COMMANDER: Sir Knight Sentinel, ascertain if any candidates are in waiting.
SENTINEL: Sir Knight Commander, a candidate is in waiting.
COMMANDER, as King: Sir Knight Lt. Commander, retire and introduce the candidate.
JUDAS: Mr ... , you have made application for membership in this Tent of The Maccabees. You have been well recommended and elected to membership. I can assure you there is nothing in the ceremonies of the Order that will conflict with your religious or political opinions. Are you willing to proceed?
JUDAS: Before advancing, do you promise that you will never reveal any of our private work, or express either religious or political opinions within the Tent?
JUDAS: Then come with me.
JUDAS: I trust you will thoughtfully observe and remember all that you are about to see and hear. But, in order to prepare you in a measure for what will soon take place within your sight and hearing, allow me to call your attention to an event in the history of the human race that was certainly one of the most pathetic and in some respects, the most remarkable this world has ever seen. [See EVENT left]
JUDAS: Behold the man!
KING: Hold! A pause, during which attendants carry and ground spears. Who art thou?
CHAPLAIN AS ELEAZAR: O King! I am a doctor of the law; I am Eleazar. Drops his hand and head.
KING, in an imperious manner: And what wouldst thou, Eleazar, before me Antiochus? I have not sent for thee.
ELEAZAR, slowly and with much deliberate emphasis: No, O King! thou hast not sent for me; but I hear that thou hast commanded my people to forsake the sacred law and deny its authority. It would be shameful in me to take shelter in hypocrisy, neither will I stain my old age by appearing to embrace thy false teachings.
KING, seriously: Knowest thou the penalty imposed upon all who refuse to obey the commands of Antiochus?
ELEAZAR, defiantly: Ay King a pause, death!
A pause. And, although I could escape thy punishment for the present, I could never escape from the hands of the Almighty. Therefore, I would rather lay down my life now, for the sake of my country and its venerable laws, than leave behind me to the young men of my tribe an example of dishonor. O King, I would!
KING, soliloquizing: This foolish old man is filled with conceit, and hath an exalted opinion of himself.
Rising, in a loud tone of voice: Guards, away with him! Let him be scourged to death!
JUDAS, after a short pause, when all is quiet and the curtain closed, addresses the candidate as follows: The fidelity of that man is a memorial of civil virtue, not alone to his nation and generation, but unto all people of every age, as long as patriotism and piety shall be considered honorable among men. Such sublime courage and utter contempt of death in a good cause, mankind will never willingly forget, for the possibility of such heroism is the glory of the race.
Ponder well, therefore, upon all you see and hear this evening; and let the lessons conveyed be indelibly fixed upon the tablets of your memory. Now, come with me.
Ancient initiation rite
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An ancient order reborn
The Fraternal Order of the Knights of the Maccabees rises again, one eye to our storied history and one eye toward our glorious future.
These pages represent a glimpse into the formal business and rites of the Order.
They should be seen as ceremonies that connect the Order to the past, yet rites that do not bind the Order to the past.
We are a modern Order unashamed and unchained by our long and glorious history. Our history is ever before us as example and beacon, yet our future like our present is that of contemporary service and reflection.
About the year 175, before the present era, there reigned, in Syria, Antiochus the IV, a monstrous King, who sent 22,000 of his soldiers against Jerusalem.
He plundered the Holy City, and issued a proclamation that all should forsake their ancient forms of worship. Many, in order to escape persecution, denied their country and renounced its laws.
There were some, however, who preferred death to dishonor. One such was ELEAZAR, a doctor of the law, who, when commanded to defile himself, refused, and determined to go to the King and make answer before him, according to the Holy ordinance.