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Prince of Jerusalem

In French, Prince de Jerusalem. This was the Sixteenth Degree of the Rite of Perfection, whence it was transferred to the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, where it occupies the same numerical position. Its legend is founded on certain incidents which took place during the rebuilding of the second Temple, when the Jems were so much incommoded by the attacks of the Samaritans and other neighboring nations, that an Embassy was sent to King Darius to implore his favor and protection, which was accordingly obtained.

This legend, as developed in the Degree, is contained neither in Ezra nor in the apocryphal books of Esdras. It is found only in the Antiquities of Josephus (Book 5I, chapter iv, section 9), and thence there is the strongest internal evidence to show that it was derived by the inventor of the Degree. Who that inventor was we can only conjecture. But as we have the statements of both Ragon and Kloss that the Baron de Tschoudy composed the Degree of Knight of the East, and as that Degree is the first section of the system of which the Prince of Jerusalem is the second, we may reasonably suppose that the latter was also composed by him.

The Degree being one of those adopted by the Emperors of the East and West in their system, which Stephen Morin was authorized to propagate in America, it was introduced into America long before the establishment of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. A Council was established by Henry A. Francken, about 1767, at Albany, in the State of New York, and a Grand Council organized by Myers, in 1788, in Charleston, South Carolina. This body exercised sovereign powers even after the establishment of the Supreme Council May 31, 1801, for, in 1802, it granted a Warrant for the establishment of a Mark Lodge in Charleston, and another in the same year, for a Lodge of Perfection, in Savannah, Georgia

But under the present regulations of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, this prerogative has been abolished, and Grand Councils of Princes of Jerusalem no longer exist. The old regulation, that the Master of a Lodge of Perfection must be at least a Prince of Jerusalem, which was contained in the Constitution of the Grand Council, has also been repealed, together with most of the privileges which formerly appertained to the Degree. A decision of the Supreme Council, in 1870, even obliterated Councils of the Princes of Jerusalem as a separate organization, authorized to confer the preliminary Degree of Knights of the East, and placed such Councils within the bosom of Rose Croix Chapters, a provision which, as a manifest innovation on the ancient system, the expediency, or at least the propriety, may be greatly doubted.

Bodies of this Degree are called Councils. According to the old rituals, the officers were a Most Equitable, a Senior and Junior Most Enlightened, a Grand Treasurer, and Grand Secretary. The more recent instructions of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States has substituted for these a Most Illustrious Tarshatha, a Most Venerable High Priest, a Most Excellent Scribe, two Most Enlightened Wardens, and other officers. Yellow is the symbolic color of the Degree, and the apron is crimson, formerly white, lined and bordered with yellow. The jewel is a medal of gold, on one side of which is inscribed a hand holding an equally poised balance, and on the other a double-edged, cross-hilted sword erect, between three stars around the point, and the letters D and Z on each side. The Prince of Jerusalem is also the Fifty-third Degree of the Metropolitan Chapter of France, and the Forty-fifth of the Rite of Mizraim.

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