass on. (Slide 2).
Third time.
Generalissimo: Halt! Novice, I greet thee. Clothe the naked with a garment. For it is written, “Blessed is he that considereth the poor”. Pass on. (Slide 3).
Fourth time.
Generalissimo: Halt! Novice, I greet thee. Visit and ransom the captive. For it is written, “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you”. Pass on. (Slide 4.)
Fifth time.
Generalissimo: Halt ! Novice, I greet thee. Harbor the harborless. Give the widow and the orphan where to lay their heads. For it is written, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor ; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law”. Pass on. (Slide 5).
Sixth time.
Generalissimo: Halt! Novice, I greet thee. Visit and relieve the sick. For it is written, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another”. Pass on. (Slide 6).
Seventh time.
Generalissimo: Halt! Novice, I greet thee. Go bury the dead. For it is written, “Above all things have fervent charity among yourselves”. Pass on. (Slide 7).
Music stops. Choir sings, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Amen.
Procession moves around Council Chamber and the Guards fall out at their respective stations. As Wardens and novice near the Prelate’s station he arises and proceeds to the altar In the center of the Commandery, about six paces ahead of the Wardens. The novice is conducted directly in front of the class facing the Prelate.
Prelate faces novice and class Wardens move to the edge of Commandery and stand at attention so as not to detract from the Prelate’s work. Lights on.
Prelate: Novices will arise. Have each of you thoughtfully meditated over the manifold duties you are about to assume as Christian Knights? You will answer.
Prelate: It is well; but before I can administer to you our solemn and binding obligation, it will be necessary for me to ask you several questions, to which I request unequivocal answers.
Prelate: Is your reliance for salvation solely upon the merits of our adorable Savior? You will answer.
Prelate: Do each of you promise to cherish spiritual joy; to strive to live without malice and to repent of your sins? You will answer.
Prelate: Do each of you promise to display tolerance toward your adversaries ; to love justice ; to be merciful ; to be sincere and pure of heart as a Christian Knight should? You will answer.
Prelate: Do each of you promise, in consideration of the renunciation of the ancient vow of poverty, to donate annually such sum or sums as you may deem convenient in aid of some Protestant charity or charitable institution ? You will answer.
Prelate: Do each of you promise willing obedience in all things relating to this Christian Order, to the properly constituted authorities? You will answer.
Prelate: Are you willing to defend the Christian Faith, if necessary at the expense of your life. You will answer.
Prelate: Glory be unto God. Prelate raises his hand and prays. Great God, Father of us all, thou alone knowst as to the integrity and sincerity of these novices. Give them strength and power and purpose truly to become Christian Knights to thy honor and glory forever. Prelate and officers: Amen. Amen. Amen.
Prelate: As Christian Knights we are pledged to uphold, maintain and defend Protestantism, and if there be any novice who has not received Christian baptism, then he should attend to this important confirmation, for such was the example and will of our great leader and commander, Jesus Christ.
Prelate: You will advance to the altar of obligation.
Wardens conduct novice to altar and kneel him.
Prelate: Novice, you will place both hands upon the Holy Bible and crossed swords, palms down. Class will kneel.
Sir Knight Commander, * * *: Sir Knights, ATTENTION! Form around the altar as witnesses to the solemn obligations of these Christian Novices, who are desirous of becoming Christian Knights.
The guards and officers take positions around the altar as per diagram, cross the points of their swords over the Bible. The other officers and guards wilt take positions relative to the four in center held on horizontal plane. Sword movements are executed at command of the Captain General
Captain General: Sir Knights, ATTENTION! Draw, SWORDS! Form, Cross! Sir Knight Prelate, the Commandery is ready.
Prelate: Novice, you are now kneeling at the altar for the purpose of taking the solemn obligation of a Knight of Malta. All novices will say I, and pronounce their name in full, and repeat after me:
 
 
Obligation
 
... do solemnly and voluntarily vow and swear, in the presence of Almighty God, and this duly convoked Commandery, erected to God and dedicated to Christianity, that I will be faithful and true to the ORDER OF KNIGHTS OF MALTA, of which I am now about to become a member, and that I will ever observe and obey the constitution, laws, rules and usages of the Order, and always maintain the Protestant Religion, and Civil and Religious Liberty.
