The Origin & History of the Order
The rituals of the Order are taken from Old Testament times, commencing at the period of Joshua, the fall of Jericho and the story of Rahab. She assisted in the capture of the city by the Israelites and was saved from the fate of the other inhabitants by displaying a scarlet cord in her window. Rahab is depicted on the logo of the Order.
The current Ancient and Masonic Order of the Scarlet Cord is based on an earlier Order, The Royal Order of Knights of the Scarlet Cord, developed in the British Isles in 1889, which was itself derived from 18th Century documents from the Amsterdam Masonic archives. The Rituals and Ceremonies were rewritten and enriched by His Honour Judge Fredrick Adolphus Philbrick, KC, and were performed as appendant grades to the Order of the Secret Monitor. The main purpose was to raise considerable sums of money for the Secret Monitor Benevolent Fund, which still plays a significant role in Masonic welfare provision today. The Order ceased working in 1929.
The Logo of the Order
A paper on the original Order written and delivered in 2001 by Peter Glyn Williams, the then Grand Supreme Ruler of the Secret Monitor, stimulated interest in the long-forgotten rituals. In 2006, at the prompting of Brian Wareham, Deputy Grand Supreme Ruler, a Secret Monitor Conclave was consecrated with the sole purpose of reviving the old Order and conferring updated versions of the original six grades, some of which only remained in fragmented form. A huge appetite for the grades among Secret Monitors lead to the Order being inaugurated as a separate Sovereign body in a magnificent ceremony in the Grand Temple at Freemasons’ Hall on 21 July 2010.
Eligibility and Ranks Candidates for the Ancient and Masonic Order of the Scarlet Cord must be Master Masons and members of the Order of the Secret Monitor. The red cord is worn by all Companions below the rank of Grand Officer and the manner in which it is worn indicates possession of any or all of the first four grades. Grand Officers wear a Scarlet sash, and Provincial Officers a yellow Sash.
The Red Cord
Grand Officers Sash
The first grade of the Order, Ostiarius or Doorkeeper, tells the story of how Rahab hid the Jewish spies from the King of Jericho and is based on the original ritual of 1889. The jewel is a replica of an ancient golden key as a symbol of silence and introspection.
The First Grade Jewel
The Second Grade of the Order,
Lector, relates to the story of Ruth, her eventual marriage to Boaz, the son of Salmon and Rahab and the birth of their son Obed, the Grandfather of David. The jewel is a golden scroll with a Greek inscription.
The Second Grade Jewel
The Third Grade Jewel
In the Third Grade of the Order, Healer & Exorcist, a Companion will be taught how to face difficulty, danger and peril in any just cause to which they are commanded, and reflect on the resolve of the Maccabees, Jewish patriots from the second century BC, to retain their faith in the face of oppressive tyranny. The jewel is a skull and crossbones suspended from a ribbon. When a silver anointing horn is attached, it indicates that the wearer has been Installed as President of a Consistory. The office of President is analogous to that of Worshipful Master in the Craft degree.
The Presidents Jewel
The above three grades are conferred in a Consistory by the President and the Officers of the Consistory. Prior to being elected as President, a Companion must be prepared in a ceremony conferred in a preparation ceremony once only carried out in Provincial Senatus by the Provincial Grand Summus, however this is now carried out in a consistory.
The Fourth Grade Jewel
The Fourth Grade of the Order is conferred on installed Presidents, who have proved proficiency in their Provinces. Having been recommended by their Province , candidates are invited to attend a special conferral performed by the Grand Officers of the year, where they witness one of the most spectacular ceremonies in Freemasonry, which depicts the carrying of the Ark of the Covenant over the river Jordan to its triumphant entrance into the city of Jericho. The Fourth Grade breast jewel is a depiction of the Ark of the Covenant suspended from a tri-colour ribbon.
The Fifth and Sixth Grades are conferred on distinguished Grand Officers at the sole discretion of the Grand Summus; numbers are limited and are conferred at a specially arranged meeting. The Fifth Grade jewel is in Silver and depicts the Ark of the Covenant surrounded by a blazing glory. This grade, Keeper of the Hidden Secret, relates the attack on Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, which is briefly recounted by the Principal Sojourner in the Royal Arch ritual, and the subsequent steps taken by the prophet Jeremiah to conceal the Ark from the invaders. The Sixth grade jewel is the same as for the Fifth grade but is in gold. This Grade, Prince of Jerusalem, is only conferred on the most senior members of the Order and expands on the story of the Maccabees in their struggle to gain independence for the Jewish nation about 150 years before the birth of Christ. It can therefore be seen that the various grades of the Order amplify and explain significant episodes and characters mentioned only in passing in the Craft and Royal Arch rituals.
The Fifth Grade Jewel
The Sixth Grade Jewel
Structure The functional working unit of the Order is the Consistory (which is similar to a lodge in the Craft). These are organised into provinces or districts which are presided over by a Provincial Grand Summus or District Grand Summus.
R.Dist.Comp Allan M. Shields V
Provincial Grand Summus
for East Lancashire
Order is growing significantly and there are already 139 Consistories in existence.
Unique to the Order is The Tzaddikim, the personal ‘Body Guard’ of the Grand Summus, who discharge duties in a similar manner to the Grand Supreme Ruler’s Arch of Steel. The ancient teachings of Judaism state that the world would need at least 36 righteous people to exist. The word ‘Tzaddikim’ means righteous persons. The qualities that make a ‘Tzaddik’ or Righteous Person are that he must be a just, faithful and upright person and he must refrain from wrongdoing and make an effort to establish what is right. The marks of a righteous man, according to Jewish thinking, are the sincerity of purpose and the strenuous endeavour to accomplish it. The righteous man who has fallen into sin is distinguished by his repentance. Those who are members of the Grand Summus’ Tzaddikim undertake much responsibility but in every way fulfil the criteria laid down all those years ago
The current Head of The Order, the Grand Summus, is Most Distinguished Companion Ian Currans. His Deputy is Frank Spencer and his assistant is Howard Markham. The Grand Senatus and Annual Investiture were recently held at the beginning of May at Mark Masons’ Hall and it was reported that the order had now grown to 3000 members. Brethren interested in learning more about the Order please contact the Provincial Grand Recorder who will be happy to assist you.