The Order comprises the following degrees:
1. Secret Monitor
3. Supreme Ruler
Structure and Qualification.
In this Order, assemblies are termed Conclaves, each with a Supreme
Ruler at its head. The Visiting Deacons (of which there are four) are
Officers with a special function peculiar to this degree. It is laid
down that they should afford assistance and support to a brother in
time of sorrow and distress and they should also search out and warn
him if he is exposed to danger, secret or apparent. This duty is no
sinecure as each of the members of a Conclave has a number between 1
and 4 against his name in the Conclave list and the appropriate Deacon
is required to contact his members prior to each meeting and is called
upon to report on that Brother if he is not present at the Roll Call.
The structure is as follows:
1. Supreme Ruler
7. Director of Ceremonies
8. Visiting Deacons (Four)
9. Assistant Director of Ceremonies
11. Assistant Secretary
12. Scroll Bearer
1. David (Supreme Ruler of the 1st Degree)
2. Jonathan (the Immediate Past S.R.)
3. Abishai (Guide of the 1st Degree)
4. Adino (1stVisiting Deacon)
5. Eleazar (2ndVisiting Deacon)
6. Shammah (Guarder of the 1st Degree)
7. Lecturer (A Past S.R.)
There is only the single qualification of Master Mason for prospective
Candidates for this Order.
The Regalia of the First Degree comprises a jewel in gilt, being of
two equilateral triangles interlaced with three arrows and charged
with the letters D and J. It is suspended from a ribbon in the colours
of the Order, i.e. purple-orange-purple.
Officers wear a crimson sash, four inches wide and having a gold
fringe below the frog, which also features two interlaced triangles in
In the Princes (Second) Degree an identical jewel is worn but
it is suspended from a ribbon of equal stripes, orange-purple-orange.
A Supreme Ruler wears the jewel of the Order suspended from a
collarette in the colours of the Second Degree, together with the
appropriate sash bearing the initials SR in silver. He also wears a
purple robe with orange or gold facings.
The legend of the First Degree is narrated during the Induction
Ceremony and tells the story of the remarkable friendship which
existed between David and Jonathan. During the ceremony the Candidate
is instructed in a certain course of action to be adopted when a
brother is about to do anything which might prove injurious to himself
and it teaches a beautiful lesson on Friendship and Fidelity.
The Admission ceremony to an Assembly of Princes is also derived from
the Book of Samuel and narrates how Saul sought the life of David. It
further relates an interesting legend of the methods contrived to
thwart the efforts of the jealous King.
By reading the Old Testament books of Samuel, all the names of the
Conclave Officers fall into place.
The last named degree is unusual when compared with the other Orders
of Freemasonry, in that the ceremony of Installation constitutes the
Third Degree of the Order pertaining to the Kingship of David and is
fundamentally concerned with the headship of a Conclave. Embodied in
the ritual of this degree, however, is the ceremony of commissioning,
which gives rank and status within the Order as a whole, a certificate
being issued to that effect.
The full title of the Order is "The Order of the Secret Monitor, or
Brotherhood of David and Jonathan, in the British Isles and its
Districts and Conclaves Overseas". It has its headquarters at Mark
Masons' Hall, 86, St. James's Street, London, and the head of the
Order is termed the "Grand Supreme Ruler".
There are now over 500 Conclaves spread between some 30 Provinces or
Districts. Each Province or District has a Provincial or District
Grand Supreme Ruler at its head.
From the very moment of our initiation as a craft mason we are made
aware that Brotherly Love is to be the feature that should permeate
every word, deed and thought within, and without, our assemblies, and
should be the very touchstone of our practice, the blazon of our
intentions and the very monitor of our utterance. Although strongly
adhering to this basic craft tenet, our illustrious founding fathers
in 1887 firmly believed that there was a need for a more intimate tie
with this principle that could be handed down to posterity by those
who approved and could appreciate its worth. They also felt that the
single-degree ceremony composed by Dutch settlers of Jewish descent,
which had been in use throughout Continental Europe, North America and
in other parts of the world since the 17th century, should be revised
to include their more meaningful and inspiring purpose.
The compassion and eloquence of our first Grand Supreme Ruler, Dr.
Issacher Zackarie, a highly acclaimed orthopaedic surgeon and
physician, who had been a trusted friend of President Lincoln, and the
first Grand Master of the Craft Grand Lodge of California, and His
Honour Judge F.A. Philbrick, Q.C., Grand Registrar of the United Grand
Lodge of England, who was noted for his legislative and drafting
skills, were charged with the important task of re-writing the ritual
of the Ceremony of Induction, and to be the authors of the new
Ceremonies for the Admission of a Prince of the Order, and the
Installation and Commissioning Ceremonies of a Supreme Ruler.
The Order was regularly Constituted in London in 1887; it is
non-denominational and open to every member of a Regular Craft
Constitution. Our rituals and ceremonies generate a deeper
understanding of the Craft principle of brotherly love, and demand a
higher level of commitment to their precepts by every Brother of David
Every mason is required to express a belief in his respective God, and
all Orders of Freemasonry have a special name for the Supreme Being.