That I will be true and faithful to every Sir Knight Companion of this Illustrious Order; that I will at all times draw my sword in his behalf, if in a just cause, and that I will always assist him in distress, if in my power so to do without injury to myself and family.
That I will not initiate, nor be present at the initiation of any novice except he be a true Protestant; nor except there be present at least a quorum, unless authorized so to do by dispensation from the Supreme Grand Commander or the Grand Commander having immediate jurisdiction.
That I will bear true allegiance to the Supreme Grand Commandery of the Continent of America, working under Grand Charter from the Imperial Parent Grand Black Encampment of the Universe, with headquarters at Glasgow, Scotland.
I solemnly vow that lam now married to a Protestant, or being unmarried, that I will only marry one of the Protestant Faith. I further promise to educate my children in the Public Schools or in Protestant Institutions and in the Protestant Faith.
That I will exercise the virtue of Christian charity toward the religious opinions of ail, and that I will do my utmost to promote the unity of Protestant Christianity.
That I will never reveal any of the signs, words or tokens, nor the secret mysteries of any degree of this Illustrious Order, that I may at any time receive or be instructed in, except it be to a true and lawful Sir Knight Companion, or within the body of a duly convoked Commandery, in the proper discharge of my duties.
That I will not, by any means whatsoever, make known or divulge the proceedings of this or any other Commandery of this Order, unless it be to a Sir Knight Companion of this Order, and to him only after strict trial and due examination.
To all of this I do most solemnly and sincerely swear, with a firm and steady resolution to perform and keep the same, without any hesitation, mental reservation, or secret evasion whatsoever, so help me God.
You will now kiss the Holy Bible.
Prelate: Hearken now unto the Divine Promise: “Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life”.
Choir sings, ‘Be Thou Faithful Unto Death.”
Captain General; Carry, SWORDS! Return, SWORDS!
Sir Knight Commander: Officers, to your stations and posts.
All officers return to their stations.
Sir Knight Commander: *
Prelate: Novice, you will now be conducted to the Sir Knight Commander’s station, where you will be presented with the arms of a soldier of the cross.
Wardens escort novice to station of Sir Knight Commander. Prelate returns to his station
Senior Warden: Sir Knight Commander, before you stands a Christian novice who, having taken the solemn obligation, desires to be cased in the armor of a soldier of the cross, and if found worthy, to be dubbed a Christian Knight.
Sir Knight Commander: Novice, I greet thee, and will case thee in Christian Armor, but before you can be dubbed a Knight, I assign you eight years of warfare, which you will perform as a trial of your constancy and courage.
Commander descends in front of his pedestal and as investors proceeds, he takes various articles from pedestal and hands them to Wardens to place on the novice.
Sir Knight Commander: I now invest you with this breastplate. It is the breastplate of righteousness, being encompassed by which the faithful Christian Warrior is enabled to stand in the evil day.
I now clothe you with this mantle, whose bright color is emblematical of the blood shed for your redemption by the Savior of the world. Receive it as the Lord’s yoke, for it is easy and light, and will bring rest to your soul. Thereon emblazoned you will find a cross, meet emblem of your Christian profession, and of the duty you have assumed of supporting and defending it.
I now place this helmet on your head. It is the Helmet of Salvation, and will protect you from all blows which may be aimed at you in that direction.
I now gird on this shield. It is the Shield of Faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And finally, I present you with this sword, which, in the hand of a valiant Christian Knight, is endowed with three most excellent qualities: The hilt with justice, the blade with fortitude, and the point with mercy. It teaches us this important lesson, that having faith in the justice of our cause, we must press forward with undaunted fortitude, ever remembering to extend the point of mercy to a fallen foe.
