The Scottish Rite of Freemasonry

Orient of Maryland


A 32° Degree Mason, Master of the Royal Secret, is identified with the jewel of the Degree; a gold Teutonic Cross with the numerals XXXII surrounded by a laurel wreath in the center and suspended from a white ribbon. The Teutonic Cross was probably adopted because the Grand Constitutions of 1786 were believed to be authored by the Prussian King, Frederick the Great, and the Teutonic Knights were the preeminent German order of knighthood. The laurel wreath is the ancient symbol of victory and triumph, and it is used throughout Scottish Rite Regalia. Here it can signify the triumph of attaining the Royal Secret.


After being a 32° Mason in the Southern Jurisdiction for at least 46 months and distinguishing himself in service to Masonry, to the Scottish Rite, or to the service of humanity, a Brother may be selected to be invested with the Rank and Decoration of a Knight Commander of the Court of Honour. The selection is made by the Supreme Council at its Biennial Session held every odd year, and about 2.5% of our members have been so recognized. Recipients of this honor receive a special jewel to wear on their coats, over the heart. The K∴C∴C∴H∴ jewel is a red passion cross (arms of unequal length), fitched (the ends terminate in three points), on a circle of laurel leaves, on which is a raised gold circular plate with gold beads around the circumference. The plate is enameled in white, and on it is a green trefoil, an ancient symbol of spirituality. Around the trefoil is "KT. COMM. COURT OF HONOUR". The jewel is suspended from a white ribbon.

The basis of the 33° jewel is a Teutonic Cross. On that is a nine-pointed star, composed of three gold triangles, interlaced. The design also forms nine small triangles, and in each of these is one of the letters "S.A.P.I.E.N.T.I.A.", the Latin word for wisdom. A sword extends from the lower part of the left side of the jewel to the upper part of the right side. Crossing that is a "Hand of Justice". This forms a scepter, terminating in a carving of a hand. On top of the cross, triangles, crossed sword and Hand of Justice is a circular plate, and on the plate is a shield with a crowned double-headed eagle. To the right of the eagle is a balance and to the left is a square and compass. Around the design are the Latin words, "Ordo ab Chao", "Order out of Chaos", enclosed by two serpents, each biting its tail.


The highest honor awarded by the Supreme Council, 33°, S.J., is the Grand Cross of the Court of Honour. There are fewer than 60 living recipients of this decoration out of nearly 400,000 members in the Southern Jurisdiction. The Grand Cross jewel has as its foundation the Teutonic Cross of the 32° and 33° resting on a wreath of gold oak leaves, emblematic of strength of purpose in the service of humanity and the Rite. In the center is a gold circular plate with a blue enameled border containing the gold letters, "GR. CROSS COURT OF HONOUR". In the center of the plate is an enameled crimson rose with green leaves on a white background. The red rose recalls the imagery of the 18°, Knight Rose Croix, where the flower represents renewal, as a recipient of the Grand Cross is forever renewing his efforts to serve.