In the Craft it is ‘The Great Architect of the Universe’, in the
Knights Templar we refer to ‘Our Heavenly Captain.’ As Royal Ark
Mariners we have the Supreme Commander of the Universe, in the Order
of the Secret Monitor the Supreme Being is called ‘The Almighty Friend
of all friends’, the significance of which can only be fully
appreciated by members of the Order.
Craft masons meet in Lodges, but an assembly of Secret Monitors is
held in a Conclave, and at this moment in time we are all present at
an Emergency Meeting of the Summus Conclave No.3. The Presiding
Officer has the title Worthy Supreme Ruler and is seated on the Throne
of King David in the East. He wears the jewel of the Order suspended
from a yellow and violet collaret, and a sash of the same colours
bearing his rank with the name and number of the Conclave beneath, all
embroidered in Silver wire.
The two other principal officers in the Conclave are the Counsellor
and Guide, the former is situated in the South East and the latter in
the North East, facing each other. The other regular officers include
a Chaplain, the Treasurer, Secretary, and Director of Ceremonies, four
Visiting Deacons, the Guarder, usually four Stewards, and the Sentinel
who are all situated so as to conveniently discharge their respective
All these Officers wear a sash of medici crimson, and all Conclave
sashes have two interlaced triangles in gilt metal or wire on the
frog. Provincial and District Grand Conclave Officers wear Empire Blue
sashes with the name of their Province or District and the office they
hold embroidered immediately below in thin gold wire, and below that
are the two interlaced triangles overlaid with three arrows and the
initials D.J. all in gold wire.
Grand Conclave Officers wear medici crimson sashes bordered with gold
cord, on which is embroidered in gold wire a celestial crown above the
wearer’s rank, below which are again the two interlaced triangles
overlaid with the three arrows and the initials D.J. all in gold wire,
and the frog being finished with a gold fringe. Provincial, District,
and Grand Officers all wear collaret’s from which is suspended the
jewel of their office. All sashes are worn over the right shoulder and
under the left arm.
Unique to the Order of the Secret Monitor are the four Visiting
Deacons whose special duties also distinguish this Order from any
other in Freemasonry, and reflecting the sacred nature of their caring
role they are seated at the corners of what is designated the Holy
Ground or Magen David in a Conclave. Magen David refers to the ‘Shield
of David’ and the two interlaced triangles thereon.
These two interlaced golden triangles, also known as the Seal of
Solomon, were traditionally set above the Throne of King David in
Jerusalem and are said to represent our two-fold nature, spiritual and
material, which shape our lives and destinies. The arrows are
emblematic of man in his uncivilised state, relying on his own
Our rituals with their beautiful and inspiring precepts, take us back
to the time when the Hebrews, wandering defenceless in the wilderness,
forged one bond or another for mutual protection and support. Indeed,
much of our ritual is in the very words of the ancient scriptures of
the Jews and is based on the story of the enduring friendship that
existed between David and Jonathan, a friendship that has become
almost proverbial as the ideal to be aimed for. They saved each
other’s lives on countless occasions, and swore a covenant of eternal
friendship. The bond that united David and Jonathan, and plays such a
vital part in the lives of all Secret Monitors, is the fact that the
Covenant was made in the presence of God.
And the very purpose of our Order is the practical expression of the
paramount importance of each individual human being in the sight of
God. We are His creatures, living in His creation, and the ritual of
our Induction as Brothers of David and Jonathan insists that it is our
inescapable duty to reflect in every way we can, as best we can, the
concern and love the Almighty Friend of all friends has for all his
The Order, however, does not proclaim Brotherly love simply in the
abstract, or as a desirable norm, for at every turn of life, at every
crisis of fate a Secret Monitor may look, and will not look in vain,
to the experienced among his Brethren who have pledged themselves to
give him caution, to prompt him to good actions, to warn him from
doubtful ones, to offer him skilful and effective advice, solace in
time of sorrow, and to exercise watchful Brotherly care and concern
over him and his family at all times.
This is an impressive and moving list of generous undertakings, and
while we learn the arts of taciturnity and trust in the Craft degrees,
the sense of reverence in the Royal Arch, the blessing of humility in
the Mark, and the requirements of fearlessness and witness as Knights
Templar, it is here, in this Order of the Secret Monitor, in the story
of David and Jonathan, in the doings of Eliazar and Abiathar, and not
least in the touching and unifying consecration of purpose that comes
to all Princes of the Order, that freemasons can truly begin to grasp
not only the urge to be loving brethren, but to be doers of the word
and not hearers only.
Today, more than eleven decades later, we are the mother, or Primus
Inter Pares, of all Sovereign Grand Conclaves in the world, and the
members of our daughter and granddaughter Grand Conclaves, together
with our nine Districts Overseas and the twenty-six Provinces here in
the British Isles are spreading that word throughout the United
Kingdom, in South Africa, South America, the West Indies, The Bahamas,
Canada, Gibraltar, Spain, France, India, South East Asia, Hong Kong,
Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand