The Commandery (Chivalric) Orders
Illustrious Order of the Red Cross – The first order conferred in the chivalric system is the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross and the story contained within predates the era of the Crusades. The candidate represents Zerubbabel who is well familiar to the Royal Arch Mason (a requirement for admission) at the time of King Darius. Zerubbabel visits the king in order to convince him of his commitment to the Jewish people and in the process is asked to take part in a debate over which has greatest sway in the kingdom – wine, women or the king. The end result of the debate being the candidate offering a fourth option and an excellent argument is made on the power of Truth.
Order of Malta – This is the first of the Christian Orders contained in the Chivalric system and relates the story of St. Paul’s arrival on the island of Melita which we know today as Malta. In the next portion of the Order the history of the Knights of St. John (Knights of Malta) is explained and the periods of the Order’s history are paralleled with the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. While Freemasonry often comes under attack by fundamentalists who view it as unchristian, the candidate for admission into this Christian order can offer clear argument to the contrary.
Order of the Temple – The Order of the Temple is the most beautiful in the series. During the ceremonies the candidate represents a knight of the era that succeeded the Crusades and vowed to visit the Holy Sepulcher. As a trial of his worthiness he is assigned seven years of preparation. At the end of this preparation he is made a Knight and a member of the Order.
The ritual teaches beautiful lessons on the death and ascension of our Savior and the candidate is at last received into full fellowship in the most solemn manner. Unlike most branches of Freemasonry, wherein the Candidate need not follow a particular faith, the Chivalric Orders of Masonry require a belief in the doctrine of the Trinity. That is to say he must profess a faith in Christianity.