Having become invested with the sword, we expect you to make a declaration of the cause in which you will wield it. Novices arise Give the sword a flourish over your head and all novices repeat after me : I will wield my sword in defense of innocent maidens, of destitute widows, of helpless orphans and of the Christian Religion. Novices, be seated.
Sir Knight Prelate, read us the lesson from Holy Scripture.
Prelate: Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.
Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God.
Choir sings, “Behold a Christian Warrior Stands.”
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knights Senior and Junior Wardens, assist me in forming an arch of steel.
Captain General: Sir Knights Senior and Junior Warden, ATTENTION! Draw, SWORDS! Form arch of steel.
Wardens form arch of steel as directed.
Sir Knight Commander: I shall now present you with the Pilgrim Warrior’s Pass, which will entitle you to support, assistance and protection in your warfare. It is given at low breath only, and under an arch of steel.
Commander communicates pass to novice under arch formed by Wardens.
Sir Knight Commander: The meaning of the pass is Perfection, and has reference to that state which all Christian Knights should strive to attain.
Captain General: Carry, SWORDS! Return, SWORDS!
Sir Knight Commander: Pilgrim Warrior, fare thee well; run the same course as all true knights before you, and fight for the Christian Faith.
Commander returns to station. Bugle call.
Captain General: Sir Knights, ATTENTION Draw, SWORDS!
Dim lights. Choir sings, “Onward Christian Soldiers.” As music starts Wardens and novice start slowly marching around Chamber. As they pass, the various officers and guards they salute, and except the First and Second Guards, join the procession. The size of the procession must be determined by the working space. Wardens should so time march that at the completion of the song they are approaching the station of First Guard.
First Guard, stepping in front of novice, with sword at charge, lightly striking shield: Halt ! Who comes here?
Senior Warden: A Pilgrim Warrior, who has been assigned eight years of warfare and sent on a crusade as a probation for knightly honors, and is now desirous of visiting the Holy City while on his way.
First Guard: A valiant warrior you must be to have come thus far. Advance and communicate the Pilgrim Warrior’s Pass.
First Guard steps back. Wardens step forward far enough to form the arch of steel without interference, Novice communicates pass to First Guard. Wardens return swords.
First Guard: The pass is right; may God speed thee on thy journey.
Bugle call. March music as procession proceeds around Chamber. Music stops as they approach Second Guard on second time around.
Second Guard, stepping in front of novice with sword at charge, lightly striking shield: Halt! Who comes here?
Senior Warden: A Pilgrim Warrior, who has been assigned eight years of warfare and sent on a crusade as a probation for knightly honors, and is desirous of visiting the Holy City while on his way.
Second Guard: A valiant warrior you must be to have come thus far. Advance and communicate the Pilgrim Warrior’s Pass.
Wardens form arch and pass communicated to Second Guard as was done in case of First Guard.
Second Guard: The pass is right; may God speed thee on thy journey.
Solemn march music as procession moves around Chamber until near First Guard’s station and halts. Novice is maneuvered so as to be facing picture screen.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight Prelate, you will read the lesson from Holy Scripture.
Lights out. Slide of “Garden of Gethsemane,” “Christ In Prayer. Betrayal” shown in accordance with Prelate’s reading.
“Disciples in Garden of Gethsemane.”
Prelate: And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, sit ye here, while I shall pray.
And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy.
And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death; tarry ye here and watch.
And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee, take away this cup from me: nevertheless, not what I will, but what thou wilt.
And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? Couldest not thou watch one hour?
Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.
And again he went away. and prayed, and spake the same words.
And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy), neither wist they what to answer him.
And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, sleep on now and take your rest: it is enough, the hour has come; behold the son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.
Music: ”In the Garden” or “Holy City.”
