The Order of the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests & Order of Wisdom - District 15
The Order of Holy Wisdom

The original certificates for the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests dating back to 1924 when the Order became a sovereign body having separated from the Allied Masonic Degrees, are headed "The Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest or Order of Holy Wisdom and of the Degrees appendant thereuntoā€¯. Early certificates from the early Irish bodies show the Order of Holy Wisdom as being an Order in itself.

Further, ritual exists showing this to be the case. Masonic orders, like Lodges and indeed people, come and go; some stand the test of time but others, for one reason or another, become moribund, fading from existence. Such was the case with the Order of Holy Wisdom the Congregations of which, by tradition, met only once each year at 11:11hrs on Good Friday.

The Regalia and furniture necessary for working the Order as directed would have been very expensive to produce, maintain and store. Three Chambers were required; a grand alter atop a flight of seven steps; a white screen of fine linen to separate the sanctum sanctorum from the body of the Church represented in the First Chamber; cassocks and cloaks of various colours. Other regalia and furniture included: a black velvet mantle; a Greek mitre of white silk; and, a life-size coffin capable of housing and bearing the candidate. The Order was re-introduced in 2014 with every member of the Order at that date being acknowledged as a Knight Priest of the Order of Holy Wisdom. Any Knight Templar Priest received after that date is introduced into the Order, the ritual for which follows closely to that originally used. Much of the furniture and regalia has been dispensed with but what remains is true to the original ritual of the 1790s.

The Candidate, having undergone purification, is lead to each of seven pillars where he is questioned and agrees to comply with certain instructions for the rest of his life. Acknowledgement and acceptance of each demand is necessary to allow progression to the next pillar or station.

It is plainly seen from the rituals that the Order of Knight Templar Priests and that of Wisdom are woven around seven pillars and that candles form an integral part, imparting light, both literal and metaphorical. The Order Of Holy Wisdom can be viewed in somewhat different light perhaps when considering the layout of the temple, the perambulation taken by the candidate and his arrival at the Seventh Pillar. There is much similarity to be found here with the Tree of Life, the pillars of that tree and the lightening flash re- traced by the candidate as he ascends from the first to the seventh pillar. It is indeed after he passes this seventh pillar - the eighth station - that he his receives the Wisdom of the Order - Chokmah.

It must be acknowledged that much of Freemasonry makes use of symbols and metaphor harkening back to the enlightenment and the mysticism that abounded. Perhaps this ritual is no different. The ritual of the Order of Holy Wisdom is, in much the same manner as all Masonic ritual, written to make the candidate think and contemplate upon his earthly existence. This Order most certainly does that and in a most interesting, challenging and entertaining way.

The ceremony of the Order of Holy Wisdom within District 15 is only worked when new candidates are available. The various offices are filled by volunteers from the members of the District, all members within the District being expected to attend. Knight Priests from outside the District are eligible for introduction to this Order with agreement from the relevant Superintendents and all are welcome.

The Order of Holy Wisdom is scheduled to be worked on the 22nd January 2019 at Surbiton following the regular meeting of the Surrey Tabernacle, No. 88.