Mike Harder 32° KSA
Venerable Master of KSA
Knights of Saint Andrew
The Knights of St. Andrew is made of an elite unit of 32 * Scottish Rite Masons.
The Knights of St. Andrew exist as a service organization on behalf of all members of their Consistory. They are under the immediate supervision of the Personal Representative of the S.G.I.G. and provide services where they are needed. This includes, but not limited to, acting as greeters, providing escort services for dignitaries or for special events created for the ladies during reunions or other functions, serving as guides, assisting the Scottish degree work, helping present the Colors. Knights of St. Andrew also assist in the calling committees, participate in parades or civic activities, promote fund-raising events, and aid in any special event. The list can continue on as new ideas and concepts are developed to meet needs and goals.
Their flexibility and enthusiasm make the Knights of St. Andrew one of the Valley’s most active and desirable organizations. It is an excellent way to nurture and develop future leaders as they learn their organizational and leadership skills, explore the inner structures of their Scottish Rite Centers, and thus gain a deeper admiration for our Order and Brethren who work in Freemasonry as a whole.
A Brief History of Knights of St. Andrew
The origins of the Order date back to the period of 1220-1232 A.D., when a Confraternity was established in the City of Acre, of the then Crusader Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (occupying the same territory as the modern state of Israel) to protect pilgrims and merchants.
This Confraternity, consisting of burgesses and knights of largely French heritage, met in the City’s Castle – and chose the Holy apostle, St. Andrew, as their Patron. They constituted themselves as a Crusading Order of Knights with the object of resisting tyranny and protecting public safety.
During the turmoil of the Sixth Crusade, these worthies of the Order defended the poor, the sick and the weak from adversaries. In the best tradition of the Military and Religious Orders of the time, they founded their lives on prayer, charity, service and protection.
About this time, procession of Acre was being contested by the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II. operating from his base in Sicily. Through his marriage to Yolande, daughter of John of Brienne, a leading Crusader, the Emperor had become embroiled in the affairs of the Crusader States. The Emperor sent a fleet of ships against Acre in 1227, whereupon the Knights and Officers of the Order of St. Andrew of Jerusalem appealed to Pope Gregory IX, who excommunicated the Emperor for this action.
During the subsequent negotiations with the Muslims by the Emperor Frederick, the Knights of St. Andrew remained aloof. Though some progress for the Crusaders appeared at first to have seen made, their adherence to treaty commitments made at that time eventually enabled an army of Turks in pay of the Sultan of Egypt, to crush the remaining Crusader enclaves by about 1244.
It was at about this juncture that the existing historical records of the Knights of St. Andrew were lost. It is speculated that the records may have been transported to Byzantium in hope of safekeeping, only to be lost yet again when the city fell to the Turks in 1453.
The Order of the Knights of the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, or the Knights of the Temple was established in 1119. The Templars were the first priestly order of armed knights. The order was created to provide safe transit for Christian Pilgrims visiting the Holy Land from Europe.Knights taken swore allegiance to the Pope and took vows of poverty, loyalty and chastity. The order grew in numbers and popularity as they fought to keep the Holy Land open. Their business acumen made the most of the gifts granted them by their grateful patrons in Europe.
One of the true supporters of the Templars was Bernard de Clairvaux (later canonized as Saint Bernard) who described them in 1135 as, “A Templar Knight is truly a fearless knight, and secure on every side, for his soul is protected by the armour of faith, just as his body is protected by the armour of steel. He is thus doubly armed, and need fear neither demons nor men.”
Despite the sacrifice and devotion of the Templars, in 1307 the order was declared heretical by Pope Clement V acting on the insistence of Phillip the Fair of France. On Friday, October 13, 1307, members of the order in France were arrested. Imprisoned, many were executed, more tortured, and all impoverished. In most of Europe, the Estates of the Order were confiscated and divided between the sovereign, the Knights Hospitalers (Knights of St. John of Jerusalem or Knights of Malta) and the Pope.
When the Grand Master, Jacques DeMolay and the Preceptor of Normandy, Geoffrey de Charney were burned alive, on March 18, 1314, the Templars no longer had a common head, nor could anyone maintain their organization under their old name, which had become so famous.
Their possessions stolen, their leaders incarcerated for life or put to death, the brethren were persecuted in every way. The survivors were compelled to leave their homes to save their lives. They laid aside the garb of the Temple and mingled in the world. Many former Templars joined other orders.
Dispersal to Scotland
In Portugal, they were announced as innocent and the name of the order was changed to the Order of Christ. In England, King Edward proscribed them and forbade them to remain in the realm, unless they entered the Commandrys of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. In Scotland, they found protection and joined the army with which King Robert the Bruce met the invasion of his country led by Edward II of England.
The Battle of Bannockburn was being fought on the 24th day of June, 1314 when a group of exiled Templars rode into the fray and turned the tide of battle. This intervention may well have tipped the scales in favor of Scottish independence.
In gratitude for their assistance on that memorable day by the Templars, Robert the Bruce created the Order of Saint Andrew du Chardon (of the Thistle) of Scotland.
King Robert reserved the title of Grand Master for himself and his successors forever. He granted a charter of land to the new members of his new Order. Prince Charles Edward Stuart was the last Grand Master of the Scottish Order and exercised his powers by establishing a Chapter of Rose Croix at Arres, France.
Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite
When the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite was organized in the early 1730s, explanatory degrees were added to those of the Blue Lodge. Degrees of the Rites Heredom and Perfection along with other degrees and rites from Scotland, France, and Germany were added. The 29th Degree became the “Scottish Knight of St. Andrew.” Exemplifying the qualities of the Knights Templars and those of the Order of St. Andrew du Chardon, this degree remains with us today.
KSA – A Black Cap Organization
In early 1993 the late, Ill. Weldon Good, 33rd of the Tulsa Valley of Oklahoma saw a need for assistance during reunions. He also noticed that Masons were joining the Scottish Rite but many were not returning to help and participate in later reunions. To rectify this, he established the organization now known as the Knights of St Andrew as a service group for the valley. This fulfilled the dual purpose of assisting the valley and giving members reasons to be further involved in valley activities.
Although not based on the 29th Degree, the Knights of St. Andrew are devoted to Service, Loyalty and Truth by emulation of the characteristics of the older organizations – the Knights Templar, and the Order of St. Andrew du Chardon.
The by-laws state that the Knights of St. Andrew are a “Black Cap” group. Any member who subsequently receives the KCCH – Knights Commander of the Court of Honor – can not hold an office or vote although they can still work and assist in functions of the chapter. The main duties of the Knights of St. Andrew were, and are, to assist as needed during a reunion and be available to the Valley’s Personal Representative for any other assigned duties.
Finding that the Knights of St. Andrew worked well in the Tulsa Valley, Brother Good offered, with the approval of the SGIG, to charter chapters in the other two Valleys of Oklahoma – Guthrie and McAlester. Guthrie was chartered in October 1993 and McAlester early in 1994.
Today, there are 117 Valleys with KSA Chapters and 8 pending in the Southern Jurisdiction and 17 in the Norhtern Jurisdiction. These Chapters represent 45 States. A KSA Chapter have also been chartered in Puerto Rico.
Guthrie Knights of St. Andrew
The Guthrie Chapter of the Knights of St. Andrew has flourished and celebrated our twentieth Charter anniversary in 2013. Over the years, Knights have had many assignments during reunions, some of which have become permanent responsibilities. They assist with the opening ceremony of each reunion, attired in kilts and with bagpipes playing. They carry and post the banners of each Scottish Rite Lodge and the Scottish Rite Banner; place swords on a stand in front of the stage and present the American and Oklahoma flags. As the opening progresses, Knights escort the Masters of each Lodge, the Valley’s General Secretary, Grand Master of Oklahoma Masons, the SGIG of Oklahoma, visiting SGIGs and other dignitaries to the front.
Medford Valley Knights of St. Andrews History
In 2013 the Masters of the Royal Secret of Medford Valley chapter of Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Masons formed a Chapter of the Knights of St. Andrews. This venture is new but continues to enjoy considerable success here and in several other Chapters in many other States.
In 2013, the “Medford Chapter of the Knights of St. Andrew” was chartered and eighteen Charter Member Knights were initiated and Officers installed. A Venerable Master Emeritus advisor from the Knights of St. Andrew Portland Chapter attends but acts in an advisory capacity only.
Our purpose in creating this body is two fold 1) to bring members of the valley chapter closer together in an ongoing program of fellowship, dedicated to service within the Rite and 2) to strengthen your personal ties to our teachings. It can be arguably stated that the Ancient and Accepted Rite is the University of Masonry. By the time one reaches the 32° he has been exposed to more philosophical truths, which reach back through the earliest civilized times of human history, than the average man encounters in a lifetime. It will take some considerable time for an active Scottish Rite Mason to assimilate these truths.
The Order of the Knights of St. Andrew is a prestigious organization; composed exclusively of “black caps” who are the 32º Masters of the Royal Secret in this Valley.
Each Chapter of KSA has a Constitution, By- laws, opening and closing ceremonies, much the same as the Craft Lodges, initiation ritual and a Charter of authority to operate. The officers are elected for a term of two years. The Knights set their own programs and operate under the authority of the Sovereign Grand Inspector General in Oregon and his Personal Representative in this Valley.
Although the Scottish Rite does not derive from Scottish origins, the Knights of St. Andrew have adopted a Scottish theme for their clothing and music. Members of the founding class will be the black and purple Tartan of the Grand Lodge of England. New KSA Chapters have the choice of selection for their individual Tartan. This will be a decision for the Chapter. Initiated Knights will also wear a cordon with the jewel of the Order of Knights and the Highland Glengarry cap. Music used in escorting duties is from the pipes and drums.
The Knights will be involved in activities that will significantly impact the life of the Valley. Each member should regard himself as a future leader and potential Honor man.
Suggestions to this end include:
- The formation of degree teams to exemplify Craft work which, presented by a polished, Scottish Rite team wearing the tartan is certain to generate curiosity in the Rite and so become a recruitment source. You might also consider staging one of the Scottish Rite degrees during a reunion or presenting one of the dramas now in, or intended for, production.
- Serve as greeters, conduct dignitaries such as the S.G.I.G., the Grand Master or Foundation Officers to the dais or podium, during ceremonials or reunions, assist the General Secretary during reunions by taking a small group of candidates and making them familiar with the Center, the cast and members of the props and control rooms, in part to satisfy their curiosity but also to prime them as future assistants.
- All branches of Masonry have charitable programs. The Scottish Rite Foundation, funds the professional treatment of preschool children who are challenged with learning disorders.