Slide: “Garden of Gethsemane”
Senior Warden: Companion, this scene represents the Garden of Gethsemane, wherein our Savior began his agonizing passion ; (Slide: ” Holy City of Jerusalem”) and this the Holy City of Jerusalem, which is typical of that heavenly city within whose sacred precincts all Christian Knights hope some day to arrive, after having passed through the novitiate, pilgrimage and warfare of this world, and partaken of the sorrow and bitterness of death. (Slide: ” Streets of Jerusalem.”) Along those streets our Saviour, mocked by soldiers went. (Slide: ”Christ at Prayer.”) Within the shade of that garden, bearing the burden of a world’s sin, He prayed earnestly that, if possible, the cup of affliction might pass from Him; and to His weary disciples He gave the ever memorable exhortation: Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. Be thou faithful, O Christian Warrior! Watch and pray, that, when your hour may come, heavenly consolation may be awarded you, your departure be triumphant, and your rest that which remaineth only unto the people of God.
Bugle call, lights dim. Solemn march music as procession encircles chamber twice, stopping as commanded by First Guard
First Guard, challenge is executed as before: Halt ! Who comes here?
Senior Warden: A Pilgrim Warrior, traveling from afar, who having passed eight years of warfare, is now desirous of receiving the honors and rewards that await the valiant soldier of the cross.
First Guard: If he has the Pilgrim Warrior’s Pass let him advance and communicate it.
Wardens form arch as before.
First Guard: The pass is right. I will acquaint the Second Guard with his request.
First Guard advances toward Second Guard.
Second Guard: Halt! Who comes here?
First Guard: A Pilgrim Warrior, traveling from afar, who, having passed eight years of warfare, is now desirous of receiving the honors and rewards that await the valiant soldier of the cross.
Second Guard: By what right does he seek admission?
First Guard: By the benefit of the Pilgrim Warrior’s Pass.
Second Guard: Advance and give it to me as communicated.
First Guard communicates pass under an arch of steel in regulation form.
Second Guard: The pass is right. I will acquaint the Sir Knight Commander with his request.
Second Guard: Sir Knight Commander, a Pilgrim Warrior, traveling from afar, who having passed eight years of warfare, is now desirous of receiving the honors and rewards that await the valiant soldier of the cross.
Sir Knight Commander: By what right does he seek admission?
Second Guard: By the benefit of the Pilgrim Warrior’s Pass.
Sir Knight Commander: Advance and give it as communicated.
Second Guard communicates pass in regulation form.
Sir Knight Commander: The pass is right, and his pilgrimage is ended. Sir Knight Second Guard, it is therefore my command that the Pilgrim Warrior be advanced.
Second Guard returns to his station.
Second Guard: Sir Knight First Guard, it is ordered by the Sir Knight Commander that the Pilgrim Warrior be advanced.
First Guard: Pilgrim Warrior, pass on.
Procession passes around Chamber and all officers but the Wardens fall out at their respective stations Wardens proceed until before the Sir Knight Commander’s station.
Senior Warden: Sir Knight Commander, before you stands a Pilgrim Warrior, who, having passed eight years of warfare, is now desirous of receiving the honors and rewards that await the valiant soldier of the cross.
Sir Knight Commander: Well done, good and faithful servant is it still your desire to be admitted in the bosom of this knightly brotherhood?
Novice answers: It is.
Sir Knight Commander: In token thereof sheath your sword, be divested of your implements of warfare and approach the altar.
Wardens divest novice of armor and advance him to the altar.
The Sir Knight Commander is now standing before it.
Sir Knight Commander: In granting your request, and admitting you a Knight among us, we can offer you only severe duty. If on this condition, you are still desirous of enlisting under our banner, kneel before me. Class will kneel. Sir Knights will arise. Sit Knight Prelate, you will lead us in prayer.
Captain General: Sir Knights, ATTENTION! Draw, SWORDS! Present, SWORDS!
Prelate, advances to front of class and kneels: O God, our Great Heavenly Father, graciously look down, we beseech Thee on these novices upon whom the honor of Christian Knighthood is about to be conferred. Arm them continually with the sword of the spirit, the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation. Grant that they may ever continue true and faithful soldiers of the cross, and at last may be found worthy of admission into Thy eternal reward. Amen. Amen. Amen.
Choir sings. “The Lord’s Prayer.”
The novice who is now kneeling, is then knighted in the following manner: The Sir Knight Commander taking the sword strikes the novice lightly with the blade of the sword three times. Once each on the right shoulder, middle of back and left shoulder, at the same time saying: By virtue of the authority in me vested as Commander and Prior of our Ancient Fraternity, I do dub and create thee, and through thee every Christian Novice here assembled, A Knight Hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem, of Palestine, of abodes, and of Malta. Be thou true, valient and secret. Arise, taking novice by right hand Sir ... in memory of our ancient Forefathers, the Grand Black Knights of Malta and Saint John.
Bugle call, lights in.
Captain General: Carry, SWORDS! Return, SWORDS. Officers to your stations and posts.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight Generalissimo, you will deliver the charge and then, assisted by our Sir Knight Captain General and Prelate, you will proclaim the installation.
Generalissimo: Sir, Knights, having, after strict trial and due examination, been found worthy of admission into our Ancient and Illustrious Institution – ancient, as dating its existence from the period of the crusades in 1048 and illustrious in deeds of valor and pure beneficence – and having had conferred upon you the distinguished honor of Christian Knighthood, you are now welcome to participate in the defeats and triumphs, joys and sorrows, which await all valiant and trusty soldiers of the cross.
As Gethsemane with its solemn memories is indelibly engraved upon the throbbing heart of our Holy Christianity, let us derive from its hallowed shade that spirit of humility and obedience which characterized our suffering Lord yet conquering Redeemer. With the light of faith brightly burning amid the recesses of our hearts, let us daily meditate upon the respective duties to God, our neighbors and ourselves. Thus, having been faithful unto death may we receive the crown which fadeth not away; and, having come off victorious over principalities and powers, may we enter triumphantly into the Celestial City; there with Christ our Commander, to live and reign world without end.
You will now face the Commandery.
Sir Knight Commander: * * *.
Generalissimo: The Junior Warden, as a Knight Hospitaller, will invest you with an apron. h is a badge of innocence, charity and hospitality, which will remind you of your duty to the friendless, the poor and needy also of the labors of our ancient brethren in the hospital at Jerusalem.
Junior Warden invests novice with apron, flap turned in.
Generalissimo: The Senior Warden will invest you with your knightly Spurs.
Senior Warden will affix spurs.
Generalissimo: The spurs signify that, as the horse fears them when he swerves from duty, so should you fear to depart from your post or violate your solemn vow.
Bugle call.
Generalissimo: In the name of the Holy Trinity, and by the order of the Sir Knight Commander, hear ye, Sir Knights, that I proclaim Sir ... and through him every Christian Novice to be duly installed a Knight Hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem, of Palestine, of
Rhodes and of Malta.
Bugle call.
Captain General: In the name of the Holy Trinity, and by order of the Sir Knight Commander, hear ye, Sir Knights, that
I proclaim Sir ..., and through him every Christian Novice to be duly installed a Knight Hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem, of Palestine, of Rhodes and of Malta.
Bugle call.
Prelate: In the name of the Holy Trinity, and by order of the Sir Knight Commander, hear ye, Sir Knights, that I proclaim Sir ... and through him every Christian Novice to be duly installed a Knight Hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem, of Palestine, of Rhodes
and of Malta.
Bugle call.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knights, assist me to confer the Grand Honors upon our newly made Sir Knights.
Grand Honors conferred.
Sir Knight Commander, *: Sir Knights, from the ceremonies through which you have just passed a deep significance must be derived. You entered the doors of this Commandery in a secular habit, and without girdle, to signify that of your own free will and accord, and with the proper appreciation of the important step you were taking, you had presented yourself for initiation. You passed seven times around the Commandery with a lighted taper, emblematic of faith, in your hand, not only for the purpose of acquiring the knowledge of the duties which, as a Christian Knight, you owe in an especial manner to suffering and deceased humanity but also to remind you that in your travel through this benighted sphere the light of faith will mark out and brighten your path, and, in God’s own perfect and appointed time, conduct you to the regions of eternal light and happiness.
