The Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests and Order of Holy Wisdom
A new Tabernacle is to be consecrated on the 13th April 2018 in Malta. The name St. Publius Tabernacle No 298 This will come under District 40 Sussex for more information contact Toby Pratt 07776 146567
THE FIRST TABERNACLE BANNER
HIMALAYA TABERNACLE No 45
HISTORIC BANNER FOR DISTRICT 40
Knight Priests, we will shortly dedicate the Banner of St Nicolas Tabernacle no.25 consecrated in 1962. Tabernacle Banners are a new introduction, in fact today is a further milestone for our Order as this Banner is the sixth and last Banner for district 40, the only district in the world with six Tabernacles each having their own Banner.
A Banner in its simplest form is a flag bearing symbols, emblems and very often dates and numbers. It is however the symbols or emblems which are most important. They represent a sign of allegiance, a cause, a nationality, a regime, a belief or a principle. Banners and Standards have been borne and carried by: regiments of the British Army, the Church, Trade Unions, Protesters, Schools, Monarchs, and yes, even by Freemasons.
To march with or under a standard serves as a rallying point to indicate that you are a follower, a supporter, which in turn serves to create a sense of belonging and a sense of awareness. We have often heard of the expression and saying “to nail one’s colours to the mast” which simply means that one is declaring one’s intentions, making your views known to all and sundry.
If we look to the Old Testament in the 49th Chapter of the Book of Genesis, Jacob called his sons together and formed them into the twelve tribes of Israel, each with an ensign which bore distinctive bearings. The leading standards of the four divisions of the army of Israel bore the devices of a Man, a Lion, an Ox and an Eagle, which also appear on the seal of the United Grand Lodge of England and also have an importance and relevance to the Holy Royal Arch.
In Freemasonry generally we rally under the Standard of the United Grand Lodge of England and in our Order of the Holy Royal Arch Knights Templar Priests and Order of Holy Wisdom, we parade under the Grand Banner of the Order. However, the whole point of a banner is not to have it hidden away, but to carry it with much pomp, ceremony and pride, at meetings or rallies so remembering the history and heritage of the organisation. Freemasonry is no different in this respect.
The banner we are about to dedicate here today has been designed and made by one of our local Masons Alan Trotter. Although he is not a member of our Order, he has designed the Tabernacle Banner and the logo for the Order of Holy Wisdom. Grand College decided that all Tabernacle Banners should be uniform in design throughout the Order the only variation being the name and number of the Tabernacle. Therefore the symbolism is not specific to this Tabernacle but to the Order in general. The principal features of the banner are: The representation of the seven pillars The seal or logo of Knight Templar Priests, The seal or logo of the Order of Holy Wisdom.
The number seven and the number three are very significant numbers in Freemasonry and in our Order in particular. The significance of those numbers is explained during the ceremony of admission of a new Knight Priest so I will not repeat them today. The number three is, of course, depicted on the banner by the arrangement of the pillars in triangular form, just as they are arranged in the Tabernacle itself. Perhaps the most striking parts of the banner are the two seals or logos in the centre. That of Knight Templar Priests is dominated by the image of the mitre, so much a feature of our Order. We use two mitres in our Order – the 8 inch and 12 inch. A full explanation of the mitre is usually given when a Grand College Certificate is presented but briefly it is believed that the 8 inch mitre is derived from that worn by Joshua the High Priest and the 12 inch from the military headgear of British soldiers during the 18th Century. The seal of the Order of Holy Wisdom has a linked chain surrounding it which among other things is an emblem of fraternal friendship. The lantern in the centre is a symbol “The Light of the World” you will see that they are joined by a single link which underlines the link between the two Priestly Orders. The deep purple background of the banner is not only a colour associated with both royalty and the church, but is used in many of the Christian Orders of Freemasonry as an allusion to the Kingship of Our Lord. That said, purple is referred to in connection with Hiram Abif, as it says in the book of Chronicles Chapter 2 “I have sent a cunning man skilful to work in purple, blue fine linen and in crimson etc”.
Knight Priests, in conclusion, let this banner be a constant inspiration to the Tabernacle and its members as it is a focal point to rally to, work behind and a reminder of the essence of our Order so beautifully explained through our rituals and ceremonies
Finally, I offer a few lines adapted from a somewhat lesser known Hymn
There’s a royal banner given for display
To the Priestly Knights of The Arch
As an ensign fair, we lift it up today
Behind it proud to march
Though the foe may rage and gather as the storm
Let the standard be displayed
And beneath its folds all Masons learn
That truth be not dismayed
Over land and sea, wherever man may dwell
Make the glorious tidings known
Of the purple banner, now the story tell
Of Masonic virtues sown
May the Most High, watch over you all, bless you and, in due time, welcome
you to His Eternal Mansion of Everlasting Bliss and Glory
THE FIRST BANNER DEDICATION FOR THE
HIMALAYA TABERNACLE No 45
AT LITTLEHAMPTON ON 28th SEPTEMBER 2015