Secret Monitor, Brotherhood of David and Jonathan
& Supreme Ruler
While the first references to the Order of David
and Jonathan are known to be of Dutch origin, the Secret Monitor arose
in America as a side degree conferred by any mason who had received it
himself. It was brought to England by Dr I. Zacharie when he returned
from America (following the Civil War) around 1875. Under his
leadership a Grand Council was formed in 1887 and the ritual was
extended when a further two degrees were added, one of which pertained
to the chair of Supreme Ruler.
The degrees gained in popularity, but this
success was to bring about a series of unfortunate events, for in the
meantime the Grand Council of Allied Masonic Degrees had been
empowered by an American body (of similar name) to confer their
version of the degree. This resulted in the Allied body denouncing the
Grand Council of the Order of the Secret Monitor and attempting to
assume sole jurisdiction over the degree, but in spite of this Dr
Zacharie’s group prospered. Regretfully a period of over 37 years
elapsed, during which both orders were conferring a Secret Monitor
degree, but the matter was finally resolved in 1931 when C. W. Napier-Clavering
was in the favourable position of being Grand Supreme Ruler and also
Grand Master of Allied Masonry. He then implemented an agreement
transferring all rights to the Grand Council of the Order of the
Secret Monitor and the degree was removed from the list of degrees of
the Allied body.
In the United States, the order is still a part of the Allied
Masonic Degrees. Late 1999, the British
Grand Conclave had 343 conclaves, of which were 4 in Spain, 4 in
France and the rest in Commonwealth countries and Hong Kong.
Despite its Dutch origins, there were no conclaves in the
Netherlands until 2005. At that year the foundation of the Fidelitas
Conclave No. 494 was approved by the Dutch Grand Orient. Furthermore,
a number of Dutch masons is grand officer of this order.
The Order comprises of the following degrees:
- Secret Monitor—First degree: The
legend narrated during the Induction ceremony is 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
in friendship and fidelity.
- Prince—Second degree: 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.
- Supreme Ruler—Third degree: This last
named degree is unusual 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.