You assumed the binding obligation with the swords of your companions suspended over you, to typify, that while making the solemn and irrevocable vow, the sword of the spirit was hovering around for the purpose of striking with remorse the guilty conscience which would presume to call upon its Maker to witness a false oath.
And finally, while engaged in those chivalric duties which were to fit you for your knightly spurs, you sojourned for a season at the hallowed Garden of Gethsemane, within view of the Holy City, to remind you that even in the midst of life’s severe trials, the Christian Warrior is not far removed from the heavenly city of his choice. Be wise. Be faithful. Be true.
Sir Knight, I will now instruct you in the signs, grand countersign, grip, passwords and secret customs appertaining to this Illustrious Degree.
There are two passwords: one called the Grand Countersign, the other the Pilgrim Warrior’s Pass.
The Grand Countersign is ... and is given by a companion to the Sentinel when he desires to enter the Council Chamber, and the Commandery is at labor in the Knight of Malta Degree, and is the general working password of this degree.
The Pilgrim Warrior’s Pass-your  attention is particularly directed to the peculiar nature of this pass, which must never be communicated save at low breath, and under an arch of steel. To form an arch for the purpose of communicating this pass, give six cuts with the sword: three under cuts, three over cuts at the sixth cut take one step forward with the left foot, and another with the right, and divide the pass with your companion at low breath, thus ...
A practical explanation is here given by the Senior and Junior Wardens.
I trust that in this as in all other matters relating to our Order you will seek that perfection which so well becometh the valiant pilgrim warrior.
The signs: there are two: the sword sign and the hailing sign.
The first sign of a Knight of Malta is the sword sign, and is given thus ... and is preparatory to the giving of the hailing sign, which is given thus ... The hailing sign, advancing it, accompanied by the explanatory words ... keeps perpetually before us the fidelity which should characterize a Christian knight, and the honesty and integrity justly expected of him.
The Grand Countersign ... being transrated signifies ...  is given thus ...
The grip is given thus ...
If challenged for the grip it will be your duty to withhold it unless the party challenging presents its complement, which is ... and refers to the words of our Saviour ...
The recognition or test sign of a Knight of Malta is made thus ... representing Paul on the island of Melita: and the answer is given thus ... representing the throwing down of the viper.
The number of this degree is eight, and is typified by the eight points of the Maltese cross.
Eight is also the number of raps given at the inner door of the Council Chamber, when desirous of entering the same, and the Commandery is at labor in the Knight of Malta Degree. They are given thus: ****   ****.
To gain admission to your Commandery when open in the Knight of Malta Degree, you will give any ordinary alarm on the outer door, the Sentinel will open the door or wicket and satisfy himself that you are a member of the Commandery. You will then be admitted to the ante-room and the Sentinel will take from you the grip and grand countersign: you will clothe yourself with an apron and the Sentinel will announce you. On entering the Council Chamber you will give the same grip and grand countersign to the Warder, then advance to the altar and give the sword and hailing sign, which being responded to by the Sir Knight Commander you will take your seat.
Sir Knights, you will pay attention while the Senior and Junior Wardens deliver the lecture of this degree, most of which should be committed to memory by all Sir Knights before being advanced to the second degree. Our Preceptor will arrange for your instruction.
 
 
Lecture
 
Senior Warden: Sir Knight, what were you?
Junior Warden: A novice.
Senior Warden: What then?
Junior Warden: A Knight Hospitaller.
Senior Warden: What next?
Junior Warden: A Knight of Rhodes.
Senior Warden: What are you now?
Junior Warden: A Knight of Malta.
Senior Warden: How am I to know you as such?
Junior Warden: By my being in possession of the grand countersign whereby all true Knights of Malta know and recognize each other.
Senior Warden: Will you give it to me?
Junior Warden gives grand countersign in regular form.
Senior Warden: When is it given?
Junior Warden: To the Sentinel and Warder to gain admission to the Commandery when at labor in the Knight of Malta Degree, and is the general working password of the degree.
Senior Warden: How else shall I know you?

Junior Warden: By the Pilgrim Warrior’s Pass
Senior Warden: How is it given?
