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.


The Maccabees conferred three degrees: Degree of Protection, Degree of Friendship, and Degree of Loyalty.

In the Degree of Protection, the candidate was introduced to the demands of Honor, Courage, and Obedience. The candidate learned the history of Maccabee household and how it protected Judea from King Antiochus during the war of independence. To prove themselves fit to "join in the cause of humanity," the tyros had to undergo an ordeal.

In the Degree of Friendship, the Commander takes the part of Mattathias, the Lt. Commander that of Judas, the Past Commander that of John (son of Mattathias), and the Chaplain that of Eleazar (son of Mattathias). The candidate received instruction in the nature of friendship.

In the Degree of Loyalty, the dramatic work revolved around the following characters: Apelles, Mattathias, Matthathias's four sons, Judas, Soldiers, while the candidate, Sentinel, and a Knight took the parts of Jewish peasants. In keeping with the Maccabee legend of the revolt at Modin the patriarch Mattathias remained steadfast to the Jewish religion when ordered to make sacrifice to Roman gods and at great personal risk stops an apostate Jew from offering sacrifice to false gods. The lesson derived from his example was that of genuine patriotism and inculcated the duty to uphold and defend the rights of liberty and conscience when they are threatened by irresponsible power in any form. Additionally, the candidate was reintroduced to the ghost of Eleazar and finally sees the end of the rebellion.