Junior Warden: Under an arch of steel in a low breath only.
Wardens exemplify giving the pass.
Sir Knight Commander: Each newly made Sir Knight will now arise and advance beneath the arch of steel and receive the
Pilgrim Warrior’s Pass.
All novices given pass by Commander.
Sir Knight Commander: Your attention is particularly directed to the peculiar nature of this pass and the manner and form in which it is given. This must never be forgotten as it is a vital point in your examination if visiting another Commandery. Sir Knight Wardens you will proceed.
Senior Warden: Are you proficient in the work?
Junior Warden: I was carefully instructed and passed due examination.
Senior Warden: Give me the sword sign.
Junior Warden gives the sword sign.
Senior Warden: Give me the hailing sign.
Junior Warden gives the hailing sign; divides explanatory words with
Senior Warden.
Senior Warden:
Have you the grip of a Knight of Malta?
Junior Warden: Come and see. Senior Warden gives complement.
Senior Warden: Will you advance the test or recognition sign of a Knight of Malta?
Junior Warden: I will if you will tell me when and where it should be used.
Senior Warden: It should only be used in a duly convoked commandery, instructing a Sir Knight, or in examination of one who claims admittance.
Junior Warden gives sign. Senior Warden gives answer. Wardens salute Commander and take seats.
Choir sings, “Again Has Come the Closing Hour.”
Prelate (prayer):
Almighty Father, we ask thy blessing and the out-pouring of thy spirit upon all Knights of Malta and especially upon these newly made Christian Knights. Help and guide them in the paths of truth and righteousness and may their lives be so conducted that in the end our Great Commander can say: “Well done good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
All Knights: Amen. Amen. Amen.
Sir Knight Commander: The Commandery will now be at ease while we welcome these newly made Christian Knights, and after their retirement we will close in due form.
 
 
Closing

Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight Generalissimo, ** what is the constant care of a Knight of Malta?
Generalissimo: Sir Knight Commander, to be a true and faithful soldier of the CROSS, In all things emulating the life, and, if need be, suffering the death of his blessed Lord and Master.
Sir Knight Commander:  In so doing, whose will doth he execute?
Generalissimo: The will of God.
Sir Knight Commander: Thou hast said it. Let us strive so to execute His will that the end of this life may be but the beginning of a blissful eternity. We will now proceed to close this Christian Commandery. * * *
Observe your Commander.
All Companions rise and advance the hailing sign.
Captain General: Sir Knights, ATTENTION ! Draw Swords!
The Commandery is prepared as in the opening. The Prelate accompanied by the Sword Bearer and Standard Bearer advance to the altar.
Prelate: Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate~. of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked, and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Captain General: Sir Knights, uncover! TO YOUR DEVOTIONS.
At this command each officer drops the point of his sword to the floor and kneels on his left knee as previously explained. He then removes his cap or chapeau with his left hand and places it upon his right, which rests upon the hilt of sword. Sir Knights kneel on left knee.
Prelate: Let us pray: “Refresh us, O Lord, we beseech Thee, with Thy blessing, and grant that we may neither here nor hereafter violate the bonds of morality and virtue. Incite us to inwardly digest the hidden mysteries of our Order, so that we may profit by the instructions we have received, and emulate one another in upright example.”
Prelate and Companions: Amen, Amen, Amen.
Captain General: Sir Knights, ATTENTION! Recover! Return Swords
At these commands Officers replace caps or chapeaux and rise, bring swords to carry and return swords. Sir Knights arise.
Sir Knight Commander: Officers, to your stations and posts.
When this has been done: Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knight Senior Warden, disarrange the altar.
The closing ode is now sung.
Sir Knight Commander: Sir Knights, peace be unto you. By virtue of the authority vested in me I now declare this Convocation closed.
The Sir Knight Commander will then give * * *   * * *   * which shall be repeated by the Generalissimo, Warder and Sentinel after which the Sir Knight Commander will give one rap of the gavel, when the Commandery is dismissed.

 

 

         

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